Ellen and her husband live in Minneapolis, where they have been practicing mindfulness meditation for twenty-five years. Together they co-lead one of the Heart to Heart mindfulness groups for couples at Common Ground Meditation Center.
Ellen Hufschmidt, MA, is a chaplain, grief counselor, and death educator. In her private practice, Rites of Change: Empowering You to Move Thru Transitions Well, she provides counseling for grief and loss, and guidance for end-of-life planning including home vigils and green burials. As a celebrant, she officiates funerals and provides a full range of life-cycle rituals from birth to death for individuals, families, organizations, and communities to mark change. For ten years, Ellen worked at Essentia Hospice program in Duluth, Minnesota, where she did grief counseling and used her skills as a Reiki healer to ease and comfort those facing death. Prior to that she served as a chaplain at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Minnesota.
In collaboration with Richard Grove and the Sacred Art of Living Center in Bend, Oregon, Ellen organized the first Sacred Art of Living and Dying training in the Upper Midwest region of the United States. This two-year program assists caregivers in reconnecting the “soul and role” of their professional and personal lives. Through advanced training with the Sacred Art of Living Center, Ellen became an Anamcara, which means soul friend to the dying.
In association with culturally based health organizations that serve cancer patients and their families, Ellen produced annual events for cancer survivors to publicly thank their caregivers and celebrate their own healing. Because cancer knows no ethnic or cultural boundaries, the Honoring Caregivers ceremonies were designed to be culturally inclusive.
She holds a master’s degree in human development from Saint Mary’s–University of Minnesota. Her professional training also includes in-depth study of Process Work psychology and completion of a two-year certificate program with Arnold Mindell and the Process Work Institute in Portland, Oregon. She is grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from Indigenous teachers and healers from the Dagara, Potawatomi, and Mayan cultures. These experiences inspired Ellen to rediscover her own Celtic and European ancestral Indigenous roots.
Ellen has also written the booklet With Our Own Hands: A Guidebook to Ritual Blessing of the Dead.