Jonathon Aslay is one of America’s leading mid-life dating coaches. His view of life changed and expanded in 2018 with the passing of his 18-year-old son, Connor.
Jonathon’s grief led him on a soul-searching inner journey which opened him to the most common emotional health issue faced by people- a lack of self-love, self-regard, and self-worth. Jonathon takes this new understanding with him into his work with people who are dating in mid-life.
In this interview, Jonathon and I discuss how his relationship with Connor has continued and how Jonathon has grown through the difficulties in his life. It’s rare that I get to talk to a father who is in this position.
You can find Jonathon at www.jonathonaslay.com
Hi there. Welcome to grief to growth podcast. Your host is Brian Smith, spiritual seeker, best selling author, grief survivor and life coach. Ryan believes that the worst tragedies of life provide the greatest opportunity for growth. Brian says he was planted, not buried, and he is here to help you grow where you’ve been planted by the difficulties in life. In each episode, Brian and his guests will share what has helped them to survive and thrive. It is his sincere hope this episode helps you today.
Brian Smith 0:32
Hey, everybody, this is Brian Smith back with another episode of grief to growth. And today I’ve got with me Jonathan as les Jonathan’s written a book about dating in midlife. And Jonathan also has a son that’s in spirit and we call those shining light parents people have have children’s spirits. So I’m going to introduce Jonathan we’re going to talk about relationships when we talk about grief and and those types of things. So Jonathan is one of America’s leading midlife. Dating coaches and expanding a deeper sense of philosophy of what it truly means to love. After Jonathan lost his 19 year old son, Connor and 2018 as grief led him on a soul searching journey where he became aware of an often overlooked dimension of the dating conversation. And he realized the process of dating reveals the most common emotional health issue faced by many singles that are seeking a partner and that is a distressing lack of self love, self worth, self regard and self love. So today, he’s on a mission encouraging both women and men to fully love themselves and his book that’s entitled What the heck is self love anyway, which is packed with fun engaging spiritual and personal growth practices is dynamic. midlife mastery mentorship program inspires hundreds of people daily around the world, and Jonathan’s podcast, what would love to do? And his website is Jonathan Adler calm and I’ll put that in the show notes but it’s Jonathan Jo ma th o n. Ashley a s la y comm So with that, I want to welcome Jonathan Aslay to Grief 2 Growth.
Jonathan Aslay 1:59
I’m excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Brian Smith 2:03
Yeah, john, it is really good to have you all. We were just talking right before we got started. We have something in common our children in spirit, and we found out they’re almost exactly the same age your son Connor passed in 2018 at the age of 19. My daughter Shayna passed in 2015 at the age of 15. Yeah. So when Connor passed, how does it impact you?
Jonathan Aslay 2:31
Wow, I can’t believe I just get.
So obviously my reaction is just a snippet of how it impacted me. I think as a parent, and I know this is true for most parents, but I can only speak for myself. I think the moment my first son and my second son Connor were born. I lived in constant fear. On some level. I mean, while there’s this is this joyous thing to have this bundle Have you know this energy and baby and whatnot? I lived in fear of things like, you know, would they drown in the swimming pool? Would they get kidnapped? I mean, boy, anytime I saw something on a kidnapping, I go, Ah, he’s my mind. Or worse, you know, they’d end up in jail or something like that. So I had all these constant fears. And so the moment I heard he passed away, it was not just it was like all those fears realized in that second. And I want to say, I didn’t ever think this couldn’t happen to me, but on some level, like this couldn’t happen to me kind of thing. And when I say me, experiencing this, isn’t it but yet, the fear? You know, I’m a little it’s interesting. I’m very tongue tied, which is very rare. So this, that question hit me because I recognized that That on some level I was prepared for it not because you know any expectation from him but I’ve been doing a ton of personal development and spiritual work prior and a lot of that work prepared me for it from an emotional perspective so I got tons I was my mind was all in fear and that anxiety but ultimately when it happened I was relatively calm now I want to differentiate between the shock kind of calm that happens or denial that can happen but on some level I was calm and I want to share that a little bit deeper later on in the podcast, but I’m so when it happened I was I had these mixed feelings from all that anxiety that I’ve always had, versus also the reaction that I was relatively calm. And I know that sounds counterintuitive, but
Brian Smith 4:58
no, I can I totally relate to that. For myself, I had a massive fear of death of my own death. So I did a lot of personal development studying to to try to alleviate my own fears. So and I think as a parent we’re always worried about our kids we’re always think you know, what if the worst things happens because it can be that there are lives so I would say I could totally relate to saying cuz I was in a sense prepared because of all this study night die. Yeah, but never really expected that to happen to me. Yeah. And that’s how it is. It feels like when your kid dies, it happens to you right? It’s a personal thing.
Jonathan Aslay 5:34
Oh boy, is that such a like, all of a sudden, everything you’ve ever watched before seeing someone else’s kid pass away or something happened? Bam. Now it’s, I don’t want to see your return but your experience and I will say one thing that did happen right off the bat, there was a rush of love from people I mean, the the empathy and sympathy and arms that you know, we’re wrapping me up On a virtual level was just, it was humongous. And I really appreciate all the love and support. And I mean to this day I still do. But in those early days that made a huge difference in navigating us. Yeah, well, it’s it’s me, it’s still relatively soon for you. You said it was it was 28 2018. Yeah. Two years in July. So,
Brian Smith 6:27
yeah. So those first two years are just like, I mean, first of all, it’s shock. And then it’s, you know, it’s disbelief and all those things that we go through. So you It seems like you must have been prepared in some way for you to have turned as quickly as you did to, you know, writing the book that you wrote and those things yeah,
Jonathan Aslay 6:48
I write right before he passed. It was interesting. I study A Course in Miracles and okay. And I just began a study group where we We meet every morning on the phone with a group of people. And we talk about each lesson and there’s 365 lessons in the book. And coincidentally, we were talking about death literally weeks ago, like four weeks beforehand. I mean, a lot of the the topics were coming up around death and the spiritual significance of death and how the wild of physical body might die. The spirit never dies. And so I was able to lean into that energy in the beginning, because I’d already kind of prepared myself from the, the mental state of going, Okay, yes, for body mate transition, but our spirit never does.
Brian Smith 7:44
Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting. But of course of miracles. I’ve just started I just kind of kind of came across that actually, since my daughter passed, and I just interviewed a guy that’s kind of the world’s leading expert in that a couple weeks ago. So that’ll be coming on the podcast. People can find out more about that, but yeah, those things they do seem to kind of prepare. So we still go through that, but shocked that and it doesn’t. It doesn’t. It makes it easier but doesn’t alleviate the grief. Right? It doesn’t make it go away. So what was your grief process? Like when when when kind of did pass?
Jonathan Aslay 8:19
You Have you ever seen that meme where there’s like, it’s like a roller coaster? You know, this is grief. You know? It’s like, Oh, yeah, yeah, certainly I experienced, you know, the, the, you know, denial, anger, depression.
What’s up when you want them back, there’s a term and I can’t remember all the terminologies.
And I experienced everything in you know, in a what felt like a short period of time. But when I, I really leaned into I remember Okay, so I was at his funeral and I was giving the eulogy and I And sharing stories about him or not. And I stopped in the middle. And I said, I’m going to make a conscious choice to grieve with love. I’m gonna make a conscious choice to grieve with love, because I recognized on some level that I could grieve with suffering. And if you knew my son, and you know, and I and I know, everyone can say this to some degree, but at least I feel this directly with my son. There is not one ounce of him that would ever want anyone who cared for him to ever suffer. If you just knew his personality and, and how much he cared about his friends and his family and how much he gave love. In that sense, that would be like the furthest thing he’d ever want. So I’m giving his eulogy and I stopped in the middle. I say, I’m going to grieve with love, and I decided to really lean into what does it mean to love because I can I can love him and I can just Choose to love him in a different way, not his mortal body, but certainly the spiritual aspect of him. So that really inspired me to want to look at love in a different way. And then two months into, or two months after he passed away, I began writing my second book, as you mentioned, here’s a picture of it. What the heck is self love anyway? Yeah. And it inspired me and I actually published it nine months to the day after he passed.
Brian Smith 10:30
Wow. Wow. So that’s, that’s so what led you so obviously, you were on some sort of a self discovery journey. And before he passed, is that correct? Okay, so what started you on that self discovery journey before you pass?
Jonathan Aslay 10:43
Oh, well see. Now what’s interesting because, um, let’s see. It was about 12 years before he passed. I went through a divorce, lost my quarter million dollar a year job and got wiped out in the market crash of 2000. Uh, I mean, I’m in I’m talking about a seven figure Wipeout. So at one point I was worth, you know, well over a million dollars and then in three months that was gone. Wow. And I hit rock bottom. I mean, I was at the point where I went to bed wishing I didn’t wake up. And, and I, I began, I remember the movie, The Secret came out right about that time. And I’m like watching this and I’m like, this resonates with me. And then I grabbed I watched another movie called What the Bleep. And then I started to read books about personal development. Tony Robbins, you know, was popular, I mean, it still is but very popular at that time. And so I had Tony Robbins CDs and that sort of thing. So I started to immerse myself in personal development. At the same time, I’m curled up on my couch, close the drapes and didn’t want to live so I mean, there was this interest interesting dynamic. And in fact, I mean to add to that I was addicted to online dating. I was like, addicted because I was like so wanted the feminine energy, I wanted to connect with women, which eventually became my profession. This addiction so I had three things going on my depression, my addiction, and then my curiosity for personal development. And I say that all of that work prepared me for the emotional chaos. It was like a vaccination to emotional chaos. So by the time he had passed, which I thought would have brought me over to the edge and never returned, I had done so much work on myself and hence why I’m wearing a T shirt that says self love. Is that was a little bit prepared. I mean, it doesn’t take away from the pain but it was a little bit easier than had I not been prepared or at least that’s my perception. Anyway.
Brian Smith 13:00
Yeah, you know, it’s really interesting, you know, talking to Jonathan and going through your life and looking backwards. There’s a quote that I was talking about was, you know, life can only be understood looking backwards, but we have to live it forward. Yeah. And as we look back, you know, going through your life, it’s kind of like, Okay, well, this prepared me for this. And this prepared me for this. And it’s, you know, it’s just reality. A lot of times the worst things in our lives are the things that really make us stronger. That are, I would say, reveal our strength reveals a strength that we didn’t know we have. Yeah, but but we go through that, but you know, that, like you said, curled up on the couch, you wake up in the morning, you don’t want to be there and anybody who just lost a kid can relate to that feeling. I think, I think we’ve all had that. We’ve had those days, and you still have those days sometimes where it’s like, you know, why am I still here and he’s not. But you know, it’s interesting how you, you’ve taken that and use that to to motivate yourself to move forward.
Jonathan Aslay 13:55
Yeah, it’s literally as if I’m drawing on his inner strength. I mean, By continually tap into what he had because he had an unusual my son was unusual. fact, one of the chap Can I curse. Now, one of the chapters in the book is don’t let anyone fuck with your cheat. And what was interesting about my son is he had this unique capacity not to let other people’s opinion of him bother him. Like, he was Teflon. Like, it’s like if that’s who you are fine. And so I recognized that there was an element of he loved himself so much that other people’s opinions of him wouldn’t bother him. Whereas his dad was the opposite. If someone had an opinion of me, that wasn’t good. I mean, I was like, I’m curl often and, and shrink emotionally. So I started to tap into that inner strength with him since the day he passed,
Brian Smith 14:59
you know, it’s you know, Another thing I find interesting when I talk to people whose children past early this is A. ‘s anecdotal, but you know, it’s been my observation. These kids seem to usually have something really special about them that that draws people to them. And that we learned from our children. My daughter was just like, she was kind of similar. She was like, she had so much self confidence, and she loved herself. And she, she did what she wanted to do. You know, she was kind of our own person. She was 15, but she was a feminist. Remember, she wore this T shirt this sweatshirt to school one day and you know, feminists across it whenever teachers like, I want one of those t shirts. Yeah, by she had my, my wife make it for ya. So yeah, there’s something about our kids that, you know, even after they pass, we’re still drawing strength and inspiration from them. So I’m just curious, do you believe in soul planning? Do you think that you and your son Pat, plan this or
Jonathan Aslay 15:50
Oh, well, so you’re gonna find this interesting. There’s two facets to what I’m about to share. So my son struggled in school. He struggled with reading and writing. And you know whether he had a learning disability or not, I mean, I believe he did. He graduated high school. And he said, Look, I don’t want to go to college even though his young his older brother was straight A student, magna cum laude, Lada double major, you know, like Stepford kid from a from an educational standpoint. Condor struggle, man. And then of course, then his mom said, Well, we want you to get a job. And he said to me, right after graduation, he said, Dad, can you give them cut me some slack? Can you give me one year to figure out my life? In other words, can you give me time just to because I don’t want to go to college. I don’t want to get a job yet. I want to figure out things on my own. He passed one year in three days from the day he said that and there’s no doubt in my mind that his soul knew he was here for a short jurnee like his soul knew it. Like in that moment, his soul was telling me I’m only here for a year. And in that one year, he lived balls to the wall. I mean, he was very, he had a very much a rebel personality in him. And he tried experimented in all different areas of his life. So he got to have a lot of fun as last year, especially with this core group of friends.
Brian Smith 17:26
Yeah, yeah, that’s really, really interesting to me. Because my daughter make little comments here or there that made us think, you know, looking back on it, because she knew she wasn’t gonna be here for you know, for a very long time. And that seems to be, you know, fairly common. And she was saying much just love life. You just want to experience everything, you know, and try different things. And so, you know, I see some commonalities here. So, I think it’s great when we can look back as parents and realize that and maybe realize, you know, that was the plan and not, you know, agony. I mean, we still wish they were here, but that agonized, so much about the fact that that was their journey, and they completed their journey. And now we got to go do our own thing.
Jonathan Aslay 18:06
Yeah, that’s what I got out of it, you know, got out of the Course in Miracles and it’s great that you’re, you know, you know, investigating it for yourself. Mmm hmm. One of the things I recognized that we’re all here on our own journey. So when I was able to say, Okay, this was his journey, in other words, you know, some people have, you know, I look at it like a movie. And his was a short film, okay. Some people have movies that are a long drawn out drama. Some are action adventure, summer romantic comedies, you know, that the length of the movie kind of is an impetus for how your life is so in his case, it was a short documentary, especially the last year balls to the wall kind of energy. And I was okay with that. That was because that’s his journey. And I was wanting to share with you the second part of the story was the day after he passed, I’m walking into my complex and there’s kind of this where I live. There’s a, like a little waterfall and vegetation and little pond and that sort of thing right through the entrance. It’s very beautiful. And I see a yellow butterfly just kind of passing by me, like, Oh, that’s kind of interesting. And I didn’t give it much thought at first. Until when I was leaving the next morning. And this yellow butterfly starts following me. I’m like, Okay, this is kind of interesting, because I never seen a yellow butterfly before where I left. I always saw brown butterflies. And then the next day, so that’s the third day after he passed and I’m at my I live on a third story of a three story complex. And right out my balcony is a yellow butterfly. And there is no doubt in my mind. That was him. saying, hey, I want to let you know I’m okay. And now I see flux all the time. I mean, not, you know, not every single day, but it’s literally now that’s my signal to know that’s him telling me. Hey, I’m just letting you know I’m around and I’m okay.
Brian Smith 20:15
Yeah, I think that’s great. And you know, it’s interesting, you bring it up because I know I talked to a lot of parents and a lot of parents who say, Well, I haven’t heard from my son. I’ve never ever heard from my kid. Why haven’t I heard from them? And that’s one of the ways to communicate with it’s not typically going to be a phone call if I know people that have gotten phone call, but it’s usually like little things. It’s it’s synchronicity. It’s it’s finding coins, it’s finding feathers. And then once they find something that connects with you, they’ll start to repeat that. Yeah. You know, for like, for my daughter and I, it’s it’s dimes. And yes, it’s really wild. Because this happened to me just two days ago. I was looking for something in the house that my my dog lost. She lost her toy. I asked my daughter, can you give me an idea of what her toy is? Yeah. And I just saw I was like, okay, check it out. When the cushions on the couch, I ran my hand between the put cushions on the couch. It wasn’t her toy, but I found a dog. And it was like, Okay, well, that was that was interesting. Yeah. So we look for little things like that, you know, our kids are they’re still connected with this, there’s still no they still want to be involved in our lives. And I think it’s it’s really great to hear someone like yourself saying, Yeah, I recognize these things. I recognize that and the idea that another thing that with parents is we think we we tend to think we own our kids, right? Yeah. So what happens to them happens to us and their life was cut short why this happened to me. And that’s a really common thing that people say, and it’s like, it didn’t happen to us what happened to them Zack, and that was their journey.
Jonathan Aslay 21:39
Yes, exactly. It took it took that particular bit of awareness to help me accept, hey, this is his journey. It didn’t happen to me. He didn’t do anything to me. You know, he didn’t. This wasn’t intentional on his part or anything and right, and it wasn’t at the hand of someone else per se. So And that awareness really helps me be more in acceptance. Because ultimately, I think what helped me navigate the grief was leaning into love and leaning into acceptance. However, it’s just and don’t get me wrong I, you know, it’s almost two years and I you know, I was crying the other day and I mean I, I literally was melancholy for an entire afternoon. Not that I was incessantly thinking about them but there’s a there’s a, there’s a sadness, there’s a hole inside of me I can only speak for myself and I’m almost certain you and everyone else feels the same way there’s a hole inside of us. I just do my best to fill that hole with as much love as I can possibly can for myself, for him for everyone on the planet.
Brian Smith 22:49
Yeah, I had a grief counselor that came by the house. Right after Shana passed. She said that was really profound. I think Gigi, like had this model of the heart and she said, so when you’re when Shana passed left a hole in your heart. And now the edges are ragged and the rough and the raw. Yeah, that hole will always be there. But the edges will smooth over. Yeah. And there will always be a place in my heart for her, there will always be a longing for her, I will always miss her. Yeah. And I don’t, I don’t intend for that to change. I don’t want that to change. I want to you know, have that fear because that’s my love for her. But it doesn’t have to be fra every day and it’s not as bad every day. And when it is bad, you know, we deal with it. And we realize it’s going to pass so we lean into those feelings. We have those feelings, and then we let them go and we move on. Yeah.
Jonathan Aslay 23:36
Um, I don’t know if it’s appropriate to share with your audience. But I’ve done some spiritual journeys using plant based medicine. Now Yeah. And actually, each time I’ve done it in the last year, and I’ve done it three times. I’ve connected with him. I mean, I connect with him on a deep level and you One of the messages he sent me, which I thought was very profound was I was kind of playing with my eyes open and my, my eyes closed because when you’re on the medicine, everything is kind of euphoric, and kind of a dreamlike state. And there was a bright, shining light. And he says, Hey, Dad, you don’t have to close your eyes. Because the light of love is just engulfing you right now. And just always remember the light of love is on. So you don’t have to. And what I think he meant when he said that was closing your eyes is like being afraid, being a fear not of him, but just in life in general. He’s like, keep your eyes open, open your eyes to love and that will get you through anything. And it was like, that message came in so loud and clear. As well, as he said one other thing. He said gratitude, be grateful, because I’m already in the light of love. Like networks lean in together. gratitude. I’m already in love. I’m in that space of love. And that’s be grateful for that. You’ll get there. What’s he saying? You know, but I’m already there.
Brian Smith 25:09
Yeah, I think that is so awesome. And I’m curious was Iosco that you did?
Jonathan Aslay 25:15
No, I did still assignment. Okay.
Brian Smith 25:17
Yeah. Well, you know, it’s it’s, they’re, they’re doing experiments with psilocybin and there’s some real medical benefits. Yeah, I’m not I’m not promoting it. But yeah, there’s people for depression and anxiety and they’re using it in medical settings. And we’re starting to understand plant based medicines and I have friends that have that have taken Raska and I’ve been interested in it because as a medicine, you know, not as a recreation. Yeah,
Jonathan Aslay 25:41
exactly. I do it as a spiritual journey. And
Brian Smith 25:44
yeah, it can it can open up our eyes to a greater reality that our brain filters out. Yeah, we’ve got we’ve got these senses that are that kind of block everything else out. So I think that’s really cool. And I think it’s a universal message that we can all you know, take to heart and again, as parents, you know, when our children Leave before us. We missed it. A lot of people grieve for our children like they miss this. They miss that. And it’s really important message messages say they didn’t miss anything there. As you said, He’s in the light of love. Yeah, you know, he’s in bless that that we’ll get to soon enough. Yeah.
Jonathan Aslay 26:16
My ex wife struggles a bit because she has that. I want to say the word fantasy and please forgive because there’s probably a better word but you know, like, he getting married having children, she being a grandma to, you know, his children. So she has this missing of that, which I don’t have that same strength and desire and like, I don’t have that same desire as she did, per se. I just, I miss them because I liked myself. Like, I actually both of my boys I mean, what’s interesting is a lot of parents may love their children, but they don’t necessarily like them. Chuck,
Brian Smith 27:01
Jonathan Aslay 27:02
And both my boys were polar opposites. I mean, they were as far as it can be. So two different people, but I really liked them. And what I miss most is I just liked hanging out with him. I don’t know how
Brian Smith 27:16
else to describe it. No, I think it’s a great way to scribe because I like both my girls and Shana was is younger. She’s three years younger than my daughter Kayla and I. I miss her being here for her sister. Yeah, you know, I missed that. I you know, I didn’t have the fantasies of grandchildren and stuff like that. That’s just some people do. Yeah, I don’t. So I don’t I don’t really miss that. But there are times you know, she would be a sophomore in college now and she was going to go to my alma mater. So there are times when I do I miss those things, but it’s for me, right. She was she was a few weeks away from getting her attempts to start driving and she was really excited about you know, dry. Yeah, it’s funny because I one of the readings that I was meeting She said Shana is handing me car keys, why she handed me car keys. And she’s like, and I told her she was 15 and a half. And she said, I think she’s telling me she’s driving the other sides. And she’s like, I don’t know if it’s literal. I don’t know if they really have cars there. But you know, she’s just telling me she’s giving me this message. She’s not missing that right? Yeah, yeah, we’re missing those things, but they’re not.
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 grief to growth com www dot g ri e f the number two gr o w th comm or text growth gr o w th 231996. If you’d like to support this podcast visit www.patreon.com. Slash grief to growth www.trn.com slash g ri e f, the number two gr o w th to make a financial contribution. And now back to grief to growth.
Jonathan Aslay 29:22
Yeah. Oh my god, thanks for sharing that. That’s so cool.
Brian Smith 29:27
Yeah, but you know our kids and I feel this from you. I mean, my kids are my life. I mean, my I didn’t understand you talked about self love. I didn’t understand unconditional love until my children. Yeah, I mean it. That’s that’s when you look at that kid and you go wow, I would do anything for you. And there’s nothing that you could do that would make me you know, not love you and, and you love them. You know, whatever they do, whatever their thing is. My girls are very different in some ways, but you love both of them, you know, and you love them differently, but equally.
Jonathan Aslay 29:58
Yeah, you know, it’s interesting. You met unconditional love and I think as a parent and on some level I hate I’m about to use the word hate but it’s if there’s another word I just that’s the only when it comes down on some level I hated being a parent because unconditional love can feel incredibly overwhelming because I want to protect them. I don’t want them to ever get hurt I you know, I mean everything about wanting them to be incredibly safe was also a huge pressure for me. Yeah, I mean, and so I don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. But parenting unconditional love was felt like a burden at times. It makes you vulnerable.
Brian Smith 30:45
Yeah, I had a dad I’ve never before before we had kids that have a friend that had a child and she said, having a child is like taking your heart out of your chest and letting it walk around in the world. You know, and it’s totally exposed because you realize how vulnerable You are you know if something happens to your to your child and with Shana and our girls, we’re both healthy for you know, most of our lives within Shana was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which was pretty serious when she was about 10 I think. And then like a year or so later, she was diagnosed with a heart condition. So we went from her being like, you know, really healthy to, you know, me having to be concerned about it with the medications I was giving her and the things we were going through. And that’s You’re right, it’s, it’s extremely, it makes you vulnerable. Yeah. But it’s worth it. You know, it’s it’s worth I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, but you know, they’re becoming your lives.
Jonathan Aslay 31:38
I, I want to say that the one thing that happens, the moment he passed, was that 800 pound gorilla that I was caring about unconditional love, on some level disappear. In other words, and it disappeared, not because he wasn’t here. It’s because in that moment, I recognized how valuable life really becomes how important every single day matters. And so my, my last memory of my son was we got together we got together for lunch twice a week. I mean, we get together for lunch, we, you know, go to different places, we always go to one of us, either we go to his favorite places always order the same food, but we had three restaurants one, two, and two days before he passed was the last time I saw him and we always said goodbye the same way. I love you, you know, and with a hug, and I’ll see you later. And I’m grateful that on some level, that’s my last memory of him, as you know, because sadly his mother doesn’t have that his mother. He woke up on a Tuesday morning went to downstairs and have a cup of coffee, and go back upstairs and his mother saw him and then he passed some time between 9am and noon. And so for her, it’s like this. Oh, I just expect to see him later in the day. Ya know, and I at least have a little different memory because that feel of I know I’m making a big deal about this, or at least it’s a big deal for me. I’m so grateful. I don’t have that experience, because that would feel painful to me.
Brian Smith 33:31
Yeah, you know, and I had to I worked with the guy to do some trauma work because for me, my daughter the night before, because she was still living here. She was 15. So we were sitting on the couch and we went to bed and she goes up to the bathroom and she was in the bathroom. The door was closed. So I just said, you know, goodnight through the door. I didn’t hug her that night. Every night I would hug her and give her a kiss. But that night I didn’t. And then the next morning she didn’t wake up. So my last memory was finding her you know in bed the next day. But the thing our kids tell us when they come through through mediums or through after death communications is I don’t want you to remember the last moment. You have a memory like you. That’s great.
Jonathan Aslay 34:09
Yeah, it’s kind of for me, I lean into that memory.
Brian Smith 34:12
Yeah, I think it’s, I think it’s great that you have that, but I’m like, you know, I could I could agonize over the fact that I didn’t kiss her that night. You know, I could say that was my last moment. And why didn’t I kiss her? But I don’t know. I kissed her every other night before that. Yeah. And she knows I love her. And in fact, she would even say to me sometimes you don’t have to tell me you love me all the time. You know, I know. But I’m like no, I’m gonna tell you anyway
Jonathan Aslay 34:34
by the way Now let me ask you something. So you have another child right so with my my other son I’m like look, we’re gonna hug and kiss every single time PCT Yeah, every communication between us always to be I love you at the end. I put a little pressure on him a little bit because of this and I say look, cut me some slack and he’s he’s actually understanding
Brian Smith 34:59
Yeah. I think that’s natural. How old is your other son? I
Jonathan Aslay 35:01
was there three years apart. So he was 22. Okay, it’s 24 now.
Brian Smith 35:08
Okay, so yeah, same as my girls. My daughter will be 24. Kayla will be 24 this fall and
Jonathan Aslay 35:14
Okay. Wow. So now we have exactly.
Brian Smith 35:17
Yeah. So we always, you know, and the thing is this goes back to my past but I always had my girls and kiss them because I was like, I’m gonna overcompensate for my childhood. So I do that anyway. But I was telling Kevin the other day, she called me on the phone. And she goes, what was that side when you answered the phone? I said, because you only call me when something is wrong. And one thing she texts me I mean, don’t get me wrong, she texts me she but I said you only call when something’s wrong. So So the other thing is you have to say I’m still going through PTSD, right? Yeah. And I’m going to be for the rest of my life. So when you call when the phone rings or the shoe, you know, tell us first of all, I’m gonna do the first thing out of your mouth. I’m okay and she’s learned she is that’s that’s her brain. Bear for the rest of your life,
Jonathan Aslay 36:01
you know, identical with my son. I literally if you’re calling me just start with everything’s okay. Yeah.
Brian Smith 36:10
Yeah, they got to kind of some slack on that I think that’s perfectly i think that’s that’s fine I think we deserve that. So um so after Connor passed you write this book about self love So why is self love so important?
Jonathan Aslay 36:23
So what was interesting thank you for asking because right before he passed as a dating and relationship coach, I uncovered what I started to uncover how much dating triggers the number one emotional health issue. You said that in my bio and what what I meant was that I’ve observed that most humans, at least here in the United States, and I’m sure this is around the world as well is that we suffer from I don’t, I don’t feel good enough. I don’t feel lovable. I’m not likable. Our self worth is somewhat fragile. level and while we love the idea of confidence, you know that underneath that maybe facade of confidence many people are experiencing this lack of self worth self esteem, self confidence. And dating triggers this you know, whether it’s ghosting or breakups or narcissist or cheating are all these different things that can happen in the dating realm? It triggers that experience of not I’m not good enough. So I started a blog about self love as the antidote to that really is the is the precursor to building up your self worth, self esteem, self confidence. And then by the time he passed, I, as I said earlier, I was leaning into love, like how do I incorporate both my book isn’t about dating. It’s more about the individual, your individual sovereignty, if you will. And as a kind of wrap up in the book, I say it’s a vaccination. To emotional chaos because whether it’s the passing of a loved one or a breakup or ghosting or whatever happens in one’s life, it could be health issues and whatnot. When we have a solid core of loving ourselves, we’re better prepared for the roller coaster of life. Yeah, that’s my belief and that’s what I talked about.
Brian Smith 38:25
I think that’s fantastic. And I loved what you put that because I think and I’m starting for yourself self love is the is the core of everything. It’s the it’s the foundation is the bedrock right? So you know, Jesus said love your neighbors you love yourself and a lot of us learned that in Sunday school. And we were taught that means that you know, you should love your neighbor, but the first thing is you have to love yourself. Yes. And and that’s the thing that a lot of us don’t really know understand. And I was talking with the guy last night has written a book about the 10 life lessons learned from your death experiences, and the first light the first lesson, the universal lessons. For people near death experiences, the lessons, you know, they might pick up here or there. It’s all about unconditional love. It’s all about unconditional love. And again, the first the first love is the love for yourself. Yeah. But in our society we’ve been taught the self love is equal to selfish. And we shouldn’t do that we should be humble, which should be you know, we should be humble, which we should just not think too much of our of ourselves. And it, it’s, we don’t have that foundation, right? So when these things come along, dating breakups, things like that, you know, grief, it knocks us right off our feet.
Jonathan Aslay 39:36
So what’s interesting in the Course of Miracles, we talk about the it’s not stayed in this way. So I’m going to give you my interpretation of it. There’s the unhealthy ego, because when we talk about self we’re talking about an ego and there’s there is an element of unhealthy ego that either tacks ourselves, there’s a you know, self crucifixion that can happen or we judge others compare ourselves to others and that sort of thing that’s really coming from unhealthy ego. Healthy ego says, I’m going to love on myself like with that little kid, you know, like a little kid inside of you, I’m just going to love on you not from a selfish place, but from an empowered place from a place of strength from within. And I started off the beginning chapter or the opening of my book talking about when you’re on the airplane. And everyone knows that when you get on an airplane, the flight attendant says, in the case of cabin pressure change, oxygen masks will drop. And if you’re traveling with small children, put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Because you can’t be of service to someone else if you can’t be of service to yourself. So the oxygen that’s coming on that plane is love. That’s what I’m, that’s what I’m leaning into is when we give ourselves an oxygen of love. We can then be of service to others. And yet we’ve been so conditioned that it’s the other way around. Yes, and judged is if if you don’t do it that way, you know, if you if it’s all about giving, and there’s little room for you, how can you be a value to anyone else anyway? So that’s what I lean into.
Brian Smith 41:14
I you know, as I’m doing a lot more studying and i a lot of these new age, you know, teachings, I guess I’ll say there’s been a huge attack on the ego. The ego is bad, we need to kill the ego and eagles and I was just reading a book about enlightenment, this guy’s just like, the ego is the enemy. And I think that’s overdone. Yeah, my personal opinion. And I was talking with the guy I was telling you earlier, Bob Perry, who’s like an expert on a course in miracles, we he was talking about the ego in the Course of Miracles. And I said, you know, my impression I think, you know, Freud talked about the EDD the ego and the super Yeah, I think we’re attacking the EDD or the ego when we should be attacking the EDD because it’s the ID that’s all about me. But the ego is healthy. We have to have an ego we have to have boundaries. We have to have an idea And of ourselves and to take care of ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think we, I think we’ve gotten out of balance. That’s
Jonathan Aslay 42:06
why I differentiate it. For me, this is my interpretation, because the book doesn’t say it that way. But it’s healthy ego versus unhealthy ego, that’s just yeah, II way of phrasing it. But it’s the recognition that whenever I’m attacking myself, because I could judge myself or rific Lee, or I can judge others or I compare myself to others, or I mean guilt, or I’m in resentment. All of those experiences are born out of fear and ego, the unhealthy aspects of life because it’s really born out of fear. So, the healthy part of ego the way I interpret it is how can we lean more into love? And, you know, it’s interesting, though, a lot of people throw around the word love, oh, I’m very loving. I’m very giving. I’m always this, but oftentimes, it’s still coming from a selfish place. You know, I need you to be this way. For me to feel good. Instead of, Hey, I’m just gonna give no matter what happens.
Brian Smith 43:06
Right? Right. It’s giving with the proper motivation. Yeah. And it’s, it’s understanding that we’re all equal. And we’re all really the same. And if you’re if you were really all one, yeah. And if you really understand that, then you will love other people, but you’ll also love yourself. And I think, as I said, I really like what I hear you saying about, you know, self love being the foundation for this, whether it’s dating or whether it’s going through grief or going through anything is primarily looking at, you know, who you really are, what value you have, you know, in and of yourself. And if you have that in your in a dating situation, and someone dumps you, you’re not going to dump on yourself and say, well, they they, they dumped me because I don’t deserve to be loved, which you know, can happen, right?
Jonathan Aslay 43:47
Well, I’m in a world well, I coach women,
and they oftentimes take it well. I mean, it’s human nature to take it personally. In other words, as if it’s a sign of your worth, and I’m here to To say, hey, when someone, for example, ends a relationship, and they’re basically saying we’re misaligned, that’s all it’s saying is we are not aligned with one another for whatever. The reason is irrelevant because if they’re choosing to move on, that’s their choice that going back to the journey. The unhealthy ego says, there’s something wrong with me. And I think I’m going to tell you why I think this happens. I think that the unhealthy ego enters in our lives every day in some way, shape, or form, as the trigger to love yourself. In other words, it’s, it’s because here’s the thing. As children, we’ve been so conditioned to experience love from others. We were never really trained as children to learn how to love ourselves. It’s we get love from others. So I think the ego is constantly putting, you know, these little tests in your way, so you can return them To love fact another great book to read as returned to love by Marianne Williamson. Fact at the end of my book, I actually take you on a chronicle of the 20 years of personal development I’ve been through, and I recommend what I believe are some of the best books on the planet to really shore up one’s self love. least these are the ones that I most, you know resonated with.
Brian Smith 45:27
Yeah, but it’s interesting that you say that because I think a lot of times we do tend to, we try everything until we find something that works, right. So trying to find love from other people and relying on that, you know, relying on them for our own self worth. We eventually figure out this is not working. And we get to the rock bottom that you referred to earlier, and we all reach at different points or different ways at different times. And I heard someone the other day and I wish I could remember it was like it give them credit, but they were saying in a rock bottom is really a blessing, because it’s what motivates you to start moving up And after we hit rock bottom, there’s only one way to go. So once we get to that point where we’ve said, okay, I’ve tried this, I’ve tried this, I’ve tried this, and it’s not working. Let me let me try something different. Let me try turning within, as, you know, as Kelvin Chen, a guy I’ve interviewed also said, No, it’s turning within Yeah, we start to say, let me look at my own my own self worth. Let me look at my Let Me Love on myself. Let me get that, that. That motivation, that feedback from myself. And if I do that first, then I can love other people. And then I’ll get the love that I need in return. And if someone says, I don’t want to be with you, I can say, like you said, we’re misaligned. Not you’re worthless. Yeah, we hear that. Yeah.
Jonathan Aslay 46:47
It’s hard to do it when you’re in depression. There’s Yeah, there’s no doubt and and I even talked about in this book, I’m not you know, I’m a huge proponent to seeking medical Help, you know, if you’re, if you feel so far down the rabbit hole, is please go out and see, you know, professional help. Not that I’m a big proponent on medicine as a way to curb it. Because ultimately, hope is the only way to I believe having people when you are in depression, you’ve lost hope. I feel like that’s like the core element. So yeah, personal development is really is shoring up that level of hope. That’s my invitation. But if you need medical treatment and need to see people that are professionals at this, don’t go to, you know, some life coach that you saw online and no disrespect to life coaches, but because I’m a life coach, but I start with professionals because there’s a lot of people out there giving Kwazii advice, you know, to help and that may take you further down the rabbit hole. Yeah, you know, and it’s
a good life coach knows that and we’ll send you
Brian Smith 47:59
you know, Exactly. So that’s what I was going to say I’m a life coach myself. And my daughter is a mental health professional. She’s in, she’s in counseling. She’s our she’s a mental health counselor and she’s working on her master’s degree. And I’m doing this life coaching course right now to teach other life coaches. Now, one of the things they said I really liked is, you know, there’s a place for people, there’s a place where life coaches because life coaches are typically looking forward. Yeah, we help people to to understand where you are to understand what your motivations are, what you want and to make plans. Yes. If you need a professional counselor to help you look back and figure out why you are where you are and the issues you’re having. That’s not a life coach. Yeah. And that’s that’s something that we need to understand is life coaches. That’s not we do so we refer people that that need counseling the counselors, but if here’s a situation where you you feel like I’m stuck. I know what I want to do by just can’t get there. That’s where life
Jonathan Aslay 48:50
Yes, exactly, well said. Well said.
Brian Smith 48:54
So yeah, I think you know what we’re talking about though, I think it really is. It’s interesting how it applies, like I said to everybody, I like the way we talk. You know, we talked about your books about extensively on the surfaces about dating and your relationship coach. But it really applies to everybody because we all could learn how to love ourselves better.
Jonathan Aslay 49:13
Well, actually, I don’t talk too much about dating in the book. It’s a good Leaning, leaning into love in and of itself. I mean, there’s a little bit of dating in there. But when I when I started to write it, I wanted it to be I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself in the dating realm. Um, so I spent more about how to shore up your own self worth, self esteem, self confidence, that sort of thing. So there are very simple lessons like, you know, Chapter One is called speak your truth, do it with kindness. You know, oftentimes people are afraid to speak up. So the encouragement is to start using your voice. Yeah, kind way in a non confrontational way. So and each lesson builds upon itself so by the time you get to the end of the book, you go, Okay, this is a tiny wake up call. Now I’m this is where I take you, as I say, look, now there’s these other great resources that you should start checking into like Course in Miracles or maybe some workshops or Wayne Dyer, Abraham Hicks. I mean, I list all the people that I love. Yeah. And if and so that’s really it’s just a tiny wake up call to begin and I’m a big proponent of a daily personal development practice, personal development, self help spiritual practice, daily. And, oh, one other thing a lot of people confuse self love with self care. And like getting manicures and massages and bubble baths and all those kind of things and I’m here to say is self care is for the body. self love is for the, for the heart, for the emotional side of who you are. That’s what self love is about. Yeah, it’s more and the body is an important part of this too. But self care is just the body piece that the emotional piece is going to require personal development, self help and spiritual work, at least in my perspective.
Brian Smith 51:14
Yeah, I agree with you. And that’s the conclusion I’ve come to, to it requires a practice and people might might shy away from that word, practice. But I was interviewing someone a little while ago and she was talking about practice. And she said, it’s three minutes a day, because this is what she starts people she’s like, and she said, I really don’t want you to do any more than that. You know, she in her in her approach is like, because if you do, it’s gonna become overwhelming. She said, so do three minutes a day, and it’s just these little things that they don’t have to be big. I mean, for me, I have a gratitude practice before I get out of bed every morning. I think of three things I’m grateful for. And you know, and and things like, you know, people shy away from the word meditation, but call it mindfulness. And even if it’s just putting on some music and sitting down for five minutes, and closing your eyes and listening to a song and inspires, yeah, do little things like that on a regular basis to kind of, you know, to build yourself up to kind of daily exercise
Jonathan Aslay 52:06
I am full agreement, I mean, I encourage, I encourage everyone to go 15 minutes and you start with three and go to five and 10 and 15. But at a minimum, get to a level, this is my request for everyone get to a level of a minimum 15 minutes a day at some point, you know, start small get to that point. And meditation is a great technique and like he said, it’s not about on and just, you know, emptying your mind, per se although that is one technique. It could be listening to music and doing other things. I I, Tony Robbins talks about something called the Hour of Power. And, you know, he’s a believer that you put invest an hour. I kind of want to encourage people to get to that level at some point because here’s the thing. How many episodes of the Kardashian Do people need to watch? How many times do you have to flip through Facebook Likes and Instagram likes? Why not redirect at least somewhere between those five minutes, you talked about 15 minutes or maybe even get to a point of an hour in really nurturing your own soul. Because those other things are merely distractions. And, and God universe is Spirit is saying, I want you to invest in you. Like, that’s what Spirit says every day. I want you to invest in you.
Brian Smith 53:33
By Yeah, look, yeah, look at it as an investment. I would agree with that. But you know, it’s interesting. I’ve been meditating for how many years now? And I’ve been meditating daily for the last three years, okay. And I remember talking to friends about meditation several years ago, they’re like, I can’t sit for five minutes. There’s no way I could sit for 20 minutes. So we encourage people start wherever you are, right. And for me, I do several things. I my gratitude practice, as I mentioned earlier, I take it out. An hour and a half walk every day I walk seven miles. I do a formal study down meditation. So I do multiple things throughout the day. That’s where I,
Jonathan Aslay 54:08
cumulatively, you’re doing a fair amount. That’s great.
Brian Smith 54:11
Yeah. cumulatively, I’m doing quite a bit. Yeah, but that’s just what I do.
Jonathan Aslay 54:15
Yeah, I was gonna say, by the way, let me clarify. I don’t mean all in one sitting. Now. Yeah, but certainly get to that place. Um, are you familiar with the Hawaiian forgiveness? prayer? I’m not. Okay. So I’d like to share with your audience something that really helped me. So the wine forgiveness prayer is called upon upon upon upon upon Oh, and I’m butchering it a little bit because it’s might not be exact. It’s a very simple prayer. And it said, it’s nine words. I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I’m going to repeat that. I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. And it’s actually something that you can say to your And what’s interesting about this prayer is that it’s it’s kind of like a it’s like an NLP pattern interrupt. So if you’re ever feeling fear, anxiety, anger, melancholy and I’m not talking about deep, you know, deep melancholy or deep depression, anything like that just those beginning moments where you ever feel anxiety, say this prayer and sometimes they say it 10 times a day, or 10 times in a moment, but it actually reshift your brain patterning because forgiveness actually means for giving love. And this is a great exercise to give yourself love. So forgive us for giving love. And I do this throughout the day whenever I’m feeling a little anxious or whatnot. And so they’re like what you said there’s all these little things like gratitude, forgiveness prayer, maybe watching a video Maybe listening to a podcast, all these things are nurturing our soul. I think on a healthier level, then, like I said, the distractions of life because we can get so hypnotized by this little device. Yes, I think it’s really, yeah, I completely agree with you.
Brian Smith 56:18
And I try to do with people is offer them as many tools as possible and say, you know, like, here’s your tool box here and use what resonates with you, and what works for you. And as you said, you know, make it make it something you do throughout your day. It shouldn’t be it hopefully won’t be a burden. It shouldn’t be a burden. It should be something you look forward to you should look forward to your to your meditation time. And if you’re, if you’re not looking forward to it, then maybe you’re using the wrong technique. Yeah, should find something that works better for you.
Jonathan Aslay 56:45
Yeah, there’s all different that’s the beauty of this. There’s all different cars for every human being kind of thing and it’s the same that personal development, find what resonates with you and I’m also a big proponent, if you like one teacher You know, listen to you know, follow them for a while, then follow someone new, mix it up, change it up. Don’t get pigeonholed sometimes although, you know, I’m not suggesting abandon, but change things up because variety is also part of the spice of life. And that’s the beauty of those who take this journey, personal development, self help and spiritual work because I believe the end result is a much calmer way of being with inner peace and most people are out for the pursuit of happiness. I’m in the pursuit of inner peace. Like, for me, that’s my declaration of independence is the pursuit of inner peace because that feels a lot better than shooting for happiness because the the end of the Yang will happen. You shoot for happiness all day long, you’re gonna get the corresponding other side.
Brian Smith 57:54
Yeah. Well, I think that’s really and the thing that’s really important is that we need to understand that you know, happy Venus is is fleeting happiness is based on circumstances whereas inner peace we if we can get that inner peace, we know the circumstances come and go. Yeah. So even when we are in those in those turbulent times that are that are raging around us, we still have that, that that foundation. We talked about that core, where we say I know everything is going to be okay. Yeah, no, I know everything actually is okay. It doesn’t appear to be okay. It seems to be chaotic and it sucks right now. And it’s okay to say it sucks right now. But it but I know, at my core, I know where my spirit is that everything is okay.
Jonathan Aslay 58:35
You know, it’s interesting. My, my mother, who that’s in the picture there. My mom and dad, my mother passed away six months before my son. So I had two big losses. In fact, my father who was never married 66 years before she passed. She we she kind of recounted her life. We had a little bit of fair warning. I mean, she was diagnosed with cancer. Answering was gone Three weeks later. But we had a chance to connect with her and as she looked back on her life and she shared with me She goes, I have so much to be grateful for I like I had so many great experiences and and she shared it. But what she said was, when I let go of you, when I come out when I leaned into everything is going to be okay. Like life just got better. Because she because she just reached a point. It’s almost like the chapter when you know, delay when fuck with your cheat when you get to the point of saying, you know what everything is going to be okay. Even if I’m in bottom. Everything is going to be okay. Because when you can, what did Steve Jobs say when you connect the dots backward? And I think you said that earlier in the podcast is to recognize that no matter what challenges most the time we get out of it. The ones who don’t is the ones who let melancholy take them down. And, you know, my invitation for them is at least Try to do some practice on a daily basis.
Brian Smith 1:00:04
Yeah, I agree. And you know, it’s ironic for me is, you know, it took my daughter’s passing for me to understand everything’s gonna be okay. Yeah, somebody told me this, you know, six years ago she passed, it’ll be five years ago in June, I would have said, No, no, I don’t believe that. But even though, you know, I said I would do anything to get her back or do anything to have her back. But I know everything will be okay. And I know she’s still with me, and we still have a relationship. And that, you know, I will, I will see her again. And since I’ve been through this, everything else is nothing after that.
Jonathan Aslay 1:00:35
Hey, I don’t know if we have enough time, but can I share something with your audience? Sure. So it’s interesting because I shot a video called what to say and how to date a grieving parent. I’d love your feedback on this. So because I’m single and dating, or I’m single, and I’m out there, and I recognize that you when it comes to talking about my son, it can be a little bit of a you know, especially sensitive subject. Yeah. In fact, one of the things when someone asked me Oh, tell me about your kids, and they don’t know yet I always say, Well, my oldest lives with my his mom, and my youngest lives in heaven. So that’s my way of saying, I don’t have morale. So, but one of the things that happened, and early on, whereas when people kept saying, Oh, I’m sorry for your loss, I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sorry for your loss. And I don’t know why. But that triggered me. Because there’s nothing for you to feel sorry about. And what I need to say is you didn’t do anything wrong. And I know, the term I’m sorry, can have multiple meanings. It bothered me. So it wasn’t until one of my dear friends said to me, it was like, three weeks after he passed, and I saw him He goes, Jonathan, there are no words. There are no words and you’re in my prayers. And can I give you a hug and what I liked about that, was when you say there’s no words. It didn’t require me to respond to him. When he says you’re in my prayers, it’s like, wow, that feels like love and he goes, can I give you a hug that’s loving. So, you know, when when someone says, I’m sorry, it requires kind of a response back, but when someone said there are no words, it’s exactly true. Like, there are no words, there’s nothing you can say to me, that’s going to feel good. So if you just say, there are no words, I get it, you’re acknowledging it without because you know, there’s nothing you can say to change this. And so when it comes to dating a grieving parent, I certainly would encourage that’s my invitation. I don’t know how you feel about it, but that’s just no I think,
Brian Smith 1:02:44
you know, it’s interesting because I wrote a book on grief and and one of the things I talked about the things to say and things not Yeah, no grieving person. And the thing is, there are no words and I said, I think I said almost exact same thing. I don’t know what to say. There are no words that’s the perfect thing is yes. says there are no words. And there’s really nothing you can say. And me even being five years into this and dealing with the thousands of parents I’ve dealt with, I still sometimes say I’m sorry for your loss. Yes, that’s what,
Jonathan Aslay 1:03:10
we’re so conditioned for it.
Brian Smith 1:03:12
So that that does come out. But what I’ll say is like, I know, this is hard. You know, I’ll say that to people sometimes. I don’t know how you feel, you know, but I know this is hard, you know, just acknowledging their their pain, and that required them to come back with anything. So there’s no you know, things like that. We just acknowledge the person Yeah. feelings. without, you know, but it’s, it’s difficult. It’s difficult for the other person to, it’s hard for us as the griever. But for the other person, they don’t know. Yeah, well,
Jonathan Aslay 1:03:43
there are no words, you know, yeah. It’s actually the one thing
Brian Smith 1:03:46
I do I like that a lot. Yeah, but I was at a dinner with someone and what I usually do, it depends on the relationship. I was at a dinner with a woman I was never going to see you again. It was a it was a business dinner thing. And we just happen to be sitting at the table with them and she asked about my kids. I’ll usually just say I have, you know, two daughters and blah, blah. Then they’ll say like, well, where did they go to school because you happen to live close to where I live. And so I’m like, and then finally, when they ask the third question, and I’m like, Okay, well, Shana, you know, strangers in spirit, you know, because I don’t, because people get awkward when you tell them that your kids, you know, on the other side, so I don’t I don’t lead with that. Yeah. If it’s someone I’m not going to have an ongoing relationship with. Now if it’s someone I’m going to have a relationship with, then I’ll just tell them up front, you know,
Jonathan Aslay 1:04:26
from a data perspective, it’s kind of one of those questions. Oh, how old are your kids? Blah, blah, blah. And it’s like, yeah, I feel and sometimes I actually give them the heads up before like, sometimes I’ll shoot even a text message. I’ll just, you know, before I meet someone, I want you to know this ahead of time. And the reason why I even send it in an email or text because it gives them a second to process it. Yeah, because when you’re face to face with someone and they tell you this, it is I I can only am I’m not at the why I’m at the receiving Because I experienced it with you, but I, this is an experience. I know. I can imagine how hard it is to hear that information. And again, they don’t know what to do. It’s almost like deer in the headlights. So, right prepare them, at least from a dating perspective, a little heads up, because I know that’s a big that’s a big responsibility to navigate, you know, emotionally
Brian Smith 1:05:23
I, I agree. And that’s, that’s the only way because a lot of parents will ask me so how do I respond when someone asked me how many kids do I have? And I’m like, that’s totally personal. That’s up to you. And I suggest you rehearse it and think about it because it’s going to happen. Yeah. And so I have I have thought about that. And the reason I hold back with some people is not because I am so uncomfortable talking about Shannon because I don’t feel uncomfortable at all. It’s because I know it’s gonna make them but I’m like a what, what level of pain do I want to put them through? If we’re just having a conversation standing in line at the movies? Yeah, exam like,
I’m not gonna go there with them. So that’s that’s the way I had to One.
Jonathan Aslay 1:06:01
Now this is always and that’s the thing, you know, a lot of people and I can already tell with you. They feel like, like, it’s gonna be uncomfortable for me to talk about. It’s quite the opposite. I want to talk about him. Ask me questions, you know, like, you can say anything. In fact, I may feel a little sad for a moment because I’m missing them. But that’s the other thing is I on some level, I’m like, I want you to ask me about him. Asked me tons, at least for me anyway. No,
Brian Smith 1:06:32
I for me, that’s a that’s a great point that we need to tell the people that don’t know what to say to a grieving person. We don’t feel uncomfortable talking about our kids. And we’re always thinking about that. So don’t think that you like, Oh, I brought up something and I made you sad. No, they’re always on our mind. And you didn’t make me sad. Now. You said I might. I might have I might shed a tear. Because I’m thinking about her or I’m thinking about her more on the surface, but she’s always with me. I mean, she’s literally always with me. I got a walk in the room. If there’s a medium there, like, who’s a little girl following you around? Because so I know she’s with me all the time.
Jonathan Aslay 1:07:08
Well, that’s I, I, what I want to end her, I want to say that for those of us who are going through, you know, this loss and I can, again, only speak for myself, I want my friends to ask me about him, I want them to, you know, bring them up. Because that lets me know that, you know, he’s still around to, you know, so yeah, those that feel afraid I, I’m just going to encourage you to, you know, ask questions. Tell me a story about when he was five years old, or, you know, tell me a story about her when she was six in sixth grade or whatever, you know, yeah. Invite that conversation because we’re dying to talk about our kids, or at least I know I am. Absolutely every choice of words to say I’m dying to talk.
Brian Smith 1:07:55
Now, every, every parent I’ve talked to, I’ve talked to thousands says that I want to I want to talk about my kid I like to talk about my kid. I don’t I think I shouldn’t say every parent. Sometimes in the early stages I have had, I have known parents that have said, you know, actually, I did talk to a client that said, we don’t bring them up, you know, her husband and her other son, they don’t they don’t bring them up. And I’m like, this is something we need to work on. Because you know, they’re all walking around thinking about him, but they don’t talk about it. with Jonathan, we’ve been going for about an hour now I really appreciate your time. It’s been great getting to know you. I want to give your information again. And then last up I think you want to close with but your website is Jonathan acid calm. It’s JONA th o n, a s la y calm. I’ll put that in the show notes. The book is what the hell is what the heck is self love anyway? Sounds like a great book. So I encourage people to check it out.
Jonathan Aslay 1:08:52
Yeah, thank you so much. I’m so honored. I really, it’s, it’s I’ve done a number of conversations around grief it’s it’s rare that I get to talk to someone who’s in the same I we have so much similarity here with our cars, kids age and everything and, and the timing and whatnot. So I’m really grateful that I had a chance to speak with you because this actually helped me feel better, as well. So I just want you to know that I’m very grateful.
Brian Smith 1:09:20
Well, awesome. You enjoy the rest of your day.
Jonathan Aslay 1:09:22
Thank you. Likewise. Have a great day, everyone.
Brian Smith 1:09:24
Well, I hope you enjoyed the episode, I want to make it really easy for you to reach me. So just send me a text 231996 and simply text the word growth, gr o w th. In fact you can right now just say hey Siri, send the message. 231996. And when Siri asked you what you want to send, just say growth. You can do the same thing with Ok, Google. Thanks a lot. Have a wonderful day.
Thanks for listening to grief to growth. Brian hopes that you find this episode helpful, and we’ll come back for future episodes. Brian best selling book grief to growth planted not buried is a great resource for anyone who is coping with grief or know someone who is. If you enjoy the podcast and would like to support it, there are three things you can do to help. The first is to share the podcast with someone that you think it will help. The second is to go to iTunes rate and review the episode. The third way you can support the podcast is by becoming a patron. Head over to www patreon.com slash grief to growth. That’s pa t ar e o n.com. Slash grief, the number to growth and sign up to make a small monthly donation. patrons get access to exclusive bonus content and knowledge that you are helping to spread the message of grief to grow. For more about Brian and grief to growth, visit www grief to growth calm
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