Whether it be a miscarriage, divorce, or death all of us will experience excruciating loss at some point in our lives. As I’ve mentioned in my Quick Fall Yoga Routine, Autumn is traditionally the time to slow down and turn inward. Therefore, I felt like this would be the perfect time to share my favorite new resource on how to cope with grief and practice self care through loss.

How to Cope With Grief

While this might seem like a depressing topic, trust me, it’s not. I’m super excited to share this inspiring book with you! It is absolutely beautiful. My only complaint is that I wish it had been written twenty years ago. (My other favorite writer on grief and loss is the genius Alan D. Wolfelt who I had the tremendous gift of meeting several years ago. I have included some of my favorite books by him at the bottom of this post.)

Hope, Make, Heal: 20 Crafts to Mend the Heart by Maya Pagan Donnenfeld is a true gem.

book

I’ve read countless books on death and grief over the years, but never have I read words that washed over my soul and and filled my heart with comfort like Maya’s. Finally, someone who articulates the doorway through which you walk when you join the tribe of those who have experienced loss in one form or another, a loss from which you are never quite the same. I’m not sure if I love the book more for its words or for the activities and recipes.

In grief’s wake, reality is deeply distorted, and we all tick to a surreal clock. Salvador Dali’s most familiar work, The Persistence of Memory, becomes the landscape of our days. I’ve spoken to many about this altered state and have found that the walking wounded indeed reside together among the soft and melted pocket watches of our collective experience of pain. -Maya Pagan Donnenfeld

Maya describes the “book’s premise as self care through creativity” but it is so much more than that. It is not simply a book about crafts.

The book is divided into four sections: Wounded, Synchronicity, Healing and Reinvention. Each section has five projects. At the beginning of each project is a “heart prompt” to think about, as well as an affirmation. The end of each chapter contains a guided meditation as well as a nourishing  recipe.

Her book’s message is gentle and she gives you permission to “cocoon yourself from the world” without guilt.

I’m a ritual person by nature. My favorite projects, which I consider sacred rituals include:

  • Candle making to remind us “that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.” I’ve always found a special sacredness in lighting a candle. Even if you choose not to make one, consider buying a special candle and make lighting it an act of reverence, honoring and acknowledging your loss.
  • A bracelet filled with lavender to remind us to just stop and breathe. Breathing is one of simplest yet most powerful healing techniques.
  • An essential oil formula for a Rest Easy Spray.
  • Mini Retreat Cards to print and cut out. “Self Care at your fingertips” as Maya describes them.
  • A stability booster to support yourself, not only symbolically but also literally. It would be perfect to use with Bronni’s Restorative Yoga course.
  • “Permission Ships” to let go. This might be my favorite ritual of the whole book. Little tiny boats made of bark or walnut shells, with words written on the sails, things that you want to release. Place them in a small stream and give yourself permission to let go.
  • The “rooted stew” is my favorite recipe, formulated to ground us. What could be more perfect?

Pretty much the only way through grief is to go through it. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut. But keeping busy hands and creating healing rituals certainly helps. I’ve read this book about five times now, highlighting my favorite parts and I’ve given it to several people already.



If you’ve been through extreme loss or are struggling with a loss right now, this is the book for you. Self care is so important during the grieving process, but we often don’t know what to do. Maya holds our hand and walks us along the path, literally feeding our souls and our bodies.

hand holding multicolored umbrella under dark sky with rain

The scars remain to remind us of what we’ve felt, whom we’ve loved, and how we’ve grown. They become part of the fabric of our lives…Think of self care as an umbrella during a storm. It offers some protection even if it’s pouring.-Maya Pagan Donnenfeld

Need more encouragement? For The Momma Who Needs a Good Cry

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How to Cope With Grief

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