THE LOSS HEART INITIATIVE

Holding Space For Loss. Honouring life, no matter how brief.

The Loss Continuum is vast, ranging from infertility, miscarriage, abortion, adoption, stillbirth, loss in early life....and beyond

The vision:

While being with women during the birthing time of their lives one strong theme emerged~Birth and Loss often share the same space. Many times loss is not properly acknowledged, especially when a woman experiences infertility, miscarriage and abortion. The Loss Heart Initiative came to me through many women’s loss stories yearning to be told, received and honoured. It is my dream that in the places where women experience loss, a small handmade felt heart will be offered to her, to honour that life, no matter how brief. This initiative begins in my community with the hope of it spreading to distant communities, carried there by you. ♥

Now the Loss Hearts are finding their way to more and more people experiencing loss, beyond birth to all stages of life. It is remarkable that a simple handmade heart can communicate so much at a time when there are no adequate words.

Request a Loss Heart

"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." Havelock Ellis
Send your name and mailing address. Please feel welcome to share your loss story. Requested Loss Hearts are a gift, no cost.

Make a Loss Heart


Make one for yourself, for another, or to send to Joyful Journeys to be distributed as requested. Gather with your friends and create loss hearts while you visit.

A note about creativity. When we intentionally pause to create a small symbol to honour the life of someone we care for, we are holding space to acknowledge this loss and everything it means to us. Trust in your creative process. Your unique pattern and design is perfect and can not be compared to another. Thank you for sharing your creative energy, a healing gift for someone experiencing loss.

Follow your creative spark. No rules necessary. Google "Embroidery Stitches" for many great YouTube and PDF examples if you want to get fancy!

        ImageImage

        Loss Heart Sharing Circles


        Women holding space for women is an ancient practice. We are sacred vessels that hold Life, Loss and the stories of it all.

        An opportunity to "Be" together in a safe and sacred space to share and listen, while creating Loss Hearts.
        Tea, Cookies and Loss Heart materials provided. $20

        Upcoming Loss Circle - TBA Bareroots Wellness 16 Water St. N in St. Marys (down by the green bridge by the Flats)

        Loss Heart Retreat Day-TBA

        Holding Space For Loss

        Retreat Day

        The feeling of loss can arise from many different life experiences. Join me in a day of relaxation and balancing activities, creativity and movement (Nia) to nourish your body, mind and spirit.

        To register: switzer.leslie@gmail.com

        "I am so grateful that you have come. I will pour out everything inside me so you may leave this table satisfied and fortified. Blessings on your eyes. Blessings on your children. Blessings on the ground beneath you. My heart is a ladle of sweet water, brimming over."Dinah, from The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.

        Life Giving Practices to Support Your Loss Journey


        There is no “right” way to move through life with loss. Only you can know the path perfect for you. The more balanced and centred you are, the easier the strongest, wisest part of your Self can guide you. Here is a sampling of resources that may feel helpful to you. Above all, trust your inner compass.

        Self Care

        Make sure your basic needs are being met: rest, healthy movement, nutritious foods and drinks, sunshine and fresh air. Make a list of things that bring you pleasure and choose from the list as often as you can. Include bodywork like massage, reflexology, Reiki, etc.

        Learn about some of the following energy medicine techniques to support your self care.

        Body Talk- Cortices Technique
        Karen Atkins shares this powerful technique to alleviate stress and overwhelm, heal from traumas, injuries and disease, improve mental focus, and even create feelings of peace and joy in just minutes.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is8eu83DUjo

        Donna Eden- Simple 5 Minute Daily Routine to build your immune system and help you cope with stress.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di5Ua44iuXc&t=23s

        Heart Math Institute: Has several simple free tools to help you live your best life. There is also a wealth of scientific research to back up their techniques.
        https://www.heartmath.org/resources/heartmath-tools/

        Oxytocin- The Love/Trust Hormone. This amazing neurotransmitter has lots to offer us from creating a sense of calm and connection to healing and it is easy to access! Learn more about it here - https://io9.gizmodo.com/5925206/10-reasons-why-oxytocin-is-the-most-amazing-molecule-in-the-world

        Meditation Practice

        There are many resources on meditation and mindfulness. Find the one that works for you!

        Oprah and Deepak 21 Day Mediation Experience, offers several free programs a year. Learn more here -
        https://chopracentermeditation.com/

        Yoga Nidra is a powerful rest practice.  You can sign up for a free yoga nidra meditiation with Karen Brody here. http://daringtorest.com/yoga-nidra-meditation/

        Engage in creative activities.

        This accesses the deep wisdom in your right brain. Being pregnant and birthing primes you to live in your right brain, your mothering brain. It makes the veils between the worlds thin. See what gifts of guidance rise to the surface when you “play” and create.

        • Journal your thoughts
        • Write with your non-dominate hand
        • Write a Love Letter to the one you are grieving
        • Make a collage, paint, sculpt, sew, carve, draw, make a loss heart...

        Create an Altar or Sacred Remembering Place in your home or garden.

        Gather meaningful objects, pictures, words, to make a place for honouring this life
        https://www.npr.org/2015/08/15/429761386/adopting-a-buddhist-ritual-to-mourn-miscarriage-abortion
        https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/well/family/the-japanese-art-of-grieving-a-miscarriage.html

        Mending Hearts

        Sign up for a free online support program for loss of a pregnancy or child, offered by Dr. Tara May https://mendingheartsafterloss.com

        Books and Podcasts

        It's OK That You're NOT OK, Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand  ~ Megan Devine

        Podcast- "Terrible, Thanks For Asking" (American Public Media)

        Websites

        Refuge in Grief- Megan Devine has many resources for those grieving and those supporting loved ones in grief. https://www.refugeingrief.com

        Bereaved Families of Ontario, with local chapters. Offering many support services and resources https://www.bfotoronto.ca

        Design Flourish

        LESLIE SWITZER

        Certified Nia Brown Belt Instructor ~ 2000
        Certified Dancing For Birth™ Instructor ~ 2008
        Certified Dancing For Birth™ Trainer ~ 2014
        Certified Birth Doula ~ 2009
        INNATE Postpartum Care Provider ~ 2018


        Design Flourish