It is a tragic story, yet full of hope and healing.
Last month, just two weeks before Squamish's Diana Lockett was set to release her memoir and self-improvement book — which had taken seven years to complete — came news her book designer Dania Zafar had died on March 16 in a fire that claimed seven lives in a heritage building in Old Montreal.
On top of her shock and grief at the loss of a valued collaborator, the files for Lockett's self-published The call to freedom: heal your pain awaken your loving presence were on Zafar's computer.
"She was a friend. She was my client. She was my colleague, and then the complication was that the raw files of the book were on her computer," Lockett told The Squamish Chief on Friday at Shala Yoga Studio, where she had just taught a yoga class.
Zafar, 32, had completed what was to be the last edit of the book and sent it back to Lockett for a final review.
Lockett said she noted a few last-minute changes she wanted to make but, strangely, didn't hear back from Zafar in the days that followed.
Eventually, Lockett heard the tragic news of Zafar’s death.
Lockett's team was able to get the 188-page book launched, and Lockett dedicated the book to Zafar, speaking to the young woman's family in Pakistan before releasing it to make sure she was following their wishes.
While Lockett is proud of the book, she said she has a mixed soup of emotions around it.
“It's very mingled with grief still right now,” she said.
Her book chronicles her own challenges — including being sexually assaulted and coping with the death of her mother, among others — and her ability to overcome them, guiding readers on how they can do the same.
Chapters include strategies for setting boundaries, forgiveness and grief, and more.
“You are me, lovingly disguised as you," she says in the book.
Asked who the book is aimed at, Lockett says, "My audience is anybody who is feeling the tension of navigating life."
A professional speech-language pathologist, Lockett moved to Squamish about two years ago.
She describes her main role or calling these days — she has many — as a "conscious communication leadership consultant."
She works primarily with school boards and corporations, she said, helping educators and administrators regulate themselves to better deal with stresses in their jobs.
"I help adults fall in love with themselves, their lives and each other so that they could be self-regulated, self-responsible, compassionate, patient, kind, loving, and gracious to all the people that they interact with,” she said.
While some self-help and spiritual healing guidance can come across as inaccessible — even privileged — for folks who are working to put food on the table and afford housing, Lockett says she has been there, having gained and lost financially and personally in her life.
Her strategies aren't expensive, she stressed.
"I want to say to those people, I get it, and you're doing the best you can. And life can be hard sometimes. And my book doesn't tell people to go pay and take yoga classes or go and buy books, or go on retreats. There's nothing in there that talks about having to pay money for anything. The biggest takeaway for me was my breath, and we always have access to our breath, and it's free."
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