Nikole's experience of the Grief Recovery Method®
Wendy Sloneker, Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist®
So continuing on from the previous podcast where you were talking about what you were looking to get out of working the Grief Recovery Method® with me, I am not remembering what those things were off hand. Do you happen to recall what you weren't looking to get out of this work together?
I believe I was touching on wanting to figure out how to get some tools to work with grief.
Being able to handle grief and loss better... and kind of feeling out how that showed up in my life. As well as feeling like I needed to do the work to take that next step in whatever my life is going to hold.
I didn't a hundred percent know what we would be touching on.
I don't know how to say it, but we don't really want to talk about loss. Nobody really wants to bring it up. If you lost a shoe or if you lost a loved one or your phone, right? That's aggravating. Like nobody really wants to have that conversation. You don't really go up to someone and say, you know, I lost this thing once. We may have that conversation one time, but it's not something that we come back to. It's not something that we celebrate.
And through working together, I've learned that there are a lot of things that I can experience and that they could be related to a loss that I didn't even acknowledge.
See, no, it was there in my memories, but it was something that wasn't brought to the forefront.
It (grief) was something I was kind of ignoring or maybe I was carrying around and I didn't realize. And so there are all these little things held together and I don't want to say that we're all full of losses, right?
Because that doesn't sound very positive, but loss is a part of life. And being able to handle that as well as being able to handle the things that we get excited about, the things that we celebrate, it almost kind of makes it be like, okay, we can work through this.
For future losses
It's not going to be this paralysis.
It will be sad. It will be hard. It will be difficult.
And now I have tools that I can take that next step with that I can say, I can get to completeness. I can move forward. Instead of being sort of in this stagnant island, surrounded by this lake of my own making that I don't even know how to get across.
This is where I think some people... and myself, I have experienced this as well... but I also see some people around me sitting on that island and they don't want to get off... or they do, but they don't know how to.
These tools help build that bridge across that stagnant, stinky lake. You've made it. Thank you.
What did you work through?
We did burnout in my business and that included personal relationships.
What shocked me was it (this work around loss) also included concepts. So we talked about money. We talked about paid work and relationships. I never would have expected that we would have worked on that, in working together as a part of loss. And it's definitely something that I've had some experiences in. It really helped me to work through with the tools that I got from this program.
Thank you. Nikole, you’ve just freshly finished the third main, or major loss event with me just moments ago. So, I'm wondering like in what's your initial take, and what was it like when you worked through that first loss event? When you got complete with that first loss that we worked on together in my sessions? (we usually can manage to work on at least three or four during the course of an eight session program) So tell me about the other side now that you've gotten complete with a couple of losses… what’s different? How is it different?
I've seen it show up after we worked together and I do the exercises, I feel lighter and being able to walk away from some of that pain and some of that hurt is really nice.
Next, is that I find it showing up in my life in ways that maybe I didn't expect such as being able to release things (possessions) I was holding onto that don't really serve me. (Things that) don't really give me good energy. Or things running me that I wasn't paying attention to that could drag me down that could, that were not helping me move forward, which is really important and a goal that I have.
And I didn't realize that it could be connected with suppressing some emotions that were uncomfortable and related to losses that I had experienced or things that I wanted to be better, different, more awesome.
So when you say that, is it like a physical thing? Is it emotional? Like the things you surround yourself with that like maybe aren't serving you, does that include some physical things? Does that sort of like include relationships? What types of things have you noticed around you that you've been, it sounds like more to let go of more easily?
The emotional release, definitely in our sessions, super helpful. Being able to have those conversations with my husband or my sister, those really help and have improved those relationships.
But the things that I've released, have mostly been physical, that physical things I didn't even realize I was holding on to, or I kept putting in the like Goodwill pile, but I’d pull it out before I gave it away.
For some reason I just couldn't leave. And after doing the work and being like, I don't want to let this person thing concept hurt me anymore. I don't want that in my life. Nope. It doesn't matter how much money I put into it. It doesn't need to be here. And I found a better way of releasing it. And I didn't kind of realize how those were happening at the same time as the worst we were doing.
And it's also helped me show more compassion. I'm not an uncompassionate person. I am a compassionate person. But when there's a loss, a lot of times I don't know what to say. “I'm sorry”?
The book talks about that, butwe're super awkward... and now I feel better about acknowledging losses and that it's okay. You want to talk about it. You have emotions, you can share whatever you want to, and I will hear your emotions and share that it must be hard. And I use that a lot to just acknowledge that it's okay to have those emotions myself, with my husband, and with my family.
Wow. Were you expecting that at all? I mean, that sounds like you have more capacity just around other people's pain or suffering or loss, which is hard. It's hard to witness that in itself, but it sounds like you feel a little more comfortable if that should come up.
Is that what I'm hearing?
Yeah. I feel a little bit more confidence that I could not fall apart. If something was to happen, I have to experience whatever that next big loss will be... or that small loss... I can acknowledge it and process it and work through that to release some pain. And it might be a continuous process.
Of course, there's not, I'm not saying that there's a, that you've taught me the magic solution to not have to feel pain. But it's a way of dealing with it and processing it.
Around others as well
So then when other people are sharing their emotions or their pain, instead of me coming back with a logical response… which I realized I was doing all the time… It isn't really supporting them in what they're experiencing.
I get to come back with, "I hear you. And that, that must be really frustrating. That must be really hard. That must be a challenge." And it gives them space to feel heard and acknowledged instead of “well, if you feel that way, why are you doing it? Why don't you stop doing it? Why don't you do something different? This doesn't make sense. You signed up for that. You paid for this and stuff and you don't even think about it.” It wasn't like I was intentionally trying to be mean, it was just something that was like, “well, if you are complaining about it that much, then just stop doing it.”
That good old brain that brain's going to figure it out.
The tools helped me know better. And then now, I feel like I can do better.
And this is weird, but there's not that panic sensation of like, “Uh-oh, you're, you're expressing something about like a divorce or about someone who died. And I don't know what to tell you. And I don't know what to say.”
I just take a moment.
These are more tools to help myself as well as to be more present for other people and be like “It's okay.”
Wow. That, that sounds awesome, frankly. I'm glad that you have that. I'm glad that you feel that… That's brilliant.
Looking back, I think I've become more aware of my own loss feelings, my own emotions. As regards loss, something that’s like another limb that I was really ignoring.
And, and now I feel like I can acknowledge it because it's not that scary thing, and acknowledging loss with others… And then being able to move forward in a way that I feel more confident. In my business, in my personal life, in my professional life, in working with others.
What would you share with someone who is considering working with me?
If someone was considering working with you, I would tell them that just because maybe they haven't had a loss recently doesn't mean that you can't help them.
I was a little bit leery about “why am I doing this? I haven't had a major death recently.”
I had the thought, “Well, I should only do this work, if I had had a major death or someone close to me had passed away.”
And I was grieving a lot from that.
But you can still help someone with the grief work that you do because we've all experienced loss in different ways.
I love that you say that every last is unique, every person's experience is unique. It gave me the space to acknowledge that it might be something silly or small and yet it's still hurt. And that was okay. And that I could work through that with you.
So those were incredibly important and it was more than just, “I've had a death recently. I'm grieving.” I think that this could be useful for anyone, regardless of what is going on in their life at the moment.
Were you surprised to identify so much in the first part of the book? There's a lot more education (at first) and then we transitioned to sort of application… were you surprised at all by the possibility of having 40+ different types of losses that could occur in your life?
I was shocked by that and then I was better able to go, “Oh, that, and then that and that, Oh gosh, that was a lot.”
What was your response?
I've experienced so many things that I haven't classified as a loss, that just hurt, but I swept it under the rug or I moved on or I pasted a smile on my face, all those things that we expect other people to do when they are experiencing loss.
And sometimes it's something that's really hard to talk about. Sometimes it's really hard and you're pasting that smile on your face and you feel like nobody gets it.
That's how I was with burnout there. I had people around me who were trying to support me, but they didn't really know what to do. And I'm sure that they had experienced some level of burnout before, but nobody really wanted to acknowledge it... like it was catching or something.
And so instead, allowing myself the capacity to feel those emotions without it, maybe my life was going to fall apart. And giving other people the space to experience the emotions that they have, the happiness, as well as the pain and making it okay.
Right. If you were going to be talking - and you touched on this a little bit earlier - but if somebody was really afraid of how they were going to feel while like exploring their grief or exploring their loss, either in a program like this or in a group or something like that...
If they were really afraid of how they would feel, because they don't know how they're going to show up and feel… Is there anything you'd like to share with that person?
Yeah, I think that is definitely a fear that you could absolutely have. Definitely legitimate. Absolutely. And I think that the best way to address that, the best way to feel that is by seeing what your connection is with Wendy.
Because Wendy is the held space and had the capacity for me, that whatever I experienced was fine. Whether I got upset, whether I cried, whether I was emotional… whether I broke down in tears, whether I was angry, and she had the open capacity, she was, she called herself a heart with ears.
And it just made it really simple... and I didn't have to judge what I was feeling.
I could just let it happen as it did. And I think that the reason that I was able to be in that honest space was because of the energy that Wendy had and that she held that space for me to be there.
So my feedback would be that it's it's because of you Wendy that I was able to work through that and be okay with my own experience. I could respond very... I don't want to say “spastically,” but that's the only word... but like uncontrolled, I can respond and you made it a safe space.
Okay. If I had an uncontrolled moment, it wasn't going to derail everything, and then you didn't give judgment. You didn't analyze, we didn't have to go through it bit by bit of what I said, we're able to, you heard me, I felt heard and we did the exercise and then we were able to come and you gave me a virtual hug and then we could move on.
So instead of making it this, “we need to now analyze” And I think that that could be some of the fears people might have.
So you held the space for me to be present and honest with where I was at. And that was perfect and amazing.
And so if someone's concerned about that, that's okay. Maybe this space, someone to work with you in a very safe space so that you can feel those emotions maybe for the first time.
And Wendy is that safe person.
Thank you, Nikole. Thank you. Is there anything else you'd like to share that I am forgetting to ask about?
There is some, some time and an investment time, investment and financial investment involved in it. I can speak to the time investment and I was a little bit leery of 8weeks as well. That's a lot. It was a long time. And I found that working with you for an hour, hour and a half was perfect.
That was fine. I was able to meet the commitments I wasn't overwhelmed with, “I can't do this.”
And then there was one week when I reached out to you and I said, I just haven't gotten everything done. And you were really flexible, which I so appreciate.
And you were like, “let's just move it to next week. Let's do touch base. Let's whatever-it-was that I needed.”
So, not only were you supporting me emotionally, but you're also allowing the flexibility to say, “I understand that life can happen and we can move through that.”
If someone is considering the time commitment that they would need to do to work with you is worth it. And that for the amount that they commit, the results they can get out of it are astronomical.
Last question. Do you feel capable and confident in the Grief Recovery Method® to go ahead and repeat it as other losses occur?
Yes. Yes. I feel like you helped me do that and practice it so that I could confidently do that on my own and have the support system that if I get stuck, I can reach out and be like, “Hey, what does this look like? And I'm in my stuff. And can we just kind of get 10 minutes of your time and go through this real quick?”
Oh, Nikole, thank you so much. I appreciate you being so candid with me. Certainly with me, but also with all the listeners. So thank you, as a fellow griever, and for those who are listening in.
Thank you so much for just really willing to speak up about your experience.
And thanks so much for tuning in again. I appreciate you being here.
If you have questions about what it would be like to go through the Grief Recovery Method® to achieve heart healing from loss, well that's maybe a great entry point for a Connection Call, which is free and which is also 30 minutes.
So you'll see more about that on my website and I'll include a link.
Thank you and goodbye for now.