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The Mindfulness & Grief Podcast
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The Mindfulness & Grief Podcast

Author: Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

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The Mindfulness and Grief Podcast series, hosted by author and thanatologist Heather Stang, features compassionate insights for coping with grief and life after loss. Designed for bereaved people and grief professionals, you will learn how a mindful approach to grief can help you deal with difficult emotions, cultivate self-care and self-compassion, and honor the relationship that remains. May these teachings be of great benefit. To learn more about Mindfulness and Grief visit the website at http://mindfulnessandgrief.com.
33 Episodes
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If you wonder what happens to your loved one after they die, you are in good company. Wanting to know they are OK, that they are not suffering, that they may even be happy, is a universal feeling rooted in the love that is the root of our grief. In her book Becoming Starlight, Surviving Grief and Mending The Wounds of Loss,  Dr. Sharon Prentice shines a light on where your loved one goes after they die. She has visited the other side - not through a near death experience - but a shared death experience. In this episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, Dr. Prentice reveals her “peek into foreverness” that occurred at the precise moment of her husband’s death. She describes how this experienced impacted her grief over time, and how it informs her work with people who are dying in her role as a psychotherapist and spiritual counselor. The question of life after death is one of the first questions I asked when my uncle died by suicide when I was just 7 years old. In my teens I found a book called Life After Life by Dr. Raymond Moody, which detailed the phenomenon of the near-death experience. This is a very special interview. It dives into the mysteries of life while leaving space for us to still grief, still mourn, still question. If you are wanting to know if your loved one is OK, this podcast may just provide you with some answers – and even hope.  
Pets are not just animals that live in our house, they are our chosen family. When they die it is heartbreaking because we love them so much! The key to surviving the death of our beloved cats and dogs is to first acknowledge that it hurts, and acknowledge that our grief is real and understandable. As with the loss of anyone we love, it is helpful to find ways to honor their memory and the imprint they leave on our heart. In this episode of the Mindfulness & Grief podcast Dave Roberts and I continue the conversation we began in an earlier episode on Pet Loss & Grief. Since then, both Dave and I have both experienced major pet losses, and we discuss the myriad of feelings that pet owners face - from feelings of guilt surrounding euthanasia, wondering how you will survive without your best friend, and even navigating the decision to welcome another furbaby into the house. We also talk about constructive rituals and memorial spaces you can set up to remember your companion animal. For many of us the death of a pet is one of the hardest losses to navigate because of the unconditional love. You are not alone, and I hope this episode will help you like it helped me.
If you have been blaming yourself for the death of your loved one, or feeling guilty that you didn't do something you "should" have done, you are not alone. Whether your special person died by suicide, an overdose, long-term illness or suddenly, self-blame often appears. Guilt and shame are heavy burdens to bear, and add more suffering on top of our broken heart. In the 31st episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, award-winning author of When Their World Stops, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist and founder of the Grief & Trauma Healing Network shares her insights into working with guilt, regret, and self-blame in the face of traumatic grief, mental health struggles, addiction, suicide, and other types of loss. She also offers valuable insights into how friends can help their grieving friends, which will give you insight into getting what you need from those around you. Anne-Marie is a compassionate healer, and I hope you will get as much from this podcast as I did interviewing her! Be sure to check out the downloads below, including an excerpt from her book. Downloads From Anne-Marie Lockmyer Free Book Excerpt: ​Chapter 1 of When Their World Stops 5 Things Every Griever Needs to Know  5 Ways to Help A Grieving Friend Do Not Forget List If You Have a Grieving Friend About Anne-Marie Lockmyer Anne-Marie Lockmyer was far removed from pain until she got the call no one ever wants to get - her beloved husband of 26 years had suddenly died while she was out of the country. Everything changed for her at that moment and the emotional pain crushed her. Nothing prepared Anne-Marie or those around her for this life-shattering experience. As Anne-Marie struggled to understand herself and what she needed, she also had to help her friends understand. Out of necessity, she became a student of grief and during this process, her only child was struggling with mental health issues, another excruciating loss as she watched him suffer. She went on a journey to find meaning in her grief, to meet with it, embrace it, heal and find purpose. And it was transformational! Her experience, research, education and training in grief, loss and trauma has equipped her to work with grieving people in a powerful way.  She wrote an award-winning book called When Their World Stops: The Essential Guide to Truly Helping Anyone in Grief. Anne-Marie is an Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist, Certified in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, a Certified Trauma Integrative Practitioner, a Grief and Mental Health Advocate and Founder of the Grief and Trauma Healing Network.   Her greatest joy is to take people on the same healing journey she experienced - to allow them to remember their loved one well but without suffering the excruciating pain. She creates a safe place to heal any unresolved grief with a six-session private or 2-day intensive program. She provides crisis support for businesses and training to therapists and counselors on grief and loss. She presents church workshops on Creating a Culture of Hope and Healing to equip churches to support the grieving in their congregation and community. She loves what she does and welcomes opportunities to help others understand grief and the grieving. Anne-Marie is living proof that you can go from barely surviving to thriving. Her message is one of hope and healing after a heartbreaking loss.  You may have changed. Your life may be changed, but life can still be good - and so can you.   
Dreams and sleep are understandably impacted as we all try to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Those of us who are already grieving carry an extra load of anxiety in addition to an already aching heart. In this episode, returning guest Dr. Joshua Black shares helpful insights that will empower us to take care of our emotional needs during the waking hours so we can find peace at night, and explores how our dreams give us insights into how we are really doing. A timely follow up to our first interview in Episode 15 Grief Dreams: Continuing Bonds & Awakening Insights, Joshua and I have a candid conversation about how we are coping personally and professionally.  We discuss a range of topics - from Joshua's own grief dream that involves his father and childhood home, to what is in our pantry to eat during the pandemic. This interview left me feeling calm and hopeful. I hope it does the same for you!
Grief is hard at any age. As a queer young adult ​​in the south, Shelby faced the worst four years of her life as both of her parents were diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses. When her mother died "the stuff really hit the fan," as she put it. At first she resisted her pain, but it was in the giving in to her grief that real wisdom was found. Shelby has evolved into a compassionate young woman that helps people of all ages learn how to face their grief with radical self-compassion.  In this candid interview, the author of Permission to Grieve shares her experience and the wisdom gained from navigating the death of her mother from breast cancer. Tending to your own pain is a radical act of self-compassion. Shelby offers inspiring guidance that will help you grieve authentically no matter where you are on your life’s journey.
"Hope is not fragile; just hard to find when the lights go out." This quote from bereaved mother Kim Peacock's book, Victorious Heart resonates with so many people who have suffered and survived a traumatic loss. Kim knows this intimately, as her beloved daughter Nicole died in an ATV accident just a few days after Christmas in 1998. In episode 28 of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, Kim shares how she pulled herself out of the void that was left in her world so she can grieve and still live life fully. She shares how she and her husband navigated their different styles of grieving, her relationship to God and faith, and self-care practices that you can use to care for yourself when your world feels like it has fallen apart. She also offers wise guidance to anyone who is not sure what to say or do when someone they care about has suffered a devastating loss. This inspirational and generous interview offers an overview of what grief can look like over twenty years after the loss, and is a guiding light that will help you through the darkness. While Kim's experience is rooted in child loss, this is a good listen for anyone who is grieving a loss.
Coping with grief after a loved one has died from an overdose has a unique set of challenges. All too often the focus is on the circumstances of the death, not the life, of a very special person who loved, lived, and most likely tried to overcome their addiction. Often exhausted by the worry, caregiving and anticipatory type of grief that precedes this type of loss, friends and family members of someone who died by overdose need compassion, self-care, and each other. In the 27th episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, grief counselor Dave Roberts shares ways that you can cope with overdose grief and refocus the lens through which this loss is viewed on the person, not the addiction.
The death of a brother or sister can be devastating, but all too often it goes unacknowledged or at least minimized. Social cues direct bereaved siblings to "be strong for your parents," but how can you be strong when your world is shattered by loss? Heidi Horsley is no stranger to this kind of pain. Her brother, Scott, died in an automobile accident, alongside her cousin. This life changing experience inspired her to be a champion for grieving siblings and earn a doctorate in psychology. In this episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, Heidi shares her story of love and loss and hope, and shares tips and insights to help you cope with sibling loss. She explores the strained parent/child dynamic that often occurs after this type of loss, and why parents might think their surviving children are "over" their grief when they are anything but. Dr. Heidi closes the show with an invitation for grieving siblings to join her in the crusade to shine a light on this disenfranchised grief. 
Widows, widowers, and anyone who has lost a partner knows just how hard it is to cope with grief on Valentine's Day. Claudia Coenen, widow and creative grief counselor, shares creative ways to cope with grief and heartache on Valentine's Day, as well as activities and practices to honor and celebrate you love that undeniably very much present. She also shares tips from her upcoming book release, The Creative Toolkit for Working with Grief and Bereavement: A Practitioner’s Guide. Heather Stang's guided meditation, a Journey To Your Heart Center, follows the interview. Both Heather and Claudia hope this special Valentine's Day edition of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast will bring you some peace. Recommended Reading & Listening Shattered by Grief: Picking up the pieces to become WHOLE again The Creative Toolkit for Working with Grief and Bereavement: A Practitioner’s Guide Karuna Cards: Creative Ideas to Transform Grief and Difficult Life Transitions The Karuna Project: Compassion & Creativity for Grief with Claudia Coenen on the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast About Claudia Coenen, CGC, FT, MTP Claudia Coenen became a certified grief counselor after she was widowed suddenly. She focused on creativity in her Masters in Transpersonal Psychology program at Sophia University and holds an Advanced Grief Counseling Certificate from Brooklyn College. Claudia has been certified in Thanatology for 9 years and is now a Fellow in Thanatology, through the Association of Death Education and Counseling.  Claudia’s lifelong experience as a performer and creative person provided her with techniques to process her own grief which in turn led her to help others through expressive modalities. In private practice, Claudia helps bereaved clients find resilience in the midst of their losses - through compassionate presence, creative process, somatic and expressive therapy techniques. While working with dying patients and family members in a hospice program in New Jersey, she developed the Karuna Cards, a deck of creative ideas for grief and difficult life transitions. Claudia presents workshops on Grief, living with illness as well as the use of creativity in counseling. She has delivered in-service training on vicarious trauma in the workplace at conferences, hospice agencies, and mental health clinics.  Claudia is the author of Shattered by Grief: Picking up the pieces to become WHOLE again. Her newest book, The Creative Toolkit for Working with Grief and Bereavement: A Practitioner’s Guide, explores some well-researched grief models and 30 creative activity sheets that can be reproduced to use with bereaved clients.
Richie Pryor's son and namesake, Richard, sadly died in his sleep a few weeks after a family vacation to Hawaii. Naturally, Richie felt great heartache after the loss of his son, but has found a way not only to live again, but to live fully and in honor of his son while helping others find their path through grief and life.  In the 24th episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, Richie shares his story along with valuable insights about compassion and communication for partners who have lost a child. He reflects on what worked - and what didn't - for himself and his family, and recommends valuable books and community resources for the grieving family.  Richie models how you can develop mental toughness while maintaining a kind heart, and offers ways to refocus your attention and cultivate new meaning in life.  He really inspires hope for all of us who are grieving. Recommended Reading Warriors Of Life by Richie Pryor When Bad Things Happen To Good People by Harold Kushner 41 Signs of Hope by Dave Kane Everything Happens for a Reason: Finding the True Meaning of the Events in Our Lives by Mira Kirshenbaum About Richard "Richie" Pryor Richard Pryor is a Parent Counselor & Author. After losing his son 5 years ago his world ended and he saw no purpose to keep moving forward. He eventually discovered his warrior and found his true self by developing his mental toughness, changing his focus and giving a new meaning to his loss which helped him RISE out of the ASHES of his grief with more love, empathy, compassion and a burning desire to change the world. He then wrote “Warriors Of Life” as his first step in serving the people in the world that have losses in life and struggle with grief. Richard also servers people in  prisons, shelter’s, substance abuse clinics to help them find hope and meaning in life, regardless of their situation and provide them with an opportunity to take advantage of second chances in life. He has also created a growing community of educational and coaching programs for parents where he helps them by Serving, Supporting, Inspiring, Empowering and Transforming them so they can discover their  WARRIOR, find themselves and Move Forward through any life challenge that they encounter. “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
Let’s face it, the winter holidays can be particularly tough on us when we are grieving.  What is supposed to be the happiest time of the year is anything but, as we are constantly reminded that someone is missing. During this episode author and thanatologist Heather Stang shares her favorite tips for coping with grief during the holidays to help you reduce your suffering, weave in the memory of your loved one, and approach this holiday season mindfully.
Grief is a natural and healthy reaction, but if you are like most people, healthy is not a word you would use to describe how you eat or sleep when in the throes of loss. The stress of grief disrupts our sleep cycle, incites cravings for comfort food, and does not usually inspire physical activity. While this is normal behavior in the early period of loss, the sooner we can start taking care of our physical body, the sooner it will become our ally in our mental and emotional health. In this episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, yoga teacher and wellness expert Jason Wendroff-Rawnicki shares how the death of his sister, Lauren, inspired him to live more fully and honor his lifelong mission of helping others. He offers helpful tips on how to get more sleep, work wholesome foods into your diet, movement into your day, and how smelling something good via aromatherapy can radically shift your mood. We even discuss how media - social and otherwise - can help or hurt your ability to regain emotional balance after loss. Don't let all this talk of health and wellness scare you off - both Jason and I know grief is hard! But if you pick just one or two things to try from this episode (which is chocked full of health tips for grief), you will be taking the first and most important step to helping yourself reengage with life after loss. There is no one-sized-fits-all solution for health and well-being, but there are some time-tested tips and tricks that work. Jason closes by sharing a little about being a bereaved sibling, as well as some insights he gained from presenting with his wife at the Compassionate Friends Conference. If you have questions or comments, or would like to connect with Jason, use the links below! Jason closes by sharing a little about being a bereaved sibling, as well as some insights he gained from presenting with his wife at the Compassionate Friends Conference. If you have questions or comments, or would like to connect with Jason, use the links below! Or visit him at the Shine Yoga Center in Cliffside Park, NJ. Reach out to Jason Wendroff-Rawnicki: Email with Questions or for a Free 30 Minute Wellness Consultation with Jason! Connect with Jason on Facebook Jason's Essential Oils Website Shine Yoga Center Facebook Page Twitter Instagram
Coping with your own grief when a spouse dies is hard enough. But what do you do when on top of that you need to raise a grieving family, get everyone to school on time, pay all the bills, and run the household all on your own? These are just some of the challenges widowed parents face. While grief professionals may offer helpful insights, our guest and psychologist Dr. Justin Yopp explains why peer support groups for widowed parents may be one of the most helpful resources for bereaved fathers and mothers. This episode is for widowed parents who are looking for inspiration and practical advice on parenting after loss. Based on insights gained by facilitating widowed parenting groups and academic research, Dr. Yopp offers compassionate guidance that respects each individual's journey. His book, The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life, is based on the “Single Fathers Due to Cancer” project, a group facilitated by Dr. Yopp and his colleague Donald L. Rosenstein at the University of North Carolina. They now collaborate with other colleagues at UNC to run The Widowed Parent project, which is committed to supporting widowed mothers and fathers with children in the home. Proceeds from The Group are all donated back into the project in order to benefit the families. Learn More about Justin Yopp and the Widowed Parent Project: Widowed Parent Website Widowed Father's Facebook Page Widowed Parents on Twitter Widowed Parent Story on YouTube
Learn how the yogic chakras can help you navigate grief and trauma, whether you believe in them or not! In the 20th episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, Karla Helbert explains how the chakra system can act as a model (or metaphor) to help us understand the energetic response to grief and trauma. She also shares tips to find balance during this chaotic time, and even closes the podcast with a guided meditation you can try at home (but not if you are driving please!). Just like having a map or GPS can help you when you are lost in the woods, a system to help you cope with grief can help you feel less overwhelmed and frightened when the tsunami hits. Going beyond the outdated prescribed stages of grief, the Chakras in Grief and Trauma can help you learn to grow through, rather than heal from, your loss. Rooted in her own experience of being a bereaved mother, as well as her yoga training and years of helping others through loss as a licensed professional counselor, Karla Helbert is the author of the Chakras In Grief and Trauma,  Yoga for Grief and Loss, and Finding Your Way To Grieve: A Creative Workbook for Kids and Teens on the Autism Spectrum. Learn More about Karla Helbert: Author/Speaker Website Facebook Twitter Instagram
In the 19th episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, R. Glenn Kelly (Ron) shares on the job self-care tips, as well insights into how business leaders and colleagues alike can cultivate a grief-literate work environment. A bereaved father and business leader, Ron is the author several books, including Grief in the Workplace and Sometimes I Cry In The Shower. For some, work can feel like a safe haven, a normal experience in the midst of the worst time in your life. But for most of us, the two or five days of  bereavement leave just isn't enough. The reality is that most of us have to earn a paycheck whether we feel like it or not. After a major loss, work may feel like the last place any of us wants to be. There are many challenges that were not present before, including debilitating brain fog, uncontrollable emotional swells, preoccupation with our loved one and the business of grief, not to mention the unskillful platitudes offered by well-meaning but ill informed colleagues. Over 4 Million active U.S. employees experience the death of a spouse, life-partner, or child every year. Research indicates that in addition to the pain the employee feels, companies are losing an estimated $100 billion in direct and indirect costs due to staff bereavement. But this statistic does mean there has to be a battle between employee and employer. In fact, with Ron's help, organizations like Delta Airlines have found ways to support their bereaved employees that benefit both company, employee, and the people they serve, and cultivating compassion and care along the way. Learn More about R. Glenn Kelly: Author/Speaker Website Facebook Twitter Grief in the Workplace: Recover Hidden Revenue and Productivity Loss Driven by Employee Bereavement and Grief Sometimes I Cry In The Shower: A Grieving Father's Journey To Wholeness And Healing
Kim Colegrove is the founder of the PauseFirst Project, which offers Mindfulness for First Responders, and was founded in honor of her husband, Special Agent David M. Colegrove, who died by suicide in 2014. Kim learned the practice of transcendental meditation at the age of ten. After her husband's death, Kim used her practice to cope with her own grief and loss. Now, with more than 40 years of practice under her belt, she is helping police, firefighters, EMS, paramedics, dispatchers, corrections officers, and other first responders cope with the daily stress and trauma of the job.  Whether you are a first responder or not, we all experience personal and public tragedies that can leave our assumptive world shaken if not completely destroyed. This conversation explores how mindfulness can help us all build resilience and take one step closer to a more peaceful society. Thank you Kim for doing this true Warrior Work!  PauseFirst Links Facebook Twitter Website Publishizer (Book)
At the age of 38, Claire Hoffman became a widow when her husband experienced a drug overdose. A mother of one, Claire describes this event as having a butterfly effect over her entire world. In an effort to cope with the loss and gain wisdom and insight, Claire has gathered together grief experts from around the world for the Liberate Your Grief Spotcast, a 5 day event offering hope and healing to anyone who has experienced a major loss. Learn more about Claire at http://liberateyourgrief.com.
Pet loss is often a grief dismissed by people who have not formed a deep bond with an animal, but those of us who have non-human best friend know the love and heartache that comes when a special pet dies. In the sixteenth episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast we explore our deep love for our pets, why we mourn them,  and how they can help us feel connected to our deceased loved ones when they are alive. Guest Dave Roberts, LMSW, shares how two cats, Bootsy & Angel, helped him cope with the death of his daughter, and the impact their deaths had on him.   About Dave Roberts, LMSW Dave Roberts, LMSW, is an author and founder of Bootsy & Angel Books, LLC, and most importantly, the father of Jeannine, who died of a rare form of cancer when she was 18. Dave supports other grieving parents through his work with The Compassionate Friends, in his private practice, and through writing, speaking, and teaching in the psychology department at Utica College. Learn more about Dave at Bootsy & Angel Books, LLC., where you can also purchase his book on pet loss and holiday grief. Read David's Article, 3 Reasons Why Pet Owners Repeatedly Visit the World of Grief, and find him on Facebook and Twitter.
In the fifteenth episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, we dive deep into the world of grief and dreams with author and grief dream researcher Joshua Black, Ph.D. If you have ever wanted to know more about your grief dreams, or have wondered why you have not had one yet, this episode is for you. Dr. Black shares the three different types of dreams that occur after loss, plus the different themes that have emerged in his studies of spouse/partner loss, pet loss, and prenatal loss related dreams. You will also learn tips and techniques that can help both children and adults use their grief dreams - or desired grief dreams - to do very important grief work.  Learn more about Grief Dreams at http://griefdreams.ca, and be sure to listen to the Grief Dreams Podcast, hosted by this week's guest, Joshua Black, Ph.D. Grief Dreams Website Grief Dreams Podcast Grief Dreams Facebook Page Dreaming of Owl Book
In the fourteenth episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, I interview Jan Warner, author of Grief Day by Day: Simple Practices and Daily Guidance for Living With Loss. During this episode, Jan shares how her deep love for her husband Artie lives on, how to deal with people who just don't understand, and how Grief Day by Day can help you become your own "grief whisperer." What I love about this interview with Jan is her honest and unfiltered view of life after loss that balances the reality of the pain of loss with the love and levity that helps you continue to live on - with their memory right by your side. The book itself is a fantastic resource - easy to read and offered in small, daily bites that will help you take the next best step for you. About Jan Warner When my husband died I thought I would sadly miss him. Instead I was devastated. After the first chaotic year I began to rebuild my life by honoring him. I became available to grieving people the way he, as a recovering alcoholic, was available to alcoholics and addicts. I wrote a blog. Five years ago, I started a FB page, Grief Speaks Out at www.Facebook.com/GriefSpeaksOut. It is a loving, supportive international community of 2.4 million people. My book, Grief Day By Day: Simple Practices and Daily Guidance for Living With Loss has been called a soothing balm for a wound and an outstretched hand in friendship.  I have a Master's in Counseling Degree and have studied NLP, and hypnotherapy. In becoming fully alive with grief I have produced documentary films and an off-Broadway play. I’m a vagabond who has been to all seven continents. I love being a grandmother.    
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Comments (3)

JessicaVR

Thank you for this episode. I am a vivid dreamer. Whenever I dream of my friends and loved ones who have died, I thank them for visiting. This is especially true with my daughter who died last August. I encourage her to visit me often, and I thank her when she does, just as I thank her living siblings when they call me. Heather and Josh, you are helping so many with your work. Thanks and Namaste.

Mar 25th
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JessicaVR

Thank you for this very important podcast. I have been working through the book as I process the loss of my youngest child. Almost immediately, i turned to meditation and yoga, and found much comfort in those practices. Hearing the stories of how many have experienced grief and then became grief counselors is very inspiring. Namaste.

Sep 6th
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