Wendy Black Stern
"Supporting people to heal and transform through the process of grief is my purpose in life. I have known the dark night of the soul, and through the darkness, I have come to know my own light. It is my greatest desire to support others to do the same."
“The only way that I can make sense of your leaving so ephemerally is to take the spark of your light to change my life in a way so profoundly that I live your light and share it with the rest of this suffering world to do some good.”
– Read by Irene Schmoller at Noah’s funeral
Motherhood has been a profound teacher in my life, for this, I am forever grateful.
I reside in Boulder, CO with my husband and two daughters, and I feel the most at home when hiking in the rocky mountains or exploring the magnificent beaches of Maui. I have a passion for travel, deep human connection, and live music, which have offered a container for me to be present with myself through life’s joys and hardships. I believe that grief can serve as a powerful catalyst for personal growth and change if we are willing. Through loss, I have found a deeper connection to and acceptance of my true self, and I am committed to ongoing learning, self-inquiry, and growth right alongside the people that I serve. I find great joy and inspiration in supporting others to know themselves in truth through the portal of loss.
Grief is a natural part of the human experience, and I am continually blown away by the incredible capacity of the human heart to heal and transform in the face of loss. My work helps people to know their resilience - to feel their emotions in their bodies - to learn to trust in their inner knowing and receive the guidance that can only come from within.
I have been a student and teacher of yoga for over 25 years, but it wasn’t until I went through a life-shattering event that I came to know the importance of my practice. I lost my son, Noah, when he was 9 months old. This tragedy led me on a journey of self-discovery. It sparked a fire within me to create a movement that would bring people together to grieve in a community creating greater connection, authenticity, and support. This vision came to life in 2012 when I birthed a non-profit organization, Grief Support Network (GSN), in honor of Noah’s memory - with a mission to transform how individuals and communities perceive, experience, and move through loss. GSN’s vision is a culture that does not run from grief but embraces it as an opportunity for growth and connection. GSN’s mindful approach to grieving, yoga therapy-based programs, and network
of resources was inspired and informed by my personal experience of loss and professional background as a yoga therapist, yoga instructor, teacher trainer, and group facilitator.
When I lost Noah, my yoga mat became my sanctuary and safe place to feel all of the feels of my grief. I leaned into the tools that my yoga training had taught me. Learning how to cultivate presence in my body. Learning how to feel my emotions within me so that they could be acknowledged and released. As my heart broke open and grew bigger with grief, I found that my yoga mat was the one place where I could connect with my body and soul and find relief from my suffering. Before I lost Noah, I had spent years helping others to explore, express, and integrate experiences through the practices of yoga and body/mind exploration. In my private practice as a yoga therapist and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy faculty member, I witnessed the ways that thoughts, emotions, and life traumas manifest through our bodies. With a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, certification in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, 500 + hours of yoga teacher training, reiki levels one and two, and training to facilitate yoga therapy groups for grief support and self-empowerment, I had gathered the tools that would later support me to move through my grief and support others to do the same. My work has been informed and inspired by the teachings of Ram Dass, Shiva Rea, Twee Merrigan, Shannon Paige, and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, interweaving personal reflection and group sharing into grief focused, somatic curriculum. In 2007, when Noah passed away, my grief propelled me into a process of profound transformation, which has taught me to live with more joy and gratitude in my life. Through this journey, I found myself deepened in my commitment to support others. Such began the birth of the Grief Support Network.