099: How To Process & Heal From Grief w/ Lindsay McKinnon

099: How To Process & Heal From Grief w/ Lindsay McKinnon

by Dr. Anna Cabeca August 18, 2019

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Grief affects all of us in so many different ways and can come over you at any point, even when you’re not expecting it. For many, grief stems from the loss of a loved one, but that’s not always the root cause. Grief comes from loss -- the loss of a job, business, pet, friendship, relationship, death, and so many other aspects of your life. My guest and friend, Lindsay McKinnon, is talking about her relationship with grief after losing her two sons in a house fire. 

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The grieving process will look totally different for each individual going through it, but one thing remains static: it will be a long, hard haul. Our culture isn’t taught how to grieve properly, and so many of us feel guilty for trying to live a happy life again.

Lindsay has found happiness after loss by turning to, and now teaching, Qoya, a type of dancing yoga. Grief sits in our hips, and the movement and flow of dancing is not only emotionally enjoyable, helps release the sadness. She writes about how our soul meets the body and talks about creating space for that connection. Lindsay also holds retreats to help people work through their grief.

In this episode, we talk about how grief can come into your life, even when you think you’ve healed from it. We look at the healing process and how this is a journey that is individual to the person. You need to honor the time it takes for you and your body to heal. Grieving the loss of love is natural, but it’s important to remember that the sadness we feel is a reflection of the joy we felt.

How do you handle your feelings of grief? What do you do to remember those you have lost? Do you incorporate movement into your grieving process?

In This Episode:

  • How grief can affect you and come across you even years after a loss
  • How you can heal from tragedy
  • Why you need to honor your time, body, and your own processes in order to heal
  • How you can set intentions to help you step through grief
  • What Qoya therapy is and how it can help with grief
  • What it means to grieve the loss of love 

 

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Quotes:

“Our culture is just not really taught how to grieve. We find ourselves in the midst of it and quite often judging how we’re navigating it. Feeling like we should be doing something other than what we are doing or feeling something other than what we are actually feeling.” (2:10)

“What I learned is that the heart can expand. It can include our deepest pain points and our greatest joys at the same time.” (5:57)

“Being present in your body, being physical, incorporating that. Realizing physically what you’re feeling emotionally and where that needs to be worked out physically because our different organs hold energy.”  (14:24)

 

Links

Find Lindsay McKinnon Online

Follow Lindsay on  Facebook |Instagram

FindQoya Roanoke

Learn more about Lindsay's Retreats

Join the KetoGreen Community on Facebook

Buy The Hormone Fix

 

Transcript

Lindsay:
I believe full-heartedly that our loved ones that we grieve the losses of, they want us to be embodied. I really do believe that, because they can no longer be embodied on this earth. To me, I take it as a personal charge from my boys, Patrick and Logan, that it is my duty and my responsibility to live even more full out than I was before in order to honor them because they can't.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Hello everyone, Dr. Anna here and I'm going to share with you a story about my cookie pan and my guest today who is Lindsay, and she has come to us from a really heartfelt space and we're going to share some information and talk about a very tough topic about grieving and how both of us sadly have in common the loss of a child. For my audience knows that I lost a son when he was 18 months old and Lindsay's lost two children. And we're going to share how this is a season of greeting, but also beyond that, others like this cookie pan just triggered such a tremendous grief reaction. I love this cookie pan. It's so old. It was my mom's cookie pan and I spent many hours in the kitchen over this cookie pan rolling and making, and cooking, and baking on this cookie pan.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
So when I took it out over Thanksgiving, my mom's been passed 20 years now and when I took it out over Thanksgiving and I was preparing some appetizer of bacon wrap dates for our Thanksgiving luncheon, I was just standing there wrapping, not even thinking about it. Then I just thought, "Oh my gosh." And that just tidal wave of emotion overcame me and I just started sobbing. My daughter, Ameera, was home and she's my 20-year-old home from college, 19 actually. And she just bear-hugged me and just held me and wouldn't let me go. It was the tidal wave of grief and I know I'm not alone. I know there are many other people that are struggling with this very same thing and struggling with grieving through the holidays. Those that we wish were with us, but are not. So I'm bringing on a special guest, Lindsay, who has been just sharing her story with me and I knew that she could help so many of you. So welcome, Lindsay.

Lindsay:
Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate being here and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to connect with you and to your audience to talk about grief and grieving. It's such a heavy topic, literally and metaphorically, and our culture is just not really taught how to grieve, you know? And we find ourselves in the midst of it and quite often judging how we're navigating it. Feeling like we should be doing something other than what we are doing, or feeling something other than what we are actually feeling. I love talking about this topic. I really do. Thank you for having me.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Oh, I'm grateful for you being here. It's not easy to talk about, but we're in a safe space. Also, I know that you're as committed as I am to helping people heal. Heal from tragedy and heal from, the word that comes to mind is pretending. Our lives are forever changed and we can't pretend in ways that society expects us to. I had another beautiful woman I know that tragically lost her 12-year-old son in a car accident, and she said, "I feel bad being happy. It's like I have to be in this state all the time. How do I navigate this? You know? I was with a friend and she made me laugh and then I felt guilty about laughing." And in that sense is we stepped into a different world essentially, right? We're in a different existence and it's a challenge. How do you navigate that? So will you share a little bit about your story, Lindsay? I know it's hard.

Lindsay:
Sure.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
So only share what you feel comfortable with.

Lindsay:
Yeah, one of my little hashtags is we can do the hard things and it's with great amounts of compassion and massive amounts of pleasure and joy that we can actually navigate this hard and difficult spaces as well. So a little bit about my background. For over 20 years I have been a massage therapist and a childbirth doula. So I've been very used to being in those places with other people where they're working through some really tough things. So when our tragedy hit us, we were in a house fire and my husband and I and our guests that we're hosting all survived, but my two boys died in that house fire. They were five and 10, and it was awful. It was the worst nightmare, and the impact that it had, of course to us and to our family, but across the entire community was just huge.

Lindsay:
I did everything that I could for months to numb myself. To go into that self-protective mode because it was so big. I could not wrap my head around it and it was with working through animals, with horses and equine therapy, and practicing the Qoya Movement practice that I teach and run retreats for that I started feeling the sensations and feeling the emotions. And allowed them to percolate up to the surface so that I could handle them in a community and a sacred container that could also help me navigate them. It was just the most beautiful gift. It helped me get to those places where my linear mind and thinking and languaging could not access. And I started feeling again. I can't say that it's easy at all, but what I learned is that the heart can expand. It can include our deepest pain points and our greatest choice at the same time.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Yeah.

Lindsay:
Yeah.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
[inaudible 00:06:40] have you explained the Qoya movement?

Lindsay:
Yeah. So-

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Qoya movement. And also one of the things you said, you said first you went through this time period of just numbing your feelings and just getting numb, and then this has helped you get in touch again with your feelings. Because it's a jumble after a tragedy. There's a jumble of feeling. So there's-

Lindsay:
Yeah.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Go through the stages of grief that have been well discussed, but it's different when it's the physiology of grief is really is interesting and it's almost shattering.

Lindsay:
Yeah.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
In a way. And so how do we then, "Okay, this is just too much, I can't handle this." Right? And for me, I explain it as all nerve endings firing at the same time and it's like being fried out to that post-trauma. And then it just, every time we think about it, we get that again and again and again. That's been part of my healing through our trauma and our grieving is being able to honor those thoughts, and times, and memories versus being traumatized by them again.

Lindsay:
Yeah.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Also compartmentalize like, "Okay, I've got the space to honor this and that's my eight to 815." I did that a lot, especially when I was in medical practice. But recognizing too that there's so much healing that does have to take place and we have to honor our time, our body, and our own processes to allow that to happen.

Lindsay:
Yeah.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
And so can look at it as an observer as well as the participant at the same time, and I do highly encourage that.

Lindsay:
Yes, absolutely.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Tell us about this Qoya method.

Lindsay:
So Qoya is a form of movement that is celebrating our 10th anniversary this year, and it has gained the attention of Psychology Today and oprahwinfrey.com. It is a movement practice that uses movement, IE dance, as a metaphor. So you come to a Qoya class that might last an hour to an hour and a half and you're processing through emotions as it relates to your physical being. There's always a theme for each class and you are exploring your own relationship to that theme. Not comparing how others in the class are exploring their relationship to that theme, and we use our bodies as a tool to help navigate that.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
So explain some more. So if we were in a class with you.

Lindsay:
Oh my gosh. So one of the classes that I taught, the theme is called Good Grief. So it takes you through the heart-opening. Well, we first connect with our breath, always, always, always. Connecting with our breath, moving into setting an intention for the class. So today we're dancing for, fill in the blank. What is that intention? Maybe the intention is to just get through this next hour. Maybe the intention is to get through these holidays. Maybe the intention is to reconnect with my physical body. Maybe the intention is to connect with the ones that I am grieving over or the experience that I've been grieving over. For me, it's the loss of my boys. For someone else, it could be the loss of a pet, or their business changing, or going through menopause and grieving different stages of our lives. So we open our hearts, we learn how to open our hearts from where we are in that moment without judgments. We go deep into our hips and then we dance through our yoga, and we do some shadow work as well and we literally shake it off. Shake off everything that does not serve us anymore and then our bodies-

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
When you talk about shadow work, is that the negative self talk? Is that the labels that we've attached to our self or have been attached to us? Is that like shaking off the negative thoughts and practices?

Lindsay:
Yes and no. So in Qoya the [crosstalk 00:11:20].

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Is that C-O-Y-A?

Lindsay:
Close. Q-O-Y-A.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
[inaudible 00:11:25] write it down.

Lindsay:
Shadow, as it relates to Qoya, is just the opposite of the theme. So if the theme is good grief, then what is the one word that comes up for you that is the opposite of good grief? And what that word is for me is different than what that word is for someone who's standing right beside me or across the circle. So then we have the opportunity to for three minutes of a song to connect with that feeling. So it's the contrast, and by exploring the contrast of feelings and emotions we understand the flip side even better. Does that make sense?

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Yeah. Yeah. I think that's interest. Like a debate, right? In order to understand both sides, you've got to look at both perspectives.

Lindsay:
Yeah. And shadow is just that which is beneath the surface. So it's not negative. It's not good or bad. It's not dualistic or anything like that. It's just what's beneath the surface, what's in the shadow places that are a part of the whole, and as women, as women going through menopause, as women who are grieving we have to explore those places if we're going to live our lives from a whole and embodied, and a place of healing. Also in Qoya we have plenty of time to celebrate and to go into free dance, and we also connect with other women in the room and there's time for a quick share. Then we stretch our bodies end and a lovely [inaudible 00:13:09] that's just so nourishing for our bodies.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Yeah, I can imagine it. That sounds fascinating. And it really is interesting because in talking, you know, I've traveled around the world talking to people who have grieved and what the different cultures and different practices have been around grieving loss and loved ones, and where we honor it, label it, take time with it and maybe even separate sometimes from others with our grief. It's been different in different cultures. [inaudible 00:13:42] fascinating. And to see that, like this practice of healing modality that you've brought in to work with for yourself and also working with your clients is one that is incorporating being ... Really I think it's like being back in your body because when we are ... It's tempting to go somewhere else, right? We want to go somewhere else.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
And I remember being in an actual writing seminar at one point and one of my friends that was in there shared her story about her mother. And her mother had lost her child at four years old after vaccination syndrome, a post-vaccination syndrome decline neurologically for a year, and she was a six-year-old girl at the time. And she said, "I remember my mom just even standing on the windowsill wanting to jump out. Just wanting to die." And I said, "It's really hard." Biblically we're told even the shepherd leaves the 99 for the one. That's a tough area to navigate and she goes, "I could never understand her." And I said, "I can understand her completely because one leg is living in another world and one leg is living in this world."

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
But the practices to get back to live in this world, right? To get back into our body, into our reality, into what is present to be able to reconnect with us physically because there's that part that just wants to leave. So I think adding in being present in your body, being physical, incorporating that, realizing physically what you're feeling emotional and where that needs to be worked out physically because different organs hold energy. I'm sure it's structural as well. So being able to work that out I can imagine that's incredibly, incredibly healing and a practice of really bringing our presence back here to the land of the living as well.

Lindsay:
Yeah, and I believe full heartedly that our loved ones that we grieve the losses of, they want us to be embodied. I really do believe that, because they can no longer be embodied on this earth. To me, I take it as a personal charge from my boys, Patrick and Logan, that it is my duty and my responsibility to live even more full out than I was before in order to honor them because they can't. So I have to connect with my body every morning when I sit by the bed, every morning. And I speak to them and I pray with them still and to them, and I feel their presence with me and I always ask the question, "Where am I going to see you today? Where am I going to see you today?" So then I can step out of my bed excited to be noticing what happens around me and who's around me, and listening in deeper to conversations that I can hear their voices reflecting inside of.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
I love it. I say, "God, show me heaven on earth today.".

Lindsay:
Yes.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
[inaudible 00:17:04] very similar.

Lindsay:
Yeah.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
It reminds me, you said grieving the loss of love and one thing I would say is that love never dies, right? That grief is that expression of love. And that's one thing that so comfort me is the energy of love. That never dies.

Lindsay:
Yeah.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
And we know just from physics, let's say even talk quantum physics is that energy is everlasting. So that can be tremendously healing. So I want to share with you this quote from Kahlil Gibran on joy and sorrow. Have you heard this one before? It's one of my favorites from all times and it says, "Your joy is your sorrow unmasked and the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears and how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine. The very cup that was burned in the Potter's oven? And is not the loot that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful, look again into your heart and you shall see that in truth, you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow." And others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater." But I say onto you, they are inseparable. Together they come and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. And this is from Kahlil Gibran in his book The Prophet. So beautiful.

Lindsay:
I love it. I love it. I might have to post that on my Facebook page today. Thank you for [crosstalk 00:18:54].

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Yes. Yeah. Definitely share this. And for our listeners, please share this recording and share this with your friends and post your comments. Share with us your comments like how are you honoring those that you love through the holidays here? And how, again, I just want us to really not stuff it. To let it flow because that's the flow of love, the flow of energy and always when we feel that sadness it is a reflection of the joy and that's a good reminder for all of us. Lindsay, tell our listeners how they can get a hold of you to join you in one of your very tremendously healing retreats.

Lindsay:
Thank you. So I have a website, it's called www.soulbodyconnect.com and on the website there's a blog that I write about all kinds of things. About how our soul meets our body in creating that space for connection, and retreats as well and upcoming retreats. There's a Qoya Collective retreat in Costa Rica where I'm joining seven other Qoya teachers from across the world, and we'll be moving to all kinds of themes around connection in Costa Rica. You can learn about it my website, soulbodyconnect.com. And also a dream work retreat coming up at the end of April. Accessing those deep intuitive places where there's rich wisdom to learn from, and we'll be unpacking dreams and learning about how to leverage our dreams as we navigate our real everyday lives.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
I love it. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thanks for sharing and thanks for our listeners for being here today and participating with us in this program.

Lindsay:
Thank you so much. I really appreciate the opportunity and the time to just remind people to feel, and as we feel we heal. And to honor and to call it all sacred, because it really is. It really is.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Yeah, without a doubt. Thank you.

Lindsay:
Thank you so much.

Dr. Anna Cabeca
Dr. Anna Cabeca

Dr. Anna is a Triple Board Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging Medicine expert, and author of the best selling book, The Hormone Fix.

Dr. Anna helps women heal the 9 most dreadful symptoms of menopause with natural, safe solutions. Follow her for content on hormonal imbalances, vaginal dryness, menopause (and more) that are medically backed, and created to empower women — not just treat them.