The Loving Spirit Story
Loving Spirit was born out of a death. On January 2, 2011, Allison Lanier Powell, beloved daughter of Dayle and Will Spencer, died suddenly from the flu. She was 28 years old. Will and Dayle spent three painful years grieving their loss and attempting to recover. During that time Dayle also started writing about what she was experiencing and what she learned along the way.
In 2014 Dayle published two books, Loving Allie, Transforming the Journey of Loss, and Loving Spirit, Self-help for the Journey of Loss. Loving Allie was a personal memoir and Loving Spirit was an effort to share with others the tools and techniques that had helped the Spencers learn to cope with their loss. According to Dayle, “Loving Allie was based on our three years in hell and Loving Spirit was informed by our twenty-five years of helping clients manage the major changes in their lives.”
In 2015 Loving Spirit, Inc., was formed in Colorado and on March 6-7 the first Loving Spirit Workshop was held in Denver. Among the participants was Rosemary Sloan, the Chair of the Loving Spirit Board of Directors. The workshop was co-facilitated by Will and Dayle Spencer. The workshop was completely free to the participants and was personally funded by the Spencers.
In June of 2015 Loving Spirit sought tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. We had been advised that this process could take up to a year or more. But to our great surprise it was granted in just two weeks and was made retroactive to April 10, which was the date of our legal incorporation.
The decision to form Loving Spirit and to seek tax exemption was made around the Spencer’s dining room table in a small meeting attended by Rosemary Sloan, Donna Shavlik, Sally Park, and Cynthia Krumme. These women not only gave their encouragement, they also gave their financial support. Their donations were part of the funds used to open the banking account for the new organization. The account was opened on May 5, 2015 with an initial balance of only $630.00.
Since that modest beginning, Loving Spirit has been growing. We have expanded our Board, brought in strategic volunteers, developed our funding base, and grown beyond our roots in Estes Park, Colorado. We have now conducted more than a dozen workshops in Colorado, Hawai’i, California and Arizona, with plans for upcoming workshops in Utah and Idaho. We did three workshops for folks in Aurora, Colorado, where a gunman who opened fire in a crowded movie theater committed mass murder and traumatized an entire community. One of those three was for the first responders of Aurora who had to deal with all the horror that was wrought. And we will be conducting a workshop exclusively for U.S. Military personnel and their families at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs this fall.
We’ve also been hard at work training others to lead Loving Spirit Workshops in their communities so the work can be done anywhere, anytime. A transformative gift we received this year allowed us to videotape an entire workshop and use the footage to be part of an online tutor program for our facilitators to continue to hone their skills and techniques.
And we have been surveying our participants to ask what they think about the Loving Spirit experience. They have called it “an experience of hope,” “life changing,” and “amazing.”
Loving Spirit is changing the way we think about, prepare for and respond to grief and loss.
We increase awareness of better ways to deal with grief and loss through writing, public speaking, workshops, and outreach efforts that are targeted to adult audiences.
Loving Spirit workshops are completely free to all participants. We love all and serve all. Death and loss do not discriminate, nor do we. We offer educational training in skillsets, tools and mindsets that make navigating the journey of loss less frightening and more understandable for those who are grieving. Loving Spirit is not religious, rather it approaches the understanding of loss through many lenses, including: philosophical, historical, psychological, physiological, and with an understanding of how loss impacts our unique personalities.
A Book. A Workshop. A Movement!
The Loving Allie and Loving Spirit books were written for people who desire a private journey. The free Workshops were designed for those who need a community of support around them. The Movement is an effort to spread these new learnings and insights making them accessible to anyone, anywhere.