What is your life’s purpose?
My life’s purpose is to be fully alive and to participate and serve in the process of deep healing and transformation that moves us toward our wholeness.
How are you living your purpose?
I live my purpose through my psychotherapy practice (42 years!)—it gives me such joy to be a part of my clients’ healing journey. I specialize in grief that I see as one of the most transformative experiences we go through as human beings. Each person who experiences healing not only can live more fully but also walks lighter on this Earth.
I also lead retreats—8-day women’s retreats in Hawaii meditating, sharing deeply of our inner lives, healing the traumas and unresolved issues that cause us to contract from life, swimming with wild dolphins (what bliss!).
I also express that aliveness and passion for life/healing/transformation through writing poetry, articles, and books (see below). I study hula and dance to express that aliveness through my body. Last but not least, I enjoy a rich, vibrant life with my husband. Forty-six years ago, the wedding vows we created included the words of T.S. Eliot, words that exquisitely express the ongoing, unfolding purpose of a deep, loving marriage: “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring shall be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
How did you find your purpose?
In my 20s, I dedicated myself to a lot of inner healing work (psychotherapy, body work, dream work) that culminated in a spontaneous spiritual awakening at 29—then my life suddenly made sense and I knew what I came here to do. I share that story in my book How Did I Miss All This Before?: Waking Up to the Magic of Our Ordinary Lives.
What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
Listen to what comes from within you—your dreams, your body, what lights you up, what is calling to you. Don’t argue with life; embrace it as it is in this moment—life is always guiding us toward wholeness if we just pay attention. Heal the grief and traumas that inhibit the flow of life through you. Create and use a “sanctuary” space in your home for 10-20 minutes daily—sitting in silence, embracing life/grief just as it is in this moment (more on the sanctuary in Chapter 2 of Honoring Grief).
What resources do you recommend?
The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully by Frank Ostaseski
A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last by Stephen Levine
True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart by Tara Brach
Honoring Grief: Creating a Space to Let Yourself Heal
Losing a Parent: Passage to a New Way of Living
The Infinite Thread: Healing Relationships beyond Loss
How Did I Miss All This Before?: Waking Up to the Magic of Our Ordinary Lives
Offerings at the Edge
Awakening to Life in Transition: A Retreat with Ralph Steele and Alexandra Kennedy
October 27-29 2017, Santa Cruz CA
For all of us going through transition in our lives, this retreat is an opportunity and an invitation to awaken to life more fully in this moment, to trust life flowing through us with all its challenges and gifts. Instead of reacting to these changes with anxiety and fear, we can discover at our source a deep sense of peace and well-being.
Email Alexandra for Registration & Further Information
Dying, Grieving and Living in Bali: A Social and Cultural Exploration with Alexandra Kennedy & I Made Suryasa
Aug. 18-30, 2018
In this two week sojourn, we will be exploring how the Balinese culture embraces dying (“The Great Departure”), grieving and living in their rites of passage. There will be talks on birth ceremonies, the two stages of the cremation ritual and deification of the ancestor. We will take time each day to deepen and integrate our experiences in this rich, soulful culture through group discussions, meditation, dreamwork, periods of silence, journal writing, and guided meditations/exercises. It is our intention to return home with a more spacious relationship to death/dying and grieving—and as a result more capacity to embrace this wondrous life more fully.
Registration and further information
Alexandra Kennedy MA MFT is a psychotherapist in private practice (42 years) and author of five books. Lecturing at universities, professional organizations and major conferences, she offers a unique perspective to grieving through her work with the imagination, weaving together case histories, practical advice, and experiential exercises. Alexandra has been interviewed in USA Today, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Examiner, New Woman and the Boston Herald as well as on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation and” CNN’s “Sonja Live”. She is an adjunct faculty member of John F Kennedy University (since 2003), was a faculty member of University of California Santa Cruz Extension for twelve years and at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology for eleven years. Her articles have appeared in Yoga Journal, Mothering Magazine, The Monterey Herald, Magical Blend, and the California Therapist.