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Posted By Opening the Heart

Here is an article witten by our dear friend and colleague, Louise Kenney. As well a single handedly organizing our annual Opening the Heart to Grief™ Workshops at Avow Hospice, Louise is a gifted healer who resides in the area of Naples FL and remains available as a wise, loving councellor to all workshop alumni.





Meditation may be understood as a vehicle to carry our attention into the restorative, transformative, stable and infinite realm of the heart/self. It is within this realm that we may be touched by grace and have the opportunity to surrender to the arms of divine compassion and divine Love.  While our minds and our egos are necessary for us to function in everyday life, the realm of the awakening heart is also vital to our ability to evolve along a natural progression toward our highest good.   

     It is often through adversity that we are brought to the depths of our heart. A journey through grief is precisely one of those times in our lives. Grief brings us to our depths.  Incorporating meditation reminds us that these depths are the place we must go to heal, restore and recover, as opposed to a place to be avoided and afraid of. Some individuals who have chosen to meditate regularly as a form of spiritual practice have spoken of discovering a transformative process in which they experience a dissolution of “self”, an unmasking, a revelatory understanding which extends beyond duality.

     Grief may also “unmask” an individual, and sometimes propel her, without warning or preparation, into an unfamiliar land deep within the heart. This suddenness may cause the mind to reel and spin frantically looking for something  external or internal to hold on to. But what the mind has grown used to grabbing on to has been shattered when the loss occurred.  Participating in gentle guided meditation may aid in reminding the “mind” that the depths. while scary, are safe and vital to healing, integration and the ability to fully live through what is unimaginable. It is precisely within these depths that one can find and hold fast to the most stabilizing force in the universe, LOVE.  When our mind finds itself anchored in the depths of this Love, it is less afraid, less frantic and more able to trust nature's transforming journey through life and ultimately through death.

Louise Kenny, LCSW



Posted By Opening the Heart

The Opening the Heart to Grief Workshop™ in Naples, FL last weekend reached and exceeded all the goals we have about a successful experience for everyone involved. The stories shared by participants were deeply moving. The safe expression of the many emotions that live under the 'grief umbrella' was full and unburdening. The healing and transformational learning  was profound. As facilitators we were once again priviledged to be in the presence of so much courage and compassion. Our one regret is that more of the people on the waiting list were unable to attend.

We would like to thank Avow Hospice for sponsoring what has now become an annual offering. Avow sponsorship (along with the support of other generous donors and volounteers) allows us to present Opening the Heart to Grief™ at a very modest cost to participants.

We would like to especially thank Louise Kenney for 'producing' the workshop every year. Her faultless attention to all the details of flying in four facilitators from four different locations, organizing volunteers to provide local transportation, arranging accommodation, assembling all the materials for setting up a beautiful, safe workshop space, - all this and more Louise accomplishes with grace, love and limitless good humor. Though she claims that her efforts are "just part of my job"  - she is the Grief Councellor at Avow Hospice - we know her invaluable offering goes way beyond a purely professional contribution.

We are doubly blessed in Louise because she is able to join us as an additional facilitator. She completed the same OTH training program as we did at Spring Hill before moving from New England to Florida. This has proved an invaluable  blessing for participants who are able to benefit from her deep wisdom and loving compassion.

Our gratitude also goes to our interns Kim and Jim who were serving Opening the Heart to Grief™ for the first time. Their passion for and dedication to this work is immeasurable. We are deeply grateful for their loving presence on the team as they learn this work


Posted By Opening the Heart


    This was the first summer in a long time that Ruthi and I were able to take two weeks vacation and we gratefully drove the 38 minutes from our Providence home to our favorite place on earth in Westport, Massachusetts to our tiny beach house on the east branch of the Westport River.
    Gerry, our friend and all-around handy wizard had just finished building us an outdoor shower and there was a small piece of lawn (about 6' by 4')  that needed reseeding. So I raked it up and planted some "fast-germinating" seed, sat back and waited. Not exactly waited. I watched the hummingbirds at the feeder on the deck, six feet from my chair. I watched the wind patterns on the river. I dug quohaugs with my toes at low tide. I went fishing. I read a lot (James Patterson murder mysteries and Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals, about Abraham Lincoln). We took long walks on the beach with our dog, Fenway. We rode bikes, rode waves, picked blackberries and cooked fresh seafood.
    And then it happened. Five days after planting the seed, I went to check it in the morning and the slender silver-green threads were up. By that night they were a half inch high. Whenever I had heard the term "watching the grass grow", I think it was used in a context of implying boredom beyond words. Watching this grass grow was thrilling. In the early morning sun, through the trees, the new green beings of light were dappled, and, as some brief full sun came to them late morning, the patch turned a beautiful shade of lemon lime and it was impossible to resist running my hand over the hairs as delicate as a new baby's head. On the seventh morning I could see that the grasslings had grown a full inch from when I said good night to them.
    I looked up the word 'vacation' and read that it is a "period of rest and freedom from work". To 'vacate' is to make vacant or empty, unfilled. I felt very lucky and grateful in my life to be able to vacate busy, ordinary days in order to really experience extaordinary miracles like watching the grass grow.