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The Art of Walking Through Grief with Grace

    Show Notes

    Rev. Jennifer Cormier is a grief coach and earth-based ceremonial artist who brings 20 years of experience in the healing arts to help her clients move through life transitions and grief. 

    She is committed to the revolution of how we view death and walk with grief. The creator of a program called Walk Through Grief with Grace, she wants us all to shift our perspective to include our body in our grieving processes and see grief as a creative collaborator in our lives. 

    That’s when we open the door to healing and peace. 

    Jenn joins me today to discuss grief and grace and how we can use creative writing, nature, movement and more to release the pain of grief and bring us closer to healing. 

    What to listen for 

    1:44 Jenn’s personal journey with grief and her dad’s cancer 

    13:46 The difference between running away and questing 

    17:36 Finding comfort in movement and activity 

    22:25 Jenn’s emotional attachment to a car 

    27:50 How to allow grief to move through the body and mind 

    31:55 Why creative expression can facilitate healing from grief and loss 

    Where to find Jenn 

    Walk Through Grief with Grace 

    The WTGWG podcast on Spotify 

    The WTGWG podcast on Apple 

    Grief and Grace Facebook Group 

    Fall Healing Retreat: A Sacred Journey to Reclaim Joy After Loss, Nov. 12-18, in Teotihuacan, Mexico 

    Don’t forget 

    Get $10 off your first 12 months of Help Texts 

    Transcript

    Angela    

    Welcome to One Last Network and the Art of Walking Through Grief with Grace. 

    Rev. Jennifer Cormier is a grief coach and earth-based ceremonial artist who brings 20 years of experience in the healing arts to help her clients move through life transitions and grief. 

    She is committed to the revolution of how we view death and walk with grief. The creator of a program called Walk Through Grief with Grace, she wants us all to shift our perspective to include our body in our grieving processes and see grief as a creative collaborator in our lives. 

    That’s when we open the door to healing and peace. 

    Jenn joins me today to discuss grief and grace and how we can use creative writing, nature, movement and more to release the pain of grief and bring us closer to healing. 

    Have a listen. 

    So good morning, Rev. Jen Cormier, how are you today? 

    Jenn   

    I’m doing well. Angela, thank you so much for having me.  

    Angela    

    Yeah, I’m really excited to talk about all the things you do in moving people through their grief journey. Why don’t we start by having you tell us a little about yourself? 

    Jenn   

    Sure. I’ve given my myself the title grief guide. I made that title up. Although there are I’ve have gone through a death doula training. I’ve completed a two year interfaith earth based sort of trans denominational ministerial program that I found myself in after my dad died. My background is really in the arts, performing arts, visual arts, healing arts, I’ve done a lot of work, helping people with pain, physical pain and emotional pain through yoga, therapeutics, Pilates therapeutics. breathwork, mindfulness meditation, that’s sort of my 20 year career in somatic healing art. So I really did a lot of work with movement and breath based healing will say that through hands on healing, different types of massage therapy, they’re all these things that I wove into my practice for years. And then when my father died, I really my dad, my dad, Gil was diagnosed with a stage four prostate cancer when he was 57. And when he got that diagnosis, he and my mom sat me down at the kitchen table I was visiting. I was at the time living in Oregon, I was in Ashland, Oregon, they were in New Britain, Connecticut, and I, they gave me this news right after Christmas, sat me down the kitchen table and said, we you know, we’ve got some news. And the the first doctor had said, You’ve got about three months to live. And I just dropped everything and, you know, told everyone, I’ve got to move back and be with my dad. So I had like a 14 day turnaround, where I just packed everything up and, and moved cross country. And my dad was I’ll just give you this little little bit of background, and then we can I’ll just tell you this one more little piece, you know, he, he was a scientist, and he did a lot of the research around prostate cancer, and said, you know, Jan, when I look at all this, he had like a big manila folder filled with all the research. He said, Every time I open this folder, it’s just doom and gloom. And I get so depressed. You know, and I’m sure that folks with family members that have had terminal illness, or folks listening, you know, can relate. And I looked at him, I said, Dad, you know, what, if you change that file name, because he had, you know, cancer file across the top, I said, What if you change the file name from cancer file to healing file, and he like, sat back in his office chair, like his swivel chair. And he said, You know, I like that. I like that. And he just he took out some old school wide out on, you know, cat, unkept it whited out cancer file blue on it, and then wrote healing file, and dumped all of the research in the recycling. And from that, in that moment, now, in retrospect, was a big turning moment for him when I when I started telling that story. Because he was no longer battling cancer. And in the doom and gloom, he had decided to go on a healing journey. And I had, I have a lifelong mentor, who I’d found, you know, 1520 years ago, Dr. Lewis moment, Drona, who had worked with myself and my dad, you know, in those years, he ended up living three years, not three months. And Lewis said to my dad, you know, you can’t always cure but you can always heal. And that really stuck with my dad, and he and he took his healing journey to heart and he said, Whatever time I’ve got left, you know, whether I live 20 years or a few months, I’m gonna put my energy into healing. And I know I’m gonna die at some point, but I’m going to really heal. So part of his healing journey was, was to get a rescue dog. We hadn’t had it. We had a dog when I was in high school named Cody who had died. And he was in a running group. He was a marathon runner. I mean, this was a shock that he had stage four prostate cancer because he was the picture of health. he prided himself he had one of those scales that tells you how old you really are, and he would stand on it and be like, I’m really 30 too, because he was, you know, he ran, I don’t know, six, seven marathons or something. So, yeah, he was in this running group and his friend had said, you know, Gil, my, my dad is elderly, and really frail and got this dog who’s part Greyhound, and the dog needs to run. And my dad would take the dog out on a leash in the backyard. And this dog Daisy would run around, ran around his leg. And he fell and broke his rib or fractured his spine. It was like, so he was in the hospital needed care. And she said, You know, I’ve got the dog, but we already have a bunch of dogs. I were looking for someone to foster. You know, my dad’s dog, Daisy. And my dad was like, oh, you know, because Lewis had said, you know, you’d asked him, what’s the what’s the Native American prescription for healing because Louis is Lakota and Cherokee. And the Native American prescription for for healing, is more singing, more dancing, more kids and more dogs. Those were the four things, but those are the four things you need to heal. So my dad really took this to heart, and especially the kids and the dogs, he had little nieces and nephews he spent a lot of time with. And he had that, you know, little bug in his ear, you know, we don’t have a dog. I had a rescue cat, that I got off the streets of New York City that was living with my parents. But they were they didn’t have a dog. So he came back and said, You know, I really want to take this dog and my mom was like, Listen, this dogs gotta get along with George, if it doesn’t, you know, and, you know, if we take this dog as a quote, unquote, you know, short term, you know, this man is elderly. He’s rocking the dog back, you know. So turns out Daisy did great with kids. She did great with George George put Daisy in her place, you know, is the sort of boss of the house is 20 pound cat. So my dad brought Daisy home. And Daisy was really an integral part of his healing journey, because she got him out into the woods and out into nature every day. So and because she was part lab, part yellow lab and part Greyhound, she had to run in circles around, you know, so he would take her to the dog park where you could, you know, there’s this big field and just let her off leash, and she’d run in huge circles. And I spent a lot of time you know, those last years of my dad’s life going with him and Daisy to the woods, and walking and having her run in circles. And, and she was really an integral part of his, of his healing at the end of his life, so that was sort of a long introduction of tell us a little bit about you. But I think my, my journey into grief work really started about, you know, it’s been about 15 years when my since when my dad had gotten not diagnosis. Yeah. So now, 

    Angela    

    What’s the difference between curing and healing?   

    Jenn   

    Yes, so curing, right? If you’re cured of cancer, so say I say someone receives a diagnosis of breast cancer, right? If you’re cured of breast cancer, that means you have worse stage, whatever, stage two or three or whatever, and then there’s a tumor and we take the tumor out, and we have all the margins are clear, right? You have skin cancer, we’re going to do some surgery. Now the cancer is completely gone, and you are cancer free, and now you are cured of cancer, right? You never have cancer again, and you live the rest of your life. So that would be I’m cured of cancer, right? Where there’s a miraculous cure, I have leukemia, and all of a sudden, one day, all the numbers clean up and I’m miraculously cured, and I no longer have leukemia and never comes back. So that would be a cure, right? Healing is, I mean, you can define healing in so many different ways, but I’m just going to see what definition pops out of my brain in this moment. Healing I think has to do with wholeness. 

    Right, so there might be parts of you that are askew, or a little crooked or parts of you that you know, from trauma in your past are not integrated. So, in this moment, I am considering healing as a sense of wholeness. And when we feel whole we probably feel at peace. We are probably feel free Right. And it doesn’t really have to do with any particular emotional state, right? I might be happy, I might be stolen, you know, I can have all of those emotional things, but underneath I feel at peace and I feel whole. So that would be in this moment, I think my definition of healing, so that when I die whenever that is, I am leaving this lifetime and this body feeling at peace and whole and complete. 

    Angela    

    That’s lovely. Yeah. 

    Jenn   

    So that’s, that’s what I would say, right? And, and that that can happen. Whether or not I have a Western medical diagnoses have some kind of terminal illness or not, right, some people die, you can die at any age, right? You can die as quote, unquote, natural causes old age, there are people that all the time die healthy, and they die in their sleep, and it’s time for them to go. There’s accidental death, there’s, there’s terminal illness. So I think that our goal could be no matter what state of health we are in. Our goal could be always healing. I think that that could be an intention that we can carry with us. As you know, I’m intending to be continually healing over the course of my life so that I become more and more of myself more and more whole. I had a union therapist named Mary Bowen, she was one of the Pilates elders, and she’s also a therapist, and I saw her for some time when I lived in New York City. And I remember a friend said, Jen, I’m kind of worried about you keep, like, what are you running from? You’re always going to Thailand and going to teen camp. And it seems like you’re always leaving, you know, are you running from something? And I thought, Gosh, I don’t think I am. Maybe I am, you know, and I remember talking to Mary bone about it. And she said, Well, you know, let’s think about that over this week. And I saw her the following week. Just so you know, I was thinking about Eugen. Everybody’s got their thing. She said, You know, I’ve got my cats, my husband’s got his soccer. And you I think your thing is questing you quest. So I like that. And I told my friend, we decided I’m not running from anything, I’m just questing, and my friends. And yeah, I buy that. That’s great. So, you know, and sort of my always, you know, I kind of gave you I’ve got all these different backgrounds, right in the, in the arts, and the healing arts and massage. And then I did weddings was my main thing. And now grief is my main thing. But they all weave together. And I think that, you know, I’m gathering these different threads together. And they all they all come into play in grief work. Yeah. So I think and Mary had said to me, Jen, you know, you’re just trying to be more Jennifer. And I think that’s what we’re all trying to be like, you’re just trying to be more Angela, I’m just trying to be more Jennifer, we’re all just trying to get back to the unique authenticity that is us. And I think that returning to our true selves, is also healing. Right? 

    Angela    

    I was going to ask you a question. And I think you’ve you’ve answered it already in that is life in itself a journey of healing. But let’s add on to that, and say, how does entering a journey of grief impact that led that journey of healing? 

    Jenn   

    Yeah, so in my, in my belief system, how I see things, when we have a major loss, whether that’s a death of a person, that we love, the death of a pet, the ending of something else, like the ending of a job, we love losing a house to a fire, you know, whatever that major loss is, there is a grieving process that will happen. And we can decide to willingly go into the grief process, declaring it a healing journey. And when we say You know what, I’m not going to run from this, and I’m not going to push it away and work 80 hours a week and do my best to run from it, or get through it as fast as I can. Right, which is sort of the, you know, traditional, kind of western industrialized way is to, you know, what’s the quick fix? When’s this going to be over? You know? But that was the invitation that my mentor Dr. Lewis had given me was Jen. You can take grief by the hand. This is when my dad died. So my dad lived for three years and then he died. And even though he had stage four cancer for three years, tumors all over his body, I was still in shock. I had never lost something as big as a parent in my life. And I had no idea how to grieve. I had no idea. And I think so many of us can relate, there was no handbook, there was no course in school, you know, and I didn’t have a cultural or religious or spiritual background to hold me and I remember going what, what do I do? Like, I have no idea? What container is going to hold me in this? You know, if I was Tibetan? Would I be reading the Book of the Dead or something? If I was Catholic, my grandparents were Catholic, wouldn’t there be a rosary or something and a priest or something? You know, if we were Jewish? Wouldn’t we be sitting for a week? Or what? How does this work? You know, so luckily, I had Louis, at least I could call and I said, I don’t know what to do. And he said, you know, you can sing, you can dance, you can drum, you know what I don’t really want to my dad’s done, I don’t really want to do any of that. And I said, he said, Well, you can take grief by the hand. And you can let you can walk with grief all year long. Through every birthday, every holiday, every milestone every season. And you can let it teach you that at the end of the year, we’ll hold a ceremony for you and your mom. And I thought there was something when he said that I just my whole body relaxed, like oh my gosh, I have a whole year to soften into this process. Right? It wasn’t daunting. It was like, Oh my gosh, I don’t have to rush because, you know, we had 11 days or something from when he died to the memorial service. Right? It was like a short amount of time. And I think some people can relate right to that kind of thing. Well, we’ve got a burial or memorial or you got to get the prayer card. What are you gonna say on the back? Are there flowers? Is there a donation, we have to write an obituary, and then there’s the death certificate, and we got, it’s like, I’m grieving this person, if it’s the death of a person, and then there’s all the stuff to do. So that’s just too much too fast, too soon, which is a definition of trauma, right? And that can happen with a person or a pet. So the fact that I could slow down, I tend to run a little slower than the average revolution of people around me often. So it’s just like, oh, gosh, I can have some time. And that felt very much like a healing intention to take a whole year. So I didn’t know what that I didn’t know what I was going to do. But I loved the invitation. And I really took it to heart. And every day I’d asked myself, okay, grief, you know, what do you have to teach me today? And I was a yoga many years, you know, yoga meditation practitioner. So I was used to particular practices for a certain amount of time, right, like a morning, sadhana practice, right? Whether that was doing yoga asana, movement, practice, or meditation or something. Of course, I didn’t feel like doing anything after my dad died. But, but luckily, we had Daisy, she was a rescue dog. And she was still alive after my dad died. And then she actually stayed with my uncle for a little bit right at his death. Because for him, it was like too much to have people around or even the dog around, he just, my dad just wanted some space. So we got Daisy back from my uncle. And then I started taking her into the woods. And we would go and this was healing for me. I got to take her. And she really got me outside because I would have just stepped sat on the couch, like a big lump of lead, you know, after he died, but because we had Daisy, she had to go to the woods and run. So I would get to the woods every day. And let her run in circles. And I go the same loop that I used to go with my dad. And that felt like a healing act like every, you know, every day, I’d go out and walk those same paths that I used to walk with my dad.  

    Angela    

    And not only not only was she giving you an opportunity to get out and move and get those essential vitamins that we get from the sun, but she was also a connection to your dad. 

    Jenn   

    Yes, absolutely. And she was his, you know, his rescue dog. Right. So there was a connection to him in both of those ways. 

    Angela    

    Yeah. Yeah. But then she left you. 

    Jenn   

    Yeah, so she lived for some years. We didn’t exactly know how old she was when we got her because she was a rescue. She was a couple times rescued. They said, Well, she might be two or three, we’re not really sure. And she acted very much like a puppy. Everyone thought she was a lot younger. And when she died, it was like, gosh, how old is she now she’s gotta be eight or nine or nine or 10. Or, but she lived for several years after my dad died, and she got to meet my son. I had a son in 2015. My dad died in 2012. And Daisy got to meet my son and hang out with him as a baby and a toddler. And, and she, and then she had some kind of cancer, also some tumors in her belly and, and then and then she and she died as well. So you know, and it’s interesting, right? When, when we lose a being, whether it’s a person or a pet that’s really close to us. You know, when she died, it was like a piece of my dad, another piece of my dad died because my dad was so interconnected with this dog that, you know, when Daisy died, it felt like I lost more of my dad. And even, you know, even I have. So, when, when my dad was alive when I moved home to be with him when he was diagnosed with cancer. I had lived in New York City, so I didn’t need a car. I gave my car away before I moved to New York City. Then I lived in Ashland, Oregon, small town, I didn’t buy a car because it was I could walk everywhere. So when I moved back to be with him, you know, they both had two cars that my dad was barely driving. So you know, we just shared the two cars. And after a year or so he said, you know, we could really use a third car. So he he bought my uncle’s car, my uncle’s car, and basically gave it to me like, you know, here you go. So is a 2006 Honda Civic that I named silver crow. And I’m still driving this car. It’s got, you know, over 250,000 miles on it something 230,000 miles, I don’t know. I just got it for taking for an oil change. And my mechanics like this car is gonna last you forever. It’s a Honda Civic. And I don’t want to get rid of this car. You know, like, my, both my mom and my son are like, What? Are you gonna get a new car? What are you going to? I said, I don’t want a new car. This car is like the last connection to my dad. Because the dog died, George the cat died. You know, these pieces of him are gone. So the car is sort of a connection to him. I remember him driving in the car with me. And he that was a gift to me. So it’s interesting how objects can also bring up grief. You know? Right. So he had a business and his business. He had pens me like really nice ballpoint pens. My mom found them and gave me a pen. And the other day it stopped working like like the ballpoint got jammed up. And I went to write and it wouldn’t, I couldn’t twist it back down. And I just started sobbing because of work, right? So I just want to if you’re listening to this, and you feel like gosh, am I crazy for crying because the pen won’t work or you? No, no, you know, it’s we grief hits us in a wave whenever it does, however it does. And that is totally normal. And you’re not alone. And there is no timeline. It’s not supposed to be over in six weeks, or three months or one year, whatever it does. However long it takes you it is how long it takes you and even, you know, my dad’s been gone over 10 years and I just sobbed over this pen not working. So just know that that is okay. Your tears are normal, they are welcomed. They are healing in and of themselves. So I can’t tell you how many people have apologized to me for crying. Right? Whether they’ve gone through a loss or whether they’re at their wedding, right? Oh, I’m sorry. I’m crying. Right We apologise just for standing. Sometimes you go the grocery store and there’s a woman in the in front of the spinach. Oh, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for just standing here. So can we give ourselves some softness and just let ourselves be where we are. And when we cry, we cry and know that that is normal and it is healing. And you can do that whenever you want or need no matter when it is. So that is a message I would like to share share with all of the listeners who may be feeling any amount of grief over anything in this moment. 

    Angela    

    And I want to validate you and you in two ways, in that you’re part Canadian. So if you find yourself apologizing all the time, that’s just natural. 

    Jenn   

    Is that Canadian? Is that a Canadian thing? 

    Angela    

    Yeah, we just say we’re sorry to everybody for everything. And, but in addition to your attachment to the car, I had a 2005 Ford Escape. And that was Shep’s car, I bought that so that we could go adventuring. And he died in 2014, and then it, it was on its last legs. And I was facing having to give it up. And that was … making that transition was one of the hardest things I’ve done. And, you know, there’s a rational part of your brain that says, it’s just a stupid car. But then there’s the other part of your brain that’s so emotionally connected to all of the stories that you were able to have and tell because of that car. And it’s hard. 

    Jenn   

    It’s hard. So, so how can we, you know, just really give ourselves some gentleness and welcome all those pieces of ourselves, you know, the one that feels this way? And the other piece that feels that way? And then how can we, you know, I can think about, you know, when this car, when it’s time is over? What can I do to honor it? And what can I, you know, I had a friend recently who lost a bunny, who their family had had this bunny for years and years and years, and, you know, lived out on this porch and, and she thought of, she’s gonna get this, she got a sculpture, and she’s going to, you know, there were different ways that she thought, how am I gonna memorialize this? So, you know, there are different ways that we can really honored those stories, and honor those people and pets and things that have had meaning to us. And how can we? How can we share that, you know, and you had mentioned writing and journaling? Before we started, we pressed record, you know, we can, we can write letters, we can journal. So there’s a few different ways that I hold space with my clients, I have a yearlong program, a heal immersion program for folks who’ve gone through loss. That helps them to one honor what’s gone to learn practices to really ground and be in the moment. And those are skills that we need for our lifetime. And how do we move forward and through and be with our grief and walk with our grief so that we can get to the other side and free up all this creative potential within us because when we’re when we’re not allowing the grief to move when we’re locking down, after a loss, we’re like holding, we can have emotions stuck in the body, we can really, we can get get sick over this, right? So how can we soften and open and let the energy move through movement, right walking or any other kind of movement. And then we can let that move through our mind by sharing telling stories and also journaling. And you can free write like morning pages and just let your pen go. And just put a timer on and go, I’m going to write for seven minutes or 15 minutes, you put a particular number of minutes or say I’m going to do three pages, and just write whatever is coming so that you just let it out. And you can be aware and see oh, this is what’s happening right now inside me, right? Another way that you can do this, and I would just offer up one more invitation. And this is something that I’ve given some clients who have had a major loss, you can, you can still have a dialogue with a being that’s no longer in physical form through writing. So, for example, you can do this with your pet, but you may do it in a different way with a pet. You could do this writing practice or maybe you maybe you go out on the same walk that you’ve gone, but you no longer have your dog for example. And you could do the same loop and still talk to them like you might have right and just kind of feel their energy or their presence with you. For writing you could write a little letter, write and say, Dear whoever it is, you know to your mother or to your pet. And then just just share all of your what’s going on for you this this is what where I’m feeling This is what’s happening, you know, and then you can pause, and have them write you back. However they would address you. And then you can receive their words back. And that is a really healing practice, I’ve experienced this, I’ve done writing back and forth, to even my own soul, right, or the soul of my business or that right? So you can have a dialogue in this way, I had a client who lost his mother. And he used to call her every morning at a particular time, and was really suffering. So what I offered to have him do is to write her every day at that time. So when he was feeling like, oh, my gosh, I would be calling my mom right now. Instead, he would sit down and write exactly what he would say, Hey, Mom, this is what happened yesterday, last night, here’s what’s going on. He would write all of that what he would have said to her, and then she would write back. And then what would she say? You know, so. So that is an invitation that I can offer if you’re listening and, you know, you could use some support around a loss, you know, that might be something that you can try. And that could be a daily practice. 

    Angela    

    And I did. I wrote a eulogy to my truck. Some find that a little bizarre, but I did. 

    Jenn   

    Wonderful. Yep. 

    Angela    

    Big part of my life. But I’ve also been a professional writer for 30 plus years. Putting pen to paper is easy for me. How can you encourage someone who is already so wrapped up in their emotional and spiritual pain to let go of that block that says, Well, I’m not a writer?  

    Jenn   

    What I would say is, do what works for you. So energy needs to move, if you don’t like to write, then, you know, if you were my, if you came to me for some help, and you were in my programs, or you’re a client of mine, I wouldn’t probably make that an offering, I wouldn’t invite you to write if you didn’t like writing. Right? So if someone is a dancer, you know, I had a client who loved dance that was and she ended up in this year long process of saying goodbye to her husband. And we had a really beautiful podcast together, she tells a whole story of his Parkinson’s and dementia, and she ended up creating a whole dance, choreographing a five minute dance to him. So she didn’t she didn’t write she danced. You know, I have other clients who are artists. One is a painter, and spends a lot of time painting and other one is created a whole diorama, you know, whole sculptural thing. So however, whatever brings you back to life, right, whatever moves energy for you, that you’re going to want to do, you know, some person is going to love dancing and other person is going to want to swim, right? Another person do Qigong. So you know, as long as you are honoring yourself, being with your emotions, allowing them to flow in some way, whether that’s moving, you know, making noise, writing, whatever that is, actually, you know, I can offer up your folks, I have seven steps to walk through grief with grace, a guidebook actually, that that talks, it goes through seven different things you can do, if you’re experiencing a major loss, and you don’t know how to move through it, right, and maybe writing is not your thing. So you know, that’s something that you can, you can get off the walk through grief with Grace website, there’s a little get my get my free guide and, and there’s seven steps, right? So it’s just important right to make noise, it’s important to keep breathing. However, that works for you. Some people want to go to float tank or go to the ocean or other people get massage, right, whatever helps you to breathe, to move emotion. You know, that’s what you need to do for yourself. You know, the other day I was, I was not breathing very well, I had a lot of stress in my body. And I made it to a restorative yoga class, which if you don’t know what that is, you know, there bolsters blankets blocks that really prop your body up. And you stay in reclined relaxed positions for a long amount of time. And that really helps to open the body and to help it to breathe in a really gentle way. So that’s what I needed the other day to help energy move through me. 

    Angela    

    So to take the name of your program, Walk Through Grief with Grace quite literally, when we have dogs, one of our activities is walking with our dog. Can it be healing to continue that walk even after they’re gone? But acknowledging how difficult it may be to put the shoes on, when you’re so used to having your fur baby, right by your side? 

    Jenn   

    Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, and that can be really hard. And you know, you’ll know what’s right for you. But that might be an invitation to try, you know, if you took your dog out every morning before work, and now your dog is not there. What if you still put your shoes on? And it’ll be really hard when you go to reach for the leash, but you don’t need the leash. Right? But can you still put your shoes on and go on that same walk just like I did when my dad was gone? You know? Kenny, so go on that same walk and and if that makes you cry, great. Let yourself cry through the walk. 

    Angela    

    Where can people find you on the on the worldwide web? 

    Jenn   

    Yeah, so you can find me there’s a we’ve got over 60 episodes now on the Walk Through Grief with Grace podcast. So you can find me on Apple or Spotify or, you know, wherever you listen to podcasts, if you’re a podcast listener, I’m guessing you might be since you’re listening to this, you can just look up walk through grief with grace. And that podcast, you know can be a, I want that to be a resource for people moving through any kind of loss. So that’s one way to find me. My website is the same name, walk through grief with grace. And that’s where you can find the seven steps to walk through grief with Grace guidebook. That’s a free resource at the top of the page there. And then the other place you can find me is if you’re if you’re active on Facebook, there’s a private Facebook group called grief and grace. Somebody has somebody else has a business page, but I have the group, grief and grace and we have community on there. I offer free tools. I have seasonal free workshops and half day retreats for people who have gone through loss. I do teaching for the community on there. And that’s a great way to stay, stay in touch and receive support and community that way. So I invite you to join the grief and Grace Facebook group. 

    Angela    

    Before I ask you the one last big question, what is grace? And how do we show it to ourselves? 

    Jenn   

    What an amazing question. What is grace? And how do we show it to ourselves? I think grace can be this beauty and benevolence and softness and gentleness that can support us. And that might come in in a surprising way. Or it might come by asking for it right asking for help when we are suffering or struggling. And I actually looked up the other day synonyms for grace, and one of the synonyms for grace was thankfulness and the other was gentleness. So I think that one of the ways we can give ourselves grace is to soften. And when we’re really hard with ourselves, or unforgiving or unrelenting, you know, how can we? How can we soften and lean back? And rest? How can we give ourselves more rest? You know, these are these are all questions to ask. If we’re grieving, it takes a lot of energy. There’s a lot of emotional output. People wonder why am I so why do I feel so heavy? Why am I so exhausted? That’s normal because grieving takes energy. So you really need to rest a lot more than normal. And normally our bar for rest is is way too low anyway. So we usually need more sleep at night. We need more rest during the day. We need to restore ourselves way more than we’re doing. We go way too fast. We do way too much in general. So when you’re grieving you need to really I mean, it will knock us off our feet because we really need more rest in general. So can you soften Can you give yourself more rest. Can you be gentler on yourselves? And I believe those are ways that we can give ourselves grace. 

    Angela    

    Why is the self the hardest person to show grace to? 

    Jenn   

    Gosh, I have no idea. I don’t know. Yeah. Why? Why? I don’t know. That’s a great question. 

    Angela    

    What is one last piece of advice you can leave our listeners with? 

    Jenn   

    Well, you know, I think that was it right to really open up to the idea of being kinder to ourselves. And, you know, if that feels a little strange, you know, we could think of it as if we have a beloved pet because I’m sure so many of the folks listening have beloved pets. How do we see our pet? Right? If we have this pet that we love so much, it doesn’t matter what they do, right? If they scratch something up, or they, you know, choose something up, right, we love them anyway, right? They’re cute. No matter what they do. I was just my son was just showing me this ugly dog contest, right? Even if the dog is so ugly, it’s Oh, you’re so ugly. You’re so cute. You know, we just give so much grace to our pets, right. So how can we give ourselves the same generosity of heart that we give our pets? Let’s give ourselves at least that. 

    Angela    

    That was beautiful. Thank you.  

    Jenn 

    You’re welcome.  

    Angela 

    I appreciate you for coming on to the podcast. Thank you so much. 

    Jenn   

    Thank you so much. It was really a pleasure speaking with you, Angela. 

    Angela 

    It is so incredibly difficult for some of us to show ourselves grace. 

    I’m one of those people. 

    Society, our parents … they place a lot of emphasis on achievement, success, perfection. For me, when I’d bring home an 85 out of 100 on a test, my dad would say, “What happened to the other 15 percent?” 

    My parents wanted me to be the best I could be. They wanted more for me than what they had. I get that. 

    But we end up feeling like our worth is tied directly to our achievements, and falling short of expectations can be paralysing and can lead us to being excessively critical of ourselves. Any misstep, any failure indicates that we are not enough. 

    But we are enough.  

    And do you know from whom we can draw inspiration for that mindset? Our pets. 

    Cats, dogs, horses or goats … they don’t hold themselves to unrealistic standards or expectations. They don’t wish they could be another dog, they don’t wish they could lose 10 pounds.  

    If, like them, we embrace who we are as we are, with imperfections and mistakes made, we can learn to give ourselves a little more grace. 

    And remember … they also don’t care if we wish we could lose 10 pounds.  

    They love us for who we are. 

    Speaking of love, next week I have the honor of hosting Julie Schurr, an expat American now living in Spain who serves the LGBTQ2S+ community as a growth and mindset coach. 

    She shares her journey as a member of the queer community, her experiences with grief and the love she carries in her heart from Avery, the shepherd mix who was with her for 17 years. 

    Until then … 

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