INNER TRAVEL COACHING with Tammy Faulds https://www.innertravelcoaching.com Life Coaching | Transition Coaching | The Daring Way Toronto Fri, 15 Nov 2019 02:23:02 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 Blue Christmas: Grief At The Holidays https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/blue-christmas/ Thu, 14 Nov 2019 02:59:42 +0000 https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/?p=18785 Holidays have a way of amplifying our grief since nostalgia runs high this time of year. Help is here.

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For some of us, the “joy” of the holidays can feel like a punch in the gut.  At this time of year, grief can leave us feeling like we’re stuck “in the bleak midwinter” and we’d rather pull the duvet up over our heads than start “rockin’ around the Christmas tree”.

Holidays have a way of amplifying our grief.  Nostalgia runs high this time of year and we get stuck in memories of the way things used to be, isolating us from the merriment in front of us.

The Grief Recovery Institute defines grief as, “the conflicting feelings caused by the end or change in a familiar pattern of behaviour.”  Family traditions around the holidays (aka familiar patterns of behaviour) seem to magnify what’s missing.

  • Kids who now have to be shuttled back and forth after a divorce instead of all snuggling in one bed to open stockings together.
  • A grandfather no longer there to tell the story of the Maccabees and light the menorah.
  • The lost job that means presents will be fewer and smaller than last year.

The first holiday without a loved one is a heartache we can probably all relate to but did you know there are over 40 losses that can trigger grief?

Including…

  • Death
  • Divorce / romantic break-up
  • Pet loss
  • Financial change
  • Job loss
  • Moving
  • Retirement
  • Pregnancy
  • Getting married
  • Psychological diagnosis (i.e. depression, anxiety)
  • Loss of trust, safety, or control
  • Loss of pregnancy (miscarriage, stillbirth, termination)
  • Infertility
  • Loss of health (injury or illness)
  • Loss of freedom
  • Loss of childhood

Here’s what we know (true any time of the year)…

Time does not heal all wounds.  Ignoring it won’t change anything.  You can spend a lifetime waiting for the pain to ease.

Giving someone space doesn’t heal anything.  Grieving alone leaves you feeling isolated and lonely.  We need to be surrounded by people who can support us without judgment.  People we can lean on. Asking for help takes courage but the people who love us DO want to help.

Be strong.  When you white knuckle it through the holidays you miss the joy.  Find people who can hold space for your big, uncomfortable, ‘messy’ feelings without asking you to “keep it together”. 

Logic won’t fix your grief.  We often try to rationalize or reason away the uncomfortable feelings of grief.  “At least they’re not suffering anymore.” “At least you got the time you did with them.”  When a relationship ends we hear, “it wasn’t meant to be.” While all those things may be true – it doesn’t change the way you feel.  It doesn’t make negotiating life after loss any easier.  Instead, it denies the truth of your heart and keeps you feeling stuck and sad.

Replace the loss.  This is often the advice we receive after a romantic relationship ends or we lose a pet.  We hear things like, “you just need to start dating again/put yourself out there.” Or well-intentioned people remind us that there are many pets waiting for a good home in the local shelter. Replacing the previous relationship with someone new doesn’t help you complete the grief, instead you just carry the pain forward (and then wonder why things don’t work out with the new person).

Keep busy.  The classic avoid-your-feelings-so-you-don’t-have-to-deal-with-them advice (my default tactic ;).  Focus on your work/kids/ANYTHING but the loss. Because if you cram every second of your day with activities then you won’t have time to dwell on your grief.  That doesn’t mean it goes away though. In fact, it’ll be waiting for you like the extra 10lbs you gain every year from too many festive treats (also my default).

Truth time…

Action is necessary to heal from a loss.

(but not the kind of action that keeps you distracted and avoiding your grief like those listed above, because they simply. don’t. work)

Here are a few things you can try this holiday season that honour your grief and loss.

  1.  Find support.  You’re not alone (though it can definitely feel that way), check to see if your local church (if that’s your thing) has a Blue Christmas service.  Or you can invite friends over and light a candle in memory of your loved one, cook their favourite meal together and then watch their favourite holiday movie.

  2. Write a letter.  Catch your loved one up on everything that’s been going on.  Say everything you always wanted to say. Or, if you’re suffering from a financial loss, write a letter to money (I know, I know it sounds silly but it works!) and express how you’d like to get reacquainted again.

  3. Give to a charity in their name.  Donate to your local animal shelter if you’re grieving the loss of your pet.  Volunteer your time with the favourite charity of your loved one or raise money in their name.  For the last 5 years running my gal pals and I have gathered together to fill shoeboxes of love for women in need. (find out more about this charity here https://www.shoeboxproject.com)  Giving to others always feels good and nurtures the deep feelings of connection that we all crave, and need. 

To further nurture myself over the holidays I also amp up my self-care which often looks like:

  • Giving myself permission to say no to various invitations (since I know I have a tendency to over-extend myself by saying yes to everything and everyone)
  • Getting to bed around the same time every night (my flannel sheets are already on because I love feeling cozy)
  • Allowing myself to truly reset and recharge by keeping whitespace in my calendar (instead of jamming it full as per point #1 above) so I can honour my needs
  • Eating well when I can AND allowing for sweet indulgences because c’mon, nothing beats homemade baking!  I simply enjoy them in moderation by being mindful and making a conscious decision (vs mindlessly stuffing myself silly and clearing the tray…just me?!)

If you find the holidays are already starting to intensify whatever losses you’re navigating (death, divorce, job, etc.) and you’d like a little more support (or to continue this conversation) you’re invited to join my Holiday Grief Relief Workshop (it’s happening LIVE online Saturday, November 23rd).  I’ll be showing you the holistic tools I use and teach so you can set yourself up for a holiday filled with way more ease, grace, and peace.  There will be a live Q&A session at the end of the workshop where you can ask me anything. Or you can send in questions early at hello[at]innertravelcoaching[dot]com. Or if you know someone who is struggling, please send this invitation along as sometimes we just need a little nudge to know we’re not alone in our grief.

Learn more about the workshop here

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Beyond The Casserole – How To REALLY Show Up For Someone Who’s Grieving https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/beyond-the-casserole/ Mon, 04 Nov 2019 00:03:25 +0000 http://www.innertravelcoaching.com/?p=18535 Including what not to say to someone who is grieving.

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We all know that feeling. When someone is grieving we all have the instinct to comfort and empathize. To help them feel less alone.

However, often our best intentions and attempts at empathy (or as my friend jokingly calls it – ‘attempathy’) fall short of being genuinely helpful. Which can unfortunately leave both parties feeling deflated and horrible… when the intention was to support and uplift. Ugggghhh. 

So, first, let’s look at a list of things to scratch from your vocabulary.

Think back to the loss of a loved one, a pet, that time you lost your job or ended a relationship. How many of these things did you hear? How did it make you feel when you heard them?

I bet you can tick several off that list.

I also know, because you’re human, that you’ve said one or more of the things on that list to someone else. EVERYBODY DOES THIS. It’s okay. You’re allowed to make mistakes.

Why do we resort to these unhelpful platitudes in the first place?

Because being around someone who’s grieving makes us feel vulnerable. We don’t want to remember and connect with our own pain (#uncomfortable). When we haven’t healed our own grief, we simply can’t deal with someone else’s.

So, we look for the quick escape, to acknowledge them without getting too close in case we accidentally feel our own grief again.

As a result, we end up parroting everyone else’s “sorry for your loss” and “my condolences” and we move on – and away from our own pain.

Here’s the good news – we can all learn to show up differently next time.

3 things you CAN do when someone is grieving

1 – Be a heart with ears

Listen to their story. Encourage them to share with you what happened and how they found out. Ask them how they’re feeling that day (since it changes often). 

Refrain from offering any suggestions, advice, or similar stories from your own life unless SPECIFICALLY ASKED FOR by the griever.  

They aren’t broken. You don’t need to fix them. They’re human and going through a tough time with some really big and often conflicting emotions. We want to help them, to heal them. We want the griever to know that we see their pain. That we understand. That we’re in it with them. Which is why not rushing in with our own stories, or words of advice can be SO hard to do. 

If you can listen with empathy, (No judgement. No criticism. No pseudo-Freudian analysis or oh-so-helpful unsolicited advice.) then you can create a safe space for the griever to express how they’re feeling which is SO important for them to begin healing. Emotions are feminine energy which I often view as waves of water that need the masculine energetic container to rage and flow safely within. Therefore, all you need to be is that safe container for them, to ‘hold space’ so they can let their emotions flow.

But how do you ‘hold space’ for someone? By simply being a heart with ears, it is easily one of the most powerful ways you can support them. I also encourage you to find stability through your legs and feet, literally. Connect with earth energy and breathe deeply into your belly. This will invoke presence and support you as you support them. Doing this will allow you to be their stability in the chaos and the gentle guiding force towards the safe shore.

2 – Circle back and check in

A griever is flooded with support immediately after their loss. But as time goes by…everyone returns to their regularly scheduled lives. That’s exactly the time to check in with a griever.

  • 2 weeks after the funeral
  • 3 months after the divorce
  • 6 weeks after losing a job

Or any time that person ‘randomly’ pops into your heart.

Reaching out can be as simple as sending a text and letting them know you’re thinking about them. Or setting up a time to grab a coffee or go for a walk together. The point is, CONNECT because I don’t know one person who has gotten through life without someone else. Connection is key, make the effort.

3 – Offer help

  • skip the “call me if you need anything” speech and pick a very specific way that you would love to help
  • mow the lawn or shovel the driveway
  • make a nourishing meal they can throw in the freezer (yes, casseroles are still a lovely gesture…but you’re capable of more 😉 )
  • or hop online and get an UberEats gift certificate – it is the modern equivalent of a casserole
  • go to yoga or for a walk with them
  • take the kids to school or pick them up
  • offer to take the dog for a walk everyday at a specific time- offer to get their groceries, fill prescriptions, run errands
  • get a gift certificate for a massage or acupuncture or reiki or any kind of body work really as they’re all great ways to begin to passively release emotions like grief
  • get a gift certificate for coaching to help them move forward when they’re ready (subtle plug)

Grievers rarely follow-up with “call me if you need anything” because when the loss is fresh and heavy they often don’t know which way is up, let alone what they need. Start with a specific offer to help and be open to any other suggestions they might have for you.

We’ve all fumbled our attempts at empathy (#attempathy). We’ve all resorted to cliched platitudes when we couldn’t figure out what to say. That’s okay.  We’re human. We mess things up – often. Forgive yourself.

You can choose differently next time. You can be a heart with ears. You can circle back and check in. You can offer to help and show you really mean it.

It takes a bit of practice to let go of the old and often-reached-for scripts. It takes courage to hold space for someone to be vulnerable. You might not get it perfect the first time. That’s okay too.

It’s never too late to show up with an open heart, a willingness to listen and a desire to be of service.

If you know someone who’s struggling with grief (fresh or lingering) I offer gift certificates for all my coaching services. Contact me today at hello[at]innertravelcoaching[dot]com and we can create the perfect offering for your loved one.

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How Halloween Can Help Heal Your Heart https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/how-halloween-can-help-heal-your-heart/ Wed, 23 Oct 2019 19:26:32 +0000 https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/?p=18666 How cultural celebrations around the world can be an inspiration for navigating our own grieving hearts.

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If you look beyond the candy, costumes, and horror movies the heart of Halloween has always been about remembering the dead. It’s the one time of year where it’s believed the border between the land of the living and the land of the dead can be crossed. It can also be if we choose, a time to feel closer to those who have dearly departed.

Many cultures around the world have days when they believe the dead can return to Earth and they hold beautiful, colourful festivals to celebrate. These celebrations can all be an inspiration for navigating our own grieving hearts. Let’s take a look at a few now.

Samhain

We begin with my Irish ancestors. Samhain (pronounced sow-in) is the Celtic festival from which Halloween was born (it got Catholicized into ‘All Hallows Eve’ around the year 1000 AD). The ancient Celts believed the barrier between worlds could be breached on Samhain so the ghosts of the dead could return to earth. They lit fires and dressed as animals and monsters so the faeries wouldn’t be able to kidnap them. They also had a feast (because obviously no festival is complete without one) and left food outside the villages for the faeries to consume.

Speaking of food, the tradition of a “dumb supper” began in the middle ages. It involved inviting the ancestors to join in the tradition before they ate. Children would play games to entertain the dead. Adults would update those who had died on the events (& juiciest gossip) of the past year. They would leave doors and windows open so the dead could come and eat the cakes left out for them.

And finally, in Ireland, there was another tradition called mumming which involved putting on costumes and going door-to-door singing songs for the dead. For payment of these songs, the mummers would receive cakes. (see the evolution?)

Dia De Los Muertos

Perhaps the next best-known celebration is the Mexican Day of the Dead. I love that while death is the theme it’s also a celebration that includes an explosion of colour and life-affirming joy. Dia De Los Muertos is all about showing love and respect for family members who’ve died. The Ancient Aztec, Toltec, and Nahua peoples of Mexico believe mourning the dead was disrespectful because they saw the dead as still part of the community. They were kept alive in memory and spirit and for one day every year, they returned to the Earth.

Mexicans build beautiful offrendas (altars) to welcome ancestors and fill them with flowers (especially Marigolds which guide wandering souls back to their place of rest), food and drink (such as a deceased family member’s favourite meal), pictures of the dead, and candles.

Perhaps the most recognizable aspect of Dia De Los Muertos are the colourful sugar skulls.  Originally from the work of Jose Guadelupe Posada (and later revived by Diego Rivera), sugar skulls symbolize that under all our makeup and designer labels “todos somos calaveras” (Posada)…we are all skeletons.

The Hungry Ghost Festival

China has several festivals to honour the dead but the Hungry Ghost Festival is a month-long remembering. Buddhists and Taoists believe this is a time when the bridge between the living and the dead is open and ghosts are allowed to walk the Earth in search of food (apparently no matter where you go in the world, you’re hungry in the afterlife!)

On the first of the month, they’ll burn fake money for the ghosts to use while they’re here (every ghost needs some pocket money, obviously). They’ll also create altars with food, incense, ancestral tablets and old paintings or photos. On the feast night of the Hungry Ghost Festival, it’s also common practice to set a place at the table for a dead relative.

Gai Jatra

In Kathmandu and neighbouring towns, they spend 8 days remembering and celebrating those who’ve died in the past year.

It begins with a parade. Families who’ve had a loved one die that year clean, dress and decorate a cow (or if you don’t have a cow, a young boy from your family dresses up like one). Aside from being sacred to Hindus, cows are also believed to guide souls back to heaven. After the parade the rest of the day is spent singing, dancing and telling jokes.

Although Gai Jatra is said to date back to ancient times the modern revival came through King Pratap Malla (1624 – 1674). It’s a good story…stay with me.

When the King’s 2nd son died, his wife/the Queen, fell into a deep depression. He did everything he could to comfort her but nothing worked. So he enlisted the help of his people.

The King organized a parade and asked everyone who had experienced a death in the family that year to participate. He told everyone to wear colourful clothes and gave them “freedom of speech” for one day only so they could tell jokes that might have gotten them into trouble the rest of the year (perhaps the birth of political satire?)

As the huge procession passed in front of the palace the Queen realized she wasn’t alone in her grief. She saw that while many others were also mourning they still smiled, still laughed, still participated in and celebrated life. This in turn, made her smile. And the festival (although it’s evolved much since then) has been celebrated ever since.

How lovely is that?!

It’s amazing to see the common threads that are woven through Halloween, Dia De Lost Muertos, The Hungry Ghost Festival, and Gai Jatra. The dead are gone but never forgotten and perhaps not as far away as they seem. Food is central to every good celebration as is dancing and dressing up. What’s also interesting is how the dead are feared, or revered. I don’t know about you, but I choose to believe it’s a time to celebrate and connect with our loved ones, both dead and alive. 

There’s no wrong way to remember our loved ones so why not borrow some ideas from these traditions?

  • Set a place for a deceased loved one at the table this Halloween
  • Cook their favourite meal in their honour
  • Light a candle in rememberance
  • Write a letter telling your loved one everything that’s happened over the last year, it’s a great reflection tool and will keep you feeling connected to them
  • Create your own offrenda or altar and deck it out with your favourite flowers, photos, and candles
  • Call someone who’s grieving and let them know they aren’t alone

Learning about these other traditions made me realize that maybe WE are the bridge between the living and the dead. Maybe WE keep that bridge open as long as we continue to remember and honour those who’ve died. And maybe WE can celebrate death as we do life, with colour and joy, dancing and great food.

This Halloween, in between the candy and the costumes, the haunted houses and horror movie marathons, I encourage you to find some time to feel closer to loved ones who’ve died and to celebrate their life in whatever ways feels good to you. 

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Navigating Pet Loss https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/navigating-pet-loss/ Sun, 29 Sep 2019 13:59:49 +0000 https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/?p=18635 We have a history of being dismissive (or downright rude) of the grief that accompanies pet death, it's time we change that.

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The death of a cherished pet is one of the most devastating losses we endure.

Why?

Because a pet’s love is unconditional and when it’s gone, it can bring you to your knees in a heartbeat.

Our pets provide complete acceptance and they never judge us whether we come home grumpy after a bad day or shorten the afternoon walk because we’re feeling sick. They’re excited to see us. Eager to forgive. The best listeners. And seem to intuitively know when we need them the most.

My beloved dog growing up was my confidante. I told Oppie EVERYTHING knowing that my secrets were safe with him. He also seemed to have a 6th sense when I was sick and refused to leave my side when chemo beat me down. And when I was ready to play and run outside again, he was right there.

For many people, the relationships they have with their pets are closer than the relationships they have with humans. Many people joke about this, but let’s be honest,  pets are there for you when others walk away. And their loss completely disrupts our daily routines – the regularly scheduled time spent walking, grooming, playing with and caring for your pets leaves a huge void in everyday life.

Pet death can be further complicated by having to make the decision to euthanize. Guilt often shows up in the wake of this decision because even when you know it’s right – it’s never easy. And it can be compounded if we were simply unable to afford a potentially life-saving surgery (not many families have a spare few thousand set aside).

You see it all the time in our society, we have a history of being dismissive (or downright rude) of the grief that accompanies pet death. Well-meaning friends and family invalidate or minimize our grief with statements like, “You can always get another one”, “It was only a dog, it’s not like it was your mother/child/spouse etc”,  or “At least your pet isn’t suffering anymore.”

Which leads me to….

That pesky phrase “at least”.  It’s important to remember that no truly empathetic response begins with “at least…” (once I learned this, it was surprising how often I caught myself almost saying it). As well-intentioned as these statements might be they don’t help the person who’s grieving. 

Grief is a normal, natural reaction to a pet’s death. If you know someone who’s grieving the loss of a pet the best thing you can do is be a heart with ears. Instead of trying to intellectualize the loss (with statements like those listed above) just listen with an open, compassionate heart. Support them with patience, understanding, kindness and care.

*y’know, the way YOU’D want to be treated.

Here are some things you can do:

If your family has recently lost a pet…

1 – Start a ritual to remember your pet. A picnic at their favourite park on the anniversary of their adoption. Light a candle for their birthday or any other special days.

2 – Have a funeral. Or create your own ceremony to say goodbye.

3 – Pet loss is often the first experience of death for kids. Encourage them to talk about their favourite memories of their pet and any feelings they have. Ask them to draw a picture of their pet or list their top 10 favourite things about their pet. Put a framed picture of their pet in your child’s room. 

  • Refrain from using phrases like “being put to sleep” which can confuse kids and make them afraid to go to sleep in case they don’t wake up again just like their pet. If you’d like more resources for helping kids through the grief of pet loss go here.

4 – Find a way to memorialize your pet. I’ve seen beautiful clay or ink paw prints done or many people also choose to get tattoos of their pet on them. If you choose to cremate your pet, you can use the ashes in a variety of ways – including putting some of the ash in the ink for your tattoo! You can also use the ash in stained glass or gemstones, pressed into a vinyl record, made into a coral reef or shot up into space!

Everyone grieves pet loss in their own way and it’s important to find truly compassionate people to help you navigate the loss. My friend Jess’ dog recently died and she chose to have her dog cremated. She spoke so highly of the incredibly caring and supportive staff at Thistledown Pet Memorial. The owner, Colin, walked her through their columbarium niche (walls where the ashes are kept) and could tell the story of every animal there. From a hamster to horses that served in the Toronto Police Department. She said his compassion was evident in everything he did. Something she hadn’t anticipated was how relieved both she and her kids felt having their dog’s ashes back with them. 

 If you’re looking for support in navigating the death of your pet know that you’re not alone. I’d be honoured to guide you through The Grief Recovery Method. You can find all the details here.

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Your Words, Your World. https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/your-words-your-world/ Tue, 27 Aug 2019 14:12:54 +0000 https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/?p=18615 Have you ever stopped to think about how your words influence your world? And more importantly how a simple shift in words can positively affect your world/life experience?

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Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes. – Desmond Tutu

Have you ever stopped to think about how your words influence your world? And more importantly how a simple shift in words can positively affect your world/life experience? Our words influence our thoughts and can affect how we view people…positively and negatively.

Our words can create villains and heroes of the people in our lives.

Our language surrounds us with optimists and pessimists.

And these narratives continue even after someone dies because we will review the relationship and discover things that we wish had been different, better, or more and we lament the unrealized hopes, dreams, and expectations we had for the future.

We end up vilifying them. We choose to remember and focus on their unkind words, the slights, the rejection, every behaviour/situation that left a negative imprint on us.

Or

We end up idolizing them.  We choose to remember their unparalleled kindness, their unconditional acceptance, their joy and love and all the amazing times we had together.

These narratives aren’t accurate because of course, no one is all good or all bad.  We’re just human…beautiful AND flawed.

The problem starts when we carry the stories of how these people treated us forward into the future.  When we begin to expect other people in our lives to treat us the same way. In fact, our nervous systems will actually seek out validation that the stories are true.

It’s like looking at the world through a lens that tries to reinforce that story everywhere you go.  And with every close relationship, we repeat the patterns and woundings of the ones we haven’t healed.

Let’s look at a couple of examples so you can see what I mean.

Your Dad dies and your relationship was…shall we say….distant.  You can count on one hand the number of times he said, “I love you”.  He never said he was proud of you and was often critical of every choice you made.  He only ever showed up for things that interested him.

When you don’t complete this grief the stories of rejection, of never feeling good enough, of being unlovable get repeated.  You subconsciously haul them with you into your current relationships. It might mean you end up with men in your life who are emotionally unavailable.  Or that you’re always seeking validation and approval to quiet that insecurity. You repeat these patterns so your nervous system can validate the stories you’re telling yourself:  I AM unloveable. I AM not good enough. I AM someone easy to dismiss. I AM undeserving of love.

Or

Let’s say your Mom dies and you thought she was the perfect shining example of unconditional love.  She always knew exactly the right thing to say. She always went out of her way to show that she loved you.  She could do no wrong.

When you don’t complete your grief you look for other women who will live up to her impossible saintly example, except no one ever measures up.  Or you feel, as a Mom yourself, you can never live up to the standard she set. And the story ends up as fuel for your own perfectionism and shame. Your nervous system looks for ways to validate the stories: I AM never good enough.  I AM flawed. I AM unworthy.

How to hijack these stories and stop them in their tracks

You can start to rewrite these stories with a simple shift in words. I jokingly call them my ‘Jedi mind tricks’ but it’s really about being mindful with your words. It all starts here because your thoughts impact your emotions which influence your behaviour. This, in turn, shapes how you view the world and interact with it. If you begin to believe that everyone is like your emotionally unavailable father, then you’ll seek out (and attract) people like him. So, take care with your words and notice how you talk to yourself, and others. Be more mindful of your language and if you notice judgmental or pessimistic language creeping in, try and swap it out with more empathetic or compassionate words.  

Try this:

“I AM” statements are incredibly powerful.  They create our reality. They feel permanent as if they’re woven into the fabric of our being.  “I FEEL” statements are more temporary. They acknowledge how you’re feeling but they give you room to revise (to be different) later because feelings pass.

So instead of saying, “I AM broken” say, “I FEEL broken” or to be more specific “I am currently experiencing a feeling of brokenness”.

Pay attention to the “I AM” statements you’re using, they’re a clue to the stories of unresolved pain that you’re holding onto.

I AM unlovable -> I FEEL unlovable

I AM helpless -> I FEEL helpless

I AM a victim -> I FEEL victimized

I AM never good enough -> I FEEL not good enough

I AM tired -> I FEEL tired

I AM overwhelmed -> I FEEL overwhelmed

I AM stressed -> I FEEL stressed

The first step is to notice the negative “I AM” statements that fuel your shame and sense of powerlessness.  The second step is to reframe them as “I FEEL” statements that give you space and permission to be something else.

If you have unresolved grief that you’d like to heal I invite you to set up a Discovery Call so we can talk about where you are, and where you’d like to be.

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How To Stop Being Busy https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/how-to-stop-being-busy/ Sun, 18 Aug 2019 16:04:29 +0000 https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/?p=18601 Busyness has become our favourite tool for showing everyone how indispensable/ loveable/ needed/ worthy we are...and it needs to stop.

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Have you ever…

  • Mentally rehearsed your to-do list before getting out of bed
  • Started your day feeling already depleted and dragging your feet 
  • Had lunch at your desk so you could catch up on emails
  • Rescheduled self-care and fun with friends in favour of ticking one more thing off your list

Yep.  So have I. Welcome to the ‘I’m too busy to tell you how busy I am’ club.

We grew up believing the gold stars we earned meant we were good students and therefore good people.  And the more gold stars we racked up the better we were. 

Over the years we may have traded in gold stars for praise from our boss or admiration from our co-workers but we’re still trying desperately to prove we’re contributing.  We’re valuable family members, teammates, employees.  We’re still trying to prove that we’re important. And busyness has become our favourite tool for showing everyone how indispensable/ loveable/ needed/ worthy we are.

It’s all about identity & perception.  

Brené Brown says “healthy striving is internally focused” (For example being productive feels good.  It gives us a sense of accomplishment. Pride in our work. Joy in connecting with others and being of service.) whereas unhealthy striving is driven by fear of what other people will think of us.

Busyness can be fueled by…

Perfectionism – they’ll only like me if I’m flawless (and do it all with a smile) 

Avoidance of Criticism – or disappointment if you say no (hands up if you’re a people pleaser in recovery).

Escapism – if you’re always busy, you don’t have to deal with uncomfortable emotions… like grief or shame

Fear – if I don’t say yes to this, someone will replace me

The good news is, these are all CHOICES and repeating stories in our head – and they can be rewritten because we always have a choice. Let’s be truthful here, somewhere along the way you said ‘yes’ to something that has lead you to this point.  I said yes to staying in jobs that didn’t fulfill me and lead to burnout (over and over again).  I said yes to not making an effort to meet people because I was just too damn tired (inaction is also a choice).  I chose to make my career a priority over my health (over and over again)!

I still struggle with this.  With the “not enough-ness” that pokes its head up and tells me I should be doing MORE.  Hustling harder. The difference is now I can recognize my triggers and what they mean for my self-worth and course correct MUCH faster. (read more about how my perfectionism damn near killed me)

Here’s what you can try…

Do a reality check – Monitor just how busy you really are.  Notice how long you spend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, subscription emails, zoning out on TV, video games, dating sites, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. on any given day.  Think about cutting down your time online or in front of the TV by 20%.  That would then free up time to do other, more meaningful, things.

F*ck the 5 AM club – If you’re NOT a morning person (like me) then don’t try and force yourself into an early morning routine because you feel you should do it because everyone else seems to be. Honour what works for YOU – maybe you’re a night owl or simply function best after the sun is up. Point is, if it doesn’t work find something that does. Zooey Deschanel says it best “In an ideal world no one would talk before 10 AM, people would just hug because waking up is really hard.” Which leads me to what I do…

Breathe – When you wake up in the morning, DO NOT GRAB YOUR PHONE and instead just sit in your bed with your eyes closed and breathe.  This can be for 1 second, or 10 seconds, or 10 minutes.  Do whatever feels good to you. Meditation can reduce stress and anxiety.  It helps lengthen your attention span and improves focus.  All things that will help you move through your to-do list with a little more grace and speed.

Rewrite the narrative – When we tell ourselves (or say aloud) things like “I am so f*ckin’ busy” we give up our agency.  Statements that begin with “I AM” create our reality, they feel so much more permanent and it makes us feel like the “busy” is happening TO us.  So next time you hear yourself saying, “I am busy” try switching it out for “I CHOOSE to have a full schedule.”  When it’s a choice it doesn’t feel like it’s happening to you and you can take back your power.

Ask for help – Our society champions doing everything on your own.  It’s the often glamourized American dream of going from nothing to rich and famous ALL BY MYSELF.  Except, of course, our lives don’t happen in isolation.

So many of us struggle to ask for help because we worry that others will judge us for not being able to do it all on our own.  Or perhaps we really have been rejected or resented for asking for help in the past.  And now we’re silently judging ourselves every time we even think of asking for help, ‘just easier to do it by myself’. But this isn’t sustainable and leads to burnout. We go farther, together, and heck people love to be needed!  So, go ahead, be courageous, and ask for help!

Set an intention – Set an intention for the day before your feet even hit the floor.  Make it something that feels abundant and, dare I say, luxurious!

  • Today I will give myself space to think before I say yes to one more thing
  • Today will be filled with serendipity and magic!
  • Today I will skip the gym and go for a sun-filled walk by the lake instead
  • Today will be abundant and joyous and filled with laughter!
  • Today I will ask for help with…

Pay attention to your needs – Emotional.  Psychological.  Physical. You need different things during different cycles of your life.  It’s okay if you can’t maintain the energy and hustle you did 10 years ago. I used to think napping was a weakness but now…it’s my friggin’ superpower!

PLAY! – Make sure every single week you schedule, and prioritize, time for play or creativity.  It’s important to have downtime, it refreshes and refuels us and connects us with ourselves and our loved ones.  And play can be whatever you want it to be, provided it’s meaningful and not just you numbing out.  Hang out with a friend in person vs. on text.  Have a dance party with yourself while you cook dinner.  Paint or colour.  Sing along to some of your favourite classic tunes.  Read that book that’s collecting dust on your nightstand.  Do whatever makes your soul smile – BECAUSE YOU CAN CHOOSE TO DO SO.

If you need help rewriting the stories that keep you stuck on the busy hamster-wheel of life…I’m here for you.

Aaaaaand

(pause for exciting news)

I have one more way for you to connect with me + receive bite-sized bits of coaching wisdom.  I have started a YouTube channel (which is totally challenging all my stories of being enough) and I’d love to see you over there.  If you have any topics you’d like to hear me talk about don’t hesitate to comment on my YouTube channel or drop me an email.

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Love After Loss https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/love-after-loss/ Tue, 30 Jul 2019 21:22:03 +0000 https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/?p=18564 It becomes this delicate balancing act. Not too soon. But not too long. Walking a line you didn’t create. Learn more about love after loss.

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7 years after the death of her beloved husband my friend D was ready.  She gave herself a mission. She wanted to kiss a man. So, she assembled her gal pals for moral support (missions like these take tremendous courage) and to help her reconnect with her feminine power.  Armed with red lipstick and an open heart her mission was a success. She kissed a man. And that kiss held the promise that it would be possible to love again. It held the reassurance that she deserved to love again.  And the surprising truth that love had always been right there, within her reach the whole time, waiting patiently for her to take the first step.

Learning to love again after a loss is a tricky thing.  It takes courage to be vulnerable and open your heart. Often, we feel guilty – as if finding someone new diminishes our relationship with (or love for) the person we lost.  Nothing could be further from the truth. And there’s fear, of course, whispering, “what if you get hurt again?”  After all, nothing in life is guaranteed.

We also have to contend with the reactions and judgements of friends and family.  If you wait too long people begin to worry about you. They start to play matchmaker.  They cite studies on the effects of loneliness.

Find love again too quickly though, and people will criticize.  They’ll question your devotion to the deceased. They’ll wonder if you’re somehow replacing the one you lost.  Attempting to fill that uncomfortable void in your life with someone new instead of taking the time they believe is required to heal.

So, it becomes this delicate balancing act.  Not too soon. But not too long. Walking a line you didn’t create.

Here’s the thing…

We all grieve and heal at our own pace.  Grief is as individual and unique as the relationship that was lost.

No one gets to tell you when you should love again – it’s your choice.  Only you know when you’re ready.

Which brings me to my friend H, whose wife died suddenly.  He remarried soon after. People gave him a lot of flack for that.  They decided it was too soon. They decided he wasn’t living up to their expectations of honouring his wife’s memory.  But H chose to follow his heart. He admitted that he didn’t expect to find love again so quickly either but once love showed up – it was wonderful.  And it felt absurd to ignore that.

My friends both deeply loved their spouses. And they both found the courage to love again.  They said goodbye to the guilt, walked through the “what ifs” and fears and chose to open their hearts anyway.  And each did it in their own unique time.

I love what Elizabeth Gilbert said on social media when she announced her new love after the death of her wife, Rayya.

“I will always share anything personal about my life if it could help someone else feel more normal about their life.  SO…if you have lost a loved one to death, and you thought you’d never love again, but you’re feeling a pull of attraction toward someone new, and you’re not sure if that’s OK?  Let me normalize it for you. Let me say: It’s OK. Your heart is a giant cathedral. Let it open. Let it love. Do not let your beautiful loyalty to the deceased stop you from experiencing the marvels and terrors of your short, mortal, precious life.  It’s OK to live and to love…Love who you love. It’s all OK and it’s all impossible to control and it’s all an adventure that I will not miss.”

Heart Opening Exercises

If you’re still wading through your fear and guilt and grief but you’d like your heart to feel open again, to begin moving forward, as Liz Gilbert says, “to live and to love” and not miss your next adventure I have a few tools you can begin to use today.

Yoga Poses

Follow this link to find 13 yoga poses that will help you open your chest.  My personal faves are the cobra, upward facing dog, sphinx, and fish pose.

Breathe

• Sit comfortably, spine tall, shoulders back so your chest is open, and begin by noticing your natural breath.

• Notice how the air feels crossing your nostrils. How your chest moves and how your ribs expand and receive with each breath..

• Now notice how many beats/seconds your breath naturally cycles at (i.e. 3 beats in, 3 beats out).

• Try and deepen both the inhalation and the exhalation by one beat. So if you were at 3, lengthen it to 4. Try and get the breath down into the belly, then up into the shoulders. Keep repeating this by adding a beat until you’re 8 beats in and 8 beats out (or whatever number works for you where you feel you have a FULL inhalation and exhalation.)

• Repeat these deep breaths for a few rounds, and when you’ve got the rhythm, bring your attention to your chest. Visualize the colour green swirling and expanding across your chest and around your heart. Breathe deeply with this green visual knowing it’s a healing colour for your heart. Compassionately look for any heaviness in your heart and on the exhale you can release it powerfully through your mouth. Inhale green healing light, and exhale the darkness out the mouth. Once you feel you’ve cleared your chest, return to your normal breathing.

How do you feel after doing that? Are you calmer? Clearer? Lighter? More grounded? Or perhaps you don’t feel different at all? There’s no right answer – just take note. Make a point of doing deep breaths every day and notice how you feel each time.

Do Death Differently

Module 4 of my Do Death Differently course is dedicated to the heart.  Opening it. Healing it. Allowing love back into your life.  It’s full of compassionate coaching guidance, journaling prompts and more breathing exercises.  And it’s just one part of the bigger journey towards healing your grief.

You can read more about Do Death Differently and start the course today right here.

Remember: “Your heart is a giant cathedral.  Let it open. Let it love.” And do it all at your own damn pace.

PS Want more stories about how people discovered love after loss?  Read this.

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Stuck In The Middle https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/stuck-in-the-middle/ Tue, 16 Jul 2019 15:41:27 +0000 https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/?p=18548 It’s a feeling that there’s something “off” but you can’t quite put your finger on it. It’s a restlessness. And moving forward in any direction can feel daunting.

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Summer has finally arrived here in Toronto which means one thing – patio season!  It’s a beautiful time to get out with friends and enjoy the sunshine + cold beverages.  The vibrancy and colour of nature seem almost infectious.

Our lives, like the seasons, are cyclical and summer brings with it that energy to go out and DO THINGS.

But what if you feel more like you’re walking around in your own personal blizzard?  What if you’re feeling stuck in winter when everyone else is rushing out to enjoy the sun? 

We ALL experience feeling stuck at some point in our lives.

We’ve all felt like we’re hanging out in perpetual limbo keeping an eye out for our next adventure and hoping we’ll know it when it smacks us on the head.  It’s a feeling that there’s something “off” but you can’t quite put your finger on it. It’s a restlessness. It’s uncomfortable. And yet…moving forward in any direction (even if you could pick one) can feel daunting.

Maybe you’ve worked REALLY EFFING HARD.  You’ve already overcome a lot.  You’re a survivor.  But you just can’t ignore this calling to do more.  You know it’s time to go beyond surviving.  But what does that even look like?

Or maybe you Hate (yes, with a capital H) your current situation (job/relationship/space) but can’t see a way to move out of it.  I mean…how?? How do you begin to create something better?

Anyone can get stuck.

Don’t be fooled by appearances, we can all end up “stuck” no matter what our lives look like on the outside.  For example…

Everything is great…on the surface.  And you feel ashamed for wanting more.  I mean, who are you to feel dissatisfied with your life?  Maybe you’re a successful doctor because your Dad was a doctor (and so was his Dad) but secretly you wanted to be a concert pianist.  Rocking the boat by walking away from a financially stable career that makes your family proud can be…scary. Embracing uncertainty and stepping into the unknown is never easy.

Or everything’s secretly a mess…but it’s a familiar mess and there’s comfort in familiarity.  It takes buckets of courage to change your situation EVEN IF you hate it.  On the outside…you’ve got everything except the white picket fence. On the inside…you feel stuck in a marriage that brings out the worst version of yourself.  Stuck in a town that sucks the vibrancy from your soul. Mindlessly going through the motions of your so-called “life”. Having NO IDEA how to move forward.

Or you’re stuck in the past…because of grief.  Old pain. A loss that still stings.  And you’re carrying that grief and pain into your present reality.  It’s hard to welcome more into your life when you’re so focused on what you’ve lost.  Your joy feels faded and evaporates quickly. Everything seems coloured by the lens of loss.  And you’d really like to be able to take those damned glasses off…but how? How do you heal?  How do you shift your perspective?

There are so many reasons we end up “stuck”, each as individual as you are but whatever the reason that got you here…we’re all craving 2 things.

  1.  Clarity

    If you have no idea what to do next, where to go or what to focus on and you feel like if you just had a direction…(something to point you the right way) you could begin.

    The #1 place I recommend starting is with your core values.  What’s most important for YOU right now at this moment in your life?  It’s not about the values that have sustained you in the past. And it’s not about the values you aspire to.  It’s right now. Right here. Declaring this is what matters.

    You can get started today by downloading my Core Values Assessment.

  2. Tools

    You’ve tried “everything” and it hasn’t worked.  You’re still here facing the same brick wall. Reaching that goal, honouring that dream seems to be a 1 step forward and 73 steps back kinda process.  And it’s friggin’ annoying, frustrating, exhausting, and discouraging.

    My coaching is all about sustainability. What will get you started AND keep you going on the path to your best life?  What do you need to release? What stories need to be rewritten? What old wounds need to be healed? So that the way forward becomes…less struggle, more ease.

    You won’t find any “5 quick steps to blah, blah, blah”.  This is work, deeeep work, but it’s worth it.

    You can book a discovery session right here.  Let’s talk about how you’re feeling stuck and where you’d like to be instead.  And let’s see if I have the right tools to get you moving and sustain your momentum.

Now, let me get real for a second, we’re already halfway through 2019!!  


If you’re wondering where the hell that time went…you’re not alone.  We all feel this way (and that feeling often intensifies as we get older).  Now here’s the good news: you still have 168 days to do things differently.  To grieve. To heal. To ask for what you need. To take action. To change directions.  To rearrange priorities. That’s 168 days of possibility.  And when it comes to work like this, it’s #nevertooearly #nevertoolate.

Right now I want you to grab a piece of paper and pen or open up a fresh doc.  Let’s look compassionately at the first half of the year and see where…

  1. Maybe the Universe had other plans for you or lessons to learn first…what were the lessons?  What were the detours?
  2. Where would you like to shift things/priorities moving forward?

Remember: it’s okay that you’re not where you thought you should be.  Just like my fave line from “Ms Jackson” by OutKast says, “you can plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather.”

Get clear.  Live now.

Start by downloading my Core Values Assessment to get clarity.  Or book a discovery call to see if I have the right tools to help you get unstuck. #thishitworks

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12 Myths of Grief & Vulnerability https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/12-myths-of-grief-vulnerability/ Fri, 05 Jul 2019 12:57:12 +0000 http://www.innertravelcoaching.com/?p=18504 Collectively, we’ve accumulated some wonky beliefs about grief and vulnerability (thanks society), and it’s time to set the record straight.

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Nothing makes us feel more exposed and vulnerable than grief and loss (except maybe that nightmare you had of finally becoming a bonafide rock star only to realize you stepped out on stage COMPLETELY NAKED! 😳 Just me?!).  Collectively, we’ve accumulated some wonky beliefs about grief and vulnerability (thanks society), and it’s time to set the record straight. So I’m taking the stage, (in an outfit to die for) with a mic in my left and a sword of Valeryian steel in my right, because we’re about to expose some myths and slay some outdated beliefs up in here!

Myths of Vulnerability*

1. Vulnerability = weakness
Nope, it doesn’t.  Here’s the paradox: when we witness OTHERS being vulnerable we see it as an act of courage (it is).  However, when it’s OUR TURN to be vulnerable (scary!) it feels like weakness (it’s not). Vulnerability is ALWAYS an act of courage – for others AND for us.

2. Vulnerability is optional
Vulnerability involves uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. To be ALIVE is to be vulnerable.  Can you imagine how exhausting it would be to travel through life trying to minimize ALL uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure?  It’s impossible. Vulnerability is unavoidable.

3. Vulnerability = oversharing
Oversharing can be…awkward for the listener.  There’s a recklessness to it that doesn’t respect the listener’s boundaries.  Sometimes, we convince ourselves to keep quiet (and avoid vulnerability) rather than risk oversharing.  Vulnerability is different.  It’s sharing with the intention to connect.  It builds trust and intimacy.

4. We can practice vulnerability alone
We convince ourselves that being vulnerable in the pages of our journal or crying when no one is looking is enough.  But the point is to connect.  By all means, write it out but don’t stop there.  Take your vulnerability off the page and share it with someone you trust.

5. You can take the discomfort out of vulnerability
Rehearse what you’re going to say.  Anticipate reactions. Adjust your script.  Rinse. Repeat. Until you wash all the vulnerability out of it.  Here’s the thing: interactions between humans will ALWAYS involve some uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.  That’s what makes vulnerability uncomfortable. With the right people though…it’s worth it.

6. Trust comes BEFORE vulnerability
Actually, you can’t have one without the other.  Trust and vulnerability hold hands. They grow together.  They support each other. To betray one is to destroy both.

Which brings us to why sharing your grief with someone always involves uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.  It makes us feel oh, so vulnerable.  

It can feel extra scary if you’ve ever bumped up against some of the myths of grief.  If you’re human, you’ve had someone say at least one of these things to you.  Maybe you’ve also said a variation of these to someone struggling with grief. That’s okay.  Part of being human is making mistakes. We’ve all been there.

Often, we fall into the safety of these myths of grief to avoid the discomfort that we feel in the presence of someone else’s pain.   Because their pain reminds us of our pain.  At the end, I’ll share what you can do instead, so keep reading!

Myths of Grief**

1. Don’t feel bad.
This is a logical response to emotional pain. The brain can’t heal the heart. We can’t think our way out of grief.  This myth can sound like, “Don’t worry. There’s plenty of fish in the sea.” (Gag! Can we please all agree to let this particular metaphor sleep with the fishes?)  Or it can sound like, “He/she’s not worth your tears.” This myth confuses the griever and teaches them not to trust their emotions. Should they NOT be feeling this way?

2. Replace the loss.
We’re taught how to acquire things in life – not what to do when we lose them.  This myth can sound like, “So, when are you going to get another dog?” Or, “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.”  Moving on too quickly leaves us feeling guilty or simply repeating the patterns of a previous relationship.

3. Grieve alone.
“Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone.”  Grief needs to be acknowledged and honoured. It needs space to breathe and be recognized – only then can the healing begin.  Grief is a bittersweet reminder of how much love and connection you felt. Reach out to a trusted friend, coach or therapist. Letting loved ones witness your vulnerability strengthens the trust between you and can encourage others to share their vulnerable moments instead of struggling alone.

4. Just give it time.
Say it with me, “Time does NOT heal all wounds.”  Waiting for relief doesn’t work. We don’t tell someone with a broken ankle to “just give it time.”  So, why do we expect broken hearts to heal on their own? The best thing you can do is take action. I write more on what “taking action” looks like right here.

5. Be strong for others
This myth doesn’t acknowledge our pain.  It teaches us to stuff the pain way down deeeep in our emotional basements.  And we all know NOTHING GOOD EVER COMES from ignoring and suppressing our emotional pain.  What if, instead of “being strong”, you allowed yourself to grieve (whatever that looks like for you)?  You can read more about honouring your grief over here.

6. Keep Busy
Avoid.  Outrun. Outsmart.  Elude. Exhaust. Keep busy so you don’t have TIME to feel anything.  We’re experts at avoiding our unresolved emotional pain. Kings and Queens of distraction.  Masters of numbing. But the pain never goes anywhere. Your pain will still be waiting for you at the end of the day.  It’ll be there to greet you every morning – until you take action to complete it. It’s time to give yourself permission to grieve.

We’ve all used (one, more, all) of these myths.  It’s okay. We’re all human and we’re going to mess up.

So what CAN we do?  What’s actually helpful?

Grief makes us feel vulnerable.  Vulnerability is an opportunity to connect, build trust and foster intimacy.

Instead of giving someone space to “get over it” why not check in on them?

Be a heart with ears.  Listen…deeply.  No judgement. No fixing.  No criticism. Grievers just want to be heard.  Be open, present, loving, and listen with empathy and compassion.  And when in doubt? Listen more.

Want to see a brilliant example of being a heart with ears?  Watch Julia Roberts and Richard Jenkins in this scene from Eat, Pray, Love.

Take action today.

I’d love for you to start a conversation about the myths of grief and vulnerability with your friends.  What’s the best thing someone ever said to you after a loss? What’s your favourite way to support someone who’s grieving?

Join me over on Instagram where I’ll keep the conversation going.


*The Myths of Vulnerability are taken from “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown

** The Myths of Grief are taken from “The Grief Recovery Handbook” by John W. James and Russell Friedman

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And the Academy Award for Recovery goes to… https://www.innertravelcoaching.com/academy-award-recovery/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 01:59:31 +0000 http://www.innertravelcoaching.com/?p=18470 No....really....I'm fine. Really.

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‘No, really….I’m fine!’
😬

With winners in the supporting categories going to:

  • You’re being too emotional
  • Crying is for wimps/babies
  • You need to be strong
  • Why can’t you just “get over it”?

Messages like this confuse us. They teach us to ignore, deny or bury our natural emotions. Until we end up swearing to ourselves (and anyone who’ll listen) that we’re fine. . .really.

But this “fake it til you make” rapid grief recovery never actually works. Instead, the emotions we refuse to acknowledge find other outlets for expression. And it becomes a game of finding new ways to continually numb them when they threaten to break through the surface. We scroll through social media, head to the mall (or online) for retail therapy, drink too much, turn to drugs, work long hours, surrender to every craving, exercise too much, or binge on Netflix (popcorn and wine not optional).

Is it any wonder we struggle to move through our grief journey?

Grief makes us feel vulnerable and out of control. Especially, if we were taught expressions of grief were not welcome. Stories of needing to be strong or “just get over it” only serve to keep us stuck. Instead, what we need to do is face our fears and learn to embrace vulnerability.

Brene Brown says we feel vulnerable in situations that involve uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Grief ticks all those boxes.

Grief is uncertain.

We don’t know what will happen or when. The waves of emotion can catch you completely off guard. They can be triggered by the most mundane things, like hearing a loved one’s favourite song on the radio. Suddenly, we’re acutely reminded of what we’ve lost. Then BAM a tsunami of sadness will stop us in our tracks. Other days we get through with more laughter than tears.

Grief feels risky…

…because of the messages many of us received that said it wasn’t okay to grieve openly. Our displays of grief were met with disapproval, discomfort, and even shaming.

Grief leaves us emotionally exposed…

…because it brings such a WIDE range of emotions. Simultaneously conflicting. Raw. Intense. We can feel anger and relief, sorrow and joy all in the same moment. So we turn to social media, online shopping, or yet another bottle of merlot because they feel safer than being vulnerable and exposed in our grief. We all have our favourite methods of numbing. We’re the most obese, medicated, and in debt cohort in human history…WE NUMB. And although these numbing mechanisms may feel good in the moment, it’s important to remember those things can never heal us.

And yet. . .

It doesn’t have to be that way.

In many Middle Eastern and East African nations, public displays of intense emotion (both joy and grief) are welcomed and expected. They ululate loudly at funerals (and weddings). It’s normal to be vocal about your grief and to express it publicly.

The Irish also have a tradition of keening. A loud, public lamentation for the dead. There’s a master keener and her cry summons the other keeners to gather and sing the dying through their final transition.

These traditions of keening and ululating provide such a sense of community. They honour and love the person who has died. They provide an outlet for the expression of grief. And they show us there’s another way.

I want you to know that whatever you’re feeling is normal.

Maybe you cry enough to fill a river. Maybe you never cry a single tear. All your emotions are welcome. The important thing is that you find a way to express them.

It’s time to stop numbing out.

It’s time to tell your story to someone who has earned the right to hear it.

It’s time to find someone who will hold space for you without judgment.

It’s time to ask for what you NEED – to be seen and heard without anyone trying to “fix” you or dismiss/minimize your loss.

If you don’t have that person in your life. . .I would be honoured to hold space for you and walk your grief journey with you.

I have a new workshop on The Grief Recovery Method® coming up this fall. If you’d like to be on the waitlist send me an email at hello at innertravelcoaching dot com and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop as the details emerge. You can also read more about The Grief Recovery Method® and why I love it right here.

We can also work together one-on-one with individualized coaching where I bring ALL the tools I have to help you navigate your grief.

Or you can get started today with my online course Do Death Differently where you’ll find coaching wisdom, thought-provoking questions + practices to support you whether you’ve been carrying your grief for years or it’s still fresh.

Your grief is as unique as you are.  But you don’t have to navigate it alone.

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