Energy Boost – October 2023

Hello Everyone!

When I (David) was completing my second book, Rituals for Living and Dying: From Life’s Wounds to Spiritual Awakening (HarperCollins, 1990), I met the singer, composer, and playwright, Ann Mortifee, at a conference where I was giving a keynote address and she was also presenting. At lunch on the last day of the conference, I was telling Ann about my new book. She said, “You know, David, I’ve been thinking about writing an album that helps people cross over. Perhaps we can create it together?” Little did I know at the time that Ann was a legend in Canada. She had performed for the Dalai Lama and shared a stage with John Denver, B.B. King, Harry Belafonte, Bobby McFerrin, Paul Horn, and Seals and Crofts, among many other musical notables. On the first Earth Day, she sang some of her songs to an audience of 80,000 people. Early in her career, she had received a Juno Award nomination for the “Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year,” and she was later named Order of Canada, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a citizen by the Canadian government.

Not knowing any of this, but captivated by the performance I had just witnessed, I accepted her invitation. We collaborated by phone (she lived in Vancouver; I was in Ashland, Oregon) for several months, but it just wasn’t coming together. We had a title we both liked, Serenade at the Doorway, but how do you get such complex, deeply philosophical ideas into an album! It had taken me an entire book to scratch the surface. Where do you begin when envisioning an album? Do you follow the journey of a person who has just been given a terminal diagnosis? Do you focus on fear and loss? Do we create our CD version of the Tibetan Book of the Dead? How could we even approach it? We are both busy people, and the idea began to fizzle after each conversation that didn’t lead to a breakthrough.

Then one morning, I woke up having dreamed an entire opera. True to my profession, it was set in a mental hospital, but nothing else about it was in the repertoire of my experiences, talents, or imagination. It was powerful. The Pavarotti figure (a psychiatrist of course) had a gorgeous voice, and I lay there in bed wondering “Where did that come from?!!!” An answer appeared almost immediately: “You have just been visited by Ann’s muses.” I sensed that the dream was also telling me not to give up on the album. While my relationship with Ann didn’t warrant 6 a.m. phone calls, I called her anyway and said, “Sorry to be calling you so early, but your muses just visited me in a dream, and they want us to write this album.” Ann didn’t miss a beat. She said, “Fine, when can you come to Vancouver?”

So there we were for 10 hours a day at her kitchen table. I would read passages from Rituals for Living and Dying. We would discuss, going far deeper than I’d gone while writing the book. Suddenly Ann’s eyes would close, her body would start to undulate, I’d quickly turn on the tape recorder, and out would come lyrics in beautiful haunting melodies that captured in a few lines what the book took pages to wrestle with. For instance, if a person has a terminal cancer diagnosis, what do they do with their anger? Are they mad at their body? Mad at the cancer? Mad at society with all its carcinogens? Mad at God? Here are a few of the lyrics from “Anger is a Fever,” the song that goes into these quagmires:

When anger like a serpent
Strikes you in the heart
Fear not that the poison
Will make your spirit dark

There is healing in the serum’s fire
It’s fighting for your life
You’ve got to look down deep
Inside the burning furnace
To know what lies inside

We delved into every issue, from anger to loss to regret to leaving loved ones to embracing the journey to spiritual opening to invisible support from beyond. Every song lays out a challenge and provides inspiration:

Moment by moment
You can’t stem the tide
The winds will toss,
The waves they will ride

If moment by moment
You yield to the sea
She will teach you her
Strange ways of harmony

While the album is inspirational, there is nothing “Pollyanna-ish” about it. The opening lines lay out the territory realistically and without sentimentality:

To every life must come an ending
To every birth must come a death
The being born and then the leaving
A baby’s cry. A final breath.

When we had the CD completed, but before it had been produced, I had been asked to work with a group of about 18 AIDs patients, each of whom was staring mortality in the face. After setting the stage, I had everyone lie down, close their eyes, and I played the entire album. After the final words of the final song, “Lead Me Home,” there was silence. The album had never before been played for someone confronting a strong possibility of imminent death. I didn’t know how it would be received. Would it be upsetting? Would it feel presumptuous? Would they “get it”? I invited comments. No one spoke or even moved for a very long three minutes or so. I was feeling increasingly worried. Finally, a young man said, “Well, that will make it to the top of the Death and Dying Charts.”

Indeed, the album became a touchstone at many hospices and palliative care units. I’ve lost count of how many times someone at a conference or other event has come up to me or Ann (mostly Ann at her concerts) and said something along the lines of, “When my mother was dying, we put the CD onto ‘repeat,’ and she listened to it over and over. It brought her so much comfort in her final days and to our entire family.”

Another sweet note is that when Ann was invited to sing in front of a full stadium at the closing of the ceremonies at the XV Commonwealth Games, she chose the third song from the album, “This is a Healing Journey.” An estimated half a billion people watched on television as she sang it. The lyrics were perfect for this worldwide event, bringing together the best of the best, though often from countries that considered one another mortal enemies. I’m not writing this to try to sell the album, though Serenade at the Doorway is available on Amazon, but to share with you one of my proudest co-creations.

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We are aware that this e-letter may bring up memories of loss and the pain that goes with it. We send you, through the cloud, our love and blessings!  

Donna and David

Eden Energy Medicine in Action

Transitioning with Love, Peace, and Grace

Most people believe that the transition from life to death is mostly terrifying and painful, but it doesn’t have to be. Advanced Eden Method Practitioners Diana Warren and Jody Levy were called in to help Diana’s client, Bea, at her time of passing. Loved ones in the room described the experience as calming, peaceful, and filled with grace. One woman even said she had “just witnessed a miracle.” Read more >>>

A Time to Remember, Honor, and Celebrate

Dondi’s Unforgettable Tribute to Día de los Muertos 

Dating back thousands of years, Mexico’s Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, takes place every year on November 1st and 2nd. Held in honor of loved ones who have passed on, this one-of-a-kind celebration features special altars and offerings and joyous street parades with colorful, intricately designed calaveras (skulls) and calacas (skeletons). In this heartfelt video, Dondi captures the spirit of this extraordinary holiday as she shares the sacred meaning and purpose of Día de los Muertos in a magnificent, handmade costume and headdress (yes, she made them herself!).  Click here to watch >>>

How Cultures Around the World Deal With Grief

No matter who we are or where we come from, grief visits us all. While the emotional pain and heartache of losing a loved one can sometimes feel unbearable, it can also bring families and communities together in a way that nothing else can. Here’s a fascinating, eye-opening, and ultimately comforting look at how different cultures deal with grief. Read more here >>>

Is There Such a Thing as a Good Death?

Founder of humanism, Francesco Petrarca, said, "A good death does honor to a whole life." But is there such a thing as a good death? In his contribution to "An Anthology of The Most Forward-Thinking Ideas in Medical and Behavioral Science," David Feinstein answers this and other vital questions about the challenges of dying well. David also shares a series of powerful stream-of-consciousness journaling questions that invite deep reflection and provide guidance in navigating end-of-life issues with love and acceptance. Read David’s empowering book chapter on dying well >>>

A Poem for Those Who Grieve

The following is a poignant poem believed to have been written by Mary Elizabeth Frye in 1932. Mary penned these touching words in response to a friend saying she never had the chance to “stand by my mother’s grave and shed a tear.” Since then, many versions of this poem have been shared worldwide. The version below was published when Frye passed on in 2004. We’re sharing it here for anyone currently in the throes of grief and anyone who knows what it feels like to lose a loved one.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circling flight.

I am the soft star-shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there; I did not die.

The Empty Chair: A Ritual for Saying Goodbye

Mourning is a way of honoring the person and the love that has been shared while also accepting the loss, acknowledging the pain, and adjusting to a world in which you can no longer see or touch the person you loved so much. Taken from David Feinstein and Peg Mayo’s book, Rituals for Living and Dying, The Empty Chair is a simple practice that lets you remember with love, say goodbye with grace, and ease your soul. Discover The Empty Chair ritual here >>>

Your Energy Minute

Release Grief and Sadness

Do you know that the energy of your emotions can become “stuck” in the body, especially intense emotions like grief and sadness? Follow along as Titanya takes you through a quick, easy-to-do exercise to safely move and release difficult emotions.  Click here to watch >>> 

An Exclusive Invitation for You

Want to Teach at ENERGY FEST 2024? Read on!

Eden Method’s ENERGY FEST is a global gathering of kindred spirits, and it’s the perfect place to exchange ideas, share personal discoveries, and expand our horizons about the power of energy and how it can make a difference in the world!

We’re thrilled to share that ENERGY FEST 2024 will take place next fall at the breathtakingly beautiful Loews Ventana Canyon luxury resort in Tucson, Arizona.

And we’ve saved the best for last -- ENERGY FEST 2024 includes intimate group classes (each approx. 2.5 hours in length) taught by members of our community, and that includes YOU. It is our honor and privilege to invite you to submit a proposal to teach one of these classes! This is an exclusive callout just for our community members, and all submissions are welcome. 
Loews Ventana Canyo

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

You can look forward to outstanding keynotes by the bestselling author of The Biology of Belief, the legendary Bruce Lipton, founder and CEO of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI), and award-winning researcher Shamini Jain, as well as many more world-class teachers and experts on all things energy (watch the video to learn more!).

Please click here for details >>>

Supporting Health and Happiness Since 1977

Donna Eden started teaching Energy Medicine classes in the late 1970s. Since then, her work has touched millions of people across the globe, introducing them to the healing and restorative power of their body’s own energies.

Her approach hit a cultural nerve, a hunger in people to take charge of their own health and healing through simple techniques that could be easily applied. Donna’s husband, David Feinstein, began to collaborate with her in bringing Energy Medicine into the world. With her daughters, Titanya Dahlin and Dondi Dahlin, and their partners.

Today, this small family team is at the hub of a large and growing movement that has become one of the bright lights in holistic health.