Ultimately, grief will touch all of us at one time or another, but how it does and how we cope is based on a number of different factors such as our gender identity, race, sexual orientation, abilities, religious or spiritual beliefs, our roles vis-à-vis others (spouse, parent, child, etc.), ethnicity, age, and more. Individual differences of who we are influence how we navigate our grief.
Coping with the death of a loved one is a challenging experience that can produce complex reactions and emotions. Along with pain and longing for the person who died, grief makes us turn inward. Who we are has a significant bearing on how we grieve and how we heal.
Today’s experts have each had to face the death of a loved one. They each share that how they self-identify has impacted how they showed up for that challenge. They will take us on their very personal journeys and share their insights.
Dr. Kelly Moore is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 17 years of experience as a practitioner, trainer, and consultant focusing on treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, and postpartum-related challenges in youth and adults. But more than just a psychologist, she is a Black woman, a wife, a mom to three amazing boys, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and an active member of her community. And she likes people. Watching people, observing people, and learning from people. As she says, “People are my favorite! And — like all of you — I am a work in progress. I believe that knowledge is power and there’s power in your family’s ability to be well — mind, body, and spirit.”
Oceana Sawyer is an End of Life Doula. Drawing upon her meditation practices, her experience as a sensuality educator, her earth-based spirituality, and an intensive study in the expressive arts and integral counseling psychology, she brings a grounded, compassionate presence to the dying experience that partners with people in creating a conscious roadmap allowing them to die on their own terms.
Iana Sundari Malcolm was raised by her Yoga loving parents, between New York City and Yogaville, an ashram in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. At 27 she lost her mother to Breast Cancer and at 31 years old Iana Sundari lost her father to Brain Cancer. After their death, and her years as their Caregiver, Iana decided to leave a successful career in Public Relations and follow her passion for all things Wellness.
She has since traveled the world teaching Hatha Yoga, Yoga for the Special Child, Prenatal Yoga, Post Labor Yoga, Yoga for Cancer, Yoga for Grief, Yoga Nidra and Meditation. She is an ERYT-500 level teacher and a Yoga Teacher Trainer. Outside of Yoga, Iana is a birth and death Doula who believes that the transitions of life deserve humor, unwavering support and grace. Iana works as a Community Manager for The Dinner Party, a non-profit organization dedicated to those in their 20’s and 30’s who have suffered significant loss.
Iana is the founder of Bliss Out Retreats , a company that creates immersive ultra inclusive getaways throughout the world. Currently, Iana, her husband John and their dog Ana- Mae are traveling around the United States and Canada, in a converted School Bus named Eula Mae, learning all they can about this country, the people and NOW writing about racial justice on her blog, NamasteUSA.Blog
Shelby Forsythia (she/her) is the author of Permission to Grieve and podcast host of Coming Back: Conversations on Life After Loss. After the unexpected death of her mother in 2013, she became a “student of grief” and set out on a lifetime mission to explore the oft-misunderstood human experience of loss. Through her book, weekly podcasts, and one-on-one grief guidance, she helps grieving people find direction, get support, and cultivate radical self-compassion after devastating loss. Shelby is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®, Reiki Level II Practitioner, and Intuitive Grief Guide. Her work has been featured on Huffington Post, Bustle, and The Oprah Magazine. She currently lives in Washington State.
Ken Breniman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Registered Yoga Therapist and a Thanatologist with over fifteen years experience working with bereaved individuals & families. Ken was 18 when his mother died from cancer and he has dedicated his life to holding space for others when they are confronted with the often unwelcome yet inevitable teachings that death/loss bring to our life journeys.
Ken has been offering Yoga for Grief workshops in the Bay Area for over ten years and is honored to bring this healing event to ReImagine for the first time.
Alicia “ACE” Easter, is a Los Angeles, CA-based Yoga and Meditation Teacher and Reiki Healer. As a reluctant member of the Motherless Daughters Club, ACE faced undeniable grief after her mom died, which led her to the practice of yoga and an unusual job moving around the country. After taking a few yoga classes, ACE realized yoga was a lifesaver and longed for the day she could share its effects with the world. She teaches yoga and meditation classes, locally and online, and recognizes it’s an honor to guide students on their journey with love.
Alicia created I AM FREE: Yoga, Meditation, and Intention Setting workshops which she has hosted throughout California.
Flory Huang (she/her) is a holistic healthcare practitioner, IMTA trauma-informed meditation teacher, Personal Rest Guide and Founder of The Rested Revolution. She is an interdisciplinary, Asian-American-Canadian creator energized by meaningful connection and intent on collaborative impact, currently based between Tongva Territory where she was born (Los Angeles, California) and on the unceded territories and ancestral homelands of the (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations (Vancouver, British Columbia).