How to Walk Towards Happiness in Your Life – Even After Loss (#209)

How to Walk Towards Happiness in Your Life – Even After Loss (#209)

We all experience loss at some point and sometimes it can seem overwhelming. But there’s hope. Today’s guest, Marie Alessi, shares how we can walk towards happiness after loss.

We all experience loss at some point and sometimes it can seem overwhelming. But there’s hope. Today’s guest, Marie Alessi, shares how we can walk towards happiness after loss. Here are some of the things that we discuss:
  • Sometimes when we reach the end of what we can endure and we have nothing left to give, the new way presents itself. Marie shares what that looked like for her and how she turned it into a movement to help others.
  • How you can move past the expectations that others have of you while you grieve. Those expectations can keep you stuck.
  • The power of treating grief like a visitor, not a full-time occupant – and how to do it.
  • 3 powerful questions that will help you walk towards happiness – even after loss.
  • The power of reframing the words we use to describe what we are experiencing.
  • The role of mindset in healing.
  • How to tap into your inner knowing and wisdom.

[00:00] Bobbi: One myth or misconception about grief that you would want to dispel, what would that be?

[00:07] Marie: The five stages of grief.

[00:10] Bobbi: Really?

[00:11] Marie: Everybody talks about the five stages of grief and where you’re at in the they were never intended to be the five stages of grief. Dr. Elizabeth Kubler Ross, who is the author of that, has intended to write that for terminally ill people, the anger, the bargaining, the denial, that is all stages of terminally ill people. And for whatever reason, there was a mistranslation, misunderstanding, misconception, whatever, and it turned into this huge five stages of grief. Even Dr Elizabeth Kubler Ross always says, no, that’s not what I intended it for. It’s for terminally ill people. And that is one of the biggest and most common myths in grief that you’re like, oh, there are these five stages I never felt anger towards Rob’s passing.

[00:58] Bobbi: Welcome to Unyielded, Thriving No Matter What, where we talk about how to make your next chapter in life your best chapter. I’m your host, Bobbi Kahlerr, and I believe that the best is yet to come. Today we’re going to talk about how to walk towards happiness in your life, even after loss. My dad passed away last November, so when today’s guest reached out to me and with this topic, I knew right away that this was something I wanted to explore, not only for myself, because we all experience loss at some point, and sometimes, frankly, it’s overwhelming. And I love the notion of walking towards happiness after loss because I think that’s something we can all benefit from. And we talked about a whole bunch of stuff in this interview, but some of the things we talked about is sometimes when we reach the end of what we can endure and we feel like we have nothing left to give, that is exactly when the new way presents itself to us. We also covered how sometimes when we’re grieving, we have to manage and move past the expectations that others might have for us in that space, what they think grieving should look like for us, because those are the very expectations that will keep us stuck. We talked about three powerful questions that will help you walk towards happiness. I love those questions, by the way. We also talked about the power of reframing, the words that we use to describe what we are experiencing, because once again, our words create our worlds. We also talk about the role of mindset in healing. And then finally, how to tap into your inner knowing and wisdom. A little bit about my guest before you meet her. Her name is Marie Alessi. She is the mother of two boys, a bestselling author, influencer and speaker. And she has started a movement which she is here to share with you. After her husband passed away from a brain aneurysm, she found and created her way back to joy. She instinctively knew it was the only path worthy for their young sons. Her husband had taught her the concept of two choices, and this choice was made in his honor to make him proud. Marie has become a shining example of choosing love over fear and sadness in her movement. Marie offers hope, healing, and happiness to the world when people expect it the least and need it the most. And it’s time to meet her. Marie, welcome to the show.

[03:44] Marie: Thank you so much for having me, Bobbi.

[03:46] Bobbi: I am looking forward to this. And just for the listeners, you are hailing from Australia, right?

[03:52] Marie: Yes, absolutely. Coming in from summertime.

[03:55] Bobbi: Yeah. It’s a little bit different than what it is here in Colorado right now. We’re recording this, what, february 2 here in the States. And we woke up and it was ten below zero today. Fahrenheit.

[04:07] Marie: I have no idea what that is in Celsius, but it sounds cold.

[04:10] Bobbi: It is cold. It’s cold. So why don’t you just go ahead and introduce yourself to the listeners?

[04:16] Marie: Yeah. Thank you. So I’m Marie Alessi. I am the founder of the global movement called Loving Life After Loss. And yeah, I have opened this movement. I have founded this movement because what I was looking for, I couldn’t find. So I basically created what I needed after my husband passed very suddenly from a brain aneurysm in the prime of our lives.

[04:43] Bobbi: And you had two small boys at the time, right?

[04:46] Marie: Yeah, I still have them, but they’re bigger now. They were ten and eight at the time. They’re now 15 and 13. So I’m a mom of two teenagers now. Let me breathe into that. Okay.

[04:59] Bobbi: Yeah. That’s stressful right there.

[05:01] Marie: Very young at the time.

[05:02] Bobbi: Yeah. So this movement came about because of your loss?

[05:09] Marie: Yes, absolutely.

[05:12] Bobbi: Okay, and tell me a little bit, or tell us a little bit about the movement because it’s kind of cool.

[05:19] Marie: Sure. Allow me to take one step back because I feel this is so needed, this part of the story, to understand the movement. I had one moment, and I’m going to take you right into the depth of it. I had one moment after Rob’s funeral where I had a nervous breakdown in our kitchen. And it all started with the boys were bickering about brushing the teeth. Who’s using the tap first? The usual thing. Everybody who’s got kids will understand. And all of a sudden, I just called up to them and said, hey, I just need peace and quiet. It just came out like that, like quiet vehement. And something happened when I said that. It made me click. I felt it was like a valve had opened. And I started saying this sentence over and over again, and I started screaming it, and then I was screaming it on top of my lungs. I was in the kitchen screaming my head, I was like I was like.

[06:20] Bobbi: I just need peace and quiet.

[06:22] Marie: And I could not stop myself until it turned into this primal scream. And next thing I know, I found myself on the kitchen floor. I can’t even remember collapsing. And I was whacking kitchen cupboards and screaming like a maniac. And it was such an out of body experience that I was really scared that my neighbors would call an ambulance or the police. And I could see myself being taken away from my boys. And I got so scared. And I think that snapped me back into my body. And I’m like, what am I doing? What am I doing? I couldn’t understand what was happening in the moment. In hindsight, it was so clear. It was the first moment after the funeral where I could relax and let go, and my body just went like I needed to vent big time. And to make matters even worse, the funeral was a midweek funeral. And on that Sunday, the day I had the nervous breakdown, I walked my little one down the aisle for his first Holy Communion on my own. And we live in a small country town, so we had all eyes on me. And I was walking. My ears were running down. I was trying to stop crying, and I couldn’t. I still get so emotional about this moment. I’ve told my story so many times, but this moment is so intense for me that I still feel the emotions. When I was walking down that island, the entire town was looking at me. And Jared turned around and looked at me, and I tried to keep a brave face for him. And that night, I collapsed. I had nothing left. I just collapsed. And out of that, I had this most beautiful and super raw conversation with the boys about what happened. I made a decision to go and see a positive psychologist for a while, which I did for about four months. And in one of the sessions and this is where we come to why the movement and why I wanted to tell this story up front in one of those sessions, I talked to her about how overwhelming I find it when people have these expectations that this is what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to fall apart, you’re supposed to lose it, you’re supposed to be sad. And I had chosen a different direction. So when things like that happened, it felt almost like people were like, oh, finally, she’s grieving properly, or, finally she’s falling apart. But when I was in a happy state, people were like, oh, she’s in denial. She’s still in shock. She’s not grieving her husband properly. So there was so much judgment, and people wouldn’t say it, but I could feel it. And maybe in hindsight, being super reflective, it was also my own judgment. Am I doing this properly? Am I doing this the right way? How society expects it? So Emily, my beautiful, beautiful, positive psychologist, looked at me ever so calmly, and she said, so what does grief mean to you, Marie? And I was like, wow. And the first word that came up was empowerment. And I did not expect that. I did not expect that. And I said it to her. I said wow. The first word that came up was empowerment. And I was so puzzled and frazzled. I’m like, this is awkward. I just said, wow, this is beautiful. Let’s talk about this. So I delved into that and realized that ever since Rob had passed so unexpectedly, I felt such a strong guidance from him. Almost in a really I shouldn’t even say almost in a really deeply spiritual way, I felt held, I felt guided. Of course, I felt alone as well in this. But there was this unexpected, immense power and energy that I felt that was so clear and beautiful in a way. So I just followed that. I just followed that. And I couldn’t explain it to other people because they didn’t experience what I was experiencing. And when I was standing on stage to hold the eulogy, I actually delivered a speech of a lifetime. I talk about love and connection and how important it is. And so many people said they took so much away from what I shared and what changes they made in their lives afterwards, in their relationship and their career and their way they lived life. So I decided in this very moment, and I said it to Emily, I said, I think I need to write a book about this. And she said, I think that is a great idea. So that’s what I did. Two months later, I had written and published my very first book, which was called Loving Life After Loss.

[10:51] Bobbi: Two months?

[10:53] Marie: Yeah. So it took me a couple of weeks to get ready, but the actual writing and publishing process was four weeks. Yeah.

[10:59] Bobbi: That is quick.

[11:02] Marie: Bobbi, it was my story. There was nothing I had to think about. I literally just had to create that space where I sat down and it was such a flow writing process because it was our story. So I just shared how I met Rob, how I fell in love with him, how we had our barefoot wedding at the beach and the two boys, and then how he passed and how we dealt with it. And I felt if I could share my story and some people would get some hope from this, that’s what I want. But there was also this element. I wish that one day, maybe the boys can read it when they’re older and understand it and want to read the story how it was back then. So to cut a long story short and get to the point now, that book became an Amazon number one bestseller and ranked in the top 100 of Australia. I was just absolutely blown away. I did not expect that because I sat there and I thought, this is just our story. I had goosebumps and I was like, there’s got to be Rob involved in this. He’s just incredible. And then I talked to boys traveling around the world for two months because that is something that I had already planned and I wanted to get the book published before we left. Then that came up. Then we were traveling and I was sitting in Vienna and had this moment. This was the maximum moment of epiphany for me where I was reminiscing and going back through oh, my God, what had happened in this last half a year? We’ve come so far literally and emotionally, everything. And that’s when I had this. I’ve got something the world needs. I need to do something more with that. This is so much more than just a book and this is where I had this idea of starting the movement.

[12:48] Bobbi: That’s cool. That’s really cool. I want to go back to something you said there, Marie, because you said, sure you went in a different direction, like with your grief.

[12:58] Marie: Vastly different. Yes.

[13:00] Bobbi: Can you tell us more? Tell me more about that.

[13:02] Marie: Yeah, I’d love to. This is actually really beautiful. So for everyone listening, I want to give you the takeaway up front. I want you to listen really closely to this because so many people shy away from this very conversation. And what I’m talking about here is one day Rob ran me and said, babe, I’m going to be a few hours late because there is an accident on hiscoat road. Everybody who lives in this area knows what that means. He’s Coat Road is like a one way. There’s no way out. You have, like a two hour journey around if there is an accident. So what is an accident? As in a really big inconvenience for a lot of people coming home from work just wanting to see their families. It’s a two hour inconvenience for one family that day, it meant that her husband never came home to see his little boy. That’s right. I still get so emotional when I talk about this because he was a really young dad who died that day on the road through to a collision with a truck or yeah, I think it was a truck or a bus. I can’t remember. But the fact was that his son was, I think, not even a year old or maybe a year old, a year and a half, very little. And he never came home to his family. And that really touched us so deeply. I remember Rob and I sitting on the bed that night having this conversation sparked by this event, and we had the what if conversation. And I really want all the listeners to have this conversation because, yes, it is confronting, but it is so beautiful to be able to talk about this because there was so much love in this conversation and our conversation. We had three or four of those over the years, but this conversation always ended in something like I just wanted to take the boys and create the happiest life possible.

[14:53] Bobbi: Yeah.

[14:54] Marie: And that very sentence, that very essence of this conversation, became my North Star when Rob passed away.

[15:04] Bobbi: Yeah.

[15:05] Marie: That’s beautiful. I just did everything I could to walk towards happiness. I had no idea how I would do that at the very beginning, in the first couple of days, but I remember sitting here on the couch in a living room when I shared the news with my boys that their dad had passed away. I remember that sentence coming literally into my whole system, take the voice and create the happiest life possible. And I was a very subtle voice in that moment, but it became stronger and stronger and stronger, and it became my sole direction.

[15:44] Bobbi: Yeah. So that brings up I love how you put that you did all you could to walk towards happiness, and when someone’s grieving, because it’s hard. I lost my dad a couple of months ago, and he was 89. It’s one thing to say, well, he’s 89, he had a great life, and of course he did. Doesn’t matter.

[16:02] Marie: But still, your pain is still your pain, and you still miss him. I just want to say my heart goes out to you because I know exactly what that feels like.

[16:11] Bobbi: Yeah. And thank you. So how did you go about that? The walking towards happiness or to use the loving life after loss?

[16:23] Marie: Yeah, I work a lot with love, as you can imagine. So love is my everlasting power that I can tap into at any given moment. And often when I don’t know where to go, I have this mantra in my head, what would love do? What would love say? And love is simple. Love just wants you to be happy. And Robin, my life was all about love and connection. We were so madly in love. We were that couple. Everybody looked up to us. It’s like, oh, you and Rob. Oh, my God. And I was falling more and more in love with him. Even after twelve years of marriage, there was no stopping that. It was just beautiful. Everybody was so heartbroken and shocked that especially Rod, everybody just loved him. Just like, oh, my God, out of all people. But for me, it really is simple. It is not easy, by all means, but it is simple. Every decision was based on, is that going to bring us happiness or not? Super simple. Traveling around the world, is that going to bring us happiness? Whoa. Absolutely. Let’s do that. And I just knew that would take us away from all these first milestones without him. The first Christmas new Year’s. Both boys birthdays are in January. That I packed them up and left. I literally exactly that. Take the boys and create the happiest life possible. So I took them and left. And I knew we had to be away for a while, just us and happy.

[17:59] Bobbi: Yeah. I love that, though. Will this choice make us happy?

[18:04] Marie: Yeah.

[18:04] Bobbi: Thank you. I’m reading something by Dr. Wayne Dyer, and he talks about he very much talks about living with that love based I love him. He’s just amazing. And he talked about how if you want to have more peace and love in your life when you’re making a decision, say, ask yourself, will this decision bring me more peace?

[18:30] Marie: Absolutely. Yeah.

[18:31] Bobbi: And it sounds simple, but to your point, it’s not necessarily easy.

[18:36] Marie: Yeah, but like everything else that sounds simple isn’t easy. It’s like everything in your life that you want and feels difficult at first. Everything becomes easier with practice. If it’s a muscle that you train or if it’s your mindset, everything that you do. To me, what I do now was one of the hardest things I did four and a half years ago. But now it’s second nature. Now my brain instantly goes to shift your perspective, reframe things for you. I actually have learned and this is a huge thing for me, Bobbi, because a lot of people deal with anger, in particular in connection with loss. Often people come to me and say things like, I’m still angry for my husband leaving me. So there’s two things that I want to share here. One is that anger. I always call anger a cover up emotion. So it takes the allowing yourself to look at what’s actually underneath that anger. What’s driving that anger is that frustration, is that loneliness? Is that fear, is that sadness, is that grief. And once you know that, you can deal with that emotion. And the second thing that I have learned is the reframing. It for people. So when I hear somebody say, I’m still angry for my husband leaving me, I actually asked that particular lady that I’m thinking of right now, is it okay to offer you a reframe? And she said, yeah. I said, Your husband didn’t leave you. He died. So the outcome is the same thing. He’s not with you anymore. But the intention behind it is vastly different.

[20:30] Bobbi: That’s right.

[20:30] Marie: And that there is so much healing and peace in that. She had a huge 180 degree turnaround in the retreat where we worked through that. And, yeah, it’s just beautiful. And one more thing I want to add to that is that very often, and I almost dare say all the time, when you go through adversity, it retriggers unhealed stuff from your childhood.

[20:58] Bobbi: Exactly right.

[20:59] Marie: That, to me, was a very obvious abandonment scenario. Where have you been left before that this comes out as this feeling that you perceive it as being left rather than, my husband died. So, yeah. Anyway, we can go into so many things, but these were the main things I wanted to pick out here.

[21:20] Bobbi: I think what you’re talking about there, the reframe, is so powerful. And I know on your website you talked about instead of saying I feel lonely. And I think you said replace it with there’s a huge space to fill.

[21:37] Marie: I love it because feel the opportunity that comes with it. When you say that rather than lonely, there is instant victimhood state and there is instant opportunity. So it’s the same thing, but the perspective is complete polar opposite.

[21:52] Bobbi: And I think what you said there, it kind of allows for possibilities, for opportunity that wouldn’t be there. So what are some of the other major reframes that are important?

[22:04] Marie: Yeah. I’ll share one of my favorites with you because one thing that I hear over and over and over again in so many grief groups and even in our movement here is there always been a hole in my heart. And you see me now. Camera people only hear me at the moment, but there’s instant, that falling, that sadness that heaviness that comes with it when people say that, So here’s what I say, and you’ll feel the difference instantly. I say, there’ll always be a place in my heart for Rob.

[22:38] Bobbi: That’s right.

[22:39] Marie: And there is so much love and beautiful memories, and there is no victimhood behavior. Do you know what I mean? This comes with our judgment. I’m not saying you pull victim whatever. I’m never, ever talking down on people or making them feel any lesser because they are in this victimhood state. It is a matter of owning that and seeing what you want to see in your life instead. And if you can’t see that, to then go into your loved ones perspective and say, well, what would he or she want for me? Or if you were in his shoes. I have done this exercise where I went into Rob’s shoes and went like, okay, if it was me, Marie, who had passed away, and I’d be looking down on Rob with the boys, what would I want for him? What would I want him to do or say? Or which direction would I want him to go? And that is such beautiful guidance. Or come back to what would love to. Those are the typical reframes that I offer.

[23:46] Bobbi: Yeah, I think that’s really powerful. And it goes to I think it kind of connects back to something you said a few minutes ago, finding the new possibilities and the opportunities. And something that caught my attention on your website too, is you said something like, what if we could find the opportunity in adversity? I’ve often thought that I’ve had my share of adversity, and it’s like but usually you have to withstand the initial shock, granted.

[24:17] Marie: Yeah.

[24:18] Bobbi: Depending on what it is, but there’s usually an opportunity. There some sort of opportunity somehow to grow or whatever. So I really liked that.

[24:28] Marie: I call it the Hidden Gifts in adversity. That’s beautiful. And they’re always there, but you need to allow that time that you need to be ready to open them.

[24:38] Bobbi: Yeah. Okay, so with the book you had the book and then now the movement, because I know I asked and then and then I got kind of sidetracked. So this is something there. Just tell me a little bit more about that because I know it’s a global movement.

[24:54] Marie: Yeah. So I opened the doors to that movement and I’m saying, open the doors. I started it as a Facebook group, so it was I’m always into numbers. You’ll see that in a minute. 19 March 19, I opened the doors to Loving Love after lost the Facebook group, and within a couple of weeks, we had hundreds of people come in. And then I started creating healing journeys and programs. And I knew at the beginning when I opened it in November, I’ll run a retreat. I had no idea how, when, where, what, but I knew in November. I always have these, I don’t know, dates just come to me, and this is what you’re going to do then. And it’s almost like putting the milestones in ahead of time, almost like a visualization. And then it happens. I’m like, I did run a retreat in November 2019. It was our very first one, and there were a few more to come, and there’s still a few more to come. So that was sort of the first year. And then I started off with some very small podcasts. Nobody even knew about them. And then it got bigger and bigger, and then I started getting media attention. And then I was published in Mama Mia, which is like a really big publication here in Australia with like 4 million readers. And that came out on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. So it was perfect timing because this is where people are really. And my article came out, and I still remember that day. I was in Melbourne, and every hour or two, when I looked at my phone in a group, there were 5050 people requesting to join a group. And it was like it literally more than doubled in size within those couple of weeks. And I was like, whoa. Okay, so now it’s on. I had to be super present. I had to make sure that the direction of the ship was steering towards happiness, towards healing, towards hope, and not go lopsided like a lot of grief groups. And when you have such a huge intake, a lot of grief groups go into this wailing and sorrow and comparison battle of whose loss is worse and whose husband was younger and who had more kids. And that is really shocking. And I can hardly breathe in those groups. And that’s why I said to you at the beginning, I created something that I needed and couldn’t find. In our movement, you feel lightness, love, support, people hold space for you. And I needed to make sure that we would stay on that course with so many new people coming in. And then it just grew from there. Last year, was in particular big because I published my second book on the second of the second 22. So literally exactly a year ago. Wow, I should celebrate this. That’s right. Yeah. And that’s called happy healing. So I literally talk in this book about what happened after Loving Love After Loss was published, you know, how we traveled around the world. I share a lot about our journey. There lots of pictures eating escalgo in Pelty. Anyway. Yeah, I know. That was one of my son’s things he wanted to do. So I’m like, let’s go.

[27:52] Bobbi: And good for him, right?

[27:54] Marie: Very bonding moment. I would never do it again. Anyway, and then what happened with how I opened the movement and what happened in there, and there’s also my seven steps from my healing journey from grief to relief. I also mentioned in the book and sort of outlined a little bit, so I put that out there. Then I did my first TEDx Talk on the 22nd of the second 22. I love it. I was all into these numbers. It was such a special moment for me. And that TEDx Talk was about redefining our image of a widow. I was really big on that. Labels. Let’s talk about labels. What do you expect the widow to be? To look like, to act like I’m certainly not a typical widow. So I wanted to talk about that. And then it just went step by step from there. It was like a snowball effect. That was published in Mama Mia. Again, I think that was the third and fourth time. And then Channel Seven reached out to me, which is one of our biggest TV channels here in Australia, and then Channel Nine the day after, and it just snowballed. And they interviewed me for the lifestyle section, and I was on podcast, and I think I had over 100 podcasts last year. So it’s just been a phenomenal journey. And I’m literally in this really next step leveling up. And I just have this mission of healing the world from grief, showing the world that there is a different way to address it than that it is possible to heal it. And you can see my passion.

[29:30] Bobbi: That’s right.

[29:30] Marie: That’s my movement. It’s like, unstoppable.

[29:33] Bobbi: Yeah. But here’s the thing. What does it say that all this stuff happened to me? It says that there’s a need oh, yeah.

[29:42] Marie: Thank you. People want.

[29:47] Bobbi: Right?

[29:48] Marie: Yeah.

[29:49] Bobbi: Because so many times we do hear, oh, it’s never going to heal. You’re never going to forget the person. This is so simple. And it does not compare to losing a husband. A couple of years ago, our dog we don’t have kids, so our dogs.

[30:06] Marie: Are.

[30:10] Bobbi: And our dog died. And it’s interesting because there were a couple of other dogs that needed to be adopted, right. They needed homes and we could do it. And of course we wanted another dog. But I had actually some people say to. Me, how can you get another dog? I’m thinking, how can I not? You never replace Riley was his name. You’re never going to replace Riley. He’s always going to have that place in my heart. Always. But I also think Riley would want us to share the love.

[30:45] Marie: I love that you say that, because I’m going to share something with you here which is so beautiful and in line with what you just said. And yes, I agree with you. I don’t do that either. To compare the loss of a dog or a husband. I don’t compare full stop, because who are we to judge whose loss is worse or less or this is not about comparison. This is about let’s just be here for each other, to help each other heal. And the one thing that I wanted to share with you is this is all about judgment from society. This is such a classic example. When a woman loses a baby, the whole world falls apart around her. Everybody feels her pain. She, of course, feels it the heaviest, and it is shattering. Whether that is a miscarriage or whether that is your son committing suicide at the age of 34, it is chattering, heart chattering when that happens. And everybody understands that pain. And nobody in the right mind would ever judge that woman if she had another baby thereafter. And here’s a key sentence. Nobody in the right mind would ever question the amount of love the woman can have for this other baby. That is a key sentence. Nobody would ever question the amount of love the woman would have for the other baby. So why on earth do we expect from ourselves or any other widow or widower or bereaved parent? But let’s just stay with the widowhead for now on. For this particular example, why do people get judged when they do go into a new relationship? And very often the judgment comes from itself and it turns into guilt, and he feels like I can’t possibly the very fact that you had such a huge amount of love for your husband means that this is your capacity of love. You are capable of loving that much, and why on earth would you deny that yourself or anybody else?

[33:04] Bobbi: That’s right.

[33:06] Marie: I find that so important to share, because judgment comes quick, yet it is not needed, period.

[33:16] Bobbi: That’s right. Everyone’s story is theirs.

[33:19] Marie: Yeah.

[33:21] Bobbi: Wow. That’s a really powerful thing to share, too. So in in speaking of, you know, your your TEDx Talk and what was the typical widow? How did you put it again?

[33:34] Marie: Redefining our image of the widow. Yes.

[33:37] Bobbi: What were some of the things in there that you talked about as far as redefining the image?

[33:43] Marie: Yeah. So, first of all, I talk about the meaning of the word, the origin of the word. It’s loosely translated in your life. It’s over, basically. And how we look at widows. I talk very much about labels. When we put labels on something in particular ourselves, we start living up to those labels and it’s time for us to redefine those labels. I talk about how I overcame my own adversity and came out so much stronger on the other end, how guided I felt, but also little tools that you can use to redirect your focus, to direct your focus towards healing. And I also talk about these grief groups, that comparison battle at its finest, where it’s all about and how we offer something very different. So this is very much a shout out to rethink our labels and to direct your focus to where you want to be and who you want to become. This is question who am I after loss or you’ve got the opportunity to co direct that, if that makes sense. There’s the universe, there’s you, and you can co direct what you want to do and be in this world.

[35:01] Bobbi: That’s right. Again, that sounds like mindset, right? In terms of yeah, because when you were talking there about the labels, because labels are so dangerous in all aspects of our lives. Labels are dangerous because as soon as we put a label on, then we’ve kind of put ourselves in a box.

[35:26] Marie: Yeah.

[35:28] Bobbi: Wow.

[35:29] Marie: It’s tricky because we need certain labels to be able to communicate. A cup here, who am I to say this is a cup? You could call it a mug, you could call it a vast, you could call it, I don’t know, a coin collector. But if we didn’t have certain labels, aka words for things, we would not be able to communicate yet. What I’m saying here is rethink the meaning that you give that label is a widow, automatically old, wearing black and her life’s over and she’s just waiting to join her husband. I certainly am not. I know. There’s so much life to live still. I had a very weird vision in a dream the other day that I’ll be 111. I’m like, 111? You’re kidding me. But I’m like, who knows? Maybe it was just a dream, maybe it was a vision. We’ll see. I’ll talk to you.

[36:20] Bobbi: Hopefully it is a good year. That’s kind of cool. I don’t know, the 111, it kind of goes with the 222 thing you’ve got going on.

[36:31] Marie: Yeah, I’ve got a number thing going on. Definitely.

[36:34] Bobbi: Yeah. Oh my goodness. Okay, so the hopeful message, I think, is the healing through grief is possible.

[36:41] Marie: Yes.

[36:42] Bobbi: Right.

[36:43] Marie: Absolutely.

[36:44] Bobbi: What kind of, I don’t know, message or do you have for people who maybe are either early stage in the journey or they’re kind of stuck in the grief? What would you say to them?

[36:57] Marie: Reach out to me? Yes. In all seriousness, I do invite people to reach out to me, but the message that I want to bring across is that just entertain the idea to treat grief like a visitor. Because so many people think or are I’m just going to call it straight out brainwashed by society that grief will stay with you forever. I don’t agree with that, and I certainly know that it doesn’t. I lost my dad when I was 20, and I thought, oh, my God, nobody has. This never happened to anybody else but me. And I was in such poor me mode back then because I had none of these tools available that I’m teaching these days. I was lucky that I was teaching all these tools seven years prior to Rob’s passing. So I had a very different starting point this time when Rob passed. I’m not saying it was easier, by God, no. But my mindset was different, and it helped me work through it in a different way, in a healthier way. And back then, I would have said, yeah, certainly grief will stay with me forever. But guess what? It didn’t. It took me a long time to come out of the victimhood, but once I recognized it, I didn’t want to stay there anymore. And then 25 years later, I’m sitting there and looking at my boys, and they’re ten and eight. They weren’t even combined as old as I was when I lost my dad. So I’m like, I’m not going to let that happen to you guys. I want you to know that grief will not be the end of the road. So they were my huge, my reason why, really. But at the end of the day, I know now that grief is a visitor. Every now and then it comes and it sits with me on the couch when I’m sobbing. It for a chick flick where somebody passes or whatever, and that’s okay. But the one thing that I have learned is to now embrace it when it comes and say, thank you for showing me what still needs to be healed. Because that’s what I see it as now. There’s a negative emotion, a heavy emotion, a sadness, grief, whatever it is, I now see that as signposts for what still needs to be healed. And that’s okay. And I literally embrace it. I say thank you, I sob it out, and then I look back to happiness. So see the difference?

[39:22] Bobbi: Yeah.

[39:23] Marie: This is I’m not stuck in grief anymore. And I don’t care what people say about you’re still grieving. Well, if that’s your perspective, that’s fine. I’ll leave it with you if it suits you. I don’t like it. You can keep it. So I know in my household, in our house, in our home, brief, is a visitor that comes less and less, and when he comes, it’s welcomed, it’s embraced, but it’s not allowed to move in.

[39:50] Bobbi: Yeah, I love how you put that. It’s a visitor, right?

[39:57] Marie: And that’s okay. It’s part of our journey. It’s okay to come past.

[40:01] Bobbi: Yeah. There’s a positive intelligence. It’s a book, and it’s a whole way of coaching and everything. Positive psychology is one of the influences of it, but they talk about it in terms of grief. Of all the unpleasant emotions out there stress, frustration, blah, blah, blah grief is one that comes from a place of honoring. So it’s okay to feel the grief. It’s completely okay. I wanted to ask you, too, because you said when you were talking there about you have a different mindset now than you did back then. What do you think the key difference is in your mindset?

[40:44] Marie: So the short answer would be everything. But the key difference is that I now look at things from how are they helping me? So I look at things as in they are happening for me and not to me. That’s really, in a nutshell, key difference. And I recognized that I was in Victimhood for most of my life around the age of 30, and I was like, oh, my goodness, what have I been doing with all my life?

[41:16] Bobbi: That’s right.

[41:17] Marie: And I didn’t like it, so I started to change it. Was it an easy journey? Not at all. It took a lot of work. It took a lot of relearning rethinking changing my mindset. So Rob was the one who taught me the concept of two choices before I even delved into the self development world. He said, you have a choice every single day. Do you live your life from positive or negative? And you can choose that in any moment. And I loved it that he gave me that before I even became a coach. And then I became a coach, and I started teaching mindset because I realized what a huge difference it made in my life. I wanted the entire world to have that. When I learned something, I always want to teach it straight away.

[41:57] Bobbi: That’s right.

[41:58] Marie: It’s just in me. The teacher in me. Yeah. I love it.

[42:02] Bobbi: That is such a powerful concept. Right. It’s happening for me. Not to me.

[42:07] Marie: Oh, yeah.

[42:08] Bobbi: I mean, that is choice is everything.

[42:10] Marie: It really is.

[42:13] Bobbi: I also just wanted to ask, too, because you said when it does show up, it’s like, oh, thank you. Because that’s a signal that there’s something I still need to heal. Can you give us an example of that?

[42:25] Marie: Yeah, I want to choose one example that is very down to earth and that anybody can relate to, even if you have not experienced a loss like that, and that is anger. So I had anger, and sometimes even rage come back to me every now and then. Luckily, it’s not that I’m an angry person or was an angry person, but I could feel that it was like a visitor as well. Every now and then, it would all of a sudden burst out of me. It was something little where I was triggered. And sometimes that would hit my boys. That raged at anger, not as in physical. I never hit my boys physically, but I know that I had moments where I would burst out or yell at them or scream at them. And the guilt I felt and the shame I felt for that, it felt so heavy and really, really icky, yucky, horrible. I hated myself for that. I loathed myself for that. I don’t use the word hate very often. So with the anger, what I have learned to do, and that was a huge thing for me, is that I really embrace it now when it comes and I can’t even remember the last moment I got angry. That’s how long it’s been. Now when it does come, when I feel it come up a, it doesn’t come as vehement anymore. We’re burst and rage and it comes and I’m like, oh wow. And I instantly go into compassion. I instantly go into inner child work. I instantly go up and so super short exercise I’m going to share here because it’s so quick. I think this is a huge takeaway for anyone in our child work. Something that you can do on a spot is when you feel a moment that you don’t like, bring something up for you that feels yucky, whatever. You just sit down, close your eyes, take one deep breath in. This is just to keep you in the moment, bring you back into a moment. You take your inner child on your lap. You imagine having your inner child on your lap. Trust me, you’ll find the perfect age. You don’t have to overthink it and hold her or him and just ask one simple question and that is what do you need? And with that one simple question, you instantly get a very simple answer that might be feeling seen, attention being heard, love, a hug, forgiveness, anything that might be just a one word answer. And very often it is just a one word answer. But this is such beautiful and gentle in a child word. So when I have anger come and visit, I instantly go like, what’s underneath? What’s underneath that? What’s driving that anger? Where am I not seen? Or what need is not filled? It’s just so beautiful. And the more you do that, the easier it becomes and the less it will happen. And I think the key word that I want to give to everybody listening to this year is self love and self compassion. Be kind to yourself. Just allow. That’s what we need. Yes.

[45:37] Bobbi: Because the other thing you hear so much is people want you to move through it. Like, okay, happened a couple of weeks.

[45:45] Marie: Ago, let’s move on.

[45:47] Bobbi: Wait a minute. A person needs your own story. And even if you are moving on, it doesn’t mean that you know what I mean.

[45:56] Marie: Yeah, absolutely.

[45:57] Bobbi: We get caught up in those things. I love that exercise that you just shared because to me that’s another way of tapping into your inner wisdom, your inner knowing, because you know what you need.

[46:07] Marie: Absolutely.

[46:09] Bobbi: Yeah.

[46:09] Marie: I do the same exercise actually. Like a trilogy. I do the same exercise with the inner child. Then I call it the Next Level is the Inner Best Friend, where you literally take your own age right now, clone yourself out of yourself and sit next to you, put your arm around you, treat yourself as your own best friend. Because what happens when you do that, you go into outside perspective and you go into solution mode. If you stay within, you’re in blame, in negative thinking, negative self talk. But when you slip out of yourself and you become your own best friend, as a best friend, you’ve never, ever talked to yourself like that. And the last level is the Higher Self. And that is pure wisdom because we all have that. We all have that guidance behind us, around us. We just need to allow ourselves to tap into it and we can learn that.

[46:56] Bobbi: Yeah, so great point there, tapping into that, that’s around us. Any tips for that? Because I totally believe in that.

[47:05] Marie: Yeah, I do. It exactly like I just shared with the inner child exercise. Literally just taking time out where you close your eyes, take that one deep breath to become present, and then allow your higher self to come and sit with you. I often imagine my higher self, I don’t know why, but the movie Avatar, not in blue, but as this bigger person, the bigger version of me in white clothes and white light. That’s how I picture it. Everybody can do whatever suits them.

[47:37] Bobbi: That’s right.

[47:37] Marie: For me, I picture it as pure wisdom and as me in a bigger, physical, sort of spiritual version, sitting opposite of me. And it sounds funny to say it with two people, but I feel like I’m sitting in circle with my higher self and just connect with her. And sometimes when I need it, I just imagine her behind me and just wrapping her arms around me and enveloping me and whatever works for you, but imagine sitting with that higher self, knowing that she or he has all the answers for you. So I just love that. It’s really quite simple, actually. And the more you practice it, the easier it comes to you.

[48:16] Bobbi: That’s right, because we do have the.

[48:17] Marie: Answers back to what would love to.

[48:22] Bobbi: That’s another great question, right?

[48:24] Marie: Yeah.

[48:24] Bobbi: Love that. Okay, so tell us a little bit about where people can learn more about you, how they can connect with you, if they want, that type of thing.

[48:33] Marie: I think the easiest is just to go to It’s my first name, last And from there you have all the links. There is a link to my Facebook group. There’s a booking link where you can just book a chat directly with me. I do that in short 15 minutes bursts because I can literally work miracles in 15 minutes. Trust me. People always go like, oh, how can I do this? Trust me. I’ve got, you just reach out to me and we can redirect and if it’s necessary, we can definitely book a call together. But this is just a free, literally straight from my heart. Let’s sit and see how I can help you appoint in the right direction. There is a link to our books, to interviews. If you want to share your link with me, I’m more than happy to put it on my website as well. And there’s merchandise, there’s info about the retreat, about our healing journeys. Everything is there, so it’s super simple. perfect.

[49:25] Bobbi: And I’ll put that in the show notes. So to kind of wrap up, I think I have one more question. If there is like, one myth or misconception about grief or that you would want to dispel, what would that be?

[49:42] Marie: The five stages of grief.

[49:45] Bobbi: Really?

[49:46] Marie: Everybody talks about the five stages of grief and where you’re at in Little. They were never intended to be the five stages of grief. Dr Elizabeth Kubler Ross, who is the author of that, has intended to write that for terminally ill people, the anger, the bargaining, the denial, that is all stages of terminally ill people. And for whatever reason, there was a mistranslation, misunderstanding, misconception, whatever, and it turned into this huge five stages of grief. Even Dr Elizabeth Cooper Ross always says, no, that’s not what I intended it for. It’s for terminally ill people. And that is one of the biggest and most common myths in grief that you’re like, oh, there are these five stages. I never felt anger towards Rob’s passing. So that anger, just childhood related, has got nothing to do wasn’t even retrigged through Rob’s passing, never felt anger around his passing, never felt in denial, never felt that I was bargaining. Shock. Absolutely. There’s definitely shock, but it’s many scenarios where you can feel shocked. So, yeah, that is one of the biggest myths that I would like to bust here. That different intention.

[50:56] Bobbi: I love that you brought that up because I think some people I know this has happened for me, right? It’s like but I’m not feeling angry. Maybe I’m in denial because I’m angry.

[51:07] Marie: Am I not grieving properly because I’m not angry?

[51:11] Bobbi: I need to get angry. I love that you shine a light on that, because I think what I’m hearing throughout all this, too, is this is your process, right? This is your process to move through grief. And maybe there is no one right way, right?

[51:25] Marie: No. Do it your way. Frank Sinatra. Come on, baby.

[51:29] Bobbi: That’s right. But there’s hope.

[51:30] Marie: So I love it.

[51:31] Bobbi: I love what you’re doing, I really do. And I can see why it became a huge movement, because it’s needed, right?

[51:39] Marie: Thank you so much, Bobbi. I appreciate that.

[51:42] Bobbi: That wraps up this week’s episode special. Thank you to my guest, Marie, as well as to all of you for listening. I appreciate it. Special shout out. And thank you to all of you who have already subscribed, and if you haven’t yet subscribed, now is a perfect time to hit that subscribe or Follow button so that you never miss another episode. I hope you have a fantastic week and that you continue to thrive no matter what.

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