Bereavement Councelor Turned Author Talks About Her Book And Business

Originally born in Japan to parents that were missionaries, Rev. Maria “Dancing Heart” Hoaglund is a very unique woman. As an experienced ex-hospice spiritual and bereavement counselor she has been able to take those talents that make her so unique and turn them into a book as well as a business.

Maria’s book, The Last Adventure Of Life: Sacred Resources For Living and Dying from a Hospice Counselor is a resource for those looking for some assistance in facing death or grief within their lives.

Soul Baskets, a form of gift basket that was created out of the final chapter within her book, has become a business that offers a variety of ‘baskets’ for those going through different phases within their life.

What Are Soul Baskets?

Soul Baskets are unique gift baskets with a Japanese flair — the gifts are wrapped in a furoshiki, a beautiful piece of cloth that is used to wrap gifts (and carry things) in Japan. The Baskets include tools for relaxation and healing for people going through transitions of all kinds. These tools are mentioned in the last chapter on healing resources in my book, The Last Adventure of Life, so the tools in the Baskets help people experience firsthand what is written about in the book.

How many different Soul Baskets do you have for sale, and what is included in each one?

There are five kinds of Soul Baskets I have for sale at this time. They are:

LOVE (TLC) Basket — for the Caregiver
Denise Hagan’s (Irish spiritual singer) CD — for those who hear…
The Last Adventure of Life — book and/or mini-book (pocket) version
Healing and Believe blends of Essential Oils, w/ informational sheet
Sandi Kimmel’s Heart Wise Open — mini-book for caregivers
Relaxation and Alkalizing ideas

JOY (Care of the Soul) Basket — for the One Moving through a Life Transition of any kind
Denise Hagan’s (Irish spiritual singer) CD — for those who hear…
Joel Levey’s CD — Self-Guided Relaxation
Healing and Valor blends of Essential Oils, w/ informational sheet
Relaxation and Alkalizing ideas
The Last Adventure of Life — book and/or mini-book

HOPE (Letting Go) Basket — for the Grieving Person
Cynthia Snodgrass’s CD — Dream Chants east & west
The Last Adventure of Life — book and/or mini-book
Healing and Valor blends of Essential Oils, w/ informational sheet
Relaxation and Alkalizing Ideas

TRUST (Final Gifts) Basket — for the One Preparing for the Final Transition and Their Family
Denise Hagan’s (Irish spiritual singer) CD — for those who hear…
Harper Tasche’s CD — Keepsake
The Last Adventure of Life — book and/or mini-book
Healing and Believe blends of Essential Oils, w/ informational sheet
Relaxation and Alkalizing Ideas

SERENDIPITY (Sampler) Basket
One CD (of your choice)
One Healing blend Essential Oil w/ informational sheet
One mini-book
Relaxation and Alkalizing Ideas

Custom-made baskets and a Luxury Basket are also available upon request.
(Call: 425-361-1953 to order.)

How do your baskets tie into your book, THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE: Sacred Resources for Living and Dying from a Hospice Counselor?

The eleventh chapter of my book introduces many integrative and complementary therapies, such as aromatherapy, music, massage, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and shamanism. The baskets were developed so that people might experience firsthand the power of some of these healing modalities in their lives. Mostly, the baskets include items and methods to help people relax. If people can relax enough, they can move through any transition — with grace and ease!

What inspired you to write your book?

In our culture, we are still very awkward around the topics of death and grief. I had gathered quite a bit of inspirational material through many years of hospice spiritual and bereavement care/counseling. One day, while reading a book called Spiritual Literacy (a very broad book on the spiritual life with quotes and material from all walks of life), I was inspired to begin putting together the material I had so as to share it with others in book form. My hope is that it will serve as a conversation starter and resource book for those moving through all kinds of transitions in life — and their loved ones.

When did your book officially become available for purchase and how can someone find it? When did you launch Soul Baskets?

My book first became available for purchase in July of 2005, when I self-published the work on Whidbey Island. Just this past June, Findhorn Press of Scotland published a 2nd edition, so it is now available through any bookstore and through

I launched the Soul Basket business just last fall.

Like many small businesses, growth can be hard on a short budget. What are you looking for in an investor?

I’m finding some challenges in getting the word out, both about my unique book and the Soul Baskets. I need help in advertising, getting my websites further optimized, etc. Right now, I actually need cash, preferably $50,000 – $100,000. I have some credit card debt that is mounting, so some kind of grant or low interest loan would be most helpful.

If you find the right investor for your book and your business, in what areas are you hoping to grow? What are some of your goals?

Over the next few years I hope to see one million copies of my book around the world. Australia’s Finch Publishing is already scheduled to publish my book in a new edition next Feb. (new subtitle: Inspiring Approaches to Living and Dying). Also, since I was born and grew up in Japan and am bi-lingual and bi-cultural, I hope that the book will be published in Japanese one day and I’ll be able to return “home” to market my book!

Using day seminars and presentations & workshops, I plan to help hospitals and churches (and many aspects and organizations in our culture) create more “space” and awareness/comfort around death. (Doctors need not have to feel like failures when someone dies on their shift, for example.)

I also hope to write more books in the future. I have started writing one book and have ideas for another two. I might also be developing a workbook out of my first book that already has a faculty member of a community college using it as a textbook for his “Death and Dying, Life and Living” class (in Daytona Beach, FL).

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