This week’s topic is: 3 Ways to Help Navigate the Loss of Loved Ones and Grief with John Pisani
I’m very excited to have a very special guest for you today. A repeat guest, who is my dear friend and my business partner, John Pisani. He’s been on here for many conversations and today we are back to talk about a topic that affects a lot of us and will affect all of us in some way throughout our lives. And this is about transcending grief that we get into on our show today.
I’ve been openly speaking and writing about losing my mom a few years ago. And recently John had a passing in his close family. And so we want to give you three strategies, tips and tools for being able to really move on from this really difficult motion of grief and keep going and thriving in your life.
Topics Covered In 3 Ways to Help Navigate the Loss of Loved Ones and Grief with John Pisani
#1. Allowing perspective to shift that love doesn’t die
#2. Letting the pain in and through, not resisting
#3. Connecting to the love within
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Kimberly: 01:32 Hi loves and welcome back to our Monday interview podcast. I’m very excited to have a very special guest for you today. A repeat guest, who is my dear friend and my business partner, John Pisani, he’s been on here for many conversations. And today we are back to talk about a topic that, that affects a lot of us and will affect a lot of us most, all of us in some way throughout our lives. And this is about transcending grief. So we get into our show today. I’ve been openly speaking and writing about losing my mom a few years ago. And recently John had a passing in his close family. And so we wanna give you today three strategies and tips and tools for being able to really move on from this really difficult motion of grief and keep going and thriving in your life and we’ll get into it today.
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Kimberly: And finally, please be sure to subscribe to our show and that way you don’t miss out on any of these interviews or solocasts, which are always on Mondays or our Q&A show, which if you haven’t checked out yet is newly revised. I love the new format. I hope you do as well. We rotate around the cornerstones and we pick one very poignant question, and then it’s packed with research and tips and tools. And so check it out on Thursdays. And last, last little reminder is that our new book is out. You Are More More Than You Think You Are – Practical Enlightenment For Everyday Life, so you can pick it up. Wherever books are sold, this is my practical guide on moving past fear and other blocks and really tapping into your fullest potential. It’s very detailed. It’s got very specific exercises and meditations and teachings. So from my heart to yours, I cannot wait to share it with you. So check it out wherever you like to get your books. All right. All of that being said, let’s welcome in John, who is here on the line. Hello and welcome back, John.
Interview with John Pisani
John Pisani: Thank you. Happy to be back on the podcast
Kimberly: 04:51 And thank you in particular for, for coming to join me. Now, I reached out about this topic because, and I wondered if you were open to speaking about it because you have recently lost your nephew, who you were very close to and who I believe you were the godfather of. And he was very, you know, he was young. And so I’ve spoken about grief before in some different contexts around losing my mom suddenly. And so I just thought this would be a great time to connect and to share some ideas that we have with others about how to move on and, and integrate this, you know, the difficulty of grief.
John: 04:51 No, absolutely. I think that, um, you know, processing it I’m processing now. So it’s a great thing for myself, cuz I think when you talk about it is one of, one of the great healing things instead of keeping it always inside. Yeah. Um, by having conversations and you know, talking to people about it, it really helps the process. Um, and the evolution of your grief.
Kimberly: Well, and from, from my perspective with my mom, it was so painful. I think anytime you lose a parent, but then we could say, oh, you know, someone’s lived a full life. They are, um, you know, in the older stage of life, like sixties, seventies and beyond. But your nephew was what, 18 years old
John Pisani: 06:24 At uh,
Kimberly: 06:26 20 0 20 years old. Yeah.
John Pisani: 06:27 But still very young, you know, that’s so young. Uh, I think that’s, you know, when you, that happens, if someone that young, it’s it, it’s hard to kind of wrap your head around. Wow, it’s so young, how could this happen and why would this happen to someone so young and full of life and, you know, passion for life. And that’s the part that’s a struggle. Yeah. Understanding that. And you know, and there is really no way to understand that you just that’s and that’s what we’re talking about today is how do we, how do you kind of process that and move through it?
Kimberly: 07:05 Yes. And so if you’re comfortable sharing a little bit, and then we’ll get into our, into our tools here today that we wanna offer with my mom, we had, you know, she had a cancer diagnosis and at first I thought she would heal. Then I thought we would have a lot more time than it ended up being only six weeks. So it was, it felt like sudden with your nephew, could you share a little bit about, um,
John Pisani: 07:35 Sure.
Kimberly: 07:35 You know, a little context, it wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t completely sudden, but it
John shares his personal experience of losing a loved one
John Pisani: 07:57 Sure, so, uh, yes, my, my nephew was at two years old was diagnosed with a non-malignant brain tumor, but, but unfortunately he would, it had gotten so big that it, um, was pressing against many important things, uh, in the brain. And so he had a lot of, from that, I mean, amazingly survived a 19 hour operation where honestly, during that time the doctors, you know, gave him a 50, 50 chance of making it through the operation. Wow. And he pulled, he pulled through the operation and two, actually two, they had to do it twice cuz there was so much to get out and he made through two like 16 hour operations. Geez. And, and then slowly, but they did not know what the after effects would be and you know, told my sister it’s my sister’s um, son, you know, you’re only, it’s gonna, you’re gonna find out as you go of what the aftermath of this is.
John Pisani: And, and so he did have complications, um, some pretty severe, but he persevered and he had such a strong will in such a strong spirit, even at infant, age of two years old that, and my sister had, you know, really took it upon herself. She quit her job and started taking care of him full time, um, with the help of some nurses. And, but she was there 24 7 for him. And over time he, although he had disabilities, he, you know, did a lot of what a child would do, you know, despite the disabilities, but obviously having disabilities is some major ones, but any, and he was slowly kind of made it through and got better, got better and started having, you know, you kind of, when these things happen, you adjust. And I wouldn’t say it’s a normal light because there’s a lot of, you know, but you make it as normal as you can be.
John Pisani: Mm-hmm <affirmative> and um, despite all the odds he was, you know, did well for a long time. And you know, and that’s kind of, maybe one of the harder thing too is cuz you always knew on the back of your mind that, you know, he had, did have issues and, and then basically to fast forward. And then until recently they just started deteriorating, um, the long time issues with his lungs. And, but some, you know, for me, I, this has happened in before and some, he just had such a will and he always pulled through. So you’re always kind of thinking that, okay, it’s bad, but yeah, he’s gonna, he’s gonna pull through. And um, and then unfortunately he did not, you know, he didn’t. Yeah. And, and um, and you know, first it’s, I mean, I was, it was just, it’s the kind of thing you knew that always could have happened, but you just never, you just never prepared for it to happen.
John Pisani: And, and myself, I’m very much like an empath. I, you know, I feel for people and, you know, I felt for my sister and, you know, she had dedicated, you know, 18 years of her life to be with him constantly and to be there in every minute, in every way. So I could feel inside of me what she was feeling. Um, so it was hard, you know? And so that’s, you know, when that happens, you just, my first thing was to like, uh, you kind of feel almost numb. Like you don’t, it, it doesn’t really sink in, in the, you know, fully in the, in the initial for me, it didn’t. Um, and so it took a minute, but then I just initially started thinking, you know, after everyone has those big cries and, and you just feel like really, you know, overwhelmed. And, but then I tried to look at the side of it, of like he had, you know, from where he came from, we’re blessed to have him for 18 extra years.
John Pisani: You know, that, and that’s easy to say is not as a parent. And that’s the part that was telling, you know, I could never being a parent, it’s a whole different thing. Um, and that’s why grief is so different for every person it’s, uh, you know, what your relationship is. And even though yes, he’s my sister’s child, but you know, there’s different. And I love him, you know, like a, you know, very much, and I was very close with him, but for me it was like, I, it was hard for me. I kept grappling with, I can’t imagine what my sister’s going through.
Kimberly: 12:51 Well, I think there’s different stages, like you said, and by the way, this, this conversation could, you know, pertain to losing loved ones as John and I are sharing about. But of course it could be the loss of a pet, a relationship, a job, you know, there’s many ways that grief manifests as you know, loss. And so there is that stage, like you said, where, you know, something might happen or that it is probably gonna happen in this, in our cases, you’re going this, person’s going to leave their body. But then there is that initial shock and then there’s crying and then there’s sadness and then there’s waves. And then there’s all the, um, ways in which it, it takes a while. Or at least I felt it and it you’re in it because it’s just happened a few weeks ago. Right. Was it two weeks?
John Pisani: 13:46 Yeah.
Tools to help you get through the different stages of grief
Kimberly: 13:47 So it like, it comes in a wave and then it goes through and it washes over and it goes through. Um, so let’s talk about, thank you for sharing all that. And now we’ll continue. I’d love you to, we’ll continue to share within our, our tools that we wanna, that you and I discussed prior to that, we felt like, oh, this is how I’m getting through this and how I was able to get through this and how, what we can offer to the community.
#1. Allowing perspective to shift that love doesn’t die
Kimberly: So the first one is allowing perspective to shift that love doesn’t die, right? So this means our perspective shifts, oh, this person was in a physical body and now they’re not in a physical body, but it doesn’t mean that the love dies or goes away the love transitions to the metaphysical, so to speak. So it keeps going. And so that was one thing that I didn’t, I didn’t know, you know, before I lost my, and then I would see signs of my mom.
Kimberly: And then I have pictures of my mom around the house and my husband who says, you know, he’s never met her in her body, but he says, he feels close to my mom because her energy is very much alive here. So when I shifted my perspective that it doesn’t die the love, and you know, my person in our personal belief system, we don’t believe that someone dies. We believe the soul does go on and transitions and just shifts into a different form, a different plane of existence. So that perspective of this isn’t the end of the love was really helpful to me. Have, do you, does that, how do you resonate with that, John?
John Pisani: 15:31 Uh, yeah. I mean, I agree. I, you know, remember when your mom passing and I mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you know, obviously known her a long time and was very closer with us. Well, I could, I could remember times also feeling her energy after, and, and mm-hmm, <affirmative> in different ways and, um, in different, uh, in different places, you know, down in Florida or, you know, where she had visited. And, uh, and that’s the thing I think that it kind of gives it’s a little bit of a relief. Um, I know for me, uh, the night, like after he had my nephew had passed away and I came back to where I was staying and I just kind of totally felt I really want to do a meditation in his honor. Um, and just, you know, cuz let him know this in his spirit that, Hey, the love that’s exactly what I said. What you said is the love is ending. I still love you. I’m still here for you. And when I was doing that, I just on, I could feel like him completely and you know, feel him touching, like grabbing your hand.
Kimberly: 16:56 Wow. Yeah. And I, um, I feel like for me, the, the comfort of, you know, getting to know this soul and I knew Chandler as well as you knew my mom and I knew your nephew and he was this light and it doesn’t feel good to me to have the perspective of, oh, this light is out. Like this is dead, you know? And in the yogic VEIC tradition, they never say that someone is dead. And so I was reading the Vatas before, during and after. And now when I was going through this transition with my mom. And when I talk about this and the love chapter of the new book, you are love. I talk about the experience with losing, you know, my mom’s passing. I was very careful to say she left her body. I never said she died and I don’t believe that people die. And so it is, it does feel better to say this light, this beautiful soul that I knew, my mother Chandler, they’re not dead. They’re the, I love them. And in some ways the love gets stronger. It just goes into this different plane. So instead of directing it towards this physical, you know, this, um, contained ness of the soul, you could say in this plane, in the skin, it’s just going somewhere else. But it doesn’t mean that it goes away.
John Pisani: 18:21 No, it doesn’t. And it’s, to me it feels like a higher plane in a higher form of love because you’re not distracted by the physical mm-hmm <affirmative> it’s and it’s coming purely from your heart and with no, um, it’s unconditional, you know, there’s, there’s no exchange physical exchange. It’s pure just within yourself and within your spirit giving, giving them love. And, and like I said, they were both amazing likes and you can feel that love from them, you know, back if you really sit with it and allow yourself to be open and to feel it. Um, and that’s, you know, and that’s the part for me, you know, has been helping me is connecting in that way, in that way. And just knowing that he was a beautiful soul as your mom was, and that they’re in a better place and yeah, they’re, they’re pain free and they’re happy and they’re with ancestors and they’re, you know, living just in a different form.
#2. Letting the pain in and through, not resisting
Kimberly: 19:34 Mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so this leads me to our second point, which is like you said, they are in a good, better place. And that’s what we believe in our belief system. So then you, you realize that a lot of this stuckness of grief, meaning when it goes on and on, or it just stays or, you know, it just doesn’t feel like it feels sticky. It feels dense. It means that we’re resisting and we’re not letting it come in the pain come in. So there is pain with grief, you know, we’re not sugar coating it. You could have this different perspective, but there’s gonna be times in places where it really does hurt. And there’s no escaping that. And I remember when I gave birth to Moses, my second son, and then there was this and still these moments of like, oh my gosh, my mom will never hold my baby.
Kimberly: And Emerson was so young when she passed, he wasn’t even a year old. So she would never see him walk. She would never see these milestones. And so there is a lot of, you know, there’s pain, but just like anything else. And we, our theme this month in this Solluna Circle is flow. So, so much we talk about not resisting because it doesn’t mean challenges don’t come in. But when we resist, it’s like this contraction, this constriction, this holding, like you’re trying to control. It’s like when you, when you tense up, when you’re about to get a shot or something, it actually makes it worse. So what I found in grief is when the pain comes, it’s like being in the ocean. I, you just gotta go with it. You kind of Doug do a duck, Dave, or duck dive, or you roll with a wave. Otherwise, if you try to like resist it, it sticks and it doesn’t get fully metabolized. And so you have more of that lingering energy and you are in it right now, John, because this is so recent. But have you been able to allow yourself to feel the waves when they calm the pain?
John Pisani: 21:39 Yeah. I mean, it’s one of the things that I’ve tried to, like from all the work I’ve done on myself and work to know that, and it does, it comes in waves. There’s days I wake up and I feel okay. And there’s days I wake up and I don’t, and yeah, when those happen, I try to sit with it and feel it and not push it away because I can have a tendency sometimes to do that and just kind of like distract myself. Um, and, and so I’m trying now to just more acknowledge it, I’m feeling sad. I, you know, I miss him some feelings like, oh, I should have spent more time with him. Or, you know, there’s all things, you know, he goes through your head, I think a lot of times. And I think it’s the easiest thing to do is you feel like, oh, I missed out on all the stuff we didn’t get to do.
John Pisani: Mm-hmm <affirmative> and it’s an easy thing. And it’s, I mean, it’s human nature, you to think, oh gosh, he’s, we’re never, I’m never gonna know him as a full, you know, as an adult, as seeing him go through his life or that kind of stuff. And I think it’s easy to focus on what you’re missing out and not kind of focus on what you, what you had. Yeah. And yeah, it’s always, we always want more, you know, we always want with our loved ones, of course. I mean, we always want more time. We always want more experiences. We always wanna share more things. And I think that’s the hardest part of kind of transitioning and to know, okay, sometimes you don’t get to spend as much time as you want to. Sometimes you don’t get to go through as much as you wanted to. Or like you said, with your mom had meet your to meet Moses, but
Kimberly: 23:34 Yeah.
John Pisani: 23:35 You know, so that’s, that’s the part I think it’s, it’s, you know, you have to kind of really be mindful and kind of focus back into what we’re talking about, cuz it’s easy to slip back into that and that’s how you get, I think I can see how you could get stuck and, and not really to get out of that.
#3. Connecting to the love within
Kimberly: 23:53 Well, yes. And this is the perfect segue into our third tool because here it’s, you know, the second one we’re talking about not resisting, letting the pain in, and then you started talking about, we started talking about, oh, we missed out on this and oh my mom, you know, she’s not gonna see the babies. Those are all thoughts. Right. And those thoughts come from this egoic place, ultimately of lack like, oh, I didn’t have enough time. I should have had it this way. You know, I missed out lacking and missing that’s all of the ego. And in the deepest sense, the true self, the soul misses nothing, right? We’re out of time and space, we’re in this eternal state, in the deeper, deep, deepest part of us, of stillness and love. And like we said, the love just goes to a different place. It doesn’t go away.
Kimberly: We don’t have to worry about missing out when we’re in we’re on that level. And of course we’re human <laugh> and we dip in and out, which is why it’s really important to have space and time to tune in through practices like meditation. And so the third tool that I wanna mention here is connecting to the love within you within each of us. And so when we do that, we realize that because again, so much of the grief is like, I’m, I’m gonna miss this person. I’m not gonna have my experience with this person. But that’s from that limited place of the surface with the body, with the ego and the formless part of us, the soul, the true self keeps going and is always in this eternal state of connection with everyone and everything else and higher intelligence, higher power, whatever word you wanna say universe.
Kimberly: And so when we connect in to what is known as the zero point field, stillness, the heart and sense grit, trauma tree, deShar talks about Shada and true nature of us, which is the heart energy. We don’t have to feel that love is missing. We don’t have to feel like, oh, I’m lacking this love outside of me. We start to feel the flow of love as a verb, the state of being, being, and, and living love. And so when I lost my mom, I started to go really deep onto my practice into reading scripture. But when you read scripture it’s truth, but when you start to live it, when you start to meditate and you start to flow that energy through you, truth and practice becomes realization. So then you start to realize the truth about love and limitlessness. And so for me, that was a big way to transcend the grief and the thoughts and the egoic feelings around all the lack. What do you think, John?
John Pisani: 26:45 Yeah, I think sometimes for myself, I have a tendency to distract myself. Mm. Like I think you put your energy. I, I can remember that time period and you really honored it and served it in a, in a great way and processed it in a very healthy way. Um, I think for myself, I’m trying to do that and it’s, you know, it’s a work in progress as everything is, uh, there’s days where I’m feel good about it and good. You feel like I’m really going and there’s other days where it’s hard, so you don’t want to deal with it and you kind of push it off. Cause like I’m tired, you know, you’re just mentally tired. Yeah. And, and, and you just, you just can’t cuz it feels heavy and work and yeah, it’s a lot of unpacking. You don’t feel like unpacking.
Kimberly: 27:42 Well, and again, the reason I, I wanted to have this conversation now and thank you again, because I know it’s very raw right now. You’re about two weeks in I’m about, you know, five years now in the, in the, you know, five years since my mom has passed, wasn’t easy. Like you said, thank you for reminding me to sit and do a full meditation practice. But what I would do is see if I could take a full breath and sometimes it was just like, can I not constrict my breath? Can I just take one breath? I’m sitting on the floor crying. And it was just the beginning of connecting back in, was through this gentle breathing. And then that is the period where I actually stopped doing yoga us. And I started doing barefoot walks on the beach and now I do mountain walks cuz I live in the mountains, but I didn’t, I felt like I needed to reground myself and I didn’t have time to do both.
Kimberly: So doing both is great, but I, with, you know, kids and work, I didn’t have time to do yoga ASEN as poses and then go for a walk. So I chose the walk and I remember I would walk on the beach and I would look out in the water and sometimes I get sad and sometimes I would cry, but I would, I would just be moving my body, which was allowing me to get my breath going and circulation going. And it was being in nature. So that was a big part of my healing as well, was getting out in nature, moving and breathing because when we get stuck in these periods that are so difficult and challenging in life, sometimes like you said, it feels heavy. It feels like this is like pushing down on you and like how do I move forward? And so I think we do it in small steps.
Kimberly: Doesn’t have to be a full meditation, but maybe you breathe. Maybe you don’t do a full walk, but you go outside or crawl outside and stick your feet in the sunshine for a couple minutes, you know? And just sort of let yourself slowly start to come back into the world because it is a delicate time and you don’t wanna push you wanna be gentle. Everybody processes things differently. But this point about the love is inside of you. It’s a reminder that when you’re ready to connect back in into thisness and interior practices, there is love always waiting for you doesn’t ever go away. You don’t need to get it from other people, so you don’t lose it. Although it can feel like that sometimes.
John Pisani: 30:17 Yeah. You know, it really fluctuates. I, I, I love nature. So getting into nature and walking is a great thing because it just feels now you, you know, you feel very least I do like contracting, you know, because you’re, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you know, you feel like you’re in a little bubble and it’s, and, and when you do get outside of the bubble, you realize, okay, life is going on and you know, I need to start to kind of look within myself and, and continue to process this and, and, and, and it’s okay to feel okay. You know, I think sometimes in, in grief, you, you know, there’s that feeling of like, oh, I, I, it’s not okay to feel okay. Or mm-hmm <affirmative> to have moments, you know, I shouldn’t be happy right now because this just happened. So it’s just to me, like balancing all that and, and, you know, just letting yourselves feel the different stages, whether it’s sadness, sometimes anger, you know, sometimes depression or, you know, you just have to feel all of it. And, and then at some point, you know, you, uh, I hope, you know, you just start to come out of it. And, you know, the thing that felt for me, the biggest thing is it, it really, it felt a shift. And I’m just trying to figure out what that shift is.
Kimberly: 31:48 You mean a shift when after,
John Pisani: 31:50 After yeah. Um, yeah, especially after, after the funeral and the burial and it was very, you know, intense and it that’s when you really, I think even though it’s happened, that’s I think the visualization of going through that and, and, you know, the whole process of that really kind of cements what’s happened and you are really now forced to process it, but there just felt like some kind of shift that I’m still trying to figure out where I’m, I’m just not fully connected to myself right now. I’m trying to get back there, but I’m just trying to wave through that and, you know, what’s that path.
Kimberly: 32:33 So I remember that feeling when it’s settled in, and I remember saying to myself, I don’t want this, this isn’t what I want. I don’t want this. It was that resistance, that familiar resistance. And I realized how much in my life I would resist things. I would try to, you know, protect or block things out or control things. And so later now I am further along the you in the process, I can see this beautiful gift and, you know, the, the, in the pain she’s left her body, but she’s somewhere else. But this gift of teaching me, it’s okay to let go. It’s okay to let life flow in and out. We don’t control. And it just gave me this heart opening and this greater love and this greater compassion, which continues to unfold to this day. There was a profound shift when I lost her in the body.
Kimberly: And when I refound her in the metaphysical and I it’s like, I refound this layer of myself. So I, I think that you will find this glim of light, you know, that roomy quote, where he says something like the, you know, the pain is where your heart cracks. It’s where the light comes in. You know, something like that, whether it’s like, you know, this incredible pain, it cracks us, but then it helps us expand in the love and the trust. Because, you know, like you started off saying, we can understand in Chandler’s case, why someone young and so vibrant and so beautiful, we go so young and we’re never gonna understand it because we don’t understand the mind of God and universe. We are limited. So we are humbled down when these things happen. We can either choose fear and anger, or we can open up to just love. And, you know, when the Bible says that peace, that passive all understanding. So we don’t have to understand everything intellectually to accept and to find peace.
Kimberly: So the breathing, we have a whole library of, of free meditations over that we can offer you at the, on the Solluna app and lots of supportive resources over at mysolluna.com. Other podcasts about grief, about depression, about emotional wellbeing. We have those meditations. We have supportive food recipes here because we believe in the four cornerstones. And the way that you nurture your body right now is so important. You may not feel like cooking when you’re going through grief, but very simple one pot meals, and just give your body some extra strength to balance stress hormones that come with cortisol. We balance your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, the walking. So lots and lots of resources for you over there. And thank you so so much, John, for coming on with us during this really delicate time to share and be with us. We appreciate it so much.
John Pisani: 35:46 Oh, thanks so much. It was great.
Kimberly: 35:50 All right, everybody. Well, please head over to the show notes. Please keep your questions coming over there as well, but you can submit for our Thursday show, speaking of which we’ll be back here Thursday for that show. So sending you so much love so much gratitude, see you soon. Peace and love.