Takeaways & Reflections | How To Grieve
SHOW NOTES SUMMARY:
People say you have to move on or that you should “be over it by now.” However, no one tells you or shows you how to do it.
For me, after struggling to get beyond the pain of my trauma and losses for 30+ years, the Grief Recovery Method was the how.
Naysayers and doubters are welcome. 🤗 I was a skeptic, too. How could a process or method help me move on from the pain after sitting in it for 30+ years?
I went into it with some doubt, convinced I would, at the very least, learn new tools, knowledge, and information I could use to help others. However, what I got was so much more. The program and my experience through it (albeit emotionally challenging and, at times, draining) exceeded my expectations.
In this week’s episode, I explore the phrase “How To Grieve…” We all find our way through the messiness of life and the grief that comes with it. However, what if there was an evidence-based process that cuts through the crap, gets to the heart of the story of what happened (the emotion and what’s emotionally incomplete as a result), and brings with it peace within at the end of it. What would that experience be worth to you? Furthermore, what is doing nothing, or what you’ve always done, costing you?
- NPR Article
- Do Grief Differently™️
- Ep 115 | Martika Whylly
- Ep 116 | Reid Peterson
- Ep 117 | Phil Cohen
- Virgin River
Short-Term Energy Relieving Behaviors
Many years ago I started creating my own blend with TEECCINO and if you haven’t heard of TEECCINO it is good for you stuff in there. It’s figs and chicory and basically the thing I think chicory root is what gives coffee its flavor. And that’s in Ticino but there’s, it’s kind of it’s an herbal coffee basically. And it’s got prebiotic. They also have teas. But anyway, I’ve been drinking this for years. And it helps to lower the acidity of regular coffee and it doesn’t give me the jitters like too much caffeine straight coffee would like I have now because I actually met a friend for lunch and just had too much straight black coffee. So anyway, that’s my tangent on coffee but I can tie that in grief because you know just like alcohol I suppose great that coffee can be a STERB for people, short-term energy-relieving behavior, right? Or we might indulge in a daily real sugary coffee drink to feel better if we’re having a bad day whether we reach for an alcoholic beverage or something sugary coffee drink that can be a STERB it can be something that you feel like you need to feel better at that moment. So I can tie everything to grief but I just remember a time to where my mom was struggling she would sit at the cot at the kitchen table and she would be drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes one after the other.
How to Grieve
Today I want to talk about how to grieve. And I actually Googled it. And it’s interesting what comes up and at the top of it, the search comes Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. S.A. M. H. S. A ‘s national helpline was created for family members of people with alcohol abuse or drug abuse problems. I find that interesting that when I search how to grieve that that’s the first thing that pops up at the top. And I’ll say that if you are struggling with substance use problems, or you have in the past or someone you know or love is, it’s likely that grief is at the root of that. I’ll just leave that there. But here are some other things that come up. Helpguide.org – has a post titled coping with grief and loss. It’s a helpful guide. WebMD – What is normal grieving? And what are the stages of grief?
I’ve talked about Stages of Grief on this podcast before in fact, Ken Ross, the son of Elisabeth Kubler Ross, who developed these five stages, which was about people who are struggling with their own terminal illness diagnosis was on the podcast a while back. University of Washington healthy grieving, Counseling Center grief is in the first line here says “grief is a normal and natural response to loss”. That is what we share in Grief Recovery. Betterup.com has a blog post on how to process grief and find healthy ways to overcome loss And npr.org grief for beginners: five things to know about processing loss. So this one had me curious, and I clicked on it. And there is one part in particular that caught my attention and talked about if, after a year, you feel stuck, you could be moving into what’s called quotations complicated grief. And I just find that unhelpful to label any phase of grief.
Complicated grief – is acute grief that interferes with daily function more than a year later.
And my thing is, when I think about that, and read that as if the year prior was uncomplicated, right, it’s as if the first year is not complicated, right? And it’s like, I think that has to be the most complicating gear because you’re thrown into it, right? You’re it’s like, you feel like you’re in a small fishing boat out on the sea, and there’s a storm, right, you just feel like you’re being whipped each way and not knowing which way is up and it rocks your world, you are thrown completely off kilter when you know a big loss occurs, and doesn’t have to be a big loss, either. I mean, that’s the thing. It’s like you can have a hope or a dream, completely be taken away by something that happens where your dream will not be realized. Because something that occurred that makes that impossible.
And people might say, well, “nothing’s impossible” Well, for instance, my son wanted to join the Marines. And he had an accident that completely severed his pancreas. And that is impossible. He cannot join the military. He has a severed pancreas. So that is an impossible dream. That’s grief as well. It’s a loss of hopes, dreams, and expectations is grief. To say that there’s a complicated phase of grief, I just feel like it’s all complicated. And I feel like too, this part that says “acute grief that interferes with daily function more than a year later” so if it’s after a year, and you’re still having these issues, it’s still just grief. And I don’t mean just, it’s still grief period.
Fooling Ourselves and Believing We Are Fine
And I think we fool ourselves into believing or thinking that we are fine. And so we go about out our daily lives, let’s say 23456 years into grief after a loss or after a dream is shattered, go about our lives. And we think we’re fine. If people ask you “Hey how are you doing? And you say I’m fine. In Grief Recovery, we say fine as feelings inside not expressed. So if we haven’t addressed emotionally, what happened in the past, it’s always going to be there, it’s always going to show up, whenever we get our feathers to get ruffled by someone else, whether we’re trying to make a living, starting a new business, whether we become parents for the first time, or maybe first time to teenagers, because trust me, I’m in the trenches of that. And it is no joke. Our grief grows with us.
I think we’re fooling ourselves into this narrative that we are fine. And we put on this front, that we are fine. When really, it’s impacting every area of our lives, but we don’t connect the dots, we don’t see the repetitive behaviors or the beliefs that we have about our grief, or our story of what happened or about our past.
If we haven’t found a resolution to that if we’re continually searching for meaning to what happened, looking for the answer as to why like Why me, like if we’re always looking for that, or we’re looking to someone else to fill that gap, we haven’t addressed our grief. But we fool ourselves by believing we have because things might be going well for a time. But as soon as that next loss comes, or as soon as someone says something that just really pains us or hurts us, we’re pulled back in time. And if that happens, then you have unresolved grief. There’s something coming up there to be sat with. And if we don’t sit with it, or we sit with it and then we stay there. That’s not good, either. One of the suggestions and I 100% agree with this, is you want to keep moving between feeling the grief, feeling the sadness, and feeling the pain to restoration. It’s feeling it’s ping-ponging, as this article says between the two and as long as you’re doing that, you are moving forward.
Move Forward with your Grief
One of my podcast guests here on the show, had said one time and I’ve never forgotten it, it’s really stuck with me. I’ve used her phrase many times, and I give her full credit. And she says “when you lay you decay”. She herself had gone through Grief Recovery. And it changed her grief, it transformed her grief for her. And it is true when we lay we decay. And so if we’re not constantly moving that constant, I hate to say that. And if we are not in motion with our grief, then it’s probably overtaking us. It’s filtering into all areas of our lives. Or not working through it and processing it or not digesting it.
Ram Dass shared, he had a coach or someone he had been working with who has a program that talks about emotional constipation. And we become emotionally constipated in our grief if we just sit with it way too long as if we’re wallowing in it. And that’s healthy for a time. It is healthy to sit with it. But if you’re not coming to that restorative aspect of it, if it’s not something that’s propelling you, okay? I’m feeling this way at this moment, today is not a good day, you know, it could be an anniversary, the anniversary of the person’s death or the anniversary, your life together that you started, maybe it’s your wedding anniversary, or their birthday, you know, we have these special days that we share with people. And when those come around, and that person is no longer here, those are really difficult days, and rightfully so that person’s not here, there’s a void, but we can’t fill that void with other things or other people ever. But to sit in that gap, to stay in the gap is not moving us forward either doesn’t move us forward.
It can be the thing that propels us. I think we just, as they say, people who are struggling with substance abuse disorders might have their rock bottom. I think, for me, I had a rock bottom with my grief. And I think we all get to that point, eventually, where there’s just only so much you can take emotionally, that was true for me. And I was pretty slow to the party. It took me almost till I was 40 to come to the party. To realize that my potential was suffering there was more cost to me not addressing my grief than I realized I had the cost of my potential, I had the cost of my ability to make money. I had, and it was costing me the ability to be the best parent I could be. It was costing me real relationships, and friendships. Because I took things to heart. I thought people were out to get me. I just analyze things to death. I spun my wheels on things that really didn’t matter.
Grief is Always There
So many different aspects of my life were costing me by not addressing my grief by not facing it head-on. I feel like I’m facing it head on every single day, I look in the mirror and it’s right there staring right back at me. We are facing it every single day of our lives. Grief is always there. It’s always staring back at us. But we can choose how we perceive it in our lives. And I think that the shift that happened for me is I sought to change how I perceived my experiences, and how I felt about my experiences, I had to shift my perspective of my own story. It’s really hard to do by yourself.
My dear friend Patsy says all the time, she’s been a guest on this podcast, too. “You can’t see the label from inside the jar” Just like every single guest Martika Whylly, Reid Peterson, Phil Cohen, every single one of them sought support and sought help. And so it doesn’t matter how you go about doing that, when you go about doing that. But I will say it’s never too late. And it’s never too soon.
Do I wish I would have come to that awareness in my 30s? The answer is yes, I do wish I would have come to that awareness before I had kids. I would have been a very different parent. I guarantee that. It’s so important that we learn how to grieve. Nobody knows how. We don’t come out of the womb knowing how to grieve but yes, we do. Yes, we do. Because as young children (under 3 years old) we 1,000% express ourselves authentically. We know how to express ourselves. We cry, we throw tantrums. That is part of the growth. That is part of the development. Before we have words and language, we have the ability to emotionally express ourselves. But the world around us shuts us down. Nope, your anger is not welcome here. Your tantrum is not welcome here, you’re crying is not welcome here. You want to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about. You want to be angry, go to your room.
As a society, we have not learned that emotional expression is a part of growth is healthy. And that there are positive ways that we can do so. And we aren’t taught those positive ways that we aren’t taught that all feelings and emotions are valid, that anger is valid. So if you’re like me and you stuffed your anger, it’s almost like you get to begin to get canker sores, you know, bite your tongue. It cankers sores or, or whatever you’re going through Emotionally, it for me, it shows up as canker sores, I get stressed, I get a canker sore. That, that’s how stress manifests in my body. For some people, it might be increased blood pressure or heart disease.
We have enough stuff that happens to us traumatic experiences or just life itself, the pressures of you know, just being a human being in a relationship with people brings up a lot of stuff. And if we’re not emotionally, working towards becoming emotionally intelligent, and understanding and knowing ourselves, then half the battle is just knowing ourselves. Which grief makes really difficult. That makes grief makes that a difficult task. And knowing and understanding ourselves, especially if you were a child griever. And you’ve grown up with your grief. It takes a lot of skill and learning and education and trial and error to really kind of discern what you need and when you need it. When you grew up with grief.
Virgin River Show
I’ve been watching the show on Netflix called Virgin River. And I actually finished all the seasons. I finished watching and I thought, What is the theme or what is like the similarities with all of these characters, for the most part, they’re all emotionally intelligent people like the characters are written as being emotionally intelligent, expressive with their emotions honest about how they feel. And I’m just thinking, gosh, imagine if everybody talked this way. Imagine if society really was this emotionally intelligent. And I’m thinking this is not real life. This is not how society really actually is. But I spring this up because I think that you can learn a lot through the stories and how the show is written. And how the characters speak to one another. And dealing with situations I found it fascinating how grief is a real central theme of the show and how the show has been written, the characters have almost been written around the aspect of grief and challenging situations, and although a lot of the situations aren’t like, like a typical day to day life.
Grief Recovery Changed Many Lives
I think there’s a lot to learn in just how we communicate with each other, openly and honestly. And that’s really what Grief Recovery is all about, too. It’s learning new communication and finding the language. And expressing how we feel with this about this new language.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. But there is a way and people say you have to move on, people say you should just be over it by now. But no one really tells you how. And for me personally, I found the how with Grief Recovery. And that’s why I’m so passionate about it. It’s changed my life. It’s changed countless other people’s lives. And perhaps it could work for you as well. We don’t know what we don’t know. And when we’ve tried everything else, what else do we have to lose? A lot, actually. Because every year that passes, our grief is costing us the pain of our grief is costing us. And so there is a way to move beyond the pain of grief will always have sadness, no doubt. But it’s the pain that is really what is perpetuating the behaviors and the patterns and our beliefs that keep us from creating the change we desire, learning new tools, new skills, new knowledge, and with action. Because knowledge without action is just knowledge. This program is all about empowering you and taking action. And that’s a beautiful thing.
P.S. At the end of November, I will be launching an online group program. And if you’re interested, stay tuned to upcoming episodes, takeaways, and reflections, I’ll probably put in updates and things on that. But if you’d like to stay in the loop on those on that program coming up, then I invite you to go into the show notes. And I have a link to my bi-weekly newsletter called The unleashed letters, where I share content not shared anywhere else, I get a little bit more personal there. And I share business updates there too. So I recommend that if you’re interested in learning more about the online group program coming up be sure to subscribe to The Unleashed Letters or listen to my upcoming takeaways and reflections episodes.
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