Brian Smith’s remarkable mission is to help others who are dealing with death and a fear of death. After his daughter Shayna Elayne, which means Beautiful Light, passed at the age of 15, his spiritual quest intensified, and he is now an expert on the afterlife. Brian, who has had careers in engineering and business-to-business technology sales, is now a grief guide, a life coach, the host of Grief 2 Growth Podcast, and the author of Grief 2 Growth: Planted. Not Buried. He is also active on the Board of Helping Parents Heal, the exceptional and inspiring online group that offers an enlightened avenue of relief for the grief that accompanies the death of a child.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:
- How the universe is magical
- Why you need someone to guide you through your grief
- Brian’s customized approach to creating a day to honor and celebrate a deceased loved one
- De-escalating, appreciating, and accepting each other’s points of view
SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS BRIAN:
- How did Shayna’s passing and your work with Helping Parents Heal inspire you to become a grief coach?
- Would you like to describe those special techniques and resources that can help people throughout the world?
- Why should people go to all this trouble to heal their stuff?
Listen to the podcast here
Brian Smith: Healing Is A Choice. We Can Choose To Stay Miserable, But Our Deceased Loved Ones Don’t Want That for Us
I’m happy to welcome Brian Smith, whose remarkable mission is to help others who are dealing with death and a fear of death back to the show. Brian will be speaking to us from West Chester, Ohio, where he lives with Ty, his wonderful wife of many years with whom he raised two beautiful, successful, kind, and compassionate daughters.
After their daughter, Shayna Elayne, which means beautiful light passed at the age of 15, Brian’s spiritual quest intensified, and he is now an expert on the afterlife. Brian, who has had careers in engineering and business-to-business technology sales operates his own internet retail company. He is also a grief guide, a life coach, the host of the Grief 2 Growth Podcast, and the author of Grief 2 Growth: Planted, Not Buried.
In addition, he is active on two extraordinary boards, the remarkable SoulPhone Foundation, which is dedicated to teaching the scientific, clinical, and experiential evidence that clearly shows that life continues after the death of the earthly body, and Helping Parents Heal the exceptional and inspiring online group that offers an enlightened avenue of relief for the grief that accompanies the death of a child.
I’m looking forward to talking with Brian about how Shayna’s passing led to his work with Helping Parents Heal, the way Shayna has come through to Brian and Ty from the other side, and how Brian both supports others through their grief journeys and helps them to find purpose in their lives with his remarkable honesty, straightforwardness, and love. I have no doubt that Brian’s remarkable honesty, straightforwardness, and love will also permeate this interview, gifting all of us with a moving, inspiring, and healing experience. Brian, a warm, heartfelt welcome back to the show.
Thanks. It’s great to be here, and it’s always good to see you and feel your energy. It’s gray and cold here in Ohio, and you’re just like a breath of sunshine. It’s good to see you.
Thank you so much. Glad to shine along with you, Brian. It’s gray and cloudy here in New Jersey too. We had some snow last night, so we’re both in the cold. We’re warm in the cold. Let’s start here. Please explain how you were deeply scarred by toxic religion, and transitioned from growing up Pentecostal, and becoming a Christian Universalist to going on a long spiritual quest, and becoming spiritual, but not religious. I have to admit to you, Brian, as a Jewish kid from Miami, that I don’t understand what Pentecostal is. Please educate me, and everyone else.
The thing is, my grandfather was the pastor of the church I grew up in, my father’s father. His parents were both ministers. I grew up in a family where it was just assumed that we would all be Christians. Pentecostals tend to be what we call Fundamentalists close to Evangelicals. Pentecostal can be even more extreme. Women can’t wear pants. You can’t play cards, no drinking, no smoking, no dancing, and no going to the movies, etc.
That’s the extreme of Pentecostal. That’s what I grew up with, and that wasn’t the problem. The problem was this idea that there was this guy in the sky who was going to judge me, and I didn’t understand why this guy was so angry at me, and why He created me to be this sinful creature. There’s also this concept of original sin that you’re born in the sin because Adam and Eve sinned.
This plagued me, and for a lot of people, they slough it off. I’m a very sensitive and visual person. We’d sing these songs about Jesus being covered in blood, and stuff like this, and it disturbed me. From the time I was about eight years old, it didn’t resonate well with me. When I was a teenager, I started having panic attacks, and I felt like I was dying. Feeling like you’re dying and thinking you might go to hell was even worse. Fast forward 15 or 20 years, I decided to get into counseling. I got some counseling. I got that healed, and I decided to go on a quest. What’s the truth? This cannot be the truth. This God that they tell me is loving. This is not a loving person.
By this time, I’d had my first daughter Kayla. When I had Kayla, they said, “God loves you more than you love your daughter.” I said, “If God loves me more than I love my daughter, there’s no way God would ever send me to hell. This makes no sense.” Long story short, I discovered Christian Universalism, which is the idea that Jesus died for everybody and that we all ultimately be saved, which I do believe in a sense now, except Jesus did not die for our sins.
I went from Christian Universalism, which was a huge relief into starting to study the afterlife from other perspectives because I thought I’m a Christian because I was raised Christian, but everybody else was wrong. What did the Hindus think? What did the Jews think? I studied Kabbalah. I studied the Bhagavad Gita.
Did you go to a school for this or did you start reading books?
The thing is we live in such a world now with the internet and with books. I’ve got a whole library upstairs. I bought the Bhagavad Gita. I bought Tao Te Ching. I start reading these things for myself, and I realize there’s a common thread that runs through all of this. A lot of these things predate Christianity by thousands of years.
I started studying that because I’m a scientific person. Also, my degree is in Chemical Engineering. I thought, “What does science have to say about this?” I started studying science, and philosophy, and it all dovetails together. It all fits beautifully together once we get outside of the bonds of religion. I’m very happy for my religious background and upbringing.
I still quote the Bible a lot. It’s funny because sometimes I think people might think, “This guy is a Fundamentalist or Christian,” I’m not, but I believe there are a lot of gems in the Bible. I’m related to Thomas Jefferson. He went through the Bible, and he said, “I separate the diamonds from the dung.” He cut parts of it out. There’s a lot of good stuff in the Bible, but there’s a lot of crap in there too that men threw on top of it. I approach it both ways now. I can talk to religious people, but I’m also approaching things from a scientific perspective.
As you became more spiritual but not religious, that became even more so once Shayna had passed, and all of that, or that was before you were making that transition already?
I was making that transition already. It’s interesting. My wife and I raised the girls going to church, and we went through a couple of different churches. We started with an Evangelical Church, then we moved to the United Church of Christ, and then we moved to a Unity Church. We were moving in that direction. When Shayna passed, we were going back to an Evangelical Church because it was easy, big, and all that stuff. When she passed, I told my wife, “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t even pretend to do this anymore. We’ve got to find something else.”
The last church I went to is Unity. I still love Unity Church. It’s a fantastic organization. I don’t go to church anymore. I tell people, “My church is what I’m doing with you right now.” My church is talking to people every day. I walk every morning out in nature. I meditate every day. I have nothing against it. It’s good to bring yourself into the community, but I have another community now.
I am exactly the same way. This is it for me too. Could you describe, for everyone, Shayna’s passing, and the series of synchronistic events that led you to the leaders of Helping Parents Heal, and other prominent people in the spiritual world? I know you met quite a few.
Let me give you a real quick thing. This is where I learned, this is the most ironic thing. I thought that the universe was a cold, hard, random place before. First, I thought there was an angry God, and then I thought the universe was cold, hard, and random. When Shayna passed, I realized that the universe is magical. It’s lined up in our favor, and everything happens for a reason.
That’s a controversial thing that we can get into. When Shayna passed, someone said to me, “You should reach out to this guy named Mark Ireland.” I’d never heard of Mark. They said, “Mark lost his son. He wrote a couple of books. Reach out. He might be able to help you.” I sent Mark an email. Mark emailed me back. We had a little bit of a conversation. He ended up gifting me both of his books. He said, “Let me send my books to you.” I read them, and I’m like, “This is pretty cool.”
For people that don’t know, Mark Ireland’s father was one of the best mediums that’s ever lived, Richard Ireland. I learned about his father and stuff. I learned that Mark started this organization called Helping Parents Heal. My daughters like to go on vacation. We always went to the beach. The year after Shayna passed, Kayla said, “I don’t want to go to the beach. I don’t want to go without my sister. Let’s do the opposite. Let’s go to the desert. Let’s go to Phoenix, Arizona.” Kayla had never been there. My wife had never been there. I’d only been there once.
We go to Phoenix. That happens to be where Elizabeth Boisson lives. She’s the other Founder of Helping Parents Heal. While we’re there, I’m like, “We might as well meet with Elizabeth while she’s here. She’s the Founder of this organization.” I meet with her. We decide my wife, and I to become leaders of Helping Parents Heal, so we decide to start our chapter here in Cincinnati, where we live. It goes on from there.
We met Mark Pitstick because he happened to be doing a seminar near our house. We met Mark and Mark was doing another seminar down in Florida with Suzanne Giesemann. My wife had discovered Suzanne, so we went to that seminar. We met Mark and Suzanne. That’s how I ended up on the SoulPhone project with Mark, and I met a couple of other people Helping Parents Heal.
It goes on and on from there. I started listening to podcasts. I go to a conference and Sandra Champlain happens to be there. She and I met, and that’s what inspired me to do my podcast, frankly. When you open up to the way life works, you can see these things tie together. It’s pretty amazing.
I’ve had the same experience. Did Shayna pass in sleep?
She did, yes.
That’s hard. Tell us how she’s come through to you and Ty, which is so wonderful, letting you know for sure that she’s around and on the other side, but she’s with you.
She’s come through in so many ways. She comes through in dream visits. She comes through in signs like feathers, coins, and animals. I’ve documented some of those things. I have a blog that I’ve documented them on. She comes through mediums. It’s wild because as I said, we’ve met Suzanne Giesemann, and I’ve met a couple of other mediums. She’ll drop in on people. Some are professional mediums and some aren’t. She’ll send us messages.
There’s always some evidence tied to it. It’s always something. It’s not like Shayna says she loves you. It’s like Shayna says you were doing this. Shayna says you have a question for her, stuff like that. She’s come through pretty much every way you can imagine. Sometimes not so great. One time my computer stopped working, and for a couple of days, I thought I was going to have to buy a new computer. It mysteriously stopped working, and then it mysteriously started working.
I had a reading with a medium a couple of weeks later, and she said, “Shayna says she messes with your computer.” I said, “Tell Shayna to stop doing that. Show me signs, but don’t break things.” One time, a circuit in the kitchen went out, and I know that was Shayna because right before I was going to go get it repaired, it suddenly came back on. This ceiling fan in our bedroom would come on by itself and we’d go upstairs. The light would be on and the ceiling fan would be running. It’s all kinds of things like that.
Bumper stickers are beyond belief. The day of her fifth angel anniversary was a tough day. I’m driving my wife. She had knee surgeries. I’m taking her to therapy and I’m thinking, “I don’t dare ass for a sign, but it’d be nice if I got a sign.” I look up and in front of me, there’s a car with a bumper sticker in big letters that says, “I’m right here.” My wife goes, “Did you see that?” I completely overlooked it.
We live in Ohio, and there’s this sticker thing where it’s like the word home where the letter O is the outline of the state that you live in. On the back window of this car was home, even though it had Kentucky plates on the car. I was like, “That was a sign from Shayna.” She comes through lots of different ways.
It’s very comforting because I’ve experienced the same thing with my husband and then also with my mom who passed. It makes a lot of difference to the grieving process and everything. How did Shayna’s passing, and your work with Helping Parents Heal inspire you to become a grief coach? Brian, I can’t think of anyone who would probably be a better grief coach than you, because you’ve lived this and you understand it. First of all, tell everyone why a person would need a grief coach. Tell us about how you were inspired to do this work.
This is also crazy. I like to write. Shayna liked to write. We’re both writers. I’ve had blogs on and off for years. I’m on the internet. I’m always putting stuff out there. The day after Shayna passed away, I said, “I’ve got to start a blog.” This was an idea that I can only say came from spirit. I don’t know why I decided to start a blog. I started a blog to document my journey, day 1, day 2, and almost every day for the first couple of years, I would make an entry.
I started doing that. I was working with Helping Parents Heal, talked to hundreds, if not thousands, of parents, doing that work with Helping Parents Heal, helping them run the meetings, and everything. You and I were talking about a mutual friend, Kat Baillie. I was doing some work with Kat Baillie with Helping Parents Heal.
One day Kat sends me a message, and says, “I saw this life coaching course. I thought you might want to take it.” I thought, “Why would you think I’d want to take a life coaching coach? I’ve never said anything, and I never thought about being a life coach.” I frankly thought at that time, life coaches were a joke.
These are rich people go to because they don’t have enough to do with their money. I took the course, and I was impressed with the course that I took. I thought, “This will help me in my work with Helping Parents Heal.” I was listening to Suzanne Giesemann’s podcast, and there was a guy on there named George Kao, who was her business coach. I heard about George, and I was attracted to George so I reached out to him.
He said, “I’ve got this master heart thing coming up for the next year. I’m teaching business leaders. I own my own business. I own a retail business selling hair care products.” I thought maybe he can help me in that business. About four months into that, I realized, I’m supposed to start a life coaching business. That’s why I’m doing this. That’s why Kat told me to take that course. That’s why George came into my life. In April 2019, I started up the life coaching business with the specialty of helping people that are grieving.
Tell us briefly. For people who are grieving. I’m grieving. I’m reading books. I know that there are certain processes I’m supposed to go through and all that. Why would a grief coach help me? Why do I need someone to guide me through my grief?
I’ve done a lot of work with grief professionals, and it’s funny because I work with Dr. Terri Daniel, who’s one of the top people in the country, at least on grief. We’ve taught a lot of courses together. One of the things that I’ve learned as I’ve gone through this is most people do not need a grief coach. Most people do not need grief counseling. Grief is a natural thing, it’s not a pathology. That’s when your grandmother passes away in her sleep. We all know that death is part of life.
The thing is, when you need someone to help guide you through it is when you’ve got what we call complicated grief. It’s complicated by feelings of guilt, if it’s an out-of-order thing, like losing a child, or if they’re religious blocks. They’re telling me my daughter went to hell, or it’s my fault that someone passed away. That’s when you need someone to guide you through it.
It’s also important that I say, “I’m not a mental health professional. I’m not a psychiatrist or a psychologist. I call myself a guide.” I was talking with the business coach one time, and he said, “Explain to me what you do.” I told him. He said, “You’re a guide. You’re like a navigator. The person who’s driving the car, you’re sitting in the seat. They say, ‘This is where I want to go.’ You help them get there.” That’s what I do with people.
I help people to reframe their experiences. I come from more of a spiritual perspective rather than help analyze you. The thing about coaches and guides is we don’t so much look back in your life to try to figure out how you got to be where you are. We look at where you are now and where you want to go. Most mental health professionals don’t help with where you want to go. They’re like, “Can we help you with your whatever your pathology is.”
I help people with reframing it and finding purpose in their life. Again, modeling is a big part of it. Someone like yourself who’s been through the loss that you’ve been through. Someone like myself, people come to me, they’re attracted a lot of times because they’re like, “I know what you’ve been through. I see where you are now. I see that it’s possible. I want to get there.” I can help people, “Here are the steps you need to take. Here are the practical things you need to do.”
That makes so much sense. Can you give us a story of someone you’ve helped to heal in your role as a grief coach? Do you have an example? I’m sure you have helped quite a few people.
I have helped quite a few people. It’s interesting because every single person is different. They’re different than what they need. I do have a little bit of a structure, but it’s not a structured program or anything. I talk to them. I was thinking about a client. Her son’s birthday is in late December, right before Christmas. Thanksgiving, those things are hard. She was making a life transition during the summer. She was changing jobs.
She called me. We talked that through as to why that may be good or not good for her. We worked through that process, and then we talked at Thanksgiving because her kids are going to be in different places and her son wasn’t going to be there so helped her reframe that. We’re talking about the day of her son’s birthday right before Christmas.
It’s 8:00 in the morning for her, which is pretty early. She goes, “I got up this morning and I did my meditation and gratitude practice. I’m talking to you now, and then I’m going to do a walk. It’s my son’s birthday, so we’re going to get together. Some people are going to get together and do something he would like to do. We’re going to go to an animal shelter. We’re going to walk dogs.” I’m impressed with her practice and it dawned on me because we’ve been working together for over a year now. She was doing these things because these are the things she and I worked on.
I realized that I had helped her develop this practice where she was like, “I’m doing gratitude. I’m doing meditation. I’m doing my exercise. I am honoring my son on his birthday, rather than sitting around and moping.” I’ve created this ritual that we’re going to do. She said, “We might start doing this on a yearly basis.” I get goosebumps now thinking about it because my first thought was like, “This is cool that she’s doing all that.” I realized it’s because we’ve been working together.
That’s wonderful though. You helped her. To those of us who have grieved grievously, it’s so easy to slide into that tunnel of despair. What you’re doing is giving them a detour out of that tunnel so that you can refocus. That’s wonderful and great, especially if you don’t have huge mental health issues, but you are lost. It’s like you’re giving them a hand to help them and guide them out. That’s great.
It’s helping people to reframe things because it’s funny. Their lives are parallel because I have a daughter whose birthday is right around Thanksgiving, and then Shayna’s birthday is on January 13th, and we’ve got Christmas and New Year, and all that stuff. This could be a hard time. That day, she had somebody to talk to. There was a way for her to kick off her day by me talking to her, helping her to frame the day, “This is going to be the plan for the day,” and giving her something to focus on other than her loss.
That makes a huge difference. When you’re doing grief coaching, you also have something that you call Weaving the Loss into the Landscape of Your Life. Is that something like what you’re talking about now?
It is, because the thing is, my daughter is always behind me when I’m doing my podcast.
That’s an example of what I’m talking about. The work I do, I do to honor my daughter. I’ve got big pictures of her up over the house. You and I talked before about our loved ones being in spirit. We can think, “That’s great. They’re in spirit. I’m going to see them again.” That’s a wonderful thought. They can also be with us and are with us right now. That’s an even better thought.
Shayna is part of my daily life. I mentioned Shayna’s name several times a day. I say good morning to her when I get up in the morning, I say goodnight to her when I go to bed at night. She’s the first thing on my mind in the morning. When I take my dog out for the last time at night, I look up at the sky and say goodnight to her. One of the things that gets me through is that knowing I’m going to see her again, that she’s with me, and she gives me evidence of that.
I feel the same way about Saul and my mom. It does make a huge difference. It’s marvelous. You also have a customized approach to creating a day to honor and celebrate a deceased loved one. What’s that like? I’m sure it’s different for everybody. You have to get very creative as to who they are, their needs, and all.
We talk about, for example, “What’s your loved one’s favorite thing?” The client I was talking about. Her son loved animals, so they decided to go to an animal shelter and walk the dogs for his birthday. My daughter Shayna loved pizza and ice cream. Every January 13th we have pizza and ice cream in her honor.
I was talking to this client about Christmas with her son’s birthday being so close to Christmas. We came up with the idea and I said, “Why don’t you make a small tree for him so that when everybody walks into the room, it’s a way of honoring him? You look at that tree, and you think of him. Put his favorite things on the tree.”
In our case, we started collecting Christmas ornaments for my daughter Kayla, when she was born. We bought these things called snow babies. She’s 25 now. We’ve got about 26 or 27 snow babies and she displays them on a table because they don’t fit on the tree anymore. With Shayna, she loved penguins. The tree has become Shayna’s, so the tree is covered with penguins and the table is covered with snow babies.
When we look at the Christmas tree, we switched after Shayna passed away to purple lights because that’s her favorite color. Whatever reminds you of your loved one, whatever brought joy to them, let that bring joy to you. I want to say this one thing because I thought this was cool. After Shayna passed, my daughter Kayla was having a reading with the medium, and she feels survivor guilt like you would expect. She’s three years old and they’re sisters. “I don’t want to be here without her.”
She’s starting to go through these things in our life, graduations, birthdays, and weddings possibly coming in the future. What Shayna has said through this medium is, “I will always be with you. Don’t ever feel guilty about celebrating something without me. Celebrate even more because I live it through you.”
We include Shayna in all the celebrations that we have in the family, in some way, whether it’s lighting a candle or having a picture of her there. When my nephew got married, I was so proud of him. All the girls had a picture of Shayna at the hem of their dresses, and all the guys had a picture of her behind their ties. She was there that day and it brings tears to my eyes even think about that even now.
That’s wonderful. Do you also have people who have lost pets, Brian? For some people, pets are their children. They’re their fur babies.
Pets can be as close to us, if not closer to us than humans. Grief is any type of loss, anything that you feel like you’ve lost. It could be grief over a loss of a job, over the loss of a marriage. All these things can send us into grief. It’s funny you asked this question because I was talking with a young man from Brazil. He was telling me he scheduled this appointment with me three days ago because his cat had gone missing. He had been studying and he’s experienced in this stuff, and he said, “I realized how much I love this cat.”
He is a single guy and he’d broken up with a relationship. He goes, “My cat had gone missing. I feel silly now because the cat came back, but I wanted to go through at the point with you anyway.” The thing is, I’ve had three dogs. I know what it’s like to lose a pet. It’s the same as losing a human. Some people might argue with that, but anybody that’s had a pet, you’ll probably agree with me.
If someone’s going through a hard patch over their pet, you’re not going to laugh. You’re going to help them with that. That’s great to know.
Pets are so important. The thing about pets is they love us unconditionally. You don’t get in a fight with your dog or your cat. They think you’re the greatest thing ever.
You put out that plate of food and you play with them.
The good thing is, we will see our pets again. Your book is They Serve Bagels in Heaven. Our pets are going to be in heaven too, and some people question that. Do animals have souls? They do.
I’ve been in with mediums and pets come through. They described them and everything. It’s wonderful. You’re a grief coach, but you’re also a life coach. I like it. The grief coach is you’re helping people through this tough time when they’re struggling. As a life coach, that’s more for people who feel out of balance and stuck in their lives. They’re no longer moving forward. Do you want to share about your work as a life coach, and give us an example of how someone transformed with you?
They’re very close, but they’re not exactly the same. A person who needs a life coach is a person who does feel stuck or feels out of balance. That’s exactly a great way of putting it. You don’t know where you want to go. You feel like you have no sense of purpose or you know where you want to go, and you don’t know how to get there. If you come to me, and say, “I don’t know where I want to go,” we could do a life balance assessment.
How balanced do you think your life is? Spiritually, family, work, and leaving a legacy behind. Are you having trouble with your finances, getting your finances in order, or physical health? There are seven different areas we can look at, and say, “Which of these areas do you feel you’re not functioning very well in? Which one of these do you want to focus on now?” We don’t necessarily want to focus on all at the same time.
Once we find an area we want to focus on, we look at what your core values are. What do you value? What do you want to do? What are your beliefs? What do you believe you can do? We look at your values, and your beliefs, and see where you want to go. We look at your beliefs to see where they might have you stuck. We put together a program that’s going to give you success from getting from here to there because we tend to look at things from A to Z, and we say, “I’ll never get there. It’s too much.” I’m like, “How do we get from A to B? How do we get from B to C?”
We’ll put together a program. It’s about accountability. I found with most people I work with, knowing that they’re going to talk to me motivates people. I worked with a young lady, and she had a son, a fantastic nine-year-old kid. She had no social life and she was not eating brightly. She wasn’t exercising because she was focusing everything on her son. The thing is, you might know that on some level, but once you articulated that to someone and realize that’s not fair to you, then ultimately, it’s not going to be fair to him. We then say, “What’s the plan?” Let’s see how we can work our social life up a little bit better.
Sounds like her life was out of balance.
How do we bring more social? How do we spend more time with adults? How can we plan that out? How do we get to the gym or go for a walk? After a couple of sessions, she was like, “I’m going to the gym more often now. I’m out meeting people.” She’s still loving and taking care of her son, he’s still a high priority in her life, but bringing some of these other things back into balance with that. Even as parents, as much as we want to give everything to our kids, it’s not fair to them or to us to neglect ourselves. That’s how I can help people as a life coach.
You helped her to be a healthy role model for her son because she’s got to learn about living in balance and also about things that are going to happen in his life. You helped her even be a better parent in a certain way.
There are so many people that think, “I’m going to be a great provider for my child by putting everything into my work. I’m going to give them so much material stuff.” I’ve seen children that grow up and resent their parents because they never got the love and attention that they needed. Children want attention more than they want material stuff. Sometimes that idea of working so hard because of a deficit we have about ourselves thinking that’s going to make us a better person or a “successful person.”
We talk about what does it mean to be successful? What is the real reason why you’re here? Is it to make money or is it to have another impact? I work with so many people that are doing great things, and they’re like, “Brian, I don’t feel like I have any life purpose.” I’ll talk to them for half an hour because I offer everybody a free half hour in a session.
I’ve yet to meet a person I wasn’t totally impressed with the first 30 minutes I’ve spoken with them, but they undervalue themselves. They undervalued their contribution to society. They’re so hard on themselves. One of the big and biggest things I do as a life coach is I’m a cheerleader. I’m like, “You’re fantastic.”
I talked to a guy. He had moved from Australia to Cambodia to end sex trafficking. He goes, “I’m not very good at making decisions, and I don’t follow through.” I said, “You told me you moved from Australia to Cambodia to get people out of sex trafficking.” That’s incredible, but he didn’t see it in himself. I’m a mirror back to people to say, “You are incredible as you are. We can work on moving forward as well.” I’ll never turn anybody down that wants to move forward. First of all, understand that where you are is pretty special.
You’re doing something marvelous which we all need in life. You see them. A lot of times they grow up and they weren’t seen also. They may be achieving all these things and maybe there are different reasons that they’re doing all of this, but you witnessed them which is terrific. I know you’re starting something called Family Relief and Resolution packages, which I personally relate to also. Do you want to tell everyone about that, Brian?
It’s not a formal thing, but I’ve done it with a few people. If you want to work with me in grief, I offer a package of three sessions as a bundle to get.
If someone wants to talk to you, they can get a free half-hour session. Later on, we’re going to get your contact information. That’s wonderful that you do that so that they can explore.
I’ve done this with a couple of families. I have a few clients where I’ve worked together with them as couples because they’re having issues usually around grief and they’re grieving differently. I could think of one couple right now where a tragic case where the granddaughter was killed. They had some religious issues around it. One was looking at it one way. the other was looking at it the other way. They were having trouble speaking with each other about it and maintaining their composure.
I can be a third party that they bounce it off of. One says, “This is what I’m saying, and I don’t think he hears me.” The other one says, “This is what I’m saying, and I don’t think she hears me.” I can interpret for each other. This is what she’s saying or this is what he’s saying. I’ve done that with a few families.
You helped them to de-escalate, appreciate, and accept each other’s points of view.
I’ve had a client, a woman who had gone through a divorce, and her son was struggling with the role of the father. He was able to talk to me as an interested third party about what he was experiencing with his father and with his mother. As a kid, he couldn’t talk to his friends about it because it was embarrassing. I could be a party he can bounce things off of. It helped in that situation.
It can be helpful for people like that because sometimes, our emotions are so tied up in things we can’t communicate with the one that we love the most. Since we might be grieving differently, we’ll say, “If they loved that person, they would be grieving the way I am.” It’s not true. We all take things differently and we all have different roles.
I could think of this one couple. It was based on religion because one person was saying, “This is the way my faith tells me to behave, and this is the reason I’m behaving this way.” The other person was like, “However, you’re not acting like a human being. You’re not expressing your emotions.” It was causing a rift.
It’s wonderful that you do that. I had a situation like that in my own family. I was telling you about it and it was helpful. Brian, I know that you’re not personally meeting with people from Australia, Brazil, or wherever you’re going. Do you work with people through Zoom? What are the different ways that you work with people so that they can reach out to you?
It’s interesting. I’ve been doing this since 2019. It happened to work out great because COVID hit us in 2020. I’ve only seen a couple of clients face-to-face. Most of my clients are remote. I told you, I talked to a guy from Brazil. I have a couple of clients in Germany and Australia. I talked to a guy from Cambodia, Switzerland, and people all over the world. That’s the great thing about the technology that we have now. The only barrier is time zones, and we can usually work that out. For me, I love the fact that I can meet people this way. Someday I might have a physical office, maybe not. I love Zoom because I can look you in the eye. It feels like we’re in the same room.
The only thing missing is the hug.
I feel like I know you, and I’ve never met you in person. It’s funny because there are people I’ve known for years. We were talking about Kat Baillie, and I saw her on Facebook. I’m like, “I’ve never met Kat in person, but I feel like I know her.”
We’ll both be doing that in August 2022. I’m looking forward to it. I know that you’ve developed and discovered special techniques and resources through your own personal experiences and the experiences of others that have brought you so much wisdom and led you to transformation and growth. Would you like to describe those special techniques, and resources that can help people throughout the world? The Brian Smith method.
I’ve been doing this in a sense for many years now as far as being on a spiritual quest. I started studying a little over 20 years ago. I started by reading Gary Schwartz’s book, The Afterlife Experiments. I have read tons on mediumship, near-death experiences, afterlife communications, remote viewing, and all that stuff. I’ve got about 150 episodes out now.
I’ve spoken with experts all over the place. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Dr. Mark Pitstick and Terri Daniel. I work with Gary Schwartz in a remote way. I don’t work with him on a daily basis. I’ve gotten to meet Susanne Wilson and Suzanne Giesemann with these fantastic mediums. I’ve interviewed some expert leaders in the field so I picked up a little bit along the way.
I remember when I was a kid, going back to my religious background, they said, “You can’t have religious stew. What we teach you is true. You can’t pick from A and pick from B. It’s not a Chinese menu.” I find it’s exactly the opposite. I incorporate a little bit of everything I find. I find there’s some truth in everything. Not everything is the entire truth. I bring that together and then I see what people need.
I’ll be talking to someone and I just know. It’s like, “This is the book you need to read. You need to read this book by Bernardo Kastrup or Charles Eisenstein. You need to listen to this song.” I love music and music speaks to me very deeply. I’ll say, “You need to listen to this artist or go find this podcast episode.”
I was talking to this young man who had gotten into my NDE podcast because people love NDEs. I said, “Listen to my other podcast, too, because there’s a lot of good stuff there.” What I do is I’m clearing house. I pick up this stuff along the way, and then I pass it along to other people.
I take a little page out of your book too because I do that with a lot of people also. It’s wonderful to go through what we’ve been through and be able to pay it forward. It’s great. Brian Smith, of all people in the world, what is your message about the importance of healing that you’d like to share with everyone? Why should people go to all this trouble to heal their stuff?
Everything that happens to us happens for a reason. Again, we could discuss this in depth. I know that people have different feelings about that, but I believe it does. Even if you don’t accept that as a premise, whatever happens to us, we have the option of how we react to it. I tell people to try on two stories. Either things happen randomly, and nothing matters or everything happens for a reason. What’s my lesson in this?
I believe that this world is set up to have pain. It’s set up to have disappointment. It’s built-in. It’s part of the plan. It’s not an accident. It’s like an obstacle course. The obstacles in the course are not there by mistake. They’re there for us to overcome. I believe that we have set this up for ourselves. We’re not being punished. It’s not God.
We’ve said, “How would I handle this?” Something happens to us and then, how do we react to it? When my daughter passed away, I didn’t think that healing was possible, first of all. I didn’t want to heal. I thought the best way to honor her would be to be miserable for the rest of my life to show how much I love my daughter. I wanted people to say, “He’s never been the same since she passed away.” I realized that wasn’t fair to the people around me. There are people that depend on me. My wife, Ty, and my daughter, Kayla, they’re people that depend on me.
I realized that wasn’t my plan. That wasn’t Shayna’s plan for my life when Shayna passed. I believe healing is part of all of our plans. I believe that we can choose to heal. Why wouldn’t you want to? Our loved ones want us to, and a lot of times what holds us back is guilt because we feel like for some reason, we’re responsible for what happened to us. We feel like we’re honoring our loved ones by not healing. Imagine that they’re with you. They’re sitting in the room with you.
I believe they are.
How would they feel about you being miserable for the rest of your life? How would you feel if you passed on? Would you want your loved ones to be miserable for the rest of your life? Unless you’re a total narcissist, probably not. You probably want them to be joyous. You want them to be happy. I believe this is what my daughter wants for me. I believe that if I didn’t do it, I would be dishonoring her. That’s why it’s important for me. Everybody can make their own choice, but I’m here to help people that want to make that choice to heal. Again, it’s possible because when this first happens, you don’t feel like it’s even possible. You think it’s not going to happen.
I got to tell you this real short story. In one of the first grief meetings I went to, I wasn’t ready to heal. I didn’t want to heal but my wife took me to this meeting so I go to this meeting. There’s a woman sitting there. She’s about ten years in. She was miserable. She talked about how it was unfair that her daughter was dead. She went to her grave every day or every week. She was never going to get any better and she was angry.
Most of us are brand-new to this. We were sitting around this room, and I knew how she made me feel. I thought, “I don’t want to ever make anyone feel that way. I don’t know if I can heal, but I do not want to be that woman. I do not want to be on this planet for years spreading that negativity.” There are some people that do. They will hold on to that bitterness for the rest of their lives.
I liken it to they’re carrying a backpack full of unhappy, huge rocks. They’re lugging it around with them, and then they’re banging it over everybody else’s head with it also.
More than carrying a backpack. You’re exactly right. They’re throwing rocks at other people because there was a parent whose son had passed away, and they decided that everybody they met, that was going to be the first thing out of their mouths, “How are you feeling?” “My son died.” You become that person whose son died. That’s not who you want to be. That’s something that happened to you. That’s not who you are.
You don’t have to carry that with you. The thing is, we’re all ultimately going to heal anyway someday. Why not do it now? Why not enjoy this life that we’ve been given? Why not honor our loved ones? When I see my daughter, I want her to say, “I am so proud of you.” That’s what I want to hear from her.
She inspired you to make such a difference in the world. That’s the good part about it. Now that everyone’s all psyched and they want to contact you for grief counseling and for life coaching, I want you to please tell everyone how they can connect with you. Also, please tell them about your podcast, Grief 2 Growth, and your book, Grief 2 Growth: Planted, Not Buried.
Everything is Grief 2 Growth and my website is Grief2Growth.com. My podcast is Grief 2 Growth, and I’ve interviewed near-death experts, mediums, all kinds of experts, and lots of different things, religion, philosophy, etc. I offer life coaching and grief counseling. Go to my website. You can schedule a free half-hour consultation there. There’s a scheduled button at the top of every page. I’d be happy to talk to you.
I don’t do sales pitches. When people say, “I know this free thing. It’s a way to get me in.” It’s funny because usually at the end of my sessions, people are like, “How can I contact you?” I won’t tell you unless you want to know. I don’t want to turn anybody away, but I don’t want you to work with me unless you want to work with me.
Healing is a choice. If they contact you, that’s their choice.
It’s a choice. I’m not the person for everybody and I’ll tell you if I don’t feel like I’m the person for you. I so enjoy being able to help people and give people that hope that they can heal. Again, the easiest way to check me out is on the podcast. The book is inexpensive, and it’s a short read. You can read the book, and then if you decide you want to book some time with me, I’d be happy to talk to you.
They can go to Grief2Growth.com. What’s the Brian Smith tip for finding joy in life?
The tip for finding joy in life is understanding why you’re here, why we’re here, and who we are. The biggest problem in the world is people have forgotten who we are as human beings. We are not the bodies that we inhabit. We are not our brains. Our consciousness precedes us being here. Our consciousness will continue after we’re here. If you understand that, then everything in this world starts to come a little bit more into focus and fall a little bit more into place. You’ll start to seek what’s your place in life.
I find so many people are like, “I’m not fulfilling my purpose.” I can almost guarantee you that you are. It’s planted, not buried but another one of my taglines is, “Grow where you’re planted.” Whatever you’re doing, do it to the best of your ability. That’s where you’ll find joy. If you’re sweeping floors, if you’re a stay-at-home mother, if you are a career, whatever, do the best job you can do and look for opportunities to serve other people. That’s how you’ll find joy.
I could not agree with you more. Brian, your deep knowledge of both spirituality and science, coupled with your honesty, straightforwardness, and love, continue to contribute to your remarkable mission to help others who are dealing with death and a fear of death. Thank you for the important and transformative work you’re doing in the world through your enlightened grief coaching, your uplifting life coaching, your Grief 2 Growth podcast, and your book, Grief 2 Growth: Planted, Not Buried. Thank you from my heart for gifting all of us with this moving, inspiring, and healing interview.
Make sure to follow us and like us on social at @IreneSWeinberg on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and especially on YouTube. Like, subscribe, and hit notify to make sure you’ll get inspiring, new interviews coming your way. Thank you. As I like to say, to be continued, many blessings, and bye for now.
- Brian Smith’s Website
- Brian Smith’s Grief 2 Growth Podcast
- Helping Parents Heal mentioned in the show
- Gary Schwartz’s book The Afterlife Experiments
- Grief 2 Growth: Planted, Not Buried. How to Survive and Thrive After Life’s Greatest Challenges
- Irene Weinberg’s book: They Serve Bagels in Heaven
- Irene Weinberg on Instagram
- Irene Weinberg on Facebook
- Irene Weinberg on Twitter
- Irene Weinberg – Grief, Rebirth + Healing Podcast on YouTube