Sterling Heart is pleased to feature the work of our friend and colleague, Rev. Maria Dancing Heart Hoagland. Her work has helped thousands of people cope with transition, transformation, grief and loss. We are honored and blessed to share her work with you.
Maria was born in Tokyo, Japan, daughter of Lutheran missionaries. She spent her childhood growing up in Japan, attending Japanese public schools through the eighth grade. As a result, she is bilingual and bicultural, and has used her language and cultural skills in a variety of ways through the years. After finishing high school at Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan, she moved to the United States for college. She graduated from Yale College, and later attended seminary and received her Masters of Divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1984.
In 1985 she began parish ministry at Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was ordained in the United Church of Christ. She continued in parish ministry for ten years, serving a variety of U.C.C. churches in Hawaii and in the Great Northwest.
She changed her focus of ministry in 1995 when she began working as a bereavement coordinator for a hospice program in the Puget Sound area. She added spiritual counseling to her repertoire that same year, and has continued with this work to this day. Maria also trained in spiritual direction (1994-'97), and serves as a spiritual director and consultant. Because of her broad universal perspective, her ministry has an "inter-faith" quality. She also continues to preach and perform weddings, memorial services, funerals, and other rituals, sharing her universalist perspective.
Maria's book, The Last Adventure of Life: Sacred Resources for Transition, was first published in July of 2005. In May of 2008, a 2nd edition was published through Findhorn Press with a new subtitle: Sacred Resources for Living and Dying from a Hospice Counselor. Dancing Heart is now promoting her book to help those who are grieving and facing transitions of all kinds, including death. She hopes to bring death back to life in our American culture. This book could also be helpful for those who desire to deepen their spiritual life by examining their questions and doubts around death and dying.
No matter what our religious or spiritual background may be, we must all face our death one day. The sooner we can come to terms with "the most important event of our life" the better. May The Last Adventure of Life be a tool to assist you and your family members and friends in being "proactive" and more comfortable conversing about this topic and everything associated with it.
Through her work, Maria Dancing Heart hopes that death, grief, and transformation of all kinds might be viewed in new ways. We can see these experiences as adventures and "gifts" in our lives that occur naturally as part of the cycle of life, rather than experiences to be avoided or shoved under the rug. Maria also fervently hopes that American physicians and hospital staff will be able to open up more space for death in our hospitals. Maria's message is helping to bring death back to life.
Maria Dancing Heart's two-fold mission is to:
1) Create a more gentle and loving space for end-of-life care in America, especially in our hospitals.
2) Honor the body-mind-spirit healing modalities that can help us relax through transitions of all kinds.
Maria’s Book – THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE: Sacred Resources for Living and Dying from a Hospice Counselor is a collection of inspirational stories, poetry, scripture, prayers, and resources. These pieces come from all walks of life to help the reader acknowledge the unity and interconnectedness of all. It has been aptly called "a book for healing and prayer." People who may especially appreciate this book are:
* Individuals who are preparing for the mystical and transformational process of death, and their family members and friends
* Hospice workers and volunteers who deal with death and dying on a regular basis
* Bereaved persons dealing with a death, or with any major transitions in their lives
* Those spiritual seekers who are waking up to the fragility of material things and desiring to tune in to their spiritual nature
* Baby boomers with aging parents who live longer but often are dealing with chronic illnesses that debilitate or handicap them
Because Maria's work in spiritual and bereavement care with hospice honors the interconnectedness of all things, this book has a universal perspective and appeal. Anyone interested in the mystical Oneness of All could appreciate it; it is also likely to assist those desiring to go deeper spiritually. This book includes inspirational stories, poetry, scripture, prayers, and guided meditations. It also has chapters on grief and relaxation/healing tools, and a wealth of reference material. It is a "treasure trove of hope and healing," reframing the experience of death as a new and exciting chapter in life.
More than ever it is time for each one of us on the planet to awaken to our mortality and our spiritual nature, and learn to live with more awareness of how we affect others and the interconnectedness of all. As each one of us begins to heal ourselves and deepen our spiritual lives, we have an impact on healing Mother Earth and the entire planet as well.
Maria's book has been named a finalist among the 2009 Eric Hoffer Awards.
You can purchase Maria’s book here $23.95 incl S&H:
MARIA’S BLOG: http://bridgetodreams.blogspot.com/
MARIA’S ARTICLES: http://www.examiner.com/x-2858-Seattle-Death--Grief-Examiner
SOUL BASKETS: http://www.soulbaskets.com/index.htm
Soul Baskets were birthed out of Maria Dancing Heart's book, The Last Adventure of Life. Some of her favorite tools for relaxation and healing have been included in these "baskets" to help you and your family and friends move through the transitions of life with as much grace and ease as possible!
In keeping with the East/West flavor of Dancing Heart's book, each collection of gifts is presented in a furoshiki, a beautiful piece of cloth that the Japanese have long used to carry gifts and belongings in.
Maria offers five different baskets at this time. However, it's highly recommended that you contact Maria and talk with her so that she can customize a basket for your or your friend's particular circumstances and preferences.
Email Maria: firstname.lastname@example.org