Krista St-Germain is a Master Certified Life Coach, grief expert, widow, mom, and host of The Widowed Mom Podcast.

When her husband was killed by a drunk driver in 2016, Krista’s life was completely and unexpectedly flipped upside down. After therapy helped her unfurl from the fetal position, Krista discovered Life Coaching, Post Traumatic Growth and learned the tools she needed to move forward and create a future she could get excited about. Now she coaches and teaches other widows so they can love life again, too.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Why do traumatic situations often feel like a movie playing out before your eyes?
  • What is Post Traumatic Growth: Scientists have now discovered that loss can actually be a catalyst for growth and a source of resilience and strength.
  • The myths about grief stages: The popular “5 stages of grief” actually isn’t based on the grief of losing a loved one.
  • What the widow/survivor fog is: Feel like you’ve been in a daze after losing your partner/child/parent? Forgetting to pay the mortgage? Forgetting to pick up the kids from school? This is VERY normal and Krista can explain why your brain might be feeling a little foggy.
  • Why you must take care of yourself first: Remember the last time you were on an airplane? Didn’t your flight attendant remind you to take care of yourself before you try to assist others in case of an emergency? The same is true with grief. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Here Krista can share why you have to process your grief and trauma in order to ever be able to help your kids through their grief too.
  • The truth about moving forward: You won’t move on, you won’t get over it, but you WILL figure out how to love your spouse/child/parent, miss them and keep on living.

You can find Krista at:



Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried, but what if, like a seed we’ve been planted and having been planted, to grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes. Open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith.

Hey everybody, this is Brian back with another episode of grief to growth and today I’ve got with me Krista St. Germain. I’m gonna read her bio and then we’ll get started as we always do. Krista is a master certified life coach. She’s a grief expert. She’s a widow. She’s a mom, and she’s the host of the widowed mom podcast. When her husband was killed by a drunk driver in 2016, Chris’s life was completely and unexpectedly flipped upside down. After therapy helped her unfurl from the fetal position. Chris’s discovered life coaching, post traumatic growth and learn the tools she needed to move forward and create a future she can get excited about. Now she coaches and teaches other widows so they can love life again, too. So with that, I want to welcome Krista St. St. Germain to grief to growth. Thank you, Brian. I’m excited to be here. Yeah, it’s great to have you here. I want to talk to you about your your story. What happened with you. And I know you said in your in your introduction, that therapy helps you. So I’d like to also find out what type of therapy you found that actually helped you to get through this.

Krista St-Germain 1:49
Yeah, so I had had, so my husband was my second marriage kind of my redemption story after the first marriage didn’t end well. And so I had met a lovely therapist, amazing therapist while I was going through my divorce. And so I hadn’t seen her in quite a while. But she was one of the first calls that I made after Hugo died. And so I don’t know in terms of style of therapy, if I would classify it much more than just by saying, I got a chance to tell my story as many times as I needed to tell it, to make it real to my brain. Because in those early days, it was so surreal. And I’m sure you know, most people who have experienced a loss can relate to that where you intellectually understand that what has happened is truly real, and that they aren’t actually coming back from a business trip in a week. But there’s just a part of you that doesn’t quite believe that. And so, just being able to talk to her and tell the story and not burden, at least I felt like it was a burden. The other people in my life, who either were grieving themselves, or who didn’t know what to do with my grief, was incredibly useful to me. I just needed to talk about the accident and talk about the details and, you know, share all of my regrets and the guilt and the anger and just get it out until I could come to terms with what had happened and kind of get back to that baseline of functioning. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Brian Smith 3:22
So tell me about Hugo. Ah,

Krista St-Germain 3:24
he was lovely. It’s kind of a renaissance guy. He was. He was French Canadian. And he came to the town that I live in to work for Lombardi A, which is a company that manufactures jets. And so it was in us an engineer. And so he was just kind of geeky, right? But really well rounded. He could talk to you about anything. He was very shy, but had this boisterous fun, laugh, his accent, his French accent was very strong. He was just, he was all the things. To me, he really was kind of proof to me that true love is possible that I could be treated the way that I wanted to be treated, that there are people on the planet who will love you and accept you for all of your faults and flaws and darkness. And yeah, he was just an amazing guy.

Brian Smith 4:19
So how did you find out about his his passing? Were you?

Krista St-Germain 4:24
Yeah, I was there. So we had come back. Yeah, ironically, we had come back from a volunteer trip. So when I was in my early 20s, one of my sorority sisters was killed. And in her memory, we started a summer camp program for youth who are visually impaired. And so we were on our Gosh, 17th 18th year of that program. And so Hugo and I had been volunteering. It’s called Heather’s camp at Heather’s camp. And so we were on our way back home. We had driven separately he’d gone out a couple of days ahead of me and then I came out in my own vehicle. And so as we were coming home, I had a flat tire in my car, and I pulled off to the side of the road shoulder of the interstate. And he pulled up behind me off to the side blinkers on caution, lights, everything. And he just wanted to change the tire himself, we had paid for triple A. But, you know, his thought was, it’ll just be faster, I can do it, there’s a tire in the trunk, I don’t want to wait on triple A. And to be quite honest, it was against my better judgment, I felt that the whizzing of the cars coming by on the highway, you know, 80 miles an hour or so. And but I didn’t, I didn’t exist. I just said okay. And so I was standing on the side of the road facing away from the traffic but texting my daughter to let her know that we would be late because she was also returning from the trip. But she had ridden the bus with the children. And he was trying to get into my trunk to get access to the spare tire. And a driver that we later found out had meth and alcohol in his system. It’s 530 on a Sunday daylight, right? no brakes, just slammed into the back of the Durango trapped him in between the Durango and the Camry. And you know, within 24 hours he was gone. So I was right there.

Brian Smith 6:15
Wow, I’m so sorry. Wow. Yeah. So even though you’re right there, you mentioned earlier, the the shock, our brains just don’t want to accept something like this happens. Right? So what was it like in the early days and weeks following this? How is your brain functioning?

Krista St-Germain 6:34
Just so surreal. I recently, since I just moved, just move this weekend, I’ve been going through some of my old things. And one of the things that I looked at last couple of days was the journal that I kept, right after he died. I kept that journal for quite a while, but I was reading through some of my earlier entries. And yeah, just this, I can’t believe this happened, I can’t believe it felt like everything that I had wanted in the future just evaporated. Right, because not to say there weren’t other facets of my life that were important and well rounded, because there certainly were but my vision for the future was of us, right the trips who are going to take and the memories are going to make and we had just hiked mount Harvey or sorry, Mount Yale, in Colorado, which is a fourteener. And we didn’t train very well, it didn’t go well. But, you know, we had plans the next year to hike not Harvard. And so yeah, I just couldn’t really believe it. And I was so consumed in the early days, also, with what I should have done differently. In my mind, you know, I should have pulled up farther on the highway, I should have insisted we call triple A I should have had that tire checked before we left we should have left at a different time. All of these things, I after the fact was still trying to control that just couldn’t, weren’t ever meant to be controlled. But in the early days, you know, I was trying really hard to just control them. Also, you know, you’re focused on in the early days, just getting through the logistics. Right. So just planning the service and, and dealing with the insurance and of course, consoling my children. And, you know, his mother flew into town and didn’t make it before he passed because she lives in, in Quebec, and, you know, dealing with having the family in town and, and all of that just is crazy. We had also booked a trip we had bought in June, we had bought into a timeshare in Mexico. And we had scheduled a trip for the second week in August to take our children down there. So his son, my two children, and he died August 1, and the trip was two weeks later. So trying to decide do we still plan? Do we still go on the trip? And we ultimately did took my dad and took the kids and tried to do you know, tried to try to just be normal? But it’s just kind of a blur?

Brian Smith 9:02
Yeah, yeah, I think you know, the thing about losses like this, I was just sick before we get started, you know, every loss is unique, of course. In my cases, my 15 year old daughter and your case it was your your spouse, but in some ways they’re kind of universal. It’s that it’s the fog that we go through. It’s a surreal feeling like this couldn’t have really happened. It’s the that you mentioned earlier, the anger and the guilts the things that we think we should have been able to control this should have been omniscient, right, we should have been able to see that this dummy. And we should have said or done something different. I think that’s a very common experience that people go through. How did you learn to deal with that? How did you learn to deal with all those different things?

Krista St-Germain 9:47
something in me just knew pretty early on. I don’t exactly know why but something in me just knew that that would not bear fruit that I wanted. Right. So I could kind of tell that it was an Optional mind game that I could play with myself that if I allowed, it would go nowhere fast. And so somehow I was able to just kind of I don’t even know if it was shut it down, but just pivot a little bit in my thinking and just go, Okay, yeah, we could have done it differently, but we didn’t. And, you know, whenever we’re focusing on what we can’t control, then that limits our ability to focus on what we can. So what can we control here, here? Here we are, in this moment, this has happened? What aspects? Can we influence? And where do we want to put our energy? I think some of it maybe came from just a lifelong love of self development. And, you know, I started at 16, reading, a return to love with Marianne Williamson, and, you know, just always kind of on this spiritual path and self development path. And so this, I think, was, I had a lot of tools already, in my tool belt of life and life experience. And, and those things, they just were were available for me to play off of.

Brian Smith 11:10
Yeah, that sounds like yeah, you must you kind of were prepared, at least in some way to understand, you know, having done some of the self development work and knowing that that was a, it’s a dead end path. But it’s a path that most of us go down, at least for a while. Yeah, until we figure out that it’s a dead end path. And, and you talked earlier, you said, you know, what I want to kind of emphasize what you said about like you, we think about all the things that we’re missing out on all the plants have had. And that’s what we focus on, suddenly, we get very laser focus on that one aspect of our life, and how it’s going to change. So, and I’ve seen this for the benefit of the people that are listening, that have gone through this, because a lot of my clients are like, there’s something wrong with me. And I feel like the brain fog and all this stuff. And it’s like, no, this is a very common thing that we go through in this type of situation. I remember what Shayna you were talking about that, you know, all the logistics of a family coming into town and making. And so a lot of people go on autopilot for the first few weeks. They’ll even say, Well, I feel like I’m numb. I’m not feeling anything. It’s because your your brains just kind of you’ve gotten into robotic mode. You’re just doing anything I need to get done.

Krista St-Germain 12:18
Yeah. And I I’m in retrospect, I’m glad for that. Yes, I think if I had felt the full impact of the loss instantly, it would have so overwhelmed me that I don’t think I would have been able to function. So I think I’m really grateful that it did feel numb and hazy and confusing. I mean, there were still a lot of tears and a lot of railing. But to have felt the full brunt of it would have been just incomprehensible.

Brian Smith 12:46
Did you feel any resentment to an outside force, whether it’s God or anything else, the universe, you know, but you this is your second chance at marriage? And it sounds like you know, it was great. How did how did that play out for you?

Announcer 13:04
I mean, oddly, I didn’t.

Krista St-Germain 13:09
And I know a lot of people do. And I don’t want to say that I didn’t in order to make anyone else think that they shouldn’t be thinking the way that I was thinking but I think my belief was that God the universe was his love. Like, that’s where I come from. Right? Like so it’s all divine. It’s all love. And it’s not, you know, nobody’s out there trying to harm you. Nobody’s out there, you know, punishing you for wrongdoings of your past that. I don’t have to understand why it happened. And I don’t even have to believe there’s a purpose for it to have happened. But I don’t believe I choose not to believe that. You know, I don’t know there’s any ill will or anything to be mad about. It’s just like, Huh, okay, didn’t see this coming. This is not at all what I expected. This is not at all what I wanted. But yet, this is what it is.

Brian Smith 14:09
Yeah. Tell me about your your family. You mentioned you, you have children and you go has children. So how many what ages are they?

Krista St-Germain 14:18
Yeah. So at the time, my daughter was 12 and my son was nine. And then he goes son was 17. Yeah, almost at the time. And so it was Hugo’s, it wasn’t actually his biological son. It was his son from his first marriage, but he had been, you know, in Lance’s life since Lance was in diapers, so it was the only father he ever knew. But technically, it wasn’t his biological dad. So yeah, and Lance, you know, lived with his mother. And it was really rough. It’s really rough on him. Till Yeah,

Brian Smith 14:56
I can only imagine. It had to be really tough. My children and so you’re dealing with your own grief while you’re trying to help them deal with their grief, I assume.

Krista St-Germain 15:05
Yeah. Yeah, it was interesting. I didn’t expect. So I expected that my daughter would be the most sad. It’s interesting. So what happened is that for my son, the youngest, his biggest impact was realizing that people you love can die. Because he had never lost a grandparent, he had never lost anyone that he loved. And so for him, it became about the fear that I would die. Right. And I remember him saying, one time, I was tucking him into bed, and he said, Mommy, I hope I die a couple of seconds before you die. That way I don’t ever have to live any, any without you. Wow. And so that so it was a different kind of loss for him compared to my daughter, who she felt the impact of what she lost in the future. Even though she had never really lost anyone that she loved that was, you know, a close family relative either. She could see what Hugo and her relationship and that relationship would offer her in the future. She was looking forward to him. He was a barefoot water skier, a snow skier he was looking, she was looking forward to that. Right. She was looking forward to him helping her with math. He’s an engineer. So those things came easily to him. He was, you know, would have been the one helping her with calculus. Yeah. And she was looking forward to that she was looking forward to the French, you know, he was she wanted to learn French from him. And so for her, it was just a different kind of loss. And then for Lance, it was, you know, the loss of the only solid male role model in his life. At a very important age.

Brian Smith 16:43
Yeah, yeah. Very important age. Yeah. So, um, how are your kids dealing with the now it’s been about five years? Yeah, but five years coming up. So how are your kids doing with it now?

Krista St-Germain 16:54
exceptionally well, exceptionally? Well, I think my daughter must be an old soul. You know, she I remember one time we were in, we were at the cabin in Colorado, my dad’s cabin. And Hugo loved it out there. And I was saying something about how we were looking at the valley because it’s big picture windows in the house and looking at the valley and out. I told her I said, I wish she goes here to see this. And she looked at me and she was like, Mama, he’s here. Like, what are you talking about? Like? Could you ever think that he’s not here? And I’m okay, she’s got it. You know, good reminder. For me, of course, like I like, how did I drift away from what I know to be true. But, you know, for her, it was just kind of a done deal. I think. You know, Lance ended up graduating from school doing very well joining the Marines, and figuring it out for himself. But, you know, you never know what it would have been like, if he had had his dad here. I don’t know. But I think he’s done remarkably well. I put both of my kids in just a little bit of grief counseling. But, you know, they didn’t really seem to need it that much.

Brian Smith 18:05
That’s great. So how is I wish I said earlier, not every situation is a little bit different. And I know what it’s like for parents to have children, you know, pass. What are some unique challenges that widows face? That’s what are some unique challenges you face going through grief as as a widow?

Krista St-Germain 18:24
Yeah. Such a good question. There’s a lot, I think what’s most shocking to most widows is they are so not prepared for how it will impact every area of life, you often don’t realize how much you rely on your partner for aspects of your purpose, right for your thoughts about the future and what’s possible for you for yourself confidence, that’s always a shock. I think people perceive themselves to be confident and then do not expect how unconfident they feel going forward. Yeah, it just permeates every aspect of life. Solo parenting, right, all the pressure that we put on ourselves to be both parents.

Unknown Speaker 19:17
So not helpful.

Krista St-Germain 19:21
You know, the drama of when do you date again? Do you date again? How do you involve your kids in that? You know, do you go back to work when? Well, what’s the drama? If you get life insurance, money and how you spend it? what other people think of your choices? How long do you wear your wedding ring? When do you take it off? You know, all of these kinds of things that you just never really gave much thought to before? Right? And then then there they are.

Brian Smith 19:45
Yeah, I can only not even imagined, but I was thinking about that when I was thinking about interviewing you. Ironically, or synchronistically or whatever. We had a friend just passed away suddenly in March. She was 49 years old, a good friend might know my wife that I’ve known for over 20 years, friends with, you know, she and her and her husband, and, you know, went over to his house for dinner, you know, a few weeks ago, and just the dynamic of, and I was gonna ask you this, because when people you’re together as couples, right, but a lot of times when we’re married, we were friends as couples. So what happens when one person we’ve had, we’ve had people get divorced before, but when some suddenly one of your friends is single, you know, that’s got to be a weird dynamic for both you and for the other people.

Krista St-Germain 20:33
So much. So yeah, I just did a podcast episode on being a third wheel, because that’s how it feels. Right? Is Yeah, that you are the third wheel? And how do you interact with these people? And, you know, what, if they were your partner’s friends, more so than yours? And, you know, now you feel like the odd person out? And yeah, it’s just there’s a lot that relationships with in laws can be very challenging. Yeah, I’m watching a lot of a lot of my clients right now go through to this kind of, we’re coming back into a functioning society, you know, as things start to reopen, and, and there have been some elements of, you know, being at home that have been kind of easier to deal with, for some people harder in some ways, but easier in others, you know, now, my mom’s are going back to the baseball diamond and answering the awkward question of, you know, what is your husband do for a living? You know, those kinds of things, or, you know, just getting back out in the world and, and figuring out how to function without their person. That’s really a challenge.

Brian Smith 21:35
Yeah, I’m curious, did you have friends fall away with the with the sun just couldn’t handle it, or

Krista St-Germain 21:43
less so than I imagined, I was really lucky in that he and I worked together at the same company. And so I don’t think a lot of people have that luxury. And some people might not even think it’s a luxury, some people might choose to see it differently. But I just felt so surrounded, both by family who loved me and friends who loved me, but also by co workers who not only loved me, but loved him, and felt that loss felt the impact of that loss, and just rallied. So yes, relationships have changed over time. But if anything, I don’t know, people seem to come out of the woodwork to be kind to me.

Brian Smith 22:30
Yeah, that’s, that’s great. Because a lot of times when there’s a loss, no matter what the loss is, people just get awkward. And they don’t know what to say. And sometimes, yeah, it’s like, they just kind of go away. Yeah, and, you know, I and I want to go over some of the things because I know there’s no, you know, Pat answers for any of these. But when your clients, I’m sure they ask you questions, like, when should I start dating again? or How long do I wear my my ring? And you know, stuff like that? So what, what are those conversations like?

Krista St-Germain 22:57
Yeah, well, they’re always, you know, with the foundation of, I don’t know what’s best for your life that you do. Right. So let’s not use what Christa thinks as the authority here, let’s use what you think. And then also, just timelines aren’t relevant when it comes to these things. So you know, I wear my red wedding ring for I don’t know, a year. And then at a certain point, it felt like time to take it off. I switched actually switched it from one hand to another. And then at a certain point, it felt like it was time to take it off. With How long do you keep things, you know, clothing and memorabilia. And to me, it just don’t rush it, you do what feels right to you. There’s no reason to rush into any of this. You do it in stages, if you want to do it in stages, but it’s not going anywhere. You don’t have to hurry through that dating again. Are you looking to fill a hole of void? Right, because if that’s the reason, you probably won’t enjoy your dating experience or your relationships experience, as much as you will, if you go into it doing kind of some of that self work that sometimes needs to be done. And get yourself to a position where you realize No, actually I am whole and worthy and fully complete. And I don’t need I don’t have a missing piece that I need to find. You know or fill. I’ve got me. And in the reason I might want to date again is not to fill a void. It’s tough love to to find someone to love, right to experience more love. And then it becomes about giving and less about getting. And it’s more fun, right? It’s we don’t end up being so needy and clingy. And there’s less drama that way.

Brian Smith 24:28
Yeah, yeah, that’s I think that’s great advice. Because I would also imagine, and I don’t know, I just said, Did you have friends saying okay, Krista, it’s time to get back out there again, trying to fix you up.

Krista St-Germain 24:40
Yes. And I was not ready for a long time. And I don’t there’s nothing against anyone who’s ready immediately, right. The first time I went out I remember going out with someone and I didn’t think it was a date. I thought it was just me getting together with a co worker who I hadn’t seen in a while. And I realized while we were On this pseudo date that he thought it was a date and I was not ready, I went to my cart, and I just cried. I was really angry. That was probably the angriest I’ve ever been. Just that I did not want to have to date again, I had worked felt like I had worked so hard to find you go, right, right, right. Like, I don’t want to be here. I just want to go, you know, it’s just so unfair. And so I eased my way into it. I didn’t date until almost four years in three and a half, four years. Okay. But yeah, people do want to hook you up because they think it’s a problem. We’re socialized to believe that we’re supposed to be in a relationship, right, especially as women, you know, sometimes we’re taught to believe that our value is as a parent, as a mom as a wife, and that we can’t be okay. alone. And so people think they’re being very helpful. Mm hmm. For sure. Yeah, that’s not how I experienced it.

Announcer 25:52
We’ll get back to grief to growth in just a few seconds. Did you know that Brian is an author and a life coach, if you’re grieving or know someone who is grieving his book, grief to growth is a best selling easy to read book that might help you or someone you know, people work with Brian as a life coach, to break through barriers and live their best lives. You can find out more about Brian and what he offers at WWW dot grief to www dot g ri, e f, the number two gr o w th calm. If you’d like to support this podcast, visit slash grief to growth slash g ri e f, the number two gr o w th to make a financial contribution. And now back to grief to growth.

Brian Smith 26:49
So let’s talk about the you mentioned and some of the notes you sent me. You said something about post traumatic growth. So what is post traumatic growth view? And how does that apply?

Krista St-Germain 26:59
Yeah, so post traumatic growth, I remember when I heard about post traumatic growth, it was like the record scratch moment, you know, where you’re like, what, because I think everyone’s familiar with post traumatic stress disorder, but I’ve never really heard this idea of post traumatic growth. So. So, you know, it’s this, this idea developed by a couple of researchers to dashi and Calhoun in the early 90s, that not only can you bounce back from a trauma, meaning that you can get back to the same level of functioning and the same level of life satisfaction, which used to be the goal, right, it was to get back to where you were before the trauma. But these two researchers came along and offered the idea, of course, because they studied it, that you could actually achieve growth after trauma, that you could take that trauma, and then leverage it. Right and, and become more satisfied with your life live a life that you’re, that’s even more aligned with what you value that’s even more filled with possibility and deeper spiritual connection and better relationships, and, you know, stronger appreciation and all of these things. And so, this is kind of my biggest pet peeve. I think, sometimes we use this phrase new normal against ourselves, I don’t know how you feel about it. But yes, it’s never gonna be the same as it was when the person was in the flesh right next to us. But what I see is that a lot of people use that phrase against themselves. And they, they’ll say things like, Well, you know, I’m getting used to my new normal, and it said, with this resignation implied that life will never be as good as it once was, but I’m getting used to it. And so what I love about post traumatic growth is it just really, you know, blows that theory up, and says, No, you know, your losses, your loss, and you get to be the boss of your life, and you get to decide, if you want to grow, it’s not that it’s, you know, morally superior to do that. But you get to be the boss, and I just love that.

Brian Smith 29:02
Yeah, I think that’s, I think that’s really wise. And, you know, I have a lot of clients will say to me, will I ever get will ever get back to the person I was before. And I always say to them, I hope you don’t hope you become a person, you know? Yeah, otherwise, you’re just wasting this experience that you’ve gone through. And there’s, but there’s always this tension that, you know, we were always gonna carry that, that loss with us that pain that we’re gonna have that longing and stuff, but it doesn’t mean our lives can’t be good again. And I think a lot of times, especially in those early days, the biggest thing is believing that it can be good. Believing that we can actually, you know, do do well for us to do better. So I’m curious. It’s, you know, it’s been it’s a relatively short period of time since since you guys passing. How long was it before you decide to become a life coach?

Krista St-Germain 29:49
Pretty fast. So that was another one of the tools that I had had in my tool belt was I had been following a life coach, just listening to her podcast and so in a way Her tools and what she taught, but really not ever interested in being a life coach. In fact, I would refer people to her podcast and I would tell them to ignore the life coach part. I guess I just, you know, I don’t know, I’m from the Midwest, and maybe we’re slow to adapt to trends here. But I kind of thought maybe it was sketchy. So. But I got to that point where, you know, I was back to functioning, I was back to work, my therapist was saying, you’re doing so great, you’re so strong, you know, all the things. And I’m thinking in my mind, Okay, thank you. And I agree that I am doing well, but also on the inside, just feeling kind of hollow and empty. And thinking that there has to be more for my life than this. Like it can’t just be checking off the to do list and going to work and feeding the children and robotically going through the motions. And two things kind of happened at the same time. One was that my therapist said you should be a therapist. She had it all planned out. She said, I’ll help you get into an MFT program. When I retire, you can buy my practice. I mean, she was like, she was ready. Wow. And so that so in December, so if you died in August, in December, I applied for that MFT program, had to wait until the following September for it to start. And in January, the coach that I had been following started a program that I joined. And so I was taking another prerequisite for the MFT that I didn’t have from my bachelor’s degrees abnormal psych class. And I was showing up and being coached as a part of this program that this coach was running. And it was so powerful for me that six months, just really six months of that program, that I decided I don’t want to be a therapist, I don’t want to be a coach. First, I thought, well, I’ll just, I’ll just go through the MFT program. And I’ll do coaching on the side, as I work my way through the MFT program, because it was going to take a couple of years plus working full time. And then by the time it it came time to start, I decided no, it’s it’s the scarier path to become a coach. But this is calling me and I can’t ignore this call. And this is this is what I needed all the tools I was learning through that coaching program. Were the reason I was changing profoundly. Yeah. And I just decided everybody’s gonna think I’m crazy. And that’s okay. I’m just gonna go for it. So in September, I started training. So Hugo died in August, the next September, I did my life coach training in person took another three or four months to do the follow up and actually get certified and finish it. And then I quit my job in January. I know right, and I actually happened to quit my job to go and work for that coach on a on a trial, which was felt very safe to me, because she offered me it was a slight pay cut from what I was making, but it felt like a solid job. And it didn’t work out. The It was like a trial kind of job. And it just didn’t work for either of us. And but it helped me get out of my job. Right? It helped me leave that corporate world that I was in. And so I just decided, when that didn’t work out, I was just gonna throw myself into coaching and, and just go for it and not look back. And I didn’t. And yeah, you know, it was rough the first year it took it took a while to build a successful business. But, man, I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine actually still being at that job. Most people are being laid off production lines shutting down. Not deeply satisfying.

Brian Smith 33:41
Right, right. Yeah, yeah. This is your you’re a fantastic example of post traumatic growth. And you know, it’s interesting, as you’re telling your story, you were saying, You’re from the Midwest, I’m from the Midwest, I’m from Ohio, and I would hear about life coaches, and I would actually make jokes about life coaches, you know, there’s a, you know, there was a meal I actually posted before I became a coach and says, you know, eat more kale kale there, I’m your life coach. No, it’s I’m like, you know, we’re like, what is it just rich people that have life coaches that just have too much money? You know, what’s, what’s the deal with his life coaching thing, and with me, it was a friend that I happen to working with. She’s a medium and I do this work for helping parents heal. Yeah. And she said, Brian, there’s just life coaching class that I saw online, I thought you might want to take it and I was like, why would you think I wouldn’t want to take a life coaching class, and then I realized a lot of what I was doing with people was I was coaching them. And so it’s kind of like Well, yeah, I might as well do this, but it still feels weird when I tell people that I do life coaching but it’s so satisfying. It’s such great word.

Krista St-Germain 34:39
Yeah, because most people don’t understand what you mean when you say that you do life coaching they’re like well, you know, what do you mean what is that exactly? I think it’s becoming more familiar but yeah, it’s still less known than

Brian Smith 34:49
Yeah, it is. In a different aspects in some people are like I need a life coach helped me lose weight, you know, stuff like that, or I need a life coach and I and that’s stuff that I can do but my specialty is More around grief, I know, you’re not dealing with what you’ve gone through, you’ve worked with widows for the most part is exclusively with widows

Krista St-Germain 35:07
exclusively. Yeah, explicitly. And honestly, when I decided to become a coach, I really wasn’t planning to work with widows. I still I thought it would be too sad. Hmm. And so I just hadn’t done enough of my own work yet. And then at a certain point, I realized, oh, wait a minute, why would I work with anyone else, I would write, like, I have an insight into this experience. And, and there’s nothing else out there. At least at the time, there was nothing else out there like it, it was. So so it was really fun to go and create what I wish I could have found, right to take what I know about grief and all the grief studies that I’ve done, and then what I learned from my teacher and in certification, and then you just take all of that life experience. And, you know, like, it sounds like what you’ve done right, and then put it together in a way that helps a very specific problem.

Brian Smith 35:59
Yeah, you know, it’s really interesting, because I call myself a grief guide, and a life coach, and I put them both out there. I’ve done very little, I’ve done a couple people that are life coach clients, but most of them are coming to me because of grief. Yeah. And so I think we kind of attract the clients that that you know, that need us and that we can, we can help. And as I was saying, it’s really, when you can, when you can talk to someone and say I’ve been through what you’re going through, I think that gives you that gives you a lot more credibility with them. And they feel like they can relate to you. And it’s interesting, because I have people that I offer half hour consultation, people, I don’t know what this is about, some just sign up for half an hour. It almost always goes an hour, at least. They’re like, Oh, yeah, now I see what this is, you know, now, now I get it. So it’s really, it’s great. I really, I applaud you for taking that leap of faith to, to go out and do this and to allow this experience in your life to launch you into the next thing. Yeah,

Krista St-Germain 36:57
thank you. I’m so glad that I did. It’s given me so much more than I could ever give, honestly, the people that I serve, it’s so fulfilling. I just can’t imagine doing anything else now.

Brian Smith 37:09
So when you work with clients, what can a client expect? If I if I’m a widow? And I’m like, okay, I might reach out to her What? What would I expect a session to be like, or the process to be like?

Krista St-Germain 37:21
Well, I do groups now. So I don’t do any more one on one, or in the early days, I just did just exclusively one on one. And then at a certain point, you know, you hear the same stories over and over and over, you hear the same ways that people think there’s something wrong with them when what you know, is that it’s just grief. Right? Yeah. And so I got to that place where I thought, you know, if I could just get people together, not because we’re going to go around the room and each talk and share. That’s not how I do it. But because if one woman can hear another woman’s story and see herself in that story, and she can see, oh, it’s not me, there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m not broken, you know, I’m not damaged, this is just the way of it, then we can get some of those basic, but really challenging grief aspects, we can work through them faster. And then we can move on to the things that are kind of more individual. So the way that I run my program, it’s a six month program, all widows all moms, and I coach in a group setting. So I coach, you know, on zoom, Brady Bunch style, so everyone can see each other, they can turn their cameras off if they don’t want to. But I coach one person at a time while everyone else watches, which is amazing, because I find that our brain can be a little bit resistant. I don’t know if you’ve, if this resonates with you. But our brain can be a little bit resistant when we’re the one in the hot seat. Because the coaches is challenging you a little bit in a loving way. And it’s kind of sometimes hard to absorb it, versus the experience of watching someone else get coached when it’s not your life and your brain isn’t resistant, and you can so clearly see the issue. And you can watch the you know, the coach and the client work together on it and go, Oh, that’s what’s happening to me. That’s I’m doing that. Like she’s getting coached on the challenge that she’s having with her mother in law and her thoughts about her mother in law, you know, her mother in law’s telling her she’s responsible for her spouse’s death or whatever. And I’m having that, you know, a very similar challenge with my sister in law. It’s may be different, but so easy to leverage what other people are going through without the brain being in that kind of resistance state. Yeah, so we do a lot of group calls in that way. I do a lot of coaching online, we use an app so that you know, in between calls, because maybe something comes up tomorrow and the next call isn’t until Thursday or whatever. You know, they can come to me inside the app, a lot of celebrating a lot of training our brain to focus on what we want to see more of and then also have a self paced component to my program. So my goal is to To give people the tools that they need all the tools that I wish I would have had, you know, the pathway to work through the most common obstacles. Even if they don’t get it all done within six months, they’ll have it forever, right? And then I can set them up to be self sufficient at the end of the six months. So they understand grief, they understand how their brain works, they understand how to manage their emotional life, they understand as oddly as it sounds, how to feel their feelings, because nobody taught us this. Right. That’s the first thing I teach people is how to feel feelings. I teach them how to do Emotional Freedom Technique tapping, because I just am in love with that tool and position them well, that’s so that by the end of six months, they’ve worked through what they came to work through, and they’re ready to go.

Brian Smith 40:46
That sounds awesome. Yeah. And that’s, that’s the thing. I think a lot of people confuse life coaching with therapy or traditional therapy. And they think it’s like a lifelong thing. And one of the things when I was going through life coaching, training, and I loved that the program I took the guy was like, our job is to make people self sufficient. It’s not to make them dependent on us. We don’t want that we don’t want men that we don’t want. But clients shouldn’t have to come to us for years and years and years. If they aren’t, we’re not doing our job.

Krista St-Germain 41:12
We’re not doing our jobs, I could not agree with you more. Interestingly, I have, I think I have some lifers in my program. And I think it’s because they’re most widows don’t have other widows in their orbit, to really have that sense of community with and that is, the one thing I see is that a lot of them don’t want to leave. It’s not because they don’t have the tools. It’s just because they love the sport, and they love the environment. It’s not even so much about me, as it is about the community. And so, you know, I prepare them to graduate at the six month mark. But I also have an opportunity for them to keep going if they want to. And as long as we’re they’re not using that as a crutch. Yeah, it’s good.

Brian Smith 41:51
I think the community is very important. I mentioned a couple times, I’m part of helping parents heal, which is we’re about 17,000 parents have had children transition. And just that not feeling like you’re alone, like you’re not the only one that has happened to and to, as you said, the group thing, because we have calls and when people come on and say, Yeah, I went through this, or I’m going through this give of that I’m not crazy, you know, it’s not just me, and all these things, you know, the dealing with the family dynamics, you know, it’s like I said, what I was talking I was I was being interviewed on a program, and I slipped up because I was that’s when I was like bear grief. And you know, but parents, we’ve lost a child when we think that’s the worst. I mean, frankly, so I was talking with these people. And I said, Yeah, you know, I had the worst thing, you know, I lost a daughter, you know, 15 year old daughter. And this woman that was interviewing me says, I’ve actually got a foster child, and I just lost my husband. And she said, For me losing my husband was worse. Because it’s every aspect of your life. It’s it’s all day. And we know that when we get married, we can say it till death do us part, we don’t really believe that’s going to happen, right? Or it’s going to happen a lot where 90, right? And it’s not what happened till we’re 90, it’s not supposed to happen. You know why we still have kids in the house, it’s not supposed to happen. While we’re still you know, I said with my with my friend, this was sudden, I mean, she just she had a blood clot, and just was here one day in little Oregon. And next and we’re all you know, still, like my wife was in book club with her. And they’re like, this is just really surreal for us. And, and then, you know, trying to figure out how to deal with the person, the other person. So it’s complicated for everybody, I guess, is what I’m saying.

Krista St-Germain 43:34
Yeah, I think it’s just subjective. It’s each human having a different experience, because each human is interpreting their experience differently. Yeah. So you know, to your point, yeah, it’s, it’s not so useful to compare, because who are we to say what what I might experience is traumatic, might not be so traumatic for someone else, and vice versa. And that’s okay.

Brian Smith 43:55
Yeah, yeah, exactly. But I like to I like your idea of people being in groups and being able to benefit from you coaching other people. And I hadn’t thought about that before. But sometimes we do get resistant or defensive. someone’s talking directly to us. But if you’re talking to somebody else we can we can see the problem the other person. And so yeah, they need to listen to what Chris is saying.

Krista St-Germain 44:15
Yeah, or one person’s bravery, you know, will will just be so valuable to the rest of the people there because maybe they would have never brought it up. You know, like, you know, sex after grief. Like, oh, nobody wants to talk about that. But then somebody, I’ll bring it up. And then you know, you hear the echoes in the chat of Oh, me too. Me too. Me too. I’m so glad you said it. I was too embarrassed to talk about it. And so you can really, in a comfortable loving, supportive environment, bring up some stuff that’s just hard for people to talk about and normalize it.

Brian Smith 44:44
Yeah, yeah, exactly. So I’m Chris how if people want to find out more about you, they want to reach out to you find out more about your program. How can they do that?

Krista St-Germain 44:54
Yeah, so they can go to coaching with Krista k ri STI calm or I love it. adding people to my podcast and don’t let the name deceive you my goal even though I only, you know, work on a paying client basis with women who are widows and moms, I hope that my podcast will help people who are grieving in general. And it’s called the widowed mom podcast. So pretty easy to find. So if they maybe aren’t a widow, but they just want to learn more, they can go to the podcast.

Brian Smith 45:23
Yeah. And actually, there was one other thing I wanted to talk to you about, cuz we kind of talked about a little bit before we get started. And it was about spirituality. And you said, you don’t specifically mentioned that in your coaching practice. I obviously make it a big part of what I do with my podcasts. And in my practice, so how do you? How do you help people have hope? How do you help people? You know, because, again, when we lose a spouse or something like that, we’re like, this is it. I’m just done. This is the worst thing that could ever happen. So how do you get people past that?

Krista St-Germain 45:56
Well, I think one of the biggest things that helps is just that they see my life’s example. Right? And then I always make a point of sharing other widows journeys, so that they can see it and other people too. So they don’t think that I’m a special snowflake. Yeah. Right. Because a lot of times, I think that tends to happen is we just people only show us the highlight reel on their, on their Instagram. And so they think, Oh, she must be special. So I try to tell a lot of stories. And then also, I know this sounds odd, maybe but at a certain point, I find hope is useful when you’re feeling hopeless. Right? But then also, how do I even want to see this? The need for hope, implies that where you are, is wrong. Right, the need for hope implies that we need to be somewhere in the present or in the past or mean, in the future in the past, as opposed to how do we stay in the present? Yeah. And find the beauty here?

Brian Smith 46:58
Yeah. Yeah, that’s a good point. That’s a really good point. Because Yeah, you’re right. Hope implies a future state. That’s different from the state that we’re in. So it’s, I guess, a matter of helping people feel comfortable with where they are.

Krista St-Germain 47:11
Yeah. Yeah. And live live in this moment. Yeah. It might suck. But it is. It is what we have right now. Right? And the good, I believe the good only exists, because we have the context of the quote unquote, bad. Right? We know joy, because we have despair. And so we’ve been socialized to believe that the bad is to be avoided. But really, if we want to look at it as a valuable part of our human experience, I think that opportunities available to us and I think that’s what adds rich and you know, a rich depth of experience. And you know, that’s appealing to me.

Brian Smith 47:56
Yeah, well, that’s, that’s a, that’s a hard lesson for a lot of us to take, right? Because we just went we just went joy all the time. We’re like, why would I? Why would I choose a life that has, quote, bad stuff in it?

Krista St-Germain 48:06
But we’re sold that right at every turn, we’re sold joy, we’re sold happiness, we’re supposed to be happier than we are. And that’s what creates so much suffering is this idea that we’re supposed to be somewhere other than where we are? Yeah. Right. When if we could just relax into where we are as uncertain and as sometimes painful as it feels, without thinking that we’re supposed to be somewhere else. We would save ourselves a lot of suffering.

Brian Smith 48:31
Yeah, that’s, that’s right. Very wise. Thank you. Any last thoughts you want to you want to share with us before we before we leave for today?

Krista St-Germain 48:39
I love this conversation. I’m just really grateful to be here.

Brian Smith 48:43
Yeah, well, it’s, it’s a pleasure to meet you. And I again, I applaud you for what you’re doing, which what you’ve done your for your bravery. And then for your sharing with other people to help other people come along through this, this journey that, you know, it’s we always talk, we have the garden sealed, this is the club nobody wants to be in. Yeah. And and being, you know, in a situation Sure, and I’m sure it’s something that you would have never, you know, wished or anticipated. But to take that and turn it into something beneficial. something beautiful, is just amazing transformation.

Krista St-Germain 49:21
You know, that’s one thing I would say, Brian, just to add on to that, because I think a lot of times people think, well, if I’m going to grow from the experience, then I have to be glad it happened. And I just would want to offer that we don’t have to be glad it happened to still choose to grow from the experience. Right. And yeah,

Brian Smith 49:42
yeah, that’s a very good point also, because, you know, it’s it’s a it’s, it’s hard because my daughter, it’s it’ll be six years in three days since she passed. And I, I only know one person that I’ve worked with and I’ve worked with hundreds of people who has said I’m I’m glad that much I’ll pass and not in not in a mean sense, but since I have a better relationship with them now than I did before, because it’s because of a deep spiritual understanding. But for most of us, we’re like, Yes, I’ve chosen to make something good out of this. And yes, you know, there’s growth that’s come through this, but I would give anything to have my my daughter back, you know, I would not my human at Brian would not choose this. And this is for me where spirituality comes in. Because I think from a higher perspective, I understand why I’m going through this. And from a higher perspective, I can get through it, but the part of me, and I’m looking at myself now looks, I see Shane over my shoulder, and I miss her every time I look at her. So I want people to understand that when we say that we’re taking something and we’re going to grow from it. It doesn’t mean that we’re glad it happened. It doesn’t mean we’re ever going to be glad that it happened. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have bad days that we don’t have bad times. I don’t I can’t speak for you, but I do. I still do. And I probably always will at some point.

Krista St-Germain 51:02
Yep, totally agree. Let’s move on to having just moved. Oh my gosh, all the stuff that came up just moving out of that house where I had so many memories and still had stuff to deal with and oh, yeah, grief, grief grenades everywhere.

Unknown Speaker 51:15
Yeah. Yeah, that’s the way of it.

Brian Smith 51:17
Yeah, they’re out there. And I tell people don’t try to avoid them. You know, is some people say I’m gonna avoid you can’t avoid the triggers. Now they’re out there. They’re all over the place. Just walk through the minefield and let them blow up. Amen. Thank you so much. Yeah. Well, thank you for being here. Chris. It was great to see you. Hopefully people will reach out to you and you know, learn about more about your coaching program. listen to the podcast, the widowed mom podcast if you want to hear more from Krista and then you know, hopefully if you say that she would be a good fit for you for Coach reach out to her. Thank you. Alright, have a great rest of your day. You too. Bye. So that does it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you enjoyed it. If you like this content, make sure you subscribe. So click on the subscribe button here, and then click on the bell to receive notifications and click on all that way you’ll be notified whenever I release new content. Thanks for watching and have a great day.

Transcribed by

Bridget Finklaire is an author and spiritual teacher. We had a wide-ranging discussion as she has a wealth of knowledge to share that comes from years of experience. She’s a wealth of knowledge. I started with six pages of notes and we only got to about half of what I wanted to talk to her about in our hour together.

Bridget is originally from the UK and lived in London for many years before moving to Cape Town, South Africa. She is a qualified and experienced psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and healer, and used to work in London’s Harley Street.

Since 1995, Bridget has been on a journey of spiritual awakening. She’s studied and taught many spiritual, metaphysical, and personal development teachings and explored different techniques – from meditation to yoga and from chanting to prayer. She currently facilitates a study group for The Book of Knowledge, The Keys of Enoch (r) by Dr. JJ Hurtak.

In 2012, Bridget began coaching people to create their lives ‘on purpose’ – purposefully and according to their soul’s purpose. In 2018, she pulled together three distinct areas of her expertise to create The Bone Circle – a unique, transformative, and life-changing program.

Her novel “Red Dress” is available in July 2021. It’s based on her life’s work and has been compared to Eat, Pray, Love.  It incorporates many of her spiritual teachings into an entertaining package.

Her ‘why’ is transformation. Her core message is ‘love is the way.’





Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried, but what if, like a seed we’ve been planted and having been planted, to grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey everybody, this is Brian Smith back with another episode of grief to growth and I’ve got with me today I really fascinating guests. I can’t wait to get into this conversation. Her name is Bridget Sinclair. And she is I’m going to read her bio and I’ve got literally six pages of notes to talk to her about so I don’t know how much we’re going to get through. But I feel like we’re kind of like minded souls, everything that she sent me I’m really interested in. But she’s an author, a spiritual teacher with almost 30 years of experience. She’s qualified and experienced psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and healer. She was a professional therapist on London’s Harley Street. She left England in 2012 for Cape Town, where she now lives with a South African husband. She loves teaching, writing and speaking and weaving together the threads of her spiritual professional journeys. She designed the bone circle, which is a neat, transformative and life changing program that ties together three significant areas of expertise, intuition and creation, the sacred and the metaphysical and therapy and healing bridges. It’s facilitated and taught many courses including meditation, healing, 1000, sacred geometry and space clearing. She’s also facilitated A Course in Miracles created truth yoga, retarder Yoga is a spiritual practice and freedom dance, which is a free form conscious somatic trance dance. She currently facilitates a study group for the book of knowledge, the keys of Enoch, and Bridget’s intention is to awaken people to a higher purpose and a more joyful and harmonious life. She does this through creating awareness, providing a higher path of consciousness, teaching how to tap into intuitive wisdom, and setting up support groups that can work together powerfully to create positive change. Her favorite saying is an African one, if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far go together. She believes we need to go together and supporting a new evolution and consciousness. And Bridget has just finished a new book, which is coming out, I think, the end of July in England and beginning of August in America. And it’s called red dress. I’m sure we’ll talk about that that novel, which I guess covers a lot of the themes of Bridget’s work. So with that, I’m going to welcome to grief to growth. Bridget from Claire.

Bridget Finklaire 2:48
Thank you very much, Brian. It’s lovely to be here. I’m really honored to be a guest. And thank you for that wonderful introduction.

Brian Smith 2:55
Yeah, and as I was saying, your publicist sent me like six pages of notes. He said, pick a few topics that are of interest to you. But they’re all interesting to me. And it’s really, you know, you’ve done psychotherapy, you’ve done hypnotherapy, and somewhere in here talks about past life regressions. I just did a past life regression session a couple of weeks ago, for the first time ever, in between lives. And you talked about A Course in Miracles. I just spoke to the circle of atonement Group A couple of weeks ago says, as a lot of overlap in our in our our lives and interest, I’m not exactly sure even where to start. But tell me more about yourself and how you get into all of this.

Bridget Finklaire 3:35
Oh, my goodness, there’s a story in a half. So yeah, I kind of I think people who’ve been on a spiritual journey, it’s very difficult to pinpoint where it started. Sometimes. I know for some people, there’s been some kind of big challenge in their lives. And that’s what sort of shook them up and made them follow a spiritual path. But there wasn’t necessarily like that for me. But when I look back on my life, there’s probably lots of things that were signposts that there were there, right from the beginning of my life, I had a little imaginary friend when I was a child. And then I kind of just was told that it’d be ridiculous, but it’s probably I was channeling something at the time, but I didn’t know. But I think the real journey started when I had children. So I had my daughter when I was 13 chapters in 1992. And I think when you become a parent, you start to see a new perspective on life, because it’s not just about you anymore, is it? And you could, I felt this tremendous responsibility to bring this being into the world and then went on to have a song as well, two years later. And that made me look at myself and say, How do I want to parent my kids? And I think that was the first real step in consciously looking at who am I What am I here to do? And there must be more to life. I’d had touches upon that earlier in my life with difficult relief. ships were I would self reflect Is this me? Or is this them and, you know, trying to untangle things. And I think sometimes you can go into the psyche, and it can be what I call a hall of mirrors, you know, when you go into a fairground, and you go into the hall of mirrors, and the mirrors are all very waving, and they’re distorting, and sometimes you can go into the mind, and it’s very, very distorting. And so, once I’d had my daughter, I actually went and had therapy because I just felt everything was so distorted inside me, I couldn’t work out what was true and what was not. So I guess that really started my journey. And all the way along was this spiritual path as well. And it, it’s step by step by step with me, I feel some people, and it kind of go on the elevator of spiritual journey and something comes to them. And they get they have some amazing awakening, and they go straight to the top, and boom, they’re awake. And other people, it’s a slow, slow journey. And for me, it’s been one of those ones. It’s been a slow, slow journey. But it’s gathered momentum, hugely. Probably in the last sort of 2025 years, it’s really gathered momentum in the last 10 years since I’ve been well, nine years, I’ve been in South Africa. Because I haven’t been dealing with clients as a psychotherapist, I’ve had more time to write and to teach, and to study and to really, really grow. And it’s my belief that the more that we become aware and more we raise our consciousness, the more we understand, and read and self reflect, and all these wonderful tools that we have now, then we’re letting go slowly of past layerings past traumas, we’re letting go of that stuff. And that for me, is the ego, the conditioning, and you’re letting go of that. And the more you let go of that more, you’re allowing your true luminous self to come through and guide you. Which is that conscious being that we are this wonderful, you know, greater self that I would call greater self.

Brian Smith 6:56
Yeah, absolutely wonderful. And, you know, I just had a guest on the other day, and I was saying that, when I ask people to tell their stories, there’s almost always some turning point. A lot of times it is tragic, but it doesn’t have to be. And with you was, it was the birth of your daughter. And I’d say that was one of the turning points in my life also might when my first daughter was born, it just really, as a parent, you just start to look at the whole world differently. And it changes bringing pretty much everything. Let’s talk about consciousness, because you know, I think for you and I both as after reading the notes that I got for your purposes, we both agree that consciousness is like what it’s all about. So what is consciousness to you? And why is it so important? Why is it the key?

Bridget Finklaire 7:37
Oh, gosh, what a huge a wonderful question. And consciousness is is more than just a mean, I think, let’s just say well, it’s not more rather than, than we can maybe go into what it is. Because sometimes people think consciousness is the fact that we’re alive. You know, we can say that somebody has been knocked unconscious in the ring, you know, in a boxing match, or that you’re unconscious when you’re on the operating theater. So therefore, when you’re alive and well, and going around your business, you’re conscious, but that’s not what I mean. That’s just the flow of sodium ions in your brain that are keeping you alive, that that’s not what I mean by consciousness. And I think it’s the same for you as well. But what I mean by consciousness is awakening, and becoming aware of more than your five senses of becoming aware of more than that treadmill life that we’re kind of conditioned to live, because I feel like it humanity is a little bit of a sausage machine, you know, we were born and then we’re expected to be a certain way, you know, we spent to have certain beliefs. And there’s the we’re having the thoughts and beliefs and conditioning of our own parents of our religion of our country of our color of our race of our creed, and all and the time that we’re born in. And all of these things are impinging upon us and molding that that small child mind that’s taking it all on. And these become these conditioned responses that we’re not even aware of. And it’s, it’s for me, it’s we’re asleep, we’re asleep to true reality. We’re asleep to the moment we’re asleep, to the beauty, actually of creation. And we’re asleep to all these things that I would say are unseen. So you know, past life, for example, between lives, spirit guides, angels, angelics, spiritual awakening, and for me, spiritual means filled with the Spirit. That’s the Holy Spirit. That’s for me the presence of the Divine. And so to become aware of that, in my life, I come across people who don’t even believe that anything happens at the end of their life. They think they’re done. That’s it. For me, I heard you say in the interview, absolutely, completely on the same song sheet as you. For me, death is not a death, it’s a rebirth into something wonderful. It’s just the soul going into its next container, if you like it’s going into its next incarnation, not as a physical but into another space. It’s a rebirthing into something new So but I meet people who just think that this you know, this life is that it that is existential, we die and we’re gone. And I don’t believe that’s true. And I meet people who just think everything is everything is with the rational mind. It has to be provable, it has to be peer reviewed, it has to be something that they can count, and quantify. And for me, consciousness goes way beyond that we go into the spiritual mind, we go into the intuitive mind, we’re connected actually, to a greater mind. Because I believe that our minds are almost like terminals of a computer on a greater mind. And what we tap into, we can tap into all kinds of incredible things. But we have to be still and get rid of empty out a little bit of the rubbish to be able to do that. So for me, it’s an awakening. And it’s an awareness. And I think once you become aware, for example, that everything is one everything is connected at the level of consciousness that we are pure consciousness beings, then why would you go hurt somebody, you know, we live in a culture where there’s a lot of war, there’s a lot of crime, there’s a lot of violence. Why, because we feel separated, cut off asleep, we’re not aware. So for me, consciousness is the key to the evolution of humanity. Because if we were all consciously aware of who we really are, and what we’re here to do, and that we’re not alone, and that there is a vast cosmology out there, with a whole hierarchy, or Holocaust of divinity out there, and that we have purpose, and that the challenges in life are there for us to grow. This is schoolhouse earth. And if we all have that awareness, and we were all here to support each other, and really understood that what I do to you, I’m doing to myself. And when I get angry, I’m just projecting something from inside of myself, and to work on ourselves and become conscious. I think that would just change humanity. If you look at the problems of the world, it really takes consciousness to rise above them.

Unknown Speaker 11:59
Sorry, long waffling answer. Well, it’s such a big subject,

Brian Smith 12:03
it’s a big question. And I’ve kind of evolved to the point of which is similar what you said, I look at everything is and all these things, I read different things. They’re all kind of saying the same thing. But Paul tillage called God the ground of all being, and I view that that’s consciousness. And and there’s a guy interviewed on my show, Dr. Bernardo kastrup, that has a concept promotes all kinds of cool idealism, which says that consciousness is pretty much everything, and the material arises out of that. So once we start to understand that, that consciousness is everything, then it just creates, like you said, that greater cosmology, that bigger picture, and that we are literally all want, it’s not just a figure of speech, but we are all part of this greater consciousness is there’s one mind, and then we are little nodes, as you said, we’re little nodes that we, we individuated, but we’re still connected. And we, we walk around thinking that we’re separate when we’re not, and we could not exist without each other.

Bridget Finklaire 13:00
Totally, I totally agree with you. And I think consciousness to me is life. And at the quantum level, we really are connected. And at the consciousness level, we are connected. And we know that matter. We know this from quantum physics, this is where spirituality meets meets science, we know from quantum mechanics and quantum physics, that everything is connected, that everything comes from a wave form before it becomes a particle from come from light, actually, from photons. So we’re seeing so much more than that we don’t understand and what how fascinating to try and dip into that and understand it. When he talks about the ground of be of all being, I agree with you. I think, for me, the ground state of well being is love, which encompasses consciousness and light and intelligence. And that obviously goes beyond our earthly understanding of love. I think there’s more for us to understand as we continue to grow. Yeah. And I always say love is the way That’s funny.

Brian Smith 14:00
Yeah. And it’s so funny. It sounds so hippy ish. But that’s what every near death experience, you’re coming back comes back and tell us it’s all about love. It’s all about love. It’s all love. And these are synonyms, you know, consciousness, love source, God, you know, ground of being these are just words that we use to try to express something that’s really you know, inexpressible. Another thing, nothing you said, I thought was really, really interesting. You said we live in a duality. And we said, you said we are a greater self and we have a smaller self. Could you expand on that? I think that’s brilliant.

Bridget Finklaire 14:33
Yeah. So interestingly, I’ve just I’m going to backtrack to give a bit of background to how I get to where that is. And so I didn’t, I grew up in England, and I didn’t grow up in a religious family at all. I mean, I think most Church of England English people are not very religious and you go to church for weddings and funerals. So in a way, that was a massive blessing for me because I didn’t have that indoctrination of a religion. You know the dogma of a religion. So having now gone on this huge spiritual journey, I’m able to come back to Scripture, the Bible, but also Eastern scriptures and be able to come back to Scripture with a spiritual mind. And it’s fascinating. So I’ve kind of dipped into Kabbalah and Eastern scripture and the Bible as well and other teachings, like the Nag Hammadi, and all sorts of things. And it always in go back to when we talk about duality, the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve in the garden, and there’s all these different trees, and it’s a metaphor for the trees of life, the cabbalistic trees of life, which is the, the sefer, rhotic, emanations, which are divine personality or divine aspects, if you like. And they choose to eat from the tree of good and evil, not the tree of life. So they go into now there are many, many, many trees of creation, and they go into the tree of good and evil and good and evil is already a duality. Now we’re in black and white, good and evil, right and wrong, you know, and everything in our life has this polarity in this system of things where we live, I don’t say that that’s there in the greater cosmos, because I think there’s only our local universe, which is in that sort of duality. But that’s, that’s what it means hot and cold, up and down easterly, west, north and south. But of course, that geology is an or polarity creates a lot of friction in life, and it creates a moral argument. So we can see that playing out so hugely in the world, right now we’re really we really need to unite and realize we’re one and work together. But then how people are faced each other, should we get the vaccine or not? And is it this or that and conspiracy or not, there’s all these kind of dualities that are playing out. And in amongst that, what I would say is that we’re actually conflicted beings, because we ourselves are also have this dual nature. And I think when we’re born and before we awaken, and before we have any kind of awakening experience, or any kind of spiritual journey, whatever that is, we believe that we are the small self. And for me, the small self is the one that as I said, is conditioned in childhood. Now, look, that’s going to be different for different people, some people had a wonderful childhood, and their conditioning is going to be less harmful, shall we say? Then somebody said you had a horrific childhood. So and then there’s also resilience and what the so many factors that were unaware of, but for everyone’s experience is different. But at the end of the day, even if you had a fabulous childhood, you will still be conditioned. And so we it’s like laying down programs in a computer, you know that the mind of the child is completely wide open till about the age of five. Now, they’re actually saying now, maybe seven in an Alpha Theta alpha brainwave state, which is a learning programming state, we kind of knew this, even from Freud, you said, you know, five years, first five years. So now we know even more about that with neuroscience. So in those first five years of life, all of these things, were basically learning how to survive, we’re learning how to please the people will look after us so that we were

viable. We’re learning how to fit in with society, how to fit in at school, how to fit in with our culture, and we’re learning the ropes, and we’re learning it from the people that went before us. And that’s laid down just like putting programs on your computer or putting apps on your phone. They’re just there. And we don’t even question them. They’re just there. And we run them. And I don’t think people understand how deeply conditioned we are. Now that conditioning, as I said, it can be really detrimental people can be in horrible trauma, and that really stifles them for their life until they’ve been able to heal that trauma and overcome it and move forward. And I think actually, a spiritual path is a very powerful way to do that, because you’ll be guided by a higher mind. But yeah, so you’re the duality is that you have this smaller self. Now, even in someone who’s had a wonderful upbringing, we often find these kind of negative beliefs that play out most of humanity get focused on negative beliefs. Now, the reason for that, if we look at the psychology of it is that our subconscious mind is there to keep us safe. And to help make sure that we stay alive. It’s not there to make us thrive, it’s there to survive, and survival goes into the fight or flight response. So babies are all born with a fear of falling and a fear of loud noises. Now, when we have that fear that kicks in whatever it is, we’ll go into either fight, flight or freeze. That’s the only three things that we’re wired to do in that small self. And that creates, so if it’s fight, it’s anger. If it’s flight, it’s fear. And if it’s freeze, it’s actually you’re giving your power away to somebody else and hoping something else will protect you. And at that point, you’re not in your power and that leads to depression. So these are the three kinds of things or negative values, but emotions are an out of that stem all the other things. So if you’re mildly frustrated, it’s actually a form of anger. And those are the emotions that come from the small self, when the ground state of being, which is love, and all the wonderful things come from that, and like joy and peace, and all of those things, happiness, when that’s blocked, and it’s blocked by this survival mechanism. So people then can wind up thinking, Well, I’m not good enough to do this, or I don’t really belong, or I’m not got the power to do it, or I can’t I’m not allowed to do that, because somebody will tell me off, or who am I to do this little me? I’m insignificant. And this I actually worked with 12 key core beliefs that everybody has varying degrees. And those things run the show off. And so a lot of times people want to do something, and the small self, because he can’t do that. It’s often like in mom’s voice, or dad’s voice, or uncle Joe’s voice or your teachers voice, you can’t do that. And, and that stops us, and it keeps us limited. And it really goes back into what we were saying about consciousness. Because I think as you become more consciously aware, you become aware of your own conditioning, and you become aware of the voice that goes, You can’t do that, for example, and then you go, actually, let’s question this, who said, I can’t do this. I didn’t stillness I think meditation is important. And prayer, any kind of stillness, in stillness in nature as well, those sorts of things, were able to bypass that conditioned mind and catch glimpses of a taste of honey, we catch glimpses of in the intuitive mind, we catch glimpses of glory and beauty. And we can look at a sunset or a rainbow or a waterfall and, or child at play, and see fully present in that moment, just the absolute beauty and perfection of creation. And when we’re doing that, we’re tapping into something more. And to think that we each of us are also as well as the conditioning that we get in early childhood. We’re also born with gifts, talents, and skills, and passions. And those are part of our greatest self. And where there’s an interesting you talked earlier about near death experience, because most people who have near death experience say that they’re large and luminous and huge, and they can’t imagine fitting back into their tiny body. Right? Right. And that they can see 360 degrees, and they can, they can be anywhere at any time. And they see how beautiful they are, how normal Sarah how incredible they are, at that level, and all that this body is, is our little Earth suit, it’s our container that we’re in. And so my belief is that we all have that bigger self, that greater self, we are our gifts and talents and skills and passions, and what we’ve come here to do and be and who we are and what we’ve come to learn. That’s who we really are. And then we have this small self. And the reason we have a small self is it’s the small self. That’s actually the suit isn’t it, it’s the small self that say, knows how to work the work the keyboard to type the book.

But it’s the greatest self, it will write the book. It’s the greatest self that inspires you to write the book, when my coat and red dress, but it’s my little self here that had to actually sit there at the typewriter and type red dress. So yeah, this is how normally, people just think that they’re the small self, and they forget the greater self. Or sometimes if they’re aware of a greater self, they think I am a small self, and I’ve got a greater self, and it’s up there somewhere. It’s completely detached from me. And what I’m saying is no, you are this bit, but you have this bit. And when you understand that, like those two parts of you, rather than being in conflict in this duality, you need to do this. No, I can’t I can actually work together in synergy.

Brian Smith 23:47
Yeah, yeah, that was that was so well put, you know, and I did grew up with the religious background. And you’re kind of taught that I am a body and I have a soul. And that soul when I when I die, my soul is either going to go to heaven or hell but my soul was something that’s separate. And and that’s the way I think most people do. We think we’re just a body, which is the materials point of view, or I am a body and I have a spirit as opposed to I am a spirit and I have a body in the termites. I’ve come to us lately as I call this an avatar. So this is like this is like a virtual reality and my my greater self is actually manipulating this. And I always every time I get this conversation, I was set to put in a plug for the ego. Because the ego is gets such a hard time by spiritual people. We have to kill the ego the ego is a terrible thing I need I need to destroy my ego. The ego is here to keep us in the avatar. The ego is here to keep the avatar safe and the ego we need to have the ego serve that greater self. The ego should be in our service as opposed to being in control. And once we understand this duality, if you want to call it duality, once you understand that Yeah, we’re this body is this is important and we got to take care of it me and that’s what the ego job is to do and I’ve heard people say, Oh, I shouldn’t fear this, I shouldn’t feel this way. Well, it’s actually, you know, you said it was kind of functional. It’s also biological. It’s evolutionary, because we look for the negative, because that’s our caveman saying, we got to look out for the saber toothed tiger, you know, we’ve got to, we’ve got to look out for danger. So we’re biologically pre programmed for that. It’s not a bad thing. But we just have to learn to get control of it. So I love the way you talked about that. And I really hope people can grasp that concept, because I think it’s like the key to really living an integrated life between our ego and our greater self.

Bridget Finklaire 25:37
You know, I totally agree with you, I couldn’t agree with you more. And I feel like the ego is our vehicle of orientation is the ego that keeps us safe. And that keeps us going. And this this small body that actually has to do the work. At the end of the day, we’ve we’ve volunteered as well, at the soul level, we chose to come into this life. And we chose the parents we had. And we chose the major traumas, and we chose them to learn and grow at soul level. So yeah, absolutely agree agree with you. And also remember, you know, we didn’t need to look after our body, because it’s the Temple of the soul. It’s the container that we’ve got right now. It’s like having a car, you know, you’re not going to let your car rust on your driveway, you’re going to look after it and polish it and clean it and put petrol in it and have it serviced, because you want to keep it going. And it’s the same with our bodies, we should honor those. Let’s just want to pick up on what you were saying about the feelings. Yeah, I think a lot of people think who we’ve got to get rid of all these negative things, but you’re never going to get rid of the negative feelings. And that’s not what I teach, what I teach is, it’s natural, and normal to have all those negative feelings that are part of our survival that are part of our program, is not to beat ourselves up or feel guilty or shameful that we got them is to just become aware that they’re not always a true north, they’re not always a true reflection of reality. Because sometimes we can panic, and we can panic that, oh, someone’s gonna, you know, I’m gonna, I’m gonna fail at that interview with Brian, you know, something like that, you know, oh, my goodness, he might just been grilling me. And we can have those thoughts. Everybody, I’m sure can relate to those kinds of thoughts and just using that as an example. But it’s not about getting rid of those thoughts. It’s about going yeah, it’s almost like a child, isn’t it? And who’s asking for a biscuit constantly. And then also, you don’t say the cookie in America, asking for a cookie. And you you’ve got to acknowledge that child and either say, yes, you can have one later or Yes, here is or no, you can’t have a cookie in a bag. But I think if you ignore the child that keeps going can have a cookie can have a cookie can have a cookie. And the mind is a bit like that. And you can’t just ignore those feelings. You’ve got to listen to them. And you’ve got to go, Okay, I acknowledge that’s there. I acknowledge that this is going on for you. And it’s true for you, and it’s real for you. But I’m just here to tell you, you’re you’ve got this, it’s okay. And you don’t have to act on that fear. Right? You can choose to have a different thought you can choose to say, yeah, of course, you know, I’m scared about whatever it is, I’m worried about whatever it is, and that’s okay. And I acknowledge that and I hear you and I understand why. But hey, we’ve got a greater self. And hey, there’s, we can choose to acknowledge that and then choose something different choose to believe something different, just to enjoy this interview, because we’ve got loads of things in common and it’s gonna be great fun. choice.

Brian Smith 28:17
Yeah. And that’s the thing when we’re operating from the ego from the pre programmed things, sort of unconsciously, then we don’t realize we have a choice. And so what are what are some ways that we can learn to to realize that we have a choice to start to learn to choose our thoughts to choose, you know, and recognize Okay, this emotion I know I have it, but it’s not reflecting reality.

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Brian Smith 29:37
So how do I get to that point?

Bridget Finklaire 29:39
That’s a great question. And again that goes back to consciousness doesn’t it goes back to consciousness and awareness because most people get caught in the the the turmoil of they’re feeling and thought so they’re angry or they’re afraid. And that’s it. They don’t consider that they might be missed. Can on something or that it might be generated from inside of themselves. Often I see this, I used to see this a lot when I was a therapist with clients that they’d be angry about something that somebody else has said to them. And then you kind of have to unpack that and stop, stop, hang on a minute. And so I think the only people way that people can begin to even start on that journey of realizing this choice is to first of all become aware of what they’re thinking and feeling. That’s the very first thing to become aware, I’m angry, I’m angry, because somebody said something that’s upset me. So for example, and then you got to stop and kind of take some time out for reflection and go, it’s okay to be angry. I don’t need to bury that. Or, you know, deny it. It’s okay to be angry. But what am i angry about? Why am I angry? Well, because she said, x, you know, war. Why did that make me angry? dig a bit deeper? Why did that make me angry? Well, because there are and you’ll always, it always goes back to something is neither to do with what that person said in this moment. Now, it’s always to do with something from the past. And then you can uncover it a little bit. So the first thing is becoming aware. And that’s really self reflection, self inquiry. And, you know, if it’s too strong, because I know a lot of people have been through trauma and those emotions are way too powerful for them to stop and go what’s happening because they’re going into amygdala hijack. The reptilian brain has basically taken over, and it’s very, very difficult and challenging. And that’s the point where I would say you know, think about working with someone that you trust and that you like, with the technique that you like to start working through that and do you know what we don’t have to kind of go into old school psychotherapy and talking and all of that stuff now because we’ve got fabulous fabulous fabulous techniques nowadays. You know, NLP hypnosis EMDR EFT the tapping, I mean, there’s so much out there that we can work with quickly to just release trauma from the past so we can Okay, that was a really horrible, I’ve not processed it because the traumas held in the whole of the nervous system so you can get triggered by things. So you have to process that trauma so you can put it to bed then you’d when things come up, you’re able to kind of stand and go Okay, what’s happening for me and be curious, or work with things will go for a walk movements, great. That’s why love the conscious dance and yoga, but even just walking, walking in nature, if you’re feeling really angry, or really upset or really afraid about something, you go for a walk in nature, you stop, just stop moving and walking, and your mind will start processing it. So it’s always comes back to awareness, become aware, when you become aware of what’s happening, then you’ve got choice. If you’re not aware, you’ve got no choice because you’re being run.

Brian Smith 32:50
Yeah, exactly. And that’s something that I found really works. And I know people sometimes really bristle at the word is meditation or mindfulness, you know, just sitting and and becoming really aware of your thoughts and and realizing that you can choose that, you know, just like, okay, here’s a thought, I’m going to choose not to have that. It’s like, oh, wow, I could do that. Because we not only do we think where our bodies and our egos we also think we’re our thoughts. And we literally don’t realize until we practice this, this mindfulness that, yeah, I can choose my thoughts, which therefore start to kind of help influence my emotions. And you know what, I learned that anger is a as a part of fear that that it’s there. Like, I feel like I’m being attacked. So now when I start to feel anger, I’m like, why am I fearful? What is and it’s my ego, is my ego, saying, You’re making me feel less than and no one, no one can make me feel that way. I’m choosing that. And then I can choose not to be angry. So it’s, it’s, it’s really cool once you once you start to put all this stuff together. And it starts with just knowing the kind of the cosmology or how we’re made.

Bridget Finklaire 34:00
Absolutely, completely agree with you, with the buttons are on the inside aren’t if somebody is pushed your buttons, they’re on they go go round with buttons all over you, you know, the buttons are on the inside, and meditation as well. I think that’s probably the single most powerful tool that anybody can take up. I’ve been meditating. For about 21 years, I think I started I read a book about meditation in 1999. I started seriously in 2000. So and we’re now 2021. So 21 years of meditation, I could not have gone through the things that I’ve gone through without that practice. It’s such a powerful that it I mean, it’s one of those ones isn’t it as simple. I’ll just sit there and think of it. It’s an easy concept is difficult to do. But of course, it’s difficult to do otherwise we’d all be meditating all the time. And the point is, you practice just the same as when you go to the gym and you practice and you press up so you practice your yoga posture or whatever it is you’re practicing swimming, mindelo whatever you do, you know you practice it, play the violin. You don’t kind of play the violin perfectly. First time and it’s the same with meditation. It’s a practice. It’s a practice and a discipline. But Wow, I think that the payoff and the results of that the rewards of that practice are huge in so many ways. And that’s one of them is to become aware of your own thoughts.

Brian Smith 35:18
Yeah, yeah, I, for me, I’ve been, I’ve been practicing meditation seriously now for probably about six or seven years. And for the last four years, I meditated every day I meditate every day. And I tell people, it’s kind of like, it’s like brushing your teeth, you don’t skip the day of brushing your teeth, you but it’s, it’s training your mind. And it can, it pays off in ways that, you know, it takes a while, it’s like, it doesn’t happen, what it’s like, it’s like going to the gym though, right? When you first go to the gym, you don’t come out and you’re super strong the first day, but it builds up over time. So it’s really like I said, for people when I when I noticed in the notes, you also said there are people want quick fixes. And you know, the books that really sell or the self help books are like 30 Days to a Better year or Seven Days to a Better year, how to whatever in three minutes, you know, but the thing is, that work keeps coming up over and over again. Practice you know, it’s it’s, it’s a matter of discipline,

Bridget Finklaire 36:18
discipline and practice. Absolutely. discipline and practice. And yeah, the meditation is a slow burn. It’s not like you’re gonna see real results straight away. But actually, I think people do feel less stressed. And pretty soon on, you know, month or so. But to keep going because it’s just is amazing. It’s actually something that I put in the in red dress when I wrote that. But the the character in there Katie meditates. And I even actually, say in there, how she meditates because everything in red dress is real. So if people want to just learn a very, very simple meditation can read a novel and learn from it. So there’s a lot of things she does, that are great practices. And we’re just seeing inside her mind, she’s doing it for us so that we can we can follow and learn along and meditation is one of those key things. Yeah.

Brian Smith 37:07
We’ve been talking a lot, kind of rationally. But you had you have a quote here from Einstein, which I hadn’t heard before. And I love it. And I have to start off by saying, I am a, I’m a, by nature, a rational person, my degrees in chemical engineering, I looked at the universe is no mechanical, deterministic. And I’m coming to this understanding about intuition and how magical everything really is. And I love this quote, Einstein said, the intuitive mind is a sacred gift. And the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a site that honors the servant has forgotten the gift. So could you expand on that, quote, why you like that?

Bridget Finklaire 37:44
artists think it’s fabulous that somebody like Einstein, who, you know, we all think of Einstein as being this incredibly brainy person who’s you know, physician, physicists, sorry, mathematician, you know, scientist. And so we don’t think about him talking about the intuitive mind, but actually, he was highly intuitive. I think he had another quote, actually, someone read something that said, knowledge is something like 2% knowledge and 98% inspiration. And he was known to meditate towards the end of his life. And I think that’s how he became so hugely successful, because he did use the intuitive mind. Interesting that you were saying that you had a rational background. And my father was an engineer, and I grew up with four brothers, and they’re all very, very rational. So of course, I’m just the city little girl who doesn’t know anything. I’m the one who had the wacky, intuitive mind. And I tried to suppress that for a long time and be very rational. But I think the secret really is we need both, it’s again, it’s a little bit like when we talk about greater self and small self, we need both, we need to have a rational, logical mind as well to understand how things work to be organized in life for to remember to get on the podcast, you know, to remember to make sure that the earphones work, and you know how to use zoom and all these things, go got to go shopping to get some food, and I know, I need to put petrol in my car, I need to shedule things. And so we do need a rational mind. And I think now we do need to also have an enquiring mind, and not just accept things, particularly with the times we’re living in. We’re living in very, very interesting times a real opportunity in these times. But we have to sit and think for ourselves, because there’s a lot of fake news going on on both sides of the fence. So we have to really kind of like unpack things and use the rational mind. Of course, we need the rational way. But I don’t think it’s the be all and end all. And we’ve gone with and this is what Einstein saying that we’ve created a society that thinks that rational mind is the be all and end all. So even if we’re looking now know somebody is more likely to believe a peer reviewed paper about something. There’s somebody who gets an intuitive hit about it. Now the problem with peer reviewed papers is it means all of your peers all agree to the same thing. So you’ve all come to the same conclusion. Well, by the time you’ve gone down that road to come to that same conclusion, you’re very much channeled into or deeply ingrained into the the rational mind. And it doesn’t leave any space for insights and inspiration to come in. Because that’s what the intuitive mind does. The intuitive mind is creative, inspiring, it grabs ideas, it fits things together, it’s expansive. It’s I think it’s the intuitive mind, that is also the spiritual mind that does connect to that higher consciousness. And that higher mind, it’s the intuitive mind, that brings you inspiration when you’ve been meditating or allows you to see the workings of your own mind. Eckhart Tolle he talks about this and he realizes the I am depressed, there must be another eye looking at the eye. So there’s that observing witness, which is part of that intuitive mind. And I think that we we have, as with everything, we have to get everything in balance and get it to work together. So just the same as you’ve got a greater self and a small self, you have to get them to work together. So the same with the rational mind, in the intuitive mind, you need the intuitive mind in balance with the rational mind. And when you’ve got that left and right brain, the intuitive and the rational, in perfect balance your balance between head and heart, you’re in balance, and then the greater gift comes in, which is the gift of spirits, which awakens us. Yeah, so it’s such a powerful thing, because I think we’ve gone into really, even since Einstein said that, quote, we’ve gone further and further and further into a society that values the rational and dismisses and belittles the sacred gift of the intuitive mind.

Brian Smith 41:51
Yeah, absolutely. 100%. And it’s interesting, because as I’ve studied, those scientists around Einstein’s time, Einstein, Tesla, Max Planck, those guys, Borg, Bohr, Heisenberg, they, it was an IT WAS intuition that led them to these big leaps in knowledge. And then they worked out the details behind it. And they looked for beauty in nature, they look for simplicity, they looked for balance. And when when man first started developing the scientific method, it was because we believed in a rational universe, we believed the rational guy would create a rational universe. So we thought these things can be found out. And then we went so far down that rabbit hole that we threw out the whole idea of God or creator, source, whatever we’re doing to us, and said, it’s all about the material. But these guys made these huge breakthroughs, like, you know, 100 200 years ago, they were still very, they were still very intuitive. And you mentioned earlier that we value peer reviewed papers over over intuition, I go even farther, we valued that over our own experience, we can have an experience of the Divine, and then we’ll dismiss it because let’s say it’s not possible. But we’ll get a sign or we’ll have we’ll even have a vision or something you will say, Well, that was just my, that was just my imagination. That was just wishful thinking. Or people like yourself or myself, people will say, well, they’re woowoo. You know, they’re, they’re really out there. They’re, they’re not they’re not rational people, which I believe that intuition actually goes beyond rationality. It’s not, it’s not irrational. It’s not sub rational. It’s actually super rational. It goes beyond what we can understand with our minds. And when people talk when science now tells us well, for example, time is an illusion, there is no time. That makes no sense to me, rationally, it’s like I experienced time every day. But that’s really tough. That’s beyond what I can imagine where they talk about different dimensions, third, fourth dimension, fifth dimension, there are theoretically 11 dimensions, you know, we our minds can’t even grasp that. So the rational only takes us so far, I guess is my point. It only takes us to a certain point and then we’ve got to take a leap of faith and understand that there’s something beyond the rational

Bridget Finklaire 44:05
completely I completely agree with you even if you go back further with science we go back to Newton who discovered gravity When did you discover when you sitting under a tree in the apple fell? You know when he’s in a contemplated space in his intuitive mind? Yeah, now like how you said it’s like the super rational for me it’s like almost like super consciousness. The intuitive mind is like super consciousness. Yeah, all wonderful things. There’s lots of things that I could we could go into that with it turns eternality and time is an illusion and different dimensions which are all kind of areas that I love to talk about that yeah, I

Brian Smith 44:42
would I want to touch because I saw in the notes again, that Gavin sent me your publicist sent me there’s so much again, people will look sometimes look at people like yourself and myself and say we’re not being rational. We’re not we’re not being realistic. But science I look at I actually have this vision Scientists coming up the mountain, and they get to the top. And there’s the philosophers and the theologians sitting there going, we told you guys this like 1000 years ago, because we’re starting to come back around to it with things like quantum mechanics. And the idea that time is an illusion. I mean, Einstein even talked about that it’s, you know, he envisioned the universe’s everything is happening at once or everything has already happened, however you want to view it. And we just kind of go through it with this different perspective. So I noticed one of the notes, you had one speaker science and the science of spiritual I love that term, the science of spirituality.

Bridget Finklaire 45:35
Yeah, because it is, it’s where quantum physics starts meeting science. And, you know, we can just to talk about the rash going back into the rational mind, and then judge when you could look at that, say, in a spiritual way, and you could say, the sixth chakra, or the third eye, is really to do, okay, it’s to do with seeing, but it’s also the rational mind. But we need to jump beyond that into the crown chakra, which opens up to the higher mind. So you could look at it that way. Or you can look at it with science. So I think there’s a project out at the moment called the piece of scientific study that came out recently called the blue, I think it’s called the blue brain project. And this is scientists leading edge. And they’ve discovered that within our minds, we have multi dimensional geometries going on in our minds, and you go, Okay, well, why is that? Why do we have multi dimension geometries? And it’s because we do, we are able to go beyond time and space. So look, you were talking earlier about past life regression, when you go into a past life regression, you’re going back in time to another life. And how’s that possible? This time is an illusion. So one of the ways I used to try and explain that to people is, when I know we’ve kind of we will stream things off Netflix these days. But for those of you remember, DVDs, or even just flash drives with, with with films on the entire film is on there, isn’t it beginning, middle and end, the whole thing’s on there. And but we have to watch it through time and space, we have to watch it from the beginning, two hours of film, to the end to get the whole story. But yet, it’s all there. And it’s I think, that’s kind of analogy we could use for for time and illusion in the mind that it’s all there, your past life is there, you know, and our present life is there. And it’s all happening at once. But it would drive us bonkers if that happens. So it’s veiled for us. So we don’t see that. But we’re actually able to tap into different times and spaces, and then what you reveal in that past life or healing that past life actually affects you in the present, which then affects the future going forward. So it’s not just a DVD. It’s like an interactive DVD that you can reprogram. So I find that fascinating. And the other scientific use, I think of looking at the this thing of a, you know, a multidimensionality. And also, this higher mind is when we talk about remote viewing. So remote viewing is something that’s very scientific It was. It was a book by Dr. Elizabeth rauscher, which if you want to read it, and good luck with it, because it’s extremely scientific, and it’s called mind dynamics in space, which was written by her and Dr. Her attack. And it talks about their experiments with a guy called Russell target, I think it was at MIT, where they were most viewed and they put they had these three guys that were really brilliant at doing it. And they put them in a room and they give them some so called coordinates somewhere. And they’d go and they, you know, they’d be in an office, someone, they’d be able to read the files in the filing cabinet, or they’d be able to draw with what something looked like in another in another part of the world. Or then they’ve discovered that sometimes they draw something that wasn’t there. And then they go and investigate and find out that thing that they drew that wasn’t there used to be there in the 1930s or something. So you think how is this possible? So there’s so much more. And so yeah, I’m really fascinated by the science of spirituality because I think it is then bringing together the rational mind and the intuitive mind. So because you see, people can think we’re a bit woowoo Can’t they can only be a bit airy fairy, you know, and, you know, if we talk about sort of angels say or angelics, or the divine or past life experiences or near death experiences, it’s it’s sometimes too much for people to take on board. And that’s because of cognitive dissonance, they’ve got a belief that’s very inculcated in them that this, these things don’t exist and you’re giving them evidence that it doesn’t it, they can’t equate the two so they’ll reject it, and they reject it out of fear. Because it would have to mean that they’d have to unpick what they believe,

to be gentle with people and those who have ears to hear will hear. But I think there’s a rising and there’s an awakening going on and more and more people are coming into this space. So it’s really nice to also To be able to look at the science of spirituality, and look at what’s happening in quantum physics, what’s happening with the blue brain project, what’s happening with multi dimensional geometries in our mind, and that all these dimensions, there’s some fabulous mathematicians at the moment who are saying, the, the unit, the physical world creation is so perfect, it had to come from a divine mind. Because there’s perfection in the geometries in the numbers in the mathematics. And there’s one guy like, I’m sorry, I can’t remember his name, but he just sees the whole world is just this perfect mathematics and logarithms and, and that’s mind blowing. So it’s wonderful to be able to go full circle, if you like, with, you know, we’ve got the science this side and the spiritual side, and it kind of goes full circle and touches. And I find that really fascinating to delve into.

Brian Smith 50:50
Well, you know, I find interesting is we as, as mankind have such a short memory, so we think that we’ve been materialists forever, you know, we’ve been we’ve been materialistic atheist is, which is kind of the dominant mindset of the day. But for most of mankind’s history, we’ve been very spiritual, but we’ve been tapped into these things, and we’ve taken them for granted. And I find it interesting because as woowoo people, a lot of us are turning now back to old practices, you know, shamanism and yoga, and, you know, studying these things that have been around for 1000s of years. Because we’ve looked at, we’ve kind of lost our way. And, and we’ve, we’ve come into this mindset that says, If I can’t see it, if I can’t touch it, if, if I can’t test it in a lab, and it can’t be real, whereas that’s very, that’s a very modern mindset. We’ve only had for a little while. And but we’re all now some of us are like, so excited, oh, science is going to prove this now. Whereas These are things we’ve taken for granted for most of our existence. So again, as a scientist, myself, I’m excited when we can prove it, but I’m not waiting around for them to prove it. Because there’s just way, way too much evidence. And, you know, I was talking to someone, and they’re like, there’s no evidence for any of this. And I said, Okay, let me give you a couple things to read, go look up Dr. Gary Schwartz, and his research on mediums and go look up Dr. Julie bicyle, and her research or mediums, and they get back to me, because I’ve written peer review papers that have shown that mediumship is at least tapping into consciousness so we can understand. And the guy comes back to me after about 15 minutes and goes, Oh, this is talking about mediums. mediumship isn’t real, therefore, I’m not going to bother reading it. And I’m like, that is not a scientific approach, as scientists would examine the evidence. And when you examine the evidence, there’s just tons of it out there. There’s, there’s so much and you’ve touched on some I’ve touched on some. So when people you know, call us woowoo, or say your wishful thinking, I just kind of just kind of snicker. And I’m and I’ve taught people, you know, I, I will give you reasons to why I believe what I do, if you want to hear them. But you’re right, most a lot of people just aren’t open to it yet. They’re just, they’re caught up in this, this paradigm that we’ve we’ve fallen into, which I believe is the root at the root of all evil. It’s the idea that we’ve forgotten who we are.

Bridget Finklaire 53:07
Absolutely, yeah, completely. I think it’s sort of probably come from things like the Renaissance period, and then the Industrial Revolution. And then it’s sort of pushed us into that very, very rational mind. But we are rediscovering ancient wisdom for a modern world, aren’t we? And I think we can also look to the indigenous cultures because they carry the sort of like wisdom teachings with them. And we can learn a lot from that. And again, something else that people dismiss, but I think, you know, they probably laugh, a laugh at the Western society and the way that we we live. So there’s a lot of wisdom there. And I think people need to just be open and curious. You know, they were talking about the books that you recommended. It’s just about going okay, well, I do believe in mediumship. But I’m just going to be open and curious and read this book anyway. And then I’ll make a decision at the end, rather than shutting it down before it’s given a chance.

Brian Smith 54:01
Well, it’s interesting, you say, because people will call themselves skeptics when they’re really cynics. And the difference is a skeptic, is slow to come to conclusions, but they’ll examine the evidence. And so speaking, I have another friend Stacia hurt her actual job was to disprove things. She was a debunker. And she and I became friends on Facebook. And she came to me, she said, I know that mediumship is not real. I don’t believe any of it. Tell me the best medium, you know, and I’m going to go to her and I’m going to prove it’s not real. I’m going to give her a fake name. I’m going to pay through a third party, and I’m going to prove it’s not real. She comes back to me, I gave her my friend. Because she’s like, Wow, she blew me away. And she is a true believer now. And it’s funny because she even said the other day, she said, I said there was no evidence for any of this out there. And she does. There’s so much evidence but people don’t know it. You know, they don’t know all the research. They don’t know that the government did research on remote viewing. You know, they don’t know all the experiments have been done on site. I mean, sighs been proven in the lab over And over and over again. They can’t explain how it works, but they know that it works. If people do have psychic abilities, Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Beisel, you know, they’ve shown that mediumship that mediums can get information about deceased people that there’s no rational way that they would know. These things are just their facts do not opinions. They’re not.

Bridget Finklaire 55:21
Yeah, absolutely facts. And I think this is really what inspired me to write red dress, because a lot of people won’t go and read those kinds of books. You know, there’s this fabulous, obviously, there’s some fabulous, fabulous books out there. But you’ve got to have the motivation to read them. And so what I wanted to do was put some of this into a fun novel. So people could just like go on holiday and sit on the beach and read their fun novel. And, you know, the woman in there hasn’t, you know, ended up having an affair. And there’s all kinds of and she’s stressed out. And there’s always this but there’s all these learnings as well. And it’s interesting what you said about you know, people, your friend and the, the the the medium, there’s, there’s a scene in the book where there’s a love interest that she has ends up going along with her, the main central character Katie to have his soul contract read, and he thinks it’s a load of old rubbish. And he’s hoping that nobody spots him going, going on, you know, and it’s like, nobody sees me doing this. And he goes into have a soul contract, right? And he just thinks, Oh, well, I’ll get this over and done with just a pleaser. And then the lady that’s doing the soul contract starts talking to him, and she starts telling him about his past. And he’s like, his jaw is dropping, because you don’t actually know that how did you know that? She, she’s kind of been searching me. You know, she’s, she’s she’s tagged us to tap me or something. So just wanted to kind of show that as well within the different characters that there are, there are characters in there that think that the central character is going mad in these whoo, whoo. And then she has to find her niche and find her, her soul family if you like. And there’s a lot of that kind of, there’s, there’s a lot of things like that where people don’t believe things, and then they get shocked when they when they see it. So I hope people take that to heart when they read it. Because this is what I wanted to do is to kind of get that out there in an easy, enjoyable, light hearted, entertaining way rather than somebody having to plow through a fabulous book. But you have to have the motivation and want to plow through some of those books, which for you and I are great, because we love it. But not everybody does. So well. Yeah, people to get their toes into that world.

Brian Smith 57:25
It’s funny, because I read a lot, but I hardly ever read fiction, because I just don’t have time. There’s so much other things, you know, because I’m basically researching all the time. But for other people, as you said, they don’t they don’t have that that mindset of that motivation. And frankly, some of the stuff is boring. And some of it’s hard to understand. So let’s talk about how you weave these these themes into the red dress into red dress. So how do you weave these things in?

Bridget Finklaire 57:50
Well, I get the central character central character, I think a lot of women will relate to her. She’s in her 40s. She’s got two teenage children, and her marriage isn’t great. And the guy that she’s married to is a bit of a power hungry, probably narcissist, possibly slightly psychopathic, but he’s definitely dysfunctional. And she’s trying to hold it all together, and she’s a therapist, and she’s lost herself. And, you know, I know a lot of your work is about grieving and I think grieving sometimes is about somebody dear to you that you’ve lost, it’s then it’s this intense sadness. Sometimes you can grieve about the loss of yourself, or who you are or life you had. And that can sometimes be a kickstart into a spiritual journey. And really, that’s what happens to her. So the fact that she’s lost an empty and she feels guilty that she’s lost an empty because she’s actually got a successful life. materialistically she’s got a nice house in West London, you know, she’s, she’s successful. But she just feels a something more, she feels lost, she feels empty. She feels quite depressed. And because she’s a therapist, she has the courage to go for therapy. I think it does take courage to say, I’m going to go get some help. I think it test takes enormous courage to do that. And that’s what she does. And she, she, she’s because she’s a therapist, she has a supervisor and she says, Can you give me some sessions, I think I need to explore some things. So through the sessions, and they’re not too long and boring through those sessions that she has periodically throughout the book with her therapist. We get to understand some of the workings of her mind and what’s going on. But she also embarks on the spiritual journey because she she’s a Reiki healer. She’s a Reiki Master, she meditates and she’s

got these parallel paths of being this kind of the rational psychotherapist and the intuitive healer. And she’s trying to keep them apart and eventually they actually come together these parallel paths come together, but so we can follow her so she’s she’s an interesting character and she’s sort of funny so she she’s she’s not Jesus herself is not sure about this. journey. So she’s almost criticizing herself as she goes and go, Oh, this is just a load of rubbish. I’ve just wasted all this money on this thing. And it’s can’t be real, you know. And so she’s questioning herself all the way, which is, of course, what a lot of people do. So because of that, she gets LED on intuitively to all kinds of things so that she actually probably not giving too much away by saying right near the beginning of the book, she hands over to God, and she doesn’t even really believe in God. She’s not religious, she’s spiritual, but she decides that God is on you know, omnipotent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipotent, all knowing, all powerful, and everywhere. And so she’s just, she has this kind of moment where she giggles and she goes, Oh, that means he knows that. I’m thinking about it. And then she ends up in the spur of the moment. Because she’s so fed up with her life, just handing it over to God, she, she does it almost as a joke, she’s going to go and let’s see what happens to see if he exists, the seventh thing happens. And that sets in motion, a whole series of events, which take her through this journey of awakening to who she really is what’s really true for her, she’s really lost sight of herself. And she starts finding herself and she starts finding like minded friends. And she starts going on reading spiritual books, and learning about Tesla, learning about vibrations and frequencies and chakras. And she has a soul reading and, and now she’s got she goes on a journey. And in fact, it’s the first of a trilogy of books. So that trilogy will follow her. The first one is really and this is, I think, how people change. So the first book, red dress is about her, waking up, becoming aware, becoming conscious, saying, hang on a minute, there’s more to life than this, my life’s not working, she then starts to go on, on a journey of self awareness and self discovery. And through that journey, she’s learning and she actually ends up there’s a, there’s a voice that’s talking to her and I never quite say what the voice is no, probably God, it could be the divine, it could be her that I do. I never say it’s just the voice. But the voice is giving her all this amazing wisdom, like, you know, you can choose your thoughts and your thoughts and feelings, create your reality. And so it’s giving her all these wisdom when she has these moments with the voice which you know, peppered throughout the book. So the first red dress is really about her becoming aware, becoming awake, dipping our toe into this journey, which she does with some trepidation because she thinks everybody else is going to laugh at her and think she’s Woo, and she’s worried about other people judging her. But it’s really about letting go of the structure of her life that’s held her in this place or taking her to where she is, which hasn’t worked. And it’s that thing, the ladders against the wrong wall, she’s climbing the ladder, and she found it’s against the wrong wall is not the life she wanted. It’s not what she thought it would be. So she’s got to dismantle that. So the whole the first big red dress is about dismantling that and becoming aware and awake and deciding to go on this spiritual journey. And then the second book, which I’m kind of like about a third of the way through writing is about old structures completely crashing down around her and then her going further into herself healing and rising like a phoenix from the ashes as a very strong person within herself, who believes in herself and who found who she is and what matters to her because I think that’s what we all must do find out what are we passionate about what matters to us? What do we love doing what lifts us what feeds us and that’s what she does in the in the in the sequel to red dress and then in the third book will be really her stepping into her power and authority and doing what she’s come to do in the world. So it’s a whole time of transition thing. So

yeah, then there’s lots of stuff in there like you know her going on holiday with their kids and walking and going to the pub and eating food and she’s a wine expert and she’s a food buff and she loves dark chocolate she can’t stop eating chocolate from the fridge and she’s very human you know, she drives too fast and gets a speeding fine and and then she’s got her dog died that tells to slow down and then she slows down just in time for the you know that speed camera she doesn’t get the ticket and there’s the stuff there’s a there’s a whole scene where she’s listening to Eckhart Tolle The Power of Now in her car while she’s driving somewhere and she’s thinking about what she’s gonna have to suffer. She got to go read what’s going to get the kids and did she need the gas, you know, all things that people do. Eckhart Tolle is droning on in the background about the power of now. And then she finally she finally goes into the now and what happens is she’s caught by the beauty of the trees in the mist overhanging the English countryside as she’s driving. And she just looks at it and she’s arrested by the beauty of it. And in doing so she overshoots or turning and then she has to kind of career off the off the highway and all these people are beeping her and so just very, very human and funny and light hearted. But if you want to you can take a deeper level. So that’s how I have unfolded that journey with In a novel,

Brian Smith 1:05:00
yeah, that sounds awesome. I use a phrase that I’ve never heard before the ladder against the wrong wall like that.

Bridget Finklaire 1:05:07
It’s stolen it from someone, I can’t remember who it is. But one of the sort of motivation people Forgive me, I don’t know whether it’s,

Brian Smith 1:05:17
I thought it was a British thing. So you could, you could have taken credit for it.

Bridget Finklaire 1:05:20
Well, I wouldn’t do that if it wasn’t my, but I just, I do love the analogy, because that’s what so many people do is that they, they climb the ladder, and then they get them to go, Oh,

Brian Smith 1:05:31
yeah, it and I like the fact that, again, a little bit different, because, you know, it’s kind of like your life, she she’s living a good life, you know, but she’s awakened just by, you know, it’s just like this is just not this is that everything, some of us need a knock over the head, some of us can do it with a more a gentle nudge, we’re kind of running out of time. But before we cause them to ask you about the bone circle, tell me about what the bone circle is,

Bridget Finklaire 1:05:55
oh, my goodness, I think we’re gonna need a whole new session for the bone circle, because it’s huge. It’s actually quite difficult to describe what it is. But it’s an entire transformative training. And some of the things we’ve talked about today, around consciousness and around becoming self aware, are included in that bone circle. So it starts with the premise or the truth bomb that I’m that I would call it, that we are all powerful creators. And we we create, whether we’re conscious of it or not. So either we create misery for ourselves, and everything we don’t want, always choose, that goes back to choice, choose to create what we do want. But a lot of people don’t know what they do want their ladders against the wrong wall, but they don’t know actually which wall they want to be against, they’ve got no clue because they’re so stuck and trapped in what society expects of them that they have no idea. So it works a lot with we do work a lot with intuition to train people to actually train people to use their intuition at will, to be able to see their truth, and to then be able to bring that to life. So there’s a lot of work around creating how we create. So we can either be in the what I call the reactive or responsive orientation, where we’re reacting and responding to things that are happening. So we’re reacting to, I’m late for work, or what I’m stuck in traffic or whatever is going on externally, or what’s going on internally, arm frayed, or I’m angry or whatever. So and we react to those things and respond to those things. Because we’re in that small self. So it’s about understand. So this part of the circle is about understanding that and understanding how that small self plays out. And what it does, and what your beliefs are and what your enneagram is and what it does and what your patterns are, so that you can become aware of them. And then make a choice to be in the creative orientation, which is where you’re not trying to fix problems, you’re not trying to respond to what’s going on, you’re choosing to create something. Now that could be a thing like a book, or a podcast, or website, or it could be a relationship, a good relationship, or it could be stillness, or a practice of meditation, or something like that. So it’s about just going for end results and visions which are true for you through at soul levels, there’s really understanding your sole purpose, what you come here for what you love doing. And the purpose isn’t some great big thing, it’s probably something you’ve always done because you love it. And you haven’t realized that. So it’s it’s an awakening, the bone circle isn’t working. The reason it’s called bone circle as well is because it is a circle. So people help and support each other. Because it goes back to that African proverb, if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far go together. So we go together so that you’ve got a whole load of people supporting you, because it’s extremely difficult to pull out of that conditioning and do things that your little self is screaming at you, you can’t do it. You think you are writing a book, you know, so you have your you this whole sort of fellowship or sisterhood that was helping you through that, which I think is so important, we need to all support each other and help each other because we are all connected. So together we rise. And this has happened together with powerful and it’s time it’s time now at this time. So both circle is partly about creating an intuition. And so purpose is partly about a little bit of therapy stuff that I give people if they need to unhook stuff in the past process trauma, get little, you know, be free of things. And also a little bit of metaphysical and spiritual stuff around things like you know, eat well drink water, exercise, spend time in nature, meditate. And all of those things. And I also bring in I really love working with Sacred Names and sacred chants because they carry like the most incredible vibration talking about vibration and Tesla and those Sacred Names and sacred chants, whatever language they’re in, carry just the most beautiful and sublime vibration. And when you work with those that raises your vibration and you can use them for protection. You can use them for guidance, you can put them in a lot of people call upon Archangel Michael, for example to protect them if they’re going into hospital right now or if they’re going anywhere, you know, we can we These are real, I would say their mind forces that their huge collective mind forces. But if we want to see them as an angel with wings, that’s fine, because that’s how we understand it. But we can also call upon the divine, and call upon these names and work with those. And that will shift our energy and shift our perspective and shift our consciousness open it. So it’s kind of a combination of all of those, but the entire training works on these sets of truth bombs about life.

Brian Smith 1:10:31
Yeah, so I’m sorry, we’ve actually we probably are running out of time. I could talk to you all day, we got through about half of what I wanted to cover. So what I want to do is give you a chance, how can people find out more about you more about what you do? How can people reach you?

Bridget Finklaire 1:10:48
The best place to reach me is on my website, which is www dot Bridgette Finn and Bridget thing. Claire’s, B ri d g e t. So it’s like bridge with the T on the NBR. It g et f the Freddie i m KLAIRE. It’s not usually. So I’m the only one. There’s I think my family The only thing Claire’s in the world. So you will find me Bridget thing. I’m also on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter. I’m on Instagram I’m on I’ve got an author page on Facebook as well. And if you can’t remember that name, john, john hunt is my publisher. And they’re probably easier to remember and you should be able to find them from there. The dress, the book is red dress, the training is the bone circle. And it’s all there on my website. I think that’s the best place to get me.

Brian Smith 1:11:39
Awesome. Awesome. And I will definitely put links to both in the show notes so people can see it there. And I’ll put it in the in the YouTube notes. Also brilliant. And it’s been an absolute pleasure meeting you and having this conversation. I wish we had a couple hours to talk but if you want a definitely like to have you back to continue, we can talk more about the bone circle and other things we didn’t get to.

Bridget Finklaire 1:12:00
I would love that. Thank you so much for having me as your guests. And I have so enjoyed it. It’s been brilliant. Brilliant to meet you, Brian, thank you so much. And look forward to talking to you again because I think we could we could easily fill another hour I’ve got so much in common.

Brian Smith 1:12:15
Yeah, without a doubt I have a great rest of your day. And you. So that does it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you enjoyed it. If you like this content, make sure you subscribe, so click on the subscribe button here, and then click on the bell to receive notifications and click on all that way you’ll be notified whenever I release new content. Thanks for watching and have a great day.

Transcribed by

Anthony Chene attended business school and began a career in finance before realizing that was not his life’s passion.

After graduating in media journalism and audiovisual production, Anthony worked as a video reporter within companies, media agencies, and TV channels.

Now, Anthony works as a freelancer (DOP, director, or video reporter) for various clients, and develops his own projects (documentaries, videoclips, fiction).

I learned about Anthony from watching his interviews on his YouTube channel. Anthony creates beautiful films of interviews with Near Death Experiences and documentaries that answer the deepest questions about life, who we are, and why we are here.

I coaxed Anthony to come out from behind the camera and the microphone and to sit in the hot seat so his fans could get to know something about the man behind these life-changing works of art.

Anthony is based in France, and travels on a regular basis for his productions.




Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried. But what if, like a seed we’ve been planted, and having been planted, to grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey, everybody, this is Brian Smith back with another episode of grief to growth. And I’ve got with me today a guy I’m really really excited to talk to his name is Anthony Shen. And Anthony is a filmmaker who makes films basically about nd ease and about consciousness and who we are. And he’s really, really popular YouTube channel. I’ve been following Anthony’s work for a long time. And I’m excited to have him here today to get him out from behind the cameras in front of the camera. So we get to know a little bit more about Anthony and what makes him tick. And Anthony did go to business school before he became a filmmaker. After going to business school, he gradually worked in media journalism, and audio visual production. And he worked as a video reporter within companies, media agencies and TV channels. And now he works as a freelancer where he does he directs and does video reporting for various clients. And he also develops his own products, his projects that we’re going to talk about today, documentaries, video clips, and fiction. Anthony is based in France, but he does travel on a regular basis for his productions. You’ll find out the Anthony’s first language is not English, but he speaks English better than any of the nice big French anyway. So we’re going to have a good time here today. So if you do want to contact Anthony, I want to give you his website, and I’ll mention it again later. But it’s Anthony Shen, it’s a n t, h, o n y, ch, E and And with that, I want to welcome Anthony to grifter growth.

Anthony Chene 2:14
Hi, nice to be here. So yes, as you said, I’m French. So I hope my English will be good enough for the interview. I’m not used to have people interview me. So I hope it will be fine.

Brian Smith 2:31
Yeah, it’ll be great. We did a little pre interview and I’m sure it’s gonna be fine. I’m really excited to get your again, as I said earlier, I want your fans to get to know you a little bit and we’re going to talk about your work and all that kind of stuff. But before we do that, Tell, tell your fans something that they don’t know about what what would be like something that they would find unexpected about you. I don’t know.

Anthony Chene 2:56
Yeah, you already said like, I went to business school in France before I started to make videos as a as a job. So I never did any class in filmmaking. I just did a few classes in audio visual production. But so I learned pretty much everything myself, like the sound equipment, the lighting the camera stuff, you know. So yeah, that’s one thing. Yeah, to

Brian Smith 3:33
say your films are beautiful. There’s, there’s so well done. There’s so well put together the way that and I’m most familiar with your interviews, where you sit down people with ended, Andy’s just recently became aware of your documentaries, and your documentaries are really wonderful, too. So you’ve done a really great job of educating yourself.

Anthony Chene 3:54
Yeah, thank you, actually, when I watched this documentary, is this the old the older documentaries, kind of very critical of myself, you know, I, I think I always think I can do better. So I try to always find the details that I can improve. So

Brian Smith 4:14
yeah. So you you went to business school, and you’re working in the business world, and you weren’t really satisfied with that. So is that is that when you decided to get into filmmaking?

Anthony Chene 4:25
Yes, yes. So long story because it took me like, a few years to to make the transition from the financial, the business school and the financial world to the to what I’m doing now. So it was not very easy. But yes, I could not fit into this corporate world. So it was like a it was a failure for me. You know, I couldn’t do it. Like I had so many friends that were they were able to To have a career and as a financial analyst, or in so many jobs like that, and I couldn’t make it, you know, it was like, horrible for me. Yeah.

Brian Smith 5:11
So when you decided to get into filmmaking, do you think that was more of the artistic thing? Because you want to be creative? Or was it the spirituality?

Anthony Chene 5:21
No, at first, it was the creative side that I, I didn’t know the old the spiritual subjects I’m dealing with right now, I didn’t know these subjects. When I started as a filmmaker. First, I started to make videos for a few clients in, in France, in Paris, you know, just fine, try to find new, a few gigs has a colleague like jobs, to make money. And it was various for various companies for publishing companies. I did. So many small videos like that. And I had a YouTube channel about economic also about economics, sorry, about the financial crisis. So I did the same that I’m doing right now. But I was interviewing politicians, I was interviewing economists, about the financial crisis about the subprime financial problems that we had. And I got, like, Can I get bored with these subjects? Because you know, after a few videos, you always you’re always saying the same stuff, you know, it’s like, nothing is going is going in the right direction. It’s, there is a real estate bubble, a financial bubble, it’s going to explode someday, but it’s not. So it’s kind of boring after a few videos. So yeah. And that’s when I found the first videos about near death experiences. A few years, a few years ago, I was already like 27 or 28 years old, when I first heard heard about near death experiences.

Unknown Speaker 7:09

Anthony Chene 7:11
I was very, very curious about that, because I couldn’t make sense of what happened to these people. And so, yes,

Brian Smith 7:22
so I’m curious, what was your spirituality going into that I understand that you were interested? You were raised Catholic? Is that correct? Yes. Okay. And so what was your What? What was your spirituality when you first heard about these indies and had that line up with what you thought before?

Anthony Chene 7:40
I didn’t have any spirituality, basically, when I heard about these stories, because I am not, I don’t practice religion, you know, so it’s like, it’s, I didn’t have any spirituality. I don’t have any family. In this spiritual stuff, you know, I don’t have someone who is psychic or things like that. So it was very, very new for me. Okay, a whole new world open. Okay. And but I think that something resonated within me about this stuff, because I remember like, I also, I already said that in other interviews, but when I was a child, I, I had some some How can you say, some intuitions about the divine and things like that? So I think it’s like a, it was a, it was a part of me, you know?

Brian Smith 8:42
Yeah, I think that’s pretty common for us. I think as children, we kind of have this understanding of this knowing and then the adults teach us things, right. And they kind of that kind of goes away for a while.

Anthony Chene 8:54
Yes, I think the, the all everything I did in business school, it was not the real me, you know, it was just something I tried to become to fit in this, this world, you know, make a living and please your please your family and, you know, this kind of things, but it was not me. And what I discovered after I think it was the real, the real meat, in a sense. So it took me like 28 years to discover something about me, you know, it’s it’s kind of strange, but

Brian Smith 9:32
no, I think it’s very common. I think I think a lot of us go through that. So was there a particular event or something that triggered this this discovery?

Anthony Chene 9:42
Not really took me like, I remember it took me like I was 2728 It took me a few months. I was listening to a lot of interviews, I have read some books about near death experiences about about the Egyptian pyramids, also About the personal development subjects. And no, I didn’t have like a near death experience or a big awakening. But I did have some weird dreams, this period of time. Remember some dreams about people like it was a strange dreams about people telling me like that I had to do videos about these subjects. You know, it’s hard for me to explain that in English because it was a some kind of really weird dreams. It was not like a conscious thing. You know, I was not channeling anything, or I didn’t have during the day of big awakening. It was just during the night that I had this information coming. And I think it played a big part in this process, but I’m not conscious of it. You know, it’s,

Brian Smith 11:02
yeah, yeah. Well, a lot of people that have had nd ease tell us that at night, we visit with the other side, and we visit our loved ones and our higher selves. And so you think maybe that was your higher self or your guides saying you Anthony, it’s time to?

Anthony Chene 11:17
Yeah, yes. It’s always tricky to, at least for me, it’s hard to answer this question. Because I’m not a psychic. I’m not consciously psychic, you know, so I don’t really know, there is what we call the veil of forgetfulness in English, you know, so, so I really have a strong veil. Yeah, I don’t, I don’t really, it’s not, it’s not like I’m humble, or I play something I really don’t know. But I think there is a we all have a higher self, or maybe guardian angels or spiritual guides, as you say. And that, before we come into this world, we hope we all have a plan, you know, kind of a plan before and we have some checkpoints, I believe during your life, you know, at some point, you have to do some stuff. And if you’re not doing them, like for me, I was doing completely all the things that you have like maybe your higher self or spiritual guides, the wake you up, they give you some tips like you have to go back to your to your trail that

Brian Smith 12:31
Yeah, like like, it’s like a Yeah, like a course correction. It’s like, you’re you’re going along and you’re you just need a little nudge in the right direction.

Anthony Chene 12:39
Yes, but it’s very subtle, you know, right. Very, it’s, at least for me, it was very smooth. So you don’t, you don’t you don’t realize it, but I remember that I before that I was kind of depressed about but what was going on, like, professional in my own life and in the world in general? No, I was very depressed. So it’s kind of a feeling like you have to do something else in your life, but you don’t really know.

Brian Smith 13:11
Yeah, yeah, at first. No, I completely understand what you’re saying. And you’re right. And I think you’re it’s interesting as you’re you’re into this subject so much but I can still tell you a little bit skeptical and your your little your your intuition that you’re not speaking like Oh, yes, my guides came up and they told me that because I understand that feeling and you know, the dreams and waking up in the morning and having the aspiration

Anthony Chene 13:36
Yes, it’s Yes, it’s Yeah, it’s very interesting what you said it’s, I don’t feel I’m skeptical but I I just tried to be very accurate and, and honest about what I experienced, you know, yeah, I cannot tell people like yes, I can definitely know. My guardian angels are talking to me. I don’t really know for sure. But I I came to the conclusion that there was something guiding me because I couldn’t do my might myself I couldn’t do it alone. You know what I did like this American channel, this YouTube channel. Just today, it would have been too hard. I must have some help. Yeah, and that it’s like I have there are two parts in me like there is the regular hand Tony you know who is fearful and we just, I don’t get it most of the time. What I’m doing but there is a deeper part in me I can feel sometimes that is very confident about what is going on and I just on how can I say in English? It’s harder for me Sorry, but yeah. There is a deep Part of me that just no. Huh? Some sometimes you just know. Yeah, I can feel that sometimes.

Brian Smith 15:10
Yeah. That inner knowing that that Yes.

Anthony Chene 15:14
It’s not a belief just you know, I know what is going on? I I know what I’m supposed to do but at the same time on in my daily life, I don’t know. So it’s it’s really strange just have to show up in faith, I guess.

Brian Smith 15:31
Yeah, yeah I love how you put that and that’s that’s the thing I think about being human when the real challenges. Some people call it the small self and the bigger self, the ego and the higher self. So we have that that part of us that you know we’re walking around going like what is going on? But we can tap into that other part of us and says, Yeah, here’s what’s going on.

Anthony Chene 15:53
Yes, it’s all about, it’s always the same subject is Don’t, don’t be fearful. But it’s easier said than done, as you say in English. Yeah, very easy for me to say, okay, don’t be fearful and do this and do that. And but then you live your own life. And you are fearful.

Brian Smith 16:15
Yeah. So how did you? How did you get started with the the nd interviews? Who was Who was your first subject?

Anthony Chene 16:24
So at first I did that. I did these interviews in French. I had, I still have a French YouTube channel. Much which it’s bigger than in English, because it’s older. Yeah. So I did, I did a lot of people in French at first with Yeah, you don’t know them in France, but some are quite famous. area. And then I had a very strong intuition that kept coming back that I had to do it in English in the US, because I knew California from my business school. Because I had to do international internships, to validate my business school. And I happened to find an internship in the Bay Area in California, completely out of the blue. And so I so then I used to go on vacation and in California a lot and in the, in the American West. So a few years later, when I started to be a filmmaker in France, I had this strong intuition to to go back to the US and do these same kind of videos I was doing in French to do the same in English. Oh, wow. That’s the story. Well, and it was a nightmare. It was it was horrible. Because it’s I have like almost no money, you know, all the usual stuff when you begin. And I didn’t know anyone in the family in the US or under just started to make videos. And I got some help. One way or another. I had, I had some people helping me like finding near death experiences like bah, bah, bah, back to normal Loma. I can say it in English. was working was working for helping ions. You know the association. Yeah. Yes. So she helped me find some people and also people helped me to find some people and I started to build this, this channel in English. So that’s the story.

Brian Smith 18:42
Yeah. Well, I’m really glad you did.

Anthony Chene 18:44
Yeah. It’s, it’s like the trips were not very easy to make. Like, I used to spend like two weeks in the US, you know, they come back and I did the editing in France. And that’s how I started in English. Yes.

Brian Smith 18:59
Do you remember how your first subject was in English?

Anthony Chene 19:01
Yes, it was the documentary called beyond our sight. Okay. Yes, experiences and psychic medium called to psychic mediums one called Terry Yoder, and as another call the seven sample, as well as for his near death experiences in the story. And that was my first documentary that I did in San Francisco. And he, again, the conditions that I had to make this first documentary was like, when I when I look back at what I did, it’s like, how come I was able to go through the process is first like, no, it was a impossible one. So that’s when I really had to follow the trust and follow the guidance, the intuition. Yeah, it kept coming back like you Have to go back to go back to California. Go back to California, do this stuff do this. So where does it come from?

Brian Smith 20:09
Yeah. So when this was coming back, would you say this was a waking thought? Or was this more of a thing in that dream state again? No, it’s

Anthony Chene 20:18
like, it’s Yeah, it was in dreams. In my dreams, I had some powerful dreams about coming back. And also during the day, like the idea, and I had many synchronicities and many science about going back to the US. And sometimes I got, like, angry at the other side, even if I don’t hear them. And it’s like, I’d say, okay, you want me to do that? Look, I won’t do it. Because it’s too much. It’s just too much like, I won’t do it. Unless you help me. Then like, a few days, or a few weeks, after that, I got like, exactly what I needed to go back. And it’s it’s repeatedly like, Time after time.

Brian Smith 21:07
Yes. It’s an interesting how that happens. You know? Yeah, it’s

Anthony Chene 21:10
really strange. Even when I talk about it, I thinking it’s doesn’t make any sense.

Brian Smith 21:19
But the great thing about you sharing that, and about the work that you do with the nd ease is, then we realize that we’re not alone, because a lot of us have experienced that, you know, and they’re like, Is this my imagination? Am I just making this up? I’m talking to myself? Yes. And yes, it’s

Anthony Chene 21:36
a great question to ask like, yeah, yeah.

Brian Smith 21:41
So, you know, good for us, that you you trusted all that. So, um, so now, how do you choose your subjects for your, for your, for your films, because you’ve got so many, and there’s so many people to choose from? So just curious what that process is like.

Anthony Chene 22:00
There is no real process, I try to listen to a lot of videos. I read a lot of books, and I try to, to see what could be what could be done. But as you say, usually I have so many things that I can do. And the problem is like, how can I organize myself then to do the all the subjects that I want to do?

Brian Smith 22:27
Right, right?

Anthony Chene 22:28
Usually, it’s this kind of question the other way around, because I have many, many ideas and many subjects that I want to too many documentaries I’d like to make. So it’s it’s an ongoing process. It’s and sometimes it’s it’s really strange how it happens, you know, like, people come to me or receive emails, or I received propositions at the exact the very time that I need. Yeah, the thing. So you never know.

Brian Smith 23:13
Yeah, well, you know, it’s just yeah, I think about nobody asked you that question. That was that was that logical side of me, right? saying, Okay, how do you do this? And yes,

Anthony Chene 23:22
yes. And I have it to this logical side, because I used to, I’m a, I’m a kind of, I’m a very, very mental, you know, very, I want to understand everything, I want to ask questions, right? I always want to get, I want to understand everything, basically. So I’m, I’m like that, but I, I learned that you, I just cannot. I it’s very, like, it’s very strange, because the when I when I talk about myself, like it’s the thing I understand the least, you know, I process my own process. Like, the the famous question, or I always have this question is like, Why do you do these subjects? You know, why? Why are you doing all this? And it’s like, I don’t have any simple answer. No.

Brian Smith 24:18
Yeah. Well, you know, it’s interesting that we’re having this conversation because you talk about in your films, and I’ve seen it when you did another interview, I saw with you this, this idea of intuition versus knowing rationally. And and I can tell you’re really deep thinker and people like you and I, we wonder, well, how does this work? You know, what’s, what’s the logical basis for it? And having to trust that this intuition goes beyond that?

Anthony Chene 24:48
Yes, yes. Yes. It’s, yeah, exactly. I think the creative process like I think Must be the same for musicians or for creative people like it, there is some part of the process that you cannot grasp. Right. Record channeling and unconscious channeling? You know, it’s very weird.

Brian Smith 25:16
Yes, yes, I can I completely agree. And and you know, so that the end, would you say we’re talking earlier, we’re talking like teasing this thing out which part of this is me? And which part of this is some something else or something outside of myself? And the answer is we don’t really know. Right?

Anthony Chene 25:31
Yes, because I was. I’m always very afraid of making things up. When you say, I look like, skeptical, you know? Because I don’t want to make things up for myself. No, I don’t want to become someone like, I’m, you know, I don’t want to lie. I don’t want to lie to myself. Right? To be very honest, as honest as I could about what I do. And and so I know, I’m not a psychic, I’m not a medium. And I think there is a higher plan for every one of us. We just have to trust what’s happening. And but, yeah, that’s what I wanted to do.

Yeah. I’m curious, because you said that, I think there’s a higher plan for every one of us. Did you have that idea before you started studying in these? Or is that something that came to you after you started listening to the lessons from indies? It was after, I think, after when I started to discover these subjects about, let’s say about spirituality. I understood a lot of things about myself and about my own life. Until then, was it before that it just seemed chaotic and random, you know, I, I went to California, I did this and did that and came from this part of the world and, and after that, I realized that everything was here for a reason. Nothing was random. And nothing is random. Everything has, when we say everything is perfect. It’s not that like everything is nice and cool. But it’s everything has a deep reason. Everything happens for a reason. And we have to find out even when it’s painful, and part we have to find out the reason and the meaning behind all this, why are we going through this painful event or things like that? So yeah, yeah. I think our choices we have the freedom to, to react, is there in wisdom, love and with faith or with fear when something happens to us? Hmm. So yes, I forgot your question. Well, I want to ask you, because you, you, I was asking you about this philosophy, you have everything for a reason. I was asking, did that come from the Indies? Because I did want to ask you, with your with your studying of indies for as long as you have, what are the lessons that are? And what are the lessons you’ve taken from indies? What do you want people to get out of your films?

I think the first big obviously, the first thing is that we don’t die. Like as we think we die. It’s not the body dies, of course, but who we really are beyond the thoughts beyond the body and beyond the emotions, who we really are. doesn’t die. That’s the main message behind the nerdiest experiences, it’s like, death is nothing. It’s just in the blink of an eye. So you go through this 3d world and there is something else. And then there are many messages behind the near death experiences. I think it’s also it’s like, everything happens for a reason, as I said, and also that when you go on the life with you on the other side, you understand that your actions that had an impact on other people, what impact you had on other people, and you experience other people, feelings and thoughts towards you as if you were these people. That’s one less you know, like, at some level, you’re not just the person you will think you are. You’re just a whole scene. It will everyone is the whole scene at some level and when you’re on the other side You just get that. And you experience the whole scene, not just the you you think you are. Okay, so that’s another lesson and so many lessons, but it’s always at the end, it’s always like, don’t be fearful things like that you live your live your life and follow your intuition. And it’s very hard to follow your intuition in this world because it’s like a whisper. The intuition is very subtle. Mm hmm. And in this one, it’s very stressful. It’s very everything. So it’s very hard to follow this little voice, but that’s the, that’s the thing we have to do. Yeah, yeah, many things I could say about.

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Brian Smith 31:49
If people were to learn the lessons, if people were to watch your films and take the lessons from how do you think the world would be different?

Anthony Chene 32:00
It’s a very deep question. I have I have a lot of mixed feelings about this world right now. I don’t know about you, but it’s can we save this world? How can we improve this world?

Unknown Speaker 32:19
I don’t know.

Anthony Chene 32:23
I think people will, will. I think we should have more power on ourselves. You know, we should do not listen to everything you’ve been told. And listen to yourself more to your true self. Like the that’s the solution. That’s the key the keys within who you really are. That’s the real solution. Because the reality we experienced this 3d world is like it’s just a dream. In a sense, it’s relatively real. It’s just a projection from inside out. So if we want to change this world, we have to project something else. But not just on a conscious level, like let’s say a one a better world, but we have to really, on the subconscious level on an emotional level, we have to project something else, every single one of us. So it takes a lot of time to change the world because we have to people have to change themselves first. Yeah. So I think it will take time, but I think it is there is an acceleration going on right now.

Brian Smith 33:39
I’d say you do believe there’s an awakening going on people are are.

Anthony Chene 33:43
Yes, I think so. But But there are also many other things going on. So yeah, I don’t know. I tried to focus on what I can control and what and what I can do, because otherwise I can I like everyone else. I feel depressed. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Brian Smith 34:08
No, I understand. I guess I was asking the question that and I can in a fantasy way, if people if people could watch if we could if people could watch your films and awaken to the reality? Yeah,

Anthony Chene 34:21
yeah. I think it would be like the it’s a cliche, like a French word, but it’s like the end of the movie matrix. The one you know, hmm, if you really if I could awaken or everyone could awaken to, to to who we really are. It will be like the end of the movie like you when he says no, the bullets like they just stop. It’s really this kind of stuff. Like if you can awaken to who you are you you can project something else.

Brian Smith 34:58
Yeah, so let’s talk about that because I I know you mentioned a 3d world. And I’ve heard people talk about four D and five D, what does that mean to you?

Anthony Chene 35:07
Okay, so some hot questions. My understanding is that the 3d world is where we live right now in space and time, with the brain, the body and everything. Like we have to live in this 3d world. But that’s not it, there is more. And I think the 4d could be like the astral level. Like when we dream, when we go out of body. Some people can go out of out of body, it’s like another level of dimension, it’s right. It’s everything it at the same place, but it’s another vibration, you know, it’s a little higher. And when we dream, we can access this level and there is still a duality going on between good and evil. As we think you know, you can have a nightmare, you can have a good dream you can. When you go out of body, people often say that you can meet good entities or bad entities like demons or things like that. That’s the 40 plane. But you can go higher and higher, it’s not the end of it. So I think when you go beyond this astral level, when you can project your emotions very easily. When you go higher, you can. At some point, there is no duality going on, as we think like good and evil. Just one, everything is just one. And you just experienced that, but it’s beyond the words we can use. I think it’s beyond our understanding, you know, we are we are guys we want to, we want to understand everything. Right? Right. And we cannot get that like, there is no bad. And people will always say there is no bad things. Everything is perfect. Like, people will always say what about children dying? Hungry? What about murderers? All these kind of usual examples? And you don’t I don’t have an answer for why you don’t know, you just know that. This is not the end of it. What we are living right now, there is something more but it doesn’t mean that we have to escape this really well, because there is nowhere to escape is only here and now. So heaven and everything else haven’t died. It’s all here now. But we just cannot see it. Literally, we cannot see it. We don’t have we’re not conscious that it’s all here. And now. And that’s the job. We have to awaken. We have to remember. We have to remember who we are.

Brian Smith 37:47
Yeah. So do you. And this is another hard question, but I’m gonna throw out there. So what do you think the purposes of coming to this 3d world?

Anthony Chene 38:02
I don’t, the usual usual answer is to learn to run stuff, too. Because when you when we are in a body with thoughts and emotions, we can have a lot of experiences we can feel, feel different experiences that we can only feel here. But a lot of very often it’s like painful. And a lot of people like even especially right now, at this parallel period of time. There are a lot of suicides, a lot of depressed people. I know in France, I know it must be the same in the us right now. And the other part of the world that people just want out is want to like what’s the point of being here? Right? So but I think there is a point. And I think my honest answer would be like, at some point we are all every single one of us is God or the universe experiencing itself from a relative viewpoint. We’ve all heard the whole thing. Everyone is the whole thing experiencing itself from a fractal point.

Unknown Speaker 39:24

Anthony Chene 39:26
any time we have problems or questions about what’s going on in the world, or why am I here? I think the answer is to project something else to give to light your own to be your own light. And to project something. That’s the solution is the I think this is the solution.

Brian Smith 39:55
Yeah, I agree with you. And it’s interesting, you know, because that is always a tough question. Why are we here? Why does this exist? But you know, I think about the opposite. What if there were no evil? What if there were no pain? You know, life would be boring. You know? Imagine a movie, imagine a movie with no bad guy, where the good guy just he goes through his life every day, and nothing ever happens. Yes,

Anthony Chene 40:22
yes, maybe it’s here so that we are forced to do something were forced to evolve. Because it was the same in my life. In the beginning of the interview, I said, like about before I did this subjects. And when I was in finance, I was kind of not depressed, but not good about myself. No, like, what’s the point? And but thanks to the this kind of emotional suffering, I found other solutions other ways. I did this channel and I did a lot of things. But I don’t think that suffering is necessary. I think we, we should have other ways to evolve. Right? Right. You don’t we don’t have to suffer to evolve. But in this world, with our level of consciousness right now, it’s like, sometimes it’s the only way, you know, you have to suffer to get it.

Brian Smith 41:19

Anthony Chene 41:20
It’s horrible when you think about it, but we it’s because we are not wise enough. Sometimes, I think Yeah.

Brian Smith 41:27
Yeah. I’m sorry, to cut you up. But the duality gives us options. So you, we can come in this world, and we can focus on the world as you were doing when you were in Business School. Everybody says, This is what you should do. But you realize this is not satisfying me. This is not feeding my soul. There’s something there’s something more for me. So you’ve you’ve created this, this channel and this this great service, out of out of that realize that other thing was not for you.

Anthony Chene 41:58
Yes, basically, that’s what I did. Yes. But it’s, it’s not easy. Because on the one side, you can grasp something, you know, like, you will have a job, you will have money you will have friends, or parents or whatever, understanding what you’re doing. So you can grasp what you what you would have on this path. But on the other side, the intuition path, you don’t grasp anything. It’s like, I feel I have to go this way. But that’s it. Right? So you cannot even explain what you’re doing to other people around you. That’s why so many people when they change careers, or when they make another other plans in the life that they How can I say it in English, it’s Sorry, it’s hard for me in English sometimes to explain. A lot of people lose friends when they change plans, because you cannot explain what you’re doing what you have a deep intuition and you cannot explain it to other people. You’re left with your you are left with yourself.

Brian Smith 43:10
Right. Right. Well, it’s, it’s it goes back to that the 3d world. And I think for people like yourself, and people that have nd ease, they wake up to the reality that this world is not real. So the people that are stuck in 3d are chasing jobs and careers, and things that as you said, they’re tangible. They’re right here in front of us. But we know that they’re not real, that they don’t last.

Anthony Chene 43:35
Yes, yes, yes, yes. And it’s, yeah, for me, it’s one way I try to tell myself this story. Like, it’s good way to feel good about myself, because it’s what I experience on a daily basis. But sometimes it’s just, it was just, like a failure for me, you know, I cannot fit into this world. You know, it’s like you see a video game. It’s like a soul video game of people have cars on the, on the freeways and buildings and all this kind of stuff. And I said that I said to myself, there’s something I don’t get about this world. Like, how can how can I fit into this world? Why? Why does it feel that I am the only one that doesn’t fit into this world? And I’m not the only one I know. But that’s how it feels like it seems it feels like it. It’s, it’s not a good feeling. Hmm.

Brian Smith 44:37
Well, I heard your interview with Lee wedding. And you mentioned the fact when you were a little kid, you had this feeling of like a purple thing in your chest, I think was the way you described it. Yeah, that that connection and that. And when I was a child, I didn’t fit into the world either. And I would lie awake at night and say what is wrong with me or what is wrong with the world, that this doesn’t make any sense to me I was a kid during the Vietnam War. And I remember I watched on television every night people killing each other, and they would show the body count. And I thought, what kind of world? Is it when people go out and try to kill strangers? It’s just it never made sense to me. Yes, it’s that kind of feeling. Yes. Yes. So I understand what you’re saying. And I appreciate you. And I think that the thing I love about Andy are sharing this with us and you sharing it with us through them, sharing it through you, as it makes some of us not feel so alone. And we realized that there is something wrong with this world, there’s

Anthony Chene 45:34
something off? Yes, because I think right now, a lot of people are trying to fit into their life or their jobs or any, they, because they feel alone as a way. And, and you’re very, it’s not just about the lack of money, because you can always find a way to make money. Like, I say that, but I used to have a lot of fears about money. So it’s not an easy thing. But you, I always, I can always find a way to make money. But the hardest thing for me was not to feel alone in my job. Or in my, in what I’m doing. alone. I mean, not alone, literally in my life, but like, like, Am I right to do this? You know, is it? Is it? Is it complete? Nonsense. Does it make any sense?

Brian Smith 46:32
You want to have some sense of purpose, you know, and I was watching the film earlier, your film, who we are. And I think it was dean Raiden was talking about, you know, I know a lot of very wealthy people that aren’t very happy. And I think one of the problems with this world is once we get that wealth, and we think this is the thing, and then that doesn’t make us happy, then we’re even more depressed. Yes, we’ve realized that’s not the thing.

Anthony Chene 47:01
Yes. And yes, there is nothing wrong about having a very big house or several big houses and a lot of millions of euros or dollars in the bank account. It’s it’s a very nice thing to have. That it won’t, it won’t. It won’t bring us what we think it will.

Brian Smith 47:28
Right. Right. Bring us any meaning. Right. Yeah, exactly. So what I wanted to kind of shift gears a little bit. So I know you live you live in France, mostly? How are your films received in France? Or this this idea of spirituality? We? How does that go over there?

Anthony Chene 47:47
In France, it’s a little different than in the US. The general population is divided, like some people are awakening to these subjects. Some are not. But it’s but on average, and I have a lot of people interested in this subject in France. But the on the official level, like how can I say like the magazines, the TV Understand? Yeah. Oh, and so on, they hardly never share this kind of subjects. Mm hmm. There is no like Gaia, you know, And in the US, you have this website. We don’t have these. We don’t really have these kind of organizations in France. Yeah. It’s almost forbidden by the state. It’s kind of that’s a good thing to do in France.

Brian Smith 48:49
Yeah, it’s, it’s still, it’s still considered kind of fringe here in the US. I think there’s more, you know, the internet has helped a lot, you know, channels like yours, where it’s, it’s the democratization, right? We don’t have to get permission to put it out. You can? Yes, yes. It’s a little more open in the US. Yes. Right. And you can put an ideal, and I got to tell people, I mean, your films, you know, some of them have millions of views, and your interview is getting, you know, 10s of 1000s of hits. So there is there’s a real appetite for this that people you know, you mentioned earlier, you know, as we’re going through this two things we’re going through we talked right before, but we’re not going to get political but, you know, going through COVID and everything people are realizing this world is not making them happy. It’s not satisfying them.

Anthony Chene 49:40
Yes. And I wonder if it’s that the message we handle all this, behind all the things we’re living right now as a society, maybe it’s like, we have to get something and we have to get it soon. Like we have to get some And if we don’t, I mean, collectively, some not very good things happen and are going to happen, because it’s like, it’s not the choice anymore. We have to evolve now. Right?

Brian Smith 50:17
Right. We seem to and we, you know, it’s interesting, we talked about this earlier that sometimes people grow through suffering, and you’re saying you would be great if we didn’t have to. But as mankind, it seems like we need to hit a point of crisis, sometimes before we wake up.

Anthony Chene 50:33
Yes. And French spiritual teacher used to say, you don’t have to get a slap in the face every morning to evolve, you know, you can just get it without suffering. It doesn’t have to be that painful. Or you can just, it’s like, when you learn something, a new skill, you don’t have to suffer a lot. Every time you learn something. Sometimes you have to, but it’s not the it’s not. Not all the time. But in the Catholic religion, you know, I was brought Catholic. It’s a it’s a very deep belief, unconscious belief that we have in France, I think it’s like we have to suffer to this to deserve something. Hmm. It’s a it’s an unconscious belief that we have, like, if you don’t suffer, you have to show that you suffer that you that it’s hard, so that you can deserve something.

Brian Smith 51:40
Yeah, that’s a really good point. Because one of the lessons of the end, I think, is we make life way too hard.

Anthony Chene 51:46
Yes, Yes, I think so. Yeah, I think it’s truth. And yes, it’s very simple. The concepts are always very simple. And then it’s the application on the day, the life that is not very, not very easy. But it’s very simple. It’s like, follow your own intuition. And don’t be fearful. Don’t blame. Don’t spend your time blaming other people all the time and judging people, because very often, we think that our problems they come from, like other people around us. And it can be true on some level, but in the end, it’s just all about what we do. Yeah, what we project. Yeah. So we just, we, we lose time when we blame other people. And I blame Of course, when I say that, in my daily life, of course, I blame other people, you know, of course I am. Of course, I’m judging things. Of course, I’m fearful. So it’s, I don’t, I don’t want to like appear like, there is a difference between what i what i say right now and what I’m leaving. So just to be clear, I have to learn.

Brian Smith 53:11
Yeah, we all we all have that. So I guess my next question. So what do you do to enhance that inner knowing that intuition and to learn to trust it more and live from that?

Anthony Chene 53:24
I think the what I do like my videos for me, it’s, for me, it’s the best way to, to understand new solutions and new things. It’s, yeah, I found this way to evolve. When I made these videos, I learned new things. Every time I meet new people, I have new insights. So it’s a great way for me to to evolve. And I’m kind of like the, like the ocean also, you know, the, the waves the sea. So when I’m, when I’m just in front of the her, just put you just put me like one or two hours peacefully in front of the sea, and I get the messages very easily. You know what I have to do? flow is very easy after that for me.

Brian Smith 54:27
Yeah, we just arrived simple. There reminds me something that the john Butler said in your film, who we are is about, like, you know, we can’t really stop the thoughts, but it’s reaching that state where we can slow the thoughts down and whatever it takes to get us there. And so, yeah,

Anthony Chene 54:44
for Western people, yes. For for people like us. Yes. It’s a great way. I think people in India and Asian people in general, it’s maybe easier for them to meditate. And for us People in the West, we have a lot of thoughts. So it’s harder, at least for me. I know it’s very hard because I want to I want to think about everything, you know, I want to, to be rational about everything so. So a great way maybe it’s also to walk. No Western people, we have to walk in nature Walker, things like that. Because when we sit and we do not think, for a lot of people, it’s very hard not to think and not to have compulsive thoughts. Right,

Brian Smith 55:39
right. Yeah, we’re socialized that way. We’re, and we’re told, we’re told you should always be busy, you should always be doing something. And I’ve talked to many people about meditation over the years, and they’re like, I don’t I don’t have time. I can’t just sit for five minutes and do and do nothing.

Anthony Chene 55:54
Yeah, it’s a lie. But yes, that’s what we tell ourselves. Yes. Yeah. Because when, when we check what we do every day, like, usually, we had a lot of times where we just waste our time, we don’t do anything worth doing. You know, you say, I don’t have time. I’m so busy. But it’s not true.

Brian Smith 56:19
Yeah. So what are your What are your future plans? Are you planning to continue doing what you’re doing? What are some projects you have coming up?

Anthony Chene 56:26
Yes, I like to make bigger and bigger projects in the future English, like, I want my documentaries and films I do to be more and more professional, more and more impactful, more and more deep. Yes, that’s basically what I want to do. I’d like to work with other people as well, you know, like technicians and like, have very talented people. Like, also musicians, musicians, was the soundtracks. So that’s what I want. That’s the direction I’d like to take.

Brian Smith 57:13
So you’re doing are you doing everything on your own? Now? You’re doing all your production on your own?

Anthony Chene 57:18
Yes, but less and less, because the last interviews you saw on my YouTube channel, like the last three or four interviews, I wasn’t the one shooting the video. Okay, because I’m not I was not able to go to the US or right to other countries because of the crisis. This crisis. So I had people I paid people in the US to fill the interview, and I asked the I asked the question, through the questions through FaceTime through Oh, yeah. Yeah, in real time. So I have people’s filming for me, and also the music’s, but yes, I’d like to delegate maybe more in the future. Yeah. And of course, it takes more money. But I’ll find a way.

Brian Smith 58:13
Yeah. Yeah. Well, Anthony, I gotta tell you, this has been a real thrill for me, getting to know you. And I thank you for stepping out from behind the camera. And I saw get to see you and hear you. I know that that people are going to be so excited. I want to tell people I don’t you tell people where can people find out more about you? yet.

Anthony Chene 58:37
You think you told it like my website and Tony or my YouTube channel, you can find me very easily on YouTube and Tony Chen production. It was really good interview for me. But what I found is that it’s very, it’s harder for me to talk about why I’m doing what I do and my own life than talking about the other side. Sure, never been I’ve never had any any near death experience. But it’s much easier for me to deal with near death experiences, then to talk about my own my own life, you know, it’s very strange and very comfortable talking about why I do what I do. You know, I don’t have all the answers. And as a rational guy, it’s, you know, I’d like to be more accurate about what I do.

Brian Smith 59:33
Yeah. Well, the thing is, you know, we all have a role to play, you know, and and you haven’t had an MD I haven’t had an MD he and I interview engineers every day, but that’s my role is to get to bring their story out and get their story people and people want to know you are you’re very inspirational story. You’re you’re a guy who said I am on the path that I don’t really want to be on. This is not fulfilling me. I’m going to take this different path. And it’s it’s, it’s you’re gonna inspire other people to follow their dreams. So that’s why I wanted to bring your story out.

Anthony Chene 1:00:07
Yes. And just people, I know that a lot of people I personally know some people right now. They just want to change their life, their job or anything. And just, just don’t be fearful. And it’s going just know it’s going to be hard, right? But don’t be fearful and you will have a lot of health and we didn’t talk a lot about praying or stuff like that. But I think you can just ask things you won’t receive anything you asked for, like most people will ask for a million dollars. That, of course, is the basic thing to ask for. we all we all want peace in the world. But when we if you have one wish you will not wish for the peace in the world wish for a lot of money. Yeah,

Brian Smith 1:00:58
yeah. That’s a great welcome mission. We did. You did talk about prayer, though, earlier, because you said when your guides were telling you to do this, or this, you said I’ll do it if I get help. And then you got the help. Yes. And said you have to do? Yeah, yeah. Then you have to do so. There’s that challenge.

Anthony Chene 1:01:16
So yeah, I tried to ask a, because it’s so easy. You know, as a rational guy, it’s too easy. You know, like, just ask with your heart. just too easy for me. Like, if it was that easy. Why is so much suffering in the world and all these questions, but I think it’s that easy. You have to ask, you have to visualize. You have to be true to yourself. And just the doors will open.

Brian Smith 1:01:47
Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Well, we’ve seen it in your life and appreciate you. appreciate what you’re doing. You’re you’re you’re very humble guy. You’re very you’re it’s been great getting night.

Anthony Chene 1:02:04
Yeah. And you too, like you make people very comfortable, you know, because it’s, it was like a stressful thing for me to do this interview, you know, to, to talk in English to. It’s not an easy thing, but you. You made it like, good, so

Brian Smith 1:02:23
great. Well, great. It’s been fantastic getting to know you and I will talk to you soon. Okay, thank you. Have a good day. Okay, so that does it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you enjoyed it. If you like this content, make sure you subscribe. So click on the subscribe button here, and then click on the bell to receive notifications and click on all that way you’ll be notified whenever I release new content. Thanks for watching, and have a great day.

Transcribed by

Dr. Lozano reached out to me to tell me about her work with using hypnosis for past life and life between life regressions. It’s something I’ve always been curious about. So, we agreed that I would give it a try before having her on the program.

Vondie is a Life Between Lives hypnotherapist. She’s also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and former Psychology Professor who’s been featured in Cosmopolitan, the Wall Street Journal, and on KABC Talk Radio.

LBL hypnosis can help people connect with their soul’s true identity and purpose. The hit movie, Soul, is about what souls do before they’re born. As a Life Between Lives® Hypnotherapist, Vondie helps people discover what their soul does after they die, before they’re born into a new life. Grief 2 Growth listeners mention the show for 10% off any single session with Dr. Lozano before the end of 2021. You can reach Dr. Lozano at: ℹ️ https://www.lovebetweenlives.comDr. Lozano reached out to me to tell me about her work with using hypnosis for past life and life between life regressions. It’s something I’ve always been curious about. So, we agreed that I would give it a try before having her on the program.

Grief 2 Growth listeners mention the show for 10% off any single session with Dr. Lozano before the end of 2021.

You can reach Dr. Lozano at:



Brian Smith 0:00
Hey, there was something like that mentioned before the episode starts, Dr. Lozano has generously agreed to offer any of my great growth listeners 10% off a single session between now and the end of 2021. So if you’re listening to this in 2021, and you’d like to schedule a session with Dr. Lozano just mentioned grief to growth, and she’ll give you 10% off a single session. A couple things. His other thing I wanted to mention is I talked about some things that have been happening in my life that kind of validated this experience. And one things I want to mention this was really wild. So in my experience, I had someone in my life named Joanna in my past life. This person played a very, very important role in my life. In fact, they kind of played a pivotal role in my life changed after this person and I were separated. So the name Joanne is not a very common name in my life. I only know a couple people named Joanna. Now I did my session on Saturday. On Sunday, I looked into my schedule, and I had someone scheduled to do a session with me on Monday, and the person’s name happened to be Joanna. So I thought that was a very interesting synchronicity. I think to validate the experience that I had, I’ve never had a client before named, named Joanna. I’d never met this person before. I had no idea that they were scheduling a session with me. So those are the little types of things that kind of validate what I went through my experience. So with that, let you get in the episode.

Close your eyes and imagine

Vondie 3:16
Hey, Brian. Hey, thanks for being here. And of course, I want to look down at your eyes. But I know I’m supposed to look up at the camera. So let’s just see what happens. Yeah, yeah, that’s fine. It’s all good. So I know, we want to start out today and set an intention like we did with the first with the sessions that we did. So let’s go ahead and do that. And then we’ll get into the conversation. Okay, well, especially since we’re going to be sharing some of your stuff I especially seen, I’m nervous and repeating myself, I just wanted to invite in the light in love of spirit and ask that our path be blessed and illuminated. See, I got the goosebumps. And that whatever we discuss is helpful to you, and your listeners and viewers.

And that this is all about love. Ultimately, it’s all about

time together would be about love.

Brian Smith 4:05
Yeah. Awesome. Thank you. Thanks for doing that Bondi. Well, as I said, we’re going to get into my session a little bit later on, and it was really, really interested. But I want to talk about you first. And want to talk about your background and your background is psychology professor, you’re a marriage and family therapist. So how did you get into life between lives?

Vondie 4:26
Wow, I’m

trying to think how to succinctly answer that. I know you said it’s okay to ramble. But it to be careful with me. How I actually got into it wasn’t related to my career at all. It was through losing my dog. And I can’t remember if I had shared that with you before, in kind of our pre interview, but I had kind of I come from a Christian background, and I think I mentioned I’d be comfortable sharing about that if that’s helpful, but I can’t I’m a Christian background. And yet my whole family is kind of intuitive for lack of a better word. And just kind of has feelings about things. And, and I, even as a kid had sensations, and probably what I would now call, like touch ins, you know. But they always just scared the crap out of me. Because from the Christian perspective, that’s all bad, you know, not just bad. That’s like scary bad. So it was actually I started opening up. See, I’m rambling. When I had an illness around age 30, a really serious illness. And I went to see a holistic healer. And this poor thing, she was so patient with me, because it was so hard for me from and I was teaching at a Christian college, I later worked at a church. I mean, I never quite fit with all of that, but I tried hard to fit with. Anyway, so she had to be really patient with me. But it was the only thing that helped me get better. So I turned to alternative healing, I had chronic fatigue syndrome. And this is 30 years ago, where nobody knew what it was, and people thought I was in your imagination. So I and I was told your so one person told me, you know, sign up for permanent disability, you’ll never work again. And I sort of rejected all that. And real doctors didn’t know what to do with it. So I went the alternative route. Anyway, while I was working with her as part of my healing, and maybe other people have had this, I started to have really colorful dreams. And I also and certainly things that haven’t said in public before, I also would hear voices. And you know, in my field, that’s not a good thing.

Brian Smith 6:44

Vondie 6:46
But voices, like my roommates voice or my dad’s voice. And maybe there I would have actually even seen things. But I remember saying, I just don’t want to see anything. I just don’t want to see anything. And later on I dabbled in mediumship a little bit. And I always wondered if that interfered, because I spent so many years, you know, but I would hear like my dad saying my name like fondy kind of loud, more. So it was more like somebody touching in. But anyway, I started having dreams. And a dream. I can say more later if you want but a dream about a co workers parent dying. And it was like a video of what happened. And the next day, the video played out, she called me aside and said, I said I wasn’t going to talk that much. I was gonna make us talk back and forth. And look at me here. Anyway, long story short, the dream played out the next day, except the mom wasn’t, didn’t die. And I was just like, blown away. So that was when I started opening up. So fast forward to when I lost my dog. See, I even my voice shakes. I was one of those people that hasn’t. I was gonna say inappropriate, in some words, but an extremely strong attachment to their animals. And so I lost my dog. And I was beside myself with grief. Like, I always tell a story. I took myself to the library The next day, because I couldn’t go to work. And I couldn’t be home because everything reminded me of her and sat in a chair just to be with people. So from that I had started doing hypnosis and I hypnosis friend of mine said, Let’s go see this medium, and that even in the Bible, it says do not do that, like that word is in there. And so I went to see a medium my dog came through, she came through first actually. And connecting with the afterlife was the only thing that gave me any comfort

Brian Smith 9:04
at all. Yeah.

Vondie 9:07
And now I’m trying to keep my story on track here. And then I’ve been trained with the medium. Hmm. To keep my connection with the afterlife. And then I had to stop training because I was neglecting my actual life and my actual husband. And then I anyway, I feel like I need to speed up here. Vani. So that’s where I learned about Michael Newton’s life between life hypnosis, and I always say only my little dog could have got me to go that far out of my comfort zone. Yeah, yeah.

Brian Smith 9:39
Well, I don’t like I when people minimize relationship with dogs because we’re supposed to say, Oh, well, dogs are not. They’re just dogs. They’re not they’re, you know, they’re part of the family. I’ve had two dogs that I’ve had for a long time, one love to 11 the other was 14. My first child was a dog. Because my wife and I would get married. She wanted to have kids. So I was like, let’s get a dog instead. So we had a dog three years before we had children. So we do form that that bond with dogs that that unconditional love truly unconditional love that, you know, the dogs always there for you, they never complained, you know. So that bond is very strong. I think I find it interesting. I don’t do this on purpose, no, but the name of the show is grief to growth. And every time I have someone to tell this story, what got you into whatever this thing is that they’re doing now that they’re on the program talking about, it’s usually some sort of loss. It’s usually that that loss that drives us to that point. And I think it’s really interesting, you talk about the Christian faith, I grew up with the Christian faith as well. And that faith serves a lot of us until it doesn’t. And then something happens, where it’s like, it just doesn’t make sense to us anymore. It’s just too confined. And then we spread out and we do other things. I know your mother also past. So that has something to do with your transition into the mediumship. And everything.

Vondie 10:59
You know, actually she passed more recently. But I felt like because of the work I had done with Michael Newton, we had a way to have a conversation about death and the afterlife before she passed. So it was sort of i o In fact, I sometimes think that the my dog, and opening me up was preparing me for losing my mom. And my mom was disabled. So the grief wasn’t just her own death. It was her life was a really, really hard, hard, hard life. Yeah, but we would, we would talk about Michael Newton’s approach and his theory that. And Michael Newton, for those of you who don’t know, he’s the one who discovered the life between life hypnosis, but and I can say a little bit more about that in a minute, if you want. But one of one of the things they found in doing these sessions is that more advanced souls choose harder lives. And my mom was paralyzed as a child and never fully recovered, and wasn’t supposed to sit up or walk or anything. But she went on to do a lot of those things, and even have kids. But But I would say, Mom, I don’t know what the hell you were thinking. And she would say me, either, you know that she had this just really, really, really hard life. So it more helped us have a conversation. And there were some specific conversations. But were you going to ask me something else?

Brian Smith 12:30
No, no, that was that was fine for that work. What I want to do before we get too far, and is I want to talk to people and let’s lay some ground rules, because sometimes I forget that not everybody’s and all this stuff. So let’s talk about what life between lives actually means and how Michael Newton discovered it. Okay.

Vondie 12:47
Okay. And then I do want to come back because my mom and I had some really interesting conversations. And then of course, some interesting things happened after she passed around her passing. Sure we have time. Sure. But what so what life between lives hypnosis is and kind of how it was discovered is Michael Newton, a lot of people know Brian Weiss and past life hypnosis, and that he asked his client or patient to go to the source of anxiety, and stead of going through like a childhood memory, she went to like a whole different life. And that’s how Brian Weiss discovered past life hypnosis and became really involved with it. Michael Newton sort of discovered it by accident as well, and that he asked a client to go the source of her deep loneliness. And he had already kind of opened up I believe, and he was a psychologist, a clinical psychologist, if I understand it correctly, and at least that’s what the cause I’ve tried to ask the Newton association was he licensed and from what I’ve gathered, I think he was, so he was a regular psychologist, and he anyway, he asked someone to go to the source of her loneliness. And she didn’t go to a past life. She went to the time in between lives. So Heaven, basically. And on the other side, we don’t just have a soul mate. Many of us have a soulmate, but we have a soul group, a soul family that we incarnate with over and over. But it’s like a, I think you say, repertory group, where you change up roles, like in the theater, you change roles each time. Yeah, but for us, we change roles, depending on what we want to learn each time, but we incarnate with the same folks to some degree repeatedly. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 14:27
Well, go ahead. No, go ahead.

Vondie 14:30
I was just gonna say so she went to her soul group. But no one in that life in their soul group had incarnated with her in this life, and that was the source of her loneliness. And so he, of course, was stunned and blown blown away. And so he stopped doing all his other work and did 7000 straight sessions and researched it and found that people went to sort of the same similar basic places on the other side, and he Journey of souls and a bunch of other books. So that’s how I was discovered. That’s who Michael Newton is. And he’s passed on, I think five years ago.

Brian Smith 15:08
Yeah, thanks for thanks for that explanation. So this is all based on the idea that we are, first of all, this is not our first time here, right? That we, that we do pre exists before we are born into these bodies is the way I kind of look at it. A word that I’m using more and more and I really like is avatar, I don’t view this as even my body, this is my avatar. This is this is my representation in this physical plane. But we we kind of come through, we have we have some control, we have some say, we do some planning. So these are concepts that I think are very, I think, can be very healing to people, if they really understand it, that gives us much more of a sense of autonomy, much more of a sense of purpose, much more of a instead of why is this happening to me is like, why did I plan this? what’s what’s, what’s the lesson in this? So these are the these are the benefits from this could people might say, Why do I care and this frankly, for a long time, when I heard about past lives, people were going to pass I’m like, I don’t I don’t need that, because I just I’m living this life. And when I heard about life between lives, I was interested, kind of interested, but didn’t really know how it benefit me. So um, I love you know, talking to you and how you’ve used this, you know, in your practice, and how does it benefit your clients and your practice? Well, and boy,

Vondie 16:29
there were so many things you said I want to respond to, and I apologize, I’m gonna grab a Kleenex today. So I wish I could use it as a marriage family therapist, but the state has really strict guidelines around what, what what you can do as a therapist, marriage family therapist, a talk therapist in California. And this isn’t part of it. And it’s funny in other countries, there’s 200 plus Newton Institute certified hypnotherapist who can do this. And some of them in other countries. They’re doctors and therapists. And it’s included, like my mentor, my training mentors in Germany. And it’s included, she can do it under her medical license, but we’re not there yet. So, so I do it separately, though. I wish I could, because I work a lot with trauma. And I would never tell someone who’s had a horrible trauma. I think you chose this ever. But when I’ve done hypnosis with people with trauma, sometimes we do kind of try to inadvertently find out like, well, what, what’s the purpose of all this, but as a hypnotherapist, I’m not limited in that way. So it’s I have it as two separate completely separate things. And as you know, it can help you understand your life from the much bigger picture like I’ve always said, Everybody makes sense, when properly understood. So my job as a talk therapist is to sort of put the puzzle together of you to understand all the events who you were your kind of innate self, your personality, your gender, your everything. And then with life events, how that combined to make you you. Yeah, and so I do a lot of I always say detective work as part of being a talk therapist. But I was kind of overwhelmed when I learned about this cuz I was like, Man, I’m a pretty good talk therapist, and I kind of know how to get people from here to here. And now I have to look at oh my gosh, it’s not just this life. It’s a whole bunch of lives and Okay, so I’m going to venture into yours a little bit. Now. Do I have your permission by the way to share about yours? Okay, because it is confidential. So people know. But I knew we were going to talk about it today. Yours was the first time I ever had your past live show self show up in your soul group? Or in your was it? I think it was your Was it your soul group or your council? Do you remember?

Brian Smith 19:01
It was in my soul group? Yeah, I think it was your soul group. Yeah. soul group. Yes. Yeah. So

Vondie 19:06
oftentimes, we’ll explore multiple lives because a soul is working on something. And we’ll be like, well, have they had this before? And so it’s the council and those are your wise elders who oversee all your lives. At some point in the session, we go there or something, some version of wise souls to get feedback, and people can bring their questions and about this life. But anyway, we often explore how this life fits. We’re not within all the lives. But yours was the first where I had the past five selves actually show up. So do you remember that sometimes I remember more than you do. So that’s why I want to check.

Brian Smith 19:44
Yeah, no, I did. I wasn’t sure what you’re talking about. First. Yes. One of my past life cells when I when I crossed over was there in the group that greeted me. Yes.

Vondie 19:52
Yeah. And because I remember you said, but they’re not really and I’ve heard this before, but this is the first time I’ve had this in one of my sessions. You He said, Well, and they’re not really past lives, because they’re all happening at once. But you said, I’ll just kind of say it that way, in the sense of Earth’s time, like you were kind of talking down for me a little bit. But, but you were letting me know that your other aspects of yourself other lives you’ve lived for showing up.

Brian Smith 20:19
Yeah, it’s, and we’ll talk about, we’ll get into a good into that my session, and what I what my experience was, but there is, and let’s just talk about the session the sessions in general, because I want to make sure where people are tracking where we are. Okay. So this was this was a gap over two sessions. The first session was a past life regression, where we just went into a past life, and I found a particular past life that had a lot of meaning for me, you know, in this life, and I want to, I want to share with people what this experience is like, because I was I was selling by name when she called me up and said, Okay, I’m gonna do this. So one of the reasons I never tried it was because I was convinced that I was one of those people that could not be hypnotized. Because we hear about hypnosis, and we see it like on TV, there’s like, you make people bark, like a dog, or stand on one leg, or, you know, things like that. And I’m a very analytical, you know, right brain or left brain kind of person. And I’m like, I just not gonna be able to get into this thing I have to get into. So I have to say that I was wrong. It was really, it was really an interesting experience. Because I was fully conscious. I knew where I was, I knew what I was saying. But I was also very, very deeply relaxed, and to a point where I am not normally. And even though I meditate, you know, everyday, it was even it was even deeper than that. And I remember you saying to me, when we do this, need to make sure you have a microphone, because sometimes your voice gets so quiet, that I can’t hear you. And I’m like, that’s not gonna happen to me. But I got to a point where, like, you were asking me to talk and I just really didn’t feel like talking. I was like, I guess I had to talk to her. But I really, I was just into the experience. So we start off with the past life regression, and we did that session, the next session, we do a past life, and then we go forward into the between lives. So that’s kind of the the sequence of how this happens. And you know, it’s really interesting, because like I said, I was fully conscious the whole time I was, I knew what I was saying, I remember everything. But you know, I remember you saying, sometimes people have this. And they say, Well, I feel like I just made the whole thing up, because it’s just my imagination. And it does kind of feel like that. But there was such an emotional connection to some of the events that happened. They were points where I just I literally could not talk, because I was experiencing the death and life of my mother, and my father. And these are people that I thought it was just making up in my head, but I was very emotionally attached to what had happened. So it’s a To me, it was a very, very real experience. I just want to say that to everybody that, you know, it felt like it was very beneficial. And I learned a lot about myself in this life. And I have to say after the first session even. And it was weird, because things are going on my outside life as this was going on, too. So my 60th birthday just happened to be I think was between sessions. Yeah, it was between sessions. Yes. Yeah, yeah, we had the first one that I had my birthday. And then we had the second one. So my 60th birthday was in there. And some other things that went on, that just really made me feel a lot more confident in my life and where I was. So by the time the second session came around, I was feeling pretty good anyway. But I learned a lot in the second session as well. So I do want to say to people, anybody that’s considering this is thinking, you know, I don’t know if it’s real, or if it’s just woowoo. It was very real experience for me, and it was very beneficial in that. And I it’s been good. It’s been a couple of weeks, as we had the last session, I’m still kind of processing some of it. But it’s given me a whole even though I’ve studied this stuff for a very long time, and I talked about it all the time. And I believe in soul planning and soul groups and all that. It’s just made it a lot more concrete for me a lot, a lot more real for me, and maybe put this life kind of in perspective that it’s it’s a temporary thing. And it’s all part of a big plan.

Vondie 24:12
Yeah, well and what’s different is, instead of you going to someone who then tells you about your loved ones or your soul group or whatever, you’re telling me about your loved ones and your soul ones. So you’re you’re there connecting, getting the messages and then relaying them to me and like you said, so many people get so deep into the experience. It’s hard to even use words sometimes we’ll even communicate with like, you know, yes or no with like a finger or something. And certain points like in that part where I was relaxing you sometimes I’ll say like, just nod your head to let me know.

Brian Smith 24:49
Yeah, and like I said, that really worked. And the other thing you know, cuz you touched on this earlier you talked about going to medium and how that really impacted you and I’ve heard this and no offense to you as a professional. therapists but I’ve heard some people say that a good medium reading can be worth 10 years of psychotherapy, because it’s you, you’re feeling that you’re getting that connection with the loved one. Well, this is like making yourself your own medium. You can, you can reach loved ones, you talk to your own guides, you talk. So you’re you’re reaching your you know, you’re not, there’s not someone sitting across the table telling you what your guide is saying, your guide is actually speaking to you, you’re there experiencing this. And it was that made it a very different experience for me. And I’ve had lots and lots of medium readings, and they’re very, very helpful. But this was just, like a whole level beyond that.

Vondie 25:37
Yeah, I agree. Well, and when I try to think how to say this, when I had my sessions, they told me, You need to get trained in this. So after I did the, you know, learned about it, I read all the books, and then I had my sessions. And they said this, you need to do this and stop being a talk therapist. And we were in the process of moving up here to Ventura from LA County, which is a couple hours away. But I, in my session, the person who was doing my session kept saying, well, but how is she going to earn a living? You know, what, what is she going to do? And while I kind of get trained and develop all this, so I’m actually in the process of transitioning to just doing this, because when I found out about this, I was like, you know, it to me, it just is so profound. And not that the other talk therapy isn’t profound it is. But I think it’s just for my spirit. It’s like I found my like, this is what I’m called to do. And I’ve been doing the other for 30 years. And and I value it and I don’t want any way denigrate it. But like you said, not that you makes up for 10 years of therapy was so nice. People call me for an LBL. And I’ll end up seeing them in my marriage family therapy practice. Because I realize you need a lot of help with this life. Yes, you know, because the LBL is just an lb L stands for life between lives. You know, it’s a couple sessions, like you said, but yeah, I when I found out about it, I was just like, I gotta do this.

Brian Smith 27:09
Yeah. And when I said that, I just want to be clear, I was referring specifically to grief that when people go to a therapist, and going to a therapist for grief is frankly not necessarily helpful. It’s therapists.

Vondie 27:23
And most therapists aren’t trained in grief counseling. So I went to a grief group that was volunteers who did it for free. When I lost my mom, and I went to see a pet loss counselor when I lost my dog. Yeah, I’m not a trainee. She was a therapist, but she was doing it again, kind of separate. But But yes, the only thing that made the grief bearable, with my dog was the afterlife connection. Like I wanted to live on the other side. And I realized I chose this life and I need to live this life. But yeah, I would still be doing mediumship training, if I could, except I wasn’t that good at it.

Brian Smith 28:02
Well, you’re you’re doing what you should be done. I want to go back to something you said earlier, because I think it’s really, really profound. And I, many, many years ago, I took a seminar course whatever, it was a guy, I can’t remember his name right now. But the thing was called what you are is where you were when. And the whole idea was if you got to really know somebody, so what you are is where you were when, and if you got to know somebody and do everything about them, that you can understand anybody? Because as you said, so so well, we come in with the set, and there’s the there’s the nature part of us, we come in with this innate stuff. But then there’s all the things that happened to us. And you take these things, you add them up as people say, nature versus nurture. No, it’s both. And that makes us who we are. So understanding ourselves, you know, we can look and say I was born into this family, and I love these experiences. That’s why who I am. But even before you were born into this family, you come in with, I believe other other influences, you know, past lives to use that word. Again, it’s there’s no time on the other side. So but for purposes of Earth life, we think of the life life as sequential. So I think this that’s why this is so deeply profound for people because a lot of us look at and say, why was I born in the family I was born into why have I had the experiences of that? Why do I feel like I’ve never fit in? You know, in this world? I think it’s a it’s a very common question that we have. And this can help answer some of those questions. You know, you can you can sit down with your you know, and go through when you go through the life between lives especially and say, This is why you plan to live the way that you did it. And when you do the past lives, you can see themes recurring through your different lives, and different things that you want to try out or things you may think you didn’t do as well on one life. So you want to give it another another chance in this life.

Announcer 30:00
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Vondie 30:57
Yeah, yeah. And you know what? I apologize. I’m hearing a lot of background noise. You’re not picking it up fine.

Brian Smith 31:03
No, not right now.

Vondie 31:04
Okay, good. Because I was thinking I could shut some doors. so noisy in here. Now you’re fine. Okay. Can I say a little bit about what you just said? Yeah. So one of the places that people often go is called the life body selection place, it’s usually the last place they go before the session ramps up. And they can see the different options they had. Usually there’s about three or four options. And why they chose the family, the life sort of the trajectory, it’s not all laid out, because we have freewill. But they say Think of it as like potentialities or trajectories, you know, that, that we, you know, I had someone say, and people have given me permission to share some of these things. You know, I had an option one was like, I could be born in Africa. Or I could be born to a group of just like regular folks trying to beat the odds. And I forgot what the third one was. But they chose the regular folks trying to beat the odds. Or one person had an option of being something really adventuresome. But she, because of how her past life, she was alone in her past life, she chose a family life. But the downside would be her freedom would be restricted, and she’s kind of a freedom loving person. So literally, they can see like, some people see on a movie screen, and they can actually step into the movie and see how it feels. I had one guy who saw he called a futuristic warehouse with pods that you jump in, and it shoots you off into a life. Hmm. And, and he would jump in without looking and one of his lessons was to like, sort of explore a little more before he just threw himself in. And then one woman saw a roomful of babies with Christmas tags. And she knew which one was going to be the baby that was going to be her. So we choose the scenario, you know, not anyway. So that’s, that’s something that’s really fascinating to me.

Brian Smith 33:08
So yeah, so it brings up a couple things. One is I wanted to ask you, because a lot of times we hear about past life regressions, and everybody was clear patcher everybody was, you know, everybody was royalty. No one has a mundane life. So what’s your, what’s your experience been with that?

Vondie 33:24
So other than you and one other person, I’ve never had anybody have any historical figures in their life? Ever? Okay. So, and it does seem to be a little geographic specific. Oh, I was going to share about my husband, I’m trying to think if you give permission, I’ll just say he’s from Europe. And his past life was in Europe. And a lot of us would, a lot of the sessions I’ve done people are either Native American, or settlers. No, like we do their immediate past life or some of their past lives. But I’ve only had you and one person who also gave me permission share, and she was Queen Elizabeth.

Brian Smith 34:05
Wow. Okay.

Vondie 34:06
And, and it’s so funny, because who she is today is like the most humble, modest. So she was completely blown away. And then, are you comfortable with me sharing your historical figure?

Brian Smith 34:21
Yeah, sure. Or do you want to share why it was Frederick Douglass, but it wasn’t me. So it was it was someone else, which I don’t want to share with what that was, but it was someone else.

Vondie 34:31
Okay. Yeah. And he was in an important moment in your past life. Right. Right. And then he ended up being someone in your

Brian Smith 34:40
soul group. Yes. Yeah. And I won’t say who, but Oh, go ahead. Yeah. So yeah, I think that’s I guess that’s, that’s interesting that you’re experienced because I was wondering, because like I said, everybody that talks about this, it’s always like, I was a celebrity. I was, you know, I was this or I was I was royalty. And it’s, you know, for me So when you’re doing this again, I want to talk about the experience at work for me, I know you were say, You’re, you’re going back, you’re going back, and then you’re here. And I was just picking the first thing that came to mind. Because I was fully conscious. I was aware I could make choices as what I was doing. But I was like, Okay, this is what feels right. To me. This is what I’m, this is what I’m experiencing. And I said, It was interesting to see some of the patterns that were that were coming up, you know, over and over again, as we were going through the session and the people that were playing different roles. I love the way you said, like a repertoire, because that we can only talk in metaphors. You know, it’s interesting, there’s a guy, Bernardo kastrup, who’s and if you know who he is, but he’s a he’s a philosopher. He has written books on philosophy and idealism, the idea that everything is consciousness. And when he talks about when we talk in allegories is something, we can only speak about an allegory. We can’t speak about them directly. We can all use metaphors, I love using metaphor. So people might get tired of hearing, say, you know, compare things, to computer games or to you know, and I like the idea of a repertoire because we, we are not the person we think we are right now. That’s why I said I’m an avatar, I am a much more complex, much larger collection of beings for lack of a better word that happened to choose this one body this time around, and we played different roles. So in my particular case, my daughter’s Shana has played a couple different roles in my past, and she’s always played a role, at least for the board, like the ones we went through, where she played a very difficult part of my life. She took the hard roles, I remember them saying, Yeah, she took the higher roles, and she took the roles where she was separated from me. And it launched me on into something else. My daughter Kayla, but you know, played various roles in my life. And so and they would play you know, similar types of roles but different roles, you know, in my life. So, that’s it makes you look at the people around you and just kind of wonder, like, you know, what have we done before? there’s a there’s a song Kenny Loggins, I love music is a song called Sweet reunion. And he talks about when he meets his soulmate, I was thinking about Shana might hear the song now. But when he meets his soulmate, it’s like we’ve done this 1000 times before. And it’s like she walks in. And it’s like, he immediately recognized Not, not consciously but subconsciously. It’s like, I know, we’ve done this before. I think that’s such a cool concept. We think about our lives. That, you know, we this is not the first time we’ve been with people.

Vondie 37:30
Right? Right. Well, and remember, on the other side, we asked, What’s your immortal soul name? Do you remember?

Brian Smith 37:38
Yes, I remember asking him. Okay.

Vondie 37:40
Do you remember what it was? And you don’t have to share unless you want to?

Brian Smith 37:44
Ah, I’m not sure if I remember or not. Yeah.

Vondie 37:47
And I have to confess I peeked I took a little notes during our sessions. I think, is it right? If it’s a shocker? Yeah, that’s what it was. Yeah. And so it’s kind of complicated, because we’re talking over there about the past life. Brian, today, Brian, and then the soul Brian as so sometimes it’s kind of like, musical chairs, as I’m talking to them and saying, Well, how does this affect Brian? And how did this affect?

Brian Smith 38:14
Yeah, yeah, it could get confusing, right? Especially because you ask him like, Are you talking about me? Are you talking about there because, again, this is where I think, you know, that’s why I consider this life to be an avatar. And nother series of books I read, it was a book series of books called the team. And I think she explains this very well. And that we’re all part of a team, which is this thing we’re talking about. But even more than that, are different avatars are all part of a team. And so it’s like we’re this we’re this, this being the comes in a different ways. And then we share these experiences, so that we don’t all have to have the same experiences. So that’s, that’s why I was able to when I was in this life between lives regression, I saw another soul another avatar that I had been in a different life. So it gets, it could get very confusing, because we’re like, we’re like, nested beings, you know, we’re like this, and then we’re this and then we’re this.

Vondie 39:07
Well, and that’s why I actually take notes and I have up in the corner, your name, I have past life, one name, past life to name because we do a little we do the past life for the first session. And then the second session, is we go to your immediate past life because we want to see what happens between the life right before this and before you chose to be Brian. Yeah. And so and then I have your guides name. And so I have it all there are my paper so I can keep everybody straight and who I’m talking to and who the message is for when we’re having the conversations.

Brian Smith 39:40
Yeah, and I remember I was thinking about as we talked with this mirror on Peter Peter panagora had his near near death experience and they went on the other side and he heard like his real name, his sole name or whatever. I think you said it wasn’t pronounced bottom ever what it was, but you know we have this it’s just the idea that we are not. I am that Brian and you are not binding. And I really, so how does this apply practically when I look at people, I’m having conversations with them like, this is kind of avatar to avatar. It’s Soul to Soul on one level, but it’s also avatar to avatar. And we’re not really, you know, we think we are. And it makes it easier for me to accept, for example, my daughter, Shayna, who has transitioned out of her avatar, to know that, and once since we’re still together, you know, on the other side, we are literally still together at this moment. And on the other end, and I’m going to see her again. So that’s how this stuff actually plays out in day to day life, when we can just carry this life more loosely. When we can not take it, you know, quite so seriously and say, you know, everything’s gonna be okay. You know, it’s really what it all comes down to.

Vondie 40:48
Right? Well, then something you said, I was gonna say about, oh, you’re still together over there, we only bring a percentage of our souls essence into any given life. So usually 30 to, let’s say, 60%. So you’re still over there while you’re here, with Shana. And you’re also doing other things. So you’re not just there. And here, you’re also people are sometimes on other planets, there’s even a thing that’s gonna get kind of out there, or people are in two bodies on Earth, kind of at the same time, or overlapping times? I’ve

Brian Smith 41:27
heard of that. Yeah.

Vondie 41:28
So, so yeah, so we only bring, you know, a percentage to this life. And we’re over there. We’re very busy. In fact, in this perspective, well, actually, were you gonna say something for topics. In this perspective, that’s real life. And this is school. So we’re over there in school or making energy, were working in labs or creating life or doing all these things. And then, you know, we’re coming here to, they call it like, this is your fieldwork or your practicum. I want to try out having more compassion. So that’s why you come to earth, there’s a lot of much easier places to incarnate, but Earth is like, you know, the tough school advance. So to all your people out there, you know, you were the brave ones. My, the person who did my sessions told me that you were the brave ones, or I heard him say it in a talk. So this is the hard life because there’s a lot of suffering.

Brian Smith 42:24
Yeah, and it’s interesting, because even the terminology we use for life between lives, it’s actually the other way around, you know, this is this is the, the the break, this is the school this is the this is the the obstacle course, this is the video game, this is the all those analogies want to use. This is not the real world. And, and I know this sounds weird to say this, but scientists are telling us that they’re like, you know, a lot of philosophers and scientists are arguing about is this, is this place real? Or is it a simulation? Are we a hologram. And and there’s, there’s a lot of evidence that this world is really basically a projection, that there’s something that under under lies underneath it, that created that props up that supports it. But it’s like, you know, if you’re a Star Trek fan, it’s like being in the holodeck. It’s, this is this is not real life. It feels very well. And I tell people, this is a totally immersive experience. This is like, you know, you stepped into the best VR that there ever is. It’s not only sight and sound, but it’s also touch and emotion. And all of a sudden, it feels very, very real. But from the other side, they’re like, you know, this, this is the simulator. And you’re only there for a very short time. And getting back to the session, you know, because I could talk about this all day. But getting back to what this LBL does for you, is allows you to expand that picture out of even this the life that you’re in right now. And to say, I’m going to take it a little bit easier, I’m not going to take it so seriously. I’m going to, you know, I chose to come here to have this experience. And so whatever is my experience is going to be you know, it’s going to be okay.

Vondie 44:03
Yeah, well, I’m at one point, I asked some questions of the council through you about kind of, how are you doing? And usually I get, you know, well, he’s doing this or he’s doing better or he needs to do more work or whatever. And yours. I don’t know if you remember this, they you said there’s no judgment here. It’s all just experience. Like they, they were very clear, like we’re not evaluating you. It’s it’s just all experience. Do you remember that?

Brian Smith 44:33
Yes, I do. And I think it’s very important because a lot of times, you know, well, even in our Christian background, and and in this, it’s all you know, we have to achieve, you know, and I people, people use the term even the day I’m being tested, and I’m like testing applies first of all pass fail. And it applies, we don’t know and I tell people that are going through these experiences like you can’t fail. Whatever it is, that happens you can’t fail. You can choose how you’re going to deal with this. And, and the outcome is, I mean, you, you kind of already know, it’s just this is really more of a, it’s a challenge. It’s like, you know, I want to see how this goes. But it’s not a pass fail thing. It’s no one’s gonna, you know, you don’t go back and get an A or B, or C or, you know, Oh, you got an A, you’re allowed to move on to the next level. But if you, if you got to see you, you’ve got to go back and do it again. And that’s another, I have a poor friend, I remember when I was she, she and I were a group of people were ex Christians were come out of it. And we would start first talking about reincarnation. And she said, Every time I hear about reincarnation, I just start crying. And I said, why she said, My life has been so hard and her life had been had been impossibly hard. Because why would it ever do this again? Why would someone make me come back? And I said, I think it’s very important. We don’t have to come back here.

Vondie 45:49
And I was just gonna say, my mom said the same thing is I said something about maybe you’ll choose a better, easier life next time around. She said, Do I have to do this again? I mean, her life was so incredibly hard. And I said, No, you don’t have to, you know, you. They don’t make you come back. Right. And in fact, that as the souls advance, they stop reincarnating or incarnating. And so the council they’re usually not incarnating anymore. And the higher up, higher up like judgment higher up, it’s more just, they’ve done more.

Brian Smith 46:24

Vondie 46:24
it’s not it’s Yeah, so even though there’s different roles, it’s not like there’s a value on further not far. Oh, I was gonna say something else about that judgment. But what were you gonna say?

Brian Smith 46:34
I just I want to point out there’s another reason why people incarnate people sometimes incarnate for other people. They’re there to a point where they don’t feel like they need to incarnate anymore. But they they choose to come back for a particular purpose, or for the greater good. So there are people that believe they’re called Bodhisattvas that say, yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna come back and I’m doing this for you. I’m doing this for, you know, other people. So that idea of it just wants to have more thing, I’m gonna let you go. But I, when people, everybody, I know that in helping parents heal, almost every single tour person said, I’m never doing this again. And I used to say that myself, and I’m like, I don’t say that anymore. Because it’s like, when you like, you got your drink too much. You get hung up when you say, I’m never gonna drink again. You know, you do it again. And so once we get back to the other side, and once we you know, kind of decompress, and we realized that wasn’t that big of a deal. There was no real jeopardy. Then we say, yeah, I’m gonna do it again. So I don’t I don’t say that anymore.

Vondie 47:36
Yeah, it’s funny. You said so many things. I was like, Oh, I want to respond to that, that that. But um, yeah. Okay. So yes, most of the time. So one of the questions we asked before people come back in is, were you eager to come back and different or didn’t want to come, and most are eager to come back. And then the other thing I was going to say was, for some reason, I’ve been getting a fair number of advanced souls. And hopefully, this won’t embarrass you. But there were some signs that you would fit into that category. The sign being that you skipped the orientation and you went straight to your soul group, usually your guide meets you, right, when you cross over, kind of like the past live session, but the souls who know where they’re going, they just go to one of the places they don’t need, like a reorientation. Anyway, hopefully, that doesn’t make you uncomfortable. But um, but I’ve been getting people, I had someone who was a council member, and they don’t incarnate anymore. They stopped incarnating, a long time ago. But when it was time to start asking questions, and I was trying to get her to go to her Council, the message was put your book away, because we have a book of you know, at this place, you asked this at this place who has this and then obviously, we freelance too. But they said, put that book away. This soul is not there for her advancement. She’s there for everybody else. And the whole Council. In fact, she on the other side, it’s all love, and we’re all one. She would refer to herself as we She didn’t even speak as I when she got over there, really the council. But she said, it took me a while to figure out what was going on. I had to say, Well, what do you do? And I help people Pratt plan their lives. And I finally figured out she was on a council and the whole council had incarnated among us to for our benefit here on Earth. Wow. Wow. Yeah. And I’ve had a fair number of those recently.

Brian Smith 49:38
Yeah, I think I was gonna say I think that’s really that’s really cool. And I think it’s really it could be freeing for people again, because we’ve we’ve had this idea whether it’s from Christianity of, you know, final judgment from God, or whether it’s from near death experiences, the life review, which a lot of people, they actually confuse those two things because near death experiences, tell Over and over again. You’re only evaluate yourself. But some people still fear that that life review. And I think it’s we need to really understand. We don’t have to, really, we don’t have to worry about that, you know, it’s actually, I like what Jesus said about storing up charges for yourself in heaven. Do I look at it now is every time I do a good deed, I’m like, this is gonna be cool in my life review. So that’s the way I look at my life. If you have like, what, what cool things? What kind of little cool things can I leave for myself? You know, when I get there? So that’s, that’s been very helpful for me.

Vondie 50:33
Yeah. And I was gonna say, My voice is doing okay. I know. I said I was having trouble. So if I can go a little more if you want to, but if you need to wrap up, I’m good to

Brian Smith 50:41
know we’re doing fine.

Vondie 50:44
Okay, Kevin, can I share? Oh, go ahead.

Brian Smith 50:47
No, no, go ahead. Well, I

Vondie 50:49
had two things, kind of in response to that two different sessions I wanted to share. But one, they’re opposites. So one was very affirming. And one was, was a little less. So this is okay with you. If I share both? Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So because it kind of doesn’t fit with what you were saying. So I want to be respectful. But the first one was a friend of mine, I did his session. And it turned out he was a young soul. I think I did a session when I was doing my training even. But it turned out he was a young soul. And when he crossed over, he felt really bad about his past life, that it didn’t go well, or he didn’t make enough of himself. And, and they were like, you’re good. Don’t worry about it. And his counsel said that his guide said that they kept giving him the message over and over and every different way they could think of, and finally, they said, This is my favorite thing. And sometimes we can hold on to these things for us. Even if the message was given to somebody else. It’s also for us. And they said, I still remember, we don’t care how well you do we just care about you. Our answer will always be you’re doing fine. You’re doing wonderfully. Like they didn’t even want to evaluate the last life. Right, right. We don’t care how well you do we just care about you. Because he kept being hard on himself. Mm hmm.

Brian Smith 52:10
Yeah. Yeah. That’s that’s the way I believe it is. So what was the other experience? Okay, yeah.

Vondie 52:15
So the other one was the opposite. And, you know, we’re trained and all the sessions, it’s all love. Anyway, I’ll just cut to the chase. This was the most interesting session I’ve ever done. And it was someone who originally wasn’t going to give me permission to share because they’re very private. But afterwards, I said, you have to give me permission to share this. And she did. So she crossed over. And her guide was pissed at her. And sometimes the guides joke with people and joke with me. But he was like, come here, come here, come here, come over here. Come here, come here, come here. And he said, her name was come here. And she was a wall street broker in the crash. And after the market crashed, she kind of just gave up on life. And so they said, Well, first of all, the guide said, you need to go right back in because you wasted that life. So two things. He was pissed. And he told her go right back in, I was trained and told and all the other sessions 1000s and 10s of 1000s of sessions people have done, it’s all love. And you never go right back in the whole point of life between lives is all the things we do on the other side. He said, You need to go right back in. And so we went to the place of life body selection. And they were like, We don’t know what to do with the soul because there’s workers there, because you don’t go right back in. So long story short, I asked some questions, and they finally went to a wise person who could help us. And it was Mr. Mighty, who was like a cross between a king and Santa Claus, like a big figure. And you, she said, you go to him, like going to the principal’s office when you’re in trouble. And I’m like, flipping through my book of questions like, this is not in here. And he said, basically, if you don’t straighten up, you’re not going to be allowed to incarnate anymore. And because you’ve been wasting your lives and they’re, they’re supposed to keep ending better, and they’re ending miserably. And so again, I’m like, What the hell? This is not supposed to be like this. I literally kept thinking they were going to joke with me or something. But finally, they said, in this life, she’s too serious. And Mr. Mighty apologized for like, scaring her straight and told her so the message turned out to be about love, like to relax, you know, ease up, it’s okay. But initially, I was like, This is wrong. This is not what they told me. And I think that was one of my training sessions too. So I was like, Oh my gosh.

Brian Smith 55:01
Yeah. Well, I think that’s a very interesting experience. And I’m glad you relayed that because you had said in the notes before we got started that this is kind of like having an indie without having the indie. And so we talked about all the positive and indies and there are some that we call less than positive. And so we can’t throw those out my personal opinion about less than positive experiences is people get what they need. Yeah, I think sometimes people need that less than positive experience. It’s not a permanent thing. Nobody goes to hell. And I think it’s really interesting. The people that even go to hell on their nd ease, always get out before they even in the NBA de Souza asked for help. They’re always taken out. And the other thing is, these sessions are, there’s a lot of projection that we’re doing because our, our sorry, our psyche, psyche is involved. So they’re not, you know, it’s not, it’s not perfect, it’s not objective. So I think in my case, my guess would be this is that this is what this woman felt like she needed was she needed that, that experience of being, you know, scared, straight, for lack of a better word. But I think about, you know, there’s been there been a handful of people that have had, I think it’s like eight or 10% of people having the ease are less than positive. But it’s interesting, they usually have a positive outcome. And I remember it was I think it’s pmh Atwater when I interviewed she was saying, one time, she was giving a lecture and someone stood up, and they’d had like, a really heavenly end, like the best one ever. They were miserable. Because they felt like they had been rejected. And they were sitting back and they thought life sucks. Another person stood up, they had a hellish and he and your, they were so grateful for it. Because it said, it really taught them that they really need to buckle down and focus on their life. So I just I believe people get what they need, in their, in their experiences. And in my case, you know, I thought it was interesting, because, like, with my lives, you will say, Well, how did that life go? And a couple I had, I’m like, it went fine. I thought it went great. I didn’t have any, any feeling like I, you know, I mean, I remember the one life I actually was too hard on myself, I thought I should have done more that I took out of that life. So I think everybody gets what they need and experiences and there’s room for a variety of things. It’s interesting, that person even though they had a quote, negative experience, realize this was what I needed.

Vondie 57:14
Right. And it and it ultimately wasn’t a negative experience. And it’s funny, because their soul group was like a rogue soul group. Like they were smoking drinken Their names were coming here and, and Roger that. And hell yeah. I mean, it was a renegade soul group. Yeah. So So even though it’s, it wasn’t negative, it was just different than what I expected. Right. But they were fine with it. Like, like, the the guide was, like, pissed, like, get over here. And they thought it was funny. I mean, so this soul kind of just wasn’t taking anything seriously.

Brian Smith 57:47
Right, exactly. And I

Vondie 57:49
felt but ultimately, it was love. Like, she went into Mr. MIT’s arms, and he hugged her and said, child, you know, she said, thanks for giving me so many chances. And it was beautiful.

Brian Smith 57:58
Yeah, exactly. And that’s the whole thing about the whole when we say positive and negative. That’s why when I talk about MDS, I say less than positive, because I don’t, I don’t believe anything is negative. Once we get a higher perspective on it, let’s really literally look at it and including things that happen in this life. You know, I, everything that happens to us, something good comes out, I literally, I literally believe that everything that happens is some sort of good comes out of it. And it’s just a matter of how we choose to look at it.

Vondie 58:25
Right? And also, you have to remember on that side, like you said, time is different. This is like a 20 minute journey, right here to everything over there. Yeah. And when the soul group comes back together, and people come in from their journeys, they sit around and kind of talk about it, and How was yours? And how’d you do and who maybe I could have done this or that. And but this is like, you know, a blink? Yeah, compared to the time over there. Okay, so I know we’re kind of running long, and you probably want to wrap up so people don’t have such a long thing. Listen to but Can I ask a little bit more about yours? Because we said we were going to process yours a little bit.

Brian Smith 58:59
We’ve got as much time as many. Okay,

Vondie 59:03
I’ll just keep taking sips of water. So what would you say? How did it fit with your expectations? And what would you say was the big takeaway for you?

Brian Smith 59:12
Okay, as far as how I fit with my expectations. Again, you know, I didn’t know because I’ve heard people describe things and I thought I was reading my face like, it’s like, you’re literally in these experiences, like, you know, you’re feeling and see anything. That’s why some people describe it. For me, it was more like my imagination. You know, it was like, if I close my eyes, I could think about this, but it was it was the first things that came to me. It was a lot more emotional, especially the first one when I was in it than I expected it to be. And then the second one, when I got to the in between lives part became very emotional for me. And I and I truly believe that things come are coming into my life when they’re supposed to come into my life. So you know, the hap the fact that you happen to, you know, ask me to do this. It happened to be like right around my 60 100 It’s a, it’s I’m going through a transition in my life right now in terms of my career, similar what you’re going through, I’m like, this is what I want to do, how am I going to make any money doing this? And so it really lifted a lot of that burden, you know, from me, as I thought about it afterwards, you know, I did have that feeling like, okay, maybe you were just making that up. But then again, the emotional connection that I got, and some of the surprises of some of the things that happened to people my life, I mean, my, in my, in my former, my previous life, I was a white woman, and I was a slave. Yes. And, you know, when they when you brought me to that place, and you’re like, Okay, you’re there. I’m like, Well, I did, I did not expect to be, you know, a slave owner and be the last thing that I would want to be anyway, on a plantation, on a plantation. So yeah, it’s so I’m, as I’ve gone through it, and you know, I’m having to learn to just lean into it and trust that it was real, and and what can I take from it? And it’s been, it’s been very helpful. And it’s been extremely helpful. And I’m really glad that I did it. And I would encourage people that are thinking about it, that, especially if you have hang ups about your life, like, why am I going through this? Or why does this always happen to me? Why does my life suck so bad? Because some people think, you know, they’re just the most unlucky people. I think it can really help you to answer that. And I forgot who it was it said, If a man has a why he can, he can endure anyhow. You know, we can endure anything as long as it makes sense to us. So as long as so if someone can tell me, yeah, you’re suffering, but you’re suffering for a reason that something good is gonna come out of this, I think that’s the most helpful thing that we can learn. Yeah,

Vondie 1:01:49
well, and that really advanced souls that are. So as I said, the more advanced the soul, the harder the life. I mean, they’re working on compassion, and that’s why they’re suffering. And again, I would never tell somebody, you chose this horrible, whatever. But, you know, when I see somebody homeless, or, you know, and it doesn’t mean I turn away or something, but just, and that doesn’t mean we’re not supposed to do something about it. Right. But, but just, or people with really serious mental illness, I mean, the those are the big leaks, people

Brian Smith 1:02:25
know, it’s kind of like the concept of karma. I mean, I don’t believe in karma the way some people believe in it, like I do something that’s the bad happens to you. But the people that believe that it can be used as an excuse. You can look at someone say that person is poor, because they deserve it, because they screwed up in the past life. And that’s what was, frankly, that’s what the people around Jesus believed. And they said, Why was this man born blind? Well, because it was because his father’s standard because he said, and what’s interesting, because it implies reincarnation does exactly right, right. But Jesus said, No, it’s neither one of those things. It’s not I don’t view it as punishment. And I also tell people, even if you believe that someone chose this life, maybe they chose it. So you should choke. So you could show compassion. So it’s not an excuse to leave anybody in a in a bad state. And it’s not, it’s not a saying, You deserve this thing, or you chose us. So I’m going to leave you there. It doesn’t mean we don’t fight, it doesn’t mean we don’t fight all the way. I mean, because that’s what we’re here for, we’re here for we’re here to have something to push against. So that person that was that is disabled, or that person that is poor, doesn’t mean you leave, maybe your job is to lift them up.

Vondie 1:03:35
And that might be why they chose that for not just for their advancement, but for us to develop compassion and sympathy, or courage, or whatever it is that we’re needing, because all of this so much planning goes into this. All of this was sort of put in place for everybody. Sorry, at the mic. You know, there’s all these different soul groups. And then there’s other soul groups that are nearby, like cluster groups, and it’s all kind of pre you know, set in motion and then what we do with it is up to us, but sorry, it again.

Brian Smith 1:04:07
Yeah, well, that, that brings up another really, really important point, I was talking to a friend the other day, and I don’t want identify her but I was talking to a friend, I have a lot of friends who have lost children. It was a friend who lost a child, really struggling with, you know, getting back into life, you know, and and not living for themselves. And the concepts I’ve learned from this, I’ve learned from the team books I’ve been reading, you know what I started this person is like, we don’t live for ourselves. And when I heard that concept in the team books, I’m living to have an experience to share with everybody else when I go back. It’s not just about me. So the problems I’m going through, whether I’m disabled, whether I’m poor, whether I’m sick, whether I’m wealthy and just a total ass. No, it’s not just for me, and then also I looked at that person who is that total ass and like maybe they’re playing that role. for our benefit, you know, and I can have a little bit of compassion for that person and say, maybe this is the role that it could be an extremely advanced being that saying, I’m going to play this role. We don’t we don’t know, because it’s a it’s a very, very tangled web. It’s not it’s not a simple thing.

Vondie 1:05:16
So the general rule is the less advanced soul Sorry, I wouldn’t careful I say this, they’re mostly concerned about having a life where they look good and are successful. And that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look good or be successful. But again, the more advanced souls are there, they’re choosing the tough lessons. So that, and again, I haven’t lost a child. So I can’t even begin to imagine the pain.

Brian Smith 1:05:41
Well, everybody thinks, you know, initially, your first thought is, why would I choose a tough life? And I remember this is before I even knew anything about soul planning, I had no clue I was in my early 20s. And I was talking to the woman I was dating at the time. And I said, why would anybody ever be choose to be born a black man in America? You know, I because we were talking about, you know, being black or being white. And, you know, she was saying you wish you were white or something? And I said, Yeah, why would night? Well, I mean, why would I choose an easy life? What but once we develop a deeper understanding of the, what life is, and and now here I am, 3540 years later, and I’m very happy to be who I am, I would not have learned the lessons that I’ve learned if I had not been born as a black man in the early 1960s. So it’s helped me to really develop character. So when we’re on the other side, we’re making these choices. We’re like, yeah, I’ll do that. I’ll do that. Because we’re not worried about fame, or wealth or stuff like that. Because we know it’s meaningless. We know it means absolutely nothing.

Vondie 1:06:43
Right? Well, and we’re bringing back this learning to enrich the collective divine or whatever you want to call it over there, which is us. Yeah. So. So we’re off learning these things for our own souls advancement. But also, you know, there’s things over there that can’t happen, because there’s no suffering. So you grow here?

Brian Smith 1:07:04
Yeah, there’s, you know, there’s a lot of truth in the show Star Trek. And when we talk about the Borg, they’re always they’re always represented negatively. But the thing about the Borg is they live for the collective and every experience, if I remember correctly, adds to the experience of the whole. And people think sometimes this is blasphemous when we say that we’re God. But Jesus said that we’re gods. And so we are a little fractals of God, and God has divided God’s self up and all these billions of fractals have these experiences. And each experience that we have is experienced that leads back to the collective that benefits, everything, and we’re all part of part of that. Okay,

Unknown Speaker 1:07:40
so I’ll go ahead.

Brian Smith 1:07:42
No, go ahead.

Vondie 1:07:42
My favorite saying is something about enlightenment, when the drop of water realizes it’s the ocean?

Brian Smith 1:07:49
Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s really, it’s kind of an intense concept. And it’s maybe kind of difficult to grasp at first. But the more that you, you grok, it means something, you can’t understand an intellectual level, you just have to extend you have to accept it intuitively. But the more that you start to accept that, you’ll start to look at everybody and everything differently. I mean, literally, the world would change for you. You know, overnight, I posted something yesterday, it was, it was a joke about how people talk to themselves. Again, I talked to myself, and then we laughed, and I said, you know, the thing is, once you truly understand who you are, you’ll never be alone again. You’ll you’ll never, you’ll because you’ll know that your your guides are with your loved ones are with you. your higher self is there. You’re watching yourself as you’re doing this thing. Like when you’re playing a video game. You’re sitting on the couch, and you’re Mario is running across the screen. You’re controlling Mario, you’re the one sitting on the couch. You’re not you’re not Mario.

Vondie 1:08:44
Right, right. Well, that’s why Yeah, I fell in love with this. As soon as I heard about it, I was like, Okay, I’m not a gifted medium, but I know how to do hypnosis, I was already doing it as a talk therapist. So I was like, I think this is my thing. And it just opened up this whole new world for me and I’ve kind of never looked back. Yeah, one of the benefits is I get to meet people like you and I process your experience afterwards you know, I grow and learn and the thank you for trusting me and taking that journey.

Brian Smith 1:09:16
Well I want to say this about about that because I study indies like crazy you know a lot of people that do and I believe again, everything’s for everybody. So in an indie or an online life sessions, there’s stuff that’s unique and this stuff is universal. So we can all we can all benefit from you know, learning these things and studying these things and hearing the wisdom you know, that comes from the other side. So yeah, we are we are starting to run a little bit long so anything you’d like to say that you didn’t get to say before we wrap up? I’m

Vondie 1:09:47
not really just back to what I said in the beginning. It is all love even the session that was a little bit unusual. It The message was ultimately about love and love and oneness. You know, it’s The same on the other side.

Brian Smith 1:10:02
Yeah. And it’s it’s sometimes hard to believe it could be so simple and people hear that over and over again. But that’s what you hear from everybody that’s, you know, have had those types of experience. But I want to thank you for reaching out to me and for doing this with me and letting me have the experience and for sharing with my audience. Let people know where they can reach you.

Vondie 1:10:23
My website love between lives calm.

Brian Smith 1:10:27
Okay, and the name is Vandy lizano. It’s vo n di e LZA. No, that of course be in the show notes. There’ll be a link to vonda’s website in the show notes. Again, if you’re even thinking about doing something like this, I really encourage you to do it to do yourself a favor and take the leap. Okay, body is great seeing you again. Have a good day. You too. Bye. So that does it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you enjoyed it. If you like this content, make sure you subscribe, so click on the subscribe button here, and then click on the bell to receive notifications and click on all that way you’ll be notified whenever I release new content. Thanks for watching and have a great day.

Transcribed by

My work is largely about helping people change their perspectives. Rich’s book “Change Your Story Change Your Life” is about that same thing. Taking the same set of facts and telling a story about it that is beneficial.

Rich Curtis is, and always has been a guide. For a decade as a raft and backpacking guide and now as a real estate entrepreneur, best selling author, and success coach. Rich guides, coaches, writes, and speaks to help entrepreneurs, CEOs, adventurers, and go getters rewrite their stories, get unstuck and live their dreams. As a story expert, passionate student of neuroscience, positive psychology, and behavioral psychology, Rich believes in a world where people are invested in the process of being better tomorrow than they are today.

His life’s work, including his book, Change Your Story Change Your Life, has been about helping people get there. Outside of work Rich is a dedicated father of two, husband, traveler and outdoor adventurer.


You can find Rich here:




Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried. But what if, like a seed we’ve been planted, and having been planted, to grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey, everybody, this is Brian back with another episode of grief to growth. And today I’ve got with me, gentleman, his name is Rich Curtis, and rich Curtis as an author. He’s always been a guide, he spent over a decade as a as a raft guide. He’s been a backpacking guide. He’s now a real estate entrepreneur. He’s a best selling author, and he’s a success coach. He guides coaches writes and speaks to help entrepreneurs, CEOs, adventurers, and go getters rewrite their stories, we’re going to talk about what that means to rewrite your story helps him to get unstuck and how to live the dreams. And as a story expert, and as a passionate student of neuroscience, positive psychology and behavior psychology, which believes in a world where people are invested in the process of being better tomorrow than they are today. And his life’s work includes his book, change your story, change your life, have been about helping people to get there. So outside of work, which is a dedicated father of two we just talked about. He’s got two little energetic kids. He’s a husband, he’s a traveler, and he’s an outdoor adventurer. So with that, I want to welcome to grave to growth. Rich Curtis.

Rich Curtis 1:50
Thanks for having me, Brian. I’m excited to be here. I love the name. I love the concept of of taking grief and using that to to move forward and grow. So I’m excited to be here in chat with you today.

Brian Smith 1:59
Yeah, well, I love that you’re the title of your books, I think that’s a very important part of dealing with grief is the story that we tell ourselves. So what I want to get started with is asking you because I know You talk a lot about story. And people might say, Well, my story is just what happened to me that I can’t change my story, the story is what it is. So what does it mean to change our story?

Rich Curtis 2:22
Yeah, it’s funny, because in my coaching practice, I’ve run up against that as soon as we dive into narrative work, you get that? Well, no, this is static. This is truth. This is what it is, is what happened. But what you find when you start diving into the science of story, how our brains compile stories, and even how our senses work, our stories are heavily filtered personal virtual realities of what happened. In fact, if you, if you and I experienced the same moment, and we write our stories down about it, there’s a nearly 0% chance that we’re gonna write the same story about that that moment. And the, the science of that is really kind of interesting, where you’re parsing so much data, we’ve got like 11 million bits of information hitting us right now, while you and I are talking. Now, if you had to actively engage with all that information, you’d be just a quivering mass of overwhelm, you wouldn’t be able to do anything. And so your brain creates all these filters to filter out all the stuff you don’t need and the stuff you’ve already engaged with. And it makes these just intense filters for the world. No filters are essentially your stories. Once you’ve set those filters, nothing gets in or out that isn’t part of those filters. So for new information to get in, you have to be knocked off your game, or you have to actively do the work of suspending some of those filters. Now you are actively engaging right now with like 40 to 60 of those 11 million bits, depending on the study you read, right? So you’re parsing the data down to just an infant testimony, small amount. And then you’re compiling your stories from that tiny bit of information. Now you add to that, that your brain has an anthropological preset for writing bad stories, right, because there were 15 other hominids running around, you know, trying to become us become the dominant hominid and we didn’t win because we’re the biggest and the toughest, we won because we were the scariest and because we can cooperate. So we got really good at hearing a twig break in the woods and saying that’s a saber toothed tiger, I better run. I was great when there were saber toothed tigers in the woods. Now that most of us don’t live with immediate threats to life. Unfortunately, not all of us. But most of us don’t live with immediate daily threats to life. What our brain does is it patterns for the negatives. So you’re taking in the smallest bits of information, you’re filtering them through your emotions, and your past experiences your preset to pick the worst and most negative bits of information. And that’s what we’re writing these these stories from. So you can imagine, you know, 11 million bits of information, the average dictionary has about a million letters in it. So if I gave you 11 dictionaries that you can pick 40 letters, you can have duplicates, obviously we only got 26 characters writing a story out of 40 out of these 11 million letters, and then you hand me the same stack and told me to do the same thing. The odds that we’re gonna write the same story are essentially Zero. And so we think these things are truth and are empirical and are set in stone, but they’re not. And part of that is also because we’re in love with our senses, we think our senses are empirical, like, what I’m seeing of you on the camera right now, is not what you look like. And that’s a that’s a mind blower, right? Like I’m looking at you. But if I drew my picture you and you drew your picture you they’re gonna be very, very different. Because I’m filtering you through all the experiences I’ve had with other men, men with glasses, fathers podcasters. All these, these filters are in there to affect what I think of you and the picture we send to our brain. And one of the most powerful examples is the early astronaut program, they thought floating upside down in space would make the astronauts go nuts, they wanted to test it before they put them in orbit. So they strapped these goggles on them the inverted their view of the world for 30 days. And they couldn’t take them off sleeping nothing they had had to wear them and lots of disorientation and accidents and bumps and bruises and sued. But on day 26, one of the astronauts woke up and the world was right side up again, even though he’s still wearing his goggles, because his brain had for 35 years seeing the world right side up. And now for 26 days, it was seeing the world upside down. And it said, it doesn’t matter the picture that’s coming in, I know that’s wrong, I’m going to fix it. And it righted the world. And by the end of the 30 days, all of the astronauts experienced same thing The world is right set up again. Yeah, your brain is is literally changing what you see your sight is not an empirical picture of the world. It’s filtered through your experiences and your past emotions. So the first step in the process of engaging with doing narrative work and rewriting your stories, and especially your stories around traumatic events, like grief, is letting go of the concept of truth. Not in sort of this sort of political Post truth environment we’ve all just been through, I don’t mean it like that there are things that are true. When it comes to your stories and the way you compile them. This is not truth. This is just a version of the truth. And if you are the one writing them, and you are you’re the one writing these stories, you’re the one doing this work, even though it’s subconscious. Why Why would you write such terrible stories for yourself? Like when you think of the stories, not the stories you tell at a cocktail party, but the Late Night with a whiskey on the couch story that you tell yourself, right? You’d never say that out loud. You never stand up in front of a party of people and say, I totally suck at everything, right? I’m fat, I’m a loser, I’ll never get anywhere in life. You know, I’m a bad dad, whatever it is those stories, you tell yourself, you’d never say that out loud. But those are the stories you’re living out, and they’re affecting your life in a really dramatic way. So once you realize your stories aren’t true, and you’re in control of them, then you sort of have to step back and say, why am I writing such crappy stories for myself? Why am I living out such horrible stories? And then you can engage with the science in the process of rewriting them to take your life where you want to go?

Brian Smith 7:43
Yeah, yeah, I think something you said there was really important that I wrote that I want to invite you to the library. So it was very important. But what I want to emphasize something because I think there’s people have this question, why do we write such bad stories? Why do we focus on the negative and I say the same thing, my clients, it’s evolutionary, it’s the way our brains are wired is to focus on what’s wrong, so we can fix what’s wrong. And that doesn’t always serve us. So I want to give people it’s okay, if you’re doing this, right. Because we all do it. As you and I know talking to people, we know that when people come to us, they all do it. I’m a terrible person. I’m a terrible father. I’m just, I’m just a loser, everybody. I’m a poser. Everybody else is good. And I’m not.

Rich Curtis 8:25
Yeah, yeah. And it’s it’s hard to work in the personal development industry in a way that’s, that’s humble and walks alongside people, which is what you’re talking about is saying, hey, it’s okay, that you’re not broken, you’re not damaged, you’re not doing something wrong. You are living out your evolutionary destiny, this is how you’re wired to work. So we’re just trying to give you tools to help circumvent that and have better outcomes. And my brain works just like your brain, and I suffer in the same way you suffer. I just suffered enough that I got to a breaking point that I decided there had to be a better way. And I went out to find it. And I think that’s, I think sometimes we give people new names for their problems and let them keep them in the personal development. We’re like, Okay, I’m just, I’m just projecting or I had a bad childhood, or I’ve got a bad story. And it makes people feel better. I can name this thing. But then we don’t, we don’t force the issue of doing the work to actually fix it. Because doing the work doesn’t sell books, right? If you if the title of your book was spend the next six months doing the hard work of rewriting all the narratives in your life, so you can be better, right? That would sell approximately one copy to your mom.

Brian Smith 9:33
Yeah, exactly.

Rich Curtis 9:36
But four easy steps to change your life in 15 minutes, boom, you’ll sell, you know, 100,000 of those. And so, a little bit like those of us who do do this work, we need to step back and admit to people that this stuff is simple. It’s not rocket science. I’m not smarter than you. My brain works the same way your brain works. I just suffered enough that I was willing to do the work. Yeah. And and that’s it. The process is actually the doing of the work and unfortunately, it’s Like anything in life, it’s it’s work. It’s not. It’s It’s simple, but you got to you got to you got to slog it out, you got to put in the effort. And I think that so grief, the death of my mom is what forced me to, to engage with the work, you know?

Brian Smith 10:16
Yeah, I’m sorry to hear that that was actually led into my next question. I was wondering what it was that that prompted you to do the work because typically, again, evolutionary, we do the simplest thing that’s, that’s working or kind of working until it doesn’t work anymore. That’s, that’s, that’s evolution. That’s fine. Okay. But that’s not being lazy. That’s just being efficient. But it’s something that comes along and knocks us off that course, typically, that drives us to do this work. So for you, it sounds like it was the passing of your mother.

Rich Curtis 10:43
It was Yeah. And and sorry. I mean, the passing of parents always dramatic, and you think but how did that knock you off your game so bad, but it was, it was really sudden, and I had some bad stories that kind of compounded it. So my mom died about 41 days before the birth of my first child. So that was part of it was she, she never got to meet him. And my mom was she had five children of her own. And she’d never met a child in her whole life that wasn’t like her child under her protection. Immediately. She was just her whole essence. Her whole being was mom, all my growth and my friends growing up called her mom. So that’s, that’s kind of who she was. But she, the day she died, was really sudden and unexpected. So we thought that she had a hernia. And they sent us home. And she had an infection associated with that. And then the infection got out of control. And within three days, we were bringing her into the hospital. And then she spent about 14 hours in the hospital in the dying process dying from sepsis. And so part of that what made it harder for me was having been a raft guide and a mountain guide, I had this sort of classic male savior complex, like nobody dies on my watch. Right? Yeah. And then had a lot of experiences that confirmed that right? That’s confirmation bias. Like, I’d had heart attacks and broken ankles and cracked ribs and cracked heads. And I’d always gotten those people out safe, right. And so my mom had a DNR Do Not Resuscitate order. So for those of you don’t know what that means, that basically means that if we know this is only going one way, you’re going to die today, then you have to stop working on me and let it take its course, right? Which is counter to my training as a first responder in medicine, we’re trained, you just keep doing things until you pass out or give the person to somebody who knows more than you. Right? And so to sit on my hands and watch her die for 14 hours, was really really hard. For me personally, I think it hit me maybe even more than my other four brothers in a way because I’m so used to stepping in and doing things when when people are having that process. Yeah. So about two years after her death, so she passed away and I went into two years of just intense suffering. Depression, you know, I call them in the book that the failed stage frustration, anger, irritability, loss of self care, exile, depression, all of it. But what was amazing about it was, I was a functional dad, it was pretty good dad as good as a dad as I am today. Good as a dad, as I know how to be. I wasn’t, I was probably not a great husband, I was probably pretty challenging and emotional to deal with for a new mom. Unfortunately, my wife gave me a lot of grace, and I thank her for that. And I was really functional, you know, high earning entrepreneur in the real estate industry. And so from the outside if you went out and had drinks with me, you had no idea the depths to which I was suffering. You have no idea that I was getting up in the morning sitting on the edge of the bed and thinking is this all there’s gonna be for the rest of my life? Am I gonna feel like this? You had no idea that I was driving around town at you know, just ridiculous the unsafe speeds playing loud angry music on a couple occasions nearly picking fistfights which is completely out of my, my normal emotional range. Because I had so much anger and frustration pent up inside me. And it all came to a head I think some people have their epiphany is with like a religious leader on the slopes of the Andes, taking Iosco under the stars, right, I was circling in Costco in my truck, and having an argument with my brother and I was fighting with my brother over the phone. And I’d been circling the Costco long enough that even a security guard started to follow me in his little golf cart to try and chase me down and see him. And the combination of this I screamed in the phone to my brother, look, I’m failing you. I’m failing. And that’s my wife and we failed mom, we just stood there and watched her die. She fought for all five of us every day of her life. When we did nothing, we just watched her die. And when that story came flying out of me, I hit the brakes on the truck. The security guard got almost nailed me in the back of the truck. And I was just done. I was completely frozen in place because I didn’t know that story was in me. Never in the two years since her passing and I engaged with that concept that I said out loud I failed my mom I didn’t fight for her. Nobody my family had ever said that or even implied that that was something that happened that day. So that was the source of all my my pain. I was sticking your finger in the bullet wound like that. That was it. That was what was causing everything for me was this story and I didn’t even know it was there. And so at that moment, I had asked myself a couple of questions one is it true to Even if it’s true, does it matter even if it’s true? Is it serving me? And the answer was no, it’s not the truth of that day and it’s not serving, it’s practically killing me. And so I set into a two year sort of deep dive into the Science of Happiness and the science of story to figure out how to correct us how to change this narrative. And the first step was looking at that day my mom died. So actually went back to that day, and so well, at four in the morning, my dad asked me to get the DNR and so I get the DNR and I brought it down to the hospital, and I asked my mom to resend it, she was still, you know, cogent enough to do that, and you can resend it verbally and she said, No, she wanted to stand and I handed it over. Even though I knew what that meant. I didn’t want to hand that died, Doctor practically ripped it pulling it out of my hand.

Then my mom was deeply religious, and I’m not per se but so we got the priest in to do the final sacraments for her the Catholic priests to make her more comfortable. She we were not telling anybody the name of our son. So we’re keeping it to ourselves until he is born. And so I leaned over and whispered in her ear, the name of my son his middle name is is for my father is named after my father, so whispered that in her ear, so she would at least have his name to carry with her, you know, to the other side. Later in the day, my dad couldn’t they were married 50 years, their best friends had a tremendous relationship. He couldn’t get near her because of the hospital bed rail. So I got that. And I couldn’t figure that thing out. So I got the nurse over to get the rail down so dad could get closer get into bed and hold her. We called the whole family by the moment she died there. 18 people in the room, each of them had a hand on her in some way. You know, and then she had this mask on for oxygen. It was freaking her out. She never liked things on her face. And dad said to me that that thing’s freaking out. So I went to the nurse. I said, What’s that thing doing? She says, it’ll prolong her life. 10 minutes, I said, get that off of her face, you know. So I was able to go back and look at that day and rewrite the story of that day into I fought for my mom and every way I could while respecting her right to die her way. Yeah, because that is also true. Because the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life was to stand there and do nothing and put my hand on my mom and watch her go through the process of dying. I don’t know if you were present when your daughter passed, or if you’ve been present when anybody passed. But my reaction was to run from it. My reaction was to not experience it. I was crumbling inside, I wanted to run I want it to go, I want it to escape. And it took every, you know, ounce of resolve, I had to keep my hand on her leg, my eyes on her eyes and watch until she took her last breath. Right. That’s also the truth of that day. So you can say that I stood there and it did nothing and didn’t fight for my mom and just watched her die. And that’s true. But you can also say that I fought for my mom in every way I could while respecting her right to die her way. That’s also true. Both those stories are true. Both are written by me. One was destroying my life. One of them sets me free. And that’s the power of rewriting your narrative, especially out of a traumatic or grief of that.

Brian Smith 17:46
Yeah, I think rich that what you just said is so incredibly powerful. And and I thank you for sharing that with people. Because I think sometimes people feel alone in this thing that they’re going through. And we do we write, we write the horror stories for ourselves. Things that you know, if like, if you if your friend came and told you that story, you would say, You’re insane. That’s not what happened. But you but you tell yourself the story and you carried around for it for you know, until it pretty much broke you or until you realize, okay, this story is not working for me. And I think it’s really powerful to tell people, you can choose your story. You can’t choose your facts, right. But you can choose how you interpret those facts. And that’s very, very powerful.

Rich Curtis 18:30
Yeah, and it it comes, it comes with practice. And it comes with just making a decision about how you want to feel right, like, you have to sort of draw a line in the sand and say, from today forward, there’s going to be one person in the world that doesn’t tell me how bad I stuck. And that’s going to be me, right? Like I’m in control this thing I’m going to make a choice about how I want to feel when I when I talk whitewater raft guide school for 16 years. And we’d given these three mantras to learn how to guide and one of them was point where you want to go and get there, because people get in a raft and they try to drive it like a car, because that’s what they know, right? But driving a raft. The road is like a greased up Teflon conveyor belt that just keeps pushing you towards your obstacles, right. And so driving like a car doesn’t work. So what happens is, and they hear the guide, what they hear me saying, and it looks like it works is all forward. So they jump in the back and they they do nothing with the direction of the boat, they scream all forward, and we paddle until we hit something usually shore. And then they turn the boat away from that obstacle. Like you were saying people don’t change direction until they hit something until something knocks him off course. And then they paddle to the other shore. And then they paddle to the middle and slam a rock. And they do this until we get them to calm down and we tell them point where you want to go and get there. You need to initiate direction before momentum in your life. And part of the reason that we don’t take time to evaluate these stories and change our direction is that we’re moving a million miles an hour in our lives right now. We don’t have built in periods of self reflection. We don’t have built in patterns or time in our schedule to take and assess these things. And even have a moment to try to change that direction. So we’ve just got the pedal down, where you’re doing our careers, we’re taking care of our kids, we’re moving forward. And then we take a hit in life, and it knocks us off course. And now we’re going this way. And we go this way, until we hit something else. And life is not meant to be a series of hits that you take that drive you to an unknown destination, life is meant to be a series, of course corrections from those hits to get back to where you want to go. And as you know, after grief, the destination you’re heading for might not be the same one it was before. But it still has to be an intentional one. We want to be living an examined and intentional life and pointing to the end destination where we want to go. And our stories are how we get there. It’s how we program our brain to take us where we want to go.

Brian Smith 20:47
Yeah, I love that direction. Before momentum, I think that that is so awesome. Because we tend to just, I’m just gonna reiterate what you said, we tend to just go go, go, go go, and sometimes not even directly want to go in. And we don’t realize that we can, we could stop, we can, we could slow down and we can, you know, set an intention and set a direction. And that’s that’s exactly what you’re talking about today. So why is it you think that story is such a powerful, powerful tool for life change?

Rich Curtis 21:17
Well, it’s, you can think of stories of programming code for your brain. So if you if I was to sit down and program a website, right now, I wouldn’t type in the computer make the background red, right, nothing would happen, I have to type in some HTML to make it do that. And so story is that programming code for your brain, it’s how we access that filter database, we talked earlier, we have these filters that heavily parse the information, so we can go on about our days. And we don’t ever have a chance to get in there and muck with the filters and change them. And the way we do that the way we access them is through story. That’s the programming code to get it into your brain. So if you have an area of your life, that’s not working. And it doesn’t have to be something as dramatic as what I went through with grief. It can be anything you could be not where you want in your career, not where you want fitness wise, any you’re not where you want relationship wise, any part of your life that isn’t working for you, you can stop and say, what’s my story about this? Is it true? Even if it’s true? Is it serving me and if not, there’s a story evolution process, I teach in the book for you to go through and rewrite that story and change it. And so that story is so powerful, because it allows you to access that filter database. And the way it does that in the parts of your brain. It does that in a really interesting and compelling. There’s a woman in LA really brilliant neuroscience researcher Mary Helen Ember, Dino Yang, I cite her research in the book, she has a great book of her own, and some TED Talks, you can watch to look her up, she’s awesome. And she she focuses on education. But what she’s found is, if you tell someone an inspiring story, or an impactful story, maybe even as I was telling the story of my mom the day of my mom’s death, and you then put them on an fMRI machine, that you’ll see three different parts of the brain light up, and the midbrain lights up, which isn’t the most interesting part. The insula lights up, which is actually two parts your brain one left and right, responsible for your gut function. That’s where you get that gut feeling that tingling feeling when you hear an inspiring story, because you actually, you know, turned on the part of the brain that controls the gut function. So that part’s interesting. But the most interesting part is that it it lights up the medulla, the middle is like a little cluster back here, it’s the oldest part of your brain, it’s responsible for your biological survival, it does your mundane tasks, like keeping you breathing when you’re sleeping, keeping your blood pressure regulated. And so you’d think evolutionarily, we would have built an impenetrable firewall around that, right? Like, you take a hit there a big enough hit, and they can’t even keep you alive on life support for more than 15 minutes. This is a really important part of brain. But there is no firewall, all I have to do is tell you an inspiring or impactful story. And I can light that up, which means two things, you’re getting blood flow to it, you’re getting electricity to it, which means we’ve just changed you at the neural level in the survival center of your brain by telling you a story. So the conclusion that Mr. Dino Yang makes is that our social selves and our biological selves are are intimately linked. So our stories and our social interactions are intimately linked with our biological survival, these two things are not separate. And I would I would take that even a step further. To say that our our physical, our emotional state, affects our physical survival. With this interaction with story, that’s how powerful this is. So those when you think about if I can tell you an inspiring story, and I can light up the biological survival center of your brain, what kind of damage do you think you’re doing yourself on a daily basis with all the negative stories that you have, you know, playing the negative tape you have playing in your head all the time. And so we sort of have this perfect storm of being having an anthropological preset to write negative stories, stories having a dramatic impact on us. And Not having sort of processes and procedures in place to take an active role in the rewriting of those stories. And that sort of that perfect storm makes people suffer, like, and that was the biggest realization for me. After two years of depression, I wouldn’t have even during the time said I was depressed, it’s still a little bit painful because of some of the bad male stories I have from being the youngest of five Irish boys, to even admit that I was depressed. But I realized, if you look around, everyone around you is suffering. everyone around you is taking a hit. everyone around you is dealing with something. And that’s something that I didn’t really understand. before this happened, and in fact, the book subtitle had suffering in it. people hated that word so much it tested so poorly. Yeah,

Brian Smith 25:45
yeah, exactly. Yeah, people don’t want to talk about it, or face the fact that we are all suffering, it’s very unpopular to say so but, you know, I’m a big fan of Buddhism, that’s kind of like at the core of Buddhism, the Buddha says, life is suffering, you know, yeah, I can, we can, we can work our way out. But we have to first admit that yeah, it is when, because life doesn’t always go the way we want it to go.

Rich Curtis 26:08
Yeah, and I think that’s especially a Western fallacy. Now, and especially in the age of social media, people view their life as like, up into the right hockey stick on the line graph, right, like we go from, like, less good to kill in it. And that’s how this works. And that’s life is like this, you take these hits, you know, all throughout your life. And you can continue on up into the right trajectory, if you develop the skills, you need to course correct and bounce back from the hits. But if if you just take the hits, and let them send you where they’re going, then you’re kind of all over the place. And so that that suffering mechanism and trying to work beyond the suffering, using your stories, is kind of the core work of getting your life back on track is, you know, acknowledging that you’re that you’re suffering, and then being willing to to make that change. And for some people, they can do it before it gets really, really bad. And for me, because I just wasn’t willing to admit it or engage with it. It had to get really, really bad before I started to do the work.

Brian Smith 27:09
Yeah, well, that’s why I call it rock bottom. And that’s, that’s most of us have to hit that is was, as we were saying earlier, that’s just kind of evolutionary, we were going to keep going and keep going until we until we hit that wall. So how do we identify the bad stories in our life? The stories that we want to rewrite? How do we figure out which ones we need to work on?

Rich Curtis 27:28
Yeah, and the best way to do that is using one of two things. One, thinking about areas your life that just don’t work we all know the areas we struggle with, right? In fact, you’ll talk to people who have struggled with weight their whole life, and they lose 100 pounds, and they still feel the same, they’re healthier, but they still feel the same. And that’s because they haven’t rewritten that story, that the same story about their health, fitness and weight before they lost the weight. And the same story afterwards. And you know, I tell people, like when I used to climb mountains, I tell people, you know, put exactly what you need in the bag, because when we reach the top, there’s nothing there except what you brought with you. And that’s the same in life. If you can’t feel it, now, you won’t feel it then. Right? If you want to have self love. It’s not your self love isn’t on the other side of 100 pounds, it starts now. Right? And so when it comes to doing this kind of work, you know, you first you have to think about an area of your life that you’re not happy with that you’ve struggled with consistently that you’d like to make a change in. And then you just ask yourself some powerful questions. What’s my story about this? Right? And then you ask yourself, Is that true? And then you ask yourself, even if it’s true, is that story serving? Now, if it’s an area you’ve been struggling with, for a long time, whether the story is true or not, doesn’t really matter. Only that second question matters, is it serving, right? And if it’s making you suffer, then it’s it’s not serving you. So once you’ve identified that story, you can go into what I call the story evolution process. It’s not a full rewrite, because it’s still at the end is based in the same story, my story of the day my mom died, you know, we didn’t fight for my mom, we just stood there and watched her die versus I fought for my mom. And every way I could while respecting her right to die her way. Those two stories are still rooted in the same story in the truth of that moment. I just evolved that story from one that didn’t serve me into one that does serve me. And so the first step of that process, you know, once you’ve done the work to identify the area of your life, that’s not working. You said, What’s my story about this? Is it true and is it serving me? Then you got to write it down. So this thing is physically a part of you. You have neural pathways that go right to this, if you if I got triggered about the day, my mom died, boom, that story’s right there. Right? And the only way you can begin to work on it and change it is to make it not a part of you is to get it outside of you. So you write it out. And you and you just write the whole thing out with no filter, no trying to pretty it up, you just write it as it is. And then the next step is to say it out loud and actually encourage people to videotape themselves doing this when you set your cell phone up. And the first time you say it out loud, record yourself and people often balk at this And then picked up feels kind of funny. I don’t want to do that. But you will see on your face when you tell a story that’s causing you pain and suffering. You will see on your face. twinges, cringes tics, when you say the bad parts, when you say the parts that are hurting you, you’ll see it, you will see how that story is making you suffer. And that makes a big impact. And it helps you do the work of rewriting the story. Because after you’ve done that, after you said it out loud, you’re gonna start the rewriting process. And that’s simply just marking those parts of the story that don’t serve you the negative parts, the bad parts, parts that were causing you pain, the parts that you saw your face react to on the video. And I did this with my son recently in terms of distance learning. He’s a, he’s a seven year old kid loves learning, you know, if he if he goes to the internet, he’s on Nat Geo kids, right? He just loves school loves people loves learning. And he came to me and thrown a fit about going to distance learning during the whole COVID thing. And I hate school dad was like, really, that doesn’t sound like you, you know, and, and I said, Well, tell me your whole story. And I I’ve recorded it with my phone telling the story. And I played it back and I said, does that does that look good for you? Do you look happy? And he says no, I look terrible. I look terrible when I’m saying that. And I said, well, let’s get to the point where you don’t look terrible. And we redid the whole thing. And then we videotaped him telling you this new story, you know, which was you know, basically distance learning sucks. But I still get a chance to see my friends, teachers and learn. It didn’t deny the truth of it. I tried to get the distance learning sucks part because I thought it would you know, dad and I thought it’d be better for him to not have that part in there. And he and I said, Well, does that sound true? He says no. Distance Learning sucks. I said okay, then has to be in there. That’s the truth of it for you.

Announcer 31:33
We’ll get back to grief to growth in just a few seconds. Did you know that Brian is an author and a life coach. If you’re grieving or know someone who is grieving his book, grief to growth is a best selling easy to read book that might help you or someone you know, people work with Brian as a life coach to break through barriers and live their best lives. You can find out more about Brian and what he offers at WWW dot grief to www dot g ri e f, the number two gr o w th calm. If you’d like to support this podcast, visit slash grief to growth slash g ri e f the number two gr o w th to make a financial contribution. And now back to grief to growth.

Rich Curtis 32:29
So the study was still true, but it was positive. And then you could see on his face when we re recorded him how light bright and fried. He wasn’t from that moment forward. We had no distance learning fights. You know, he he sat there and he did the work. And he felt better about it. And he moved on. So there’s a really and I teach this for kids too, with a combination with another bit of neurological research called power poses. This work is really powerful with kids, because they’re so malleable and open to suggestion. And really, you can really help your kids upcycle their results with this. So once you’ve said out loud, you sit down and do that rewrite. It’s just an iterative process. So you’re not going to rewrite the whole thing, you just gonna hit that first part that that hurts, rewrite that part, read it again, still doesn’t feel good. rewrite that next part, read it again and get to the part where when you read it out loud, you feel lighter, freer, happier. And you know, it’s right. Once you know what’s right, the fourth step is, like we talked about earlier to doing the work, you have to implant this new story in your subconscious. And you have to get a new neural pathway. So that this becomes the only story that’s triggered when you think of that event or that part of your life. That takes work. So I tell people, you write it down. And you at least tell it to yourself twice a day, tell it to yourself right before you go to bed at night. First thing when you wake up. If it’s an appropriate story, you can hang it up on your mirror somewhere else where you’re triggered to read it another couple times a day, that’s great. And you’re going to do this for at least 30 days, 60 to 90 is better, but at least 30 days to try to create that new neural pathway. And then you’re going to make a part of your lived oral tradition, you’re going to call up a trusted friend, someone you can share this with, you can go out to drinks, we’re all starting to be able to kind of do that, again, her dinner, and you’re going to tell him I was suffering. Here’s his bad story I had, here’s my new story about it, I’m doing much better now you’re going to share it. And by doing that, you’re going to start to rewrite that new neural pathway to where when you’re triggered, it’s only your new story that comes up. Right as of now, when I hear when I talk about my mom’s death, it’s only that I fought for my mom and every way I could while respecting her right to die her way story that comes up. The old one only comes up for the purposes of conversations like this. And if you find one day you get triggered and the old story rears its ugly head, you just go back and do the work. And so step four is that’s that’s the important part is is doing the work of making this new story, a part of YouTube stuff over and over and over again. Because you’ve told that old story a million times to yourself, so you need to work past that with the new one.

Brian Smith 34:46
Yeah, wow. That was awesome. I love that that the whole Philippines the new neural pathway, and I can I can say to people, because I work with people that are aggrieved, mostly parents, and they’re like, how do I get to where you are, and like, well, first of all, you have to understand it’s been six years. So it doesn’t happen overnight. And it really didn’t start happening for me probably really in earnest till about two years ago. So it took a while to really get there. But it’s that every day thing, it’s the it’s, it’s the reason why my daughter’s in my background on my zoom, because I look at myself in the zoom, I see my daughter over my shoulder. And that’s the story I told myself that she’s still here, I have pictures of my daughter in my house, the first thing when I opened my bedroom door in the morning to come down the stairs, I see a giant picture of my daughter, and I tell her Good morning. So this is a story that I tell myself over and over every day and have been for years, until I believe it until I’ve internalized it. And as you said, you know, doesn’t mean I don’t get triggered by the old stories and times. And I don’t feel bad for myself sometimes. But I can quickly switch back to the other story because of the neuroscience that you’re talking about all the work that we do to retrain ourselves.

Rich Curtis 35:56
Yeah. And that I think what you said is really important in that people, I think, often look at grief as as linear process. And we have these seven steps, which is great, you know, like the Kubler Ross stuff, and, but even Kubler Ross and I forget the gentlemen who worked with her, he wrote his own book afterwards as well. And then later kesar Yeah, and kesar lost his own son, yeah, later in life, and then experienced this. And even Kessler says the number one battle in his own life, and even in conversations with Kubler Ross about doing an update to the book, their number one challenge is always getting people to understand it’s not a linear process, you’ll recover a bit, and then you’ll take a hit, and then you’ll get triggered, and then you’ll cycle back into it. So these are the steps of grief, just like our life isn’t an up into the right hockey stick, neither is the recovery from grief, you’re gonna take a hit, and you’re gonna fall right back into that place, I tell people. And now this is a dated reference, some of the people listening might not be old enough to get what I’m saying. But your brain is like a record player. And there’s grooves cut in it. Some of them are shallow, some of them are deep and traumatic events and grief events, cut the deepest ruts. And when you take a hit in life, bang, the needle bounces, and it always lands in the deepest ruts. And so you’re always going to find your way back to that place. And so the key isn’t to have the goal be to a point where you are not experiencing grief. Once you’ve experienced grief, it’s yours for the rest of your life. The goal is to develop a set of practices and processes that allow you to overcome it, when it when it comes for you know, I tell people you know grief is a demon you have to make a home for you can’t exercise it, you can’t get it out of you. You find a place where it can live, where you’re in control of it, where it can’t come for you and bring you to your knees when you don’t want it to. But where it’s there when you want it. There’s moments where I want it. There’s moments where I want to sit down and think about the loss of my mom and experience that and reach through that void and use that grief as a connection to who I’ve lost. It’s not it’s not all bad,

Brian Smith 37:52

Rich Curtis 37:55
But I have to be in control of it. If it can come from me like in the early days. And I shared I hate sharing this stuff, right doesn’t feel good to admit this stuff. But we need to say it especially as men in the early days. 41 days after my mom’s death, my son was born and I have a newborn. My wife had a traumatic birth. So she was laid up for several weeks after the birth. And so I did a lot of the early care with my son and I would the grief would come from I’d have to set him down in his swing, and then buckled down behind the kitchen island and sob You know, it would just come for me when I didn’t want it to when I wasn’t in control of it. It could come and take me down. I’m sure you’ve experienced. Yes, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And so the first part of the work is just finding a home for that grief, where it doesn’t come for you when you don’t want it to you can grab it and get it when you need it. But it can’t take you down when you don’t want it to. And that’s once you’ve done that you’re step one, you’re you’re you’re beyond the survival stage, you get your feet under you again.

Brian Smith 38:48
Yeah, yeah, I call that the white knuckle stage. Because I have clients that come to me that are early and I’m like, Okay, before we talk about healing, before we talk about growing before we talk about you know, transforming, we got a we got a white knuckle through through the first part of this, you know, the first and again, there’s no timeframe, six months year, it’s different for everybody. It’s just hanging on, you know, it’s just hanging on and getting up and doing the things you need to do. So I want people to understand this is not you know, we’re not we’re not making light of the work that is required to be done. And it’s not an easy path, but it’s something that you you can do and it’s worth doing. And I was just on a forum earlier day and someone said does the grief ever stop and people have different opinions about this? I don’t think it ever stopped. I think it transforms. I was just I’m by myself right now I work from home and just a few minutes ago before we get into I was thinking about my daughter right? I got a package in the mail as a birthday gift I bought for myself to remind myself my daughter and it came in and I was thinking about her and I’m like I got melancholy and that’s okay because I can I allow that to happen at certain times. But I don’t let it overtake me, and I don’t let that be my permanent state. My permanent state that I’ve returned to, is that, you know, I’m in control of this, and that we’re in control of this. And that, you know, I did everything I could do, as you said, with with your mother and stuff. And this is this is okay, this is my life, and I’m going to make the best of it.

Rich Curtis 40:17
Yeah, and that getting to the point where you’re not really trying to battle this thing. Like in western Western culture, everything is a battle. So part of the reason my mom’s death was so hard is because I’m used to battling death, we’re really good at fighting it right up until the bitter end. What we’re not good at is saying, this is your time, and I’m going to stand here and support you through it. We don’t get it. At least in Western culture, we don’t get cultural training and how to do that, and how to be present and accepted. This is what is supposed to happen right now. Right? And so like, one of my favorite quotes about grief is that grief, grief is love with nowhere left to go, right, the pain of grief is love with nowhere left to go. And being able to do what you did, except that melancholy reach across that void. It gives you a conduit for that love, again, for that love for your daughter, like, here’s this thing that reminds me of her, I’m going to pour a little love into that that’s going to hurt. And that’s, that’s the relationship. Now that’s part of the ratio. There’s no parenting relationship that doesn’t involve pain, any parents that are listening, you know, this, this is not for the faint of heart raising children. And same with my relationship with my mom, if I need to connect with her and reach across that void, there’s a price to pay for that. And that’s, that’s why I don’t believe the grief goes away. You just get to the point where you can manage it, and use it in a way that is appropriate in your life, I can grab it and use it to connect with mom. Or I can grab it and create meaning out of it and use it like in the form of the book to help change people’s lives. I say in the book that my mom’s last lesson to me, was how to recover from the worst day of my life. And now, because I’ve been a guide my whole life, then then my impetus is to teach as soon as I learned something that’s valuable. So she taught me through her death, how to recover from the worst day of my life. And now I’m on a mission to teach as many people to do that to change your lives one story at a time and get to the point where they’re in control of these things. We can’t stop them. We can’t prevent them from happening. But we can choose how we move forward and walk with them.

Brian Smith 42:15
Yeah, awesome. Yeah. So what are what are what are the core four? And why are they so important?

Rich Curtis 42:21
So I said, I did like a deep, deep dive, or I call it a personal PhD or a black belt in and happiness in the science of story. And so we talk a little bit about science and story. But I also found myself at a point where most of my life, I’ve been a pretty happy go lucky guy. And I could not get happy again after the death of my mom, I couldn’t get to that state where I could say to you, yeah, I’m happy. And that’s, it’s almost like if you’ve ever struggled with sleep, right? Like the worst part is struggling with sleep as you just sit there and be like, I can’t sleep, I can’t sleep, I can’t sleep and now you’re stressing about not sleeping, right? And so you can’t sleep right and having the same thing. Why am I not happy? How come I can’t get happy? Well, what used to make me happy. And you go through these machinations. And when you dive into the research, you realize that you had no idea what made you happy, everything you thought made you happy wasn’t actually what was doing it. And the Science of Happiness is a lot more simple than we thought this is really better living through chemistry, not not the chemistry find a shot glass or a pill bottle, but neuro chemistry. So there are predictable you know, neuro chemical chemicals, you know, say serotonin, dopamine that will create happiness in the brain, it creates the right neurochemical environment for happiness in the brain. Now if you’re still suffering from your bad stories, there’s no amount of doing these things it’s going to overcome that because you’ve got this sort of this Paul have this bad story hanging over you. So the first step is to get those stories out of the way. And then the core for our for daily habits that will help you create the optimum neurochemical environment in the brain. And if you do them every day, they have a synergistic effect. So the first one is getting eight hours of sleep a night, which now you’re on the other side you got adult children but right now I got a three year old and a seven year old I was up at midnight 150 in the morning 350 in the morning then they woke me up at 630 between nightmares and pee breaks and everything else right so it’s hard not everybody can swing getting a full eight hours of sleep every night but do your best and create a routine and practices of turning off your phone you know ending screen time early enough create a practice that gets you into bed to the point where you have the best chance at least of getting eight hours sleep a night. Yeah. And everybody here’s what I don’t like to do is add things to people’s health to do list without explaining why I think so much has been pop culture alized to where we’ve lost the why we just have the prescription you know and it’s like well, I got a now I got to eat fatty steaks drink kale shakes, brush my teeth for two minutes a day and now Rich’s telling me I got to meditate and get eight hours sleep and go for a run. I don’t have enough time my day to do I was supposed to take care of myself. I’m not trying to add things to your health to do this. I’m trying to give you sort of a lifelong practice. This can be done in less than an hour a day. It doesn’t have to be a morning routine. It’s an all day routine. Just get it done. And if you do it consistently, it really pays off overtime. So eight hours of sleep is most important because you have your amygdala which is sort of your, your drunken belligerent buddy at the bar who’s always ready for a fight. That’s the anger center, your brain, the amygdala. And then you’ve got your medial prefrontal cortex up here, which is your mild mannered accountant, buddy, Chip. And so when your amygdala gets pissed at the bar and wants to swing, you know, Chip, Pat’s on the legs is that guy’s not so bad. Maybe you shouldn’t knock him out, right? Well, when you miss one night of sleep, there’s a prefrontal cortex amygdala disconnect. And what we see is 60%, greater anger response to negative stimuli after missing one night of sleep. So all of a sudden chips not invited to the party, and you know, your buddies, they’re ready to swing on everybody. That’s why you find yourself grumpy as heck with your wife or with your children after you’ve missed a night of sleep, or why so many people get in so many fights early on when you have a newborn, because nobody’s getting sleep, everybody’s, you know, ramped up. And so why sleep is so important is because it keeps the natural checks and balances in your brain to keep sort of an emotional monitoring up there. And if you take those checks and balances off all sudden, you’ve got wild emotional swings. And as we all know, wild emotional swings are not a recipe for happiness or success. Yeah. And then the second one of the core four is 30 to 45 minutes of exercise, cardiovascular exercise, this isn’t like, you know, running wind sprints, you know, up at the high school, you could just take the dog for a walk, just get your heart rate up for 30 to 45 minutes. But what they find is, you know, they have equal rates of reduction in major depression, by doing 3045 minutes of exercise a day, as they do by giving people an antidepressant like Zoloft. Like the the Duke smile studies, they did both. And they found that they had equal rates of reduction in mass depression diagnosis, and 30%. Less recidivism back into major depression in the exercise group.

Brian Smith 46:49
Yeah, I just want to have you pause there for a moment, because I’ve heard that same research. And I think this is so important, because people will often turn to a pill for for depression or anxiety, whatever. And, and I’m not a medical expert, and you are either, so we’re not giving medical advice here. If your doctor prescribes it, you should do it. But there’s certain things that we can do. And this is one that I do myself, I walk for an hour, 45 minutes every day, and I found it just completely changes my mood. And if I can’t walk for a couple days, that completely changes my mood. So I just want to interject that.

Rich Curtis 47:24
Absolutely. And I do want to be clear that if you’re suffering from major depression, if you haven’t thought of harming yourself, going for a jog isn’t going to do it, you owe it to yourself and your family to call it the 800 number right now get immediate help for that. But this is this helps you with a general case of the downers or the Mondays or the pandemic blues, this helps you maintain a sort of a neutral to happy emotional state consistently over time. It’s not, it’s not a prescription for major depressive episodes if you haven’t thought of harming yourself, but it is just tremendously powerful over time to maintain your mental state. Yeah, yeah. So luckily, you know, I didn’t go there. In the two years, I was depressed, I never once had a moment where I felt like committing suicide or harming myself. And I’m very thankful and grateful that that wasn’t a place for whatever reason, that wasn’t a place I went to. But for so many people they do especially men, men in their 50s who lose work lose direction lose meaning in life, they tend to abuse drugs and alcohol and have high suicide rates because we don’t have the same built in social support networks that say women do. We just don’t reach out to each other to get help as much. And so yeah, you know, if you’re, if you’re man, and you’re listening, and you’re really suffering right now you need to you need to go get help, you know, go for a jog but call the 800 number while you’re on that jog. Get some help.

Brian Smith 48:45
Yeah. You were on number three, I know. I know. Yeah.

Rich Curtis 48:50
Number three is mindfulness or meditation. And you can see the results of this in as little as 10 minutes, you’re getting up to the point where you’re doing 20 minutes to an hour a day is better, but just 10 minutes of some kind of mindfulness or meditation practice gives your brain a break, gives you a chance to settle down and calm and get re centered. But it also over time consistently does some really interesting things in the brain. So you’ve got that amygdala, you know that that’s that anger center of the brain. Consistent meditation over years, you can start to see the effects in even as little as a few months. But consistently over years, they find it actually thins out the tissue in the amygdala. So you actually have a less dense mass of tissue working on negative stimuli in your brain. So you’re doing this thing that gives you a break brings your blood pressure down has all these benefits that people are aware of, of meditation, but one of the things I think doesn’t get highlighted is that it’s making physical structural functional changes in the way your brain works and reacts to negative stimuli. So your buddy who’s just really calm and serene all the time has been a lifelong meditator. His brain is actually different than yours. His brain is actually structurally different than yours and and he has different responses to things and you do. And that makes a dramatic difference. So even if you can only squeeze in 10 minutes, if you do 10 minutes every day, you’re going to change your brain in a profound way that will have lifelong impacts for you and all kinds of other great stuff too. Like they may see almost zero rates of dimension, and lifelong meditators, things like that these meditations really powerful in a lot of levels. But from a happiness perspective, it tamps down that response to negative stimuli. So remember, you’re more likely you’re anthropologically preset to bring in negative information, negative stimuli. And, and now you’re taking the time to get your brain to calm down and not respond so profoundly to that. Awesome. And so you can start to see how these have a synergy, right, you get eight hours of sleep, you keep the medial prefrontal cortex and the amygdala connected, so it’s calming it down. And then meditation is thinning out the amygdala. So it’s calming it down. And then the exercise is dropping the serotonin and the dopamine and happiness inducing chemicals, and it’s calming it all down. All kind of work together to come brain for happiness. And then the last one is the daily gratitude practice. And this is where, you know, like a lot of people will click off on the podcast, because they’ve read like 52 articles about gratitude and, and they’re over it. They’re tired of people telling to be grateful for every little thing in their life. But the reason gratitude is powerful is because it helps you pattern your world for the positive. So you have that anthropological preset to bring in negative bits of information. Yeah, you take time during gratitude to feed your brain positive bits of information. So you now have more positive bits of information to compile your stories from it. Also, I think what’s gotten lost in the shuffle is the actual feeling of gratitude, right? So people tell you gratitude practice, get out of journal, write down three things you’re grateful for, boom, you do it, you’re done. You didn’t do much, you made a list you gave yourself. Yeah, you give yourself a positive, you know, bits of information. But the real work is to stop on each one of those things. If you’re saying, you know, I’m grateful for my son or my daughter, is actually stop and close your eyes and at least try to muster up the physical feeling of being grateful for that for at least 10 seconds, 30 seconds to a minute is better on each of the things you’re grateful for. And it’s bringing up that feeling of gratitude that’s going to do the work in your brain. And that’s going to do the work to create sort of a lifelong approach to looking for the good and the positive in your world. So you combine all four of those things, you get the bad stories out of your way, you combine all four of those things. And you remember that happiness is not beyond the next promotion. It’s not when you lose the weight. It’s not when you get married, it’s not when you graduate college happiness is now you have to fight for it every day. And you do the work and you do the core for you can create that right environment in the brain to have this sort of consistent happiness. One of the problems we have is we argue over the definition of happiness, and kind of the most widely accepted one is eudaimonia, which is like human flourishing, right, that sounds good. I want to flourish. But it doesn’t really get to the sort of the core of what we’re trying to do of creating this sort of vitality. And this this vibrance, to move forward in a consistent way in life. So we’re not looking for that giggling idiot happy all the time kind of happiness, we’re looking for that sort of vibrant, positive momentum, steadfast, moving forward, consistent happiness. And that’s where learning these tricks to make your brain do what you want it to do creates that over time by being consistent.

Brian Smith 53:11
Yeah, I gotta say, I guess I just stumbled across the core four over the course of my last six years, but I do all for those. And I find the very, very end that the gratitude thing when I first heard it, and people that are in grief, or people tell themselves bad stories, you’re going to go I have nothing to be grateful for. And I guarantee you no matter who you are, where you are, you have something to be grateful for. And so that practice I find is very important. But it’s You’re right, it’s not just writing a list. It’s it’s actually sitting with that feeling. And you started with the eight hours of sleep in the you talked about the mindfulness that was so wild, because I woke up about three o’clock this morning, I was having trouble getting back to sleep. And my mind was was racing, I was thinking about things. And I went back to my mindfulness practice. And I went back to let me just start taking deep breaths and counting backwards from 10. And focusing on my breath. And next thing I knew all those things that my mind was racing towards, they were like fading into the background. And when they would come up, I would just push them out of the way and I fell back to sleep. And I found that the mindfulness practice really helps with the sleep practice. It’s really just said, getting that feeling that understanding of I don’t have to follow these thoughts where they are because usually when we can’t sleep, it’s because something’s in our mind, something has got us chasing it, you know, and we can just say, No, I’m not gonna chase that right now.

Rich Curtis 54:31
You Yeah, it’s funny, you mentioned that because I would say that the gratitude practice is what saved me from the grief of the death of my mom, gratitude is what pulled me up. You know, I have a gratitude journal that I’m just religious with since I did this research. And that’s what pulled me up and started to get my feet under me happiness wise. But meditation, mindfulness is what has sort of gotten me through the pandemic, you know, with the stress and anxiety and shepherding a young family through this insanity, you know, of the global pandemic. We’ve just been through it. This sort of having sleep problems around that, especially in the beginning, using the mindfulness practice, to get me to sleep I’ve now developed, you know, the ability to really go to sleep, no matter what’s going on in my life, I can really just dig into that mindfulness practice and go to sleep. Now, I think some sort of pure meditation practitioners would, would poopoo that because they don’t want you falling asleep during your meditation practice. But I’ve got a pretty clear line where if I’m sitting up, I can stay awake. So I can do my seated meditation. But if I’m laying down, I can use that meditation reliably, like you say, to calm the mind and go right back to sleep. And it’s it’s really powerful and really pays dividends down the road using it that way.

Brian Smith 55:37
Yeah, it was funny, because as I was doing that, I was like I said, this was literally just last night. I had a meditation or a hypnosis session, like a week ago. And so I went, I went back to that feeling when I was being hypnotized. And the thing is, then I was fighting to sleep because I’m like, lying in my bed. And this person’s, you know, I was I was over zoom, and hypnotized me. And I was like, she said, a lot of times people fall asleep. So I’m like, Well, let me just go to that space. And I went to that space last night, I was out. So like, it’s like self hypnosis. But yeah, so those, those four things you talked about, I think, are really important. And they’re small changes, they don’t have to be like you said, you don’t have to go to the gym. You can take 20 minutes after after dinner and go for a walk, just get out in nature. And walk in, I was actually talking to a therapist, and she said, the thing about walking is it’s bilateral movement. So it’s actually helping, you’re engaging both sides of your brain. So it’s another reason why it’s a really great exercise.

Rich Curtis 56:34
Yeah, and that’s kind of touching on like, bilateral stimulation of the brain is actually really sort of core concept in actual technical therapy work to recover from grief, like EMDR. I don’t know if you’ve engaged with any of that. Yeah, I have. But yeah, that’s me, I did some EMDR. And, and that’s amazing, using, you know, using the bilateral stimulation of the brain to trigger the natural cleansing and consolidating process of memories and emotions, to help you have less dramatic responses to traumatic memories. And that’s for people who are really suffering for people with with PTSD and that sort of stuff. I, I can’t recommend enough, digging into EMDR and doing some of that bilateral stimulation to help this sort of natural cleansing and consolidating process of the brain. That’s, that’s incredible stuff. The science behind that is mind mind blowing.

Brian Smith 57:25
It really is, um, you We touched upon this before we got started, you just touched upon it a little bit I want to talk about in our last few minutes about why is it that men seem to struggle so much more than women do with stuff like this? And and we don’t see even ourselves. I don’t see people like you much in this field, you know, vice versa, you know what? It’s seemed like women are ahead of us on this on this thing.

Rich Curtis 57:50
Yeah, and it’s it’s always dangerous territory to talk about these gender roles, because you always risk sort of dropping the cliches and tropes. But yeah, I think we I think we have some powerful stories about maleness that don’t serve us I talked about one of them that sort of savior complex. I had a like a ramped up on steroids version of that from being a guide. But I think that’s pretty innately built into men to sort of be that fixer, that Savior. And there’s a there’s a an emotional stoicism that men are raised with that doesn’t serve us and if you really dig into the the stoics there’s much to be gained there tremendous emotional resilience, and great stuff. But we’re the type of stoicism we teach our young men it tends to be compartmentalised, which is, you have two emotions, happier, pissed. And if you’re not happy, you’re pissed, then you’re then you’re not a man. Right? That’s it, like sadness, anxiety, fear, grief, all of that, but that’s for the pansies. Right. And that’s, and that’s, you know, at least still, you know, being a child in the 70s, you know, have a pretty old school Dad, I got a healthy dose of that. And these archetypal versions of maleness, having a really sort of bipolar, emotional range, doesn’t serve us. So when we take a hit like grief, and when we’re feeling the full range of complex emotions that come with that, and we’re being brought to our knees. We don’t want to admit it. We don’t want to tell you we don’t want to reach out for help. Or at least I didn’t I like in my family. We are a pull yourself up by your bootstraps. If you’re not bleeding a lot, Quit whining and get on with it kind of family. Yeah. And so to admit you were depressed was to admit weakness, right? And so I think men have all these things built in that, you know, it’s even something that we should be well passed by now, but it’s weak to cry, you know. And these things we get, I don’t know there’s so many places we get these things from because I’ve never told my son it’s, it’s bad to cry. He cries all the time when he gets hurt or whatever. Sure. But our family dog died recently and because of COVID and having nobody to watch the kids and couldn’t go with the dog, my wife went to put the dog down. And I, I was with her over FaceTime during that. And I was crying. I was sobbing, you know, it’s been our dog for 12 years. And my son said, well, Dad, you probably glad you didn’t go because you probably would have been embarrassed. Why would have been embarrassed? He said, Well, those people see you cry like that. And I said, No, it’s so embarrassing to cry when you’re losing someone you love. That’s, that’s an that’s the right reaction, you know, the normal reaction. So somewhere, I don’t know where he even got a dose of that story.

Brian Smith 1:00:30
Yeah. Yeah, that’s so sad. Because, you know, he said, You can’t we can’t protect our kids from everything. So we think we’re teaching the right thing. And then you find out that socialization is coming from somewhere outside of your influence.

Rich Curtis 1:00:44
Yeah, and so these stories of maleness, we need to rewrite those and we, you know, the most important work is on personal level, but then, in our work with our children, and our work with communities in our work with our other male friends, we need to start to rewrite these stories. And sometimes it requires you to maybe be a bit nosy or bossy. So when any of my friends lose someone now, I interject myself, I send them text messages, I send them, you know, DMS on Instagram, I send them, you know, call them, I interact with them, and just keep checking on them. And my male friends sometimes get annoyed or pissed about it. But there’s this sort of acute period of suffering, as you know, when when it first happens when you lose someone, everybody’s there, everybody’s checking, they’re calling you bringing you food and everything right. And that lasts a couple of weeks. Yeah. And then they didn’t lose that person, they move on. Right? Right. And then you’re there with every day of not having, you’re there with the everyday experience of that. And and we don’t have that support. And so men in general, reach out for those support. For that support. We don’t have that community, like women tend to have stronger social networks, like around parenting. And being a mom, they have mom groups they have, they reach out to each other when they’re having a hard day, they reach out to each other to get help with with breastfeeding or raising a newborn, they have these sort of built in communities that they develop more neatly. And men, our communities are more based on doing things together, you know, like going out and you know, fishing or whatever it is. Yeah, yeah. And so I think we’ve seen, we’ve seen a declining life expectancy in the US for three years straight. And what the research is showing is, it’s driven by middle aged men, middle aged men who have lost their job, especially like in the industrial Midwest, they lose their job in their 50s, they’re not able to take care of their families, they lose direction, and then they’re turning to alcohol and opioids, and then eventually overdose or suicide. And if those men had a stronger network where they could reach out and talk to people about what they’re feeling, get help for how they’re hurting, have other men who have gone through the same thing, tell them that, you know, there’s an end to this, there’s a way out of this and give them a pathway. I think we could turn that around. And so to me, when I look at men in grief, the best thing you can do, anyone who knows a man in their life, that suffering is to reach out to get in their face a little bit, to offer help to check on them, get them out of the house, don’t let them exile themselves. Don’t let them be alone. Get them out, get them moving, and then share with them your suffering. So it’s social media and this age of perfect lives. We seem to think that we make connections now by showing this perfectly glossed version of our lives. But it’s in showing the beautiful fallibility, the suffering and the pain and the humaneness that we make real connections. And as men, we got to start doing that we got to start sharing the the hard parts, too. I’ve been lucky enough. During the pandemic, one of my best friends just said, Man, we’re talking to each other every day, we’re both dads, we’re both suffering through the same, this is some crazy stuff we’re dealing with. Even if it’s two minutes, we’re talking every day, every single day for the pandemic, we check on each other. And we give each other a chance to vent and talk about what’s going on. And we just are there for each other. Yeah. And that is, I would say a more woman or more feminine arc type of relationship. Yeah, that’s not like a dude setup. Yeah. And we need to start to evolve past that and be those resources for each other as men and have these conversations. There’s even a great YouTube video of Anderson Cooper and Steven Cole bear talking about grief about the loss of their Steven Kobe lost his dad and his brothers and Anderson Cooper recently lost his mom. I’ve never seen like public celebrities having that kind of discussion about about grief being open as men about what that’s like. So just conversations like this, you know, help other men to sort of reach in and say, Yeah, okay, if he’s admitting how he’s feeling I can do that too.

Brian Smith 1:04:37
Yeah, that video you’re talking about went viral because it was so unusual. I saw another one you’re talking about and people are like, wow, isn’t this this is wild. The men are doing this. And I want to reiterate really reiterate what you said to anybody that any men that happened me listening, which there aren’t many, for the ones that are listening, is do that i after my daughter pass. I have a friend. He’s a former pastor me This is why he did it. But he would just call me up and say, let’s go for a walk. And because I, you know, he knows I walk everyday, but we would go, just meet at the bike trail and walk for two or three miles. And he check in with me and ask what’s going on and he’s done this for years just kept, you know, following up with me, and that’s really appreciate it. And I’m not the kind of person I’m not gonna reach out to somebody and say, Hey, I’m sad, I need to go, you know, talk to you, because that’s just not what what guys do. So we, we need to as guys, I love what you said, Get up in your friend’s face a little bit, invite them out, draw them out, and then share you know, after, after my daughter passed, people have known for like, literally two decades, neighbors, you know, we were on vacation together a couple of years ago. And Skye starts telling me stories about like, you know, his his mother and his family and stuff like that, you know, and I’m like, dude, I’ve known you for like, 20 years. He never told me this stuff before. But because I’m doing the podcast, I’m doing the speaking and stuff. My friends are hearing me a little bit. They’re like, they have permission now to share what they’re going through also. So being vulnerable, really helps to draw other people out letting them know, it’s okay to feel sad about this, or it’s okay to, you know, have these kind of emotions.

Rich Curtis 1:06:14
Yeah, my, my favorite moment of that was I was at a real estate conference out in Vegas. And we’re at the like, opening mixer thing, right, which is, you know, small talk and you pretend like you do more deals than me. And we all talk about how cool we are, right? That’s the kind of environment these things are. And this guy was asking me what I was doing at the time, I was just finishing up the book. And I said, well, what’s kind of one of the most exciting things in my life is I’ve just completed this book. Here’s what it’s about, I shared the story of the day my mom died. This guy was like a head and a half taller, me like 6465, you know, built like, you know, a breakout house, huge New Yorker, you know, and he starts telling me that the the day the Twin Towers came down. So after I tell him my story, he starts telling me, you know, I’ve been dealing with PTSD for decades now. And he said, I’m standing my apartment window across from the Twin Towers, when the towers come down, I’m holding my newborn daughter, and I watch this building collapse, and everything gets enveloped in smoke, and I’ve got this child that I have to protect, I don’t have an automobile, I have nothing. And I walked out of the building with her in my arms, and I walked out of the city and I walked across the bridge with her. And, and I’ve been struggling with the fear and anxiety and the PTSD from that moment since then. And it’s a constant battle in my life. He’s like, I’m trying to, you know, he at the time, you just bought a house in Costa Rica that he was going down, he bought some horses, because dealing with the horses gave him some sense of calm and serenity, but he was really still going through it. This is maybe three or four years ago, right? You know, so we’re almost two decades past 911. But this big dude, by the end of this, you know, 1520 minute conversation is huge New Yorker, bruiser dude has given me a hug. He’s got tears in his eyes. And we’re, we’re connecting around this shared experience of trying to push our way through the hard things in life, right. And so I like what you said about giving permission if you’re just willing to be vulnerable and just willing to be open with people. You’ll be amazed every time I do this and talk about this something like that happen someone shares with me what what they’ve been through. And then there’s an instant connection, we have so much separation now. You know, political separation and, and so many things we’re in fighting about in this country, when really at the core, we are all walking this life out and experiencing these same universal things and trying to push our way through these things. Not in the same ways we all have our own challenges, different challenges, some of us a lot more than others because of the structure. But we’re still having these universal experiences we can connect on and start to build some bridges and understand each other’s humanity and, and this experience of grief is one of them that we can definitely do that with because almost everybody you know has experienced this in some way or another.

Brian Smith 1:08:50
Now if they haven’t they will that’s just part of life. Rich. I want to say we’re coming up on about an hour maybe maybe a little over. I’ve really enjoyed the conversation with you today. And your book sounds really intriguing to remind people namely your book where they can find out about your book and where they can find out more about you.

Rich Curtis 1:09:09
Yeah, the books on Amazon and all three formats audio, digital, and print it’s called change your story, change your life. Search, change your story, change your life rich Curtis, it’s the blue and yellow one, you can see it back there behind my head. And if you want to find me, you can just check them out at rich Curtis calm, we’ve got individual coaching, group coaching, speaking, all that stuff, anything that I can do to support you in getting your story straight and moving forward in your life. That’s what I’m here to do. Thanks for Thanks for having me. It was a wonderful conversation. Thanks for being open and sharing your grief and doing this work as a man in the world. It’s it’s great to have some people out there doing that and sharing that and given a pathway forward for people to see that this is okay, you know,

Brian Smith 1:09:50
cool. Well, thanks for being here. Have a great rest of your day. You do. So that does it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you enjoyed it. If you like this content, make sure sure you subscribe, so click on the subscribe button here, and then click on the bell to receive notifications and click on all. That way you’ll be notified whenever I release new content. Thanks for watching and have a great day.

Transcribed by

Beth Cavenaugh RN, BSN is a certified hospice and palliative care nurse, Reiki practitioner, writer, and educator. Sliding into her 25th year as a nurse, Beth has spent the last 15 caring for hospice patients. Beth writes about end-of-life matters and published Some Light at the End, Your Bedside Guide to Peaceful Palliative and Hospice Care.

  • Some of the topics we covered in this conversation includethe challenges of taking care of a hospice patient
    can people be more accepting of death?
    the regret people can feel after taking care of their loved one
    how people die and the varied ways and timeline that people die.
    what to expect at the end of life
    how to Manage Anxiety for the Hospice Patient and the Caregiver
    how to take care of yourself when you are taking care of a hospice patient

for more on Beth, visit:






Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried, but what if, like a seed we’ve been planted and having been planted, to grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes. Open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey everybody, this is Brian Smith back with another episode of grief to growth and today I’ve got with me Beth Cavanaugh. As always, I’m gonna read Beth’s bio and introduce her and then we’re going to have a conversation. Beth is a certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse. She’s a Reiki practitioner. She’s a writer, and she’s an educator. She’s going into her 25th year as a nurse and she spent the last 15 years caring for hospice patients. Beth writes about end of life matters and published a book some light at the end, your bedside guide a peaceful palliative and hospice care. So with that, I want to introduce Beth Cavanaugh. Hi, Brian, thanks for having me today. Yeah, thanks for being here. I’m really looking forward to talking to you. I’m always fascinated by people that go into the field of palliative care. And I know what type of nurse were you before you went into this field and then what made you decide to go into palliative care.

Beth 1:35
Um, I think I was just kind of a regular nurse, you know, when you’re when you start out, you kind of go wherever you can get a job, I worked in internal medicine for a while I worked at an AIDS hospice for a while I worked at, in a nursing home for three weeks, person short stay surgery. And after, you know, I was raising kids at the time. So after about a decade of nursing, I took a break, I wanted to just kind of pause because I thought, you know, short stay surgery was the the people were amazing, the schedule was amazing. But I wasn’t feeling fulfilled as a nurse. And I think I just had a little more space in my life to kind of look for something that was maybe a little more fulfilling to me. And, and so I took about nine months off, and I just hung out with my kids, my family and and really kind of explored what would feel meaningful to me. When I worked at the AIDS hospice, I just was there for about a year and a half. But that that had a profound impact on me just being able to show up and be present for people at the end of life. And my mom died in 1998. So in those first two years of being a nurse, my mom had died. And I was able to be with her and experience hospice care. And I took care of her at the end of her life. And so I found this really sweet hospice home here in Portland and, and started to work there. And that’s when I felt like I had kind of landed professionally.

Brian Smith 3:13
Interesting. So and that’s when you decide you’re just going to go into palliative care like full time.

Beth 3:18
Well, I guess so. I mean, I think I never really like make a decision to Oh, this is going to be my life’s work. But I definitely felt like I was going to stay. And it felt really good every day that I showed up. And it felt very meaningful. I didn’t realize with hospice care, there’s you take care of the family, as well as the patient and I loved that I loved, you know, there were 50% of my patient and my time, and I loved educating them. And I loved to be able to because it was in a hospice home, I was actually able to be present for the deaths of my patients. A lot of times Hospice is in a patient’s home. So you’re not as a nurse, you’re not necessarily there when they die. So it felt like it was a really special place in general, and a spiritual place. And it felt very sacred and holy to me. And so I just, I kind of kept kept at it.

Brian Smith 4:20
Yeah. So what are some of the challenges of taking care of a hospice patient? You mentioned one thing that most of us don’t realize is you spend a lot of your time with the family. Mm hmm. So what are some of the other challenges?

Beth 4:34
Well, I think that let’s see. You know, a lot of times when people come on to hospice, they’re not exactly ready to die. So so there’s a lot of emotional work that you have to kind of sit with the patients and help them process the end of their life and, and maybe do some life review or just checking in with them as they go through their their anger. Oh, You know, relationship issues. So, it hospice care is the emotional, spiritual and physical care of a patient. So it’s very holistic. And life brings up all of those issues, you know, you have all these physical things going on. But you also have, you know, how do I want to exit this earth? How do I want to leave the planet behind? How do I want to, you know, tidy up my business with my family and my friends. So, it’s challenging, but it’s also, you know, also the beauty in it, like, as you say, every challenging moment has opportunities for beauty and growth. And so I love being in that space with people, but it is, I’m not a social worker, I’m not a trained, you know, Counselor. But as an as a nurse, you just show up for these moments, you happen to be there at the bedside, when they’re kind of going, what is happening to me, I’m 50, I just climbed Mount Hood, you know, six months ago, and here, I am dying, and you just have to kind of be present for them. And, you know, I mean, I can’t help them work through their stuff, but I can bear witness to their suffering that they’re going through.

Brian Smith 6:15
Yeah, I think that’s one of the things I’ve learned a little bit about hospice work. And as you said, you can’t really offer certain types of help, I guess. So what’s the line of for you? How much help you can offer someone that says, like, what’s going on with me? Or I’m scared?

Beth 6:32
Well, I think that the, the best advice I received from another nurse was, sometimes you don’t have to have answers, and silence is okay. And that really freed me up enormously to just be with people, and sit in that comfortable silence that most of us hate anyway, the seven second pause, and allow them the space to be there or just, you know, give them that sounds shitty, I’m so sorry. This sounds terrible. I can’t I can’t imagine what you’re going through. But, but not leaving the room and staying in the room? And you know, because a lot of people don’t want to be in that really uncomfortable spot.

Brian Smith 7:19
Did you find our Do you find people accepting other deaths generally, or people? Are they fearful? Or what? What’s the range of emotions that you see?

Beth 7:32
Yeah, um, I see. There’s a wide variety of emotions there is there’s fear, there’s anger, there’s desperation, there’s depression, there’s flatness, there is, you know, I would say maybe 10%. This is according to Beth Cavanaugh statistics are, are joyful about it, you know, and that’s generally somebody who has is, you know, in their 90s isn’t has lived a very full life and is very supported, and their symptoms are managed, and maybe they have kind of this vision of the afterlife and what’s coming next. But, but I think, and I think most people get to this point of acceptance. And, and it’s really, sometimes it feels like resignation. But I do think there’s this acceptance and this relief that can happen for most patients. And I think when people get to that point, it’s it’s a relief for them, it may not be a relief for the family, because that’s, that’s a, that’s a entirely, you know, different perspective and issue that’s going on, because a lot of times, families are well, always families are going through their own personal emotions around their loved one dying. So I do think that I’ve definitely seen acceptance happen and and that is just part of the beauty of why I like to be there because I do think hospice gives people an opportunity to really process you know, the end of their life and, and find some peace and acceptance. We also have social workers on our team. We have chaplains on our team, we have amazing aides on our team and volunteers. So so there’s this team of people, that is all, you know, we all have the same goal in mind, which is to support this patient as they’re dying to keep them comfortable and to allow them the opportunity to process the end of their life.

Brian Smith 9:49
Yeah, so you touched on something there, you know, as we were saying, there’s the patient and how they’re viewing their passing and then there’s the family how they’re viewing it. So it’s Are there ways that you can help families become more accepting of the demise of their loved one?

Beth 10:07
Yeah, I mean, in theory, yes, there are, I think everybody’s very different in terms of their acceptance of death. Like my dad, when my mom was dying, I was very, I was acutely aware the whole time that she, her prognosis was not good with lung cancer. And so from the start of her diagnosis, I was kind of anticipating that she was going to die. And so that was, but I’m also very, like, I’m a nurse, so I’m kind of realistic to a fault. And my dad, his whole goal was to keep her alive to keep her well to heal her to feed her, you know, so, he and he never, I really don’t think he ever accepted that she was gonna die, ever, you know, until afterwards, and even even then it’s difficult to accept. I think that I mean, my thing with families is to be have kind of a gentle but transparent offering, really to talk about, you know, continue to talk about the importance of this time. And, you know, to talk about what what does this patient need at this time, I think you can talk about death and dying. You know, a lot of people don’t like the words death and dying, but you can say, you know, what would your grandma want right now, at this time? Is it important for her to have a religious ritual? Is it important for her should we call it her sister that she keeps talking about, and maybe she can talk to her on the phone. So I, I’m constantly trying to just plant the seed like that, this is the time, this is the only time that we can really give the patient what they need at the end of their lives, so they can die more peacefully, ideally. And a lot of times, you have to be pretty subtle about it. Because like I said, a lot of people don’t like talking about death or dying. And, and they don’t want to hear those words. And you know, a lot of people don’t believe a lot of people don’t believe that their loved one is actually going to die. I mean, like I said, my dad, he was totally surprised. I was actually surprised when my mom died. I’ve been with my patients who’ve been on hospice for years or months. And when they die, I’m still surprised, you know, there is this element of surprise, like, Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe they just died right now. And so yeah, I think that I think it’s just continuing to offer some transparent but gentle information, that they have opportunities for closure and to express their love to their loved one.

Brian Smith 12:51
Yeah, yeah. I wanted to ask you this, you know, we have this idea that death should be easy and peaceful. And then sometimes it is, what what about when it’s not? When it’s not peaceful? And it’s not easy. The patient might be scared, they’re resistant? What What would you offer to a patient? And what would you offer to a family going through that?

Beth 13:15
Yeah, um, you know, I’ve definitely been around plenty of not peaceful deaths. And so I guess that with that, I just want to say that it’s common, I think, for people who are grieving a loved one, you know, there’s a sense of, of maybe guilt or concern over how it went down. And they think maybe it could have been better, maybe they could have done something different. But, but I’m here to say that sometimes deaths aren’t peaceful, and sometimes they’re not as beautiful as you want them to be. And sometimes patients might be in pain. I mean, we as hospice team, we try it as hard as we can to get symptoms manage. But, you know, death happens, kind of as it happens, and with all the medical intervention that there can possibly be, and a lot of times patients are in their home. So, you know, it’s not like they have all the medical intervention that we can possibly give to them. So sometimes it’s just not as pretty or peaceful as we all want it to be. And

Unknown Speaker 14:24
when it’s not,

Beth 14:27
I mean, for for patients, I think we’re constantly you know, if they have physical symptoms, that that is kind of a constant thing that is you need to titrate medications for pain management and you need to titrate medications, for shortness of breath. So you’re kind of constantly trying to alleviate these physical symptoms that they’re having. A lot of times patients will have this existential suffering, which you know, is that I don’t want to die. You know, I don’t ever want to die. I’m not willing And then there’s this just suffering element that is going on while people are dying. And a lot of times, you can’t medicate that away, I mean, you can try. And there’s certainly tools that we have, but sometimes you can’t. And I think if you again, show up for them, and just try to be present to it, and call on your hospice team for any medical guidance that they can give, you know, that that’s the best support we can offer. And then for the family, I think just realizing that sometimes it’s not peaceful, and it’s not beautiful, so that people don’t kick themselves after they’ve died to think that maybe they could have done something differently. Because sometimes you just can’t. Yeah, I do think that if you contact the hospice, and really, you know, have them come over and help as much as they can, you know, then at least, we can try our best to medicate and, you know, get them comfy.

Brian Smith 16:01
Yeah, I actually have a friend that just went through this with with her mother, and she had had her mother in her home. And she, she was claiming to live for literally years, they thought they were she was about the past, and, but she just, you know, kept hanging around. And, you know, I my friend was like, I thought this was supposed to be peaceful. You know, I thought that was supposed to be beautiful. And I think sometimes we have that expectation. And then there’s the guilt that we weren’t able to make it that way. And also, another thing I’ve seen is people feeling like, I need to keep this person in my home, you know, and running themselves ragged trying to keep them in their home. What would you as a as a hospice professional say to someone going through that decision as to when do I let go of trying to do everything?

Beth 16:52
Well, we need as you know, we can’t do everything, it’s impossible, or we just, you know, burnout. And I think that you know, Hospice is a beautiful system, but it’s also an imperfect system. A lot of times patients, there aren’t many other opportunities for them to stay anywhere else other than their home. It You know, a lot of this is like insurance driven and financially driven. And so you know, you have to do out of pocket cost if you go somewhere like a nursing home or facility. And, or you can have caregivers come into your home, which you know, is expensive, but my thing is always Oh my God, if you can afford it, bring caregivers into your home to help you out. Because a lot of people, most people do not like changing diapers, adult diapers, that’s a really, it’s a really hard thing to do. And with family and family dynamics, and how that goes, you know, that’s not, that’s not the kind of relationship most people have with their mother or their father. So I think you can’t do it all. I think if you have the financial means to get caregivers to come in periodically throughout the day or throughout the week, just to alleviate some of the burden or call in the troops, you know, calling other family members calling friends to help out. So I think some oftentimes hospice care is in the home, I think that if it’s in, but if people have the opportunity to go into a hospice home, I mean, I, I work at a hospice home now. And I love working at an inpatient unit, because I feel like as soon as they come through the doors, that family is just so relieved, you know, because it’s been so hard, like you’re saying to take care of their loved one at home, because, you know, PS, their loved one is also the family who’s taking care of the patient who’s dying, that family member is totally going through their own grief. They’re doing all this physical care and, and labor of their loved one, which is the most meaningful gift you can give to somebody, but it is also exhausting. So, you know, it is just kind of a delicate dance. And I think that if somebody has the opportunity to go into hospice home, and the family is all agreeable, and they’ve checked it out. I think it’s a great option because people who are in the hospice homes are trained in end of life care and pain and symptom management. And, you know, and and there’s the team of support people that can support the patient and the family while they’re in there with their loved one. So,

Brian Smith 19:33
yeah, and, you know, there obviously, are financial considerations, but I’ve seen people it’s like a guilt thing. You know, it’s like, well, she’s my mother. She took care of me when I was a baby. So now I need to take care of her, you know, something like that. And then, but I would point out to like, Okay, well, they have three shifts of nurses when they’re in a full facility, and you’re just one person. So even if you are a nurse, you couldn’t do Yeah,

Beth 20:00
you can’t I mean, you just simply cannot take care of somebody 24 seven without losing your mind or hurting your back. I mean, yeah, like I said, there’s a ton of labor involved. So I think that, you know, one of my, when I was thinking about being on your podcast, I and people who are grieving their loved one, one of my missions I was feeling very strongly about is to alleviate people of their guilt burden that they feel because it is, you can be a much better daughter, when you have somebody else who’s showering your mom and bathing your mom. And you can just show up for your mom and not worry about the medication stuff or, you know, changing her diaper or administering suppositories. So I just think to, it’s hard to stay in the daughter lane, when you also have to, you know, shower your mom and change your linens. But I think if you have the opportunity, boy, I say do it right away. And you know, most people sign up very late for hospice. So I think that I heard I’m terrible with statistics I heard recently, the average length of stay was about 20 days. But so most people sign up for hospice late. And, and most people don’t realize that, it’s probably not going to be that long of a time. So the sooner you can get caregivers in, just try it, you know, for that first week. And a lot of times, the patient will decline over the next three weeks. And, you know, you will have been able to be with your mom and a really supportive way, not physically exhausted, you’ll be able to remember, you’ll be able to think of all the things you want to tell her and and you can have, you know, some other caregivers in there to do some of that physical labor.

Brian Smith 21:52
Yeah, I think that’s really important. And I’m glad that we touched on that, because that’s one of the big things I like to do also is alleviate people from this guilt that we seem to heap on ourselves, and expect ourselves to be, you know, Superman, you know, and be able to do everything. And I like what you just said, you know, this, this frees you up to do other things that are more beneficial and not, you know, tear down your own health while you’re supposedly trying to help someone else. In a situation that’s impossible for you to really handle on your own.

Beth 22:23
Right, right. And I see a lot of 80 year old, you know, men taking care of their eight year old wives. And I just feel so sad for them. Because it’s, like I said, it’s a lot of labor. And it’s a lot of work. And usually 80 year olds have their own health conditions going on. And they are physically exhausted, too. So I think that if you can have anybody else come in to help do it and do it sooner than later.

Brian Smith 22:49
Yeah, one of the questions and we kind of touched on this before, but I want to go back to it, you know, I think we have this Hollywood image of how people are supposed to die, or how people die. So from your perspective, what what’s kind of the range of what you’ve seen from people going through the process?

Beth 23:08
Um, well, I’ve seen it all. And I’ve seen people just kind of slipped away. So I could go a lot of different ways with this, but in terms of like, how death looks in general, definitely is very different for everybody. And I think I’ve seen a lot of people, you know, slip out of here really peacefully, subtly, gently, no symptoms, no physical symptoms, you know, family around you know, that that’s, that’s a beautiful death, when they’re the physical symptoms are being managed, they’re emotionally accepting or ready to die. And their family is supporting them and around them.

I’ve seen you know, the, one of the worst. Do you want me to talk about the worst? I don’t even know.

Brian Smith 24:10
You know, people need to know, what’s that range of normal?

Beth 24:13
Yeah, well, I mean, these are the, you know, best case scenario, worst case scenario, and I’ve seen somebody just really suffer on the way out and family was not on board. patient was miserable and in pain and died from probably an event a terminal event. So when I got there, you know, something had happened, maybe a pulmonary embolus or something like that which causes respiratory distress for people and, and he was agitated and trying to get out of the bed and back into bed and out of bed and back in the bed. And and we’ve, you know, I was giving him as much medication as I could, talking to the doctor the whole time. Trying to get the family like back in the room to realize that this patient was actually dying because it had happened. So suddenly, and, and then the patient finally settled in a family all gathered around. And it and I mean, we all saw, I did too, because it was, it was really awful. And, but I feel like, you know, in the end, you know, the family was there gathered around, and, and sobbing and they were together and this guy went with a fight, like the biggest fight I’ve ever seen. And you know, it was awful to witness. After that, I thought, God, do I need to go to like Calcutta and work in the streets of India, so I can get used to this, you know, like terrible stuff. And then I thought, No, no, like, it can be so much better. I know, it could be better. It’s just this is this is the anomaly. So sometimes patients die like that. Oftentimes, patients slip away, there’s this other kind of in between, like, gradual process where people kind of die kind of slowly over time, and hopefully you manage their symptoms, you’re kind of titrating their medications, so that their pain is managed, and, you know, they’re as comfortable as possible, they end up you know, sleeping more than they can’t get out of bed. And they continue to sleep more, and they die. And usually you can tell like hospice nurses, we can usually tell when patients are, I mean, in theory, about seven days away, and we can kind of just keep going, Okay, yeah, like they’re getting closer, they’re getting closer. So, it is different for everybody. I also want patients, family members to know that even though you know, we hospice nurses are like, okay, you know, they’re close, it’s gonna happen, we’re wrong all the time. Because death is this divine mystical event that happens. And even though we think we’re in control of a lot of things, we’re not in control of a lot of things. So I really believe that there’s just this bigger thing happening. And sometimes patients die suddenly, like I talked about that one gentleman, he had a terminal event, you know, I’ll be in with a patient. Maybe I’ll medicate him. Maybe he’s like doing the crossword puzzle. This has happened before. And I’ve come back and he had an event. And he’s actively dying. So and he died maybe an hour later. Sometimes patients are looking at me and and families leave the room to go to lunch. And they’ve been there holding vigil the whole time. Waiting for the patient to die, patient doesn’t die. As soon as they leave to lunch, the patient starts to actively die. I mean, it feels very directed. Yeah. So So there, there’s, you know, people, everybody wants to be there at the moment of death. But sometimes, it just with all of our medical technology, and me being a hospice nurse for 15 years, sometimes we cannot call it

Brian Smith 28:19
right. Well, and I think sometimes it’s because the patient calls it because they because I literally was talking to someone last week that their son was going through the dyeing process. And they were watching, they were setting a vigil and everything. And they’re waiting for that last breath waiting to see the last breath. And as soon as they left the room, he took his last breath. So apparently, it’s been your experience also.

Beth 28:41
Oh, yeah. I mean, and I’ve had patients who, it hasn’t happened that many times, but I have had patients who I’ve said, You are actively dying right now. And I would really like to call your family and they have shook their head. No, don’t call my family. Or I have said, Can I bring your family in the room? And they will shake their head and say no, or another patient? We said, we’ve called your wife she’s coming and he is, you know, shaking his head? No, like, I don’t want my family in the room. And I don’t know, if it’s a protective thing. You know, it’s likely that maybe it’s just last memories. Maybe it’s how they want to go. They don’t want people to be around them. You know, dying is a very it’s an individual sport. It is. You know, I mean, they are, we don’t know what it’s going to be like for us. I think I want my entire family around, but maybe I don’t want my entire family around. I won’t know until that happens.

Brian Smith 29:38
Yeah. And as you said, it’s I think it’s differed by for some people, I think it’s it’s a privacy thing. It’s like I want to do this alone from this has been, you know, relayed to me anyway. And I do I’m glad that we went through that because I want people to understand that there are different ranges of things that can happen. It’s not your fault if it wasn’t great. And the thing that I look at dying is kind of like birth. It’s a transition So the thing is when we’re born some births easy. Some births, like my daughter, Shayna is more, more complicated, more difficult. But either way we get there, you know, so when people when people are going, when they’re transitioning, they’re making the transition. And they’ve you know, so there shouldn’t be any regret, it shouldn’t be. It doesn’t help to have regrets about what you could or could or shouldn’t have done. At this point, the way I look at that the person is okay, you know, they’ve made it, they’ve made it through the process.

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Brian Smith 31:33
Have you experienced like people that are that are going through when they get close? Talking about visitors coming to see them better people that are deceased?

Beth 31:42
Mm hmm. Yeah, I love that. I mean, you know, these are all the things that keep me staying in hospice, because I really do appreciate and love this connection with the divine, which is what being being in end of life care really feels very connected to the divine, at least for me, it does and, and most hospice nurses and people work in hospice, they, they, that is a very satisfying and rich part of hospice. I have had, I’ve been in the room with Jesus, you know, so I was with a patient and, and she told me, you know, that Jesus was here, and he was giving her a final blessing. And, and, and the family was so happy to hear that story. You know, just, you know, those kinds of things really people hold on to and, and the patient who was dying, she had so much peace about her. I have been sitting next to another patient who was just sitting, sitting and chatting with her. And I said, you know, I’m gonna go check out another patient. Is there anything you need? And she said, Oh, no, my husband’s. He’s here. He’s, he’s sitting in that chair with you. So. So he was, you know, just right there the whole time. And he had died 10 years ago. And yeah, so I’ve definitely had a lot of experiences with people kind of see, you can tell they’re kind of in conversation with other beings in the room. And, you know, it doesn’t like I said, it doesn’t happen all the time for me, but I definitely have enough of those where it makes me feel like it’s very real. And this, this connection with spirit is very real. And it kind of drives my enthusiasm, I guess, for connecting with more divine elements of this end to life stuff.

Brian Smith 33:38
Yeah, yeah, exactly. I want to ask you, in your experience, because this is I’ve heard this that typically, it’s more nurses believe in the afterlife experience, and doctors tend to not is that been your experience working in hospice care?

Beth 33:54
Um, I don’t. You know, it’s so funny. Like, I don’t even know, I don’t know if I could. I don’t know if I’ve ever pulled my coworkers to find out what their beliefs are.

Brian Smith 34:07
So you guys don’t talk about it?

Beth 34:08
I think I do with some of our some nurses. Yeah, we do. Definitely. But I haven’t really talked to a bunch of physicians about it. So I should start doing that. I’d like that, I guess. I don’t know. I mean, I, I can’t imagine because I feel like the physicians are in this really amazing space. I would think that we all believe in something bigger. That’s a weird generalization to make, but it’s for me anyway, it’s really hard to be in healthcare and not think that there is something bigger out there. And we have to find meaning in our work. And it’s really hard to find meaning and suffering if you don’t feel like you know, this is just kind of our spiritual stretching as humans and you know, I just I feel like there’s so much about it. Healthcare that is very difficult to witness. But I think you have to have some Dr. Dominic vishawn, he wrote how doctors care. And he talks a lot about how it’s important to have some type of philosophy of care or spirituality of care, if you’re agnostic, or you know, whatever, but some kind of philosophy of care so that you can find meaning in the work that you do. Not even just hospice, but, you know, being a clinician of any kind in healthcare. So I think that I think to really have meaning in this work, you kind of have to dwell and ruminate on what what kind of gifts your patients are giving you. And, and, and what is next. And what is this all for? I mean, you can’t help but not think about that.

Brian Smith 35:55
Well, you One would think, but it’s not true. Right? Right. Right. Yeah. And the reason that it might be different in your experience, even because you’re in palliative care. So that’s a that’s a very deliberate thing to go into, and maybe the doctors to go into that maybe feel a little bit differently. But like, I think about Dr. Eben Alexander, who was a neurologist for, you know, so many years, and, you know, brain surgeon and just was a total materialist until he had his near death experience and wrote a couple of books about it. But he didn’t, he didn’t, he didn’t look at the other side. I mean, because doctors are trained to death as the enemy. We’re always fighting death. It’s all about keeping people here. So I was going to ask you this, and you already kind of answered it. Because I know people will probably say to you, well, isn’t it depressing being around dying people all the time? And but your your view of it’s different, right?

Beth 36:48
Yeah, I mean, I feel like it’s so rich and real. And I’m the type of person who like I’ve, I’ve never been good at, like, just chit chatting, and, you know, just talking about the weather, pop culture, I don’t even know anything that’s going on with pop culture. But I, I really like to go go deep with people and see how they’re really doing and what’s going on, and how’s them on yada, yada. So, um,

Unknown Speaker 37:15
what was your question? Wow,

Brian Smith 37:16
I was I was asking you about people would ask, I would think they would ask you, is it depressing being? Like, just around death? Isn’t that icky?

Beth 37:27
Well, it’s interesting, because the firt, after the first year of being in hospice, I definitely felt depressed. And I was reading in a palliative care textbook randomly, that there are the stages that people in hospice care go through. And after about nine months, people experienced depression. And, and I was kind of mad, because nobody had told me that this was going to be, you know, a possibility. And, and what it did for me was really go, Oh, I had to, then after it’s sorry, after the nine to 12 months, depression, then you get to this place over the next year. I can’t remember what it’s called. But it’s kind of being okay with, you know, this end of life event. And sorry, I’m not very articulate about it. But so I do think it can be very depressing. But I also think you have to kind of do a lot of work to get to this place of being okay with watching people suffering, bearing witness to their suffering, and not trying to fix a lot of their suffering. You know, like, as hospice nurses, we can try to fix their physical symptoms, but there’s a lot of suffering people just have to do on their own and on their own timeframe. So I don’t find hospice depressing. I find it very rich, and I find it, you know, full of life. I mean, our whole goal is to maximize the quality of their life, you know, not the quantity of their life. So I love being able to, you know, bring someone to Sunday, when you know, they’ve been diabetic their whole life, and that’s what they want to eat. You know, I, I love bringing quality of life, like, even if it’s, you know, having their grandmother or their grandbaby come in and visit them. I just feel like to have this moment in time where you actually do know that you’re gonna die. And to be intentional about it is kind of amazing. Really. Yeah. So it can be very relevant. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I don’t find it depressing. And most hospice nurses, I would say have really they’re very fun to work with. Yeah. So yeah.

Brian Smith 39:41
Well, I think when people say something like it’s Don’t you find it depressing that that tells me something about their view of death. As I said, I view death as a transition. I view it. I’ve interviewed people and there’s just this term now. It’s relatively new. I guess it’s called Death doula. So you have a birth doula that brings back babies And these women, the columns are usually women, but people that call themselves as doulas, because they’re looking at it as a birthing into the next world. So they’re sitting with the patient, and they’re working, you know, helping them with their spiritual needs and helping the family and other things, you know, practical things, getting the wills together and stuff like that. But that’s why it’s not depressing, because there’s, there’s meaning in the work, and you’re helping someone if you believe there’s something else. It’s not you’re not watching people die, you’re watching people move on to the next thing.

Beth 40:31
Yeah, and, you know, I do feel like even for people who don’t feel like there’s an afterlife of some kind, it is still very gratifying to be able to comfort and support people, you know, and give them what they need at this final, their final moments. How are they view that? So even without I think, like a spiritual worldview of what’s beyond this, I think people can find it very satisfying to do this kind of work. And, you know, I think I was thinking about the depressing piece. And I think that most people have that, too. I think it’s because, you know, when they’ve lost a loved one, it’s it’s hard. I mean, going through that grief, as you know, is really a challenging, you know, talk about spiritual stretch. I mean, it’s tough. And, and I’ve taken care of family members and friends. And then hospice patients who I don’t know. And it is, it is very different when I am taking care of family or friend, because I feel I guess, I don’t know, if responsibility, but there’s the you know, there’s just kind of this added burden and kind of emotional, definitely emotional connection. I mean, it is, you know, I still get really sad like, I that will never go away for me, and I hope it never does, you know. So it’s a it’s it. It is very different when you’re taking care of your own family members.

Brian Smith 42:04
Yeah, it is. And you and you touched on something here that I think is really important, because I always I assume that not everybody believes in an afterlife. To me, it’s just it’s self evident. So I don’t, I don’t understand people that don’t. But even if you don’t, we know that when you’re born, you’re going to die, there’s 100% chance that you’re going to die. So there’s something about our society that just doesn’t want to accept that we want it we want to shut it away. We want to pretend it doesn’t happen. So whenever happens, people are surprised. You know, it just always amazes me. I’ll see some celebrity that just died at 99. And people are like, Oh, it’s so sad. Like, how is it sad when someone that’s 99 years old, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be callous. But that’s not sad. For me. It’s it’s planets, it’s biologically planned. If you don’t believe anything else, that we can’t live forever. So the work that you do is extremely important. I want to ask you about your book, some light, some light at the end your bedside guide to peaceful palliative and hospice care. So first of all, who’s it for?

Beth 43:06
I actually wrote it to a terminally ill patient. So if a patient was diagnosed with a terminal illness and, and the physician may have said, Okay, now it’s the time for hospice, I basically wrote the book from this is the start of their diagnosis to the end of their life. And, and I write it specifically to the patient. And I’m not sure if that was a great marketing move. But but but you know, I didn’t know anything about book writing and book marketing or anything, you know, when I started this process years ago, but I, I, I write about hospice, what it is what it isn’t, I write about options that you have choosing not to have hospice or if you do choose hospice, you know, how you can choose a hospice. I talked about just what the end of life looks like when patients energy and mobility decline when their appetite declines. I talked about managing symptoms, shortness of breath, constipation, pain, anxiety, delirium, all those things. And I talk about the end stage of somebody dying, and I talk about care of the dying. So I wrote it for a patient with terminal illness, but I definitely you know, is thinking about the caregiver every step of the way, because, you know, so all of our work is patient and family centered. So, all of this I’m constantly thinking about family members who are taking care of a loved one, because that is generally how hospice care looks.

Brian Smith 44:39
Yeah, yeah. And a lot of times the the transition is more difficult on the family than it is on the on the patient. So it’s, I think it’s really good to have that, that support there for the family. At least, that’s been my experience in a lot of cases. And, you know, and kind of what to what to expect, you know, because, right again, we don’t we don’t know and We can, we can face things so much better if we have an idea, you know of what to expect. So it sounds like a great book for not only the person that’s gotten the diagnosis, but maybe for the person that’s, that’s going to be the caregiver caregiver going alongside them.

Beth 45:14
Yeah, I mean, that was definitely my intent because I, I’ve done home hospice before, and I’ve done inpatient hospice, and I, I’ve done triage. So I’ve kind of seen all sides of hospice nursing. And I feel like patients and families struggle with this process, because they don’t know what it’s going to look like. And, you know, it’s like anything, I mean, I had an appliance guy come over the other day, and he was helping me with the dishwasher. And he was explaining everything about my dishwasher. And, and, and I just thought, Oh, this is so nice to have somebody who knows about this stuff. I don’t want to I don’t want to learn about it. But I’m glad you go about it. So it’s, it’s just kind of like that, you just want somebody who can kind of guide you and support you along this process. And I really, you know, I saw so many patients and families struggle, and they always have the same questions for us, the hospice nurses, you know, and, you know, tell me about this medication, tell me why they’re constipated. You know, why are we increasing the pain medication. And so I really wanted to have just a really digestible, easy, gentle but transparent book about this process. So people can refer to it when, when they’re ready for the information. Because as you know, as I’m yammering on and on and on, you know, people’s eyes just glaze over, and they’re done after a certain amount of time. And then you you know, I mean, people don’t remember that much when they’re in the state of grief or crisis or anything. So I just wanted to help them to have something physical and tangible they could hold on to when they needed it.

Brian Smith 46:49
So what would you say are like the top two or three things that people need to know or might surprise people? Um,

Beth 47:01
well, I think that a lot of patients and families are kind of surprised, but just the decline that happens. And I think it could be so much easier on everybody, if we just knew that this was generally how it goes where people aren’t going to be, have as much energy as they used to have, and over time, it’s gonna decline. And then they won’t be able to actually walk around unless they have a walker, and then it’s a wheelchair, and then their bed bound. So through all of these stages, they’re going to need help, they’re going to need somebody with them, they’re going to need help off the toilet, then they’re going to need help getting their briefs changed in bed. So I just think if we could kind of anticipate that this is generally how it looks. It just minimizes all that surprise. You know, I, I mean, when I was taking care of my mom, I was surprised at every turn, and I had, I’m a nurse, I’m a hospice nurse, but you know, every all of that information kind of went out the window when I was taking care of my mom. Yeah. And so I think just and then there’s also the food thing. A lot of patients and families feel like, well, families feel like we’re starving patients, when we don’t feed them work. It’s very important to feed the patients, I’m a big fan of food, I’m a big fan of any kind of food, they want their favorite things, but at a certain time, you know, it becomes they lose their appetite. They don’t need as many calories as you are I do. They, you know, they just they can’t, it’s harder to swallow. So that you have to transition them to softer foods, foods that are easy to swallow. You, you know, I mean, it’s just kind of this ongoing thing, then you need like ice cream, or yogurt or applesauce, things that are really easy to swallow, and then they won’t be able to swallow anything. A lot of families really suffer because of this families. You know, our whole thing is to like feed our people, right? So. So you know, it’s a really hard thing to get on board with. I always say my dad, he was feeding mom steak and eggs until the day before she died, you know, and she just was like, please make him stop.

Brian Smith 49:20
Well, yeah, that’s that’s such a good point. Because in my family, my culture, it’s like, it’s all about food, you know, feeding people and stuff. And then, my friend I was talking about earlier going through this with her with her mother, her mother was like down to 90 pounds or less, was totally bedridden. And so she was drinking like maybe an insurance a day or something. And they’re like, weights and she’s starving. I’m like, how many calories Do you think she’s heard? Now, at that point, you know, just the input output. They’re not burning any calories. And there’s also seem to be a natural thing, I think with humans and with some animals. When we get near the end, they just stop eating.

Beth 49:57
No, that’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. And And I think that you know, a lot of a lot of families, when they use the word starving, I kind of go on high alert, because I don’t want, I don’t want families to feel that burden that they’re not giving their loved one what they need. Because there is this natural decline that’s happening in our body, this physical process where we don’t need to consume calories, the body is actually going through this process of dying, you know, and so like force, feeding force, fluids, all of that stuff, it’s actually it’s more harmful than beneficial at a certain point. So, I mean, we don’t we don’t recommend IV fluids, because it’s too hard on the kidneys. And, you know, it could go to places like the lungs or the feet and cause discomfort, or shortness of breath. So they’re really like you said, I mean, there really is this process of it’s not starvation, it’s just that they don’t have an appetite. And the body’s actually declining and, and dying. This is the work of dying, and they need food at this.

Brian Smith 50:59
I’m glad we discussed this because you know, it does. We’re so used to against feeding and water. And because it’s just the same life and we were I we’re not accepting the fact that life is, is ebbing here, it’s going away. And these things can actually be harmful, even though it seems cruel to say, at some point, I guess it’s like you were saying, and people don’t know this, at some point, we even stopped giving fluids, it’s like, we’re just going to, we’re just going to let them go.

Beth 51:26
And I think you can always do things like to, I mean, we always offer food. So we’ll bring in some yogurt and offer, you know, whatever they want, they might want to buy, they might want more than that. But always offer you know, if when it gets to this point where they’re really not wanting to eat much more than bites, just offering foods that they like ice cream, little tiny bites of things. You can always moisten their mouth so that they don’t you know, that minimize that feeling of thirst. moisten their mouth with swabs and stuff. So there’s things you can do to prevent any kind of discomfort, but an offering them things I think is really important. But there’s just a point where, you know, most people they don’t eat or drink anything before they’re dying.

Brian Smith 52:12
Yeah, well, that’s, that’s, I think, a really important point. And it’s one that I didn’t know, till pretty recently. So I’m glad that we were able to cover that for people. Um, what’s what’s, what are some of the things that people need to know? Um, I think that it’s important to, you know, like, so yeah, so what is, what is another thing that people might need to know or might surprise people?

Beth 52:37
Um, well, I think that, you know, I talked about people being surprised when the death happens. And because so much of Hospice is in people’s homes. I think people don’t really give consideration to what’s happening at the moment of death and after the death. And, I, I, I want people to know that when somebody dies in their home, they can take as long as they need before they need feel like they need to do the business, you know, call up hospice team, if they want support, they can call up the hospice team any any moment and say, Can somebody come over and support me my, my dad just died. But, but to think about that, those hours after the death, and there may be a ritual or something that you might want to do, you know, at our hospice house, we bathe the patient after they’ve died, you know, you take off all their equipment, their oxygen stuff, you we we have a quilt that we put over them in our other facility would put flour there, and then we’d offer a toast, we’d bring in sparkling apple cider and you know, sweet champagne glasses, and everybody would have a toast or something like that. So um, you know, one of my things with dying anyway, is I think it would be important for people to just consider, you know, what to do after their loved one has died. Just to for a little bit of closure, but it all that kind of stuff also helps with your grief down the road, you know, you can kind of hold on to the memories. But, yeah, so, but I think my biggest thing I want people who are on your podcast to know is that you know, if you cannot feel guilty about anything that happens really well somebody is in your home and you’re taking care of your loved one when they’re dying. I mean, that is my that is my prayer for you because I things just are not clean and tidy with death. It is an awkward process. It can be messy, it’s hard. It’s challenging, but it’s also beautiful and and profound. to enrich so. So just, you know, if you’re working through any kind of guilt about like how your loved one was for cared for, or what happened or why you weren’t there at this time, just know and trust that things happen as they should. And doing your best and showing up for them is the most loving gift you could have given to them. So,

Brian Smith 55:24
yeah, well, I really liked what you said about that little ritual after the person passes. I have a friend whose son passed away he had a terminal illness, he was in hospice, but he was at home. And after he passed, I think they they washed his body and took pictures with them and stuff, you know, and it was I was, I wouldn’t have thought of that. I thought it was so cool that she did that. And that’s the memory that they’ll always have that moment was, it was a beautiful moment for them. As opposed to, like you said, rushing out and during the business stuff, take your Take your time with it. And and, you know, that’s something that you can cherish for the rest of your time here.

Beth 56:03
Yeah, and, and really take as much time as you need I’ve had when I went to one patient’s home after he had died, and his sons were there, and they were playing their dad’s favorite music, and it was loud. And then we dressed their dad from head to toe, and like his, you know, Sunday best, and they were drinking, you know, whatever their dad’s favorite drink, it was like whiskey or bourbon or something like that. And, and it was just, it was filled with like, tears and laughter and, you know, the music. And I just think how I mean, I remember it, you know, and I’ve been with hundreds of people and they died and right. And I can’t imagine how good that will feel to them as they walk through the nest and the rest of their lives, knowing like just having the peace of that beautiful ritual that they did for their dad, you know, those last those last moments with him. Because, you know, oftentimes, especially if it’s 3am, and somebody dies, you call the hospice hospice calls the funeral home, funeral home comes out, and they take your loved one away to the funeral home. And it, it can be very jarring for people, you know, so I love it, if people can just kind of consider that, like the after, after death moments how they want that to look and ask the patient how they want it to like,

Brian Smith 57:29
yeah, that’s also a great idea to ask, ask the patient, you know, what would you like to have done at that point? That’s, that’s one of the things about being able to anticipate, you know, a transition or death is you can actually plan for it. And so hopefully, you’ll have, you know, fewer regrets. Yeah, and if you hadn’t, you know, hadn’t planned for it. So it’s, you know, I like the back of your book sounds like it’s very, very much needed for people that are going through this process that we don’t know a lot about, and just to be able to have that Handbook of you know, what to expect, you know, what types of things we need to plan for, because I know it does surprise people. You know, like you’re saying, Okay, perfect. We’ll say, Well, she’s sleeping all the time. Now. That’s, that’s kind of a normal phase, right? People go through words like near the end. They’re just my thing is I think they’re going between worlds and I’ve heard this from people who are death, doulas. It’s like they’re going back and forth at this time. So they’re sometimes here sometimes they’re not.

Beth 58:28
They call it the veil. The veil is thin. You know, which I love that analogy, just kind of crossing over back and forth.

Brian Smith 58:35
Yeah. So yeah, I have a friend she’s a media and she’s also debt bill. And she says she sits by the beds and she’s she can actually see in the other world and this world at the same time. So she sees the other spirits coming and going and them communing. You know, like we’re getting ready. We’re, you know, and I want to ask you this. Have you heard this people talking about taking a trip? Have you heard people say things? Yeah, yeah, I’m getting ready to go. I’ve got to get my bags packed.

Beth 59:00
Yeah, that happens. Often, actually. The travel metaphors, you know, it’s a thing. It’s a thing. And, and it’s so interesting. they’ll, they’ll I’ve heard about people waiting in lines for cruise ships. I thought that was a fun one. You know, if you think you’re going on a cruise ship, that’s great. waiting in lines, getting their tickets, needing their passport, having to catch the train, open the door, open the door, you know. So a lot of there’s a lot of movement that’s happening. And there’s definitely this journey element to the end of life, which, you know, I just think I find really fascinating too, because it’s a thing, you know,

Brian Smith 59:39
yeah. Yeah.

Beth 59:40
I think it’s final gifts is the book by Megan Callen, Maggie Callahan. And and she talks about travel metaphors and the the language of the dying and it’s a really sweet book about just the needs of dying expressed through there. Their communication that is subtle, and not very clear to us. But if we know if you know reading her book gives you some really good ideas and things to look for.

Brian Smith 1:00:12
Yeah, Raymond Moody wrote a book about nonsense. And lady, I think it was Lisa smart. And they were talking about what we what we call nonsense the language of the day. And I think a lot of times because we don’t understand the metaphors that they’re using. So and I think now back, when, by when my father in law was going through dementia, as he was getting to the later stages, he would say, all this crazy, seem like crazy stuff. And you talk about people that were always deceased, the people, it was funny, because he’s eight. Now, he was known people for many, many years. But he didn’t talk about them, he’d always talked about people that were deceased, and having seen them and what they were doing, or he was going to go see them. And at the time, I wasn’t aware enough to realize what was going on. I just thought it was nonsense, you know, we just started hallucinations. So I want to offer people to look out for those types of things. And when they happen, you know, maybe don’t dismiss it as they’re just hallucinating. Or it’s just the drugs talking.

Beth 1:01:05
Oh, right, I think you can really show up in a very different way. If you, you know, if somebody appears to be confused, to kind of sit down, and really, you can you can ask the patient Hmm, I’m not really understanding, or is there something you want to tell me or, you know, kind of asking open ended questions, if they’re able to communicate that way, they might be able to make it a little clearer for you. But also, I think, if you have this awareness that there are metaphors that are used at the end of life, and to look for them, I think you can really show up in a much more interested and engaged way, rather than the dismissive way that, you know, like, it’s easy to do, like, Oh, God, dad’s confused. Again, I don’t know why he’s talking about Uncle Joe. You know, like, Oh, that’s so I just think it’s so cool. Like, Wow, what an amazing opportunity to that dad’s connecting with Uncle Joe.

Brian Smith 1:02:02
Yeah, and the thing is, one thing, yeah, not be dismissive of the patient to know to support them and what they’re going through, but also for yourself, it could be it could make it such a much more rich experience for yourself. If you open your eyes up to what’s, you know, what’s really going on there? Definitely. Yeah. I love that about it’s been, it’s been fascinating getting to talk to you about your experience to talk to you about your book, I really appreciate the work that you do, I think it’s so needed. And I’m glad to get this out there to more people to understand what Hospice is and how it’s available for people. So any last thoughts you want to say before we wrap up this afternoon?

Beth 1:02:44
No, thank you for having me. And I am really appreciative of the work that you’re doing. Because you know, after somebody dies, it is it’s a long, it’s a long haul. So I’m in as you know, grief doesn’t just go away, you have to kind of integrate the loss throughout your life. So I love the work that you’re doing. And, you know, I love talking about this topic. So I really appreciate you having me on it because my family doesn’t really love me talking about death and dying all the time. So thanks for giving me the opportunity.

Brian Smith 1:03:14
Yeah, well, you know, it’s funny, as you say that cuz I talk about this stuff all the time. And I was I was with someone the other day, and I was telling him I was getting ready to do I did a past life regression, like Saturday. And I just I just said, like, you know, I’m doing this, my wife looks at me. And she goes, Yeah, we’re in looks at him. Because we’re into this really weird stuff down. I’m like, Yeah, I forgotten. Everybody believes this. But you know, the world that I live in,

Beth 1:03:38
that’s so fun. Well, I mean, I’ve done a lot of those things. And I did a soul soul retrieval one. So all those things, I think, are really helpful. I mean, I don’t know I find them more like therapeutic than anything. So I love them.

Brian Smith 1:03:53
Yeah, well, you know, death is. Death is just another part of life. As I said, at the very beginning, if you’re born, there’s 100% chance that you’re going to die. So we might as well face that and the people that we’re with, you know, when we get when we get married, I was talking with someone the other day, she’s a long, long term relationship. And her her beloved aunt passed away. And she says, We were supposed to go together. I said, Do you know how often that happens? But that’s not the way it goes. We don’t we don’t go together. When we get married. One of us is going to be with that the other one. And unless, you know, anyway, we won’t go there. But yeah, that’s we all we all go through. We all go through grief, we all go through loss, you know, one way or the other. So let’s just get prepared for it.

Beth 1:04:38
Yeah, let’s get kind of tried to get on board with it and make it as smooth as possible and support each other, you know, through the process, because we’re all going to need it at some point.

Brian Smith 1:04:47
Yeah, exactly. Well, Beth, have a great rest of your day. Thanks so much. You too, Brian. I appreciate you. Bye. So that does it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you enjoyed it. If you like this content Make sure you subscribe, so click on the subscribe button here, and then click on the bell to receive notifications and click on all. That way you’ll be notified whenever I release new content. Thanks for watching and have a great day.

Transcribed by

After we have lost a loved one one of the most sought-after signs is a “dream visit”. We hear about them all the time. But, what do we know about them from a scientific viewpoint?

Dr. Joshua Black is a grief researcher, speaker, author, consultant, online course instructor, and host of the Grief Dreams Podcast. He has focused all of his MA and Ph.D. research (in psychology) on investigating dreams in bereavement (also known as grief dreams) and continuing bonds from many types of loss (including prenatal loss and pet loss).

Most of his academic research and publications have specifically been on dreams of the deceased. Dr. Black is considered one of the world’s leading academic experts in grief dreams. Due to the lack of academic research in this field, Dr. Black has focused his efforts on raising awareness on grief dreams through doing talks, interviews, and developing an online Grief Dreams course.

Additionally, he developed a grief dreams website ( and runs several social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @griefdreams).






Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried, but what if, like a seed we’ve been planted and having been planted, to grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey everybody, this is Brian back with another episode of grief to growth. And today I’ve got with me Dr. Joshua black, and I’m really excited to interview Dr. Black says he’s his field of expertise a very unique field. He’s a grief researcher, a speaker and author, a consultant, online courses structure and he’s the host of the grief dreams podcast. He’s focused all of his Master’s and PhD research in psychology, on investigating dreams and bereavement, also known as grief dreams, and continuing bonds for many types of loss including prenatal loss and pet loss. Most of his academic research and publications has specifically been on the dreams of the deceased. Dr. Black is considered one of the world’s leading academic experts in grief dreams. Due to lack of academic research in this field, Dr. Black has focused his efforts are raising awareness on grief dreams, through doing talks, interviews and developing an online grief dreams course. Additionally, developed the grief dreams website and read several social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, at at grief dreams. So with that, I want to introduce Dr. Joshua black. Thank you for having me today. Yeah, it’s really I’m really excited to have you here today. We had to move this a couple times because of some some things that our calendars but really afford to talk to you about this, this field that people I think know a little bit about, but not a lot about. So how did you get involved in researching grave dreams?

Unknown Speaker 2:09
Like, it’s it’s a very interesting story, that, you know, it came really after my dad died, I wanted to be an elementary school teacher, that was my focus for my entire life. I like since I was a kid, I remember my dad telling me how that that was the best job to have because it has a good pension, and it’s pretty well paying paid in Canada anyways, it’s where I’m from. So I spent my whole life really going towards that. And then the fourth year, it took five years to finish my undergrad, the fourth year, my dad died, and it changed absolutely everything. And so the first time I really experienced a death, a significant loss in my life. And it was completely devastating for me. Like I remember getting that phone call, he was supposed to pick me up, it was around my birthday. And we’re supposed to go to a hockey game together and just never showed up. And so I just thought he slept in, he had some health issues, where it minimize what he could do. And so I just figured, oh, maybe he was just you know, had migraine or something he just couldn’t, couldn’t come. So I didn’t think anything of it. Two days later, I got a phone call from my aunt, who basically said that, you know, they found my father dead in his apartment, and, and he was just claps on the floor. And for me, like the amount of emotion that came out, was so scary, because one of the reasons because I was I still am a guy. But at that time, I really, I didn’t feel comfortable crying. So I tend to not cry. I don’t know when the last time I cried probably when I was a kid. And so those emotions are coming out, I haven’t felt those in for a very long time. And they just kept coming, the tears kept coming and like the, the negative thoughts and the of the future of like not being able to do stuff with them and not having any more memories. That really scared me and a lot of ways. And I had to sit with that. And I sat with that for about three days, I decided to do a eulogy, which was interesting in itself. I recommend everyone to do that. But yeah, I kept crying on stage for a good like five minutes before I could speak. But the emotions like I couldn’t believe how much emotion was coming out. You know, with that, and one of the reasons I should say too, because me my dad had a rocky relationship throughout her entire life. And one of the reasons was he had a he drank a lot to cope with his emotions. And so he had a lot of trauma he never actually worked through. And so I was scared him for the majority of my life. And we just never, you know, clicked kind of thing until after my mom and him got divorced. And it was about that year and a half there. That’s when we started rebuilding our relationship. And he acted a lot differently to me, I think, and I think there’s a story in that for me because I think that’s where the pain was coming from. Because if it was if I only thought if he died, maybe You know, two years earlier, I wouldn’t have felt like that would have been like, okay, you know, okay, so had a lot of resentment, a lot of pain for him, but because of the friendship that we’re really building, and he’s becoming the father always wanted kind of thing as a kid. And then for him to just die like that. It was it was such a shock. And it brought up all those, all those emotions. I remember wanting to after I get got the news, I want to do something special for him. And I was actually really considering dropping out of school and going to Israel, which was a trip he wanted to take me on the following year. And I was really grateful looking back now I had a partner who calmed me down and was pretty supportive to say, you know, let’s wait until you finish you’ll have one year left the school, let’s you know, finish that. And then you can decide on if you should do that or not. And so I’m so happy for that. Because it it’s amazing, the irrational decisions we can make, you know, when we’re in a state of grief, so I’m just so happy I had I had, you know, some support around me at that time. So anyways, I did the eulogy. I went back to school the next day, and all my sadness was gone. But the crazy thing was all my happiness and joy was gone, too. And so I was living in this weird gray state where like, there was no color left in the world. And I was in that state for about three months. And I couldn’t tell you, I tried everything. And nothing really gave me joy they used to. And so I just thought, well, this is life. Now. This is what grief is this is life. And it wasn’t till I had a dream, my father that everything changed. And so this is where my love for that topic really started. And so the dream was, I was just in my room was very, wasn’t like a bizarre dream at all, like I was in my so in the dream, I was in my room, and everything in my room was the same way. It wasn’t waking life, which is, you know, very unique in itself. At that time, a lot of clutter everywhere. So that is amazing details.

Unknown Speaker 6:56
Yeah, sure. And then a lot of other dreams that I have heard, you tend to be like, you know, weird stuff going on. So you’d wake up, you’re like, oh, that was a dream. But this was it. It was very realistic in that way. I saw my dad at the end of my room. And he looked so healthy, like I never like it wasn’t even a memory because I never even seen him like this before his energy was very light. As I said he a lot of trauma and issues going on, and waking life. So we always had this heaviness to him, where he just never dealt with his stuff. And but here he felt so light, like his energy was just so beautiful. And he just looked so healthy. And I walked up to him and I said, I’m gonna miss you acknowledging loss. And I said that I loved them. And then we hugged, and I woke up. And when I woke up, it was the most crazy experience because everything changed, the color was back into the world. Like, I don’t know, I didn’t know, I remember sitting at the edge of my bed and saying What was that? I wasn’t turning the dream. But I felt something changed in me because of the dream. And I still sit in the mystery of that moment. And I hear it a lot from other people where the dream itself changes people. It’s not really the interpretation, I can help in many different ways. But the dream itself had the power to change, like, where I was in my grief. And so I was able to have this joy back and I was able to regulate my emotions, I could have tears, you know, when I thought about him and stuff. So it was really a beautiful, whatever, that was a very beautiful point in my life, because I don’t know where it’d be, I’d probably still be in the gray. And I’d probably be doing something differently because of that dream. I then finished, you know, school, within probably, I think six months after that. And I applied to be in Teacher’s College, which was my goal the whole time. And the moment I got an interview to get in. I just felt something wasn’t right. And so I turned it down, which was for me looking back one of the craziest decisions I’ve made because I had nothing going I had no plan B there’s no plan B, I was going off a feeling and especially after grief. I don’t know why that was because I feel like I’ve been misleading in many ways. But you know, looking back, maybe because my dad was dead and to have that pressure to do it, that unconscious kind of pressure. But at the same time, I think there’s just another path that was just being led for let out for me. I just didn’t know what that was. And that following year was just as scary as to grief because I couldn’t find work and when I did find work wasn’t fulfilling. I’m like, is this life you know, is this life after you know, doing your your undergrad? I’m like, this isn’t what they told me. Every all the jobs I wanted you to masters for I’m like, I don’t want to do a masters. Right? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 9:37
I don’t want to do any more school. And so I saw I worked you know these odd jobs and I want to find some meaning. So I went and volunteered at a hospice to help with the bereaved, and I did one on one support and group support and group support. And they had these questions about these dreams. So some people were sharing these positive dreams. Other people were asking questions why they didn’t have dreams other people want to know What these negative dreams meant. And you know, I didn’t really know, I didn’t know much about dream research at that time. And so I looked at the research, I still had an account for my school. So I looked at the publications that were available, and there wasn’t anything when it came to these types of dreams that I could provide them to give them any kind of understanding. And I was really shocked by that, because, you know, I thought, you know, most SUVs researched a lot, you know, a lot of people are just almost like cleaning up the trail, like the the laneways, Pat, like paved, and they’re just like, every research study is just moving a little, like an inch forward. Exactly. But there’s like nothing, it wasn’t a dirt road, I can really go off of it. So I couldn’t give him an answer. And then I had this moment where I was like, could I like, as I knew the impact it had for me, and their questions really interested me? and thought, like, could I research this topic? Like, is that a possibility for me? And then in my mind, I’m like, well, you have to know stats, you have to know research methodology, I’m like, I don’t want to know. And I didn’t want to be a researcher and for a lot, so I was really scared to pursue that, that goals. But finally, I settled down the nerves and said, you know, what, you know, why not give it a go, what’s the worst can happen, you know, I don’t get in or I go, when I fail, at least I tried, I can say I tried, you know, like, and so that’s really, so I had to, like, have courage to even, like, pursue this. And I did. And what amazing was I actually got through, and like, without some challenges, I gotta say, I want to quit many times, and the support of, you know, my friends, and the people who follow the topic and my platform were really helpful and encouraged me to how much this was needed. And so when I was at the, like, the lowest points of my, I guess, you know, masters or PhD, I had that to go off and say, you know, we got to keep persevering this, you know, like, we got to keep doing this. And so it spent a lot of time extra time, I felt like, I was like, two years behind everyone else tell you truth. Because everyone wanted to be a researcher, like, when I asked my colleagues that are in their masters, they like, Oh, I knew, like when I started University, so like, they already had this plan, and they really valued, you know, stats, and we said methodology. To me, I want to be a elementary school teacher, which I took those courses, but I didn’t, you know, like, I just got enough to get the good grades, like I didn’t retain any other information. So I had to learn all that over again. And then when I got my PhD is less like, was like, super smart. And I had a really sort of, you know, up my game on that too. And you know, but I made it through, you know, at the end of the day, I made it through. And by the end of that fourth year, I was at par with everyone else, if not, you know, in the sense of what I was doing a little bit, my career trajectory was a little different, because a lot of people want to be to do a postdoc, and to do all this other stuff and want to get into other areas. I’m like, this is the only topic on a research I get, I don’t want to be bothered with anything else other than this. And so I really directed a lot of my focus on doing talks and set up the website and the podcast, rather than, you know, do more research studies outside of my field, which a lot of my colleagues are doing at that time. So I just had a different kind of, I think, plan on why I was researching the topic, and then what I was going to do with it as I move forward. So that’s where it all sort of happened. And when I was in my Master’s and PhD those years, that’s when I really realized how vast The topic is like before. I’m just going off a couple of questions. Once I got in, and I started seeing the different biases, the different ways people see these dreams, started collecting the dreams and doing the research. I’m like, wow, this field is phenomenal. And it really, you know, changed the way I viewed these dreams in many ways, but also the way I approached them with people. And I think that’s one of the most important things of why I’m doing these talks is to validate the importance of this within the grief journey, but also how to use the sermon and provide a safe space for people to actually share these experiences.

Brian Smith 13:47
Yeah, that’s, that’s awesome. And I think it’s it is such important work that that again, I don’t know, there’s been much research done on it. I haven’t heard of any. And I know that, you know, when we have these dreams, and some of us do. And frankly, some of us say they don’t. Everybody wants to you know, I I’ve worked a lot with parents who have lost children. And we’re like, Why can I get more dreams? I want to I want to dream visit you know, it’s such a it’s a but people like so I want to just back up for us. And maybe you can find it what is actually a dream because we don’t we know we go to sleep we have this thing that we feel but what is a dream.

Unknown Speaker 14:21
A dream is really any thought feeling or seeing that you sort of remember when you wake up and so that’s sort of the definition of a dream. A lot of people think when it comes to dreams, it only happens in REM state but it’s not actually true. We actually dream throughout our sleep so and non REM and REM there are differences in the quality of those dreams. So usually non REM dreams are more bland. And in the REM dreams you get more of the emotion that’s going on but at the you know, near the end of night it’s not as as true. And the other interesting thing is in REM you tend to remember more dreams. So a lot of people would say if you remember a dream, it’s probably from Rome because if you wake someone up 80% of them Time, they’re going to be dreaming in non REM, it’s around 50% of the time. And so there’s just a little difference there. We don’t know where these Greek dreams fit in personally, like, you have to catch it in the lab to sort of understand where these powerful dreams come in. It’s probably around but you know, like, at the end of day, we just don’t know. And I think that’s the mystery of this topic, because they do act differently than other dreams. A typical dreams anyways, so there is this mystery of what actually is going on in the brain when these happen. And so yeah, that’s, that’s basically a nutshell the dreams, and I should tell you some dream research. So when it comes to dreams, 10% of the population doesn’t remember dreaming, even though for our knowledge, everyone is dreaming. It’s just the remembering is the issue. And so on average, one to two dreams a week, the public would say they would remember. And you can, you know, change that based on which kind of we can talk about that more, but you can increase your frequency of dreams as you move forward, just by valuing the topic. So you know, keeping a dream journal, listen to this, and you know, talking about your dreams with others, if you’re really trying to tell your mind that these are important. Now, our culture is really bad at valuing dreams. So why would you remember them? Right? And so there’s different ways to remember dreams a little bit better? We can go over that, you know, if you want to, but yeah, right. Yeah. Okay. Well, I

Brian Smith 16:17
do want to interject here, because my wife was one of those people for a long time would say, I don’t think I dream, because I don’t remember my dreams. And then after my daughter passed, and my daughter or the daughter was talking about dreams, and I was talking about dreams, and we do all these reading about dreams. Now my wife is remembering her dreams a lot more often. Because it’s what you’re saying that valuing the dream makes a difference.

Unknown Speaker 16:38
Yeah, it’s so amazing to and like, the more you you value it, the more you read through your dreams down, the more you can have and like, the more you just remember anyways. And so like I remember, like just trying this out, like research has shown that just by doing that, it increases your recall rate. And so for me, I usually have, you know, maybe three dreams a week, and I remember started doing this. And within a month, I was having three dreams a night that I could remember. And so I finally said, you know, this is enough like this is because it kept waking me up and write down. And so finally, I’m like, I’m only writing down like the ones that I feel are more meaningful. And so then my the rate of recall actually decreased, so you can increase and decrease based on that too, right? So interesting. Wow. Yeah. Which is really interesting. And so what I want to sort of say, when it comes to dreams, most people, on average, most people will have negative dreams. And that’s just because a lot of times we carry our stresses or worries to bed, or, or watching the news, or we’re watching a horror film or something that is going to be creeping into our dreams. And after trauma, what’s interesting is that these dreams become even more consistently negative. And so you would think after grief would be very similar in the sense that people are going to be having a lot of nightmares or negative dreams, if you just look at the pandemic right now. And there has been research to show that there’s been an increase in nightmares, increase of negative images from people, and you can just sort of see how that reflects the stress of individual and given a pandemic is a very stressful time, for many reasons. Financial is that you have the grief stuff, someone dies, you have work you have catching the virus in your own death and mortality, your loved ones, your mortality, there’s so much stress, people are dealing with even having to homeschool your kids like I can’t imagine what that would be like. But you know, like, you’re going to bed with all that. And so dreams reflect our waking life. And people just need to understand that connection. Because there’s a lot of clues and a lot of things that you can learn from your dreams. If you know how to sort of understand your dream language, I think that’s the most important thing is that everyone has their own unique language when it comes to the dreams as much as we want a quick fix. And we want to just google you know, what does an elephant mean? And then take that to mean what your dream means. It’s not the best way of doing it, you’re just going to sell yourself short. And you’d probably be led in a wrong direction. So like everyone’s like symbol of an elephant be different. But there’s also a story that goes along with the elephants. It’s very rare. You just have an elephant you wake up, you’re usually riding the elephant, you’re going around and meeting people or whatnot. Right? So there’s a story that goes along that helps people understand what the dream itself is trying to convey to the dreamer. Sometimes it’s very passive, and it’s just, you know, working through the emotions of the day. But a lot of times, it’s you know, there’s a lot of problem solving in there and basically allowing you to see what you’re working on still. Because the mind is so great at tricking you to think you’re further than you are in life. And you know, yes, sometimes I’ll give it I’ll give an example. That’s just in the pandemic. You know, when they like that it was that crazy. Everyone was buying toilet paper. Yeah. So around that time, I was like, Oh, I got this. I’m okay. I’m not too stressed. You know, like, I have a smile on my face. I was going through life. And then I had this really crazy nightmare where I was in my house I grew up in and there was a chandelier being taken down. And when I was taken down, I took some of the glass And I started eating it and then I having sort of having like a panic attacks, I realized that glass was stuck in my throat and I couldn’t get it out. I woke up with just a deep sweat. Like, like for me like the last time I had it was probably like maybe seven or eight years ago like I nightmares that I pretty cognitive my emotions and waking life. And so I tend to work on them in waking life. So it doesn’t have to affect me so much in my dream world. But anyway, so that was a such a big trigger for me that there was something I didn’t I wasn’t catching I wasn’t seeing Hmm. So I really had to look at that because I’m like, I thought it was fine. Like what’s going on? And then I realized, like, okay, let’s, if this was someone else’s dream.

Unknown Speaker 20:37
I can look at this. I’m like, okay, what’s the chandelier? Well, a chandelier provides light to a large space. I go, what’s similar to that that’s going on in my life right now. And so I started thinking, I’m like, Oh, the news does that the news provides stories to a country, right? And so for a large space, I’m like, so I’m breaking off and must be reading a lot of it and jesting it. But what am i ingesting is actually caused me great pain and suffering. I don’t know about it. I was like, this makes sense. Because what it was doing at that time, as much as I felt calm, I was reading a lot of news throughout the day. And that was actually very detrimental to my mental health. And I didn’t even know it. And so I really had to take a step back and say, Okay, why are we looking at the news? Oh, to feel safe, how many times you need to look at it to feel safe. And I’m like, okay, maybe you know, once or twice if it’s gonna happen, Betcha it’s gonna be like the headliner, you don’t need to go on to like, you know, 10 different articles to understand. Toilet paper is running out like this, right? And so I made a list when like, how can I actually problem solve this? So like, Okay, what do I need to feel safe? And so you get some extra food and that sort of stuff? And like, Is there anything else that you need? And it’s like, no, so then, okay, so then the, the need to, to look at the new so often wasn’t as important for me. And so it was just maybe once or twice in the morning, I would look at an article. And that was it, I wouldn’t look at night. So that was the big thing. Like, dude, I really stopped that. And I never had an experience like that, since I haven’t had a nightmare since that day. So it’s just really understanding that, you know, there’s a lot of knowledge that we can gain about ourselves, I always like to say dreams can be our best friend, who is, you know, can tell you the truth when you don’t want to hear it. I think that’s sort of, you know, what a best friend supposed to be anyways, is to really give you the heads up and when you’re off the off off your rocker and, and thinking that you’re going north, but you’re really going south.

Brian Smith 22:29
So is the dream, our subconscious trying to communicate to our conscious mind? Is that what it is?

Unknown Speaker 22:34
Do you think? Yeah, right. But I know other people who have different theories of you know, based on their religion, and based on their belief in the afterlife and stuff, they may see it as differently. But yeah, for me, it’s just like, it’s a guidance. If it comes from inside or outside of me, it doesn’t really matter. Like, I’m not too concerned, I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna use it.

Brian Smith 22:51
Yeah, well, that’s a good point. That’s an excellent point, you know, because the thing is, you know, as we talk about dream visits, you know, people will say, Well, I just have my normal dreams. And then I have my nightmares. And then I have my grief dreams, or my dream visits. And they’ll say, it’s a totally different quality of experience. It’s kind of like the way you described the dream with your father. And, and you wake up and you feel there, it’s reminds me when people have Indies, when I say it just changed my entire perspective on everything.

Unknown Speaker 23:22
And many of those dreams can be like that. And it’s also you know, it’s important to say, we talked about these positive drains a lot. And I think a lot of topic, a lot of the conversation does go there. But there’s a lot of negative frames that also happen that also have very similar qualities to some of the positive dreams are very vivid, they’re very real, they’re one on one, they may not give you a positive feeling, but they stay with you for their entire life, too. So sometimes a lot of people who are spiritual take those as a haunting, and there’s cultures that believe that that is a negative visitation. So as much as a lot of you know, press goes to these positive dreams, there is a lot of negative dreams. And just in my study, I just sort of state so when I looked at sort of how frequent these these are, and just the general public, I found that’s one of the amazing things I found was like how common they are. So after spells a loss within the first year to is 86% of people had a dream of the deceased after pet loss, it was 78%. And after prenatal loss, it was 58%. And then there was a study done with children 55% had a dream after their parent died. And so it’s it when you start looking at those numbers, you realize how common these actually are, then when you sort of look at are they positive or negative experiences. Because if you remember when we talked about just how common negative dreams are, in general, then after trauma, you would think a lot of dreams after grief would be negative to so especially deceased in it. But as you’re saying, this is where it gets interesting because it goes against typical dream research that most these dreams are positive. So when you ask someone, you know, the content, if you ever had a positive dream and you sort of give a lay on with that. means around over 90% of people say they have at least one positive dream of the Seas when it goes to negative around 30%. And of those 30%. What’s interesting is that those individuals will also have a positive dream at some point. And so what it says to me it probably is going on is that people are having more negative dreams in the beginning. And as they work through their trauma and their grief, they’ll have more of these positive dreams moving forward. We don’t know that for sure. We need to do more longitudinal research for that. But that is what I’ve heard on my podcast a lot. And what I’ve just heard with talking to other people, but yeah, there’s something there and I think within so within those beautiful dreams, so they’re acting differently than normal. And as you said, like a lot of them have this very beautiful space that is being provided with just love and peace. Like it is absolutely amazing. Like the deceased will say, amazed, like really why stuff. They really help the dream out in many different ways to feel loved to deal with some of the problems that we’re facing. But just the presence of love is one of the things I find is the most remarkable because a lot of times we seek that in life and never achieve it because we have so many worries and so much fear that is just under the surface. But in this dream, it’s like, none of that matters. It’s like all you have is this space of love, and what that can do to someone. And so when we when I look at my dream, yeah, I realized the importance of being able to say goodbye to my father, because his death was sudden I realize that the saying I love you as important aspect of that dream, because I never said that to him. And probably since I was six. So it’s something that I needed to say that never got a chance to say, Well, he never said to me too, so let’s not put the blame on me. Eric, yeah. And then the third thing was this peace, that peace in the dream was different than any other dream I had. Even the dreams that are positive, I have don’t have that level of peace in them. So there’s something else going on? That’s probably very beneficial to us as we move forward through grief.

Brian Smith 27:03
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I was we’re doing this or talking about this. I was thinking about recollection of dreams. We talked about how you can actually recall more dreams. But do we have any idea why we recall some dreams and don’t recall other dreams? or Why? Some people seem to recall a lot more than than other people do.

Unknown Speaker 27:21
Yeah, when it comes to dream recall, there are theories out there. Because we can’t see each dream, it’s very hard to understand why remember certain dreams over others, especially when it comes to this the deceased. A lot of people will say, you know, you remember dreaming because the vividness of it. So the more vivid a dream, the more emotional dream is, would be different factors. If it’s in RAM, you may have a better if you’re waking up in RAM, you may have a better chance of catching that because RAM is very similar to our waking state. And so it could be you know that but yeah, so there’s little, there’s still a lot of mystery on it. But when it comes to these streams, it’s very interesting because they tend to come up at very important times in people’s lives. And so I’m not sure if they’re just not remembering the dreams or they’re just not occurring, right? That’s a question that we won’t know until we be able to see dreams in general. It could be people are dreaming of deceased more than they’re actually remembering it and that’s interesting. So then then it’s like why remembering certain dreams at certain points in our life over others.

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Brian Smith 29:21
you know it’s interesting because I in the community I run a lot of people believe that we actually leave our bodies every night and we basically astral travel and we meet with our guides and our loved ones and stuff like that and we don’t recall that so we’re we’re kind of back and forth between you know two worlds and so when we you know have these these grief dreams we call them dream visits that we believe that we’re actually with you know our loved one again but with the great dreams or have you noticed any like common Natalie’s with the dreams versus regular dreams and give you some examples for me. It seems like they’re usually once I have the really short. They’re usually not they’re not very long. And when I would see my daughter, I would always know she’s not supposed to be here. So I get very excited because I you realize, you know, this, this is supposedly happening. And then it would be somewhat lucid because I would know I was dreaming. And then I wouldn’t want to wake up. But I would always I would get excited, I’d wake myself up. Some of the things that I went through is, Is that normal? Do other people have that?

Unknown Speaker 30:22
I’ve heard that. Yeah, they definitely do seem shorter than other dreams, even just the word count that I’ve collected, like I’ve collected over 1000 dreams. And just when you compare that with other dream research, it tends to be a little shorter. But that also could be you know, what people are writing, because when I captured the data, I didn’t go after a dream sample, which most people would in their research, I would have to recreate sample. So a lot of people you would assume are not dreaming Theseus, so they’re not, you know, wanting to talk about their dream. So maybe that’s reason why it’s a little shorter. So it didn’t didn’t add enough detail to the dream, they sort of just cut to the chase of maybe what was most important to them. So yeah, we don’t do more research on that. But yeah, a lot of people will say that, you know, they’ll know the Sisa data, they’ll know that they’re dreaming. It’s not as common as I think. Like, like, for me, like I knew my dad was dead, but I wasn’t lucid in the dream. Like, I didn’t realize it was a dream. In that moment. A lot of people are like that, where they could acknowledge the person’s that but they won’t say this is a dream and become that lucid. What was the other one? You’re saying?

Brian Smith 31:24
Well, I would say, it’s short, it’s lucid. And then I was for me, I would like always get excited about seeing her and wake up. And I didn’t want to so I’m like, yeah, so I started actually trying to, when I was in it, say, okay, just don’t get it. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 31:41
And that’s just love right there. It’s just excitement. And, you know, at the end of the day, you know, the dream may have ended, even if you didn’t get excited, but at the end day, it’s just something to smile at. But that’s how much love you have, you know, for your daughter, maybe last year, and for you to sort of take it as a visit. It just makes it that much more special to you believing that it was her right. And so, you know, there’s just something to smile and say, Oh, right, okay. Like, like, how can you change that without like, trying to decrease the outlay. I think that is one of the most important parts of the dreams, just feeling that and that’s just love coming to the surface, you know?

Brian Smith 32:13
Well, like you said, there is that and you can’t really even describe the feeling of love, but just one of the things, you know, when you have it. And I found that when people have that, though, and I know a lot of people have had these types of dreams and like, you know, I could just feel the love, you could feel that they’re okay. It’s just that reassurance that they’re okay, that we’re going to be okay. But it’s interesting, because we, a lot of times people will take those positive gyms we visit but then the negative dreams will say, Well, that was just a dream. But is there something to be learned from the negative dreams also? Of course, yeah. Well,

Unknown Speaker 32:45
first is using discernment, right? Some people who, as I said, will take those dreams as a visit also, depending on where they’re where they are. Right. And so it’s it’s really understanding, like when we call things a dream visit, it’s just really understanding that that actually complicates a lot of things, for people in many different forms. And just for before I go on the negative frames, people, just in my own research, when you look at, you know, who are having these dreams, like that was one of the common concerns that why I started the research was you know why some people are having these dreams and other people aren’t. And so the spiritual people would always put themselves down if they haven’t had a dream. And then they’ll be jealous of others. They’d say, oh, maybe he didn’t cross over properly. Maybe he’s mad at me, because I had to like maybe sell the house or something. Yeah, or couldn’t give them that type of funeral that he wanted. Or maybe, you know, the afterlife is they forgot, they forgot about me kind of thing. And so I want to give a scientific explanations, sort of understand that a little bit more. And so what I found and in replicating the research, is that dream recall was the most important factor. So what it’s saying is that people who remember more dreams in general, remember more of these types of dreams. I think that’s interesting. For a lot of people, when you start asking them, if they didn’t have a dream, you know, what the recall rate is, usually it’s pretty bad and pretty poor. And so I usually connect the dots for them. And for them, you can see this weight goes off. And because all those reasons, negative reasons where they put on it, it are now sort of this valid, and now because the research people can hold on to that and say, Oh, I just didn’t remember maybe the dream that I did have. But within that study, so in both studies, I looked at spirituality, because a lot of people thought, so I wasn’t gonna put it in, but people sort of made me put it in thought that people who are spiritual will have more of these dreams. I guess it’s a good theory. Anyways, it’s not true. So people who are spiritual or not, are both having similar dream experiences. difference is, is in the content. So maybe in a spiritual person, we’ll talk about the afterlife, or they’ll talk about, you know, I don’t know what heaven looks like or what death is like something like that. We’re in people who are not spiritual, they won’t but they still have that loving quality. They’ll even say they’re okay, like they still have those kind of comments that still say that they love them, but they just won’t have that other stuff in it. So, you know, but for those people what I want to sort of mention, you know, when we label these as Maybe a dream because it’s a somehow we can put off others. Because if you’re not spiritual, your guard and your wall goes up the moment you hear it’s a visit, and you don’t want to share those experiences anymore. And so I really tried to get people to understand that, you know, there, it’s the quality of the dream, I think the most important to ask and then ask how they feel about it. Because some people based on their culture, religion, that is not that would be frowned upon, in many ways to call it a dream visit, right. But it’s a great moment together, and whatever you call that living in the mystery of that moment, and that in itself can allow people to share these a little bit more freely, because most people hide them if they don’t get asked. And I think that’s why people thought it was rare. But you know, for a spiritual person, they’ll let you know right away if they think it’s a visit, because you know, like, they’ll say, just the wording they use. I think that’s beautiful. And I always I never discourage that, because I’ve seen in even in my research, how these dreams help people believe more in afterlife and help people regain their faith, which is really rocky after someone dies. I understand sort of, like, How could this happen. And so you sort of see how it’s beneficial for people. And when it comes to these negative for dreams, these dreams has been shown just in my research when they’re distressing, that they relate to trauma symptoms, and they also relate to unresolved feelings of guilt or blame. And so a good example of this is just understand, like dreams represent our waking life. So a good example was a widow her said like her husband died. And she had this dream, a repeated dream of her husband coming to the door, and telling her that he’s still alive. And then, you know, basically wants to get back together with her. But she says, Oh, no, I’m dating someone new. I can’t. And she’s like, how can you still be alive? Like, how could you make me think that you’re dead? Like, how can you be such a mean and heartless person to do something like that to me? Then he said, You know, like, the moat He’s like, then he’s like, well, if we’re not gonna be together, well, then give me all the money that you inherited, then I’ll leave you alone. And she, she said, No. And then he began to chase her. And so he had this repeated dream over and over again, she thought it was a negative visitation. And then when you start asking about these points in the dream, that are, you’d say, are are important. The one is getting back together, and her being in a relationship. And so that’s one of the issues, right, like how difficult it is for someone who has a partner die. And then to start a new relationship, like you’re, you’re trying to love two people at the same time. And it’s very difficult in our culture, because it’s always been frowned upon. And so for them, like you have to sort of figure that out. And then you have the difficulty of the other partner. Are they even? Do they even want to know about your partner that died? Or they even you know, is? Or are you hiding your, your love to make them feel better? Kind of, right, exactly. It’s a very difficult position to be in. And then on top of that, you have this money. So when you ask her about the money, she said, the most hardest thing after the death was actually accepting the money, because he worked so hard for it. And she felt it was so unjust, that he worked so hard, and she’s the one that gets suspended or keyman. So she’s sort of working through that still. And she’s spending some of that money on the new relationship. So if you see that there’s this complex thing going on, and the mind is trying to say, you know, you got to work through this because whatever you’re doing isn’t working. And because a dream is repeated, like that is a flag that you know, there is something that you’re not getting in waking life that the mind is really good at, if you’re not going to get it they’ll tell you again, either in the same way or in a different story. If you track your dreams over you know, over weeks you can really see if you’re making progress or not based on

Brian Smith 38:38
strength I’ve been having the same dream for years.

Unknown Speaker 38:43
Right? Well, there’s something important there right and he’s drinking trigger, especially your feelings can trigger certain dreams and there’s probably clues in there to help you understand that because you’re not like I don’t feel at the random at all. They’re really telling a story to us to really help us be more healthy and waking life.

Brian Smith 38:59
Yeah, I want to reiterate a couple things you said that you said some really profound things there that I really want to make sure the listeners heard one is when people say I’m not having these dream visits, there’s something wrong with me my loved ones mad at me or this I don’t we don’t have the connection whatever. I think it’s really important. Like you said to ask how many dreams are you recalling in general and that the fact that there’s a correlation there so hopefully that will take a lot of pressure off of some people and there are ways that we can improve our dream recall as you said, by valuing it by journaling I think setting an attention I’ve heard people say I want to have a dream you know just just maybe trigger that subconscious thing I want but I also want to ask you about you had this visit or this dream with your father I using the visit where we had this dream with your father and it changed your life. What was your belief in the afterlife before that? Did it change that or what were your thoughts about that?

Unknown Speaker 39:54
Yeah, I don’t know. It’s very interesting cuz I when I look back at that I am spiritual and but when I look back, I wasn’t asking for it. At that time, I think I’m still developing my my faith in many ways, as I still am, I guess I’m trying to understand this crazy world. And then, and understand myself as I learn more about myself my idea of God or whatever changes significantly. And so at that time, you know, I, when I even look at that dream, I don’t even I don’t think I’ve ever even classified as a visitation. It was just a dream that changed me and I still look look back. I’m like, I would even say it’s visitation. I don’t know, because it was just something that I didn’t put a wasn’t a interpretation. I don’t think I’ve ever really put an interpretation on that dream, per se. It’s just me just how crazy it was. It changed me. And that love is the thing that I keep the most and like, I don’t I get them that I don’t know. Right. Like, like, you know, if it really matters to me, but that I but I wouldn’t I do know for certain is that dream changed me. And so what can I learn from that dream as I move forward? And this is really, I think what’s possible when it comes to love. And so my goal has not been trying to prove the afterlife is real, you know, really it is or it isn’t, I’m going to die. It’s gonna happen. Not like, it’s not like, my belief isn’t going to determine anything. And so, but what can I do? Now? Like, okay, I can learn what’s possible for a human. And I think that there are different levels of love. And if I can dream, a scene like that, or an emotion like that, why can’t I live that in waking life. And so that’s always been my goal moving forward, is trying to get to that place in waking life. And not just need a dream to get me there. Like, I’m really working hard to really try to understand, you know, myself, who I am, what stresses me out, what am I attached to? And what’s holding me back from love. And a lot of people, you know, I’d say, like, we do get attached to these experiences, because they make us feel good. But then when we go to waking life, we’re like, I just want another one. Rather than saying, you know what, yeah, what can I do to increase the chances I can actually have that while I’m awake? Yeah, I think that’s where I’m at. It’s just, it’s less about, you know, what is after, and more about what can I do now. And a lot of these dreams that people share, they have so much wisdom that I gained from them. So that’s why I love asking about these dreams, because there’s so much you can take from it. When it comes to what love is and the words that they say there. It’s just very remarkable. From where I’m sitting to be able to utilize these dreams as a way to rethink what life is and how to process how I see myself as I move forward.

Brian Smith 42:25
Yeah, well, I want to ask you about I don’t know if you’ve heard of this phenomenon or not, but I’ve heard of people that were someone will be deceased. And someone else will have a dream the widow come to visit them, and tell them they’re okay. before anybody even knows this person has been deceased. So have you heard about this happening?

Unknown Speaker 42:43
This is where it gets really wild when it comes to these. These dreams because even on my website, there’s history, I put these people who can have these dreams, as you said, before they even know the person is dead. And I think there is something very beautiful about that and tell our people sit in mystery. There’s a lot about life, we don’t know and think that we do know, even when they think that we know what the afterlife is. It’s just I think insane in itself. Because we just don’t know. But we do know that like for to believe that there is one okay, but to understand what it’s like, I don’t know if we can even conceive of what that is. But right, right with our minds, right. And so there’s a lot of times we have to sit in the mystery of life. And to understand that we may be wrong in different ways, but there’s certain things you can be certain of anyway, so these dreams really make you sit in that mystery. Because they’re having dreams very similar to what someone would have after they know the death person somehow that moment knows of the loss. And that could be like some people would say, oh, that they visited them in the dream. And so they let them know that they basically died. And we’re going to be okay, so that’s one possibility. The other is, let’s say if you’re not spiritual, there must be a connection that people have that goes beyond time or space that people will just know. And I hear that with, like, you know, parents with their children, they just know something’s wrong. They always have this like radar, and they call on something is. And so there could be the strings of just attachment, and then love that allows us to know, when you know someone has died too. So either way, whatever the possibility, it changes the way we understand human beings, just by the occurrence of that. then other times when it comes to, I think some other dreams you’re saying about people having dreams for others. I think that is a really fascinating topic, I collected a lot and people came on my podcast and talked about it. It’s more rare. But someone could have a dream that’s actually meant for someone else in the sense that the character in the dreams of the deceased will tell them to share a message with their father or their mother or whatever. And sometimes that person doesn’t even really even know or really is that close to that individual. And so it takes a lot of courage for someone to have a dream and then share it because it could end up really someone calling you crazy or they just don’t believe you and stuff like that. But for the most part, a lot of people have said the powerful impact it has on others. A lot of times they never had that dream themselves. So it’s very interesting when you start looking at that, and that’s more research that needs to be done on that topic, because it does change the way we we see ourselves and like what’s possible with us. And there’s just so much more we just don’t understand. We’re trying to, like, I guess, go on Mars and land on Mars. And we don’t really even understand, like what we are capable of. Right? Like, it’s just it’s very interesting how we keep pushing the boundaries externally. But internally, it’s still really similar to where it was prior.

Brian Smith 45:27
Yeah, well, there’s just some of the reasons that I believe there’s something more to it than just our subconscious is, you know that that phenomenon I’ve heard of happening, not often, but it happens when people will, will dream about someone else being deceased before they even know. And if you just mentioned another one will, it’s like, it’s almost like they can’t get through to the one that they’re trying to get through to. So they’ll go to the cousin or the art or the neighbor down the street even and say, Nope, the neighbor come up and say, you know, I had a dream, but your your daughter last night, I barely knew her. But she came to me and came to tell me to tell you that she’s okay.

Unknown Speaker 46:00
Yeah, it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful when people said have the courage to be able to actually share that. I do want to mention, when we said we talked about some of these positive trends, there is a there is a category that should be of concern to anyone who works with the bereaved. And that’s a theme called Come join me. And here so kids can have this, it seems. And then also adults, but it’s where the deceased is either dragging the dreamer, basically, to the afterlife, or the dream or the deceased to try and convince the individual to basically kill themselves to join them in the afterlife. And it’s a very positive scene in the sense of what the person how the person is interacting with the individual. But these are really rare, but they seem to sort of point to mental health issues and suicide ideation. And so, you know, in my studies, I sort of saw how people who had those types of dream has really high forms of trauma symptoms. And then there’s been other people that it’s highly related to complicated grief, and you see it even across cultures, with indigenous people in Georgia. And so their thing is, if someone ever has that type of dream means you’re going to die soon. That’s the myth. And so I think any if you’re in a hunter gatherer, gatherer society, if you’re dealing with trauma, you’re not going to be, your memory is going to be off your cognition is going to be off and reaction time, so I can see you slipping, or it could be that they, you know, they do kill themselves also, and I, and I, you know, when people when we, when we say, ask about these dreams and understand where it is, because if you take if you tell someone, you know, these are dream visits, right? All of a sudden, that person will say, oh, then I’m supposed to kill myself, to go to the afterlife, because this is a positive dream. That’s what I really have to ask, you know, what’s the dream before we label it? Just to know, will that complicate the individual brief in any way? And what are their beliefs? And so, you know, with that, I cannot, I can definitely see people probably have taken their life because of some of these dreams, because they believed it was what they were supposed to do. And in grief, you know, like, our cognition is not the greatest like we are impulse control and reaction time in the sense of what we do. I was about to go to Israel and like dropped out of school, right. So if I had one of those dreams, how easy it is, for someone to just take that next step, because they believe the dream was telling you the truth. And so just being aware that there’s said, like, there’s so many types of dreams, that I’ve seen that I think I am in a privileged position to understand the landscape, which, you know, that’s what I’m really trying to talk about this stuff, because a lot of people only hear certain aspects, and a lot of them are these positive dreams. And that’s beautiful, and it’s great. But there’s also this other landscape that hasn’t been talked about. And that’s sort of the importance of understanding and using discernment, when we sort of talk about these dreams and how people’s beliefs and how they interpret their dreams affect the grief journey.

Brian Smith 48:41
Yeah, that’s some really excellent, another excellent point you made there about that. You know, because it’s interesting as you were telling your your path, how you were doing one thing in your undergrad and then decided to go into psychology and going to dream research my, my daughter, when when my other Shana passed, when my daughter Kayla was in the medical, she was on a path to become a physician’s assistant. And after Shayna passed, she realized this is not really what I want to do. So she she changed. She made she majored in psychology and undergrad, and then they are masters of mental health counseling. So you know, it’s interesting that like, when we’re in grief, we have to be careful about making big decisions, because we don’t, our cognition is not great, but also, it can actually put us on the path that I think that we’re meant to be on. Or us that i think that i think that you know, and you took this dream that you had from your father and you said, Okay, this this changed your life and change your life work. And people might have heard of this. And I was looking at your website before I get on so I’ll give you you know, but I’d heard it before about Paul McCartney. After his mother passed, and everybody knows the song, let it be. And there’s a line in the song. You know, Mother Mary comes me everybody assumes This is the Virgin Mother. But Paul McCartney had a dream of his mother after she Pass, come in ham. And the lyrics are when I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And in my hour of darkness, she’s standing right in front of me speaking words of wisdom, let it be whisper words of wisdom and that that song is just so profound. And as he’s relating this dream to James Carville, like 50 years later at James Carville, what’s the guy’s name, going to court and court games, relating it to him 50 years later, you know, you can see him tearing up, I mean, you can see that, that that dream still impacts him to this day. So there’s, I think there’s something very profound about about these these dreams.

Unknown Speaker 50:40
Well, I hear from a lot of people they’ll utilize, they still remember these dreams, you know, 4050 years later, and they still remember how to feel like that feeling of love can still be, you know, they can still look back at that and carry that with them in many ways. And it provides them that comfort as you move forward. And for a lot of times, it’s that thing that actually, when people look back, it can be that thing that really helped them work through their grief in many ways. I’ve had, you know, people that were about to kill themselves have a dream of deceased, you know, talk him out of it. People who are, you know, addicted, had a dream, and it changed them until like, you can see, like, the significant moments and of people’s grief journey. Change because of these dreams. That’s why like, it’s really interesting how a lot of people don’t share them. That was any research on them. Because like, oh, people just resilient? Well, it could be they’re also having these dreams that are helping them become resilient and work through some of the stuff outside of let’s say, you know, traditional means, I think, you know, that is a very beautiful quality of these dreams. And it’s like, why shouldn’t we we should know as much as we can. Because it seems that there is some type of inner knowing or knowledge that is guiding us to how to work through grief. And if we can understand the concept of what’s going on, we could work and help people a lot better in waking life. Because they’re said, there’s so much wisdom, even Mr. Paul McCartney Let it be like, I remember hearing that I was so shocked because I was in love with that song. And now I’m like, wow, like, that makes it even more beautiful. Yeah. And the way he said like, and, and there’s so many. So even on my website, Greek dreams, I’d say there’s so many other points in movies and TV shows that capture these dreams when I started looking. And I said, like starting like every kid, every time I look at a movie or, or comes up, I’m going to write down and like the amount of shows and places where I’ve seen these dreams, you can tell it’s affecting a lot of people that they’re putting it in their movies, and they’re putting in their TV shows in ways that are capturing the importance and the beauty of the topic. For the most part, there are a couple that will put in negative dreams. And I think that’s beautiful, too, because it just showcases and raises awareness. But the beauty of these dreams help change people. I remember one of my just side note, one of my favorite movies growing up was Braveheart. And one of the reasons was my dad’s favorite movie was Braveheart, too. So we always watch it together. And then, you know, I never realized until I was in my master’s program, I put the movie on again. And there’s three grief dreams in there of him dreaming of his deceased wife. And I think that’s probably the record. I haven’t seen more than three right now. But like I go, how interesting that is one of my favorite movies that I was hired to actually had these experiences. And I didn’t even realize it wasn’t conscious of it until after I started, you know, looking for these around. And I think you know, there’s something to say about that. And I think there’s something special about that, just in my own journey where I look back, and like my dad’s tied these dreams. It’s not just I had my own, but it was in one of our favorite movies that we add to

Brian Smith 53:37
that as well. That is really cool. So tell me about what you offer to people I know you’ve got it, you’ve got a course you do one on one work. So

Unknown Speaker 53:45
tell me about what you offer. So to raise awareness, I like I was doing, you know, before the pandemic, I was doing a lot of talks and workshops, and so I kind of stopped and so I decided to do an online course and so it’s nine and a half hours that someone could take and it really helps you understand, you know, some stuff on sleep dreams, but you know, the majority of time grief dreams and all the landscape like we we talked about an hour, so it’s probably another nine hours of like conversation on the topic that we just didn’t go into it because it’s so vast in the sense of what’s there. So if someone wants to learn more and wants to talk about these more, I think that’s a great starting point, you get a certificate at the end of it. And then you’ll feel it’s people who you know, have these negative dreams or just want to talk more about these dreams I offer the one on one group dream consulting, and just you know, it’s just it’s sad there’s not a lot of people that know the information so I’m just trying to help people the best I can understand how a lot of there are a lot of clients that have negative dreams and so it’s really you know, how it applies to waking life and what it’s trying to teach us to move forward with that and then you said like I got the grief dreams podcast so people who want to know more about the just want to hear more of these stories, like that’s the place to go because a lot of the people that come on majority of them have really positive life changing experiences. I I think that’s phenomenal. Even The last guest we had on was in Gara. And she talked about, you know, meeting her thing was her grandfather and she asked what the afterlife and then he told her what the actual life was like, I think that’s kind of cool in the sense of these answers and questions people have about life they they can get from the deceased to so

Brian Smith 55:15
yeah. I love what you’re saying it. And it’s interesting because I’ve studied near death experiences to a fair amount and their grief dreams remind me of that without the trauma, you can have some of these experiences. And I also love the way you put it, you know, you don’t have to believe it’s the afterlife, you might believe its inner wisdom, or the subconscious, whatever, whatever works for you. But there is there is you cannot deny the wisdom of it, you cannot deny the message of it, the beauty of it, and the way that it can transform, you know, people’s lives. So I think the work that you’re doing is just so, so very important. And I love just a short amount of time we’ve been able to spend together today, I’ve learned a lot, you know, in terms of their types of dreams, I didn’t know I didn’t know about the Come with me, you know, dream, you know how maybe we can interpret these negative dreams, I thought you get a great, great example that woman, you know, with, with her husband and the other person in the life, and that’s got to be a really, for no complex situation, you said, trying to, you know, honor your wonders on the other side, but live your life while you’re still here. So seeing that come through in the dream of being able to understand what what the dream is trying to tell you. So it’s all just amazing.

Unknown Speaker 56:29
It absolutely is. And that’s why I love talking about it. And one thing we didn’t mention is how these dreams change over time. So you work through your grief and like so it’s not really your dreams aren’t about grief anymore. And these dreams are the seeds will pop up in time to other needs that you have and times of suffering. So let’s say if you get divorced, or something you may have, or something tragic happens, you may have one of these dreams, and it’s been 10 years since individual died, but they’re offering you support and comfort. I’ve seen a lot in the pandemic now, which is very interesting of how the deceased are coming to offer support in many different ways. Either just being together to reduce the isolation, or to provide them questions are asking how they’re doing in the pandemic, and then an end of life, which is interesting, you’ll start seeing these frames again. And they’re basically helping people transition from life to death. So they’re providing a lot of comfort for the individual in those final final days. And I think it’s, I think that’s one of the other really unique things of this research, or just this topic is that, you know, it’s not just one dream at one moment of life, it’s like, once it happens, it keeps happening and certain moments of your life that are very important. And so like, why did why is that and how come we don’t have those dreams prior? Like that? I don’t know, like, but it is there’s a lot of mystery, a lot of research still needs to be done. So hopefully people know it’s a safe space. Now, I think explore research wise, I think you know, that’s maybe one of the reasons why people didn’t do research prior because it was really tied with the afterlife a lot. But I think it did a really good job to say no, like, everyone’s having these. Let’s just talk about the subject and the non judgmental way. And people can take it as they want. You know, like, I’m not as long as it’s comforting. You know, like, I don’t really care what you take it as it’s when it’s distressing. It, let’s work on that. Because that’s going to cause you to limit what you can do and where you can go with your healing.

Brian Smith 58:13
Yeah, well, you mentioned something that I taken a note and I hadn’t brought it up. But I guess we have a couple more minutes. So I do want to get into it because my father in law at near the end of his life had dementia. And he would he would talk about all these things crazy, like dreamlike things. So my theory was he had lost the separation between dream life and real life. I’m like, I don’t know what was going on with him. But it seemed. But when he would talk about people in his fantasies, they were always deceased, like, consistently, they’re always people who were deceased. And I thought that was a really interesting observation I did not make at the time. But later on, as I look back when I’m like, seeing them back, he was like tapping into the other side as he got as he got closer to the end.

Unknown Speaker 58:58
Yeah. And that, you know, there’s research has been done a lot of research coming out of hospice Buffalo, with Dr. Kerr, and Dr. Pay grant, that are really looking at these end of life dreams and visions. And it’s very hard to separate the two at end of life because their sleep is so sporadic. But, you know, same thing. So they’re having these dream experiences. And sometimes it could be the dream experiences tied into waking life. So it becomes a vision. But yeah, they’re there. And they tend their research found that there’s tend to be an increase in these as they approach the end. And so that in itself is just it’s very fascinating to me, on you know, how these continue to support us and why can’t we have them every day? Like why do they show up this quote unquote, random? I don’t know. And I think you know, that’s, that’s one of those mysteries that you’d have to sort of sit with and be patient and I think if anything like we teach our kids to be patient, I guess these dreams teach us to be patient as adults.

Brian Smith 59:52
Yeah, well, you know, it’s even the whole the word afterlife, you know, because what it to me what it says is consciousness is something that is Bigger than we understand just it’s not just in our brains, there’s something that’s, that’s everything, it’s undeniable, we’re somehow connected to something larger than ourselves or to each other, in some ways that we don’t understand from a materialist point of view. And I love the way you’re going about it academically, it’s not a matter of faith, it’s not a matter of I have to believe this. But also not to shy away from the fact that these things are actually happening. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:27
I’m glad you like that, right. Some people may frown upon some of the stuff I’m doing. And I’ve just because of their belief system, and what they sort of see the extremes to be. And so yeah, it’s just, you know, the love and support that, you know, you give for allowing to be on your platform, and then everyone else, I just sort of thank you all for continuing to raise awareness on the subject, because it’s just so important to my heart, but I know, it’s impacting a lot of people just around the world. And I think for me to do research that’s affecting the world is such a place, I’m in such a place of gratitude, because most people, their research never gets read. And for this, to have an opportunity to actually change the way we support people. You know, in just a matter of doing a master’s in PhD, I think that’s just a remarkable part of where I’m sitting at that, like, you know, like, the legacy of just my father’s is actually moving through the world. Yeah. And for me like that, that means a lot.

Brian Smith 1:01:17
That’s very, very cool. Well, I want to tell people where they can reach you. It’s Dr. Joshua black, and he’s at grief So you can find more questions and answers on his website, the course is available there. You’re available for one on one consulting. So I’m just I’m so thrilled to put this episode out. I think it’s a really important episode that’ll help a lot of people.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:41
Hey, I’m happy but then thank you again for having me on. I really appreciate you valuing the topic.

Brian Smith 1:01:47
Alright, well have a great rest of your day.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:49
Thanks, you too sweet dreams, I hopefully get another one of those dreams tonight.

Brian Smith 1:01:54
So that does it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you enjoyed it. If you like this content, make sure you subscribe. So click on the subscribe button here, and then click on the bell to receive notifications and click on all that way you’ll be notified whenever I release new content. Thanks for watching and have a great day.

Transcribed by

These are my reflections on turning 60 years old. As Joe Walsh said “Life’s Been Good to Me So Far” It’s been a great 60 years. It’s a good time to reflect on where I’ve been and to think about where I want to go.






Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried. But what if, like a seed we’ve been planted, and having been planted, to grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey, there want to make this video and say happy birthday to me. Yesterday was my 60th birthday. So I am entering my second seventh decade going around the sun on this planet. Pretty, pretty wild. I never thought I was a little kid that ever end up being here. For some reason I had this fear of death. And I didn’t think I was going to live very long. And I’ve actually lived with that for most of my life. Never thinking I would I would live for a very long time. But I remember as my grandmother said, when we were sitting around the table, I was 16 years old. She said to me, if you live long enough, you get old too. So I’ve hung up hung in there one day at a time every day and made it to 60 I want to say thank you to everyone who reached out to me to reach me happy birthday. I mean, literally they were probably about 500 people maybe more that gave me birthday greetings yesterday, just on Facebook saying Happy birthday or commenting on a post that my wife and I made. It was a fantastic day I want to commemorate or want to just kind of acknowledge or remember the fact that I spent the day my 16th birthday with Kayla and with Tawana. We spent the day together twice and I went to lunch together I picked up a special bottle of bourbon that I managed to acquire yesterday we went to lunch at marline house with Kayla had about a two hour lunch came back. I usually work on my birthday. I always work on my birthday. I did a little bit of work. I did pack some orders in the morning. But when I got back, I decided to take the afternoon off and I watched the movie in the middle of the afternoon. on a Wednesday, my birthday being on the May 26 is just around Memorial Day. So I usually get a long weekend. But this time it had to fall right in the middle of the week. But I decided to block out the day. And just to spend time with with the ones I love. And to take time to commemorate myself think it’s I’ve been going through a transition lately which if you follow me You may know we’ve had treasured locks our haircare products company for 19 years. And ironically, a memory came up on Facebook today that showed the girls standing next to one of our products when we first started the company 19 years ago. And treasure locks has been what sustained us for for a very long time. I’ve been doing it full time for most of that time. It puts Kayla through college it put you know I paid for Shana has her select sports she paid and paid for is paid for most of our house at this point, the cars we’ve had over the years. So it all means it’s been successful. But the thing is the last few years, the business has been slipping off. There’s more competition. There’s a lot of complicated factors. But the business has been going downhill. And I’ve been really struggling with what to do with treasure locks, versus what I feel my passion is which is doing coaching and teaching and doing the podcast. So I’ve been filming, I’ve been torn in two directions. And frankly, it’s easy when you’ve had something that’s been successful, and charge it locks has been extremely successful in the past. But it’s not doing well to feel like you’re kind of a failure. And with the coaching business starting that up, there’s really not much money coming in at this point. So you start to wonder, you know, was it a fluke with treasure lacks, you know, should you be doing this? Should you be doing the coaching business? Where do I put my efforts, and it’s been really a struggle for me.

Now a few things have come up over the last few weeks. And this is what’s really interesting. materially, nothing has really changed in the last few weeks. But a few weeks ago, I was feeling very, very stressed and very much like I was headed in the wrong direction or not going any direction. And all I got I was just treading water. And what I can say is recently that feeling has really changed. I’m looking at treasure blocks. Now it’s been successful. I’ve been successful with it. It has allowed us again, I just said to sustain us and also to put some money in the bank. So I was meeting with my financial planner the other day when I’m turning 60. So it’s like what’s going to go on in the future. And we’re looking at retirement and the good news is we’re we’re in really good shape. So that was the great news so I don’t have to worry so much about trying to get the coaching business off the ground right now are trying to revive treasure lock. So I decided to just look at this as a moment of transition. I’m going to relax in this moment, I’m just going to see what happens. I’m going to trust that doing the right thing will be sustainable that will sustain me. I know the thing is I went ahead in the right direction of coaching, and teaching. That’s the direction I want to go in this direction I’m going to go in. So treasure locks. We’ll see what happens with that over the next couple of years. But I suspect will be kind of phasing that out. And I’m going to see you know how that goes. But that’s the way I’m looking at it right now.

It was funny yesterday, a friend of mine was teasing me. We talked about living for a very long time, and neither one of us really wants to live in a very long time. And so she sent me an article that said something about people could potentially live to 150 years old. And I was telling her I don’t really want to do that. That’s not my desire at all. But I do want to say this, my attitude is really changed. Five years ago, my first birthday after Shayna has Trent had transitioned was really, really tough for me, I did not want to be on this planet to be frank. And to be honest, I didn’t know how I was going to go on the rest of my life. Fast forward five years, and I’m feeling good about where my life is, and where my life is going. And I’ve learned to live with my relationship with Shayna as it is, while maintaining relationships. I also have other people here. And I know that I’m needed here and I know that I have a mission here. And I know that I will go home one day. So I replied to my friend with what have been running through my head all day long, which was a saying by Joe Nuxhall, who’s a baseball player. I live in Cincinnati, he was reds announcer for a while before after as a player. And he said his saying was rounding third and headed for home. And that saying to me as I’ve reached 60 is the way I feel I’m rounding third, I’m headed for home. I’m looking forward to the next however long it is I’m going to be here. I plan to be productive while I’m here. But I know that regardless what happens that I will be heading home someday. And that’s This Week, I’ve been playing a song I love this song by a group called Simple Minds. And song is alive and kicking in. So I kicked off the week Monday playing the song I’m playing it all week. And there’s a verse that talks about the fact that the whole song is about like just staying alive and keeping moving forward, and how we’re sustained by forces greater than us. But one of the verses one of my favorite verses, talks about how the fact that some day that that forces sustain just will not sustain us in this body anymore. And at that point, we will go home. But even when we go home, we’re going back to the source of our love the source where we are so nothing can separate us from that love. Nothing can keep us from that. That’s something that we’re all promised. We know when we come in, we’ve got that to look forward to we’ve got a homecoming to look forward to. So that’s the way that I view my life right now. So at 60 that we have these milestones you know, and every day is a day that you can start over every day is a day that you can change the way you look at things you can change what your what your outlook is you can change what your goals are. But as we reach certain milestones, we tend to reflect more and 60 is a big one, Lisa, this for me. So this is the way that I’m choosing look at 60. Again, rounding third headed for home, done a great job if I never accomplished another thing in my life. I feel like I’ve done what I came here to accomplish. I’ve been married for over 30 years, I’ve had a few jobs, I’ve had a couple different careers I’ve started a company has been successful. Raise two fantastic, beautiful, smart, compassionate, caring, sensitive girls. Kayla, I am so proud of couldn’t be any more proud of her. Shana, you know, we’re working on the relationship that we have seen as so as the driving force behind what I’m doing and where I’m going in my life. I’ve got a great relationship with Ty, we’ve, we’ve we’ve made it through, you know, 30 years. So if I don’t accomplish anything else, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. And I want to let everyone know that I’m grateful for you that have been part of my life. And for the people I will continue to touch in the future for the rest of the time that I have here. So I hope that this has been made some sense to you. It’s not just totally self indulgent, that it may inspire you, along your journey with what you’ve got to go through may help you to look at things a little bit different if you’re going through difficult times. And you feel like there’s no way that you can make it that you’ll never be happy again. No, the other people felt that way. I have felt that way myself. And you can make it through and you can come out the other side, and that you will be triumphant no matter what. So, thanks for listening and have a great day. And if you have any questions you’d like me to answer on the podcast with him, please let me know. If you want to talk to me one on one, go to my website and you can go all the way to the bottom of the page. You can schedule a time to talk with me one on one, or you can click on the schedule appointment at the top of the page. Thanks for listening and have a great day. So that does it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you enjoyed it. If you like this content, make sure you subscribe, so click on the subscribe button here, and then click on the bell to receive notifications and click on all. That way you’ll be notified whenever I release new content. Thanks for watching and have a great day.

Transcribed by

Do we get to choose when we die? If we don’t choose, who does? Is it God? Is it me? Is it random? Which answer resonates with you? Which answer has evidence to support it?

This is a question from a listener. If you’d like to have a question answered, let me know. So far, I haven’t gotten any easy questions. But, I’ll take a swing at anything you want to ask.

If you have a question you’d like me to answer, drop me a line and I’ll include it in a future episode.

If you’d like to talk to me privately, I’m available for one-on-one consultation.  Uou can book a session here:




Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine

what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried. But what if, like a seed we’ve been planted, and having been planted, to grow to become a mighty tree? Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is brief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey there, what does it answer a question that I got from one of my listeners slash viewers. So I appreciate you guys interacting with the last video, I deal with the questions and I’ll keep these going as long as you’re interested in it. And this is a you guys don’t ask easy questions. This is a question though that’s very common that comes up and I’m gonna, I’m gonna frame the question that number, I think, maybe expand it a little bit. So the question is, when we cross over when we when our bodies stop functioning, when we die, to put it simply, do we have a choice of coming back? We have heard reports of people who have had near death experiences that have been given choices, or been given a choice to come back and they’ve chosen to come back. We’ve also though, frankly been told the people who have been given a choice to come back or have not given a choice. And we’re just sent back. So the question that this was prompted by the fact that this person’s loved one their their son, passed in a similar way to my daughter. He was a young man. Sudden, unexplained death. My daughter was young, she was 15, sudden, unexplained death. And so when we hear someone who’s had a near death experience, and been given the choice to come back, we think, well, this person was so young and vibrant, and love life so much. Why weren’t they given a choice to come back, because I know they would have chosen to come back. So the thing is, frankly, we don’t know that they would have chosen to come back we have heard people, even people who were mothers had young children that were here that were given a choice or not given a choice, but were told you know that they had to come back and they decided they wanted to stay because it was so great there and they knew everything was here was going to be okay. So we don’t really know what we would choose or what our loved one would choose if they had been given the choice. And frankly, we can’t know if everyone gets a choice. Because it’s a said, we know that some people don’t get a choice, and they’re sitting back without having a choice. We don’t know if people cross over and don’t have a choice and are required to stay. And so one reason when that might be required to stay is that their body can’t sustain life. So if your body can’t sustain life, then of course, you wouldn’t be able to come back. So I want to take this question of whether this person may given a choice and I want to expand it a little bit to do we choose when we die?

Because this I think is the broader question. Do we do we choose when we die? And if and so let’s go through this. So I always like to start off with as what do we know? So we’re gonna start off with what do we know for sure, we know for sure that 100% of the people that are born will die. There’s there are no exceptions. If you’re born, you die, you’re going to die. That is the plan. The questions are where are when and how does the things that are variables, but birth comes with 100% chance of death, the number one cause of death is birth. So we know that and you know, so we sometimes get upset about the timing of things, we get upset about the way things happen. But we know that death is inevitable. So the thing is, do we choose when we die? And so let’s look at what the let’s look at what the options are as with the evidence for each of those. So one option would be that it’s random universe is just a random place. Things happen. And we come in and we die whenever, whenever we die. And we can look at the evidence for that. And someone can make a case. Yeah, it seems to be pretty random. Another option that we might look at is that God determines it. So God determines when we’re when we die. And I know people that believe this. And for some people, this causes them great anger, because God has chosen to take a loved one earlier than we thought they should have. For some people. This brings them great comfort, that God in His infinite wisdom decides when it’s a right time for us to go. And people accept that and it’s okay with them. That one doesn’t really work for me. But if it works for you, then fine. I was visiting with someone just a couple days ago, that had a loved one that passed suddenly very young. And they were comforted by the fact that they believe in God’s divine timing. And the guy determined that so it could be random. It could be God. It could be that we Choose, either alone are in cooperation with a team of on the other side. So this is an interesting thing, because we can clearly see as the human part of us zoom inside of us that we don’t choose, we see people die in accidents, we see people fighting to live, and we see them dying anyway. So we know the evidence doesn’t show that the human part of chooses when we die, but there is the possibility that we choose as our higher self as our soul, if you want to call it that as our oversoul. And as a possibility that we choose when were in spirit, when we’re going to die, and we plan that out. So these are the options that it’s it’s random, that is chosen by God that we choose, it could be pre determined, it could be freewill. So these are the options. So what what is the evidence for each of these scenarios. And so the evidence random, as I’ve already stated, is pretty much there, you can make the case that is random, it certainly looks random from outside perspective, the evidence that God chooses, you know, there’s no way to really know that. That is a that is a belief. And you could say that maybe based on scripture, somebody might say that God knows the, the number of hairs on our head and the days of our lives. So that could you could call that evidence or something that might lead us in that direction. When it comes to whether we choose or not, I believe there’s a great deal of evidence for this. And this is what I believe we’ve had people that have had between life regressions, where they’ll go back to when they’re and lead life between life. And they’ll remember planning their life out and how things were supposed to go. We’ve had you know, mediums tell us or people coming through mediums telling us that it was determined when they were ago that there was nothing that can be done about it. We’ve had people who’ve had near death experiences that have said everything is just as it should be. And that we we are, it’s determined when we’re going to go. I remember Dr. Mary Neal, when she had her near death experience when she was in spirit, she was told that her son would die at a very early age, I believe was around 18. And it was about 10 years from when she had this experience. And know in spite of whatever she did, or whatever she believed, or whatever it did come to pass that her son did did pass at that time, I happen to know someone who was an intuitive and medium who says that she knows when people are going to transition, including herself and her loved ones. And so in that case, at least what she’s reported to me, there’s really no choice. But there’s some people that have said that we have multiple exit points, that there are multiple points in our life where we might have, we might choose to go. But we can’t apparently go past that last exit point. So that’s, that’s pretty determined.

So the thing is, whichever these things we choose to believe, we can find some amount of evidence for it. I think the preponderance of the evidence points to the fact that somehow that we choose either when we’re in spirit before we come here, or as our higher self, how long we’re going to be here. And I think we choose it that way. And it may not it may not fit in with what our human point of view is, you may you might say, well, who would choose to pass it at 15, for example, who would choose the pass as as an infant, and in some cases, even our people have had children that pass in their 30s or 40s, and that their life was too short. And who would choose that so as our human self, we probably wouldn’t choose that. But as our higher self and seeing the bigger picture, we might choose that for the benefit of our soul for this incarnation, and or for the benefit of our loved ones. Another thing I want to say while I’m talking about this is I think it’s very important is especially with young people, we view their their transition as a tragedy, that their life was cut short that they weren’t able to enjoy their life, and that they should be here and enjoying all the great things about life. Well, there’s a couple of things that’s that’s actually kind of wrong with that point of view. And I want to play with Azhar, first of all, their lives were not cut short. They, we when we transition continue to live, in fact, we live more abundantly a better life. So when we think about our loved ones, and we think about what they’re quote missing, keep in mind that they’re not really missing anything that they have, they have moved on they have graduated, I would call it to to a higher level. The other thing is that kind of comes from the point of view that this one life is all there is where it’s a one and done point of view. So if you’re going to come to this earth, you would think you want to stay here as long as possible to get the most out of it as possible, because you only have one shot. Now, again, you might you might believe that. I believe there’s enough evidence to show that we come to this earth over and over and over again. And that it’s not just one shot. So in any one life, that life life happens to be short or tragic or full of pain or whatever. Our souls don’t view that as a loss because it’s just one experience out of many. So those are my views on whether we choose when we die, who chooses when we die. And we can examine those. And you can examine those and determine, first of all, which one makes the most sense to you, which one has the most evidence for for it. The other thing is, try each one on because we can’t, frankly, really know this for a fact, while we’re here. So try it out what makes you feel comfortable, what brings you peace, what brings you joy, and if any of them, don’t bring you peace, and jump, don’t bring you joy, then you don’t have to choose to believe that there are other options you can choose that do have evidence, I’m not just saying choose which one feels best to you, or makes you feel the best. I don’t think it’s all about wishful thinking. For me, I feel more empowered by knowing that there’s a plan that I participated in the plan, not that just God impose this on me. And God put me here and said, This is what you’re going to do. But it’s a cooperative thing. It’s where we are co creators in our lives. And even though things happen in my life, that human Brian, my ego, might not like, I choose to trust the things that happen for me or for my own best good. And for the best good of everybody and everything in the universe, in spite of how it might look right now. And that’s what brings me peace. And that is what I found, frankly, a lot of evidence for. So those are my thoughts again, I like to hear what your thoughts are. What am I saying that might be right, but when you might say that might be wrong. And any other questions you have, just let me know. So have a great day and I’ll see you soon. So that does it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you enjoyed it. If you like this content, make sure you subscribe, so click on the subscribe button here, and then click on the bell to receive notifications and click on all that way you’ll be notified whenever I release new content. Thanks for watching, and have a great day.

Transcribed by

Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine

what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried. But what if, like a seed we’ve been planted, and having been planted, to grow to become a mighty tree? Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is brief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey there, what does it answer a question that I got from one of my listeners slash viewers. So I appreciate you guys interacting with the last video, I deal with the questions and I’ll keep these going as long as you’re interested in it. And this is a you guys don’t ask easy questions. This is a question though that’s very common that comes up and I’m gonna, I’m gonna frame the question that number, I think, maybe expand it a little bit. So the question is, when we cross over when we when our bodies stop functioning, when we die, to put it simply, do we have a choice of coming back? We have heard reports of people who have had near death experiences that have been given choices, or been given a choice to come back and they’ve chosen to come back. We’ve also though, frankly been told the people who have been given a choice to come back or have not given a choice. And we’re just sent back. So the question that this was prompted by the fact that this person’s loved one their their son, passed in a similar way to my daughter. He was a young man. Sudden, unexplained death. My daughter was young, she was 15, sudden, unexplained death. And so when we hear someone who’s had a near death experience, and been given the choice to come back, we think, well, this person was so young and vibrant, and love life so much. Why weren’t they given a choice to come back, because I know they would have chosen to come back. So the thing is, frankly, we don’t know that they would have chosen to come back we have heard people, even people who were mothers had young children that were here that were given a choice or not given a choice, but were told you know that they had to come back and they decided they wanted to stay because it was so great there and they knew everything was here was going to be okay. So we don’t really know what we would choose or what our loved one would choose if they had been given the choice. And frankly, we can’t know if everyone gets a choice. Because it’s a said, we know that some people don’t get a choice, and they’re sitting back without having a choice. We don’t know if people cross over and don’t have a choice and are required to stay. And so one reason when that might be required to stay is that their body can’t sustain life. So if your body can’t sustain life, then of course, you wouldn’t be able to come back. So I want to take this question of whether this person may given a choice and I want to expand it a little bit to do we choose when we die?

Because this I think is the broader question. Do we do we choose when we die? And if and so let’s go through this. So I always like to start off with as what do we know? So we’re gonna start off with what do we know for sure, we know for sure that 100% of the people that are born will die. There’s there are no exceptions. If you’re born, you die, you’re going to die. That is the plan. The questions are where are when and how does the things that are variables, but birth comes with 100% chance of death, the number one cause of death is birth. So we know that and you know, so we sometimes get upset about the timing of things, we get upset about the way things happen. But we know that death is inevitable. So the thing is, do we choose when we die? And so let’s look at what the let’s look at what the options are as with the evidence for each of those. So one option would be that it’s random universe is just a random place. Things happen. And we come in and we die whenever, whenever we die. And we can look at the evidence for that. And someone can make a case. Yeah, it seems to be pretty random. Another option that we might look at is that God determines it. So God determines when we’re when we die. And I know people that believe this. And for some people, this causes them great anger, because God has chosen to take a loved one earlier than we thought they should have. For some people. This brings them great comfort, that God in His infinite wisdom decides when it’s a right time for us to go. And people accept that and it’s okay with them. That one doesn’t really work for me. But if it works for you, then fine. I was visiting with someone just a couple days ago, that had a loved one that passed suddenly very young. And they were comforted by the fact that they believe in God’s divine timing. And the guy determined that so it could be random. It could be God. It could be that we Choose, either alone are in cooperation with a team of on the other side. So this is an interesting thing, because we can clearly see as the human part of us zoom inside of us that we don’t choose, we see people die in accidents, we see people fighting to live, and we see them dying anyway. So we know the evidence doesn’t show that the human part of chooses when we die, but there is the possibility that we choose as our higher self as our soul, if you want to call it that as our oversoul. And as a possibility that we choose when were in spirit, when we’re going to die, and we plan that out. So these are the options that it’s it’s random, that is chosen by God that we choose, it could be pre determined, it could be freewill. So these are the options. So what what is the evidence for each of these scenarios. And so the evidence random, as I’ve already stated, is pretty much there, you can make the case that is random, it certainly looks random from outside perspective, the evidence that God chooses, you know, there’s no way to really know that. That is a that is a belief. And you could say that maybe based on scripture, somebody might say that God knows the, the number of hairs on our head and the days of our lives. So that could you could call that evidence or something that might lead us in that direction. When it comes to whether we choose or not, I believe there’s a great deal of evidence for this. And this is what I believe we’ve had people that have had between life regressions, where they’ll go back to when they’re and lead life between life. And they’ll remember planning their life out and how things were supposed to go. We’ve had you know, mediums tell us or people coming through mediums telling us that it was determined when they were ago that there was nothing that can be done about it. We’ve had people who’ve had near death experiences that have said everything is just as it should be. And that we we are, it’s determined when we’re going to go. I remember Dr. Mary Neal, when she had her near death experience when she was in spirit, she was told that her son would die at a very early age, I believe was around 18. And it was about 10 years from when she had this experience. And know in spite of whatever she did, or whatever she believed, or whatever it did come to pass that her son did did pass at that time, I happen to know someone who was an intuitive and medium who says that she knows when people are going to transition, including herself and her loved ones. And so in that case, at least what she’s reported to me, there’s really no choice. But there’s some people that have said that we have multiple exit points, that there are multiple points in our life where we might have, we might choose to go. But we can’t apparently go past that last exit point. So that’s, that’s pretty determined.

So the thing is, whichever these things we choose to believe, we can find some amount of evidence for it. I think the preponderance of the evidence points to the fact that somehow that we choose either when we’re in spirit before we come here, or as our higher self, how long we’re going to be here. And I think we choose it that way. And it may not it may not fit in with what our human point of view is, you may you might say, well, who would choose to pass it at 15, for example, who would choose the pass as as an infant, and in some cases, even our people have had children that pass in their 30s or 40s, and that their life was too short. And who would choose that so as our human self, we probably wouldn’t choose that. But as our higher self and seeing the bigger picture, we might choose that for the benefit of our soul for this incarnation, and or for the benefit of our loved ones. Another thing I want to say while I’m talking about this is I think it’s very important is especially with young people, we view their their transition as a tragedy, that their life was cut short that they weren’t able to enjoy their life, and that they should be here and enjoying all the great things about life. Well, there’s a couple of things that’s that’s actually kind of wrong with that point of view. And I want to play with Azhar, first of all, their lives were not cut short. They, we when we transition continue to live, in fact, we live more abundantly a better life. So when we think about our loved ones, and we think about what they’re quote missing, keep in mind that they’re not really missing anything that they have, they have moved on they have graduated, I would call it to to a higher level. The other thing is that kind of comes from the point of view that this one life is all there is where it’s a one and done point of view. So if you’re going to come to this earth, you would think you want to stay here as long as possible to get the most out of it as possible, because you only have one shot. Now, again, you might you might believe that. I believe there’s enough evidence to show that we come to this earth over and over and over again. And that it’s not just one shot. So in any one life, that life life happens to be short or tragic or full of pain or whatever. Our souls don’t view that as a loss because it’s just one experience out of many. So those are my views on whether we choose when we die, who chooses when we die. And we can examine those. And you can examine those and determine, first of all, which one makes the most sense to you, which one has the most evidence for for it. The other thing is, try each one on because we can’t, frankly, really know this for a fact, while we’re here. So try it out what makes you feel comfortable, what brings you peace, what brings you joy, and if any of them, don’t bring you peace, and jump, don’t bring you joy, then you don’t have to choose to believe that there are other options you can choose that do have evidence, I’m not just saying choose which one feels best to you, or makes you feel the best. I don’t think it’s all about wishful thinking. For me, I feel more empowered by knowing that there’s a plan that I participated in the plan, not that just God impose this on me. And God put me here and said, This is what you’re going to do. But it’s a cooperative thing. It’s where we are co creators in our lives. And even though things happen in my life, that human Brian, my ego, might not like, I choose to trust the things that happen for me or for my own best good. And for the best good of everybody and everything in the universe, in spite of how it might look right now. And that’s what brings me peace. And that is what I found, frankly, a lot of evidence for. So those are my thoughts again, I like to hear what your thoughts are. What am I saying that might be right, but when you might say that might be wrong. And any other questions you have, just let me know. So have a great day and I’ll see you soon. So that does it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you enjoyed it. If you like this content, make sure you subscribe, so click on the subscribe button here, and then click on the bell to receive notifications and click on all that way you’ll be notified whenever I release new content. Thanks for watching, and have a great day.

Transcribed by

Emily Thiroux Threatt is the author of Loving and Living Your Way Through Grief: A Comprehensive Guide to Reclaiming and Cultivating Joy and Carrying on in the Face of Loss.

Having gone through the experience of two husbands die, as well as the deaths of her father, mother, sister, many family members and friends, Emily has much experience in the grieving process and has learned to face life with love, optimism, and joy. Her mission is to comfort and support those dealing with grief and loss focusing on positivity.

She earned a master’s degree in English with a concentration in writing which led to her career teaching writing at the university level, so she naturally turned to writing to deal with her grief. She also is teaching those dealing with loss how to use writing to deal with their grief.

When she’s not writing, you can find her tending to her garden, creating art, and walking on the beach.

You can find Emily at:



Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried, but what if, like a seed we’ve been planted and having been planted, to grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes. Open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey everybody, this is Brian Smith. I’m back with another episode of grief to growth I’ve got with me today Emily throw threat. And Emily is author of the book loving and living your way through grief, a comprehensive guide to reclaiming and cultivating joy and carrying on the face of loss. Emily has gone through the experience of having two husbands pass away, as well as the death of her father, her mother or sister, many family members and friends. So Emily has had much experience in the grieving process and has learned to face life with love, optimism and joy. And our mission is to comfort and support those dealing with grief loss and grief and loss focusing on positivity. Emily’s are the master’s degree in English with the concentration of writing, which led to her career teaching writing at the university level. So she naturally turned to writing to deal with their grief. She also is teaching those dealing with loss how to use writing to deal with their grief. And when you when she’s not ready, you can find her tending to her garden, creating art and walking on the beach because Emily lives in Hawaii. So with that, I want to welcome Emily throw threat.

Emily Thiroux Threatt 1:44
Aloha. I’m happy to be here today. Thank You for Your welcome.

Brian Smith 1:47
Yeah, it’s great to meet you, Emily. And we were talking earlier, you live in beautiful Hawaii. So I’m sure that the weather is nice Thursday. So glad to have you here. I want to just talk to you a little bit about your background and how you got involved in writing about grief. What What brought you to this subject?

Emily Thiroux Threatt 2:06
Well, as you said, I’ve had two husbands die. And the my first husband that died was a philosophy professor and his special with ethics, specifically dealing with death and dying. And so the whole time we were together, everything seemed to be about death and dying. And he taught a class that was required for all the nursing students at the college where he was with helping nursing students learn how to deal with death and dying. And he even had been with Elisabeth Kubler Ross and he’d been around a long time, he was instrumental in bringing hospice to the community that we lived in. At that time that that just went hospice was first getting developed across the country. So I say all that because we really kind of immersed him in all things related to death and dying during that time. And he was he had health problems for probably really bad for the last five years of his life, the last two years. Jake, and I kind of could feel and we talked about everything, but he never talked about dying. And he had written an ethics textbook many, many years ago, that would get revised every he would revise it every two years because it was used internationally. And he had been struggling trying to get this last edition out. But he was doing because it was physically hard for him to do things. So we’ve been working on it together. And the morning that he finished it, he was so happy. And it was the first time we were able to submit it electronically. So we submitted it, and we call this editor and we were celebrating and it was all all a really great thing. And he was so happy to get this thing accomplished. And then right after that we are gonna have lunch, and then he was going to his dialysis treatment. And while he was having lunch, he said to me, am I going to get better? And I thought, you know, all these thoughts went through my mind all at once. I thought in all this time, it was all his background and everything else. He didn’t realize he wasn’t doing all these medical things to get better, that he was going to get cured and be back to who he was before. And we were always honest with each other and I just said no. And I think it dawned on him at that point that that that was what was happening. And within about an hour when I was working to get him into the car to go to dialysis. You just died. Wow. So I think he he once once the realisation came to him that he was never gonna feel better than I was. He was right then that he was ready to go And he hadn’t been until then he just kept thinking, you know, I’ll just do all the things that doctors tell me to and eat the way I’m supposed to behave the way I’m supposed to. And I’ll get well.

Brian Smith 5:09
Wow. So it’s Do you think maybe on some level he knew are he was? That’s that’s a really interesting question to ask.

Emily Thiroux Threatt 5:19
I think. I think it was trying to get his book done. And that was his goal. And when he got his book finished, he was he was ready to be finished. But as I said, we haven’t talked about it, which I find is kind of strange. And boy, after he was gone, I was so lost. We’d been married for 22 years. And I just, frankly, didn’t know what to do with myself. And it took about a year before I started to come out of it and really be functioning again.

Brian Smith 5:57
Yeah. So did his the work that he had done. Did that help you at all? Were you involved in the work that he was doing?

Emily Thiroux Threatt 6:04
He was involved with with what he did, we were very active in getting people to find to sign durable power of attorney for health care, so that they could have their wishes carried out when the time came. And he had, we both had ours filled out and we both had DNR Do Not Resuscitate that, you know if it was our time, it was our time. Yeah. And ironically, when he died, he was in the process of getting into the car, he sat down on a seat. He looked at me and he said, I won’t repeat it because it’s not good language. But he looked at me like he realized what was happening at that moment. And then he was gone. And in the process, he slid down between the seat and the dashboard. And he was stuck, absolutely stuck. And I couldn’t get out. I couldn’t do anything. I wasn’t sure what to do. And the only thing I could think of was to dial 911. And after I did that, I thought shoot, he’s a DNR, that was not what I was supposed to do. But I didn’t know who else to call, right. It wasn’t a neighbor home around us. Anybody if there just wasn’t anybody to call. So when they got there, it was really hard for them to get them out of the car. And when they got him out, laid him down on the driveway. They saw that his he was in atrial fibrillation. And so they decided to resuscitate him. And I said, Wait, he’s got a DNR and I said we have it and I goes, Well, I can go and find it. And they said we can’t wait and they started it. So they went ahead and did that and took him to the hospital. But he was gone. There was there was no question that he was already gone. So it was it was quite an experience. But I I don’t think he really went the way he wanted to. I think he wanted to be more vital by the time you land that he had just really deteriorated, deteriorated over two years with two heart surgeries and dialysis and congestive heart failure and all kinds of things like that.

Brian Smith 8:12
So do you feel like were you somewhat prepared for his passing? Or?

Emily Thiroux Threatt 8:17
Well, I knew he was I had been thinking for probably five years that any time he would be gone. I didn’t know specifically when that was going to happen that so I think I was I was preparing for it. I was thinking about Okay, what am I going to do when is gone? And how am I going to handle things. And we did things like fixing up the house because it needed some painting and freshening and that sort of thing. And so while while he was going through all this, we were working on cleaning up the house and letting go with stuff. I was getting rid of stuff like crazy because I just I knew when the time came, I didn’t want to deal with it. Then I wanted everything to be clean and orderly and to have health things just stuff to be gone. And that’s that’s kind of how I was dealing with it in the process because I never knew he had been admitted to the hospital so many different times and emergency situations that I never knew when that was going to be right. We had one kind of might find a little humor in it. He liked Prince the performer prints for songs and he just was crazy about him and he happened to be coming to the community that we lived in for a concert. And so we bought us tickets, you go to a concert, we’re gonna get you in and out of the theater. He was determined to go so we went and it turned out the town that there was a town with the city was Bakersfield in California at that time was not exactly Prince oriented, more cowboy Country Music oriented. And so they hadn’t really sold enough tickets and I guess of the ticket, they gave away a lot of tickets. And they still didn’t have that many people in this big arena. Well, and Prince was not happy about it. So he refused to go on until they got more people there. And I happen to know that the stage crew because I have a theater myself and was new the the all the tech people in town. And they told me that they were told to call everybody they knew and tell them come down canal for free, we just have to fill up the house for prints. Yeah, for prints. So about an hour after he was supposed to start, he finally came out and did his concert in it. I don’t think it was the full length that was supposed to be and what I think I got him out of the car and got him home. And there was a message on the phone from the doctor. He’d had lab work that afternoon. And they said, you have to come to the emergency room immediately. And this was like six hours before because of all this length of time we’ve been dealing with getting to the concert and sitting through it and getting them home and everything. Oh my gosh, what’s happening? And so I took them over and they said, Oh, we’ve been waiting for you. And we got a minute Tara data’s potassium is really high. And when your potassium is high, you can just die. That’s how they do executions. Yeah, right died very quickly. And fortunately, we did get that get in there in time, and they were able to get it balanced out. But that was always one crisis after another was happening. So I kept thinking, Is this it? Is this when it’s going to be you know, what’s going to happen? And finally, it didn’t happen.

Brian Smith 11:40
So did you start writing about grief after his passing? Or was it later than that?

Emily Thiroux Threatt 11:45
It was after my second husband to die. That was it my writing because I just, I really didn’t know what to do. I was at the time I was teaching at at the university teaching mine at university. So I go to work, and come home and sit basically, and then go to work and come home and serve and just, I just felt kind of blank for a really long time. And I had journaled before then but I just didn’t feel like journaling at that point. Yeah. But things were so different with with my next test, and I never getting like get married again, I just didn’t, you know, I’ve been married and that I was happy with that. But then I met somebody who was we were perfect for each other. And they were his opposite is they could have been shocked that my husband I was just talking about was much older than I am. And he was, as I said a philosopher and he had been Catholic, but he had turned agnostic and almost almost not believing in anything at all, which was a huge transition for him. But with studying philosophy, that’s that’s where Ron, my, my next husband, and chocolates, French, Italian. And when my next husband was so different from that he happened to be a religious science minister. He was he was African American. And he was absolutely brilliant. He had three master’s degrees and had done the most amazing things with his life. And we had an amazing conversations. And I learned so much for him and really learn to live a different way. And we really focused on living in the moment. And by doing that, even when he was having his health challenges, everything was okay. And we knew it was okay. And we knew that when he left it was going to be okay. And then I didn’t need to worry about anything. And we just really focused on love. I learned to let go of fear because I think that was something that was really holding me back when shock died was I was always afraid of everything I sold her house and moved someplace else because it was afraid of the neighbors and fear was kind of driving me so with with Ron that I really can say I don’t really deal with fear anymore. And I focus on on love and very much on living in a moment.

Yeah, it made it easier to do so. After, you know when Ron first died, and his whole process was pretty amazing and beautiful. But when when I found myself alone and thinking okay, now, exactly how am I gonna do this because we moved to Hawaii two years before he died because he lived here a long time ago. And he loved Maui and we visited it. We came here on our honeymoon and then visited it, like twice a year. And finally, so why do we keep going back? Why can’t we just so we sold her house and bought a house here all within the period of about a week, my wife made a phenomenal profit on our house that we had no idea that that was going to happen, because we’d only had it for about five years. And it was it made it so that the transition to move over here was no problem. And it was really great living here for those two years. But I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do. And what I what I found myself focusing on was okay, what’s my purpose now? Because you’re been spending so much of my life taking care of children, husbands, and now I don’t have a husband to take care of what am I supposed to be doing? I really felt like finding my life purpose was was very important. And so I thought, well, I’m gonna write about it. And I wasn’t writing to anybody, I was just journaling. And I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote, and the more I wrote, the more clear things became, and what I discovered was, in trying to learn more things about grief, or dealing with grief, that most of the things that I was picking up, or the groups that I found online, were also sad. And, you know, people tend to be just really sad, and under the situation, totally understandable. But I, I felt like I didn’t want to live the rest of my life being sad, that I wanted to find a way to to find joy, to find happiness, and to have this purpose of what I was supposed to be doing. And so I found myself writing about this, where do I find joy at this point in my life, when what is good? What can I do? And I, I, with my writing, it was helping me so much that I started teaching writing, I just put was funny. I happen to notice and meetup online, because I didn’t know that many people this fall, we’d been in Hawaii, I was mostly home with him. And I just said, if you’re dealing with grief, and you’d like to learn how you can deal with it through writing, come on over to my house on the stand time and I had about seven people show up. And we became a real tight little group, we were first starting to meet once a month. And then they said, We liked it so much, can’t we meet more often. So we were meeting twice a month, and it was going really well until the pandemic hit. And the people that were involved were not real computer people. So I took the group online and still had a group online, but then it’s only got a couple of the initial people because of that, I think I think when we can start meeting again, those initial people are going to be coming back. So yeah, they really liked it. But I still do every every Saturday morning, I do a zoom group online, where we felt like good, and I was enjoying that. But I got to the point where I need to be doing more. Yeah. And about then a really close friend of Ron, who still lived in Ventura. And was bout 20 years younger than than Ron. And perfectly healthy. We were family friends. They lived a couple blocks away from us in Ventura. And he just died one day. Wow.

And the first thing I thought about was his wife is going to have no idea what to do that and what she needs to think about what she doesn’t need to think about what to focus on. And so I wrote her, I sat down, wrote her letter, and I thought, you know, and this was just a few hours, maybe six, eight hours after he died. When I found out I wrote it. I knew if I mailed it from Hawaii, it could take up to a week to get there. And I wanted her to have it right then I knew if I emailed it to her she wasn’t going to be on the computer right now. Right? So I emailed it to a mutual friend of ours who lived close to her and said, Could you please print this off and take it to her now? And she did. And she told me later on it that that letter meant the world to her because she hadn’t thought about any of these things. And she didn’t mean didn’t know what she needed to be concerned about and what she didn’t need to be concerned about. So she she said it was so helpful, and she had two daughters. One was a senior in high school and the other one was a sophomore in college. And she said when she realized that each one of them needed to know what I had written in that letter that she read it out loud to them, just Just the two of them in that it helped them to and so I decided I had to do more than one letter was nice, but I had to do more. So I decided that I was going to say Send her something every week in the mail for the first year. And I had done something similar to that was a friend who had had breast cancer a couple years before it, where I just i’d either call or email or do something every week just to support her while she was going through all the therapy and treatment. And she really, really appreciated it. And I thought it was my relationship with Laurie the new little that with her, it would be better to send her something in the mail every week. And so I take pictures on Maui all the time. And I put a different picture on the front of each card. And then inside, I thought, What am I going to write. So I sat down and in about a day and a half, I had written a content for 52 different cards that kind of took her through the first year, the different things that she thinking about the further and further away she got from when you die. And she she just she cherished them. She said, you know, gonna get her going. It was something to look forward to every week, she knew that was going to be some comfort coming in the mail. And I told my step granddaughter about that, and shocks, granddaughter, that I had done that. And she told me that a good family friend of theirs had just had the same situation. They weren’t that old, and he just died suddenly. And she was so concerned about his widow, and I told her what I was doing. She said, Could you meet me? I said of those cards, too. Wow. So I did and open I was and it took quite a while to print them on the computer and cut them and fold them and do all the stuff you have to do. Well, obviously, in the process of doing that, I thought I’m just gonna listen to a podcast. And I had a friend here on the island that did a podcast that I knew that I liked your podcast. So I picked one of them out that she was stealing. And I felt like I could really relate to the person that she was interviewing. I really liked it. And she had written a book and I thought I’m going to order a book. So while I was making these cards, I went on to her website, and at the bottom of the website, she said, and also I am a book agent. So if you have an idea for a book, give me you know, let me know. So I said, Hmm. I have an outline already written. He could have 52 chapters. Yeah. And so I emailed her right then. And by the end of the day, I had an agent and worked with her. And then then the book came to fruition and was published in January now.

Brian Smith 22:34
Wow, that that’s that is an incredible sequence of events. So I have to ask you, so you start with Jacques, he was kind of an atheist, I think a materialist. And so I was like with Ron, he was much more spiritual. How is your spirituality evolved over this time?

Emily Thiroux Threatt 22:53
Well, I’ll take that back a while for me, because I was raised in a very small town and a very fundamentalist church. And even as a youngster, I just couldn’t quite buy what they were saying. It just didn’t resonate with me. And I ended up on in junior high school, going to the youth group at another church in town where my girlfriend was going, and mom, dad, so that was fine. And the people from the church that I was going to with my girlfriend, called my parents to say, you know, your daughter’s here and doesn’t she go to your church and this sort of thing. My mom got so mad at the whole thing. She goes, You can’t go back to that church again. And I thought here I found someplace where I thought was safe and good and kind and people there were doing that. And so I thought, you know, not doing church. I think it’s a people that are problem. It’s not what they were talking about, or what they believed that it was the people. So after that, I came I I knew there was there was more to life than what I’ve been taught in those two churches. And that there was more than I needed to know. And I felt like I was spiritual, but didn’t really understand what that meant. So when I’m married, Shaka was no problem because he wasn’t going to church, and I wasn’t going to church. But I always knew there was something more something that I was missing. That wasn’t there. And once I met Ron, and we started talking about him and his beliefs, so many that I thought now this makes a whole lot more sense to me to believe that, essentially, God, to me is everything everywhere. Everyone’s God, and everything is love. And the only real two emotions in life are love and fear. And I chose love and that’s where I wanted to focus my life. And so when I was writing the book, everything’s focused on love there. And I can I can fully up I understand other religions and other refle beliefs, and I fully respect them. But I feel very comfortable in in my own spirituality and don’t feel like I need to be associated with an official religion or something in order to practice it.

Brian Smith 25:19
Yeah. So having gone through this experience twice of having husbands that were ill, that you cared for, and then having them ultimately transition Do you feel like it was, you learn something from the first one that you applied to the second time, or salutely?

Emily Thiroux Threatt 25:40
It was, it was interesting one, when I met Ron, he wasn’t, he didn’t have health problems. And I knew about I knew they had high blood pressure, which was common in his situation. But he’d been taking medication for it for years and was fine. And he, he, so I didn’t, I didn’t realize that he had any kind of health challenges. And he didn’t really either. And it turned out that he had the same two health challenges that jack had had. Well, they both had heart failure that ultimately led to dialysis. And so I learned a lot from what we went through with Jacques with all of this medical issues about recognizing things and wrong when they were happening, and how to deal with them and how to get appropriate help and time so that he can be the most comfortable that he can be as it went along. And I learned I learned that that I felt like Jacques some somehow wasn’t wasn’t content with dying when he died. He was he was angry about it. those last two words he said were were words of anger. And I could tell he was angry because it was he didn’t get finished. You know, he wanted he finished his book, but he wanted more out of his life. Where was wrong, it was entirely different, that he was perfectly comfortable with his mortality. And whatever happened whenever it happened was was okay with him. And it made it much easier for me so that we could we could really enjoy the time that we spent together and make the most of it. And it really was quite beautiful.

Brian Smith 27:33
Yeah, yeah, it sounds like one of the one of the big lessons that you got out of going through that. So you talked earlier, about being joyful and having gratitude when we’re going through stuff like this? How does one get to the point where they’re joyful and grateful when we’re going through? terrible loss?

Emily Thiroux Threatt 27:54
I can tell you, gratitude is what started for me. Ron, and I’m not long chalk had been gone for about a year. And I was talking to a couple of friends of mine. That day, I had introduced them, we were working on a project together, they didn’t really know each other very well. But they were both expressing that they were concerned for me because I just didn’t seem to be doing anything. And I really wasn’t doing much. And they both at the same time said you got to watch the movie The secret? No, right. You know. But they I thought both of them said it. They’re they’re coming from two different perspectives. I thought I’ll I’ll give it a try. Yeah, I’ll watch the movie. And the whole time I was watching a movie, I had kind of a chip on my shoulder. And I felt like it was kind of magical thinking and how could this possibly work. And when I got finished with it, and I went to put the DVD back in the case, on the paper that was inserted in there, there was a it said, Don’t turn this over until you watch the movie. And I thought, Oh, come on. So I turned it all over. And it said, it was just essentially a page with a whole lot of lines on it. And it said, write down what you’re grateful for. And I said, I’m a widow, I’m by myself, there’s nothing that I have to be grateful for. And then I thought about what I’d listened to in the movie and I thought it It won’t hurt to try this. So I started writing. And I was really shocked that it was really easy to fill up there was like 10 lines or something on there. And I thought I’m grateful for more than that. And so I started writing down what I was grateful for anytime I think about it, and I got to the point it was it was like an addiction. If I’d be standing in line at the bank, I dig a receipt out of my purse to write something that I thought of on the back of it because I wanted to hold on to all these things that we’re grateful for because I found the more gratitude I expressed, the better. I felt And here I’ve been in such a negative mood and I was pulling myself out by realizing I’ve got a whole lot to live for, and my life is good. And there’s a lot of beauty and joy and wonderful things in my life. And that’s where I need to focus. So gratitude really pulled me out of of where I was that made all the difference in the world.

Announcer 30:21
We’ll get back to grief to growth in just a few seconds. Did you know that Brian is an author and a life coach, if you’re grieving or know someone who is grieving his book, grief to growth is a best selling easy to read book that might help you or someone you know, people work with Brian as a life coach to break through barriers and live their best lives. You can find out more about Brian and what he offers at WWW dot grief to www dot g ri e f, the number two, gr o w th comm or text growth gr o w t h 231996. If you’d like to support this podcast, visit slash grief to growth slash g ri e f the number two gr o w th to make a financial contribution. And now back to grief to growth.

Emily Thiroux Threatt 31:22
And that led me to the point where I finally could couldn’t be open to more experiences and about shocked I didn’t February. And so when New Year’s Eve came the next year, I was sitting home by myself on your safe. I thought I’ve got to make a new year’s resolution that’s going to change my life, you know, it’s gonna make a difference in my world. And what came to me was to accept invitations. Now, I couldn’t figure out why that came to me because I wasn’t getting any invitations. You know, people just knew that I was moping around, I think and didn’t want me to be a stay out there party. So I but I thought now I’m going to do it anyway. And I was committed to it. I just said I’m gonna do this, whatever it is that comes along that I’m invited to do. I will and I started getting invitations that were amazing, really, really interesting things, things that I never would have thought of doing before. One of them was I was looking at the newspaper that was back in the days when we read newspapers. And there was an article saying that they were searching for the editorial board for the newspaper. And that if you were interested in applying this was how to do it. And I thought, hmm, that sounds like an invitation to me. So I applied and I was accepted on the editorial board. It was a one year position. And it was had absolutely fascinating. And I met all kinds of different people that I never would have before and had good experiences by doing that. So it was really neat. And then somebody from the bioethics committee at the Regional Medical Center, called me and said we Jacques was on the bioethics Committee for the hospital. And they needed a lay person on on the committee. And since I was Jack’s wife, and could come from kind of his perspective, they wanted to invite me to be on the bioethics committee, as a lay person, from the community, a community representative. And that was fascinating work. I absolutely love doing that. And then another friend said, Oh, I was I started going to a trainer, because my daughter had a friend who was a trainer, and she said, I just had to go with him. And he happened to be an ultra marathon bike rider. And he participated in the race across America every summer. And he was getting ready for the day race that summer. And he said, how’d you like to come with us and be the nurse for the team? And I said, Okay, okay. So I did that. It was an incredible experience. And then another friend said to me that at the university, she was one of my colleagues. And she said, What are you going to do? The star said, I really don’t know. Yeah. And I said, What are you going to do? She said, Well, I’m taking my sister to South Africa on on this excursion thing that where we can learn all these different things. This is all that sounds so cool. I’d love to do that. She’s gonna come along. So they’re I went to South Africa. So I just kept being one thing like that and after another and one of them was somebody that I’d known before that I hadn’t really had a lot of contact with wanting to go to a lecture at the university. Oh, pre Sean, what’s your last name sister’s something free showing

Brian Smith 34:58
Oh, Yeah, she

Emily Thiroux Threatt 35:01
was doing a presentation, I thought, Well, that sounds really interesting. And so I went with her because she didn’t want to go by herself. And when we got there, she said, I hope you don’t mind that I invited another friend of mine to sit with us. And she’s bringing her new minister from from her church. And you Do you mind? I said, No, no problem. And when they came in, and she introduced me, and I shook his hand, I just felt something kind of magical. I said that this girl that was with a woman that was with him was really a lucky person. And I found out later, I’ve kind of found out later that it wasn’t his girlfriend, or anything, that she was just a member of the church that was showing him around the town, and that she had actually was trying to get him together with the girl that brought me. So that was kind of fun, because they didn’t look like they belong together at all. Anyway, I didn’t think about it anymore. Didn’t seem again, until several months later. The same friend that convinced me to go to South Africa with her said, you’ve got you’ve got to start dating again. You just have to do it. I say, you know, how am I gonna do that? She goes on call on I said, you go on She wasn’t. She just she didn’t let it go. She just kept saying and saying and finally that there’s a reason that she’s telling me this. And so I wrote down a list of everything that I wanted in in somebody, if I was going to go out with them, they had to have all these qualities. And if they didn’t, then I wasn’t interested. And after I did that, I posted all the about me all about me on on match. And within a couple of hours, I got this response from the sky. And I looked at it. And I read it and it was it was almost exactly my list. Interesting. Wow, it was so bizarre that it was it was everything that I was looking for in a relationship. And I love this picture. I thought it looks familiar to me. But I don’t know why. Because this was maybe nine months after that lecture at the university. And we ended up going out the first time for dinner. And I know you’re not supposed to do that you’re supposed to go for coffee or something for somebody, but we ended up going out for dinner. And we’re together ever since then we just knew when we first got together that we were such a good fit, and had so much fun together. And he was he was absolutely wonderful. And he was really great. And it was probably two or three months later that I said, you know, we met each other before. He was the guy at the lecture. But I met at the lecture. And there and I remembered that that handshake and stuff it was it was interesting that I felt that way then but then just saw him again, he didn’t really think about it again. But then that that was that was him.

Brian Smith 38:02
Wow. So I’ve got to ask you, how do you feel about soul planning or pre predestination or whatever in our lives? Because I’ve seen I’ve seen some really interesting patterns as you’re, as you’re saying this?

Emily Thiroux Threatt 38:16
Ah, well, I kind of believe in that. Everything happens for a reason. I know that sounds kind of trite. But there’s there’s too many things too many things of synchronicity that happen, that I don’t believe that things just randomly happen. I believe that that somehow we’re we’re called to do it suppose to do it. Whatever it is that there are things that I hadn’t put a label of soul planning on it that I can see that and with dealing with people who have experienced loss, I can say a lot of that it seems logical to me. Yeah.

Brian Smith 39:07
It just seems interesting. The parallels between your your first husband and your second husband and their illnesses and and their different approaches to their passing and then you know how your approach changed. And it sounds like you were destined to be with with the guy that you met on match calm, and it’s interesting. We kind of talked about putting that or accepting invitations. This is second time. I’ve heard this in the last couple of days. So this is my synchronicities. Someone was saying they called it the surrender experiment. Someone I follow on Facebook. I was just listening to a bit yesterday a video that she recorded and saying to put it out there just like I’m going to accept the opportunities to come along and and see what happens and she was challenging people to do this for a week or for two weeks. And then literally today you say this, so I think there is something Just setting that intention to saying I’m going to be open to what comes along and just, you know, and say yes and see what happens. So that’s it. I guess it’s really interesting to say that. So when you start writing about grief, and you teach people how to write about grief, so the first question I have for you is some people say, why can’t write. So what do you say when someone says you, I just can’t write,

Emily Thiroux Threatt 40:23
don’t worry about it, just just come in and do what you’re comfortable with when we’re together and nobody else has to read it. And if you choose to share it, you can and every time they share, it’s amazing. Once you start hearing what other people have written, they, they want to share what they said to write. And it it’s, it’s really quite amazing. But one of the writing practices that they most enjoy, and I’ve used it in in a bunch of different ways, but the initial way that I had them do it was and there’s a term for it, I just heard the other day that I didn’t realize that term existed. And now I can’t remember what it was. But it’s, it’s apparently nothing new. But what I had them do was write a letter to their loved one who died and I say loved him, because some of them were kids that died. Some of them were moms. It wasn’t all like widows in the group that was a variety of people. They said, write a letter to your loved one who died and tell him anything that you didn’t get to tell them anything that you would like to have asked them in anything you want to say to them and write that letter. And I give them the time to do that in the group. And I always write along with them. And then when they’re done, they don’t know what’s coming. But when they’re done, and we say you know, sign up like a letter with love and your name, or however you would sign it to that person. And when you finish that, what you do is turn it around and write a letter back to you right then from that person, all of this stuff is fresh in your mind. And don’t worry about what you’re going to say just write whatever comes to you at as you’re writing. And they do and generally. A lot of them are in tears by the time they finished the letter. And they said that they felt like they were able to resolve things that they had been thinking about and couldn’t figure out how to deal with. They felt comfort from it, they felt love from it, they felt like they their loved one still was a presence in their life that they didn’t realize that they were that close. And they absolutely loved that exercise. And yeah, it’s a it’s a great thing to deal with them. So that’s usually what I get them started with. And once once they do that they’re kind of hooked. Yeah, whatever I come up with, they’re in for it. And it’s different every time. It’s not not a set schedule of different topics that we do. It’s it’s whatever seems to be appropriate for that particular group at the moment to tell right about

Brian Smith 43:01
Yeah, it sounds like a form of automatic writing.

Emily Thiroux Threatt 43:04
That’s the word. That’s what I heard. Yeah, that’s, that’s what it is. Yeah, you can do it in several different ways. It doesn’t have to be just the person who die.

Brian Smith 43:12
Right there. There are several different ways to do it. And it’s just, I just finished a book reading, reading a book about automatic writing. And that’s one of the things that people do and what a lot of us don’t realize, according to this, this author, and I believe it too, is when we write that letter back to ourselves. It’s actually our loved one speaking through us. And I think that’s why people become so emotional about it, because they realize that they can still tap into that person, that they’re still available. Mm hmm.

Emily Thiroux Threatt 43:42
I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s may amazing, really, I just see the change and the people that I’m, I’m just kind of surprised by one of the people had been dealing with the loss of a loved one. I won’t say the relationship in case he happens to listen to this. But the loss of a loved one years before and hadn’t been able to make peace with it. And by doing this, it changed your life. made a huge huge difference for her. And then writing sometimes to someone who’s died in a sudden, tragic sort of situation like the podcasts I was just listening to you with. I can’t remember her name her husband or not husband her son was killed in an accident. Doors Delores young and and how she was dealing with that. When you don’t get to say goodbye, you don’t have any idea that it’s coming. Doing this kind of writing can help you kind of pull things together and kind of work things out that you didn’t have a chance to do one person. Yeah, that’s really good. situations like that.

Brian Smith 45:02
So and your book I know, they’re, they’re like 26 practices that you offer in your book, what are some of the practices besides the automatic writing we just talked about?

Emily Thiroux Threatt 45:10
Well, they do that. And there’s actually 26 different things. And they’ll be things like meditation, a lot of people just aren’t familiar with actually meditating. And so it’s kind of a kind of a beginning introduction to meditation. It’s how to write affirmations. And how to deal with affirmations. It’s there’s so many of them, I shouldn’t pick up my book. Yeah. That they, they’re different things where they can actively be involved in something. Right? Right. And one of them is like, if they’re feeling closed off and alone and haven’t been around people, then it has them create an event. Oh, wow, they can have people come to me, it goes through the process of creating that. And of course, it’s a little different with the pandemic, but right, it still can can create something where they can get people together and have that social interaction. I think that came from me sitting by myself so much that I could have done something I chosen to, and I can see how big of a difference it can make when people do that. Yeah. And journaling, I have them do just plain journaling, regular journaling.

Brian Smith 46:33
Yeah, it’s, you know, it sounds like it’s not sad, but it’s something that’s extremely helpful and extremely needed. Because as you said, when when jack pass you like, when this happens to us, we don’t have any idea how to grieve with no one, no one teaches us how to grieve. No one teaches us what to expect, we don’t know is what I’m feeling normal. You know, all those questions that the people that I talk to, on a daily basis, you know, we’re just people are just lost. And your book is a guide for people. It’s something that says, okay, you can take an active role in this, you don’t, you don’t have to be passive, like the way that you, you know, said, Okay, this is what I’m going to do and intentions that you set. And people can learn, you know, I would say people can learn two ways you can learn from your own mistakes, or you can learn from other people’s. So it’s always better to learn from what someone else has gone through, rather than having to go through ourselves. That’s just one of the great power, great benefits of being able to write and being able to read the pass that knowledge along.

Emily Thiroux Threatt 47:34
Yes, it’s, it’s, I love doing it. And I really feel like I’ve got a lot to do with doing this because I want I want to help cumference support as many people as I can, whenever I can, whether it’s with the writing or reading the book and having do the exercises or speaking in two groups, so that somebody will hear something and go, Oh, I can do something about this one, however I can do it. I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to do. And I just got to tell you an experience that happened to me just last week that we could go Yeah, I live on the side of a volcano. So when you either go down to the valley, or you come back up to get an in and out of that area where I live where we call it up country in Maui. And there’s one highway dark, very many highways on Maui, which is was kind of surprising to me when I got here from the LA area with all the freeways and everything, right, this is a divided highway that’s got two lanes on each side and the grass divider in between. and I was driving home in the middle of the day in the slow lane. And it was kind of a lot of traffic because the tourists are starting to come back to the island. And so there’s a whole lot more people than we’ve been having. So being especially cautious and my son was in the car with me sitting in the passenger seat. He said, oh my god or something like that. And I looked to my left, and there was a pickup truck that had crossed the divider in the fast lane going the fast speed coming right at my side of the car. Wow. And it just it was I will never get rid of that picture. Right then when it happened. And you don’t really have time to think and I so what I did was I just held tightly to the wheel kind of slammed on the brakes hoping that from what I saw that maybe we could I mean, I couldn’t. There was no place I could go to my right. There was no place I could get out of I mean, I couldn’t have gone fast enough. So I thought if I could stop that maybe then it happened. And so I stopped and I felt this bump on the car shook. And then I decided to open my eyes and see what damage had been done. You know, I just knew I was gonna see him there and there’s gonna be blood and people. Everything. Wow. There’s nobody there. And I thought, I didn’t imagine this. I saw this. And I was shaking so hard. And Jason, my son said, No, you so I did it. Wow. And so as I was trying to get out of the car to two other cars, it pulled over. And there was all this stuff all over the freeway apparently was in a big windstorm. And the guy in the back of his pickup truck had lots of loose stuff in it and had flown up, and it was all over the freeway. And so because of that all of the traffic slowed down really slow. And they were being really cautious to drive around this stuff. And these two cars that pulled over were right behind me. And they was seeing him coming down the wrong side of the freeway toward them ran them both off the road, but the rest of the people weren’t affected by it at all. And I said, was there a truck? I could swear sidetrack and she said, Yeah, I looked down there. And there were guardrails in between the two sides of the highway for quite a ways. And he came right before the guard rails is when he passed into me. And he kept going the wrong way until the guardrail stopped and he could pull over. So once they pointed it out, I could see him pretty far away, when it got seen get out of his truck and start picking stuff up and be destroying it into the back. And so I could tell that he was okay by the kind of movements. But I couldn’t I couldn’t see him. I think I recognized him if I had to. And then I looked at my car, my car that I bought brand new in November. And it just had some kind of like a scrape mark on the driver’s side fender and broke out the taillight on on that side and ripped off the trim on that side. And it was about $3,000 worth of damage, but that all it was with him coming that fast. I didn’t see how, how the car or us especially we’re going to be walking away from it.

Brian Smith 52:04

Emily Thiroux Threatt 52:05
And when I got home, I decided that I was going to post what happened on Facebook, and all these people, people I’ve known my whole life for responding, you know that Ron or Jacques, made it not happen the way it was going to, because you still have work to do, the work that you’re doing right now is so important, and you’ve got to work on it, it wasn’t time for you to go because you love you need to be helping the people that are grieving. And people didn’t need to be grieving you right now. And that’s that was the response. And I had tons of people respond, and they all gave me that same message. Wow. Wow. So it was it was uh, not that I needed reinforcement, but it really made me think, yeah, I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing. And I’m helping people who need to be helped, and I’m grateful to be able to do it.

Brian Smith 52:58
Yeah. Wow, that that is quite a story. And yeah, sometimes we all need reminders, you know, we all need reminders here. And there, we get caught up in the day to day and sometimes we forget, you know, that there’s something else that’s, that’s bigger than us that that’s, that’s in charge. I know, last year 2020 was a was a rough year for almost everybody, you know, in one way or another and often when we talk about grief, we think about death, we think about someone passing but um, Could your book help people that have gone through other things besides losing a loved one?

Emily Thiroux Threatt 53:33
Absolutely. I always say grief and loss, or grief or loss because it could be anything my last year in particular, a lot of people lost homes, lost jobs, lost incomes, lost friendships, or being able to be with family lost, being able to what am I my friends just had her first grandchild born. And she she was able to go he was in another state for more she was she was able to go be there with her, her son, the father of the baby. But the and she was she was because the father was not allowed. And with the mother while she was in labor, and during delivery, he wasn’t able to experience that with her because of the COVID restrictions. And you know, we’ve just gotten so used to dads being able to be part of the birth process that that’s that’s a really big thing to miss out on. And that’s a kind of loss. And I’m going to do a talk in a couple of weeks to breast cancer survivors Association and the woman who called to ask me to talk she says, you might think it’s kind of strange that we’re asking you to talk but losing a breast is loss is an absolutely losing part of your body. It’s a significant change for the rest of your life and in floss and you can deal with loss in the same way because you’re going Those things you read the things that you don’t get to do, or that you lose, just like losing a loved one. It’s very similar. And I’ve I’ve been coaching a lot of people through that sort of thing talking to people through that.

Brian Smith 55:17
Yeah, yeah. Well, I agree with you i to me, grief is loss. It’s we’re associated with the loss of a loved one. But it could be the loss of anything, anything that you that you weren’t ready to have go out of your life that goes out of your life. And as you said, it could be lots and lots of things that we’ve all been through recently. So I think your book is very timely to have come out at this time to help people with stuff like that.

Emily Thiroux Threatt 55:43
Yeah, so many people have sent out my book this family, that’s a perfect timing for that.

Brian Smith 55:48
Yeah, yeah.

Emily Thiroux Threatt 55:50
I have no idea when I started.

Brian Smith 55:52
Yeah, well, you know, I think things work out the way that they’re, they’re supposed to. And I think that I truly believe that. Well, Emily, we’re coming to the end of our time together, I really appreciate you sharing your life with us your story with us, your your, your book, anything, any last words you’d like to say to the people that are listening?

Emily Thiroux Threatt 56:13
I think the big thing is for people who are dealing with loss or with grief, is to remember to take care of themselves. Because that that so often gets, and speaking from experience, especially the first time through, I really wasn’t taking care of myself, and I couldn’t really get better until I started doing that. So just be gentle on yourself and take really good care of yourself loving yourself. Put yourself in good situations where you can be supportive. And that’s just just critically important when you’re dealing with loss and grief.

Brian Smith 56:53
Yeah, I think that’s really profound. And I and and I think especially not to stereotype, but a lot of times women are the caregivers. And a lot of times when people are caregivers are not really good at receiving care. And you might feel guilty about you know, I’m being selfish. And I tell people, this is the time to be selfish, it’s this is the time to take care of yourself, you’ve got to because it’s so it can be so draining, you know, the energy that it takes out of you.

Emily Thiroux Threatt 57:22
And, and and with that, you want to doubt about women, and I find that with me, and I’m sure it’s different for you. But with me, it’s mostly women who come to me for help. It’s the men a lot of times don’t seek help. And I one of the things I’m so impressed with you about is that you’re a guy and you’re doing this work. And I’m hoping that man will reach out more and maybe they need a man to talk to as opposed to a woman. And so it’s it’s it’s important for for all of us to be able to be available to the people who need us.

Brian Smith 57:58
Yeah, well, you know, it’s interesting, because we all have trouble seeking help and different ways. My experience has been 80 90% of my clients are women. Yeah, and I just happened to be talking with someone the other day, it’s a male, his objective, Executive Director of a grief organization, and we’re experiencing the same thing. So women, sometimes I have trouble, you know, doing the self care, but men don’t even bother. They don’t even know that they need healing. So it’s really, we need to find a way to reach the men too. I completely agree with that. Because a lot of times guys just try to just try to bear down and get through it. And it’s really important to process you know, the feelings that we’re going through.

Emily Thiroux Threatt 58:38
Yeah, they’ve always been taught to be strong and and not crack that shell open so that they can get some soothing. Yeah.

Brian Smith 58:47
So Emily, let people know where they can reach you if they want to find out more about you.

Emily Thiroux Threatt 58:51
My website is the same as my book title, loving and living your way through I also have a Facebook group group that’s loving and living your way through grief that they’re welcome to join and awesome. I’m on Instagram, Emily underlyings. ro underlying threat and on Twitter app, whatever that symbol is, and then I can’t remember something throughout the threaders. I’m always really can’t remember which one it is. But I do lots of social media. I write a weekly blog that’s available on my website, I would be happy to have people reading. You can sign up there to get my little newsletter delivered once a week. It’s not a big thing, but it’s enough of just a reminder of different things that you can do or think about the convenient comfort.

Brian Smith 59:46
Yeah, I don’t. I want to remind people about the title of the book. It’s loving and living your way through grief a comprehensive guide to reclaiming and cultivating joy and carrying on in the face of loss. And Emily, you’re a great example. of how we can, you know, not only survive through these tragic events, but we can actually thrive and find joy again. So thank you for sharing that with us today.

Emily Thiroux Threatt 1:00:10
Well, thank you for the opportunity. I did. I just love to talk about. Yeah,

Brian Smith 1:00:15
yeah, it’s it shows and I really enjoyed our time together. So enjoy the rest of your day, and I’ll talk to you soon. Thank you. So that does it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you enjoyed it. If you like this content, make sure you subscribe. So click on the subscribe button here, and then click on the bell to receive notifications and click on all that way you’ll be notified whenever I release new content. Thanks for watching and have a great day.

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