The Beauty of Grief — Emotion Series #9

The Beauty of Grief — Emotion Series #9

Anthropologist and coach Alexa Anderson joins the podcast again for a deep dive with Joe into the emotional and practical value of grieving fully.

They examine several forms in which grief can arise, the relationship between grief and identity, various mysteries of the way grief moves, and how unfelt grief underlies interpersonal and societal conflict.

Alexa and Joe discuss the tools they’ve used to help them move their grief in the wake of painful losses and to pre-grieve losses that haven’t yet occurred. They share examples of deep transformation that followed the processing of grief all the way through.

Tune in to deepen your relationship with grief as an intimate experience of love and care, and a doorway to the freedom available on the other side.

“Without the grief, we recreate the cycle.
Without the grief, we relive the trauma.
Without the grief, we don’t find the freedom on the other side of the limited identity.”

References:

Transcript

Episode intro:
When my partner died, a good friend said to me something that I was not ready to hear at that time. He said death is the end of a life, not the end of a relationship.

Yeah, woof. That gives me chills.

Welcome to the Art of Accomplishment where we explore how deepening connection with ourselves, and others leads to creating the life we want with enjoyment and ease.

Anyone who has been alive for a while has experienced grief in some form or another. When it hits you, it is not always easy to see any practical value in the experience let alone beauty. Welcome back, everyone. You may remember my partner, Alexa. She is an anthropologist and coach who is active in our community. You may remember her from our episode on boundaries. Today, she and Joe are going to explore the beauty of grief. I hope you enjoy it.

Alexa: Hi, Joe.

Joe: Hi, good to be with you again.

Alexa: Good to be with you. The topic I had suggested for today is grief.

Joe: It is good timing for me. My dad just passed recently, so I am really appreciative.

Alexa: It is very relevant in my life right now as well, but happily not due to death. Actually I am currently on hormones related to possibly creating life. It turns out that there is a lot to let go of in that process as well.

Joe: That’s true. I think the most important thing to start with is what the hell we mean when we say grief because that can mean so many different things to different people. As I was thinking about this interview, I was asking different people what you see as grief. My daughter, when I asked her, who is 13, goes do you mean giving somebody grief or do you mean like grief. I was like wow. That first definition, that first way of using the word, I’ve already thought about it in years.
I think before I can answer any of the questions, I think it would be good to set the level of what the hell we are talking about when we say grief. It was interesting. When I was asking people, I asked my daughter and a couple of other folks. My daughter’s response to grief is it is the feeling you have when you lose something that you don’t want to lose. That was her experience of it.
Then I was speaking to a friend that we had a lot of exploration together. He was actually the first person I ever coached. We used to take walks on these paths, and every time I said something that really got him, he would punch me in the arm. We have this very fond relationship. I asked him what his thought process of grief was, and this was his exact quote. He said, “It is like if your foot falls asleep, the experience of it waking up again is grief.” It is this thing that is like a cleansing. The more aware you become, there is this necessary cleansing that happens. That experience is grief.
It was interesting to listen to everybody because what I was doing in asking the question was testing my own description of it. My description of it is that grief happens when there is a part of your identity that goes away, that is challenged. What’s interesting is both of their definitions correspond to that, in my world anyways.

One experience I have with grief is that when I have this moment of recognition of something that’s like oh my gosh, I’ve been trying not to be abandoned for 20 years, and I’ve done all these things of not being in myself, all of these things of hurting myself to not be abandoned. I never had to do that. There’s a grief process I go through. There’s this experience. It is an identity. He who is abandoned, or he who can be abandoned, that identity is dying. Even though I see the freedom in it, there is this process of that’s an identity and it is leaving. There is a part of me that feels secure and safe in that, and I don’t want it to go. There is a grief process that happens in that. Often for me, when it hurts, I know it is a time of big change for me when those kinds of big grief processes hit.
Then there is the grief process of your father dying or your husband at 32 years old dying or your child dying. It is interesting because we are defined in large part by who we interact with and what roles we hold each other in. I see people who have had really complicated relationships with their father, let’s say, and when they pass, they are free of this emotional or this way of being they were held into or there was an agreement to hold into. That grief process looks one way, and then people who I see who had a close and intimate relationship with their father, part of their identity is that closeness. Then there’s that grief process which unfolds in a very different way because it is different parts of their identity that are being removed.

I see people, especially like young lovers. An example would be people who have been married and they have a really happy relationship, and one of them dies. I see that grief process and there is no getting over it. You move forward with it, but you don’t get over it because they are always a part of your identity. It is something that you want. There is this part you are holding, whereas other times there is a grief process where there is a feeling of getting over it because that part of your personality has moved. There is a freedom to it. You are grateful for what has happened, but part of yourself isn’t identified in that way nor do you want it to be.
That’s the way I reconcile what grief is. It is an emotional feeling, but it is not like sadness. Sadness is a part of it. It is almost like sadness is the wrapper of it, but there is anger, fear, and helplessness. There is a whole bunch of denial and a whole bunch of emotional experiences that come along with grief.

Alexa: Absolutely.

Joe: It’s not just sadness.

Alexa: I really want to go into that, but I think this definition of grief when you lose a part of your identity could be pretty hard for some people to swallow. Joe, what part of my identity is it when my father died? Everyone has a father. It’s not about my identity. I miss him. The way I would say that is if you had a non-relationship with your father and you had healed all the dad issues or a tremendous amount of the dad issues you might have had. It isn’t an intricate part of your life, and you have gotten to a point where you can love them unconditionally for who they are even though they are maybe not what you want them to be. Then you aren’t going to have this gigantic grief process, whereas if you called them every day, asked for advice, and loved them, you are going to have a much bigger grief process because there is a part of you that knows yourself in relationship to them.

I am not saying by any stretch there is not a missing or that is not about them being important and your love for them. It is, but that love for them is part of the identity. I would say it like that. I would say maybe we are disagreeing on the idea that it is a bad thing or that it is personal. It is just the way we relate to ourselves and others. That’s being challenged because all of a sudden there is a way we can’t relate that we are used to relating to ourselves and others because it has either been stripped from us or because we are letting go of it, either because we broke up or because they died or because we realize this doesn’t work for us anymore or because I can now see it clearly for the first time.
Alexa: I’m really interested in giving some attention to those times when there is grief that is not about death because it really seems to me that death is the one time when we really allow each other to grieve, but there are so many other things that have a big impact on our identities and the way that we relate to ourselves and others, like you are talking about. I see a lot of social pressure not to grieve those things or at least not to show it. For instance, one of the things that is going on for me right now that’s really bringing up feelings is. There is something going on politically right now as we are recording, and I am seeing a lot of people, especially uterus-havers, grieving. I am hearing women privately say they don’t feel seen or supported in their feelings, but then I am seeing a lot of posts on social media saying have your feelings and then fight.

Joe: As if fighting isn’t part of a feeling. I think there are a lot of topics in that one. Just to start the answer to the original question that you asked, I think there is a helplessness in death that people don’t know how to contend with as much. It is really easy. You had a breakup, Roe v. Wade, or whatever experience that’s happening. Here’s an action you can take. Here’s something you can do. But with death, you don’t get to do that. I think that’s why people behave differently around it. The more helplessness in grief, the more we feel incapable and the more we say I’m so sorry, instead of now we are going to fight or whatever it is. That’s the first part. That’s my experience of it as to why we handle the grief of death differently.
I think the other thing you are tapping into now, which is I think there is a way to say that most of societal or maybe most of humans’ pain and suffering comes from unprocessed grief.

Alexa: That’s a big statement.

Joe: Think about it this way. When I talk about grief as the identity, people fight over their identities. I mean they even call it identity politics. We are Christian. You are Muslim. We are black. You are white. That’s all identity. My way of thinking is right. Your way of thinking is wrong. Most of our conflict, boyfriend girlfriend conflict, is wrapped up in an identity of I am going to be abandoned or I need to fight for myself. When I am saying unprocessed grief, I am saying most of our fighting comes because our identity hasn’t been dismantled in a way that creates peace in our system and therefore, we project it out into the world.

When you have societies, and there are examples of these in Eastern Africa and other places. I don’t have a huge amount of experience, but I have read or heard about these cultures where they have grief rituals, and they are grieving individually and as groups. There is a lot less conflict. That’s part of how they resolve conflict. If you look at South Africa when Apartheid shifted, they did this thing, truth and reconciliation. It was a national grieving process. It allowed that transition to be very different than say it did in the other countries nearby that switched, a lot less volatile.
Those are some examples of how grief has a huge impact, and families that can grieve together, there are less compartmentalized emotions and less passive aggression or aggression.

Alexa: Again, typing these two threads together, the importance of dismantling our identities in this way and this thing where people are often uncomfortable around others’ grief, what do you think is being lost when people say things like come on, look on the bright side.

Joe: I don’t want to experience your emotion. I don’t want to be with you in this emotion. It is uncomfortable for me, so let me help fix you out of your emotional state. There’s a lot being lost. That’s the formation of future conflict. It’s funny. You were talking about the Roe v. Wade decision that happened recently. There is real grief on both sides of that. I am sure there are people who cried for unborn children and grieved for unborn children and that probably on a regular basis thought about all those unborn children, fetuses that were dying and had grief experiences. I am sure there are people right now having grief experiences over the fact that their rights are being taken away and that this one that helped save their lives as young women is not available to others, that whole experience. There is real grief on both sides.

I think that our ability to see that, feel that and be with each other in that is the solution to the problem, not one way of handling it or another way of handling it. It is not in a law. I don’t think there is a law that’s going to make this issue go away, either way. For everybody, I think there is grief on both sides of it.

Alexa: I see the truth in that. This definitely goes so deep in our society, but I just know people are out there thinking Joe, that’s too hard. My identity doesn’t want to be challenged by really being with somebody on the other side of this, or even it’s easier to stay in the fight.

Joe: I can almost guarantee that was said on both sides. Have your feelings, yes, and now we are fighting for this. Maybe not, maybe just have your feelings and see what action comes out when that has fully moved through you. It is an interesting thing, and there is a tremendous amount of identity tied up in all of it. I think there is another idea that comes into play when you start talking about this where people think to themselves if I have the grief all the way, then I won’t fight. Maybe you won’t fight, but it doesn’t mean you are not going to take action that helps move the ball forward or that you are not going to be part of the process of finding something that works for everybody or that you are not going to be part of a situation where you are finding a way of being that can be good for everybody.

Alexa: I find that really compelling.

Joe: I definitely have noticed in my own world. I won’t make a big example out of this with some historical figure, but I have noticed in my own world that when I fully grieve something, my actions become far more effective and far less power dynamic, far less I’m controlling you or you are controlling me. I mean the example of this that I use a lot is in my marriage where we have been through many marriages together, my wife and I. There are times where we have been in it, and I have to grieve the marriage. I have to assume my marriage is lost. I don’t have to. I choose to have that full experience of visualizing the marriage being done and losing somebody who is incredibly important to me.
In that process, I lose the identity that’s getting in the way of us being together. In that process, I can be true to myself because I am not scared of the emotional experience of losing her anymore because I’ve already gone through it. I can be true, and I can be myself. I can be undefended, and I can be loving without having to prove anything. That allows the relationship to heal.

Alexa: That’s really compelling, again. It strikes me as just being really advanced techniques. Sure, but how? How do I do this? For me, really actually me, you know Joe that I lost a partner several years ago, and now my partner today has a very high-risk tolerance. I spend a lot of time afraid that he will die. I want that thing that you are describing. I want not to be afraid all the time of losing him, and sometimes I try to pre-grieve it, but it just seems so big. I don’t know how to get there, how to grieve someone I have not in fact lost.

Joe: It is a great question. I don’t know how to describe how to have emotions very well. I can say that one of the things that I would ask myself if I were in your shoes is what I would have to feel if I couldn’t feel the fear. If the fear is constantly coming up and not moving, I would say there is an emotion underneath that is looking to be felt whether it is anger at him for continuing to take the risks or anger at yourself for finding another man that could die or whether it is some unresolved sadness or helplessness, all of those experiences. To me, the fear emotion is caught is preventing some fluidity in the system.

You know some of the breathing techniques that can really help bring some of the emotions forward. They are all there. Worst case scenario, you can just fake it and it can open up a channel. You can say maybe it’s these three emotions. I am going to go and experiment with them. I am going to play the part of an actor. This is a very specific nuanced way, and it works really well so I just want to say how specific it is. The idea is I am going to play the role of myself being angry. I’m not going to lose the idea that I am an actor and that this is just a performance, but I am also going to try to make it the most convincing performance. That experience can often open up the flood gates and allow for the stuff that’s really in there out.

A lot of the times having the emotional experience is not resisted in the head. It is resisted in the body, and so if you act as if and then the body, it starts blurring whether to be scared of this emotion anymore. It allows for a certain level of safety that the body can then go let’s do this.
Alexa: That’s certainly been true for me. Something Brett and I and our roommate in early lockdown did almost on instinct was Brett led us through something that he learned from you, I believe, the six positions where you embody each of these six different emotional states. I just had this idea to take it on into the seven positions of grief, the seven stages of grief, but embodying each one of those. I just looked those up on my phone, and for about one minute each, per stage of grief, we embodied one of these. All three of us had these really big emotional movements.

Joe: That’s awesome. That exercise is one of many exercises that are about helping us with emotional fluidity, which I think if you are thinking of the work of the heart instead of the head or the gut, there are two main components of it. One is to learn how to be undefended in your love, unconditional in your love, and the other part is emotional fluidity, allowing all of the emotions and letting them move through you. The six positions is one of the ways it is all about I am going to embody certain emotional things just like I would a stretch and that allows more fluidity because I am stretching my capacity to have emotional experiences.

I had never had the concept of doing this in the stages of grief. The stages of grief themselves don’t entirely resonate with me. They do and they don’t, meaning I do think you do experience all of those or there is a good chance to experience all of those. I have noticed people don’t always experience them in that order.

Alexa: Definitely not in that order.

Joe: Also, sometimes some of them don’t happen for some people’s grief process and other ones do. I think it is a really nice map of a territory that is a little bit like an Escher map. You need to turn it to the right way to see the perspective that’s helpful to you, but that’s a really, really cool idea. I am immediately thinking about how you could use that same principle. What are the emotional arcs that people take under different circumstances? Then how do you put them in some sort of order so that it allows for the full movement? That’s a great idea.

I think the thing for people listening, the general idea behind the six positions is there are six emotional experiences. You find a place that your body wants to go there when you are in that emotional place, or you evoke that experience through that body position. An easy one of these to think about is as a kid and you are yearning, you always have your hands up in the sky. You are looking up. It is like hey, lift me up mom. That physical experience creates an emotional reaction in you, and then the idea is to amplify and allow all of those emotions to move through you.

Alexa: The way that I have done this grief ritual is the seven stages of grief according to me. By the way, I don’t think the original author of the seven stages of grief had any intention they were going to be linear, or you were going to go through them in any particular order. For me, it is sadness, fear, anger, maybe shock, maybe denial, acceptance and to gratitude.

Joe: That’s nice.

Alexa: I also think it relates in some ways to something you had said earlier that I wanted to double click on also, which was grief just tends to be really complex.

Joe: That’s the thing I was thinking about. That ritual is such a beautiful idea of how to prime the pump. We can do this and have these experiences. When grief moves fluidly, it can go from anger to sadness to anger to sadness to anger to sadness to fear to anger to sadness. There is an interesting way that it moves. Different waves come through at different times. It is not as linear or logical as we would like it to be or some of us would like it to be.

Alexa: I know that after my partner died, it took me at least six months just to move on from the acute stage of grieving.

Joe: It is never perfect. I am sure that if I had just grieved my wife and our marriage and we actually did get a divorce, there would be more stuff there. But it does allow for the movement. It does allow for more clarity. Every part of the process allows for more clarity. When you get to the point where you can listen to the body, and for me, there is this process of my brain will say things for each emotional state. There is no reason to be angry. Why would you be angry at someone who just died? Hasn’t this gone on long enough? Shouldn’t you have grieved more by now? There are so many things that the brain says.

My relationship with that is I’ve heard from you a lot. I’ve lived with that. I’m going to listen to my body. I’m going to listen to the grief right now. I’m just going to follow the grief. That’s what I am going to surrender into for a while. The mind doesn’t know. The mind’s relationship with emotion is usually pretty wonky for most people unless they have had a lot of work with the emotions. The mind just doesn’t really know.

I love when someone says there is no justification for that emotion. It is not logical to be sad about that. The emotions are definitely not. It is not logical to be happy or joyful. Yes, correct. To me, it is about listening to the body and allowing the emotions without commenting on them and not having some sort of head trip around it. I love the mind, but it is not equipped to handle emotions very well. It just thinks its job is to manage them, which doesn’t work.

Alexa: No, but it is hard if you grew up in our society to let that management go in part because people just expect each to be in the managing. This is one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you about this topic. Because of the circumstances for me around my partner’s death, I processed my grief a lot by writing. A lot of people saw what I wrote, on Facebook, and as a result of that, people reached out to me for many years when something would happen in their lives or their friends’ lives. That was really great in a lot of ways.

I really got to be there for a lot of people, and a lot of people my age didn’t really know very much about acute grief. I did have a couple of experiences that were leaving something to be desired. I had one experience with somebody who I didn’t know that well who reached out to me when his wife died. We talked about some of these topics and how you can really let yourself have all of the emotions that come as part of grieving, including anger. We had this conversation, and he was like no, it is inappropriate for me to have anger. I said come on, man, your wife died really young of cancer. At least you can be angry at cancer. Start somewhere. Pretty soon after that he called me again and said thanks so much for talking to me, and based on your sage advice, uh oh, I really let somebody have it on the airline today. I said that’s not what I meant.

Joe: That happens a lot. What’s interesting is there is nobody who goes through the grief process or very few people who go through the grief process without shame, and they will shame themselves with the exact opposite. I am not crying enough. I am crying too much. That happened too quickly. It shouldn’t have taken so long. I can’t be angry, but I can be sad. I can be angry, but I can’t be sad. Everybody seems on some level to question their grief process.

I recently was with a woman who had lost her husband after 53 years, and a woman whose sadness doesn’t move easily, and it has been pretty compartmentalized. She was just saying I don’t want to admit it, but I feel relief. It is okay to feel relief. Immediately, she started to tear up and then immediately she shut it down. What’s interesting is we tell ourselves one of the emotional states we feel is not okay in the process, but what that does is shuts down all of the other ones, too. It makes them spin. I am still scared. I am still scared, or I am still sad. I am still sad. This is when we tell ourselves we can’t have one of the emotions because it is not logical, or it is not appropriate. But if you are not doing them at anybody, they are all appropriate and they are all great. They all offer relief.
I do not recommend nor do I suggest putting your anger on somebody or your sadness on somebody or at them. Somebody still hears it as I have permission to yell at people. You are just creating a cycle of anger and shame. You are not alone in that.

Alexa: Thanks, I appreciate that. Actually it strikes that when you are looking out at this big, scary cloud of grief ahead of you, maybe it is actually easier to create a cycle of anger and shame because that’s something you are used to as opposed to moving on into the rest of your grief.

Joe: One of my mentors passed, and it was unexpected in a weird way. He had cancer, but he was healing from the cancer and died of a heart attack. It was really interesting. His death taught me a tremendous amount. Maybe even as much as his life did. The first thing I learned from his death was I asked for a circle of his friends. His very close friend got very angry at me for asking for that, but I asked for it. It happened. There were like 25 people, and I was like halfway through. It was sadness, sadness, sadness, sadness, and that was the appropriate thing. I got so angry. I was so pissed. There was no reason for it, of course.

You could see the whole room went to another level. It was sitting there in the whole room, and nobody would express it. The expression of that anger allowed for so much more depth and movement to happen in the room and a variety of emotional experiences. That was one of the things I learned in that process. One of the other things I learned in that process was the more story there is and we have that episode about stories. The more story there is, the more conflated the grief process becomes. I think this one is really critical for people understanding the grief process.

I noticed if someone had the story he died too young or even if he had the story he died perfectly or the story of I never got to know him as much as I wanted to, the more that that story was there. It is almost like saying the more the identity was there, the slower that grief process for them and the more they were caught up in it. Not that it is wrong that a grief process is slow or quick, but it was just more convoluted. That was an interesting thing to just watch.

The other thing I learned through that process of grieving him was when he passed, he was a person who was in a similar position to me in the world as far as being a coach to people. When he passed, one of two things happened. Either the people that he was serving collapsed because they were dependent on him, and their life went back to where it was before him. Some of them were freed because he didn’t need to be needed in their lives anymore. This huge freedom happened for them, and there was this explosion of creativity and capacity that happened in their lives. It was really interesting to see that process at play of how his identity held their identities in place in different ways, the same identity from him which was needing to be needed. It was important to him to help people. For some of those people, it kept them unempowered and for some, it prevented them from having the full expression of themselves. It was really interesting to watch.

I think that grief process was the identity shedding in different ways, and the identity holding pattern between people. Hopefully, if you are in a really good relationship, that is constantly a question, and you are constantly changing the way you interact with each other, and your identities are constantly shifting towards each other. We do have that tendency to hold each other’s identities in place. It is why we don’t do couples in Groundbreakers typically because it is harder for someone to transform when someone who has a lot at stake with their transformation is in the room.

Alexa: Which again points back at your suggestion to grieve a relationship you are in on a regular basis. The thing that’s coming up for me now is it seems like we have talked about all of these different components of the grief process, but I am not sure we have really talked about what is beautiful about grief.

Joe: My friend said it really well. It is the feeling you have when you realize that your leg has been asleep, and you are waking it back up. There is a freedom on the other side of the identity. There’s an implied love and care. We don’t grieve for things we don’t have love and care for. It is a far more direct and intimate conversation or experience of love and care. When I talked about emotional fluidity or about the heart, the work of the heart and the emotional fluidity and undefended love, the grief allows us to be far more undefended in our love. The grief allows us to have what I would call empowered love where we aren’t running away from ourselves or leaving ourselves to be loving and we are not defending ourselves from the idea that the other person’s lack of love can hurt us. We are accepting that.

I talk about that in another phrase where I say every time we allow our hearts to break, it increases our capacity to love. The more we grief, the more loving, the more peace, the less identity is holding us away from who we are.

Alexa: I love that. I’m amused how much of this interview has been about identity. That was really unexpected for me on this topic. There is this something else moving in me. Let’s see. It’s this. When my partner died, a good friend said to me something I was not ready to hear at that time. He said death is the end of a life, not the end of a relationship.

Joe: Yeah, woof. That gives me chills.

Alexa: At that moment, I was pretty much like how dare you say that. Our relationship is clearly over.

Joe: As we are talking about him now, years later.

Alexa: Eventually I moved into a lot more of the grieving process, out of that initial place. Now I see very clearly that the rest of that process, allowing all of those different parts in, into my awareness, into what I was doing in life at that moment, and sometimes it was like I was putting my face on the floor. This thing that’s happening now with my face on the floor and whatever kinds of sobs and weird sounds that are coming out of me is a development in my relationship with him.

Joe: That’s so incredibly beautifully said. It is interesting because I would say because of that grief process you went through with him, you show up different for Brett. Without that, you would have shown up differently. His relationship with you, that continued relationship, even now it affects the relationships you have, and your grief is changing your relationship with him as well. My assumption would be that your relationship with him is far more clean now. To pivot that to non-death, I don’t know if I have told this story. Maybe I haven’t.

I had a close friend who was drinking too much, business was going to shit. He had a girlfriend, and his lifestyle and habits were bad. Girlfriend broke up with him. She was the love of his life. He mourned. He wasn’t going to. I said this is what you have got to do, bro. I was young and I gave advice. This is what you have got to do. You have got to mourn the fuck out of this. He would drive to and back from Yuma, Arizona once a week, and he said I cannot tell you the sounds that are coming out of me. I wouldn’t have thought those sounds were possible. It was this wailing, anger, fear, and shaking that happened in this car ride in this big open desert.

Six months later he is not drinking. He is in shape, and his business is going well. When I was talking to him about it, he said first I was mourning the loss of the girlfriend and then I was mourning everything that allowed me to be in that relationship, everything that had it so that I was seeking the love and running after the love instead of receiving the love. He mourned far beyond the loss of this one thing and to everything that allowed for that in his love. It totally transformed his life.
There are countless stories I know of people grieving like that, and that’s what I mean by how much pain and suffering for him and that he had caused other people in his drinking and in his bad habits or in the failed business, how much of that was just unfelt grief? It’s an amazing thing.

Alexa: That’s so beautiful. That’s exactly what I was trying to point out.

Joe: I see. Oddly not dissimilar to your experience. One is a death, and one is a loss. They are both losses. The experience is really the same. There are differences but there is something very similar.

Alexa: There is, and there are differences, but I actually feel much more clearly now since his death that break ups are absolutely worth grieving and grieving deeply. There is really something being lost when people say I’m fine and I’m moving on.

Joe: It’s even more practical than that. If someone says I broke up with somebody and I didn’t grieve it, I would say 90 percent chance, if not more, that you will date someone almost identical to the person you dated last time. If you grieve it and really go into it, there is a zero percent chance you are going to date the same person with a different name next time. There are also some really practical implications of grief.
Alexa: Want to tell us more about those practical implications?

Joe: It’s the same thing in the idea of people not grieving the Roe v. Wade thing on either side. They are recreating the cycle instead of moving to the next cycle with the grief. With the grief, we create the cycle. Without the grief, we relive the trauma. Without the grief, we don’t find the freedom on the other side of the limited identity, meaning ego, whether it is ego of I am so great or I am so bad. It is still ego. It is still identity. It is still limitation. We recreate those patterns without the grief.

Alexa: That’s really beautiful. This conversation has had a really nice arc. Is there anything else you wanted to discuss today?

Joe: No. I was just thinking wow, that’s the end, isn’t it?

Alexa: Thank you very much.

Joe: Thank you. What a pleasure.

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