Grace Harman is a lovely woman whose name reflects her character. She is an embodied grief coach, although the word “coach” doesn’t seem to match the level of her work. She offers one on one and group programs using a combination of meditation, movement, writing, art-making and discussion to process and honor grief. You can find her at gracebellaharman.com.
Other upcoming opportunities to connect with Grace include Soulful Grief (group enrollment ends 9/1): https://www.gracebellaharman.com/who-is-this-for; Sacred Grief Program: https://www.gracebellaharman.com/upcoming-offerings.
When did you start your business, and why did you create it?
I started my business in February 2021.
The seeds for the business were planted when my mom died of metastatic breast cancer in February 2018, 3 months into my Master’s program for Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling. The process of grieving this core loss while in an intensive embodied program required me to be present in my body while grieving, and to create the rituals and practices to support my grief while living the rest of my life.
Ultimately, the act of turning towards my body in this incredibly raw time led to a profound shift in my relationship to my body, my grief, and my spiritual development. I went on to complete my thesis on the spiritual experiences of body-based practitioners after losing a person to death, and the process I guided the participant-researchers through informed the process I guide my clients through now.
Tell us about your business and what makes you unique in your field.
When I work with people, I utilize a combination of meditation, guided and unguided movement, writing, art-making and verbal processing.
None of these practices are new, and Indigenous people around the world have always honored their grief using movement, song and ritual. However, I don’t know of any other practitioner who specializes in grief and utilizes all of these elements in this way. I find that processing grief in this way allows the thought patterns that can often cloud our process to take a backseat so the intuitive wisdom of the body can guide the process. Ultimately, our bodies know how to be with and carry grief without getting stuck, but in such a fast paced culture that has no time for deep sorrow, they require specific and intentional time and space to tune into that knowing.
I have two programs that are available in both 1:1 and group formats. Soulful Grief is for people experiencing fresh grief, and Sacred Grief is for people who are feeling stuck in their lives, relationships and/or bodies as a result of older grief. They are specifically geared towards folx grieving the loss of their people to death, and my retreats and events are open to any and all grief.
What do you feel makes your audience special?
They are either already drawn to intuitive, embodied and creative ways of healing OR they’ve tried talking about their grief for years and are desperate for something different that will actually change how they feel.
If you could magically give all of your community members one thing in this world, what would it be, and why?
I want every grieving person to understand that grieving is at its core an embodied process, not an intellectual one. Therefore, it is essential to be able to turn towards the body in times of grief. Doing so will empower them to connect with their bodies as an ever-present resource for deep support and resilience building.
Has anything surprised you about starting a website?
How easy and fun it was!
Did you create your own website or hire it out? Do you use WordPress?
I created my own site using Wix, using the knowledge of some dear friends who had their own websites and many hours learning the ins and outs. I am not technologically gifted so I was pretty proud when I first created it.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
Be clear about your why and come back to that often – make vision boards about it, move about it, talk about it as much as you can to anyone who will listen. In my experience, being clear about my why has kept me grounded and moving forward even when business is slow or I have moments of self-doubt. Also, invest in a coaching or mentorship program. Don’t try to go at it alone.
If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would you do and why?
I would let go of expectations as much as possible and work more diligently on my mindset at the beginning. I think I had unrealistic expectations at the beginning (e.g. having 3 1:1 clients within a month of launching!) and when that didn’t happen I got discouraged. Since I started working intentionally on my mindset around money, success, abundance and gratitude 2 months ago, I’ve had much more business success and felt so much more in the flow.
Do you have an email list? If so, did you start it when you launched?
I do. I started it when I launched and am actively growing it right now.
Is this your only job? Did you launch your business while working another job?
I started it when I was working full time as a counselor for survivors of domestic violence, and it’s been my primary job since June 2021.
How do you promote your site?
Through a combination of my Facebook business page, Instagram and my email list.
Who are your favorite bloggers or podcasts right now? Or what is an influential book that you’ve read lately?
My favorite podcasts lately are “Law of Attraction Changed my Life”, “The Return to Embodiment” and “I Weigh with Jameela Jamil”. My favorite grief podcast is “Terrible, Thanks for Asking”. I’ve been slowly absorbing My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem-such a vital read.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Grieving is a sacred process, and inviting your body into that process can truly set you free.