Phoebe Leona | I’m Only Grieving Fridays
SHOW NOTES SUMMARY:
Like many kids, Phoebe grew up in a broken home. Her parents split up when she was 7 and she would remain living with her father until she turned 14. With her own knowing and willpower, she left her father to go live with her grandmother until landing back with her mother.
What she experienced between ages 7 and 14 was a frightening relationship with her father, a Vietnam vet, who was struggling with PTSD along with alcohol and drug abuse. Despite loving her father, she knew wasn’t safe in his care. And, life wasn’t done throwing curveballs Phoebe’s way either. It would be a long journey for her to find her own radiance.
Fast forward to adulthood, she reconnected with her father when he called her one Father’s Day out of the blue, after having been rehabilitated and desiring to build a connection again with his daughter. Only, this newfound connection wouldn’t last; four years later, Phoebe’s father died suddenly of a heart attack in his sleep.
Struggling to cope with the death of her father in that first year, Phoebe made a commitment to herself to only grieve on Fridays. And, this seemed to be working for her a time in her mind until one bright, sunshiny day, after feeling like the fog was lifting, her husband sat her down and said he wanted a divorce.
She would find herself living in Costa Rica, looking for a life reset and to reclaim what she wanted for life as Phoebe 2.0 after grief came like a steamroller, leaving heartbreak in its wake. What followed were a lot of lessons, healing, and a re-discovery process of who Phoebe was before her life fell apart and everything went downhill as a child.
Victoria Volk 0:00
Hi this is Victoria of the Unleashed heart.com and you’re listening to grieving voices, a podcast for hurting hearts who desire to be heard. Or anyone who wants to learn how to better support loved ones experiencing loss as a 30 plus year graver in advanced Grief Recovery methods specialist. I know how badly the conversation around grief needs to change. Through this podcast, I aim to educate gravers and non gravers like spread hope and inspire compassion towards those hurting. Lastly, by providing my heart with yours and this platform, Grievers had the opportunity to share their wisdom and stories of loss and resiliency. How about we talk about grief, like we talked about the weather? Let’s get started. Thanks. Thank you for tuning in to grieving voices. If this is your first time welcome, and if you’ve listened before, thank you. Today, my guest is Phoebe Leona. She is a dancer, yoga teacher and transformational guide who helps men and women feel more embodied through somatic movement and expanded awareness practices to become more empowered in who they are, who they’re becoming, and have a greater sense of belonging. She has been a teacher and a guide for most of her life, but it was after a year of extreme loss in 2013, when she found herself in the vast open space in between her old life and a new life that she dove deeply into our practices, and began her company Nomad to help others through their own transitions and spaces in between. Throughout that time, Phoebe has developed her own movement, somatic practice movement 109 for students to fully embrace the freedom of moving in their bodies, transform old unhealed patterns and reclaim the vibrations and stories they want to bring to life. Baby also finds joy in sharing her story to help others in their own healing. You can learn more about Phoebe’s story on her TED Talk, her podcast the space in between. And there are two upcoming books due to launch in 2021. Ah, no more a multi author book and embodied radiants for solo book by Grace point publishing. Thank you so much for bringing your story and your background to my listeners today.
Phoebe Leona 2:23
Oh, you’re so welcome. Thank you so much for inviting me here today. Victoria, such a joy to be able to be with you
Victoria Volk 2:29
Talking about the vibration and energy and finding a movement practice that we enjoy isn’t can be a struggle for many people and raising my hand right now. I’ve often struggled with trying to find something I enjoy. And yet I don’t get bored with and yet serves me wants to be in pain when they’re moving. You know, I really want to dig into that at some point. But what led you to this work you mentioned in the bio losses in 2013. So let’s start there.
Phoebe Leona 3:05
Sure, yeah. So 2013. I’ll go back a little bit prior to that. So my childhood, I was primarily raised by my father, my parents split up when I was seven. And when my parents split up, I lived with my father until I was about 14 years old. Now, my father had done two tours of Vietnam. And at that point, they didn’t really know anything about PTSD. So he had been going to the VA many times in the early 80s, mid 80s, and basically saying, you know, something’s wrong with me. Now. During that time, he decided to basically take care of himself with hard, very hard drugs. And so he was in and out of rehab for the better part of my like late teens, or late, like pre pubescent years. And I made the choice because it’s getting so bad with his relapsed with the rage with the flashbacks. And we didn’t have all of those words. At that time. We didn’t know what a flashback was, he was just not there. So there was nothing that made sense. And it was becoming very, very unsafe for me. So I decided to leave when I was 1414, almost 15 And I went to live with my grandmother, I moved back into live with my mom, fast forward, you know, he was no longer in my life at that time. And he had disappeared, not knowing if he was dead or alive or homeless or you know, in the hospital or in jail. So there was a grieving that was happening during that period of my life. But I didn’t. I didn’t know that.
Phoebe Leona 4:35
It wasn’t as you’re holding the space for people to empower them and leaning into that grief. I didn’t have that space. It was just okay, let’s grow up now. Right. Dad’s not in the picture. Let’s just, you know, put on our big girl pants and go out there and, you know, become the woman that I’m supposed to be. So there were no there weren’t a lot of conversations that were happening for me to understand that I was grieving. And then when I entered into early adulthood, I met someone in, in college and we ended up getting married at 20 at 28. And then when I was, I think like 32 years old, my father called me on Father’s Day. And he had been rehabilitated, he was actually arrested for drug possession and intent to sell. And it was actually the biggest gift because he was thrown into jail. And he started having conversations with, I’m not sure who but someone in there, and they said, Listen, you have a PTSD problem, and we need to send you to a VA. And so he went on his path of recovery, he became sober, I think he was sober for about 11 years before he entered my life again, he was heavily medicated. So he was that he was rehabilitated, he was sober, yet he was completely numbed out on life thing, another blessing happened for him was that he almost died of lithium poisoning. And basically, that was his 22nd time. So when he was in the hospital this second time, and basically on his deathbed, without me knowing any of this, he he got out of whatever that was, it came across and said, I don’t want this anymore. I don’t want any more, as he called them head drugs. And he just had a cloud lifted. And he remembered, remembered who I was, he remember that he had this beautiful daughter, and he wanted to reconnect. And a few months after, you know, he got out of the hospital, and he was getting healthier. He called me on Father’s Day in 2009. And it was really quite beautiful. I mean, there were a lot of layers to that, as you can imagine, there were a lot of questions that I had. And there was, again, a little bit of the grief of the loss time, right for both of us. But again, we didn’t really speak into that we didn’t speak into that piece, we really just started in the present moment, we had four really beautiful years together. I was, as I said, before I was married and we were living in New York City and my father was in Connecticut. So we decided to move a bit out of the city so that I could see him more we moved to the Hudson Valley. And it was sort of like everything’s clicking into place my Daddy’s back in my life, I’m you know, doing the thing that people usually do when they get a little bit older, move out of the city settled down, buy a house, you know, have a have a stable job, because I’d been a dancer kind of running around being in this chaotic city life for so many years. So everything sort of was just like click, click, click into place. So 2013 My on January 8, my father died, quite suddenly died in a sleep of heart attack. And it was it just it shook me it was it was all of the grief, not just in that time and space. But all of the grief that I hadn’t experienced when he had left the first time or when I had left that first time. And, and the conversations we didn’t have I was now grieving now why didn’t I say this or that or, and so that cracked me wide open, I probably had, you know, and your listeners who were here, they probably know that, you know that first month is just kind of putting together the funeral and getting, you know, taking care of the estate. It’s just that, you know, you’re going in that functional mode of just how do I survive, right. And then once that, that service happens, I think that’s when we can we drop down. And so that second month was really challenging. It was a really dark, dark time for me. And I had basically said to myself, because I had you know, I was running a yoga program. And I said, Okay, I’m going to grieve on Fridays
Phoebe Leona 8:47
With grief, and I said, listen, you’re getting in my way, you’re getting in the way of my marriage, you’re getting in the way of my job. And you know, I’m serving people here, I can’t just break down and cry in my yoga class in front of my students. I have to keep this together, you know, and is sort of that old story that I had told myself from, you know, previous loss. Basically, I don’t have anything to do my husband in the city, I can grieve whatever that wants to look like. So I might get my journals out and write for her. I might watch a movie that makes me laugh or makes me cry. I might look at pictures, I might tear them up. I might just sit and stare at the fire. I mean, it was just would that wildcard whatever needed to come out. I just let it come out. But then the cap had to come back on when the husband came home. And as you can imagine, that didn’t go so well. And so my I was noticing that my husband was coming home later and later on those Fridays. And so I think it was the first week of March where he came home rather late and I just I couldn’t put it together. I was just I sat on the couch I was crying hysterically. He was sitting on the other side of the room on another couch and basically staring at me. And I just kept saying to myself, Why isn’t he coming to me? Why isn’t he putting his arms around me? Why isn’t he? Why can’t he see my pain? Why can’t he be with me? And I somehow find that found my way upstairs into bed. And I will get up the next morning, and I woke up to the sun just beaming on my face. And it was almost like everything just lifted. For this time I woke up, I was like, oh, maybe this is it. Maybe I’m done. And I looked at my phone, the weather, and it said, abundant sunshine. And I was like, Yes, I’m going to choose that. So I got up by went off to work. And I came back thinking I was going to go for a hike with my husband, we’re going to start to make plans for our future, because I was done with this grief. And he sat me down and he said, I want to divorce. And so there was like this whole other layer of grief that that unfolded. So that was the beginning of the grief in 2013. And it’s really been this eight year journey of just making friends with grief. And I really appreciate it. I think you’ve spoken to your 30 year re I don’t remember how you worded it, but you’re a 30 year griever. Is that correct? Is that how you
Victoria Volk 11:20
30 30 plus your Griever? Yeah,
Phoebe Leona 11:22
Great. I agree. Very Yeah. And I think that that’s really important for everybody to understand that it isn’t just what I was saying, Oh, I’m done. Check that off the list. It is it comes in layers. And it’s not linear. It’s, there’s no, there’s no way of really saying, Oh, I’m done grieving. Now. We’re always in that recovery state in some way. And we’ll make it a little bit better some days. Right. So yeah, that’s kind of where it started. To answer your question.
Victoria Volk 11:52
Thank you for sharing. And that is, there’s a lot that’s a lot at one time. I imagine you had other micro losses in between them, because with divorce, you probably had to move. Yeah. All those sorts of things, too, right?
Phoebe Leona 12:07
Oh, yeah, it was. I mean, as I said, that was just the beginning of it. It was like a domino effects. Yes, I did move out of my house. We the divorce went like that. I mean, it was so fast. We had a mediator, it’s very quick in New York. So it happened within three months, we also had a dog that we had to put down, my health was deteriorating, I ended up leaving my job. And it was it was just an all of the other, you know, the micros stuff to go into my dad, I was still packing up his estate and still grieving, you know, the things that I was giving away to his friends are keeping. So there were there were those a lot that was happening. It basically came to a head in October, where that year where I just kept waking up in the morning. And I said and I’d been in the ER twice for for mysterious pain in my body. They thought that it was ovarian cyst, or it was a UTI, they just couldn’t identify exactly what it was. So I just kept waking up in the morning and looking in the mirror and saying, I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know who I am. I don’t recognize this person. And I texted my mom and I said, I need to come visit you. And she was about four and a half hours away from where I was living. And she said, Yeah, sure, come whenever and I said, I’ll come out this weekend when I’m not working. And then it just within five minutes. That was I’m getting in the car right now. I’m getting in the car right now. I can’t do this anymore. And I got in the car and I drove and I said What am I what am I doing here? And I basically arrived and they said, I have an idea. But you can also I know I’m not in the right state of mind. If if you want to commit me, that’s okay. Like it was to that point where I just thought every choice I’m making is not the quote unquote, right choice right now. But she actually this is where Nomad came out of it. The the business that you were speaking of in the intro, when I was driving, I said, What are the things that I love to do? I have to make a change here. I have to I have to embody my life again, I have to clean my life again. Because everything is just being taken away from me. And I said, Well, what are the things that I love? And I said, I love I love teaching. I still love teaching yoga. And I love I would love to travel more. And so by the time I got to mom’s and I had been sort of playing with these ideas for you know, over the years, but I said, I want to start my own business of a building yoga retreat, and I want to leave my job that was you know, a salary job that was secure and stable was probably I mean, from the outside looking at it was probably the only thing that was stable in my life at that time, but it really wasn’t there was like a lot of, you know, dynamics in that job that weren’t healthy. And she said, Yeah, do it. And they said Are you sure? I’m not crazy, right? And she said, Yeah, you know, do what you need to do, I’ll support you. And I had played with these ideas for a bit of time about what I what I wanted to create for myself, because I was in that place of wanting to empower and reclaim my life after everything was being taken away from me. And those two, those two things were yoga, and traveling. And by the time I got to the, to the other side of the, what I call the space in between drive between the old life and my new life, claiming my new life that she was really, really supportive. And, and that’s what I did. I think I arrived October 20, or 24th. And I gave my notice October 28, which was actually my dad’s birthday. And, and then a year later, is when I launched my business. So I took a bit of time, I went to Costa Rica, I dealt with a lot of shadows there. But it was my reset, you know, and I can talk more into that. But yeah, I had this kind of reset time. And then I came back to New York, and I started my business on his birthday, a year later, which was really quite special and beautiful.
Victoria Volk 16:13
What did it look like when you? First of all, I think here’s what I want listeners to hear is that you decided, you decided that you wanted more for your life, that you weren’t going to be a victim to grief, which it often makes us feel like we don’t have choices like we. And I often say to it, it puts a veil over our face. So when you said you looked in the mirror and you didn’t recognize yourself, that’s many Grievers. That’s, that’s what a lot of people say. But in a different way. Like everyone says the same thing. It’s just different language. But that’s what it does. We can’t we get disconnected from ourselves. Yeah. And so when we look in the mirror, we don’t see ourselves for who we are, who we really are. And we don’t see the potential of who we could be either, when we have all this emotional stuff, unsettled within us. And so what did that look like? What did Costa Rica look like? How did you because you said your health was deteriorating? Then they’re done that grief, it’s, this is what happens in grief. Right? And so what did that rebuild, and reset look like?
Phoebe Leona 17:24
Yeah, before I go there, when I just reflect back what you just said, too, because I think that really is important to highlight that we have those choices, even in the midst of grief. And to kind of tuck into what I said before about how I just, you know, pulled on my big girl pants, and just the grief is not gonna get me there is this there’s this play between both right? It’s this claiming your life, but it’s not. It’s not this avoidance of grief. It’s really what I think of as dancing with it. Like, okay, but I’m going to take the lead right now. And you might take the lead sometimes, but it’s not going to it’s not going to completely take over, like you said the veil. And so yeah, I just wanted to reflect that. So in terms of Costa Rica, so I gave my notice. In the end of October, and I, the next question was was okay, what do I need right now? What do I need right now, because staying in New York winter, and being depressed, I might slit my wrists, like, and I did, like, I just, I mean, I joke about that, but I, I, I didn’t know even though I knew what I wanted, I still wasn’t over that hump of, of recovery to a place that I felt stable enough. So I said, Okay, I need to go somewhere where it’s sunny. And there’s a lot of little logistical things I don’t need to go into but I landed somehow in Costa Rica, in January, like two days before the first anniversary when my father died. And I, I truly believe that he put me in that place. He he put me in that place. A year later, after he died. I just felt it in my bones that you know, there were so many signs and you probably have had this or your listeners have had this where you just you can feel the presence of your lost loved one is, you know, with, you know, interactions with people or, you know, animal totems, or, or, you know, just receiving dreams and, and I had all of that I had all of these signs that my dad was was putting in Costa Rica for a reason. So I had only gone there for the intention of, I think like two weeks, I had learned about this hostel that had yoga and surf and Spanish lessons and I thought, let’s go check out. Let’s go just be in the sun. Be in the ocean. That’ll be very healing for me. And within a week I had met the This man who I swear was brought to me by my father, an older man, he actually had very similar features as him. And it was just this night, he owned a restaurant in town. And we just started talking. And I told him everything. I told him this whole story that I told you, and your listeners, and he called me the next day, and he said, I have a job for you. And I have a place for you to live. And he, he basically, like orchestrated it that day, he took me to show me the place that he’s and he even told me, you know, he showed me two places, and he said, get this second bedroom, because you can rent it out. And it’s not that much more expensive. Is it? Okay, and so and then we had this hug at some point. And he said something like, Oh, it’s so good to feel you. And not like, in a weird, creepy way. It was just like, just like, Dad, I mean, the way that he said it, and the way that he hugged me, I was like, That was that was confirmation that this was my father. And so I ended up staying there for about nine months. And during that time, I had met people that were really loving. And were really allowing me to be me. And I had realized I had not been me for a very long time. I and I was really tracing it back. And I can’t tell you literally, if this is when it happened. But it’s been happening over the last eight years where I realized I had shut the the, you know, when when she walked out that door, when she was 14 years old, when she left her dad, I had left her behind. And and that was the period where I was starting to reclaim her again and check in with her what she loved to do you know what lit her up, but also the shadows that she hadn’t dealt with when she was living with a father who was dealing with, you know, PTSD and drug drug addictions. And so a lot of those shadows came back. And
Phoebe Leona 8:47
It was, it was a beautiful time. I don’t regret it. But it was a really, really hard time. There was a lot of crying. Crying on the beach, there was a lot of dancing though, too. I mean, there was everything. And that’s the, that’s the really interesting thing about grief is that it’s not just what we think about grief is just I sit there and I cry, right? There’s anger too. And I got really angry. I had had a short relationship there. And I was poor guy. I really took all of my anger out that I had for my father I had for my ex husband. And I took it out on this one person. And so I really danced in all of the shadows. But there was also this beautiful joy, like this pure joy that was there too. So I experienced it all.
Victoria Volk 22:40
How did you make that transition then back home? And where was home?
Phoebe Leona 22:46
Yeah, that’s a good question. I’m still kind of figuring that out. I think it was May I had decided, Oh, I’m gonna live in Costa Rica. This is my life. And I came home, I sold everything because I had been subletting my apartment. And I basically said, Okay, I’m doing this, I came back to Costa Rica. And I was like, This is it, this is my home. And immediately Costa Rica was like, Nope, you’re not here anymore. And all of these relationships that I had built, were just breaking. And all of these circumstances that used to flow easily just were like doors closing, Costa Rica is a beautiful, very magical, very spiritual, there’s a vortex that that was very healing for the time and space that I needed. But it was also like, Okay, now you need to go and live your life, it’s time to reintegrate and really claim who you said you were here and explored it, go back to your quote, unquote, full of life and claim it. So I was there for probably may think I came back in August, so a couple of months. And they said, Alright, this is it, you know, I was getting more messages that I needed to start the business in my, in my old community, because I already had a following there. And I was getting clear on what that was going to look like. So home at that time, came back to New York, in the Hudson Valley. And they started teaching at all the studios that I had made connections with over the years and and basically, that’s what happened was, I stepped into that. And then there was like a whole other layer right of that reintegration. So I feel like Costa Rica was another big gap, that big space in between where I was, like, sorting out the old stuff. And then I was bringing it back into this sort of new life that I was still in the old life and a lot of ways, you know, my still is kind of meeting up with my ex husband on a friend, you know, he had already moved on but like we were start trying to handle a friendship that we clearly figured out but that wasn’t healthy. So there was there was just this reintegration and and it probably took about three or four years to find my flooding again, to be really honest.
Victoria Volk 24:56
Yeah, and I think this is the first time I’m the first time I’m going to say this on this podcast of all the conversations I’ve had with people. That sounds really exhausting. I mean, really, it sounds really exhausting. And that’s what grief is. It’s exhausting. And as it is a progress of new chapter after new chapter after New Chapter, but we don’t get there. You don’t get there from from there, right? You don’t get to where you are, by staying where you don’t get where you want to go by staying where you are. Right. And so it is an exhausting, it can feel like an exhausting process along the way. But I think the more in tune, you become with your in with yourself and your energy in your vibration and in in get more aligned, it does flow more easily. It does come more easily. You can lean into that those days in that grief when when they come but they don’t debilitate you, right like they did before. And I think that’s what you mean with the in between it’s, it’s ugly, and it’s messy. But it’s necessary. It really is. I think it’s just part of part of the process. And it’s going to look differently for many people for everybody. And it’s not going to be how many years? 4,5,8, 8 years?
Phoebe Leona 26:32
Since 2013? Yeah, eight years.
Victoria Volk 26:35
Yeah for me, it was seven. You know, and it’s like, one day, I’m like, Oh, I’m sick of feeling this way. And yeah, you know, and then, yeah
Phoebe Leona 26:48
Yeah, um, yeah, and, you know, seven, and I feel like seven for me was the magic number two, and that’s, you know, there’s the idea that all of our cells have regenerated every seven years. So there’s something about that I knew that, that I had that knowledge. But there was this moment where I thought, I think I’m done. And actually, I changed my claim reclaimed my own last name, because I had changed it back to the, you know, my maiden name. And I felt like, I’m done with that part of me, you know, that. And I, we’ve made our mens and now I want to reclaim my own and actually stepped into my own last name at year seven. So
Victoria Volk 27:34
Well, just like there was a podcast episode was Siri, bernson. Medium. And she mentioned the site or life cycle is, yeah, they say seven years, the astrological cycles seven year cycle. So yeah, very fascinating. If you think about it. Yeah. 714. Yeah, pivotal times of my life, too. Right. So yeah,
Phoebe Leona 27:57
It’s chill. Yeah. I have chills thinking about that. Exactly. It’s, yeah, there’s something what I through this whole process, and I think I always was, you know, in tune in some level, but through this whole process of grief, it really, it really confirmed that there’s something bigger going on here. There’s something so much bigger going on here. And you know, what you were just saying about the seven there’s so many truths that we can’t explain how do we like really explain that, right? We have, we figure it out in our brain. So it’s, you know, our cells are regenerating? That’s what science. So there’s, you know, what series was talking about with, you know, the astrology. But yeah, there’s something else going on here. We might, we might have those, those things that tell us and in kind of quantify it and make it make sense of it, but really, we might not ever really know, right? That mystery. And grief is very mysterious.
Victoria Volk 28:57
Yes. Yes. But that’s kind of the beauty in it, too. Because you, you don’t know exactly where it’s going to lead you. Yeah. And you might have an idea in your mind of, you know, if I would have told you, you’re gonna have your own business, like when this first started. Yeah, I would have said to you, you’re gonna have your own business, you’re gonna be doing retreats, and you’re gonna be traveling and yeah. When you were like in the thick of it, you would have been like, Yeah, can we just fast forward to that, please?
Phoebe Leona 29:31
Well, and you know, as you say, that were laughing and I was, and I was thinking to if somebody had said, Oh, you’re gonna end up living in Costa Rica, and I’m like, oh, that sounds really fabulous. Yeah, sure. But it was also really crappy.
Victoria Volk 29:44
Beautiful place, but
Phoebe Leona 29:45
In a beautiful place. Yeah. So we don’t know. We really don’t know and to just, I don’t know it sounds silly, but to just keep going, you know, on those days, and it’s not, it’s not in a place to avoid cuz just to say, Okay, let’s just keep going, there’s something else pulling me forward, there’s something some reason why I’m going through this loss right now. And maybe it’s for a deeper healing within myself. And or maybe it’s, I have a purpose to help others like you, right? You’re holding space for us Grievers. And you know, whether we’re sitting in front of you speaking or someone’s listening, you might have had to go through that, so that you’re here holding the space for us. And, and, you know, I have, I’m writing my, as you said, in the introduction, I’m writing my book. And it’s, it’s a lot of my story. It’s a lot of the, you know, I write letters to different emotions, and one being, I have a big one on grief. And it’s, I got really angry when I started to get to the realization that I was going to share this story with people because I’m, you know, I’m sharing a lot with you here. But there’s also a lot more to the story that we can’t put in, you know, however long we’re here today. But I really opened my heart and soul up into this book and reveal things that I haven’t even revealed to people who are really close to me and my family are people that you know, my dear friends, and I got really angry, because I was like, Why did this have to happen to me, in order for me to help people, but when it comes down to it when I get to that really dark, deep place within me, and I get really sad and angry, and I go, okay, but there is a trust there is something bigger going on here. And and then I get a message from somebody, you know, Oh, I saw your poster. I heard you on this podcast, and you go, okay. This is an ego. This is like, this is truly. Okay. I have to keep going. So I just wanted to speak into that a little bit.
Victoria Volk 31:55
I use the Five Minute Journal and the quote, or the thing today is the secret of happiness is to find something more important than you are and dedicate your life do it. Oh, I got chills. Like Dan. Yes. The Dennett made me think of that and purpose through the pain you often hear sometimes. But in that process of unraveling. That’s what I like to call it for me an unraveling. What were some of the things that well, what’s one tip that you would give others that are going through that unraveling?
Phoebe Leona 32:37
Yeah, well, there’s so many. Well, you know, I’ll bring it to because you spoke You spoke earlier about your experience with movement and how you said you didn’t want to move with pain. I think that’s how you worded it right. And I, I’d like to use that tip to lean into the movement. Because I think that a lot of us are scared to be in our bodies. We’re scared to grieve. These are two different things in a way, but they’re really the same, right? Where we’re scared to grieve, we’re scared to really lean into all the shadows that sit in that space of grief. We’re also just in general, whether you consider yourself a Griever or not, we’re a lot of human beings are scared to be in their body. And so if we can start to make friends, because really our body and our breath are like partners, they’re with us. Good, bad, ugly, all of it. Right? It’s with us the whole time. And, and so if we can start to lean in to asking the body, what is the message here? Right? We can also ask, great, what is the message here? But if you can lean into your body and say, What is this like you call it pain? What is this pain here telling me. And so during that time that I was in the ER, I was having a lot of pain in my lower right side. And I have actually have two things that I want to share if that’s okay. But I was having a lot of pain there. And it was really like, my body was pissed, like literally pissed off. It was I was having these UTIs is a lot of heat in the system. You know, in Chinese medicine, they talk about heat, and there was so much heat in my body and I’m so pissed off about all the things that were being taken away from me. And that was my body actually reacting to that. I was literally like pissed off at the world. And so when I started to lean in and go, Okay, Bodhi, you’re mad. Okay, let’s, um, let’s figure out another way to to, you know, make friends with each other. And so I started to do very organic movement. And you know, I was a very active person prior to that I was I was presently at that time, a yoga teacher. I was a professional dancer before that. And so I was very connected to my body and love to move but I was realizing I wasn’t treating my body in a way A that was nurturing. And so that’s where I started to do a bit more organic movement and having these conversations and asking the questions like body, what do you have for me here today. One other thing that I want to share with that is to go back to 2012. I had, this was where everything was clicking into place, everything was clicking. And my my yoga program was just about to start. We just bought our house. And my husband and I went to a baseball game and I had like a little summer colds. At that time I was recovering from and we had gone to this baseball game. And one of his co workers who’s a woman came with her boyfriend we didn’t we just sort of bumped into them. And you know, we had a little bit of a conversation, everything. And there were fireworks afterwards. And the co workers boyfriend was actually in the fire department. So he was the one who like let the fire works off. So they had left and I started coughing, and I started to have like what I would think was an asthma attack. Now I never had had asthma before. I couldn’t I could not breathe. I was my face was turning purple. My husband said should I take you to the hospital. And it was just like squeaked out no, because I was scared of like all of that, you know, the anxiety of that on top of it. So at some point, it cleared, and then it turned into bronchitis. It turned into bronchitis for about four months. And to take you now, like a few months after that I had gotten to the acupuncturists after, you know, in the midst of the, in the midst of everything, and I checked everything off, and she said, Okay, when did you have this bronchitis? And I said, Oh, last summer, you know, and she said, she just put her hand on my hand cuz she knew what I was going through. And she looked into my eyes, and she said, Honey, you have been grieving your body knew that you were grieving. So lungs and Chinese medicine is grief. That person that we saw at the baseball game, is who my husband was having an affair. Now, I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that I had no reason to believe that at the time, but my body knew.
Phoebe Leona 37:19
And so my tip is if you feel something in your body, lean into it. Now I’m not saying it’s going to be something big like that. But just start to make friends with it start to listen and say, Okay, there’s this thing that I call, like you said, the sensation of pain, I tried to take that word pain away, and ask what are you really telling me? So instead of it being this label pain, because that’s already a story and unconscious story of oh, it was that time when I was skating outside and I twisted my knee or whatever it is, right? We always we already have that story playing out. But what is the sensation? Is it sharp? Is it in? Is it isolated? Is it local? So is it isolated and localized? Or is it just radiating out right from one place out to the entire body. So you start to get really curious about the sensation. And in there, there might be some stories that we didn’t know that we had. And we can start to peel away those layers. And we might not consciously ever say, oh, it’s because this uh, this, like the story that I just told you. It might not be that literal, but you can start to play with it. And I really promise as you lean into it, things will start to shift.
Victoria Volk 38:34
That’s a great, great tip. Great tip.
Phoebe Leona 38:38
It was a long winded tip. But I hope it was worth it for everyone out there.
Victoria Volk 38:43
No, but I you know, like you said these strange pains that you ended up in the emergency room with twice. I had fibromyalgia like symptoms like no, you know, overall just aches and pains. Like Overall, like I just felt like you’re getting the flu, achy, I had chronic bronchitis year after year as a teenager, I would get it frequently. So it’s totally Yes, totally. Your body speaks all the time, your body into in, in like these things that are happening outside yourself. They’re not just happening there. They’re like an expression of what, you know, if we just pay attention to these messages. They’re not it’s like synchronicities, you know, but it’s have to actually see them to know what to do with them to like, look at them and be curious, like you said, what were some of the ways that you know you’re doing all this inner work yourself, but what were some of the ways that others were supporting you that you found the most helpful?
Phoebe Leona 39:47
That’s a good question. Can I just say one thing before I move on because you said something really. I wanted to just highlight is I think this is the biggest shift that that happened for me too, with With all that we’ve been speaking of, of shifting from how, why is it happening to me? As that’s the victim mentality of how is this happening for me? So why is this grief that I’m experiencing happening for me? How is this pain that I’m feeling in my body happening for me? And just that shift? That was what to lead to continue into your second question. That was something that I had was, I have beautiful teachers, you know, I have family that I’m really grateful for on my mother’s side. And then I also have have had teachers that I learned from and trust. And that was one of my teachers, nuggets of wisdom was just shifting that from it’s happening to me, but for me, or even with me, so in terms of the support from people, you said for me, right, not good. I was supporting. Yeah, I was going to make sure I’m clear.
Victoria Volk 40:58
In what ways did others support you as you were doing all of your inner work? And
Phoebe Leona 41:03
Yeah, so this was an interesting journey to was specifically with my mother, because what I had realized, was that with all of the scraping that was happening, and there was still some stuff that my mom and I hadn’t dealt with. And so I really had this opportunity to because I didn’t trust her. There was a lot that happened in my childhood, where it’s like, why did you leave me with this person that, you know, was a drug addict? Why did you let me do this, and this, you know, so a lot of that started to unpack in the process of the grief. And I kind of got a bit mad at her and regret and resented her and a bit. So we started to have these conversations. And it really gave her an opportunity to, I don’t want to say step it up. That’s the better word, like for her to really open her arms. And let me let me see that she has been here, but maybe not in the way that I wanted her to be. But she was there the way I needed her to be. And so you know, just that that day where I drove, you know, that I spoke to earlier driving there, and she’s had her arms open. That’s what I gave her a hug. And I said, I’m sorry. And she said, Oh, no, I’ve been waiting for this. I’ve been actually waiting for you to break down. Because every time she would drive, she drove to see me that five hour drive like, I think it was like had to have been eight or nine times that year, just back and forth. Whether it was okay, now it’s dealing with dad’s estate. Now it’s the divorce now it’s putting the dog down. Now it’s you’re at the hospital. So she like had been driving back and forth for so many times, and just kind of waiting for me to say, I can’t do this anymore. So it really took that break for me to see that she’s been here this whole time. And she had been there, but I wasn’t letting her and so this period was me allowing to be held again. You know? Yeah, I think I’ll stay there for a moment.
Victoria Volk 43:02
That’s, that’s a powerful point. Yeah. Because, you know, you know, my podcast art for my podcast is me on an island with a megaphone because you feel like you’re on an island like no one gets you no one understands me. Yeah, there for me, I’m not supported. But if you carry the weight of the world of this grief on your shoulders, and you just want to scream, like just hear me and you feel like it’s going nowhere. And but it’s not falling on deaf ears, there are people that want to support you, there are people that are holding space for you or want to, but you got to find your your way to yourself so you can let them it’s it really truly starts with us the self love that we are wanting so badly from other people, we have to start giving it to ourselves. And that was that whole process of what you were doing that unraveling and and going to Costa Rica and working having really crappy days. That was part of it, you know it had that’s how it had to happen for you. And so what has your grief taught you?
Phoebe Leona 44:12
Grief has taught me a lot. Grief has told me that I can be friends with it. That I can be friends with grief. That you know I it really I’m going to repeat it again what you said I hadn’t really put it in those words before when you said the 30 plus year graver that’s not a bad thing. I think grief really makes us more humble, more compassionate, more empathetic. It really what you were just saying of being on the island with the megaphone it it drops us down that that place where we can really be human and vulnerable with each other. That’s probably you know, I’m speaking but and I’m getting deeper and deeper into it. That’s the word that keeps coming through is vulnerability. allowing myself to be vulnerable with others. And that gives me this deeper connection within myself but with other people that I’m grateful for, I don’t think I would have gotten there. If I hadn’t done all of the hadn’t gone through all this loss.
Victoria Volk 45:14
I have an intuition. And I’m going to ask you if you consider yourself this type of person, but do you consider yourself a highly sensitive person and path person? Okay, yeah. Yeah. Because I get you
Phoebe Leona 45:31
Know, I get Yeah, girl.
Victoria Volk 45:33
Yes. Because that’s, I think this is something else I want to dive deeper into with grief is that it can be especially especially hard for highly sensitive empathic people. Because you definitely tend to isolate, and then you take on, not just you’re trying to, you’re not handling your own stuff, well, but then you also take on everybody else’s stuff. And you have no boundaries. And you don’t know how to make those boundaries. You don’t know, what is a boundary? Because you probably weren’t raised with boundaries, right? So it’s like, it’s you. Literally, I feel like with grief in childhood, especially, it’s almost like you have to learn to walk again. Yeah, you almost have to learn how to fund that. And I often say I raised myself, I still feel like I’m raising myself. But really, whose responsibility is it once we’re an adult to raise us? It’s our own responsibility. My kids are helping raise me in a way they don’t realize, but I’m still raising, you know what I mean? Like I’m growing with my kids, because, as a, as a mother, who is empathic and highly sensitive. With grief. Yeah. Okay, that’s a whole nother podcast episode. I’m gonna write that down.
Phoebe Leona 46:56
I love it. When you were just speaking, I was I had this image that I had earlier this year when I was speaking to one of my teachers. And I think that this will really resonate with you, and probably people out there. So I can’t remember what she asked me. But as we were speaking, we were talking about my inner child. And I had this, I had this vision of my child, my inner child, and of standing in the middle of this ring of fire. And I was like, me as like, present adult Phoebe was just going around, you know, with my back to her to protect her from whatever was outside. And my tea and I was telling my teacher, like, this is what I’m seeing right now. She said, Phoebe just turn inward. And I turned to my inner child, and she just like, jumped into my lap. And, and I was, and I clicked for me, that I was in such protective protection mode of her, she, she’s just still solid, she didn’t see the protection, she just saw back to her. And so when I turned to her and helped her, that was she didn’t need any protection. She just wanted herself to be healthy. And I think that sometimes when we feel like we’re on that island with a megaphone, we’re going through grief, and we’re in this, you know, nobody else gets me. We’re actually not giving it to ourselves to get to turn inward and hold that, that experience of that, whether it was in your childhood or in your adulthood that that child’s the I’m just going to call child’s Yeah, that wounded self just needs to be held and needs to be loved. So that just came through that I needed to share.
Victoria Volk 48:42
No, I’m actually in Grief Recovery. I’m a grief recovery specialist. And through the method, you can apply it to all kinds of relationships and the one I also applied it to my inner child. So that was a really healing experience. For me, it’s all it’s so important to bring attention to who we were before grief. And really start there. And where we want to be, live into who we really are right, throughout your grief experience, what has given you the most joy and hope for the future?
Phoebe Leona 49:21
Oh that’s a good question. What has brought me the most joy and hope for the future? I think you know, what I was just speaking into about my mom, I have really healed and still in the process of healing the mother wound with being with my mother and my grandmother. Because what happened was, I came to realize that they had gone through something similar, different stories but similar grief that they didn’t really get to hold space for for themselves. And I started to you know, have more time with them. And actually the pandemic I moved down here to be a I lived with grandma for five months. And now it’s still in the area close to my mom and my grandmother. So that has been the biggest joy is to heal this, this wound that I didn’t even know that we really needed healing. And what was there was another part, you have the biggest hope. And I think that what I was talking about before with the book, I have realized, again, this realization that what I just have experienced and what I will continue to experience, because I’m still in my emotional recovery and grieving, you know, grieving is that I really, truly can be of service to people, and be able to hold space for them, because I have felt that so deeply before. And I can come from that place of just being in that authentic space for them. And I, and I think that right now, we’re still in that grieving of our old life. Yeah, the pandemic was that space in between, that we’re all collectively in of that old life previous, and that there’s something on the other side, but we still don’t know it yet, because we’re still in the middle of it. And I have hope, because of what I’ve experienced, and what you’ve experienced, of grieving individually, I have hoped for all of us to get to the other side, to get through this grief of the old life. And we’ll be able to find a new life together. And I am hopeful for that. But I’m also hopeful that I get to be a part of, of other people’s paths as well as my own in that process.
Victoria Volk 51:36
I think it’s in the contrast that we learn truly what matters and what’s important to us and what we value and and start there in the building the rebuilding of a life that does bring us joy. Yeah, and it is possible. I do want to ask quickly, too, because you kind of mentioned it. And I think it’s important. And I think it’s another good tip. Maybe in there. And so you had mentioned also briefly about connecting with your father, like you, you’ve had these moments of synchronicities kind of these messages. And I first of all, like I said, we have to kind of be open to those, receive them truly receive them. But what were some of the ways that you found and maybe still do that you do connect with your father and have connected with him. And I think I think that’s another tip that I think needs to be added here in this episode. So would you mind sharing?
Phoebe Leona 52:36
Yeah. And so just to be clear, so you’re asking, you know, what were the things that I came witness of after he passed? And so for people you want to kind of invite for other people to look at for themselves in their bigger picture. Is that correct?
Victoria Volk 52:52
Yeah. Like how, like, okay, so like, deer can cross your path. Yeah, like, Oh, that’s a nice deer. Or, oh, oh, nice, double rainbow. There’s a butterfly, like right on my shoulder, you know, like these things that maybe these animals, right, or, like, I think I just talked about this. Actually, my last episode of the takeaways episode I talked about a streetlight would go out. Middle of the, you know, I’m walking at night and a streetlight would go out, I’d be driving, the streetlight would go out. And that would happen several times. You know, it’s like, it’s like, what did my brain connected me to? Well, yeah, it’s something much. Right. So it’s something if it gets your attention, right? Yeah. Is that the tip here? Maybe I’m just answering my own question.
Phoebe Leona 53:44
Yeah, cuz yeah. Because I was gonna say, could give you very specifics, which, you know, even just today, I had this experience, where I was having this big revelation. I won’t go down that rabbit hole right now. But I was journaling as somebody came in, like one of my friends sent me an Abraham Hicks message and and then all of a sudden, I looked at my window and there was just all these blackbirds just like, massive amount of blackbirds just like flying by my window and landed on my, in my yard. And I was just like, Okay, there’s something here, all of this right now. It’s happening. Now. There’s something here now, I can’t go deeper into it, because I’m still unpacking it. But another example is, right after my father died, a friend’s a friend who actually wasn’t my friend. She was just a student at that time. She came to my class right after he passed away. And she called me to lunch a couple of days later, and she’s like, listen, I know, I don’t know you. But I feel like I need to tell you something. She said, I was in your yoga class, and your dad was in the back of the room, just hanging out. Like I saw him. And she had never, maybe she saw a picture of him on, you know, social media or something. But like, I just know it was him and he did here. Have a lizard. And I was like, What are you talking about? She said he was see he had this lizard sitting on his lap. And I was like, I don’t know, he was not a reptilian man, like, he liked other animals that I’d never remembered could have been, you know, it’s just, it was kind of like, very odd. And she’s like, and she even felt like this is weird, because she would have visions, she wasn’t considered, she didn’t claim to be a medium at the time, but she would just have these visions. And so we both sort of were like, That’s interesting. Fast forward to when I was in Costa Rica. This is one of the messages that I knew I was there for him was on the day that you know, hit that first anniversary of his death. I went in, there are lizards everywhere. But I went to this little fruit daddy guy, which is like a fruit stand. And I was sitting there, and all of a sudden, like, a massive amount of lizards just ran up to me. And I looked at them, and I took a picture. And I sent it to cat. She’s like, that was it. That was the kind of lizard that I saw was like, Oh, my God. So those messages, like you said, they’re everywhere. It could, it’s just something that gets your attention. And it could be really subtle. It could be like what, you know, cat saw my friend cat saw months before and we don’t quite get it. And then it clicks later. It could be like you said, Why do I keep seeing this, like go off, you might not never know. But just to lean into it. That’s the tip, I guess if we’re going to put it in a tip. Just be open to the possibilities of receiving the messages and not know, not necessarily know what they need. Sometimes you may get that confirmation, but sometimes it might just be like university like I gotcha. You know, it might be a big profound development.
Victoria Volk 56:44
Yeah. And it’s okay to ask. It’s okay to ask for these signs, right. That’s sort of Siri talked about. Exactly. Well, I feel like this was a really rich conversation. And is there anything else you would like to share?
Phoebe Leona 56:59
Oh we went a lot of places and some places that I haven’t shared with other people before, in this for this kind of way. So thank you for holding that space, Victorian and letting me feel safe to share. I think that’s really important. When we do dive into topics such as grief, that we do feel, you know, safe to be vulnerable. So I just want to acknowledge you for that. Yeah. And I think we said what we needed to say the day.
Victoria Volk 57:29
And where can people find you and your work?
Phoebe Leona 57:33
Good question. So they can find me at my my website, the Nomadcollective.org We’re actually shifting, donating, but if you have the old one that too, that’s fine, you’ll find me. You can just Google my name to even be on social media. I’m on Facebook and and Instagram. I’m gonna dive more into medium and Insight Timer in the next month or so to share my writing and also my meditations. And then my book will be out. I don’t know when this will go live. But my book will be out. And actually you Did did you said a book title that were actually changed the changing the title, but that’s okay. We’ll get a title. It is called variably. Cloudy with abundant sunshine. And that goes back to that day that I woke up and saw my weather app. abundant sunshine. Nice. Yeah, I forgot to give you that update.
Victoria Volk 58:28
What’s your launch date?
Phoebe Leona 58:29
In January actually, if all goes well, January 8, which is the day that my father passed away?
Victoria Volk 58:35
Well, thank you so much for sharing your story your time and I have no doubts. There’s something in there for someone listening. And remember, when you unleash your heart you unleash your life. Much love.
From my heart to yours, thank you for listening. If you liked this episode, please share it because sharing is caring. And until next time, give and share compassion by being hurt with yours. And if you’re hurting know that what you’re feeling is normal and natural. Much love my friend
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