Ep #155: Life After Grief with Julie Cluff

More Than Mindset with Kim Guillory | Life After Grief with Julie Cluff

More Than Mindset with Kim Guillory | Life After Grief with Julie Cluff

Grief is something we all experience at some point in our lives, and my guest this week has an amazing story to share about it. Our lives aren’t defined by the things that happen to us. It’s all about who we become through the process, and Julie is an amazing role model and example of what is possible. So, if you’re experiencing grief and loss and you haven’t quite figured it out yet, this episode is for you.

Julie Cluff is a coach who specializes in helping her clients experience hope-filled grief, so they can create a life they love. She has her own tragic story that took her on a journey that couldn’t be prepared for, and she rebuilt her life in a way that seemed impossible at the time.

Tune in this week to discover a simple approach to bring mental, physical, emotional, and soul-level healing into your life after grief. Julie is sharing how to experience deep, personal transformation, and see the choices that are available to you, even when it feels like there is nothing you can do.

Join me in Self Healing Masters, a program to heal your health, wealth, and relationships. Enrollment gets you lifetime access to my integrated healing approach so you can finally live your life’s purpose and help others. I can’t wait to see you there!

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Julie’s story of rebuilding her life after a tragic loss.
  • Why, just because your grief is excruciating now, it doesn’t mean it will be excruciating forever.
  • How Julie encourages people not to judge their end by their middle.
  • Why we hold onto the pain of grief and what we make this pain mean.
  • The bad information out there about grief that makes this process harder for so many people.
  • Why the things that happen to you don’t define your existence.
  • The work Julie does with her clients in separating their love from their grief.
  • How to see the choices that you have moving forward, even if it feels right now like there aren’t any.

Listen to the Full Episode:


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Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to More Than Mindset, the only podcast that bridges the gap between spirituality and success. Go beyond the mind with clarity and confidence Coach Kim Guillory, and learn how to integrate your passion to serve with your skills and experience to create a business you love. Let’s get started.

Kim: Hello, hello, and welcome back to the More Than Mindset show. I am Kim, your host. And today my guest is Julie Cluff. Julie and I met a few weeks ago and I just fell in love with her right away. I was like I have to have you on the show. I want others to hear your story and the after. You know, it’s not just the story and the things that happen to us, but it’s who we become through that process.

And I feel like you are such an amazing role model and example of that. And I wanted to share your story for someone else who may be experiencing grief and loss and hasn’t quite figured it out yet. Or maybe they’ve been searching for years and they haven’t heard something that you can share. So I’m going to ask you just to go ahead and introduce yourself.

Julie: I’m happy to. My name is Julie Cluff. Kim is amazing, and we just have hit it off and enjoyed getting to know each other even better. But I am a mom of six children. I was married and had three children, divorced, remarried, had three children. And we were this beautiful Brady Bunch family.

Mother’s Day 2007 I was driving across country, I had gone through Louisiana, so I wasn’t far from where Kim lives. And we were in Mississippi at the border of Alabama. I fell asleep at the wheel, I had my three youngest children with me. My son, James, who was 12 at the time, my daughter Carrie was 10, and my son David was eight when this happened. 

And I woke up in the median of the highway, bouncing along in the grass. I had never even felt sleepy. This is the really, really shocking part because a lot of times we try to drive through our sleepiness, but that wasn’t even the case. I felt fine. And I woke up bouncing along in the median, and when I tried to pull my SUV back up on the highway I felt the wheels just lift off the ground. And we just rolled, and rolled, and rolled.

I don’t even know how many times we rolled because we ended up across two lanes of highway into the grass on the other side. And in the impact of the accident I lost my eyesight. So I could hear James, my 12 year old, in the seat next to me crying, so I knew that he was at least alive. And I also knew he was hurt. But I just had hope that he was okay. But I kept calling for Carrie and David and there wasn’t any answer.

And as my eyesight came back online and I saw all the destruction around me. And I started looking in the backseat frantically for Carrie and David and they weren’t there. And that’s when I noticed the people gathering off on the left in the grass and realized they’d been thrown from the car. They were what felt like miles away. It was so incredibly shocking.

This gentleman came up to my driver door and he’s like, “How can I help you?” I said I need a phone, I need to call my husband. And that was like the hardest phone call I’ve ever made because I called him and I said – We lived in Houston at the time. I called him and I said we’ve been in a car accident and Carrie and David have been thrown from the car and I don’t know if they’re going to make it.

Unfortunately, they didn’t make it. They died that day. And that took us on a journey and an unexpected turn in life that we could have never fully prepared for. And even when I tell my story, I’m just like it’s so shocking. And It shocks me. I lived it and I can’t imagine. I lived it and I just can’t even imagine.

And gratefully, even though the next three years particularly were extraordinarily painful, but gratefully I was able to rebuild my life in a way that I never thought would be possible. That’s why I share my story now, is because so many people share their grief in the middle of their grief and they think they’re at the end.

And so I always try to encourage people to don’t judge your end by your middle. If you’re in a lot of pain, if you’re experiencing a lot of grief, if you’ve had something hard happen, even though it’s excruciating now, it doesn’t mean it has to be excruciating forever.

And I truly believe in healing from grief. And I understand, like I’ve done a lot of research, and study, and examining my own experience and what worked and what didn’t. And I have come to understand why we hold on to the pain of grief. Why we push the grief aside. All these different things that we do. There’s a lot of bad information out there, Kim, about grief.

Kim: I agree, Julie. I agree. We kind of talked about that a little bit before the show.

Julie: Yeah.

Kim: How old were you then?

Julie: I was 45.

Kim: I just feel like I’m giving your age away. But how many years ago? How long was your process?

Julie: So this was in 2017 on Mother’s Day. The first three years were really, really hard. I share the whole story and all the miracles that happened. I have to say, when the car was rolling, I heard a voice in my head that said, “Bring your arm in.” Like two months later my uncle called me and he said, “I was just watching a TV show and there was a dancer who had lost her left arm and she was in an auto accident similar to yours.”

And I feel like it was God protecting me from yet another loss. It was Mother’s Day, it was a Sunday and it was a holiday. My son who was in the front seat needed surgery for his leg. He broke his leg in the accident and he needed surgery. And we were at a hospital at the border of Alabama and Mississippi. In Meridian, Mississippi actually. I overheard an attendant say, “I don’t even know why Dr. Rush is here.”

Now, the name of the hospital was Rush Hospital. It was named after his family. The doctor that did my son’s surgery had actually developed the procedure that he needed. If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is. And they were just so shocked he was there.

And he was such a light to us, Dr. Rush was. He was amazing that week that we were in the hospital. And he advocated for us to be able to release James from the hospital and transfer him to a doctor in Houston for care. Because we had other doctors, the attending physician didn’t want to release him. But we had to get back for a funeral, unfortunately. It was tragic and amazing at the same time, amazing to see how well we were cared for, even in the tragedy.

Kim: I’m really curious, when you were telling the story – And I’ve had my own tragedy, so I feel like I can relate to what you’re saying about the being there and not being there. It’s almost like this, hey, let’s just sit aside, Julie, and just watch what’s about to happen. But you’re good, we’re going to take care of it. Like this is going to be okay kind of feeling.

We’ve talked kind of about having that deep sense of trust with source and knowing, especially like as our designs and knowing all of the experience that we have and will have in this lifetime. So I’m curious about the part when you said I wasn’t even sleepy, I wasn’t fighting my sleep. And then I just lifted off. Did it feel like it was sort of a like this is happening, I’m going on this ride, this trip?

That’s the impression I got from you saying that. So I’m just curious, looking back, I’m sure in the moment we can’t really see because we’re in fight, flight, freeze, survive, mode.

Julie: Absolutely. Absolutely. There were so many things that happened. And looking back, I can see how everything that I needed to go through that experience, and to survive it, and to thrive, and to be in a place where this is now my mission is to share truth about grief and healing. And very specific experiences that over time helped me realize that things happened the way they were supposed to.

And that sounds like – I know that’s really hard for people to hold on to. But I believe my children are still alive. They are in a different place, they’re in a different form. They’re in a different, you know, I don’t even know how to describe it. But they’re still alive and they’re still a part of our life. And I had four other children who I love just as much as the children that I lost.

And so there was a desire and a need to not just – So it’s really tempting when something that traumatic happens, it’s really tempting for it to become our identity. And it is for a time. It is. That’s the way I was known, I was the mom who had lost two children. I knew that, I could feel it. I could sense it when I was around people. But over time I realized that’s not my identity, that’s something that happened. It’s not who I am.

Kim: Yeah, can we just pause for a moment? I just want to honor that space. So I live in an area where there’s a lot of bereaved parents, a lot. Like there’s a group of them. And when you’re in it, like you say, and then having this different perspective, which is what you are saying now, there’s a bridge between those two.

Julie: Yeah.

Kim: It’s a beautiful walk, and it’s one board at a time. But for those who are sitting in what you just explained, which is identifying as the mom of, or as the I was the parent, or that part, Julie, because you are a grief specialist. What did you need to hear in order to see it differently? What could you say in order for someone else to hear? Is there something right there in that sweet, vulnerable spot of – Is it dense? Like it’s so rich.

Julie: Yeah. It’s interesting you say that, the victim and the martyr. In my book, Miracles In The Darkness, I started the introduction with that whole idea. I said I’ve played the victim, I’ve played the martyr. I’ve played those pieces, that’s part of my story. I think it’s part of everybody’s story. We’ve played every role.

But the power of choice is really where we step into who we are at a deep, deep level, and we step into who we want to be. Choice is everything. Choice is huge. And there’s a sense when something bad has happened, when something hard has happened – I’ve had other losses in my life. I lost my brother to suicide. I went through a divorce. And then this tragic loss of my children.

There’s a sense when something really hard like that happens, that we have no choice. There is no choice in the situation. But where the choice lies, we can’t choose, we can’t go back and change things. I can remember sitting in that car, like right after the accident happened and being in this fantasy place of how can I go back three minutes? I was just sitting there going, “There’s got to be a way to go back three minutes. Three minutes just changed my life.” But there’s not.

The choice isn’t in changing the past. The choice is in the moment. The choice is in deciding how we’re going to think about the past.

Kim: Yeah, it’s the what now.

Julie: Yeah. Well, and I want to speak to this idea because I alluded to it. But one of the reasons that we really hold on to the grief, and the reason that you will hear – I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, “You’re going to grieve the rest of your life.” I wish I had a dollar.

People say that to me almost on a daily basis. And I say no, I’m not going to grieve the rest of my life. I don’t grieve. Do I have occasional sadness? Yes. It is so rare. And when we think about grief, it’s that deep sorrow that you just sink into, that just becomes a part of your day. And that’s not a part of my day. Even though I work with people who are grieving, I don’t experience grief on a daily basis like that. That’s not part of my experience anymore.

Okay, so let me get back to what I was saying. When we lose something, there’s this sense that in order to be out of grief, we have to somehow go back and make everything correct. And because the person that we lost is not going to come back, or the marriage that failed is not going to revive, or the person that’s abused us, we’re not going to be able to go back and undo that abuse. Because that is undoable. I can’t figure out how to say that.

Kim: You got it. Or I’m following it anyway.

Julie: Yeah, because we can’t undo it, we think then that we are confined to a life of grief.

Kim: Because you can’t change the circumstance, just like you can’t change another person.

Julie: Right, because you can’t change the past, therefore, you’re going to grieve the rest of your life.

Kim: That’s what they say.

Julie: That’s what they say. And especially parents who’ve lost children.

Kim: Agreed.

Julie: You’re going to hear that over and over and over again, and I reject it. I reject it because I found that I didn’t have to grieve the rest of my life. So what happens is, when someone we love dies we create a bridge between them and us of grief.

Now, when they were alive, if it was someone that we loved, we had a bridge of love. When they die, all of a sudden we build this bridge of grief. And there’s a couple of dynamics that happens there. One is we fear that if we let go of the grief, that we’re letting go of them, which is not true. You’re never going to let go of them. You’re never going to forget them. They’re always going to be part of your experience and life.

My kids are always going to be my kids, they’re still my kids today. I believe personally, that I will be with them again. When I pass from this life, that we will be reunited. That’s my personal belief. So the grief feels like it’s our connection to the person. There’s also a sense that if we’re not grieving, did we love them enough? Did we really love them if we’re able to let go of the grief?

We’ve got to untangle that. So we separate, and this is what I teach people, is that we separate the grief and the love. And we let go of the pain and it’s a miraculous thing when we let go of the pain. And this is not an overnight process by any means. This is a process of contemplation. It’s a process of slowly integrating truth because truth makes us strong and lies make us weak. That’s been proven physically.

So when we connect to the truth and we are able to, over time, slowly let go of the pain, that bridge of love and gratitude for that person is just increased 100 fold. And when we look back on memories, they’re no longer sad. When we’re in grief, even happy memories are sad.

Kim: Guys, you see why I want to her to come on? She’s amazing. This is tough stuff.

Julie: Yeah.

Kim: This is tough stuff.

Julie: Let me just share real quickly, my kids, Carrie and David, are amazing people. Carrie was 10 years old and she was the sweetest, most kind and loving girl you could ever meet. She was just, you know, I can remember sitting with her when she was three years old and thinking she’s too good for this world.

And David, David, we love our David stories, because David was and is a character. He was so rambunctious, so full of life. And my mother-in-law used to say my mother in law used to say his spirit is too big for his body. And I believe that that was true. I can spend an hour telling you David stories.

One Saturday morning, he was about six or seven, we thought he was upstairs watching Saturday morning cartoons or something. But next thing we know he comes through the front door and he’s got this little gift in his hand. Well, he had invited himself over to a neighbor’s birthday party, run home, gotten some little toy, wrapped it up in like toilet paper or something and went back and kind of like – Just that was David. That was David.

Kim: I love these moments of that existence and validating their existence, all of it. That’s so hard for people to hold that space for parents to speak about their children. Because do you feel that that’s a part of the loneliness as the grieving parent or the bereaved parent, is because people are afraid to mention what you want to talk about mostly?

Julie: Yeah.

Kim: That’s what I experience. I lost a brother to suicide also, we just have so much in common when it comes to the grief, I lost a mom when I was younger. And there is a taboo about speaking about the joy that came through you, all of the bigness that they were.

Julie: Yeah.

Kim: And the greatness, the too much greatness for this world even.

Julie: Yeah, well, and here’s the thing, I think that as the person that has experienced loss, as we come into our own power, as we gain confidence, as we understand our grief – I just had a client, I’ve only been working with her a couple of weeks, and she just told me yesterday, she’s like, I feel so much more relaxed in my grief.

Because as we get more comfortable with what to expect in grief, and as we understand that there’s a path from grief to healing, then we’re able to build our confidence because we have tools and skills. And then we’re able to lead the way in those conversations.

When we feel more comfortable talking about it, other people will feel more comfortable listening. Because I’m not sharing these stories from a place of pain. I’m sharing these stories from a place of tremendous love and gratitude that I am their mother.

I recognize that I believe their path was to be here until the age of eight and 10. And I had a choice, I could be their mother for eight to 10 years, or not be their mother, because that was their path. I know that’s a big concept.

Kim: You actually answered the question I was going to, I had it written down here.

Julie: I read your mind.

Kin: Well, I think we’re kind of clones, though. It’s kind of easy. So what I was going to ask you is we know that the quality of our experience is according to the quality of the questions and statements that we tell ourselves. When we’re in the grief and we can’t have it, and they’re gone forever, and they suffered, any of that stuff, that is actually what’s creating the reality of how you frame that experience, compared to how you could frame that experience.

And that’s what you are, you’re a beacon of hope of how you can re-frame this experience to work for all of you. And to serve in your part, in your naturalness in this world with that experience to help move of others along. That’s how I frame the deaths and the losses and the experience in my life.

And my son’s best friend committed suicide just a very few years ago, it’s still very fresh in my family. And it’s really the perception of that experience decides how I feel in my body and how I’m able to show up and have these conversations.

And so I was going to ask you, what is your thought? What is the statement you tell yourself? And what is the questions that you ask in order to help them attain it? Or help them see that there is an option other than what they’re telling themselves right now.

Julie: Yeah. Well, and it’s a very, very gentle process. One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, how do I get rid of this grief? Well, I wish that I could answer that in two minutes. It’s not possible, right? So it’s a very gentle process. And when I’m talking to people, I’m very intuitive. So I really sense where they are and what they need next.

So what one person needs next is different from what another person needs next. What everybody needs is space to grieve. Everybody needs that. If you feel like someone is arguing against your grief, what do you do? You tense up and you have to like stand up for your grief, right? You feel like you have to defend your grief.

But when you feel heard, when you feel like someone is saying, “I can only imagine how hard that is. I am so sorry.” It gives air to the grief. It’s like you can relax into it and go, “Yes, it’s been really hard and things can get better. It’s okay to be right where I am and it’s okay to want something more.”

Kim: Yeah, Julie, do you believe that the reason for holding on to it is because environmental messaging says you need to get over it, you need to get over it? And then they’re kind of surprised when you’re like, actually, we can just sit right here in it. Yeah, we don’t have to. And so do you believe it’s coming from society’s message of how fast, what’s the timeline? That was my first question.

My second thing I noticed is you continue to say the process, not time. And I love that because that is what I hear also, it’s just going to take time, it’s just going to take time, you’re always going to grieve but it’s going to be different, it’s going to change, but time, time, time. You’re not saying that. There is no time, right? It’s just the process is the process.

Julie: The process is a combination of time and effort. But people will tell you there’s nothing you can do, which is so disempowering. So then you’re so disempowered, and then you’re sitting and you’re waiting in time and people know that time doesn’t work.

And it’s interesting that you mentioned that idea of just get over it. Because we have conflicting messages. So we have this one message over here that says you’re never going to get over it, you’re going to grieve the rest of your life. In fact, there’s a model of grief that after I tell you about it, you’re going to see it everywhere.

But there’s a model of grief that basically says that you have this experience, it’s all consuming, and then you grow around it. The grief stays the same size, but you grow around it, you have new experiences, you get stronger. But the grief still stays there in the same capacity and the same package.

My philosophy is yes, we do. That’s exactly what happens. And that’s why I say there’s no quick answers to things because it depends on where we’re at. If we’re like right here in the beginning piece, then we need something different than if we we’ve been carrying the grief for a while, we’ve grown around it, and now we’re in this place where we’re kind of hiding our grief, but we’re still experiencing it. And I’ve seen it over and over again.

When we get to that place where we’ve grown around the grief, then we have the strength and the power to go in and heal the grief.

Kim: The space.

Julie: Yeah, and so we’re reclaiming that energy and that space. So we’ve got these competing messages, right? We’ve got the one side that you’ll grieve forever, and the other side is just get over it.

Kim: Yes. Everybody see what we’re saying?

Julie: And neither one is correct.

Kim: Right, hurry up and get over it. It’s been six months, it’s been a year, how long are you going to hold on to that? And then the other one that you’re supposed to. This is what Julie and I are both talking and it’s in both of our books. This is the point between the victim and the martyr.

You need to be the martyr in the identity so that for whatever reason, we call this like spiritual bypassing, it’s just the cross I had to carry in order to do the thing I had to do. And then here’s the other one that it shouldn’t have happened to me, it should be different. Nothing happens right for me and it happens right for everybody else, right? It’s between those two.

Julie: Mm-hmm, and we find that sweet spot over and over and over again in life, right? I can look at this experience of losing my children and I have found that sweet spot, I have found that balance. But then there’s other areas of my life where I’m still kind of battling those things, right? And I’m still trying to figure out, okay, wait a second, am I being the victim? Am I being the martyr? How can I come into this place of balance?

Kim: Because it’s the human experience.

Julie: Exactly.

Kim: It literally is human conditioning. We have been conditioned to have limiting beliefs, it’s whatever we were told. I have another question for you because I want to make sure I get it in before we run out of time. And then I want to let you have the space if there’s something that you wanted to add.

So I’ve been in conversation with people dialoguing about death, and grief and blah, blah, blah. I’m a 6/2 in Human Design. I mean, I’ve had a lot of experience. You are a 3/6, you’ve had a lot of experience.

Julie: I’m a 3/6, so I’m like a double experience girl.

Kim: Exactly, exactly. So I think we can say this. So here’s my question for you in particular, and this is strictly your experience, your thoughts because we already know nobody knows anything, right? We’re just all trying to figure it out.

What are your thoughts or your experience about is grief different? The loss of a husband, the loss of a job, the loss of a leg, the loss of a child, right? Because supposedly that is the messaging, it’s worse to lose… And I’ve heard people say my husband, and I’ve heard people say, my children, and I’ve heard people say my parents. This is your floor, what has that experience been for you? Without it being about advice for anyone else.

Julie: Right, well, I will just say that grief is grief. And my experience with grief is that when we’re in grief, we are experiencing it 100%. And that’s another thing I’d like to clarify, is that grief is not just about death. It’s about any type of loss.

So many times I hear people say well, I thought it was just about death. No, you experience grief with any type of loss. And we experience multiple losses and we’ve been in a community grief experience for the last two years during a pandemic. So there’s no value in comparing our grief with somebody else’s, or comparing our loss with somebody else’s. There’s no value in it at all.

This person is over here grieving 100% their experience. And I’m over here grieving 100% my experience. And there is no upside to comparison. But in our own life, we can. Like I can look at it and I can go my experience losing my brother was way different than losing my kids. My experience with losing my dad last year was way different than having these other losses.

My experience with my health, I’ve had some health challenges that produced feelings of grief, it caused me to lose a year or two of my education because of health challenges. So all those different experiences, personally, I can look at them and go, this one was way more impactful than this one, than this one. But it does no good to compare from person to person.

Kim: Love that. Yeah, but it’s the tendency for humans to judge and compare, to compete, mine’s worse than yours is. I have an excuse for it to last longer. It’s just habit, I think it’s just habit of thinking because someone could be grieving still this great loss of this miscarriage because of their attachment to what they thought motherhood was going to look like. Or this husband because of what they thought this family life was going to look like. That loss is valid.

Julie: Absolutely.

Kim: That dream, that attachment to what was, losing a leg. I’ve had 15 surgeries and so I get it, I’ve had the loss of my limbs, it’s very scary because it’s a loss of the life that was. Grief is grief, and it is on different layers and levels. But when we try to put that lens on someone else and predict or dictate how severe it should be according to what it was, that’s where I think there’s more damage, and pain, and trauma.

Julie: Yeah, and I agree. And I think it’s natural for us to do that. And especially in this space where there’s a vacuum of not a lot of good grief information out there.

So when something happens, then we tend to look outside of ourselves for people who experienced similar things. And then that creates that comparison and it creates that tendency to go, “Okay, well, they’re doing better.” We start thinking things like, oh, they’re doing better than I am. But because this happened to me, that’s why they’re doing better. Or, well, at least I’m doing better than so and so.

We tend to do that because we don’t have a lot of good information, so we’re not comfortable where we’re at. Grief is never going to be comfortable, it’s not meant to be.

Kim: It’s sure not comfortable, well it’s getting more comfortable to talk about. But this is a great reason to share it because this is a very valuable resource that Julie is offering the world. And it’s more incentive for you to take a stand and create an impact so that that information is available.

This is such a big deal. And that’s really why I wanted to bring you on and I wanted to get the word out as much as possible. Because you’re right, the last couple of years is actually bringing up all the old grief, what was buried deep inside of the bodies before and then it was triggered by so much fear of mortality.

Julie: Yeah.

Kim: Morality too.

Julie: Well, and it’s so true because when we experience a new fresh loss and a new fresh grief, it actually brings up all the past grief, especially if it’s unresolved.

Kim: Yeah. We’re running out of time, sadly. But I want to leave the floor. Is there anything I did not ask you? One thing we touched on that we wanted to speak on was your journey of trying to find that grief resource and help and how you had to pull it out from inside of you because you are the resource for that, you are the example of that. And you had to go through those experiences. I said, I would let you talk but I so see this about you.

Julie: Yeah, it’s funny, I was doing an interview a few months ago and the man who’s a therapist, he says, I imagine that when you were growing up you weren’t saying I’m going to be a grief coach when I grow up. I’m like nope, I wasn’t.

As I looked at my own journey, I had PTSD after the accident. I went through therapy to try to be able to drive again. There was so much, it was so hard. I don’t ever want to be sitting here in this position going, “Oh, look at me, it was easy. Just do this.” It’s not that at all. It was hard, it was painful. It was excruciating. It was a difficult, difficult road.

But I worked with a therapist and I remember when I kind of came out of the PTSD and was feeling better and all that after two and a half years of working with her. And I remember sitting in her office and she said, “Okay, well, you’re done.” And I walked out of the office, and I was like, “What next? What now? What do I do with my life? My life looks so different than it did before. I don’t even know how to put the pieces together.”

So I recognized when I felt, and I’m going to say inspired, to become a coach, and then become a grief coach. When I felt inspired, I knew that I wanted to bridge that gap between we’re in this place of grief –

And grief is not an illness. I want to be really clear about that. It’s not an illness, and don’t think that it’s an illness, it’s part of our emotional experience. But bridge that gap between grieving, finding knowledge and information, and tools, and developing skills to help us in that place of grief so that we’re able to move out and through the grief in time with effort. And then be able to really establish the life that we love.

And it’s not either or, it’s the full experience. It’s the full experience. And I can tell you that if you’d heard me tell my story 12 years ago from that place of pain and shame, it would sound very different than it does now. And knowledge, and information, and tools, and skills, they change our brain, they change the way we think about things. It changes our energy in a huge way, a huge way.

And I’m always just like gratefully excited when I see these shifts in the people that I work with. I’m just amazed, but it happens over and over again, because they start thinking different, life becomes different.

Kim: Mm-hmm. Not saying it’s just mindset either, I think it’s so –

Julie: No.

Kim: Not what you’re saying at all, you’re saying the process, the tools, the energy, I say the neurology because I’m all about the emotional body and how all this works together and how we change those connections, you know, the old habits and behaviors and the dialogue. The dialogue in general, what society dictates how you should feel, right? Because you are not the poster child for what society says a grieving mother should look like. You’re not.

Julie: What’s really interesting is one of the very first people that I worked with when I started talking about this in a more formal way was a multi-million dollar self-improvement, personal development guru, who couldn’t figure out what to do with their grief. The things that help us to strengthen pure mindset is helpful, but it doesn’t address the grief and the loss and the pain, the pure pain, the clean pain of grief.

Kim: And I never want to be the person who says that you have to experience something in order to help people, because I don’t believe that.

Julie: No.

Kim: I do believe that it enriches it and there’s much more patience, and empathy, and compassion because there’s an understanding if you’ve had a lot of loss, a lot of death, a lot of changes in your life. And I think that’s the life of a three, just in general the three and the six.

Julie: Yeah.

Kim: And it’s like it can lead the way but it’s such a fine line between judging and putting rules and saying who should or who shouldn’t, or you need to be a counselor in order to help people do that. It’s like that is again, part of the messaging that I feel like I want to clear up and expand upon. Because it goes back to you have to have a certain label, or a certain Jesus robe, or be a doctrine of whatever, whatever. And that is really holding a lot of people back from getting the help that they need.

Julie: Yeah, that’s so interesting that you say that because about four years ago when I started this whole journey I felt compelled. Like, again, voices telling me that you’ve got to share your story and you’ve got to help people.

I actually enrolled to go back to college to become a therapist. I thought that was my path. And it did not take me a week to realize that was not the path. And I love therapists and I think they’re amazing, and I think they play a role. But I’m so grateful that I got that direction because I couldn’t have done what I’m doing from that other path.

Kim: Well I, for one, want to thank you. And I do know that a lot of this had to do with grace and calling on your life. I do recognize that.

Julie: Absolutely.

Kim: And also that it couldn’t have been easy.

Julie: No.

Kim: And I love that you moved through it and you’re not a shell saying it doesn’t hurt, I don’t feel it, or I don’t think about them every day, or whatever. You didn’t bypass it, you actually are an example of the potential of the life after. And so I, for one, just want to really and humbly, you know, I respect the position even to be able to tell your story for others to hear it. So, thank you.

Julie: Thank you, Kim. So fun to be here with you.

Thanks for listening to this episode of More Than Mindset.

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