Reid Peterson is the Creator of Grief Refuge, a mobile app that is a daily companion to people in grief. Reid has years of experience working with grief and creating online learning. He has combined the two into a unique app for your smartphone.
Reid’s biological father died in 2006 and his stepfather died in 2016. After losing both father figures in his life, he sought support through community grief counseling and support groups. After realizing comfort and solace could be provided to grievers more consistently, he made the Grief Refuge app to provide support on a daily basis.
Women, this is a great episode to share with the men in your life. There are too few of us men in this spiritual/grief field.
Reid lives with his wife, Jessica, in Santa Barbara, California. Together, they spend time at the beach playing volleyball, hiking in the foothills, and living heart-centered lives.
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 a gentleman by the name of Reed Peterson. I’m going to read the brief introduction to read and then we’re going to have a conversation as we always do. Reid is the creator of grief refuge. It’s a mobile app. There’s a daily companion to people in grief. Reid’s biological father died in 2006 and his stepfather passed in 2016. After losing both five father figures in his life, he sought support through community grief counseling, and support groups. After realizing conferences could be provided to Grievers more consistently, he made the grief refuge app to provide support on a daily basis. Reid lives with his wife, Jessica, in Santa Barbara, California. And together they spend time at the beach playing volleyball hiking in the foothills and living heart centered lives, lives. So that I want to welcome Reed Peterson to grief to growth. Hey, Brian,
Reid Peterson 1:35
it’s it’s a pleasure to be here. And I really look forward to our conversation as to gentlemen who value grief. And I’m just honored. Thank you.
Brian Smith 1:45
Yeah, it’s really great to have you. You reached out to me a few days ago and told me you had this app. And first of all, it was great. We were kind of both talking about an email. We’re two guys having this conversation. That’s very rare. Men don’t generally talk about grief. When you go to grief support groups, you don’t find men there, you know, for the most part. So it’s good to be having this conversation with you as well. Yeah, for sure. So what I you know, I kind of talked about it in the intro, but but I find that people that are in this field, and the Greenfield, typically something kind of triggers them and drives them into it. So and it’s typically a loss event. So tell me what, what got you into being interested in and working with grief?
Reid Peterson 2:26
Sure, I’ll try to sum it up in a couple minutes. You know, as you mentioned, my dad died in 2006. And at that time, I was in graduate school for psychology, and I was learning how to be a transpersonal psychologist, really, the way I define transpersonal psychology is like, almost the accelerated path to higher consciousness. And in my studies, we were studying the effects of meditation, we were studying the effects of drug induced experiences, you know, like LSD, psilocybin, etc. And so, when my dad died, I kind of felt like at the time, it was authentic, but I felt a lot of relief. And the reason being was because my dad was an alcoholic, my dad did struggle with post traumatic stress, he was in the Vietnam War. And he had a lot of, I think the term used in our culture is a lot of inner demons. And he really struggled with that. And so when he died, I had this i, this concept of, is, he’s no longer suffering. And so, you know, when living on my life accordingly, and, you know, process grief, some of losing my dad, but just kind of, you know, focused on my career path, so to speak. But then when my stepfather, he got sick with cancer in 2008. And his journey was long and grueling, and he was also a veteran, but very different story for him for his life experience. But I the reason why I’m mentioning is the veterans because he was a true soldier, and never giving up and never surrendering to the illness that didn’t take his life in 2016. So when war in my stepfather passed, I reflected on our relationship and realized man, I had, I had a very solid parental father figure in my life and kind of took advantage of it or not advantage I took, I took it for granted. I was always available to talk but the way our dynamic played out was I kind of had to approach him. And so I reflected on that and thought I kind of just felt a lot of sorrow because I was like, there’s a lot of missed opportunity. Unity’s for Ross to have very solid father son relationship even though he’s my stepfather. And in reflecting upon that, I started realize, wow, there’s a, there’s a lot of unresolved grief with my my father. So I went on a journey, grieving both my stepdad and my father 10 years later. And that led me to working with support groups in my local community, as well as some personal counseling. And then I started to realize, Oh, you know, I, I’m starting to feel some kind of calling to provide help to others, who perhaps, you know, embark on their own grief journey, and started paying attention to how could I do that. And it led me to some pretty amazing training, actually, with the Center for loss in life transition out of Fort Collins, Colorado, and learn how to what Ellen Woolfolk calls it companion, and found this model and have started supporting people just by staying soft, keeping my soft, my ears open, my heart open, and my mouth closed, is really showing up to listen. And then was like, hey, why not embrace technology? What I mentioned career path, I learned how to utilize technology to help people learn certain aspects. Okay, and then tie that in with developing an app to just be very, very candidly convenient for people to use. Yeah.
Brian Smith 6:45
Yeah, there’s a lot you said in there that I want to, I want to kind of go over, you know, I noticed that you were saying your father passed in 2006. And your stepfather passed 10 years later. And a lot of times, we feel like we’re processing the grief or we don’t need to process the grief or whatever. And then it might hit us three 510 20 years later. And you know, we carry that around and don’t even realize it, then there’s some event, like I guess, in this case, your stepfather’s passing that brought that out?
Reid Peterson 7:15
Yeah, that’s exactly what happened. And at the time of our recording right now, it’s 15 years since my dad died, and I’m recognizing, wow, there’s still a lot there. It’s actually kind of fresh right now, because I kind of came to an epiphany that I’ve never publicly said this before. But my dad actually took his life. The circumstances of it were kind of unique, because on his death certificate, he died by accident. But I was like, Wow, he actually was the one who did it. He was in his house all alone. What had happened was, he, he was it was alcohol induced. And he was he was drunk at the time. And my dad struggled with flashbacks from the Vietnam War. And my assumption is that he was experiencing a flashback. And he ended up bold charging a wall in his house. So he hit the top of his head on the wall, and it ended up severing his cervical spine. So ended up dying from a subdural hematoma. But, you know, on his, like I said, on his death certificate, it says, that’s the cause of death. But when I look at it, I’m like, that’s pretty much suicide. And so that, to me, is fresh. I’ve really been thinking about that lately. And truthfully, it brings up a lot of motion for me, even though it’s 15 years later.
Brian Smith 8:53
Sure, sure. It’s so complex I was on. I had one of my podcasts whose mother was a drug addict, an alcoholic, and she had passed and then, so then you have, like you said, that feeling of relief, which can then bring about feelings of guilt, because now you’re guilty, that you’re relieved. And, you know, suicide always brings, you know, a complex set of emotions. And if we don’t process all those things, they just hang around, and they can be freshmen years later. So I certainly can, can understand what you’re saying. And that’s the thing about grief, it just kind of kind of hangs there until you pay attention to it. And I think especially as men, I think that’s why you and I don’t see each other men in these grief groups. We just carrying it around, we just stuffed it down and we say, I don’t even have those feelings. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Reid Peterson 9:41
Yeah, and I will say as a man to definitely agree with you. And so I’ve done a lot of processing through some of my own movement, like hiking, etc. I’ve gone through, gone for very long beach walks. But there are times where it’s trying to think of the right Word, it’s almost like intimidating because if I go to a support group, and it’s, you know, 90% or more women in the group, what I find as a man is that they’re very gifted in articulating their emotions with words. And I can’t identify with that. So it takes me longer. And, you know, I may stutter, I may pause and then get slightly self conscious, because I’m not like, I’m not able to hang with, with the women in the group who are so easily articulating what they’re feeling.
Brian Smith 10:34
Yeah. Yeah, that’s an excellent point. And I’ve noticed that, you know, a lot of times women as we’re trying to figure out what our feelings are, we’re processing them in our head and trying to get them out. You know, they’re, they’re just where their past and they’re just gone. So yeah, for a man going into scripts, it can be intimidating. For sure.
Reid Peterson 10:53
Yeah. So it’s definitely an assumption of why. Maybe that’s why a lot of men don’t end up going. But, I mean, there’s so many other reasons, too. But
Brian Smith 11:05
yeah, and it’s, you know, I’ve one I thought about, you know, biology versus versus socialization. And I think it’s a matter of socialization. I think it’s when men are taught to be it’s not, I don’t think it’s something men will say, well, that’s just the way we are, I don’t, I don’t believe that, I think it’s the way we’re taught to be, you know, we’re not taught to express our feelings. You know, my relationship with my father is really, you know, interesting, because my parents were kind of like, if we feed you and we clothe you, then that’s all you need, right. And I ended up in counseling when I was in my early 30s, late or late 30s, early 40s. My counsels like, No, you need to be loved and be held and stuff like that, like now, that’s, I don’t need that. And then I realized, when I was like, 40, I kind of do need that.
Reid Peterson 11:50
Yeah, I’ve gone through a similar experience, I was grateful, you know, when I was in, when I was in school, for psychology, my whole vision was to be a professor. And that didn’t pan out, I had to choose different career paths. But I’m so grateful that I was in that program. This was in my later 20s. Because it did open me up to better understanding. I missed out a lot on a lot of emotional and physical nurturing in my upbringing. Definitely with my father, but also with my mother at times, because she was a nurse who worked worked overnights, but she just wasn’t physically available. She was, you know, putting food on the table. And so I was just like, man, there’s, there’s a lot here. There’s a lot of healing.
Brian Smith 12:39
Yeah, there is. And you know, the thing is, I remember, I was probably a little bit after that things, I was probably in my early 40s. And there’s a book came out called Wild at Heart by a guy named john Eldridge, and is a Christian based book, but it talks about the father wound the wound, that all of us sons get from our fathers and the things we look for. And again, a lot of times as men, we’re not even told you’re allowed to want these things are they things are available to you. So we just assumed that they’re not we don’t even know what we need. So when you say there’s a lot there is, and most of us don’t start processing that till we’re 30 4060 years old. Man. So, so you said you took this this grief training, and you’ve been working with people? What did you decide to turn to technology to help people and why did you make that that that decision?
Reid Peterson 13:31
It Truthfully, I mean, it’s a simple answer. It’s all pandemic related. A, what I started doing my trainings, I was learning a companion model. And so naturally, one can show up to provide one to one support, having learned those type of skill sets. And so I started making myself available to provide that ones that one to one support, and still have a small practice, and doing so maybe see, you know, three to five clients a week. But I had this vision, Brian, to have a grief Retreat Center, a physical location, I’m thinking somewhere up in the pacific northwest of the United States, where there’s a lot of wood, and there’s a lot of water. And a lot of people can just come and have their own personal break from, you know, normal everyday stresses. They can just take refuge in their grief. And then the pandemic came in, I was like, You know what, this, this idea or this dream, it may have to be more of a longer term vision. And so I said, What can I do now? And I looked in, you know, I just kind of looked at the skill sets. I had this. I’ve been making, like online learning programs for 10 years. And so I was like, why don’t I just meet people where they’re at and that was on their phones, because phones are so convenient now. And so I said, Alright, let’s, let’s play with the technology. Let’s see what can be created to help people on a more consistent basis through through mobile technology.
Brian Smith 15:17
So yeah, that’s really interesting. So it was paid up. So were you seeing clients? Or are you seeing clients face to face? Are you seeing clients remotely? Or how do you how do you normally see people? Yeah, video conferencing? Okay, virtually, virtually? Yeah, I was gonna ask you if it had anything to do with the fact that you wanted to reach more men, because I think a lot of times, again, we talked about times, men are intimidated by group settings, and maybe even expressing their emotions in front of someone else. So I was wondering if you might think there might be a better market for that for men that they could do this in the privacy of their own home?
Reid Peterson 15:50
Maybe, truthfully, I haven’t really consciously thought about it. I, I, you know, I put out that intention, you know, it’s kind of a metaphysical concept of just like, you know, setting intention and the right people will show up, right? I don’t mean like, right, in the sense of right or wrong, but just more of like, who’s a good fit for you? Right? And, you know, they’ll find you. And so, I didn’t necessarily think like, perhaps it would be a specific gender focus, I just said, Oh, the people who need this type of environment or this type of holding space.
Brian Smith 16:32
It might be, it might be just a consequence, or unintended consequences or side effect. I guess. I’m just curious about that. Because, as I’ve talked to the few men I’ve talked to in this field, you know, and even I really look at the afterlife a lot. And I’ll ask you about your thoughts about that later. But it’s almost a women I go to a conference is 85 90% women and usually the men that are there have been dragged by their wives. Now they’re the they’re the Draggy, as we call it, you know, they just, they’re the circus. Yeah, I guess I have to go support her in this crazy stuff. And, you know, I’ve thought myself, you know, how do I reach more men, I have very few male clients. And the ones that I have their wives have been the ones that have signed them up. I just met one this weekend. And his wife’s like, yeah, I want him to meet with you. So yeah, it’d be interesting to see if that does pan out that way. And then I know myself, I love technology. So when I saw your app, I was like, really, you know, excited about it? This is kind of a segue, I just want to ask you, I’m just curious, what’s your What are your thoughts about spirituality or the app? Is there any afterlife thoughts in your mind or all the time? Yeah,
Reid Peterson 17:40
I’ll start with a short story of when I got the news that my dad died. I was in the backyard of the house where I was living out of grad school. And my dad and I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and most of my family lived in the area at the time. And I was out in California in graduate school. So there’s a big physical distance, and I got a voicemail for my brother, he left me the message that dad had died. And initially, there was just like, these volts of shock. And I’m like pacing back and forth in the backyard, looking up at the sky, as just couldn’t believe that you died. Quickly, I kind of I didn’t know what to do. And so ironically, I was in a class that weekend, because I got the phone call on Sunday morning. And I was in this weekend elective course. And it was. It’s called the psychology of men. I think the psychology of men’s spirituality might have been. And so I was like, Wow, what an irony that my dad died as well in this course. But I lived close enough to school where I would walk. And so I had about a 40 minute walk to school and I thinking along the way, I said, Dad, I know your transition has been really quick, but just let me know you’re okay. If you can show up in the, in the form of a crow sometimes. So this may sound silly, but for quite a few years, when he died, when I would be outside and there’d be crows on the branches wherever they were upon the telephone wire. And they just be making their presence known sometimes crows can be so loud. Yeah, I look up and just be like, Hey, Dad, and I, you know, I’d be connecting in whatever way I could. So that’s the story that kind of gets me into the afterlife concept, but I don’t necessarily I haven’t done a lot of study Brian as far as like other dimensions. Haven’t really taken my knowledge that far. But I am the belief that we have many different lives. I personally believe that I don’t, you know, if I come back in human form in the future, I probably won’t remember past lives. And in the life I’m currently living living now, I don’t have any past life, memories that can resolve, but they do hold the belief that we’re probably given many opportunities, our souls are given many opportunities to have learning experiences. Candidate Nick can’t necessarily explain why, but I just believe it’s just kind of his gut feeling. And perhaps, you know, if, if, since I believe in that, I also believe everyone has an opportunity, I kind of believe in that old soul new soul concept. Hope that answers your question.
Brian Smith 21:06
Yeah. And that was just, that was just a personal thing. I was just curious, because that’s, that’s a big part of what got me or gets me through my grief is, is the belief that there is a reason why we’re here that we do go on my dog, you can see your pictures as behind me. She passed away six years ago, but I feel like she’s still with me, you know, every day, and she’s the inspiration for what I do. So that’s, that’s a personal thing. I, you know, it’s interesting for, for me, if that were taken away from me, I don’t know how I would deal with the grief, I just, I just a big part of what I go through. But the reason I was so excited about seeing your app is because this is what I tell all my clients and I say all the time that grief is a practice. It’s like we have to be disciplined and how we go about it, it has to be faced, you know, when you gave the example of how you didn’t, you know, deal with your father’s grief, you know, very much for 10 years, I’ve interviewed I talked to someone, her son passed away, it was 18 years before the grief, you know, actually came back and hit her. But it will it will wait for you. And it will it’ll be there lurking in fact you so I believe in I believe in facing it head on, I believe in the practice. So when I saw your app, like I said, I was really excited about that. So tell me how your app could help. How does it contribute to that?
Reid Peterson 22:25
One, I think it’s consistency. The app does prove provide something on a daily basis. And it’s in the form of audio. So I like to call them reflections. It’s something that a user the app can listen to, and now integrate into their own life, I try to be very careful about what is spoken about, try to think something a little bit more pondering or philosophical, in its sense, to help somebody help hold that space. For their grief experience. I think that it’s common these days, Brian, that people can make themselves very, very busy, to either numb out a lot of pain, that their emotional pain that they’re feeling in their grief, or just try to tell themselves through, okay, I know that in those moments and moments, those types of things, or that type of thinking, can be actually be helpful. Because, you know, if someone is as devastated as they possibly can be, you know, it’s really hard to function in life. So some of these breaks or distractions can happen, but, but the app is there to help hold space for it. It’s like, in a way like it. It’s a process of honoring your grief, as well as letting yourself emote and now have a mourning experience to it. So there’s also there was a prompt for me for a couple years by some colleagues of mine who said read, you’ve got a really soothing voice. And you should probably do something with that gift. And that’s part of the app to Brian, there’s a lot of audio on there. And so I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from users where they say, if anything, your app helps me a lot with like, slowing down my nervous system. A lot of people in grief can really struggle with anxiety. That wasn’t necessarily, you know, a priority. When I made the app of like, let’s help people in grief, be less anxious. But what I found is as I get more feedback is like that. That’s one of the better ads that people are getting from using the app.
Brian Smith 25:04
Yeah, that sounds great. I use an app I’ve been using it for, off and on. Well been using it consistently now for about six years a little bit. It’s got insight timer for meditation. And I find that’s been because I like that it because I have I have a streak going, how many days in a row? Can I meditate, and it shows me how many minutes I’ve meditated. And so I like something like that I use, I have a thing. I called me, this muse. It’s like a biofeedback thing. And I love that kind of stuff. And so when I, when I saw your app, I thought, what a great way to make sure I honor my grief, you know, on a daily on a daily basis. So let’s talk about the different components that are in the app, because I did download it and I have looked at a little bit. So what are the what are the different components that are there? Sure.
Reid Peterson 25:48
The first and most important one is what I call the daily refuge. And that’s the audio musings, those come out every day. They’re actually relatively short, you know, they’re around five minutes long, intentionally. Because I don’t really want to, I don’t really want to put somebody through a wallowing in their experience. I want to help them, like you said, honor it, have another component component of the app, that is a journaling feature. And that’s, there’s there’s some categories on the app, so that those are the prompts themselves, but I know that in a lot of journaling experiences, there’s questions asked as prompts, they don’t really have those questions asked very intentionally. The another component is called reflections, their stories, their stories to help be a little bit more inspirational. You know, careful and using that word. I don’t really want to inspire Grievers. But they’re the reflection stories are set up in a way where, who the story is about, it’s from a perspective of like, having been able to experience a lot of healing their grief process to, so they’re not necessarily feeling the wrongness of the emotional pain. Another component is called my grief journey. And that is a little bit of what it sounded like you’re referring to like a little bit of a keeping a score. As far as that it’s a it’s a questionnaire that a user can answer each day. And it provides a little scorecard for them to help track progress if progress is what they want to track. And then I just added a new feature called Ask the author. And so I’m finding authors of grief related books and trying to get into their story a little bit more as to what motivated them to help write the book that they wrote, wrote and understand a little bit about a little bit more about their process of writing the book, too. I find it really neat, actually. Because, you know, when we pick up a book, we often hear a lot of read a lot of the marketing language to help sell the book, right? Well, you know, let’s, let’s get in the head and in the hearts a little bit about the author and better understand their intention to so. And then finally, another component is called intentions and intentions are just like, small exercises that users can lean on and utilize when they may feel like they needed. Such as I think there’s one about kindness, seeking kindness and asking for kindness to be treated with more sensitivity, because a lot of people can say a lot of things that end up hurting a lot of people. That might be all the components. I might have missed one there. I know. I know. I integrated the grief refuge podcast on there. But yeah, that’s just kind of more like because it was super simple to integrate.
Yeah, 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 growth.com www dot g ri e f the number two gr o w th. com. If you’d like to support this podcast, visit www.patreon.com slash grief to Growth www.patren.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.
Brian Smith 30:16
So how did you, you said you’ve done you’ve been doing online learning or learning how to teach people online and I can tell you I download the app like a couple days ago, I haven’t really had a chance to dig into it. But um, it’s really well done. It’s it’s really, it’s beautiful, as laid out really well. And it’s got the components, I would think I would need, you know, something. The day after Shayna passed away something told me to start a blog. So I started an online journal. So I was like, it’s still out there. It’s still public, if people want to read it. And I would just write whatever I felt like writing that day, and I would categorize it by you know, inspirational or a milestone or just what happened to me that day, or maybe dreams I had. So I like the way you’ve got this set up. Now I can go in with it. And I can journal I get to choose the category, how am I feeling today, I’m feeling sad. So let me put this in the sad category, I’m feeling angry or frustrated, whatever the emotion is, I’m feeling. And I sat down with my phone got a notification this morning that that some new content was available. I love that, that that prompts, because I think we kind of need that, you know, five minute audio, I think is perfect, because people are not going to dedicate a lot more time to it than that. So I, when I’ve seen what you’ve described, I think it can be very helpful and someone know, even as a supplement to counseling, you know, you’re in counseling, you’re seeing someone once a week or once a month or whatever, you can do this. No in between. and for those people that aren’t ready to go to a group, and you know, spill their guts, we have to get that we have to get that through us. And sometimes writing can be very helpful.
Reid Peterson 31:57
Yeah, that’s that’s very true. I think writing is extremely helpful. And I also think, back to the topic of men, a lot of men don’t want to write. I don’t know why. Yeah, I mean, it’s not just men, period, a lot of people don’t want to write to a lot of I’ve gotten a lot of response from I did do market research, Brian, before putting the app together. And one of the things that stood out for me was like a lot of people who I surveyed, they did say they would rather listen to something than to write it. And I think it might have to do with energy levels, perhaps it’s just, you know, it can be really exhausting to grieve. And it can be really exhausting to write your grief. And so I think a lot of people can feel some soothing, and some comfort and listening to something shared to them.
Brian Smith 32:57
Yeah, and the thing I like about the app is it gives you a chance to do both, you know, and maybe you listen for five minutes, and then you say how am I feeling right now? And then you just write a little bit. Something about I don’t know, maybe it was I read CS Lewis book many years ago. Was it surprised by grief, I think it was the title of the book, went after his wife had passed away any kind of journalist thing. And that just, to me, observed a grief observed. Yes, that’s what it was surprised by joy grief observed. But yeah, I’ve read that. And after my daughter passed on, like, I just felt like I had to write this down, I had to see and that way, I could look back, you know, in a few years, and see, you know, where I was, you know, and, and that’s, I found that the benefit very beneficial for me, and also the writing process and stuff, even though people don’t like to do it, it’s it can be beneficial. So this gives you a chance to do just a short bite sized chunk, you know, just set aside 10 minutes a day, you know, five minutes to listen, maybe in five minutes to write, to to honor your grief. And it’s you mentioned you’d like to take you know, walks and stuff that I do too. I walk I walk six miles every day. So first thing I’d do in the morning and people have that’s a lot that’s a lot of walking you must be in great shape. It’s like it’s more for this it’s more for my head than it is for my heart or my Yeah, it’s more for my heart. My my spiritual heart that is my physical heart.
Reid Peterson 34:24
Yeah, that’s well said. It’s interesting you say that because I started thinking about like, as I’ve aged a bit you know, my physical body hasn’t been able to maintain the the abuse I used to put it through, you know, as an athlete and younger 20s or something. And now I realized how important it is for connecting with like my emotional heart and you know, helping helping my mind come to come to peace with certain things. Through through my own movement. Yeah, I
Brian Smith 35:03
think I think movement is is important. And as I said this, this idea of doing something on a daily basis as opposed to willy nilly or whatever I feel it, and having something to me to instill that instill that discipline. So like, like I said, with the insight, insight timer app, I was using an offline for a while I was cool. Can I look at the graphs and stuff? And I took a challenge in 2017, I guess it was to meditate every day for 365 days. And so you get on the app, and it would say, What day are you on? And we were I was in a group. And I got to the end of that time, and said, Well, why don’t I just see how long keep the streak going. So, you know, I’m still doing it. So if I, you know, it’s, it’s, I found that it’s really helpful for me to have that app. And that reminder, and that little, the prompts and stuff to get me to do that. So I know, you know, technology’s not for everybody, but I think it’s a great, it could be a great supplement for a lot of people.
Reid Peterson 35:59
I like your word supplement, too, because that was the intention. I don’t want to take anyone away from group support, more counseling. Because when, when you are when your story is witnessed, it’s very helpful. Yeah, I just can’t think of a better word, it just really helps to have people to be able to witness you sharing your story. And also you also to hear other people’s stories, and to have that connection. Even though that’s more common now, virtually, there’s still so much value in it. But when I was when I was having my experience in getting support, through my grief, I had this kind of like, I always have this question like, you know, let’s say Monday, our group would meet. And Tuesday, you know, I wake up feeling a certain way. I would, you know, have a little win through my grief. And I would sit there and I think, what now, because it’s going to be another six days until my group meets again. Right? And, and so I’m like, okay, and that’s really what I sat down and I pondered over with the app, I was like, Okay, this, this is that sample that this is something that can really just be that go to, in the in between when, when the human to human connection is so vital, and so important. And yeah, this can help in that regard. Yeah,
Brian Smith 37:43
I’m glad to hear you say that. And that’s why I figured you intended the app as a supplement. Because I think grief, it’s very important to not isolate ourselves and feel alone. And I find that people when they’re going through it, especially if it’s a sudden loss, the loss of a child, especially the loss of a spouse, maybe we feel like I’m the only one that that’s been through this. We know we’re not intellectually, but we feel like we’re no one else could understand this. And it’s really important to sit down with somebody that can say to you, yes, I felt similar way or Yes, what you’re feeling is very common, you know, the anger, the frustration, the all the different things that we go through. So I think that that part’s important, but I love this as a, as an in between thing, you know, because I might be with the client, you know, maybe once a month, you know, so what can they do in the meantime, and I always try to give people these are some daily things you can do, you know, and this gives you a great way to do that daily thing and to make sure you’re doing it on a daily basis, because you get the little notification. I’ve just got an apple watch a little while ago. So it’s sitting there but notification kept on my Apple Watch and said, and refresh. Refuse has a new as new content. I’m like, cool. Let’s go do that. Thanks, man. Yeah. So um, have you found the app has been adopted? How long has it been out, by the way?
Reid Peterson 39:08
Well, at the time of our recording, it’s only been available three months. Okay. Okay. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a newbie. Yeah,
Brian Smith 39:16
yeah. So there Yeah. And I know there’s there’s a lot you know, in the app store, you know, an Apple App Store. I’m on Apple. So what are your plans for for getting it out in front of people? Well,
Reid Peterson 39:33
I think in the mental health space, connecting with a lot of professionals who provide constantly, just make helping them be aware that here’s another tool that can help be a supplement. I’m really I’m going to gravitate towards your word. So thank you. Thank you for using it because I’m like, I’m gonna have to borrow that going forward. Brian, absolutely. It’s so definitely has that that direction. My wife is a psychologist, a mental health professional. And we’ve talked a lot about how just valuable of a tool this can be for, for other mental health professionals to recommend to their patients and clients. thought a lot about like, like peer to peer support organizations that already exist. And it’s really interesting, Brian, because I’m like, I wonder if you know if there’s a fit for that, because I’ve had many of conversations with a lot of professionals in our field, where they say, like, grief support, providers can feel like they’re so siloed. So like, you know, you have your thing going, I have my thing going, where can we collaborate? Yeah, there’s kind of like that, that unknown. And so I’m like, I’m still exploring that option or that opportunity.
Brian Smith 41:09
It’s interesting, you say that, cuz I’ve noticed a little bit of that, too. It’s almost like there’s competition between some of the peer to peer groups. And then like, we’re all we’re all here trying to help people. So I don’t frankly, understand that I, I work with an organization called helping parents heal. And I’ve been working with them for about five years, I guess, now I’m actually on the board of helping parents heal. And we’re 17,000 members, I think now internationally. So we you know, and I’ll definitely be talking to people in our group about it. And I’ll talk to, I’ll recommend it to my clients, because I don’t, first of all, it shouldn’t be competition. Secondly, any tool that can be out there that can help people, you know, and, and everybody’s gonna have to pick what’s what, what’s right for them. You know, for some people, they’re gonna, I hate technology, I never, I don’t want that kind of stuff. And other people are going to say, yeah, this is this is great. I want that daily reminder, I want you know, I want a notification when, when there’s new content. I want to set aside a time and now I’ve got something to do, you know, I’ve got a thing to do. And I remember talking to someone in my program, and she was kind of life chick life coach person, she was giving people ways to change. And she was giving them exercise. And she literally said, I don’t want you to do this for more than three minutes a day and people. So what I want to do more, she said, No, I don’t want you to do it for more than three minutes a day, because you’re going to quit. So, you know, I want you to start with something that you can stick with. And I guess I like this, this is in in bite sized, doable chunks that everybody can can do.
Reid Peterson 42:36
Yeah, I just finished reading a book called honoring grief. And it’s written by Alexandra Kennedy. And I think it’s a few years old now. But what I found really interesting about that book is there’s a part in the book about like, creating a sanctuary. But what really stood out for me in that is that she recommended, similar to exactly what you said, the bite size pieces, where if you have a physical sanctuary that you show up to, and if you’re going to commit to going to it every day, to to be in your grief space. set a time limit, set a time limit for a short amount of time, because what really helps with the healing and the transformation of a grief process is the intensity and the durability of the experience that and not and not the duration itself. Yeah. And I really thought about that for a long time, Brian, and I thought, you know, I think I agree with that. And, and intuitively that’s, you know, that was, you know, an undertone for the development of the grief refuge out.
Brian Smith 43:54
Yeah, I know, we’re here to talk about the grief refuge app, but I want to talk about the other things that you do. So talking about the other things that you’re doing.
Reid Peterson 44:03
Well, like I said, I have a small companion in practice. And for me, that’s really important because that helps me keep close to people’s really authentic and raw experiences. It helps me feel human because when that when I go behind the scenes and do app development, I can feel very distant from another human. Even though it may be I may have the capacity to reach more humans. So I’m like grief. Grief and grief support itself is it’s too important. To get distance from people you have to stay close. And so I intentionally have a practice and find a lot of value I have now truthfully, because in in the companion role, I hold a belief that there’s really no cure, or there’s no fix. There’s really just support and empathy and compassion. And so I find myself I’m not the type of crier where tears will flow down, you know, really easily. I just my eyes kind of more well up. But man, I love having those sold soul talks with the clients that I serve. And feeling the emotion, whether it’s it’s theirs, or it’s my own, and just empathizing, that, that is just the beautiful experience, although it’s hard, I can think of one client in particular who’s probably going to find this podcast. And he’s gonna know this is him where he is like, rebar. Do you do the work you do? You know, he, he dances around his grief. And then, you know, we get into those moments where he connects with his emotional experience. And then he’ll try to distract himself again and be like, read, why do you? Why do you do the work? You do? How do you do this? And I just say, you know, I really feel like it’s a purpose of mine. I really feel like it’s something I understand ties in with my personal values about kindness, compassion, and care. And, and so that companion in practice, for me is very important. What else do I do? Brian? What else? I don’t know, honestly, I spent a lot of time thinking about grief, just trying to think about, like, these days, I’m pondering over like, Where’s that fine line between feeling pain in my grief? And now feeling like, I have this healing aspect? So like, you know, is there a catalyst in this journey? Or in this process? Right? It is probably, you know, as we know, it’s unique for everyone. But I’m like, I don’t I don’t really see or hear it talked about in the literature written about grief. But it I kind of understand why. Because when I make content for the app, I can’t really I can ponder it, but I can’t really talk about it as like, here’s the path because the path is personal. The path is experiential, for everyone. You know, you’re asking me at the time where the Olympics are on CIF, really, Brian, I’m taking a lot of breaks and watching a lot of Olympic competition. I’m just super appreciating that the Olympics are happening. And I know that COVID cases are going up and in Tokyo, and that’s scary. So I know that a lot of athletes from a lot of countries are putting themselves at risk to compete. But also like, there’s a part of me that feels joy, because they are pursuing their dreams. Yeah. And if you know, like, for the athletes who did test positive and had to withdraw from the competition, like, that’s a death of a dream. That’s a lot of grief there.
Brian Smith 48:20
Yeah, yeah, there are lots lots of forms of grief. And yeah, we’re recording this on July 28 2021. So we’re right in the middle of the Olympics. And I’m the same way as you I love the Olympics. I’ve loved him since I was a kid. And I appreciate them so much more. This year, as much as I love in many ways than ever, and I’m taking breaks and watching the Olympics also. And, you know, it’s something that even while we’re going through a grief journey, you know, we’ve got to take these these these other things. You touched upon something earlier about, like, I don’t have a cure for grief, and I work with someone. And it was really interesting, because she’s a grief expert. I’m a grief expert, because I’ve been through it. She’s a grief expert. He studied and has a PhD and all that stuff. And the thing is, grief is not an illness, you know, it’s not something because people will ask me, will I ever get over it? Will I ever recover? This is not an illness. This is a it’s a journey. And it can actually be an opportunity, as weird as that sounds to people that haven’t gone through it. But it’s a real opportunity for growth and for transformation. So unlike words, like you were saying earlier, like honoring our grief, you know, we’ve got to it’s like it’s not it’s something that we’ve got to honor that we should we should sit down with and try to understand, what is the point of this because people like why did this person have to die? Why am I going through this? And that you said those are answers. We can’t give the answer to our questions. We can’t give the answers because they’re individual. But pondering those questions even if you don’t get answers. There’s there’s a lot of opportunity in that there’s a lot of growth in that. Why am I here? What’s the purpose of my life? You know, and that’s the sets, this resets, as we start thinking about that might, when my daughter passed, I would not be doing this with my daughter and passed away. And you know, when people ask me, How do you feel, you know, talking to grieving people? Doesn’t that bring you down? It energizes me, I feel, I feel great when I talk to somebody, and they come in and their eyes are down and crying, and I can barely say, their child’s name. I work with a lot of parents. And then, you know, I start talking to them, and I ask them about their kid, and they start talking about the kid and I just start lighting up, about how proud they are their child and stuff like that. And then we talked about the purpose. And by the end of the session, a lot of times, you’re like, I feel so much better. And I’m like, so do I.
Reid Peterson 50:45
I love I love what you do. And I actually love your grief to growth like, like business concept. Because when I first started paying attention to my trainings in grief, I didn’t have a fit for transformation. I thought, wow, you know, transformation is not an excuse, but a bypass.
Brian Smith 51:12
Right, right. Exactly. Yeah, I understand that.
Reid Peterson 51:15
And and then, you know, I came to learn like, oh, okay, now I’m redefining transformation for myself. Yeah.
Brian Smith 51:24
Yeah. What would you say is really important, we have to be very careful with people that we don’t just bypassing that we don’t say, Oh, this is just a great thing you should accept and move on. You know, it’s like, I tell people, there are phases you’re gonna go through, they’re not, they’re not linear. They’re not same for everybody. But there’s usually like, what I call a shock phase. There’s kind of like the white knuckling phase. And then there’s, you know, maybe, you know, you start to accept a little bit, and then you can start thinking about, you know, transformation or growth. It’s not, you can’t just jump from one place to the other. But in my experience, as I’ve worked with people I’ve seen, you know, people make amazing transformations, you know, after going through grief experience, and it is it is definitely doable, and something that we can do, we can take this this thing and transform it into something else. Oh, sounds like you’re doing amazing work, right? I Well, it’s, I feel like, this is what I’m supposed to do. You know, and, you know, I asked you about your spirituality earlier. And for me, this is my personal belief. I believe everything that happens, happens, because it’s supposed to. And I’ve debated this with people. And I’m like, Well, here’s what I know, what happened did happen. And that’s not debatable. So how I react to it is our choice. I choose to believe it happened for a reason. But even if it didn’t, what what can I do with this? What can I do with what’s happened? Because, you know, the reality is the reality. And, but that’s for me, just makes it so much, you know, so much easier. And I have bad days. And you know, I didn’t have a great day yesterday. But I always know that, you know, it can get it will get better. And I tell people, you know, it’ll get better. You know, and when this first happens to people, you think like, this is the end. So I kind of rambling. But I think what you and I do and that’s what I really respect to you reached out to me, it was just a couple days ago, and I saw your app, and I got so excited. I said, Yeah, I want to bring this guy on right now. Because I think this is a great resource that, you know, that I can provide to my listeners and to my clients. That’ll just help them along that journey to reach that, that transformation, maybe a little bit faster.
Reid Peterson 53:34
a break. If you don’t mind me asking, in some of what you shared some of your personal experience, I feel like you’ve developed a lot of the buzzword that we use these days called resilience, but like but authentically. And I’m curious of your professional opinion. Do you think you mentioned some of the you know, the shock phase, the white knuckle phase and then coming to transformation? I heard I heard them as phases. Do you think there’s like a phase for the development of resilience too?
Brian Smith 54:10
Yeah, I think so. I really I always hesitate. When I said that I like stop because, you know, everybody takes Elisabeth Kubler Ross five phases of death, the stages of death and dying and change and uses it on crave which is just not you can’t translate those two. And grief is not a linear journey. It’s like but up and down and back and forth. So even for me even though I might say I’m in the resilience, race, I still have the pain. You know, I still go through the slab shock sometimes, you know, it’s like, no, why isn’t Shayna here? But yeah, generally speaking, but I think and I’ve seen what I’ve what I’ve observed is as I remember when I first started going to grief support groups, and I’ll never forget the one of the first ones I went to, and I won’t name the organization but it was one that doesn’t talk about afterlife or anything. And the people just came there the same week. It was the same thing. tell you a story. Oh, Over and over again. And this woman had been there for like 10 years, her daughter passed away like 10 years ago, she was still as angry, shocked, depressed everything as she was the day her daughter passed. And she was just holding on to that. And this was at the time where I didn’t even think it was possible for me to transform. But I was like, I do not want to be like that in 10 years, I knew what I didn’t want to do. And then I discovered helping parents heal, which is all based on transfer transformation, which is you tell from the title, helping parents heal. And our thing is, I don’t remember the exact model I should. But we help people go from bereaved parents, which we hate that term, too. We call shining light parents, which means that our children are shining lights, because they have passed in the spirit, but we’re also trying to become shining lights. And so what I try to do for people is try to model that. And then you know, and a lot of people that come to me, actually, they want to jump into helping other phase right away, I’m like, let’s just slow down on that. Let’s feel yourself first. But then you can start helping other people. And that, to me is like the final final phase is when we start. Once we’ve learned something, we pass it on to somebody else. Thanks, I appreciate that. Yeah, so yeah, like I said, read I, what you’re doing, I think is is fantastic. The app, it’s beautiful. I’m in the visual stuff. So the app is beautiful. And I think it’s really, really well thought out. So I would encourage people to check it out. If you no matter else, what else you’re doing, it can be a great supplement in for what you’re doing. If you’re the kind of person that likes that type of thing, if you’re using insight timer, or headspace, or is other types of things, this one for specifically for grief. So tell people how they can get the app, what the what the pricing model is, and all that kind of stuff.
Reid Peterson 56:48
Okay? Well, the app is actually really easy to find. So wherever you get your apps on your phone, just search grief refuge, it’s two words. That’s the easiest thing. And it is a free download. And some some of the features about half of the features anybody can use for free for the rest of the time they use the app. And then there are some features that require a monthly subscription. And that’s 1199 per month. It is it is a for profit organization. So the bills do have to be paid. Right. And, you know, I wish it could be free. But I’m, you know, I’m the I’m a small business.
Brian Smith 57:31
So I perfectly understand and it was funny, I was telling my wife to download the app. And I’m like, we’ve gotten so used to things are we we kind of on the internet, we want things to be free. But on the other hand, I know a little bit about technology have looked into developing apps, I know it costs a lot of money to develop an app, most people don’t realize how much money Apple takes from you if it’s in the App Store. So you might look at that that’s a lot of money. It’s like apples taken a third of that. So you do your your your business, you’ve got to you’ve got to be able to produce it. And I know it takes a lot to produce that the daily content. You know, that takes a while we were talking earlier about the things that we both do producing content is is work. It’s a lot of work. or read. It’s been really great.
Reid Peterson 58:17
Let me just say it’s also meaningful.
Brian Smith 58:20
Yeah, it is. It is and things can be both. You know, it’s it’s, I enjoy what I do. I enjoy the word about the podcast earlier. I know you produce a podcast so you have an eye, you know what that’s like? And, you know, again, people who don’t do that, you know, try it. You’ll figure out it takes it takes a little bit so people can reach you at what was the best place to put ratio is a grief refuge.
Reid Peterson 58:43
Yeah, the website’s grief, refuge calm, and my information is on there. Okay.
Brian Smith 58:50
Well, again, read Peterson. The website is grief, refuge calm. I’ll put links in the show notes. Read thanks for for being here today. Thanks for doing what you do. And I wish you success with everything you’re doing and with the app. Hey, Brian, I
Reid Peterson 59:04
just want to thank you. I’ve learned a lot from you today. Thanks for this opportunity.
Brian Smith 59:09
I appreciate that. All right. Have a great day. You too. 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 https://otter.ai