What Stage Are You In? – Pandemic Grief

Stages of grief and the covid pandemic.Have you ever had the experience of a doctor telling you what was wrong with you, and even if you couldn’t really do anything, it helped to know what it was?  Maybe it was just an ache or pain, a small illness.  Just having a name for it — even some fancy latin term (or maybe especially some latin term) — somehow makes it seem better.  Naming something helps us feel some control.

This pandemic has stripped us of many feelings of control.  It more often feels like life is disrupted and dangerous.  Early in the pandemic — but far enough in that it was clear we were headed down a long path — I was wondering why it took me so long to process that we were in for a long-haul… with implications for every segment of life.  Why had I “missed” the signs?

Denial.  That is what I realized.  I had been playing the denial game.

Which reminded me that I was experiencing a grief response.  I was in grief!  From the pandemic.  Well, the pandemic losses and impact.

Over the next few weeks, as I talked with individuals and organizations, I noticed that we were all in collective grief, as well as experiencing the individual grief.  And as the pandemic has continued, I have noticed that people are experiencing the different stages of grief at different times.  That very fact seems to be at the root of much of the struggles I see played out on social media and regular media.  Clashing stages.

Still, stages.  Grief comes in stages. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross noted 5 stages.  Her colleague, David Kessler, has more recently added a potential 6th stage (an aspirational stage for many).  The point of describing the stages is not so much to force people on through the stages.  It is more for being able to name the stage for what it is.  The capacity of looking at where you are and naming the stage gives a sense of control.  And when we have some sense of control, we can choose whether we are where we want to be, or if we would rather shift.  The shift becomes an option.

Or we can just name the stage and know that is what we are experiencing.

What stage of grief are you in?  I discuss the 5+1 stages in this week’s episode of the Thriveology Podcast.  Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Medium Article by Lee Baucom on Grief
Medium Article by Lee Baucom on The Paradox of Pandemic
Book by Lee Baucom, Thrive Principles
Coping with Covid Series of Podcasts

How to Hope in Tough Times

Coping with COVID Series

How to have hope in tough times — coronavirus and other times.Let me just say, I am a bit weary.  How about you?

This has been a wearying time for so many of us.  Nobody is unaffected by this pandemic.  And we can’t even point to an end to the crisis.  Take a guess, and your guess is probably as good as any other.

What do we do?  Everything seems to be upside-down, inside-out, and topsy-turvy.  It’s hard to figure out what happens next and what to do next.

Which means that some people are beginning to feel hopeless.

Early in my career, as a hospital chaplain, I saw what happens when people have hope… and when they lose hope.  But I didn’t really have any way to help people who were hitting hopelessness.  I just saw the damage.

Thanks to other researchers, I am more clear about how we can build and hold hope, even in tough times.  If you can’t hold it in tough times, it just needs some boosting, and some knowledge.

Let’s talk about hope, tough times, and the Hope Formula.  Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Dealing with Stress
Dealing with Loss and Grief
Dealing with Depression
Dealing with Fear and Anxiety
Lee Baucom’s Books

 

Stay Sane While Staying Safe

Coping with COVID Series

How to stay sane while staying safe in Did you hear about the guy who had been on a meditation retreat for a couple of weeks?  He went in with “life as usual.”  And he emerged into a whole new world.  One where people are practicing social distance, sheltering at home, and scared.  One where restaurants, coffee shops, and bars are closed or limited.  One where every cough is scary.

And one where we are trying to figure out the “new normal.”

How are you doing with it?  Feeling the stress or finding your calm?  Struggling with your day, or finding a new routine for your day?

One issue with this crisis is we don’t have an end date.  Nor do we know how bad (or not so bad) things might be — which is influenced by what we do as citizens and fellow humans!

How do we stay sane while we are trying to stay safe?  That is my subject for this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.

Let’s talk about some strategies for doing your best to live your best in the midst of this crisis.  Basically, how to stay sane while being safe.

Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Need some reading?  Check out my books.
CDC Info Page on the Coronavirus Crisis
WHO Info Page on the Coronavirus Crisis
Thriving In An Age of Panic Episode

Free From Pain

If you are alive, you will feel pain.  For some, it is just a little here and a little there.  For others, pain is chronic and constant.  Maybe just a little or maybe a lot.

Since I tend to be on the active side, I tend to have lots of bumps and bruises.  And at one point in my life, when I was suffering from an illness, I had significant pain.  Which means I am on the lookout for how to find pain relief that does not include a pill to take.

Sharon Smith.  Freedom from pain with EFT.  Healing chronic pain and the underlying emotional issues.After years of dealing with chronic pain, my guest was searching for a way to heal her own pain.  And in the process, she has developed an approach that has helped many others to find pain relief without medication or medical intervention.  Oftentimes, when those interventions have already failed!

Sharon Smith applies an approach that is simple and straightforward.  It integrates physical healing with emotional release, reducing pain and releasing stuck emotions.

Often, when we talk about emotional issues and concerns, we use physical images:  someone being a “pain in the neck,” wanting someone to “get off your back,” and many others.  Why?  Because there is a link between emotional pain and physical pain (and vice versa).

In our discussion, Sharon helps me with a little elbow pain that leads to some insight for me.  And she also has some resources for you to get started with your own pain.

Join us.  Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Sharon’s Website, aPainPlan.com
Clean Pain vs. Dirty Pain
Appreciation and Pain Relief

Life After Loss

Living Beyond Grief

Sarah Nannen on life after loss.  Dealing with Grief.Long ago, way back in one of my college classes on death and dying, the professor told us that our death rituals — the funeral, visitation, etc. — were our ways of “reweaving the cloth of our community” after a loss.

Grief has a process.  It is our internal response to loss, that is about how we move through and beyond that loss.

Yet in our culture, we tend to have an impatience with grief and the grieving.  With the best of intentions, we sometimes push people to move through their grief.  And we push ourselves to move through our grief.

We want those grieving to find happiness again.  And as we grieve, we want to stop hurting.

Which often only serves to disrupt grief, prolonging or curtailing the healing that needs to come after a loss.  In our attempts to “speed it along,” we slow it down or cut it off.

My guest on this episode, Sarah Nannen, knows this first-hand.  With 4 young children, Sarah was widowed when her active-duty husband died in a training accident.

In the aftermath, Sarah had to follow her own instincts to find space for her grief… and then she found herself once again among the living.

Since then, Sarah has been helping others do the same.  She wrote a book, Grief Unvealed, and helps others to find empowerment as they process their own grief.

Who is this episode for?  If you are alive… you!  Because every single one of us will be (or have been) confronted by loss.  Every single one of us will (or has) pass through grief.

Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Sarah Nannen’s Website (and free Peace Meditation)
Moving Through Grief
Order, Disorder, Reorder
Grieve Losses, Celebrate Gains
Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

Holding On (When Life Gets You Down)

How to Hold Up When Life Gets You Down.Life is tough.

Not always.  But along the way.  And even after you get past one struggle, that doesn’t mean there isn’t another one up ahead.  That’s just the nature of life.

It doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong or that the world, God, or the Universe is out to teach you a lesson.  It’s just the nature of life.

You may notice 2 crowds.  First is the “Grind Culture” that just says to suck it up, keep on grinding, and MAKE it work.  They have a point that you have to get through some tough times.  But sometimes, it is wise to step back and ask if the fight is worth it.

Then there is the “Sign Culture.”  That group tells you that any struggle is an indication you are on the wrong path, that something is wrong with you, and that life “should” be easy… if you are doing it right.  They have a point that sometimes, a struggle is pointing to you moving the wrong way… swimming upstream.  But the fact is, life means struggles… at times.

So what do you do to hold up when life gets you down?

We discuss it… and 5 things to do… on this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.  Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Does Everything Happen for a Reason?
Dealing with Emotional Pain
Facing Fears
Accepting What Is
Book:  Thrive Principles – 15 Strategies for Building YOUR Thriving Life

Order, Disorder, Reorder

The cycle of life:  order, disorder, reorderThere are days when you just wish that something would change.  The same ol’ same ol’ just seems to roll along.  And then there are the days you wished that things wouldn’t change.  What happened?  How did things turn upside down?

One simple word to explain both situations:  Life.

If you don’t find that comforting, let’s call it the cycle of life.  Because cycles keep on rolling.  If you can’t wait for a change, no worries.  Things will change.  If things seem so be changing on all sides, guess what?  Change will stop.  Things will re-configure.

In life, we are always moving through a cycle:  Order, Disorder, Reorder.  The first can get a little old and stale.  But at least it is predictable and… maybe even feels safe.  Then comes the call, the letter, the diagnosis, the pink slip, or maybe just the next step.  A child goes off to college, you finish college, a friend moves away, you move away.  Something shifts and throws you into disorder.

It is a tough spot.  Painful and grief-ful.  But life does not stop there.  We move through it, find a new way to keep on moving.  And life re-orders.  It is a new order.  But it is the re-order.

And at some point, the reorder becomes the order.  And the cycle repeats.  From the day we are born until the day we die.

The question is how we move through the cycle… not IF, but HOW.

Listen to this episode of the Thriveology Podcast for moving through the Order/Disorder/Reorder Cycle.

RELATED RESOURCES
Dealing with Grief
Dealing with Depression
Dealing with Anxiety
Midlife
Meaning and Purpose
What Is IS What Is
Book:  Thrive Principles

Goodbye and Hello – Passing Through Grief

Terese CastellanosLife is a fairly constant flow of goodbyes and hellos.  Sometimes, those goodbyes are incredibly painful.  The death of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, the loss of a job or role.  All can be painful.

And sometimes, those goodbyes feel like the end of the story.  But many times, there is more.  More to the story, more to life.  More to live.  Those are the hellos.

When you are caught up in the grief of a goodbye, it may seem like a hello is impossible.  It takes courage.  Vulnerability.  A willingness to live again.

We can live behind a fortress, trying to protect ourselves from hurts.  But that also keeps us from connecting and loving… living.

Sure, the goodbyes hurt.  But that is part of the deal with life.  Sometimes, the pain breaks us open to new possibilities and new people.

In this Thriveology Podcast episode, I interview Terese Castellanos.  As a therapist, Terese helped people through losses and life struggles… and one day realized that she, herself, was faced with the same thing.  Her husband was dying.

In our interview, Terese and I look to her story of goodbye… how that felt like the end of the story… but it wasn’t.  So, we also discuss hello.  And how to live through the goodbye, open to the hello.

RELATED RESOURCES
Dealing With Grief
Lessons From A Chaplain
Lessons From A Chaplain, pt. 2
Terese’s Website

 

Emotional Potty-Training

An Interview with Rachel Kaplan

Rachel Kaplan - Emotional Potty-TrainierHow are you with your emotions?

This isn’t a question on whether you are “in touch with your emotions” or not.  It is how you process the emotions.

Some people have, well, “emotional diahrrea.”  Emotions just dump wherever and whenever.

Others have “emotional constipation.”  They just can’t get them out.  Emotions get stuck, lodged in hurtful and painful ways.

Maybe we all need a little “emotional potty training.”

When Rachel Kaplan was 14 years old, her boyfriend killed himself, leaving Rachel emotionally wounded.  She blamed herself and tried to make sense of such a tragedy at such a young age.  The emotional wound stayed with her for years.

And it led Rachel on a quest of healing.  First, she wanted to find her own healing.  But over the years, she began to use her new knowledge and skills to bring healing to others.  Trained in Western and Eastern healing approaches, Rachel began to see her work as “emotional potty training.”

She helps people who have buried their emotions deep in a “basement of shame,” which means the emotions cannot process through.  Her task is to help people to find their Authentic Self, to heal their core wounds, and discover their worth.

Listen in as Rachel and I discuss Emotional Potty Training.

RELATED RESOURCES
Discover Your Core Wound – Rachel’s Quiz
Healing Feeling – Rachel’s Podcast
Resilience
Dealing with Grief

Healing From Heartbreak

An Interview with Nada Hogan

Nada Hogan, healing from heartbreakLife can turn in an instant:  a phone call, a letter, a knock on the door.  Everything you thought you knew, everything that was “normal” is pulled apart and thrown upside-down.

In that heart-stopping moment, you know life will never be the same.  And sometimes, it can feel like life isn’t just changed… but over.

For Nada Hogan, that knock on the door was a pair of police officers.  While Nada was trying to figure out what was going on, she noticed that one officer’s badge said “Chaplain.”

Nada’s 18 year old daughter had been killed in an accident.

Her already-stressed life was thrown into a tailspin.  Some days, she could barely pull herself out of bed.

Then, she decided to make a change.  To honor her daughter, Darah, in living a life of purpose.

One little step at a time, Nada pulled her life back together.  She found a connection to something bigger than herself… and eventually, to a purpose bigger than her grief.

Now, Nada helps others move through their heartbreaks to find healing.  She starts at the place where you might not even want to get out of bed.  She knows that spot!  She’s been there.

Join Nada and me as we discuss how to heal after heartbreak.

RELATED RESOURCES
Video Series – Giving Your Dreams Direction (by Nada)
Grief and Loss
Accepting What Is
Does Everything Happen For A Reason?

Your Purpose