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Integrative Grief Therapy
Dedicated to Stephen Levine & Ondrea

A chat with Ondrea Levine

Upcoming Events

Private Grief Retreats

Degriefing in Action

“Grief is the human’s response to loss, any loss, and it is the most available, untapped, emotional resource for personal transformation.”
- Dr. Lyn Prashant

 Call from and inside USA:
+1 (415) 457-2272
Call inside Mexico:
+52 (415) 185-8055
Dear Colleagues, Clients, Students and Friends,

This newsletter is dedicated to the late, beloved Stephen Levine (1937-2016) and his wife Ondrea Levine who survived Stephen’s recent death. Stephen died at home  on January 17th after a long illness. He was 78 years old. His heart has gone to God. His light is left here with us.
For over thirty-two years, throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, Ondrea and her husband Stephen Levine were pioneers in grief counseling providing emotional and spiritual support for the life-threatened, and caregivers.. Combining the compassion of Buddhist teaching with modern psychology, they developed methods of helping people deal with death and dying. Along with personal counseling via their free 24 hour telephone service, the Levines held seminars on relationships, forgiveness, and loving kindness. Throughout their journey they collaborated with teachers, including Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Ram Dass and the Dalai Llama.

After decades of service and facing mounting health difficulties, the Levines retired from public life living in relative isolation in northern New Mexico, They continued writing,  and created an interactive community and online teaching platform.
They taught me about conscious living/conscious dying.  Stephen as a teacher, guide, a mentor is inspiration to me. I share his anecdotes, teachings and his's a blessing to do so.

In 1983 Lyn Prashant and her husband Mark Greenberg went from Roswell Park Memorial Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York to the doors and hearts of the Living/Dying Project in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Mark died eight months later at 36, after consciously exploring the nature of his healing into life and healing into death.
Lyn with Mark, had the opportunity to work with Stephen and Ondrea and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and many other healthcare professionals who were deeply touched by their inspiringly honest quest; yielding a video made at the Living/Dying Project. Since Mark’s death Lyn, devoted her healing work to honor the in depth exploration of their life altering experiences at the L/D project.
During her presentations, publications, classes, sessions and trainings her quick wit and humor engages others in taking a “peek at making peace with their grief.”
The gratitude and appreciation Lyn feels for Stephen and Ondrea who held her hand, embraced her broken heart and taught her about impermanence when Mark was dying; has indelibly emblazoned, enriched and guided her life. Stephen and Ondrea have endorsed Lyn’s work. Gracing the front cover of the Degriefing training manual, “Transforming Somatic Grief” is their quote…”Lyn knows first hand the depth of healing that grief calls for.  She is committed to serving those in difficulties he is a highly skilled worker.”  Lyn continues to honor them each time she is in service to the bereaved and shares the lessons she learned for the highest good.

One of my many treasured moments the Levine’s:

The lovely home that housed the project was on the edge of Santa Fe. Stephen and Ondrea lived in Taos 70 miles north. They often stopped by to visit and spend some time with us. especially while on trips to Albuquerque. Relishing in their presence, we all reasoned, meditated, laughed, cried and learned all for the highest good and clear intention to support our conscious process. They modeled devoted presence.  They were a couple deeply in love.  So were we.
During an extremely deep session, Mark decided to refuse a feeding tube and stop all treatments. He chose to serve his spirit and stop striving to save his body. We vowed to face Mark’s death eye to eye and heart to heart until the last breath.
Afterward, Stephen and I went downstairs to the kitchen to have a beer.

After taking a swig he looked at me, held up his glass and said, “You see this glass; it's already broken….and Mark lying in bed upstairs;  he's already dead.

He held my eyes; I held my breath. I could barely swallow.  I knew.
I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what he meant.
I shuddered.
Everything was happening at once.
Mark was gone and with me forever.

My eyes still fixed on his, I finally exhaled.
Stephen taught me profound simplicity and deep complexity of both life and death. Thirty two years later it’s just yesterday. 
In honoring Stephen's passing, I share exerpts from an Ondrea Levine interview:
A chat with Ondrea  
August 14, 2013 Lifestyle
Throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, Ondrea and her husband Stephen Levine were pioneers in grief counseling. Combining the compassion of Buddhist teaching with modern psychology, they developed original methods of helping people deal with death and dying. Along with personal counseling via their free 24 hour telephone service, the Levines held seminars on relationships, forgiveness, and loving kindness. Throughout their journey they collaborated with other teachers, including Ram Dass and the Dalai Llama.

In 2000, after decades of service and facing mounting health difficulties, the Levines decided to retire from public life. They have continued writing, and through their website,, they have created an interactive community and online teaching platform.
I sat down with Ondrea at the Live Taos headquarters to chat about life, liberty, and the pursuit of pizza!

Live Taos: Why did you first come to Taos? I think you once told me that a friend got you a plane ticket for a vacation as a present...
Ondrea Levine: Yeah, some friends bought me a round<trip train ticket. So I came out. I’d never traveled anywhere, (apart from the east coast) and thought this would be fun to try. I love tribal culture and had always read about it and I didn’t know anything about the Hispanic culture, so I thought I’d check it out.

At the time there was a children’s home in San Cristobal, which has been gone now for many years, but they invited me to come stay in their cabin and I got to play with the kids. They didn’t have anyone else to drive, so I would drive the children into town and take them to movies... I loved that Taos was so eclectic and it felt like everyone was accepted for who they were. I experienced a lot of prejudice back in the Boston area and I didn’t like living that way, so it felt really good to be in Taos. There was just this wonderful mixture of tribal and Hispanic cultures, hippies, and all sorts of different people, I just fell in love with it. So I went home and I worked really hard for six months. I saved my money and sold everything that I had–which wasn’t really that much. I drove back out and I’ve been here ever since 1975.
LT: Wow, 1975.
O: Yeah, you weren’t even born yet, my goodness! Haha!
LT: So had you seen pictures of New Mexico before you came out, or read anything about Taos?
O: Nope, I knew nothing. I just knew that some friends I had lived with when I was younger said that they loved it. So I thought, “well I’ve got this round-trip train ticket, so I don’t have anything to lose.” I trusted them, they were good people, and I just loved it. I loved the slow pace, the neighborly<ness of it, I found that people were very kind and open. I loved all the art and music that was going on and I just fit. When I came back out after saving my money back east, I had no job, so I just started cleaning houses, which was easy for me; then I became a nanny, and that’s basically all I did until I met Stephen.
LT: Will you tell me the story of how you and Stephen met?
O: A friend of mine said he was going up to Lama, and his friend, Stephen Levine, was doing a death and dying retreat. I had worked with people who were dying back east, but I’d never been part of a formal group. When I came out here there was a formal death and dying group going on with Bob Holly — he was the heart doctor here many years ago.
So I joined, and one of the docs in this group said, “you should go to Lama and meet my friend.” So I thought again, “something I’ve never done.” I saved my pennies for many months — I think back then I was making $2.00 an hour, it was really bad. I lived in a little cabin with an outhouse, it was pretty basic but I enjoyed it. So I saved my money and went up to Lama to this retreat. At the time I was a little full of myself and thought “I know all about this stuff.” But I actually learned things that I didn’t know.
At the end of this five-day retreat they did a Sufi dance, which was just like a connecting dance where people kind of move around and try to look into each other’s eyes and try to see each other’s humanity. Stephen came to me and we started dancing, and we just kept dancing off into a corner, then he gave me his phone number. We met afterwards, and we’ve been together ever since. We’ve been so lucky, so unbelievably blessed.
LT: So where was Stephen at that point? Had he just been traveling the country and teaching?
O: Yes, traveling and teaching. He had worked with Elisabeth Kübler<Ross and Ram Dass for maybe about three years, then he started on his own. I think he had been doing it maybe a year when he meet me. And death and dying was my whole thing so we fit perfectly. We both had very similar attitudes and visions for life and what we wanted to do, and he just brought me right in and we started teaching together. I mean, I was pretty slow getting used to it. I wasn’t used to being in front of an audience...
LT: I think you’re too modest, because you’re still saying all that.
O: (Laughs) I know, but what you see outside isn’t necessarily what I feel inside, so what I’m saying is that those are my insecurities, that’s why I feel more grounded with Stephen. I know that if my mind blanks out — which it does, I have an extremely dyslexic mind and sometimes it’s like I can’t find the simplest answer to something I know really well. And with him, he’ll always come up with something, and he’s very funny.

When I met Stephen I was very serious, extremely serious. It took me some years to learn to lighten up. I took death and dying very seriously — everything was serious to me at that time. So he taught me to kind of lighten up, and he was right! Life is just better if you take a lighter attitude and a lighter view and not be so serious. I came from a serious family where there was no laughing or touching, no nothing. It was a pretty serious, unfriendly family, although they did the best they could for who they were, you know. I learned a lot, I learned to not be like them. Which is huge... (Laughs)
LT: Sometimes that’s the best lesson! 

LT: Do you have a favorite teaching experience from any point in your career?
O: I used to love our multi<day retreats. We did them on both coasts. In Santa Rosa, California, on the east coast at Kripalu, at Breitenbush in Oregon, and so on. I loved all of those because there would be average one hundred people and you were together day and night for five or ten days, so I loved that because you really got to know somebody. It wasn’t just lecturing, you got to know that they are another human heart that hurts like yours does, and we mostly focused on grief and death and dying, so to know that commonality about grief.

I loved doing the longer retreats. Lectures are nice, but you don’t get to touch. So I liked that, I liked the hug — just the connection with people. You start to see that we are much more alike than we are different. Outwardly, we seem different, but inwardly, it’s all the same. Everybody’s got the top ten little burdens. So I loved that.

And working with the dying too. We sat bedside for years with the dying, and that was really nice. Because usually you get to be with somebody for maybe six months before they leave their body, and they’re often pretty vibrant and you don’t really see them as “Dying.” You get to see them through the whole process, and then you’re there for the last breath, and that was an awesome experience. You see that what leaves the body is precisely what you connect with when we’re breathing, there’s that humanity, that human heart, and when that leaves, all that’s left is a shell.

That’s extremely powerful. That makes me not want to waste my time. That makes me want to enjoy life, and play, and connect with the people that I love, because there is no tomorrow. I mean hopefully we will have a tomorrow but for some of us... Most of the people I worked with were in their thirties, forties and fifties, not really elderly people.

There would be times, for instance, like after a retreat, you’d find out that somebody didn’t make it home. And you see just how precious that connection is — to be really as straightforward as you can with someone, you know, not to bullshit around. So what I’ve found is that you just need to connect, to dance, enjoy life.
LT: How has mainstream spirituality changed since you first started teaching? Have there been any major shifts that you’ve noticed?
O: I think people are more open<minded. I started doing this at 16, and I just turned 67 — I mean the change has been huge. When I was 16 going in to nursing homes, nobody was with the dying. It was like, that was the room that everyone stayed away from. It was very open to me, my work started at 7am, and I’d go in at 6am and I could just be with people. I had no great words of wisdom, I was just holding their hands and listening to their pain, whatever they had to get out, just so they had someone to listen.

There have always been alternative religions, ways, practices... But now it seems much more open and eclectic. People that are devout Catholics meditate as well as devout Jews, or any religion. Where back then, it was just unheard of that someone would meditate. Meditation was like a cult, it was something bad, and now all the mainstream hospitals recommended it as a way to be centered and find some peace and to help de<stress. I see that it’s just broadened and opened.

When Stephen and I started working together some of the groups were 20-25 people; by the time we stopped working twelve years ago, we had groups sometimes of 1,200 to 1,500 people for a lecture, and in the retreats, we’d have 600 people. That’s a lot of people to be committed for five days or ten days. So we saw a huge difference. If you talk to our son Noah, who does Dharma Punx, you find that people now are even more radical because they’re not even into religion at all — they do Buddhist practice, but that’s more of a science of the mind, they don’t take it as a religion.
LT: What would you say to people who look back and feel like they got caught up in the routine of everyday life, and maybe have regrets about not having taken more chances, or things they missed out on in life; what would you say to those people, and what would you say to younger people so that doesn’t happen to them?
O : I think that when you work with the dying you see that the three major regrets are that they wish they took a job more for the fun of it, something that they really enjoyed that didn’t have to do with how much money they made. They wished they played and enjoyed life more because they always thought life was something that was going to happen when they retired.

A lot of the ones that complained wished that they got a divorce. Not because they hated their partner, often they cared for their partner very deeply, but it became maybe more of a brother<sister relationship. But they just didn’t want to break out of that. Starting all over again can be very hard. You have a relationship with whatever you’ve built up, as soon as you break off that relationship, it’s like starting over from scratch. And dating, most people say dating sucks, and you’ve gotta do all that.

So what I’d say to young people is, don’t wait and don’t think you’re gonna live your life when you get older. Even though you might only be in your twenties, try to enjoy what you’re doing, explore, try new things, step out of whatever your safety place is, maybe travel a little, try to see more of life. You don’t need a lot of money to travel, a decent car and some gas and food money, you can do it, stay at hostels. You know parents will always tell their children the places where they got stuck, and I’d say listen to your parents, but don’t necessarily do what they say. (Laughs)
Do what feels right in your own heart. I stayed very small and stuck for a lot of my life, until really my late twenties because I just lived kind of the way I was taught to live, and once I stepped out — that was coming to New Mexico — then everything really opened up.

I think most of us really live like death isn’t going to happen. It’s kind of like if you keep death over your shoulder–not to be thinking of it and be morbid or anything like that, but just know that we’re impermanent. If you look at nature, you see in the spring the flowers come and the trees have leaves and the birds are there and then that all dies away and there’s none of that.

That’s the same thing as being with a body, and just to remind yourself, once in a while, that this is impermanent. Don’t think that you’re going to wait until your 65 to enjoy life — it doesn’t happen that way usually. For some people, sure, but for most people I’d say try to enjoy life as much as you can now.

If you can do a little service, where you just do anything for someone else or maybe an animal, it doesn’t have to be great wisdom or great dedication. Even if once a month you went to Stray Hearts or someplace like that and you walked a dog for a few hours or pet a cat or if there is someone in the hospital you bring them a meal or you take somebody to run an errand. It doesn’t have to be any great commitment, but just a once in a while thinking of, you know, someone other than’s an attitude, it’s just an attitude of giving a little bit of yourself without expecting anything in return.

I advise everybody to go and listen to live music whenever they can because it just gets i your cells and makes you want to move, and we’re moving beings. That’s another thing, move! Don’t just sit on your butt all the time! What I do is put on headphones and I dance around the house. So yeah, dance, enjoy, listen to good music.
Serving the San Francisco Bay Area April and May of 2016!   
I’m available for private counseling and bodywork sessions. I am also offering CE classes, weekend seminars, experiential one day and personal grief retreats…. designed specifically to meet the needs of the participants. 
Professional colleagues, please consider advising the bereaved in your clientele to participate in the one-day ‘mini grief retreat’ or the three day Grief Retreat Weekend.
I very pleased to announce that some classes and retreats will be held at this lovely, serene and nurturing venue.
Please contact me directly for seminar details/enrollment. 
The Body Song Massage Center & School
 100 Professional Center Drive, Suite 112
 Novato, CA 94947

Private counseling and bodywork appointments will be scheduled on a case-by-case basis. I have arranged office space in both Mill Valley and Novato and I’ll do my best to accommodate your busy schedule.   Please get in touch, ask any questions and book your sessions.
131 Camino Alto Suite G @ the “Center for Health &Happiness”
Mill Valley, Ca 94941
Parking in front of building or in parking lot.
Entrance from courtyard (ground floor).
 I welcome hearing from you.
Heartfelt regards,

Degriefing Bodywork®: Hands–On Health Care & Medical Professionals
20 Hours)
Grief related problems are often unrecognized and remain unaddressed by today’s overtaxed healthcare system. This weekend seminar, both didactic and experiential, is led by respected grief counselor and innovative massage teacher Lyn Prashant, is designed to provide massage therapists and ‘hands-on’ professionals with information, skills and resources to better understand and work with the somatic aspects of grief.
You will:
  • Explore grief – its physical, mental, and emotional aspects

  • Practice compassionate listening & skillful communication tools
  • Heighten your awareness regarding your relationship to grief

  • Utilize integrative therapies for the transformation of grief

  • Exchange hand’s-on practice with peers
What: 20 Hour CE Workshop: Level 1


April 8, 2016 (05:00pm to 09:00pm)
April 9, 2016 (08:30am to 05:30pm)
April10, 2016 (08:30am to 05:30pm)
Pacific Heights, San Francisco

$525.00 / $460 Early Bird (by March 12th, 2016)
Psychologists, Social Workers, MFTs, Massage Therapists
20 CE Hours Workshop: Level 1
Pre-Registration phone interview required. Not for the newly bereaved.

Lyn 415-457-2272

Carolyn Tague, MA, CMT founder of Tague Consulting specializes in educating massage therapists and manual therapy bodyworkers. As a level lll certified Degriefing Bodyworker includes the principles and practices of Degriefing in her practice and teaching. PCE # 3810 Certificate upon completion for Psychologists, MSW’s, MFT’s & Interns  
*Minimum enrollment required 30 days in advance secure the event.
One partial scholarship available.
Tuition: $525.00  
 * EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: $460.00 Paid online or received by March 12, 2016      
Please contact me directly for the following seminar details/enrollment held at:
The Body Song Massage Center & School
100 Professional Center Drive, Suite 112
Novato, CA 94947

Transforming Somatic Aspects of Grief: Featuring Nutritional counseling for Bereavement Support
6 hour CE Seminar: for Individuals & Allied Health Care Professionals
Novato, CA
April 16, 2016
***Featuring Frances Holmes: Nutritional expert and Integrative Grief Therapist
Bodysong , Novato, CA
Degriefing is a body/mind process based in the premise that “grief is the most available, untapped, emotional resource for personal transformation.”  This body/mind approach uses traditional and integrative therapeutic modalities to assist individuals in identifying and recognizing the pain of grief in their bodies and minds.  This approach teaches how to use grief as fuel and enables an accurate assessment of an individual’s relationship to their own grief.
Degriefing is intended to normalize the experience of loss and subsequent upsurges of grief from both past and present events. Grief is the body’s response to loss…any loss. Fresh grief can stimulate the feelings of previous unresolved grief. Loss is a common experience that we all encounter during our lifetime.  A grieving person can undergo both significant and subtle changes impacting their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual states. 
  • Explore grief – its physical, mental, and emotional aspects
  • Practice compassionate listening & skillful communication tools
  • Heighten your awareness regarding your relationship to grief
  • Utilize integrative therapies for transforming grief
  • Learn skillful ways to improve well being with balanced nutrition
What:      6 Hour Workshop: Level 1
Date:       April 16, 2016
Time:      Saturday: 10AM -1:00PM  & 2:00-5:00 PM
Where:    Bodysong massage Center & School
Cost:       $175.00  & Early Bird discount = 150.00 (by March 16th, 2016)
CE’s:        Psychologists, Social Workers, MFTs, MFTI’s
Hours:     10 AM-5 PM
Minimum enrollment required 21 days in advance to secure this event.
PCE # 3810 Certificate upon Completion for Psychologists, MSW’s, MFT’s, & Interns
--- One partial scholarship available              
Lyn Prashant, PhD. FT, CMT, Degriefing Founder Somatic Thanatologist, massage teacher, Educator, ADEC Felloe in thanatology (Death, dying & bereavement educator) With 30 years in the field. She worked with and endorsed by Stephen Levine and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Private sessions, retreats, classes & certification trainings.
Frances Holmes, is a Certified Nutrition Consultant, a member of the National Association of Nutritional Professionals and an Integrative Grief Therapy Practitioner. Frances received her Degriefing: Integrative Grief Therapy (I.G.T.) certification from Dr. Lyn Prashant. She assisted in grief workshops at the California Institute for Integral Studies and at Kripalu in Lennox, Mass. Her training is in personalized application of integrative therapies and nutritional support to promote balance while coping with the extremes of loss of any kind.
Mini Grief Retreat – A Day of Degriefing for the Bereaved
Bodysong, Novato, CA
April 17th, 2016

Lyn Prashant, the founder of the Degriefing process, offers an integrative approach to grief therapy and grief counseling. She will provide practical techniques and useful strategies to cope with the fluctuating physical and emotional symptoms of bereavement.
The schedule will alternate theoretical information to normalize grief with experiential activities to “meet each individual exactly where they are.”

In this experiential one day six hour retreat participants will:
  • Receive information about the grief process and its physical symptoms 
  • Begin to normalize their relationship to the loss 
  • Have an opportunity for self-reflection
  • Practice integrative tools for addressing and relieving grief 
Participants are strongly encouraged to bring a picture or object that represents their loss;  Phone interview required for individuals less than 9 months post loss. Special circumstance considered regarding bereavement time.
Phone interview required.  
Minimum enrollment required 21 days in advance to hold the retreat. 
Limited to 14 Participants

One partial scholarship available.

Tuition: $195.00
Degriefing: Integrative Grief Therapy
Professional Certification Training Level 1
Duration: 40 Hours
San Miguel de Allende
July 4th-8th, 2015 

I selected San Miguel de Allende,Guanajuato as the location for the training because of its remarkable charm and beauty. Everything here seems wrapped in a mantle of tranquility, giving residents and visitors alike the opportunity for quiet reflection and a sense of pleasure in the simple things of life.
This course is designed to provide participants with information, skills and resources to identify and efficiently work with grief and the grieving process, address psychological & somatic aspects of grief and apply integrative therapies for transformation.
Upon completion of this course participants will be able to:
  • Recognize the subtleties and complexities of the somatic aspects of grief
  • Determine and appropriately combine traditional and integrative treatment modalities for the transformation of grief
  • Explore and investigate their relationship to their own grief process
  • Identify the impact of grief on professional and personal interactions
  • Offer specific tools to support clients professionally
  • Integrate the Degriefing skills into their present practice
  • Incorporate personal self care to prevent compathy (physical empathy):
  • Compassion fatigue, burnout & bereavement overload
Who Should Attend
This training is open to professionals in the field of health care, hospice, mental health, spirituality, safety, law & justice, education and public & funeral services personnel.
This program is not recommended for the newly bereaved.
  •  Minimum enrollment required; Maximum enrollment is 14 participants.
  •  A phone interview is required prior to registration.
  •  One partial scholarship available.
  •  Tuition is $1500.00 (all materials are included).
  •  Certificate of Completion
  •  10% EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Paid online or received one full calendar month ahead

Personal Grief-Relief Retreat
The Personal Retreat is for grieving individuals and couples, interested in exploring their relationship to loss in their life in a safe, supportive and nurturing way.  It is specifically tailored to accommodate individual needs.
While each individual grieves in an entirely personal and unique way, there are certain aspects that are universal. Some individuals are not ready for a group; and this offering can begin to support the deep healing process possible when grief is transformed into personal fuel to power our new reality.

Supportive Degriefing integrative modalities are employed. No previous therapeutic experience is necessary to benefit from this work. Private time is highlighted and encouraged for integration, honoring personal process, and promoting self-awareness.
Together, through skillful communication, we can clarify the prominent issues to be addressed, length of retreat desired, and integrative modalities to incorporate. 
The cost is then determined.
A phone interview is required prior to scheduling a personal retreat.     
Please call Lyn@415-457-2272
Degriefing in Action:
What is Degriefing? An Interview with Lyn Prashant --links
(Click here to see more)
Book your private grief-relief retreat; tailored to meet your personal needs. Retreats vary between 3 days and 2 weeks. 
Call from and inside USA: +1 (415) 457-2272
Call inside Mexico: +52 (415) 185-8055

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