Hold your ground

I love watching nature. I am drawn to birds regularly and I have been seeing several cardinals who I feel have been drawing my attention to them. I feel there are Spiritual messages in many (maybe all) things, so I find I will look up the Spiritual meanings (beyond my gut instinctual awareness). If you don’t know about the cardinal’s message, you can see one site’s interpretation here (and I have no affiliation with the site but found the information fitting): https://crystalclearintuition.com/cardinal-meaning/

And yesterday another bird really caught my eye. It was a hawk and I do see these relatively regularly on my walks or near my home. This time, this hawk was circling above me and as you may know, these birds fly quite a high distance above. It was a very windy day as I watched it. The chilly wind so strong that I didn’t want to stay out for too long. Yet, I was amazed that it was so “close” and wondered if it was looking for lunch around my home as I have many feathered visitors daily. But there was not another bird in sight. So I continued to watch as I silently asked what it wanted to share with me. The words “hold your ground” came to my awareness. Hmm… I didn’t feel I was “fighting” anything that I had to strongly/stubbornly hold onto an opinion about (which is how I interpreted the words)… and then it was “hold steady” that came to mind, so I looked up some info about this phrase and immediately found the definition as a verb meaning “to stay in one place, to resist (or endure) something successfully.” How interesting.

I continued watching the beautiful hawk while he stayed out with me. As the wind got stronger he continued to “hold steady” looking like he was fixed in place in the sky above me. Really. Like no movement. For at least a couple of minutes. Then he did another circle as I wondered if I really saw what I did and he demonstrated again. Message received. As soon as I mentally acknowledged this, he flew away. Phenomenal experience. Here is what I learned about hawk symbolism from a different source. Also seems right on point for me today (and also no affiliation with the site): https://www.californiapsychics.com/blog/animal-sightings-symbolism/meaning-hawk-sighting.html

I cannot tell you how filled my heart feels from this experience – and the cardinals too. I feel my Spirit guides and messengers are guiding me as I guide clients in their healthcare. And of course I believe there is guidance for my personal life too… and I’m listening. It never ceases to amaze me what communication is always happening stemming from a Higher Consciousness if we will only take the time to listen. I am grateful. Thank-you Universe/God.

I hope you are listening to your messages too and do remember that I am here to help with any grief (which can mask as anxiety, anger, frustration and/or worry) that you may be working through. And I’m here to help you re-train brain patterns that are resulting in repeated (and not easy) life situations. It is possible to move forward positively after significant life events or to work through current ones with a bit of focused attention and guidance. This is what I needed/chose to do and I’d love for you to experience your own transformation. As you can probably tell, I believe that there are no coincidences in life, so if you’re reading this, perhaps there is a deeper reason than curiosity. Do reach out if you would like some help. I look forward to helping you.

Wishing you phenomenal experiences in your own personal and professional lives too! Be well everyone and thanks for reading.




communication and manners

I love watching the world around me. I listen to how people speak with friends, families and strangers. I am not listening for the words. I’m listening to and feeling, the energy of the communication. I am always so happy to see kind and polite interactions – these are the happy communications. I also see the hurt looks, angry words and even the exasperated expressions and strong silences.

I’ve been through all of these. I am aware that positive communication is actually very much my normal nature/personality (perhaps we could say we all know this comes from our Higher Consciousness). Yet, when I see any less-positive communication or manners around me I am reminded of my own times of unconscious experiences (in what Eckhart Tolle calls the “pain body”) which reacts rather than responds to a situation that has hit a nerve. And I feel compassion for anyone going through such experiences. I know that I’ve studied the human mind formally ever since my first degree (and likely informally as I watched and learned from family relationships), yet I feel like I truly understand patterns of communication better every year.

This morning I watched 2 young boys (maybe 5 or 6 years old) race across my lawn and through a newly-started garden bed too… I caught my breath in my throat and held back any comments, knowing the kids were engrossed in their own rushed minds. Of course I wondered if any adult had ever taught them to not walk on others’ lawns… Then began my contemplative time pre-meditation. I could feel the restlessness of the kids partly due to plain young excitement and partly because they are picking up the energies of family, friends and our society in this Covid time. I have no idea what concerns their families may be working through in this time. As we know, everyone is working through something. And I remembered also that this is a perfect time in our world’s experience through this pandemic for everyone to become more mindful about communication from thoughts, words and actions that can be consciously trained at any age. I recognize that often it’s the adults that need the re-training that their busy minds are not consciously acting from.

I also watch people walking through trails and forests during my walks. Some people are so clearly kind and respectful to the natural setting… others racing through on bikes or in pairs with hardly a glance at the beauty around them. I think this reflects their home experiences too. Frazzled and busy, or centred and Present. I love seeing families or even single parents out with kids or their dogs who stop to notice details on the ground or the water or the trees around. That is what I love to do too. I find myself enjoying so many more simple details in the past few years and I absolutely love it. I practice gratitude and appreciation for the world around and I hope that my compassion for those going through not-easy times will envelope them with a Divine energy that I feel is also filling my own mind and body.

Today I wanted to share the experience of heightened appreciation and gratitude that I have for so many things – nature, people, animals, the sun, moon, air and even the inanimate objects that I “communicate” with. I believe that this also builds my compassion for myself and with all those that I interact with too! Now early home-training had a lot to do with those manners, but the effects truly are long-term and my communication with everything around me benefits from that early and consistent learning. Today I love sharing smiles, hellos, thank-yous, and genuine appreciation for this life and all that I meet (living and non-living) that is sharing this journey with me. I hope this post may inspire you too to be more Present and appreciative for your life experience. May peace and love fill your hearts.

Hope you noticed one of my favourite “spring” quotes in the picture with this post:

When we walk like (we are rushing),  we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth… Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.- Thich Nhat Hanh.

Thank you too for reading this and sharing this journey with me! May you kiss the earth with your feet.

With kind wishes to all for a lovely Spring season!


giving from the heart

“We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest.”

~Orison Swett Marden

Today I’ve been reflecting on the idea of giving and receiving. How many times have you thought “I haven’t got anything to spare” when thinking about giving to someone or something? I remember hearing this message (and saying it too) many times when I lived and worked in Toronto. So many panhandlers were around every corner. Some looked quite comfortably dressed, many others had the pungent odour of dirt, urine/feces and too long without showers. Sometimes we actually do not have any money to help (especially since most are paying with credit cards and often do not have cash on hand these days). More often, however, we do not have the time (we believe) or perhaps the heart (we do not want to believe) to help in such situations.

It was around that time in Toronto that I was reading the series of books called “Conversations With God” which was very impactful towards my current directions in life. In one of the books (might be the first), the author Neale Donald Walsch mentioned this exact scenario and the reasons for our actions in such situations. I’ve never forgotten the general message which was basically to be mindful for why we might do what we do. Many times there is a fear about the possible unpredictable actions from someone in these states. Like what if this is an aggressive or crazy person that could react to my action? Might I be in danger in this situation? And often the next thought may be “I wonder what they’d do with “my” money if I give it to them?” A person clearly reeking with the smell of alcohol would make us think that the money would be used for the purchase of alcohol. Or maybe drugs if the person is clearly not acting “normal”. Now, what is “normal”? It seems to me that “normal” is to walk by such suffering with either avoidance, indifference or even fear.

I remember that I used to regularly wonder what happened in life to these people to bring them to such a state. I was certain that most were not born “on the streets” and it hurt to think that any of us could easily be in a similar space through our own unforeseen circumstances. I realized that judging others is so easy to do (especially in such circumstances but really in any) and I was going to be mindfully-attentive to my own hidden biases and judgements. Sometimes I would find a person who looked least-favourable to give just a little money to… to overcome my own fears of doing this and to just help. And that was the point of the book I read. Trying to figure out what someone does with any generosity that is offered is not the right intention behind the action. The intention is to help. That’s it. If we want to help, we just do it. This is heart-centred action. And there is so much we receive in giving from this place. You may not realize that heart-centred generosity brings back the same and so much more. Be open to the magic you can create from this space.

We are so filled with various judgements about various things. Why people dress, speak or act the “wrong way” (wrong often means it’s making us less-comfortable). Sometimes we judge how people should live their lives, sometimes about how lucky/unlucky they are, sometimes about how people keep their homes (good or not) or how much money they spend (too much or too little). All judgements and all ego-centred expressions of comparisons of “better than” or “less than” – i.e., I am better than that person, or I am less than (not as good as) that person. Genuine compliments to people are beautiful. Jealousy is not.

So now when I think about giving I think of doing so with my heart. The mind would love to have the excuses of “I don’t have the money” but my heart knows that I may have the money that can help someone who is enduring significant distress, especially the pan-handling experience. My heart certainly knows that I do have the time, the willingness, the care, the compassion and the true desire to make a meaningful difference in another’s life. And this is certainly not limited to panhandlers. Sometimes I do this by reaching out to friends/family/clients with texts, emails, phone calls or visits. Sometimes I share food with friends/clients that may easily cook for themselves, but may enjoy a day to be cooked for. I love sharing laughter and silliness, I love helping people smile even through not-easy times. I love giving the best of myself in these experiences by being truly Present in the moment. You know, it’s said that time is the most precious gift we can give to another because it’s something we know that we can never get back. Speaking or sitting with someone means very little without a genuine Presence – whether for 5 minutes or for many hours.

Today I also think I bet it’s that Presence that was most meaningful even in those times noticing panhandlers. I have no doubt the appreciation from them was not about the very small amounts anyone was giving, but about the receivers feeling that they had been noticed. That their suffering was noticed. That they mattered.

Isn’t that what we all want? To feel appreciated, to be noticed, to matter. I believe it is. For anyone reading this today, I hope you know that you matter. You are a Divine gift in our shared experience in this life’s journey. Let your light shine, and give with your heart, what you can, to whoever you think about, speak with, or interact with. As you may know, I believe that thoughts, words and actions are all important. When you give, remember that you have been already blessed merely by acknowledging that you can help someone, somehow. Just by the blessings you are already enjoying – being yourself. Whatever you have right now, someone else is praying for… share your blessings.

“Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.” ~John D. Rockefeller Jr.

May you blessed with an abundance of all things good! (message from my morning meditation with a friend)! I believe it applied to us all so I share it with you.

Have a beautiful day!



Om = aum_

I have been learning from some ancient scriptures – currently, mainly from Vedic teachings as I am focusing on the Bhagavad Gita and the Upinashads. It’s all quite fascinating to me and really resonates with my previous Buddhist learning, as well as my awareness of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. I do love seeing the similarities in various teachings! It’s part of the Unity Consciousness that I will write more about in my next post. This post is about something I thought was particularly interesting and relatively simple to share with you.

Specifically, I learned something about the word “Om” that so many people are familiar with through meditation or yoga practices, however, did you know that the sound that we know as OM is actually AUM_? It consists of three letters and silence at the end. Yes, I learned this in my current learning. I had no idea before this. Even more interesting, the term is also meant to describe 3 states of consciousness or even the birth, life and death cycle with each sound representing each state. Imagine a baby crying at birth (“O”), living a life(“U” – sometimes felt as “uh…” or sometimes “ooh!” lol!), and the closed/silenced mouth at death (“M”). Interesting awareness for me.

I thought I’d elaborate on the states of consciousness that this word or individual sounds also represent.

There are three main states of consciousness that we generally cycle through every 24 hours: The waking state, dreamless sleep and the dream state. Each of these states is characterized by a unique electrical brain activity. But long before scientists or doctors were able to analyze our brain waves, yogis knew that these states were very different from one another.

  1. The Waking State (Jagrat in Sanskrit): Represented by the “A” in AUM. Here consciousness is turned outward to the external world. It’s about experiencing gross material objects through the senses. This is the conscious level of mental and emotional processing..
  2. The Dream State (Svapna in Sanskrit): Represented by the “U” of AUM. In this state, consciousness is turned toward the inner world. The mind can work out its unfulfilled wants, wishes, desires, attractions, fears and aversions that are not allowed to play out in the external world.
  3. The Deep Sleep State (Prajna in Sanskrit): Represented by the “M” in AUM. In this unconscious state, there is neither the desire for any gross or subtle objective, nor any dream sequences. The deep impressions of the mind are stored here in their latent form, like seeds. When certain conditions are met, they can play out in dreams or grow into actions in the waking state.
  4. Pure Consciousness (Turya in Sanskrit): Represented by the space of silence “_” after the AUM_. In this state, consciousness is neither turned outward nor inward. It permeates and observes the other three states. From the vantage point of Turiya, one sees the entire panorama of the play of the levels of consciousness.

Note: ***All above information is based on the Mandukya Upanishad***

Isn’t that interesting?! I hope you found it as profound as I do. Maybe you will consider these details the next time you use the word “OM” – it’s good to reflect on!

Wishing you a positively-reflective week ahead!



temperance as a virtue

Temperance in modern use is generally described as moderation or voluntary self restraint. In classical iconography, the virtue is often depicted as a woman holding two vessels transferring water from one to another so what a better time to write this blog post as we are moving into the Aquarian cycle of the zodiac! This is the sign which is depicted as one pouring water (representing wisdom) out from an urn which is the main image for this post. Temperance is one of the cardinal virtues mentioned from Greek philosophy, and also in the ancient scriptures for religious and spiritual traditions including but not limited to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and the Eastern traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism.

“Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which binds the passion.”

~Thomas Aquinas

Temperance includes restraint from revenge by practicing non-violence and forgiveness, restraint from arrogance by practicing humility and modesty, and restraint from rage or craving by practicing calmness and self-control. Let’s look at these areas more carefully.


Truly, there is no long-term satisfaction in revenge for an unkind word or action. The reason for this is that to do another unkind act is only to match or beat the first unkind action. To forgive such an action is to work from the opposite end of the action and only in this way is peace acquired (Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha and Christ were all wonderful examples of this thinking and practice).

Can you forgive a wrong that has been personally felt? I know that I have always been amazed by those who have been able to forgive an accidental wrongdoing. You know that even if done by mistake/poor judgement in a time, many people will carry a hurt or grudge for a very long time. Yet this does not help anyone. When I hear about a murder victim’s family forgiving the convicted offender for example, I am humbled by the strength of forgivers and this inspires me to be more forgiving.

Many times forgiveness can come from much simpler wrongs. Like when a promised promotion at work is given to a co-worker, when a lie has been discovered, or when a sibling is given favouritism. Yet even these grudges can be carried for many years. For what possible benefit I wonder? The hurt needs to heal, and healing can begin with forgiveness. Practice temperance.


I remember teaching naturopathic medical information to students in the Naturopathic Medical program, to a group of Nurses and to a large group of Medical Doctor residents. The group of nurses was the most humble in receiving the information I shared. In both of the other groups there was a mix of both sides of this spectrum. I believe that when we are learning from a curious “beginner’s mind” sort of perspective, we are able to receive information humbly and joyfully too. With arrogance, even the actual learning is lessened.

When I was working through the Naturopathic Doctor program myself, I had the pleasure of learning through a Palliative Care Doctor in Edmonton one summer. I will never forget the opportunity she provided in both the learning and through the kind manner in which she allowed me to share my Naturopathic suggestions for her patients. She humbly accommodated my learning and I humbly and gratefully appreciated the experience. Today, here I am working with many people experiencing chronic health care conditions who I know are benefitting from my learning through that doctor that day.

This is knowledge/learning based. What are the other ways people often show arrogance? Sometimes it’s in how they speak to “inferior” positions in the work place, sometimes with how they speak or even look at the homeless on the street. Humility helps us remember that no one wants to feel small – not intellectually, not socially, not personally. Practice temperance.


Now this is the beauty of contemplating with conscious intention, the words of the ancient scriptures. Craving may be simply the need to “be right” in a discussion that may change to an argument in an instant. Most often people may think of cravings as related to food or drink. Certainly all of the medical and spiritual scriptures I have read have encouraged moderation for good health. The health of the mind is no different. Avoiding an angry word in a moment of rage can often bring about gentle interactions from both sides.

We know that quick thoughts, words and actions often lead to dire consequences. Whether they create a tense interaction, lead to more harsh words or common experiences like road rage which can effect innocent people that may not have even contributed to the original rage. With meditative practice and mindful reflection, mystics, philosophers and sages have always mentioned this experience. You can give it a try for even a simple idea (chocolate? that extra drink? one less cigarette?). Remember that fasting from any craving allows for a “new” appreciation for the true pleasure of the experience when experienced. When we abstain from pleasures of the senses (this could be minutes of waiting for a meal to be served, days between enjoying a favourite drink, or a mindfully-present experience of human connection through words, music or intimacy planned once per week), the pleasure is heightened. And I suspect you all have experienced such pleasures. They are truly delightful!

This mastery of self control can be felt in all areas of our lives. Practice temperance. You, and the world around us all, needs this today more than ever.

Wishing you mindful-temperance in all that you do.



Inspired Action

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Inspired Action

Today I am inspired to write about actions that are love-based. These actions are often those that come from true heart-felt intention for the best outcomes for all. We can see many people who work hard with motivations that may love the outcome for the self – which may result in praise, financial gain, a sense of accomplishment, etc. yet often these results take consistent efforts and struggle. I have found that many things can be achieved through an inspired action towards personal goals that requires nothing more than a clear and positive intention and consistent steps towards the goals intended. We have all seen people that seem to float through life with easy and genuine joy. I have found in my own life such a brilliant demonstration of this shift within myself too. And believe me, I still notice and experience “less-than-easy” experiences regularly too. This is part of our shared human experience. Oh, but the joys of inspired living… this has been the true blessing in my life. Interesting that I notice that I have lived the joy from this space many times in my life; now, I just experience this through a Conscious decision to do so. In this post I thought I would share how this shift is possible for anyone with a true desire to live from an inspired space too.

So what is the difference between goals we work toward through motivation and those achieved through inspiration? I feel that both feel good once achieved; however, the struggle to keep motivated requires an effort that inspired actions do not. This is not to say there is no effort involved in inspired action. Think of swimming with the current in inspired action rather than against it as occurs in motivated action.

A bit of introspection through mindfulness is useful. Understanding yourself (honestly looking at what you know is true for yourself) is often the first step. If you have emotional baggage to clear from your life that you may be delaying, this needs some time (and likely effort) to clear to move forward more easily with the current of inspiration. I think of big heavy oars on a little boat that represent our emotional blocks. Imagine those oars becoming lighter and lighter as you clear emotional baggage. This is the value of mindfulness. This may lead you to seek counselling or (my favourite as you may know) Grief Recovery. You will know what you need to do. It might be as simple as regular journalling.

Next, take an honest look at the world and people around you. Can you see that each person is going through their own personal struggle? Can you feel their struggles (sometimes obvious and sometimes hidden to protect either themselves or even you?); can you truly be happy in their joys as if they were your own? This would be practicing some level of Emotional Intelligence.

Finally, take action. No amount of waiting for the “right time” or “perfect conditions” will help. Yet each step forward creates a movement. Keep your eye on your honest goal – it can be for anything: love, money, respect, a new job, a home… And let your goal lift you to your next level of your best. Let the thoughts of the goal be filled with good for all connected but let them be guided by your heartfelt desire for the best for you first (remember that first step of understanding your own desires/wishes?). This is a pure thought – you deserve this. There is no reason to rush… flow with the river of loving kindness, compassion and sincerity, and know that the right connections, signs and direction will come to your Awareness as you need it. Then, do not waste time doubting the perfection you may see – that’s when it’s time for action!

I wish us all much Inspired Action in our lives. I look forward to riding the waves with you!

Remember that you can learn more about my thoughts at my website: www.hearthealthbrainhealth.com or you can contact me by emailing to hanifahelps@gmail.com.

Be well. Be Inspired.



Menen Centre June Newsletter

Today I thought I would share here what I shared in my latest clinic newsletter. I hope you find it thought-provoking in your own personal improvement

Happy Summer from the Menen Centre!

June 2020 Newsletter
by Hanifa Menen, BSc, ND
Grief Recovery and Brain Re-Training Coach

Us vs. Them

Hello clients and friends of the Menen Centre!  In this newsletter it’s time for us to discuss the recent events that have brought attention to this important idea/concept. It’s time for each of us to be mindfully aware and personally responsible for our thoughts, words and actions.  So this month I would like to draw your personal attention to the way you think, speak and act in relation to others.  I thought I would draw attention to an area that many people feel are ok to let “slip” into their thoughts and/or conversations with others. This is the idea of what makes “us” different from “them” and what is this doing in our personal and our collective lives?

Different Cultures, Languages, Countries, Colours

In light of recent news events that I am certain you have all read about or seen, North America especially, and the world somewhat, is remembering that we do not all look at each other equally.  This is not surprising. Humans have compared themselves to others for centuries. It is a normal part of the human conscious development that allows this to happen as we each try to understand ourselves and the world around us. With further evolution of our consciousness however, we can learn that we are all more similar than different.  Now remember that this requires an evolution in our Conscious awareness that allows us to think in this way.  If you would like to see/learn more about the evolution of our individual consciousness, do take a look at my series of seven videos on just that on my YouTube channel:
The first of this specific series of Conscious Evolution starts here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20fpQLum5AI This is a process that Deepak Chopra has also described in some detail so that could be a useful resource for anyone who is interested.

I believe it is easy for each and every person to fall backwards in their own Conscious Evolution as it is easy to fall into past learned behaviours shaped by fears and/or a desire to maintain perceived control.  I also feel it is the responsibility of each individual to monitor their own thoughts, words and actions.  Now if this was so easy, we would not have “needed” police, laws, and even certain social-etiquette expectations. Yet, those of us that feel we are the “good ones” are already fuelling this separation.  It’s important to remember that not only “bad guys” do “bad things” – anyone can fall into this space of unconscious at any time.

What is the best way for you to contribute to the positive shaping of first your own, and then the Collective Consciousness? Watch what you think and speak! Remember that everything is energy. The minute you say “those people” are not good, is the minute you fuel the energy that does not help. People can do some unkind things – it shows their human side coming through their human form. And people can do some profoundly kind actions too. This shows the best of their spiritual side coming through their human form.

Have you noticed the areas of unconscious bias you may have? If you look at the image at the top of this page you will see that there are age biases, gender biases, cultural biases, physical biases… do you notice that you have any of these?  Maybe you notice in yourself or others a “beard bias” or “turban/scarf/hijab bias” or maybe you have a “white person bias” which is not discussed much but maybe you judge this colour as the “other” that your do not trust or secretly envy?  What happens when you see a caucasian with a thick beard and in a turban?  Does it make you pause? Make you uncomfortable? Every major religion and spiritual tradition has encouraged us to look at each other as equal and good – do you consciously try to practice this in each moment? You don’t even need any reason outside of your own clear conscience to know that this just feels right! No religion or spiritual teaching needs to show this to you.  How beautiful is that?! It’s truly good for the soul!

I remember I was helping as a caregiver for a young blind woman in her 20’s many years ago when I tried to “help” her by holding her arm to cross the street – she was so upset with me at the time because she wanted to do it herself (which she had done for many years before me and needed me to just help by making sure she was safe as she was crossing that street!). In that moment I understood that even well-meaning biases are still biases.  So we can see that any of us can fall into well-meaning or fear-based biases which shape our thoughts, words and actions to others.

You might think that if you do not treat others (noticeably) unkindly, you are good. Do you later talk about them anyways with bias around your dinner table, or think the bias silently while not speaking it? It all matters.  It’s all energy and I encourage you to be mindful of where you put your personal energy!  A bigger concern can happen when you are mindfully-avoiding a particular bias and a person hurts/offends you!  Remember that any person, at any time, can act from an unconscious state. Focus on the action and do not generalize your thoughts to feed an unconscious bias.

I leave you in this newsletter with the words of Mother Theresa that I feel are so incredibly appropriate today and always. It is, and never will be, between “you and them” – it’s always between you and your God/Higher Self.

Today as I am coaching many through Grief Recovery and towards Empowered living through Brain Re-Training, I see that this awareness is the key to beginning (or continuing) personal transformation!

If you have any questions/concerns do feel free to contact me at hanifahelps@gmail.comor call/text 416-920-8975.

And remember that my current discounted pricing for block-appointments is continuing through the rest of this month and July 2020 to help people more comfortably afford the services I offer. You can see my current rates here:
Wishing you all a beautiful summer season and a Consciously-positive life experience in each moment!
Hanifa Menen


On Dying

Today I am energetically trying to help a friend who is grieving his friend who is getting ready for his “transition” to another realm.  I have seen and experienced many deaths beginning with my own brother’s many years ago and followed by numerous patients and friends.  Not one has been easy.

Yet, what has become “easier” over time for me has been the acceptance of death.  I have always felt that when a person’s work in this life is done, their time comes to leave us. The un-ease for me has always been seeing/feeling/sensing the pain or struggle that can happen in this time.  More often I am even more aware of the pain and struggle of the survivors of the recently (or soon-to-be) departed.  I truly believe that is the area that needs more attention.

For myself, I know that I wished each person I have lost to death had more time. Why?  For young people I have always felt they were not able to “truly” live their lives because there were not enough years for them to do so.  Yet each young person I have seen pass I feel has lived longer that many people even twice their age… and they have left a legacy so strong that their thoughts, words and actions are so evidently living through everyone that they touched.  For older people who pass (even the oldest at 98 years old) – I am more aware that even though they have lived incredibly full lives, it is ME wanting them to live longer because I cherish them.  And then I look at how beautiful it is that young or old, such a life is so valued by others that our own selfish desire of wanting them alive (even if they are struggling in some way) shows us how much they mean to us.  And I have never found it “easy” to let go of anyone I have known that is dying.

More recently, I am reminded more and more of what I have read, what Near-Death-Experiences have shown, and what I feel is true in my heart. That the person dying is moving into a beautiful realm of spiritual existence that is not observable to (most of) our human eyes.  Some people like psychics or mystics are able to see this realm.  I am able to read energy from this realm today too (not from seeing it but “hearing” it on some level).  I know that on a vibrational level, things that we finally see manifest (in these cases, in someone’s passing) – is already done.  Many people have noticed and experienced a loved one who is dying that is able to “wait” to see a favourite relative or meaningful relationship before they pass.  I believe that the time around death (could be days, weeks or months), dying people have some awareness of their limited time left on Earth, and are able to use some subconscious/unconscious energy to help them achieve, or see/feel something they truly desire before they pass.  I have known patients who were waiting for a son/daughter to visit from continents away who passed soon after the visit.

And I believe that the Higher Consciousness/God/Universe is involved in this too.  My current friend recently saw a cardinal arrive in his back yard.  I mentioned how this is often a sign/message from a loved one who is deceased and I have no doubt he was thinking about his current dying friend who was most on his mind although not yet deceased.  I held back from sharing the idea of energy moving faster that what we can perceive with our senses as I did not want to worry him further.  Yet I do believe it’s true.  I also believe in miracles so I do not like to give too much thought/energy into a direction that could miraculously turn around (after all, this is how near death experiences happen).  Yet this time, even though I do not know the friend who is passing, I sense that he is being prepared and readied for a beautiful adventure into that realm of existence where all is perfect, no worries exist, and joys unimaginable to our normal human minds will delight him.  How could anyone not welcome this true celebration of the life experience for those they love.  This does require some trust in the unknown and a faith that all religions/spiritual traditions often remind us about.  My instinct and experience fills my trust and faith in this daily and I hope that the energy I share in my desire to help those in such un-easy times of transition will lift them with the same certain energy that I feel in my heart.

If you are working through a recent (or past) loss due to death or the dying experience please know that there are wonders beyond our senses that far surpass the human experience on many levels. The pain of your loss in this time and beyond does benefit from healthy grieving processing too – of course I recommend Grief Recovery for anyone in this space. Take the time you need for your own healing and know that I am here to help if you ever need me.

Wishing you your own healing and transformation through this opportunity in your life. There is a blessing in this experience for you. Trust. Grieve. Heal.



416-920-8975; hanifahelps@gmail.com

Words Matter

As we move closer to the end of this unique school year that has been done for most students and teachers largely online, I am reminded about my own grade-schooling as well as my University and College experiences.

I was the “good” student. I loved learning, loved getting great marks and loved the awards of all kinds. From grades, pats on my back from teachers, meaningful messages written into my “autograph book” that I preferred to store such messages in rather than the simple signatures in yearbooks. And I had the rewards of loving care from my home because I was so “smart.”  I never considered myself smart. Unless I compared myself to my brother’s marks – he was the social personality and I was the academic! Oh yes, I then compared to other students too and judged how good I was based on that comparison and then by my accomplishments every step of the way.  Yet I never found schooling easy.  I was not one of the gifted students with a fabulous memory for detail – but I had perseverance. I studied long, not-easy hours. I was motivated to study.  My goals were worth it.

I was very fortunate to feel/sense my “calling” by both an internal desire and drive, and through a series of family health experiences that solidified my desire to become a Doctor.  I had vaguely considered becoming a professional tennis player but my coach in Edmonton had recommended my coaching continue in the States and there really was no way that my family at that time could afford such an expense. Plus, my practicality always reminded me that athletes often lost their entire careers from a single (yet significant) injury. I wanted a career for life.

Today I am working on creating a new academic course to share with the world sometime soon but as I learn new computer skills through a new course, I am enjoying my learning with a group of incredibly-talented and intelligent students in Healthcare, Engineering, Education and Sports backgrounds. Some have Master’s degrees, some have 2! All are working in academic institutions and seem incredibly computer-savvy! And I’m learning!  Interestingly, I do notice that the “wisdom” I bring to the table is really my honest, compassionate and mindful interactions.  And this feels great.

We all give each other feedback on our assignments and plans and today as I was reading over a classmate’s assignment (the plan for her course) – I noticed how wonderfully-supportive her whole plan was towards her (adult) student success at her University.  And then I came across a beautiful section on grading which was clearly put together to help students understand why they would receive either an A,B,C,D or F on their final grades.   And most of you know I love language!  I noticed in some of the descriptive words (for every grade after an A) there was potential for significantly changing the direction of student-thinking post-graduation from their undergraduate degrees.  I know some students (like myself) would be inspired to work harder to improve and receive more positive feedback (out of their own need for encouragement), and others may feel discouraged.  Language matters.  Words matter.

This made me realize that my fascination with words began long before reading an awesome book a few years ago called “Every Word has Power” by Yvonne Oswald which changed the way I guide my patients and clients.

It made me remember that I had as a pre-teen once asked my parents for a book I fell in love with at a local Coles bookstore – it was a Dictionary of Quotations!! I LOVED it and read every single quote in the book, putting a pencilled star beside my favourites for future reference! I still have that book in one of my many boxes of books in my garage! Before I moved to Ontario a family friend gifted me the book called “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. I had never heard of it but I absolutely loved it! And over the last few years I have read hundreds of books (some of the same many times) and the words of anything I re-read certainly moves me and sticks with me.

When today I read my classmate’s grading comments planned for students I remembered that the most common and frequent comment I received on my report cards was “Conscientious Student.” I remember thinking “I think that’s good…”  I’d ask my Mom and she’d say it was but the word always stuck in my mind as a bit of a mystery even though I looked it up several times since my childhood.  As an adult, I now know that these comments (typed codes usually) were just the most fitting out of the comments available. Throughout grade school however, I would have loved understanding that this meant “(of a person) wishing to do what is right, especially to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly” or “relating to a person’s conscience.” As a kid I was very self-conscious so in my mind I had always thought that’s what my teachers were noticing in me!

It wasn’t until my Junior High School experience that I truly began to gain confidence in myself as a student.  Here I had loads of direct feedback from teachers and a new drive and motivation in my learning too.  Maybe it’s good that I didn’t know the meaning of the report card notes earlier – maybe my Ego would have emerged sooner?! And maybe I would be exactly where I am today, smiling appreciatively for things being exactly as they should be.

From my experiences I can see that words are such an important part of my lifelong awareness. And now I guide people how to use their words lovingly, compassionately and kindly with the people in their personal and professional lives.  To empower, to heal, to help, to share authentically.  What a beautiful journey!

Please know that your words matter too.  When people can put their feelings into words, empowered action can arise.  I hope you will lift yourself and the people around you with the honest words that you share, the sincerity of your expression, and then watch the creation of your own magic in your life.

I am here to help if you need me. Until then, I wish you all the loving words you need to hear from yourself! Create your own magic!

“The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity. Usually, growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety.”
— Josh Waitzkin





We Grieve What We Love(d)

We grieve because we love. The intensity of the grief often proclaims the depth of our love. ~Gary Roe

Love and grief can be seen as two ends of one human experience. Or two sides of a coin; or a yin/yang experience.  This is why if one does not care too much about something or someone, there will be less grief in the absence of that thing or person.  When one does truly love, however, grief can be equally intense.

I remember a client calling me once in an absolute panic because her husband thought she may have had feelings/interactions with another man early in their dating and/or marriage time. She was beside herself with grief and frustration about the false accusation that still haunted her husband who was threatening divorce.  When I spoke with the husband I reminded him of what he knew was true of his wife and what I felt was the sincere and honest communication she was currently sharing. They stayed together, and they are happy today.  Of course we may never know if the husband’s fears were based in fact, but here we can see that it really didn’t matter what may/may not have been true from years before this time, yet the human mind will often look for things to be troubled with, even if it does not pertain to now.

Another client I met was in her 70’s when I met her. She had found her husband in bed with another woman… on her wedding day! She still went through with the wedding and stayed married to a man who had several affairs that she was very unhappily aware of.  She felt she didn’t have the courage/confidence to leave the relationship.  One day she came home to see all of her clothes and belongings scattered on the lawn – the husband wanted a divorce.  She needed to share her story to heal this pain.

So many experiences of grief.  My own conscious experiences with grief began with seeing my brother (who I had the BEST relationship with – a sibling connection many would wish for) go from healthy, to wheelchair-bound, to passing away in his 20’s.  That experience led to my desire to go into healthcare.

A few years ago I went through my second separation and divorce.  Here too I enjoyed a relationship that I could not imagine being better – until it wasn’t.  I have grieved many losses with patients and for myself too.  I have lifted others and lifted myself.  And each time, I am reminded about the absolute perfection in all that is, right here and now.  I know that my own experiences have helped me be the compassionate health coach that I am today, and this is a blessing.  I have also had the blessing of numerous kind souls in the forms of family, friends and healthcare professionals that have helped me in my journeys through grief too. So I have felt love even through times of grief. What a blessing!  And this is what directed me to my current work focused on healing grief from losses of all sorts. Also a blessing for my own direction.

I was discussing with a friend today the fact that most of us have been raised to think we can live our lives from either “martyr” or “survival of the fittest” perspectives.  So we can either hurt ourselves trying to help others or we “push others into the ditch” (friend’s words!) to get ahead.  So true.  The biggest learning I have had through my grief experiences is that loving myself is just as important as loving anyone else.  Isn’t it nice that our world is evolving to a place where loving ourselves (without harm to another) is no longer seen as selfish? I think it’s a huge step forward.

So what is the best part of healing grief? It brings us right back to LOVE!!  A little wiser perhaps, and a little kinder too.  What a joy it is to help others get to this space too. True healing goes a long way.

Today as we socially-distance ourselves for the safety of each other, I would like to remind you that each person is truly carrying their own grief.  Let’s help each other’s burdens lighten through this compassionate awareness.

Wishing you joyful, and love-filled days ahead!




by Hanifa Menen, BSc (Neuropsychology); former ND (early retired after 21 years of practice!) – Grief Recovery and Brain Re-Training Coach. Encouraging Empowered Actions for Clients through Mindfully raising Consciousness.