Mother’s memoir charts a path of hope and self-discovery through personal trauma and a child’s chronic illness

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Los Angeles, CA — Anna Penenberg was a dancer, single mother, and therapist dedicated to healing trauma. But when her 16-year-old daughter, Dana, begins showing symptoms of a mysterious illness, Anna becomes engulfed in a trauma more astonishing than she had ever imagined.

“Dancing In The Narrows” (July 7, 2020, She Writes Press) is the story of a single mother’s love and persistence in the face of fear. Anna and her daughter struggle against a debilitating illness with no known cure. In search of wellness, mother and daughter must navigate the labyrinthine world of the American medical system and beyond.

“Dancing in the Narrows” is a touching memoir recounting Anna’s perseverance as she struggles to maintain her relationship with her direly ill daughter. As her condition worsens, mother and daughter embark on a tumultuous journey to find a cure. Full of adventure, laughter, terror, and sheer grit, “Dancing In The Narrows” is a poignant chronicle of Dana and Anna’s multiyear odyssey toward healing.

More about Anna Penenberg and Dancing in the Narrows

“Dancing in the Narrows”
Anna Penenberg | July 7, 2020 | She Writes Press
Paperback | 978-1-63152-838-5 | $16.95
E-book |B07VN5LC5X | $8.99
Memoir


About the Author

Anna Penenberg is a healer by nature and her training is dedicated to helping individuals and families affected by trauma. Her approach integrates neurobiology, psychotherapy, and wisdom traditions into personal pathways of re-patterning. Anna’s métier is the relational field, providing safety, cadence, and dimension in the therapeutic exchange. Navigating the dynamics of trauma through this unique work addresses suffering at its core, fostering compassionate healing connections with oneself and others.

Anna holds a BA in Psychology and MA in Dance Therapy from UCLA and certifications in Marriage & Family Therapy, Body-Mind Centering®, Infant Developmental Movement, and Kundalini Yoga & Meditation. She is the mother of two adult daughters and lives in Topanga, California. Dancing in the Narrows is her first book.


In an interview, Anna Penenberg can discuss:

  • Her unique therapeutic methods and approach to spiritual healing
  • The importance of self-care and dealing with trauma
  • Alternative therapies for dealing with chronic illness
  • Her personal experiences dealing with Lyme disease and the American healthcare system
  • Cultivating healthy relationships with our children, motherhood, and the mother-daughter bond
  • The importance of hope and resilience in the face of trauma and insurmountable uncertainty

An Interview with Anna Penenberg

1. What drew you into healing? How do you approach trauma healing?
I have always been fascinated with how humans grow and develop. I also find all relationships within the human capacity inspiring and feel a need to support healthy relations.

My approach integrates neurobiology, psychotherapy, and wisdom traditions into personal pathways of re-patterning. I work with the relational field, providing safety, cadence, and dimension in the therapeutic exchange. I have developed a sophisticated method of soul retrieval to restore somatic, psychological, and emotional balance—unearthing traumatic fragments held by the inner child and within the physical body. Navigating the dynamics of trauma through this unique work addresses suffering at its core, fostering compassionate healing connections with oneself and others.

2. How does one practice self care when they are consumed with caring for a loved one?

You practice self-care ten minutes here and 10 minutes there, when your loved one is sleeping and sometimes when you can get another to relieve you of care-taking. As a parent of an ill child, I soaked in an Epsom salt bath at night when she was asleep and even read a light story. I also took short walks, swam in a pool, ate well and maintained friendships over phone and text in brief moments when I wasn’t needed by my daughter. It is the little things that help, like cutting a rose from the garden and putting it in a vase where you can see it.

3. How has your own trauma influenced your therapeutic approach?

Without intention I became my own teacher as I witnessed myself going through a very traumatic time. I, my own experiment, as I sensed and felt numb, terror and tiny breaks from fight, flight and freeze. I worked on myself all the time, through focusing my mind and conscious breathing. I developed a keen sense of the layers of trauma. I used multiple modalities to unwind my discomfort, recognize inner constriction, and beliefs that held me back. I learned how to sustain my system health in dire situations and this has deeply informed my work.

4. What did you learn about yourself from taking care of your chronically ill daughter?

I am determined, and have more strength, courage and guts than I ever thought in the face of potentially losing my daughter. There is a place in me that is made of steel, that does not bend when the stakes are high and the right thing needs to be done.

5. What gives you hope?

Life itself gives me hope. It is a powerful force, sometimes with a delicate balance but always with soul and purpose. I believe everyone is here for a reason and that gives me hope.

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