GAR 41 | Self-Discovery

 

Are you struggling with trauma or loss experienced in your past? Are you currently grieving a new trauma or loss? Are you facing a situation which is likely to bring about grieving in your life?  Then this is a must listen interview for you!

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:

  • How the experience of grief is different for extroverts, introverts and ambiverts.
  • The biggest mistake a person can make when facing grief.
  • How grief can become one of life’s greatest teachers.
  • How we can embrace grief and dance with it, one dance step at a time.

SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS EDY:

  • Should every griever be in therapy?
  • What masks do people in grief wear?
  • What are the best tools to cope with grief?

SHOW LINKS:

https://edynathan.com

It’s Grief – The Dance of Self-Discovery Through Trauma and Loss

CONTACT INFORMATION:

edy1nathan@gmail.com

Listen to the podcast here

Edy Nathan – Psychotherapist focusing on Grief, Trauma, and Sexuality. Workshop Leader, Keynote Speaker, and Author of It’s Grief: The Dance of Self-Discovery Through Trauma and Loss

 

 

 

 

This interview with psychotherapist Edy Nathan about her wise new book titled It’s Grief – The Dance of Self-Discovery Through Trauma and Loss is going to be helpful, especially to those of you who are actively grieving or are facing a situation that is likely to bring about grieving in your lives. I read Edy’s insightful book during my visit to Miami, where I was grieving the possible loss of my 94-year-old mom, who had suffered a heart attack. Edy’s book was a comforting, informative companion to me during that difficult time. I’m happy to report that Mom is now feeling much better, and having read Edy’s worthwhile new book, I am already recommending it to others.

Edie, welcome to the show. I am delighted to be sharing the gift of you and your wonderful book with our readers. Let’s begin what is going to be an extraordinary conversation with this question. How has grief touched you throughout your own life, motivating you to pursue the calling of a psychotherapist who focuses on grief?

It’s good to be here and to talk about something that we often don’t talk about, which is our own grief stories. Our grief stories are affected by so much. They are affected by how we live our lives, by previous losses that may not be the loss of a loved one but maybe the loss of a core sense of self. My coming into this work occurred because I had a lot of losses, but the culmination of those losses came upon me after having lost my first love. I was 27 years old. He died of lung cancer. I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t know how to handle it or manage it, but it was because of his loss that I now do the work I do.

I say that, but I also recognize that had I not had all of the other losses, I don’t know that that would’ve been the determining factor for the change in my life because I had all of those losses from being agoraphobic, and my freedom was lost to having been sexually abused and bullied at a young age. All of these were tender moments of loss and grief that I kept pushing down. When Paul died, that was it. It was an inner explosion of the layered mosaic of internal grief.

For those who don’t understand, what is agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is a state of severe anxiety where you have such a panic disorder that it becomes difficult to even go, walk, and emerge outside of your own space or room. There are a lot of people who suffer from agoraphobia, that incredible anxiety, who ultimately never get out of their houses.

All the platitudes about, “You can push through it and you can think positively,” they need a little more high powered help.

It took a lot of work. Before we started talking, we talked about the fact that it takes a group or a community. It took a community of professional people and family to help me navigate my way out of it. It was tender and hard. I went from being out there in the world and being in the theater to, all of a sudden, not being able to leave my apartment to have to work through all of the steps.

Paul honored that, and he was part of that. He helped me navigate my world in many ways. I had to come out of my shell. I had to learn how to get to the hospital and walk fifteen flights up the stairs to get to him when he was in the VA because I was afraid of the elevator. When I’m talking about grief on multiple layers, it comes to us in ways that we can’t even determine or expect.

It is one of the reasons why you have such a profound, deep understanding of it because you’ve been through it yourself on many levels. We’re lucky to have you here. You joke while we’re talking. Please tell our readers everything they need to know about grief but are afraid to ask. Go for it, Edy.

Everything that we’re afraid to ask, for example, “Does it end? Will it end?” That’s the number one question. I’m sure you understand that.

“Will I ever stop suffering from this?”

It’s a two-pronged answer because, on the one hand, yes, the suffering changes and shifts, and it’s not knocking you over and gripping you the way that it normally does. On the other hand, I don’t know that we ever want the memories of what we lost to leave because then we’re not us. If we’re not us, who are we? Who we are is based on all of the experiences we’ve had. That might be a loss. It’s the loss of a spouse, one’s freedom, or one’s soul. It doesn’t end, but it changes. It morphs into something that is more livable, yielding, and has much less of a grip on us.

GAR 41 | Self-Discovery

Self-Discovery: Grief does not end. It morphs into something more livable and yielding.

It still contributes to the good parts of us and to who we are. That’s what I have found. Is it limited to the loss of a loved one, a grief? Does the process of grieving change depending on our relationship to the person we lost? If we’ve lost a mother as opposed to losing a spouse, is it a different form of grief? Is it limited? I’ll bet it’s about all sorts of losses.

It’s about all sorts of losses. Is the grief about when you lose a mother going to be different than when you lose a spouse? It depends on many factors. Grief is like your fingerprint. I don’t know anybody who grieves the same way. I don’t know anybody who grieves the same way for things that they’ve lost. If we think about a spousal relationship or a partnership, it doesn’t have to be husband and wife. It could be you’re in a partnership, and you lose that partner.

Let’s say that partnership was contentious. There may be some form of relief when that partner passes away. On the other hand, once you reckon with that relief, there might be grief for what you weren’t able to accomplish. It’s complex. Depending on what that relationship was, the complexity grows and wanes. It is undetermined what one’s grief is going to look like and how it unfolds.

It sounds to me like, in certain ways, part of the healing process is to suspend judgment about yourself and the way you should be doing it, and come to an acceptance that, “This is my experience and how I’m doing it.” That’s okay, and do not allow people’s judgments to come into your own processing of your grief or your own experience.

You’ve brought up many topics. I don’t even know that you’re aware of all the topics you brought up. What do you do when you meet people who are judging you? How do you deal with that? How do you stop the judgment of yourself because of the comments by friends or coworkers? What is the scope of one’s grief? How do you determine when it’s over?

I’d like to first go to this conversation around judgment. I hope you’re going to like this. Number one, don’t shout on yourselves in terms of how long it’s going to take you to get released from the grip as you learn to dance with your grief because this is a dance. It is learning the steps. It is learning how to have a voice with it, how it comes in and how it goes out.

Grief is a dance. You have to learn its steps and have a voice in it. Share on X

I liken it to the tide. Respect and honor that you’re going to be moving like the tides. Sometimes, you’re going to be overwhelmed with the emotions around your grief. Sometimes, you’re going to feel like you have no emotion at all around the grief. That’s fine. The goal is to get to that sense of calibration. In terms of when people say, “It’s three months, it’s six months, it’s a year. You’re still going to that group. What’s wrong with you?”

I got that comment on Facebook from someone that she heard from a coworker, “You’re still going to that group.” The answer is, “You’re not in my shoes. You don’t have a right to tell me how long it’s going to take me until I’m ready not to be in there. It might be a year, two years, or three years. I’m getting something from this. Thank you for thinking I should be over it, but I’m never going to get over the loss of my son. I’m not going to get over it. I’m going to learn how to live with it.”

People are quick with their judgments. If you’re iterating with twenty people, there are twenty different headsets and twenty different sets of experiences. How can one of those judge you? That’s another part of self-love when people can love themselves enough to be okay with who they are and not give that voice more weight.

When we are in an active state of mourning, and the grief has hit us, sometimes we can teach the people around us how to behave around us. There’s a sense of helplessness around your friends and family. They want to help. They send over dinners and gifts. That may not be what you need. You have the right to say, “I’ll tell you what I could use. Could you take the kids for an afternoon? Could you go for a walk with me? Could you answer my emails because I feel overwhelmed?” If you can do it by asking, people will be more than happy to give you what you need. They’re doing what they think you need instead of perhaps what you need. That gives you a sense of control in what otherwise feels like you have lost all sense of control.

I found that when I was grieving my husband. I had trouble accepting help from people. I started thinking about it, and none of the things that people are doing are going to take away my grief, but they’re drops in a bucket. I should let those drops in because, eventually, they’ll collect in the bucket. I’m going to let them love me and help me through. However, we all do this together.

Speaking of that, I am fascinated by your book about how you talk about the experience of grief and how it differs for extroverts, introverts, and ambiverts. I am sure some people are going, “What the heck is an ambivert?” I was able to say, “That’s an introvert. That’s why he’s processing it this way.” Could you educate and enlighten all of us about that? That’s a fabulous point you make in your book.

One of the goals of the book is to help people see that when they get to know themselves, the help that they will reach out for may be different depending on what they learn about who they are. In this piece, introvert, extrovert, ambivert, it’s a process of, who am I? How do I cope? On the best of days, how do I handle things? At the end of the day, do I need to go home, sit with myself, and breathe? Do I need to go out, hang out with friends and go dancing? What do I like to do?

Knowing that will help you know, “If I am an introvert, chances are I’m not goig to want to go to a group and talk about this, but I might want to go talk to a friend or maybe to a therapist, one-on-one. If I’m more of an extrovert, I might like a group. Maybe individual therapy or talking to one person isn’t going to be my thing.”

An ambivert is a little bit of both. Sometimes, they need to be more introverted and more extroverted. That’s fine. They’re going to have to pace themselves. They will get their directives by listening. Listening to the self may be one of the greatest gifts that grief can give you. It is learning how to listen and hear what your body and your five senses are telling you.

GAR 41 | Self-Discovery

Self-Discovery: Listening to yourself and finding out what your five senses are telling you is the greatest gifts grief can give you.

You’re saying the greatest gift for grief is to discover and tune into yourself.

Yes, because otherwise, we’re moving along. We usually want to put it away, and we often don’t have a scope from which we can dissect what’s going on within us. The best thing we can do often is say, “I’m going to go through this. I’m going to cry. I’m not going to talk about it too much. I’m going to hide it.” There’s a shame or a regret factor. There’s a lot of shoulds and frustrations. People will go into hiding around it. There’s emotional trouble that happens with that. That adds to the complexity of grief. When that occurs, complex grief occurs. When complex grief occurs, we have health, emotional, drugging issues, drinking issues, and not sleeping enough or sleeping too much. We find that we are moving between extremes. Any extreme behavior is hard to compensate for, especially when we’re grieving.

The idea here is when you start to listen, it is a gift. That gift is to start to do things differently. In the book, I break things down. I ask you a lot of questions. I ask you to sit down, journal, write some things down, think about how you can slow yourself down, ask for help, don’t do it alone, and do some service. That’s in my grief toolkit. Knowing I am an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, you can begin to determine how you focus and handle yourself and how you can heal yourself.

That’s a great way to start to use grief to find out who you are. To tell you the truth, until I read your book, I thought I was an extrovert, but I found out I’m an ambivert. The other thing that I want to say, and you will tell me if I’m mistaken about this, is that complicated grief is when you have unresolved issues from your childhood. For instance, you’ve lost someone, and you have this unbelievable feeling about being abandoned. That may be coming from something else that’s happened to you. In discovering yourself, wouldn’t you say that the grief also gives you the opening to heal a lot more than working through your grief as you get to know yourself?

We talk about grief and the loss of partnership. The loss of partnership is one thing that we talk about, but it can be the death of a marriage. One client came in dealing with this whole divorce process, which is a huge grief process because the person is still alive, and they’re hurting one another. There are children involved. What this client said was, “I never realized that the way that I have been cut off in my marriage, I was taught as a child. This conversation is more about how I learned to cut off. I wasn’t allowed to have emotions. I was not an emotional woman in my marriage, which may have contributed to why we are now going through a divorce.”

Complex and complicated grief is certainly influenced by our past, childhoods, and trauma that we might not have even remembered. I talk about the brain in the book. The brain and the body hold our memories. All of a sudden, the brain gets triggered, and all of those neural impulse impulses start to say, “Remember this?” It happens quickly, and you start to get a lot of memories, dreams, flashbacks, and things that you may not have remembered and were buried for good reason to protect you. That’s why the brain goes into that amnesia state. It is a protection. All of a sudden, for a client to say, “This is what happened. This is when it started.” Things are going to start to come up in ways that it’s a good thing she’s talking about. She’s become awake. She and I call grief a process of awakening.

Complex grief is influenced by past childhood trauma that you might not have even remembered. Share on X

Let me ask you this. She discovered this in therapy with you. Would you say that everyone who goes through grief should be in therapy? What is your take on that?

It’s an individual process, and there are no shoulds. There are people who know themselves well enough to know that therapy may open up way too many things that they do not want to look at that need to be honored and respected.

That’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone say that. I think that’s wise because some people are shut down. The instinct is to try to get them to open up, but maybe it’s dangerous for them. You have to respect that.

One of my favorite teachers and best teachers is a man by the name of Bessel van der Kolk. He wrote the book The Body Keeps the Score. If you have suffered trauma, it is one of the best books on trauma. I say that because one of the things that he advocates for is not having a client immediately tell their trauma story.

GAR 41 | Self-Discovery

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

As a result of that understanding and knowledge that I’ve gained through his work, I’ve come to understand that some folks need to guard their secrets that they do not know, need to keep silent, and know might be there, but they’re not completely sure. They do so for good reason. That needs to be honored. When people come in to see me, I will often say to them, “You don’t know me well. I want you to get to know me before you share your story. Let’s work around it. Let’s understand what’s going on in your body. Let’s allow some of the storyline and the narrative to come out more organically.”

I would imagine going to you for therapy would be a safe experience for people you cultivate, such a sense of safety that people can open up to you, which is a blessing. I had that when I was grieving. There are no words. It’s wonderful. What are the different phases of grief, Edy? There’s a lot of talk about. There are five, but I know that they go back and forth. Could you educate us, please?

I would love to educate you on this. This is a pet peeve of mine. I’m glad that you asked the question. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross designated five stages. When she initially wrote about them, she had to do with someone who was dying. It was about what someone goes through when they’re dying and the grief associated with the dying process, not necessarily for the living and those people who were the survivors of that loss. It often gets misconstrued. I thank her for her work because she got the conversation about death and dying out there. We needed that because we wanted to clean it up and sanitize it. Nobody wants to talk about it.

What I see are these eleven phases. I’m not going to go into every phase, but the first phase is about numbness, denial, and shock. I see that first phase as a home base. It’s where we get our protection. No matter where you are in the grief process, I see it as the place you go back to, and you continually go back to it. You start to move and grow. Something gets scary. You go back to numbness, shock, and denial. That’s great because it’s where you meet yourself again. You come out of that cave, numbness and hysteria. You go, “I’m ready to move.”

There are many layers to this grief and eleven phases. You can experience anxiety and anger. Though they are different phases, they can move and dance between one another. There’s role confusion. Who am I now that I am no longer a caretaker? Who am I now that I’ve lost a limb? Who am I now that I’ve lost my children? I don’t know who I am anymore because I was identified as this mother, and I don’t know what to do.

We go through all of these. The ultimate goal is to get to forgiveness, grace, and this place of balance and moving between under distance and over distance, which are emotional places of being. You want to get to calibration. That is the goal of these eleven phases. You’re not going to find that. They disappear. You’re going to have an understanding of what you’re facing.

Can you give everyone your definition of forgiveness? A lot of people think that whatever has happened to them will be okay. I know it’s not about the perpetrator. It’s about the person. Can you, in your eloquent way, explain to people how you define forgiveness for your patients and all for your clients?

The phase is called forgiveness, letting go with insight, purpose, and understanding. It’s the intentional and voluntary process of undergoing a shift in the way you hold your anger, anxiety, and rage toward the person who hurt you, the perpetrator or the one who died. It’s not about forgiving them. It’s about allowing yourself to find forgiveness within you so you’re not carrying the rage. It’s a forgiveness of the rage. It’s a forgiveness of holding on to the story and the narrative. It doesn’t keep filtering through you and causing you to hurt yourself. That’s the definition.

GAR 41 | Self-Discovery

Self-Discovery: When someone has hurt you, find forgiveness within you. This way, you won’t carry the rage inside.

It’s essential because otherwise, we get sick. Things happen within our bodies. Where does that go if you’re constantly harboring all of that? It’s a process. Sometimes, you need a guide to help you with that.

In the book, I line it out. F is for finding a definition for yourself of forgiveness. O is order and modulate your most intense responses to the loss. R is to regroup. G is to give yourself a break, breathe, and create a new storyboard. I is to invigorate the soul and find ways to feel safe. V is the vector or the path that you choose. There are many to create and embody on this journey. E is to energize healing by avoiding the lure of a vengeful mindset and electing to forgive but not to forget.

This is another question that came from your book. Tell me about the masks that people wear in grief. You have a background in the theater. That goes along with some of that. While you’re talking about that, wouldn’t you mind bringing in your background in the theater, which is interesting to helping you with what you do?

As Shakespeare said, “We are all actors. We are all on a stage.” We are merely the actors, and the world is a stage, you know. We all wear masks. These masks are flexible. We have the masks that we wear when we go to work. We have the mask that we wear when we’re a parent. I interchange the idea of mask and role. It’s the role that we play.

There is the mask of, “I’m okay.” We spoke earlier about, “I’m okay. I don’t need your help. I don’t need anyone’s help. I’m going to do this alone.” For some people, that’s accurate. For some people, it’s what they’re putting on. It is that mask of, “I’m okay. I don’t need your help. That’s okay.” Meanwhile, they’re dying inside. They’re feeling desperate and alone, but they don’t even have the words for what’s going on. It is their mask, and they’re good at masking that doesn’t allow people to step in or move in any way.

I talk about how you can have your mask but also allow these other roles to move into being able to find someone you trust, rely on, or who feels safe and allowing yourself to unmask the I’m okay. Allow them to see the fear, vulnerability, and depth of your grief and mourning, of how confused you feel. You’re scared. This is about how to help yourself move through the veil and unveil. It’s hard to unveil. It’s safe. This is about unveiling.

When you see people in society, they could be hostile or aloof. Instead of judging it, maybe it’s a good way to think that person may be in a lot of pain. It may be closing themself off.

The mask is our most powerful foe and friend.

I know you talk a little more about that in the book. How has your being in the theater informed what you do? I loved hearing about that. That’s a rich part of your experience. You did that before you became a therapist.

It adds to the work because I see all the different roles that people work through. With my theater background, when I stopped acting, the first program that I went into was a drama therapy program. I see how people use their masks. In the work that I do with groups, we will make puppets and masks. That’s all theater. We will talk through those masks. We will have the grief mask and mask where you have relief. Many people have never experienced that feeling of relief.

To embody it and have a mask made that looks like relief and addresses relief, and I’m going to go back to the brain. It allows the brain to think differently about the grief because this is what relief or inner peace looks like. This is what overcoming my intense reactions and overwhelming reactivity feels like because now I have a place to put it, act out, move through, have a puppet, have this mask, and do role play. Those are all ways that allow you to work through what often doesn’t have words.

What are the best tools to cope with grief? What would you say? How do you advise people who were Iike, “What should I do? I’m miserable. Where do I go with this?”

Where do I go with this? What am I going to do? I feel lost, and I’m scared. One of the things that’s important is to understand that not unlike Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, who was wearing these red shoes. She never knew the power that she had in those red shoes until the end. The power of those shoes took her back home. The first tool is the self and understanding that you have the self as part of your greatest tool for healing.

If you don’t feel that way, but in that idea of the self, we’ve got the brain. That is that neuroplasticity part that we’ve touched upon here. The idea of changing the cognitions, I feel stuck. I feel trapped. I feel imprisoned by my grief. I’m going to change that thought. I feel sad, and I don’t have to be imprisoned by it.

To begin to shift the cognitions, even if you do that once or twice a day, we know that can begin some shift in the brain. I’m a big advocate for exercise. If I don’t exercise, I don’t feel good. What they know about exercise and the physiology of exercise and the brain is that it helps the brain and the body to release anxiety, anger, and frustration. You get to start to listen to yourself. Because you’ve broken through the anxiety, it’s hard to listen when you’re in a heightened state of anxiety, anger, or role confusion. That exercise, where you’re sweating a little bit, can help break the concrete and the grip of the grief.

Another piece, which is a little hard to imagine, especially if one is in the throes of it all, is service and donating time. Maybe not at the beginning, but several months down the road, think about how you might be able to offer your service to a homeless shelter, someone who’s homeless on the street, a child’s school or at a hospital. Sometimes, hospitals are charged. Go to a library. That service helps us to feel that we are part of a community or break into a new community. We have the chance to be more than our grief.

It helps you make new connections. That is part of moving forward from the grief. I had that experience. I started working, as part of my healing, for an organization that helped children with grief. I figured if it was hard for me, how does a child do it when they’ve lost a mother, father, or siblings? This organization is called Good Grief. They have peer support for children in grief.

I was, in a way, working with grief, but it was removing me from pain over my own grief in certain ways. I was making wonderful new friends and connections from it who had an understanding that my other friends did not. Since you spoke about the homeless, tell us about your inspiring story about the homeless woman in blue.

In New York City, there are a lot of homeless folks, unfortunately, living on the street. There is a wonderful woman who is on 34th Street, which is where my office is. She is an artist. She’s always painting and drawing. She is only in blue. It’s a specific color blue. As she wears this blue, she stands out. She’s this stunning woman. We have, over the years, gotten to speak, but she doesn’t speak. I’ve never even heard her voice.

What makes her amazing is that even though she doesn’t speak, she has a full life on the street. She writes to me on my phone, because I have a note phone. I take out my little pen. She writes to me and tells me what she wants. She only likes healthy food and a certain kind of water. She’s clear about what she does and doesn’t want.

One day, she wrote that she wanted some canvas and paints because she had run out. I went to Michael’s, and I got her the paints and canvas. I gave her some of the canvas paper and paints. I said, “I want you to know that I finished writing a book, and I want to give this to you.” I showed her the book. She looked at the book and paints. She stood up and bowed. In the tiniest voice, she said, “Thank you.” She is allowing something to manifest in her that I’ve never seen in several years. I thanked her. I saw her grief have a chance to heal in that moment.

What a gift that you gave her, and what a gift she gave you.

It was a mutual gift. That’s what I mean by tiny moments. I am a big advocate for doing group work. In my groups, I talk a lot about how we can give service and help each other find the gifts in grief.

Edy, what would you tell our readers about the importance of healing and why it takes courage?

Healing is an individual process. It is a process of catharsis, and it is a willingness to take yourself into the dark night of the soul. Share on X

Healing is an individual process. It’s never what you think it’s going to be. It will take as much time as you need it to take. It is a daring process. It is a process of catharsis. It is a willingness to take yourself on and go into the dark night of the soul.

That’s a whole other subject, the dark night of the soul. We’ve had someone on the show speaking to that. Our community is amazing. Why does it seem like the national grief burden is at an all-time high? There are many acts and things going on in the world. There’s so much displaced rage.

There’s so much displaced emotion. We are inundated with media. There’s never a break. As it goes down, we get that information. As a result, we never get a break. We don’t get a hiatus from bombings, murders, children being shot at in their schools, people being detained, and children being separated from their parents.

That’s not a political comment. It’s a comment of grief and loss. When we see all of this going on, and we don’t have a voice, I can’t tell you how many people had difficulty when Christine Blasey Ford was testifying and the trauma that she was discussing and talking about, and the grief that came up as a result of her testimony. The people who didn’t know what to do with memories all of a sudden came up that had either been abandoned a long time ago or had a shutdown in their brain and a dissociation, which is fine. All of a sudden, she’s talking, and memories are starting to come.

That’s why the book is also about the dance with trauma, grief, and loss because it’s not just grief. It’s trauma and loss. We’re not able to shut it down. One of the things that I suggest to people is you need to have a cutoff time when you’re not going to be listening to the news or to what’s going on social media or to whether or not someone’s responded to you on Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram.

Stop for a moment, no matter how old you are, and say, “I’m going to look at the person who’s next to me. I’m going to have this communication because we’re losing sight of our humanity. We’re losing sight of being able to feel someone in a room.” We’re feeling them through Snapchat. With that connection and the idea of connectivity, we’re losing some of what it’s like to touch someone.

There’s an interesting statistic here. Our young people and the people who are college-age are having less sex than our seniors. In my world, as a sex therapist and grief therapists, they’re losing touch with their sexuality and sensuality. There’s grief and loss there. It’s something that we’re going to have to look at, deal with, and cope with. That causes rage, anxiety, a lack of connection, or an increase in competition.

People don’t understand what’s happening to them.

They don’t have anything to compare it to. A lot of these kids grew up with parents who were also looking at phones. They’re at that age now where we’ve had our phones for several years. They may have looked at their parents, who were not gazing at them. One of the things I also talk about in the book is the connectivity between the mother and the child and the parental unit and the child, and the importance of having the parent gaze at the child and engage. That’s all part of the developmental process.

That is missing from people because instead, the child is looking at mommy or daddy, and they’re looking at their phone.

The phone has become a member of the family.

Not only that, every member of the family has one.

It is also the way that people are raising children, and it might not be mommy and daddy, mommy and mommy, or daddy and daddy. The partnership has become fluid now. Because of that fluidity, we’re in a dimension where we’re not talking about mom and dad, but whatever that partnership is, these children need to understand what that partnership means, especially if it’s a gay couple or a polyamorous family, where there are three people who are parenting. These children are able to see what family looks like. It doesn’t matter what the definition of family is, but they have an idea of family, and those are their people and their go-to. The way they get calmed is to go to screens, computers, or TV. The go-to is eye contact with the family unit or with the parent.

It’s taking that away from them. How does grief become one of our greatest teachers?

It teaches us to learn about ourselves and to hold ourselves with the greatest of sanctity, respect, and honor. If we learn to go through the grief process, we learn to have ourselves back.

GAR 41 | Self-Discovery

Self-Discovery: Grief teaches us to learn about ourselves and hold ourselves with the greatest of sanctity, respect, and honor.

This is such a wonderful conversation. I know that people are going to want to get in touch with you, Edy. Could you give us all your contact information? I know you’re having another workshop called Grief and Sexuality. If you have a special offer for our readers, that’s even nicer. Would you like to talk about that?

I have that group going on. The way that they can find out more about what I’m doing, it’s EdyNathan.com. They can certainly look at the website. They will see all of the events that are going on. I also do Wonderful Women Groups. The women’s groups are about emancipating the self through grief. The free giveaway is if they sign up through my website. I will send them a free grief meditation. Mention this show or your name, and I will send that right to them.

It’s Grief and Sexuality. Give us a little so our people reading know what that’s about. They may want to go to that if they understand how it would apply to them. Can you tell us about that?

It’s about women who have gone through many different phases of their own sexuality. It’s for all ages. It’s from women who are discovering their sexuality to women who are going through menopause. I like to have multiple age ranges in the groups because everybody learns from others’ experiences. There can be grief and loss over the menopause experience, the burgeoning of sexuality and fear, and not knowing what to do with desire or unmet desire. That is what the group is about, and it’s dynamic. It’s a five-hour intensive. From that group, we go into a six-month program if people choose to do that.

Another question is for you to please talk about the golden thread and your tip for finding joy in life.

We all have a golden thread. It moves through us, connects us, and creates a sense of continuity and community. When you experience grief, you have that golden thread. It threads itself to another person who’s experienced grief. The thing is that there’s no one who hasn’t known grief. Understand that you are part of that golden thread, that sense of connectivity, and therefore, you are not alone.

When you experience grief, you have that golden thread that connects you with other people. You get that sense of connectivity and serve as a reminder that you are not alone. Share on X

What’s your tip for finding joy to connect to that golden thread, or is there more?

Connect to that golden thread and know that when you have yourself, and you listen to yourself, you are on your way to fulfilling the psyche, the soul, and the temperament of your own mosaic.

That’s a beautiful way for us to conclude our interview. Edy, this has been wonderful. Thank you for sharing many profound insights from your book. It’s Grief – The Dance of Self-Discovery Through Trauma and Loss. With our readers, you tell us that personal strength comes from knowing the self through trauma and loss. You embrace grief, teaching us to dance with it one dance step at a time. This has been a meaningful conversation, and it is surely meant to be continued. I’m sure you would agree. My heartfelt thanks to you, Edy, from all of us and the Grief and Rebirth community. As I like to say, bye for now because I know this will be continued. Thank you so much.

Thank you so much.

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