Life After Loss: The Science of Grief

Inevitably, we all deal with the loss of a loved one, but why is something as universal as grief still so difficult to process? To get some answers from science, Bey and Kirsten sit down with grief researcher Dr. Mary-Frances O’Connor to explore how grief affects our brains and bodies. Then, the two chat with creativity expert Natalie Nixon, looking at how creativity can help one to find meaning following a loss. And to round out the episode, Marguerite Nicosia from the Shanthi Project returns with another mindfulness exercise.

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Transcript
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Hey

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there everyone, welcome back to So Curious!

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I'm Kirsten Michelle Cills.

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And I'm The Bul Bey, we're your hosts on this incredible podcast.

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And today we're looking at grief and how it can affect your mental health.

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First, we're going to be sitting down to talk with grief researcher Dr.

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Mary Frances O'Connor to figure out what exactly grief is.

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And then we're going to be joined by creativity expert Natalie Nixon to learn

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about how we can find meaning following a loss.

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Yeah, so this is a big one.

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Kirsten, have you navigated the very muddy, murky waters of loss and grief?

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Yeah, but I feel like no matter what you look up about

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grief, it's always like, okay, here are the, what, five stages, seven stages.

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And then once you do that, your checklist and then you're done.

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And it's like, there's no way that's just for grief to be over.

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It's like you live with that for the rest of your life.

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So now we're going to welcome Dr.

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Mary Frances O'Connor to the show.

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Thanks so much for joining us.

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Please introduce yourself and tell us about your work and what you do.

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I am Mary Frances O'Connor.

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I'm a professor of psychology at the University of Arizona.

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And I have written the book,

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The Surprising Science of How We Learn From Love and Loss.

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And can I ask, what led you specifically

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in your life to start researching and working on grief?

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Well, as a scientist, I have always had this passionate curiosity about the brain.

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How is it that the brain turns these experiences we have in life

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into the little gray mush you find in the brain.

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And I think for me, there was such a clear relationship between

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the loved ones we have in our life and falling in love with them, and then the

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difficulties we have after they die, that it seemed clear there must be something

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going on in the brain that made that all happen.

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But on a more personal note, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4

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breast cancer when I was 13, and she lived another 13 years.

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Her oncologist called it his first miracle.

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Which is just remarkable.

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But it still meant that she died when I

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was 26, and I was already in graduate school.

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I think it meant that I just felt really

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comfortable around people who were grieving.

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And so doing interviews with people

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and then looking at their brain scans and looking at their blood

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tests, perhaps let me dive in more deeply than psychologists had done previously.

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So I think one thing that, when I hear grief, I think of death and dying, right?

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That's, I think, the most common one.

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But we're doing this whole season on mental health, and we're

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learning that there are so many other forms of loss that can cause grief?

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Can you go into, in your experience, some other common examples?

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Yeah.

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I think of different kinds of grief as coming about for different reasons.

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I think that the death of a loved one is

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something that social mammals have had to deal with from time immemorial.

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And so it doesn't surprise me that maybe

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the brain has evolved really specific ways to deal with that kinds of grief.

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So you form an attachment bond.

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You fall in love with your spouse or your baby, and then

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your brain has to understand, has to update at some point,

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if that person dies, that the world no longer contains them.

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So for me, I feel like the neurobiological aspect of that makes a lot of sense.

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But when that

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happens, when you think about it, like if I use the word daughter to describe

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myself, that actually implies two people, doesn't it?

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And so does the word spouse.

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That implies two people, or sister.

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And so I think what happens is

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when a loved one dies, we lose a piece of ourself, as well.

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We lose a way that we understand how to function in the world.

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Well, so here's then the analogy.

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If I lose my job, how I function in the world is very much informed by - I'm a

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professor - right? And so now I've lost a part of myself.

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And so I think those other kinds of grief,

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the loss of health, say, for example, or the loss of hearing, they

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are a loss of a piece of ourself and how we function in the world.

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And so even though they're not the death

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of a person, they still are experienced as grief.

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When I was in high school and college, I

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used to work at a retirement home, and I worked with a couple of people who

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were in later stages of dementia, people whose spouses had passed and who didn't

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remember and were constantly having to be told again.

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And in that moment, it is like the first time they are hearing it.

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And as the person having to do it or

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watching the nurses do it, for us, it's 10, 15 times a day.

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And I know sometimes the nurses were

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really interesting about it because they were like, if they were noticing it was

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taking such a physical toll on them, they would say something like,

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"Okay, well, it's four o'clock on a Tuesday.

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Where is he usually at four o'clock on a

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Tuesday?" Not lying, but it was like a physical health issue.

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So I'm curious, what have you noticed in

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your research about what grief can do physically?

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You hear of people dying from a broken heart.

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Yeah. The first thing that makes me think of is,

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I think you can think of grieving as a form of learning.

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The brain is really a prediction machine for us, isn't it?

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That's the point of this organ we carry

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around and devote all this glucose to, is to sort of help

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us to figure out what might happen next, given thousands of days of experience.

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And so, for example, if you wake up next to the same person every day for thousands

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of days, and then you wake up one morning and they're not next to you, it's actually

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not a very good prediction that they've died, right?

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Death is a very unusual event.

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And so because of that, the brain has to actually learn that they're gone

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through experience, through day after day of not putting socks in their drawer when

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you do the laundry, and the plants that they used to take care of are now dying.

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It's days and days of experience

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that actually teaches the brain, in a form of learning, that this person is gone.

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So you can imagine how much harder that is if the brain isn't completely healthy.

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If grieving is a form of learning, then

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anything that affects our learning is going to make grieving harder.

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You talked about learning, and the first thing I thought about was children, and

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how do we talk to them about loss and grieving and things like that.

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Could you, I guess, open up that discussion a little bit more?

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What's the best way to maybe talk to a child who's learning about the world

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around them about death and interacting with them about grief.

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Yeah.

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Well, we definitely know that children do grieve.

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So what we know is that it can look

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different because they don't have all the same capabilities as an adult does.

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So what I mean by that is death is

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actually a pretty abstract thing when you think about it.

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The idea that everybody you see is alive, but at one point everyone will die.

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That's just a completely abstract idea that at a certain age, children aren't

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really able to understand, even though they will feel enormous sadness

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and maybe even anger if they're separated from the person who they love.

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So even if the child is just experiencing

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a separation because they don't really fully understand that death is universal

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and they're never going to come back, it still doesn't mean that they aren't

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experiencing all those emotions about missing the person.

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And so I think it's important to be as honest with children as we can

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because they are trying to learn this abstract concept.

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And also because they are experiencing really strong emotions.

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Kids will revert to behaviors that they used to do when they were younger.

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So you might have a kid who wets the bed

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again, or a kid who starts sucking their thumb again, because they're trying

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to understand a world where they're really missing this person who is gone.

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Is there as much of a physical response with kids, like on your body?

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Oh, that's a really good question.

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And you had asked me earlier about the

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broken heart effect, which is a real thing.

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So we know that in adults, for

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example, for men in the first six months after their wife has died, they're twice

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as likely to suffer a heart attack compared to a married man at the same age.

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And so that's a really dramatic

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physical stress that you're dealing with if it can cause a heart attack.

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Now, granted, this is not everyone, but twice the risk, that is really an

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increase in the physical stress this person is under.

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For children, although I do not do research on children

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myself, the added challenge is that these systems are still developing.

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And so one of the things we know is that kids develop really secure relationships

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with parents who are loving, or caregivers who are loving, and that

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sets the homeostasis for their brain and for their hormones.

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This is what life is supposed to be like.

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And that enables resilience when you're older because you are able to...

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If something stressful happens, you're

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able to get back to what feels normal again.

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But with children, if they're still

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developing when something really stressful like the death of a caregiver

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happens, then where that homeostasis gets set can actually change.

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And this is no small thing.

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Bereavement can really be thought of as a health disparity.

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We know in COVID, for example, one in four

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deaths due to COVID left a child without a parent or a caregiving

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grandparent, but that wasn't uniform, right?

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So it was twice as likely if you were a black child, or it was four

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times as likely if you were a Native American kid.

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And so as we think about the impact of grief, I think it's also important that we

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think about how we distribute resources in order for grief education and

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intervention and support to really be effective in our society.

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I want to throw a big question at you.

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Earlier, you mentioned COVID 19, the lockdown, and everything that we've been

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experiencing, and we've all went through it all at once.

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Can you talk to the effect it might have

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on us, culturally, as just a species, to experience loss?

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How might that affect us?

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Mass grief on a global scale.

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I think when we lose a loved one, specifically,

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that kind of loss, I've been doing research

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with people who have had that kind of death event during the pandemic.

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And one of the things that we notice is those who were having deaths that were

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completely unexpected, they have really had a difficult time.

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I interviewed this 70 year old woman.

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She said her husband was

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a search and rescue volunteer, fairly healthy in his 70s.

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And she dropped him off at the ER one evening because he was having trouble

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breathing and she wasn't allowed to go into the ER, of course.

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And a couple of days later, she's having a

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conversation about taking him off a ventilator.

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And so that unexpected loss really rips the rug out from under us.

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And we know that because a lot more people were experiencing

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unexpected losses, that this is a particularly difficult time for people.

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But here's the flip side to that.

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And it has something to do with what you were saying.

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I think grief can feel most isolating

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when, in our own heads, we're very much thinking about my grief.

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But grief is actually a universal human experience.

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And somehow if you can shift a little bit and think about it as

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there is grief, that grief is one of the human emotions.

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Sometimes it can help you to feel a little more connected

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to the people who've come before you and have survived their losses.

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Or people around you who may be going through this.

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Well, with the pandemic, we had more

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people around us who were going through loss.

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And my hope is that then by talking about it more, we'll actually learn more about

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what people's experience is like with loss, and be a little less

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afraid to talk about it, and then a little less afraid to feel it.

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So maybe we'll become a more empathetic community due to this mass grief event.

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Yeah, that is my hope.

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I've always been someone who finds a lot

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of comfort hearing that someone else got through what I'm going through.

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And it's very true when it comes to grief.

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It's one of those things you feel like you cannot see an end of that tunnel.

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You can't see a world where it's going to get brighter.

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And then you look at some stories, which I'm sure you've heard and seen so many

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stories of people coming out the other side that's like, oh, there is hope.

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It feels like the end of our world, but it

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is the most human thing to live and then to die.

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That's right.

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And I think when you're talking with someone who's grieving, it really depends

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on your intention. Why you are sharing your own grief story.

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Many of us feel really uncomfortable around people who are grieving.

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It's really hard to be with people who are suffering.

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I mean it can be awkward!

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Right! So if you're telling your story so

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they will stop talking, then that's not going to feel the same

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as if you're sharing your story in order to really commiserate and really

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understand the similarities and differences.

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So that intention really matters.

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You've said specifically, apparently, you do not give advice on getting over a loss.

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Can you explain to us in the audience why? Yeah.

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This is related to if you're hanging out with someone who's grieving.

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It turns out insight just doesn't usually come from advice.

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And so you can share your story

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and the person may find connections to it that may help them.

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But it's not the same

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as trying to tell them how it should be or how it should go for them.

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I mean, even me, so I may be an expert on

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grief, but I'm an expert on grief on average.

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Each individual is an expert on their own grief or their

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own relationship with this person who's died.

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And so I think that we all have to take what we hear and really reflect.

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Does that express my experience as well?

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And does that way of coping help me think of new ways that I might cope?

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And if those are the case, then that's fantastic.

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But I think that advice can come across as

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"you're not doing it right", or "you should be feeling something different than

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you're feeling", and grieving is hard enough without either of those.

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I think often it's our desire, which is maybe a natural desire, that we think our

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job when we're listening to someone who's telling us about a hard time they're

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having, we think our job is to cheer them up.

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But that often isn't really the job.

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The job is to be there with them, to really try and see it from their

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perspective, to ask questions about parts that you really want to understand better.

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What impact did that have?

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And how do you feel like that's changed your life experience?

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And maybe what would you tell someone who

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was going through the same thing now that you've been through this?

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So I think there's a way in which, if we can just be there with other people

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and not try to change their experience as much, it can feel more

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compassionate, more connecting to the other person.

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Thank you so much, Mary-Frances O'Connor.

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We are covering so many different aspects

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of mental health in this season, and I just feel like everything we learn is

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just conducive to the fact that none of mental health is one size fits all.

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It's so intricate.

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And this conversation has been, oddly enough, soothing.

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Yeah, right? It is.

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I was like, oh, are we going to be sad?

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And I was like, no, this is very uplifting, actually.

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Yeah, so thank you.

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Thank you.

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Thanks again to Mary Frances for joining us.

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It is nice to have someone like Mary-Frances

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validate that it does have a physical effect when you're grieving.

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So you don't just feel like, oh, am I just losing my mind?

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Hey, Kirsten. Hey, Bey.

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Do you ever wonder whether this planet is even going to be around in 20, 30 years?

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Yeah. It can be overwhelming to think of how to

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deal with some of the biggest problems we're facing.

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Our friends over at the Franklin Institute

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talked to some of the sharpest minds working in science and technology.

The Grieving Brain:And I got to say, I think:The Grieving Brain:Check out the Road to:The Grieving Brain:

edu.

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So now we're going to be joined in the studio by Natalie Nixon

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to speak with us on how creativity can aid the grieving process.

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Natalie, thank you so much for coming to speak with us today.

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Thank you for having me.

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Can you introduce yourself, Natalie, to the thousands and

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thousands of listeners, and tell everyone what it is that you do?

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Sure. Hi, my name is Natalie Nixon.

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I'm the founder and CEO of Figure 8 Thinking.

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I advise leaders and companies on

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transformation through the lenses of wonder and rigor and foresight.

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And I help them think through questions like, what's our purpose?

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What's our next?

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I'm a global keynote speaker, author of the Creativity Leap, and an adviser.

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I guess we'll just jump right into it.

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How would you define creativity?

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So I've spent a lot of time thinking about

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how to make creativity much more accessible to people so that

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they don't think of it as a nice to have, but as a must have.

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Because we're all trying to

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innovate, but in actuality, the engine for innovation is creativity.

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So the definition that I landed on that's spelled out in a

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lot of detail in my book, The Creativity Leap, is that creativity is our ability to

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toggle between wonder and rigor to solve problems and produce novel value.

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And that value could be social value, financial value, cultural value.

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So let's talk about creativity and grief.

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How can creativity help someone who's going through the

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grieving process, who's really in the thick of it?

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getting acquainted with this new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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I read an interview

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in the Harvard Business Review with Scott Berinato, who is an editor at HBR.

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He's interviewing David Kessler, who is one of the world's foremost

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experts, globally renowned experts, on the topic of grief.

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And there were two takeaways I got from reading the interview.

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The first was that David Kessler

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said, okay, we typically think of five stages of grief, which are denial,

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anger, bargaining, sadness, and then finally acceptance.

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And he said these stages are totally

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nonlinear, which was a big relief to me because I was feeling like an emotional

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ping pong ball already where you do some negotiation

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with our new constraints in life, and then you feel like you're accepting

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everything, and then you feel totally sad about a loss.

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So that topsy turvy-ness of grief was the big take away.

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But the larger take away

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is that David Kessler said there's actually a sixth stage of grief.

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Instead of ending on this plateau of

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acceptance, we should actually end with a sixth stage of meaning and purpose.

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And the reason this stood out to me as a creativity strategist is that creativity

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is all about the business and work of meaning making, of

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identifying, at the end of all of this, what is the point?

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And how do we collectively, in the case of a COVID 19

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pandemic, figure out our next phase of meaning and purpose?

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So, for individuals, especially who are in whatever phase of grief and grieving,

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it's I think a bit optimistic and helpful for us to think

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about that the final destination is not acceptance, this plateau, but it's really

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about figuring out what is the meaning of all this.

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And this is when our ability to

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optimize our creative capacity really becomes important.

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I was really looking forward to this question, too, because I never put

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creativity and grief in this same ballpark at all.

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So thank you for that. That's incredible.

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What are some examples of ways someone can use creativity to grieve?

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Any specific actions, activities?

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Well, let me first map out a new mental model that we could adopt

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when we're thinking about building our creative capacity, especially

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as it relates to working through grief and grieving.

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And by the way, my next book is going to be a book about flourishing.

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One of the things that I really want to drive home is that flourishing

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is not about being on top of the world and happy all the time.

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We actually, in order to flourish, in order to really optimize creativity, need

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to experience the pitfalls and the valleys of life.

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So I think it is also important for us in

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our human condition to really accept and understand

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that grief, grieving, working through loss, is not something we can circumvent.

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It's not something that we can hop over.

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It's really something that we really have to hold and mold and work through.

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The mental model I'm talking about is

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something I call CQ, or our creativity quotient.

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We know about IQ

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and our ability to measure our level of intelligence, and we are increasingly

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accepting that we all have an EQ, an emotional intelligence.

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I believe we also have a CQ, and that CQ starts with a mindset of gratitude.

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And what's cool about really

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practicing gratitude is that you actually are becoming a systems designer.

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You are understanding yourself as a node, as part of a larger network.

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And I like to give people a pretty simple, not so simple exercise of

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take an object in your immediate space and environment.

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It could be a pen, it could be this bottle of water that I'm looking at right now.

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And you really begin to deconstruct

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in an act of gratitude, how did this bottle of water become possible?

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So we have acts of nature and rainwater.

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We have someone who designed this portable way to transport this water.

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We have material scientists who developed the plastic.

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We have our ability to earn a living so that we could buy water, even though it's

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questionable that we should even have to buy water.

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But that's a whole different podcast. It's a whole different podcast.

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But let me go with me here, right?

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But we begin to see ourselves in the midst of a larger context.

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So first is gratitude - nd think of these

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as concentric circles - gratitude then begets humility,

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because you begin to understand yourself as part of a larger hole.

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After humility, that really leads to curiosity.

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And the reason why humility is so

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important for curiosity is because so many of us have been questioned shamed.

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We're not necessarily very good at asking questions because of our educational

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environments, the way we first dared to raise our hand, maybe, and

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we were snickered at, laughed at, or maybe even worse, ignored.

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And that's also happened to some of us in our work environment.

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So in my work, I often don't see a culture of curiosity in work environments.

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So we have gratitude, humility, curiosity,

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that ability to ask questions because there's no shame to our game, and we

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realize that we're part of a much larger whole, that curiosity then leads to

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empathy because curiosity is actually the precursor to empathy.

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You can't walk a mile in anyone's shoes unless you have the ability to frame a new

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and different question, like, why do they do it that way and not my way?

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Why do they sit over there and not over here?

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So once you can ask the question, you can really start to radically empathize.

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And then ideally, empathy leads to action, equitable action.

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So where this connects

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to grief and grieving and getting through the grieving process,

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is that one of the best ways to get out of our own black hole of grief,

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feeling sorry for ourselves, the not so good feels that are involved with sadness

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is to begin to see ourselves as part of a larger whole.

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Part of that is interacting with others, volunteering, it's helping others.

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And it's in those acts of collaboration

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that those creative sparks really begin to happen.

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And you see your mindset

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beginning to shift literally from the acts of gratitude, that mental state

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of gratitude, to humility, curiosity, empathy, and action.

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How do you collaboratively grieve?

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How does collaboration and grief overlap?

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What does that intersection look like?

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I'm African American, and one of the

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obvious touch points of grief for people is when there's a member of the community

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who passes away, when there's a family member who passes away.

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And so in my faith tradition and my culture tradition, that collective coming

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together is something that I remember from childhood.

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It's something that I still practice in my own community.

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And when you're talking about grief because of the loss of a family member or

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loved one, those are moments in life where the support is needed for those remaining

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behind much more so - you know - for the person who's deceased.

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But that's a great example

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of collectively being able to come together through creative expression,

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through sound, through music, through food.

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All this sensorial design experiences

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often become a really important part of moving through grief.

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I think on a solo level, it's interesting.

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A lot of people start to find a reconnect back to nature

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as well in order to move through grief, in order to hold it, in order to process it.

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There's something about the elements of

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nature that make us attuned to what we're feeling.

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Yeah. And is there any story, if you feel

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comfortable sharing, connected to grief, interacting with that creatively?

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And can you talk about the specifics around that?

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Gosh, I think the first personal

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story of grief and grieving for me would relate to my father.

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And I played jazz music all day long.

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My father was a big jazz head.

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He had an incredible Blue Note jazz album collection.

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He loved Art Blakey and Horace Silver and Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk.

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And that was a way for me to be tuned in to who he was.

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And for me, it made me feel him in that way.

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So I paid attention

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to that feeling of missing him and converted that for me in

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a way to make me smile, to remember the parts of himself that he gave to me.

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I have a love of jazz because of what my dad modeled for me.

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I think that's the other part of the sensorial design piece I'm talking about.

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We can design our way into whatever we need to do to

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incorporate the feeling, not shun it, not try to tuck it away, but to feel the feels

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and to do whatever it is that makes you remember.

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I think memory is something that's really fascinating to me.

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I don't understand all the neuroscience

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of memory, but there is a connection between our senses, what we can create

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that helps us to process memory and to use it in a really catalytic way.

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When I was a kid, my mom always had this quote on the fridge.

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She's like a big quote person. And it didn't mean

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much to me as I was young, as with most things your parents do.

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And then you get older and you make sense of them.

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And it said, "Do it anyway." She used to say this a lot.

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And it was about acknowledging how you're feeling.

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I'm scared to go back to the gym.

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I want to get back into shape.

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I'm afraid I'm going to be judged.

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Don't pretend that's not true.

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Feel it, but do it anyway.

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And I'm angry I have to ask someone for help in this thing.

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It's like, we don't have to

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to toxically pretend like, it's okay, get over it, feel it, but then do it anyway.

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And I love that that's something you're

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really making into such an art form, truly.

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Trying to.

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And that's what you just described as a

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big part of what David Kessler is talking about in terms of meaning making.

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And that sixth stage

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of taking the load off of our frontal neocortex and the cognitive load of

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rationally processing something, doing it anyway through the

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action and the activity, which helps us to be more attuned to how we feel.

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And then we can circle back to the "What

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does that mean to me?" Because for me - drawing the connection back to what

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you just shared is - the first feeling and to do on November 6, around, remember my

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dad's passing, was I needed a sound to kind of envelop me.

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That's what I had to do.

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And then that helped to trigger memory.

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And then that helped for me to cognitively understand the pieces of my father's life

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that are still a part of me and a part of part of my environment.

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But yeah, that action, the feeling it is really important.

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And I wonder, as we are in this, figuring out this next iteration

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of the pandemic because there's new variations that we'll have to work through

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and working out hybrid work, and all these blurbed boundaries, if we will

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allow more of the human to show up to work, if we will

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allow - as we are seeing people's pets in the background of Zoom screens

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and their children and their mementos - if we will allow for

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the personal to become a bit more part of the work.

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I'm predicting that personal development and professional

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development will become more conjointly important, not these separate silos.

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We certainly hope so.

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I hope so. Yeah, seriously.

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Dr. Natalie Nixon, thank you so much for

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coming and sharing your insight, your wisdom.

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Do you have any final thoughts as it pertains to creativity, grief, or just

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a last word you want to leave our listeners with?

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I just thank you for inviting me.

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I think this is a really important topic, and I hope that anyone listening

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will really take to heart this notion of creativity and feeling, being their

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pathway through to synthesize the grief and make it part of your life.

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Don't shun it, don't compartmentalize it. Thank you.

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That's a beautiful way to leave it.

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Thank you so much, Natalie.

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Thank you.

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Thank you, Natalie, for giving us so much to think about and a lot of perspective.

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Okay, so as a musician, Bey, do you feel that your

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creative process has helped you with loss or difficult moments?

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Absolutely 100%.

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I am discovering

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now at this point in my life how important creativity has been for me.

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I didn't know what I was doing.

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I just like being creative.

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And that's always the best thing, right?

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When you're lost in something. But what about you?

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Has comedy helped you through hard times? Yeah.

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And I think definitely vice versa as well.

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My hard times have been a big part of my joke content.

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Comedy helps with my trauma, but my trauma is how I got started in comedy.

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During that process, you kind of,

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not detatch, but it allows you a moment to let go of those hard feelings.

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And you're like, "Well, how can this rhyme? How do I rhyme this?"

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You're like, "My dog just died.

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How can I make a joke about this?"

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To close out today's episode, we have another mindfulness

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segment with Marguerite Nicosia from the Shanthi Project.

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This is Marguerite Nicosia

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with the Shanthi Project and another mindfulness exercise.

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So with the work that you do with the

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Shanty Project, if you are able to share with your age group you're working with,

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are there a lot of common threads in what you hear of what are the

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issues that are going on with students this age and this time?

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Well, I was in middle school for the first time, and that was really cool.

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So I worked with sixth graders this year

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in this incredible inner city school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

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And we got to a lesson

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talking about thoughts and emotions because our brain is built to

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be very busy, and our brain can be filled with thoughts all the time.

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Mindfulness doesn't mean quieting your brain.

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It means just calming your brain.

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Your brain is meant to think and fire off and provide you with all this stuff.

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So the lesson was about thoughts and emotions.

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And when I asked class after class after

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class using the word "anxiety", who here feels anxious?

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What makes you anxious?

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It was like, boom, floodgates opened.

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They just wanted to talk about it.

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And I was amazed and impressed because I had anticipated this lesson

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kind of like me having to draw a little bit of engagement out of them.

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But no, they were just ready to talk.

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I think that that speaks to the incredible

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awareness that's happening culturally around mental health.

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Teenagers are not afraid to talk about

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what's going on in their lives, and it's wonderful.

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When my 10 week program came to an end, one of the students said to me, "What?

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Where are you going?

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You can't leave!" It was amazing.

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It's really cool.

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Let's all take a moment.

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We'll just take a deep breath in together, so breathe in and breathe out.

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Nice and slow.

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I would invite you to just become aware of how you're sitting.

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Just think about it as relaxed attention.

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And if you'd like to, close your eyes.

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If that's not comfortable for you, you can

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just gently gaze down at either your lap or the floor.

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And then I want you to go ahead and

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let's take another deep breath in and a deep breath out.

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Just bring your attention to your eyes and the area around your eyes.

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Just go ahead and on your next in breath,

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just think of breathing in relaxation and just breathing out any tension.

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Just really, really just relax your eyes.

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And on your next breath, go ahead and

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bring that attention just to your face, your jaw.

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Maybe just let your tongue drop from the top of your mouth.

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Just really relax with every in breath, think relaxation.

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With every out breath, just let go of the tension.

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And then

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on your next breath, go ahead and bring your attention to your neck, your

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shoulders, and just really give your shoulders some love.

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Just relax on the in breath and let go of any tension on the out breath.

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Now just pay attention to your breathing.

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If you feel any areas of tension in your

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head or your neck or your shoulders, just go ahead and

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focus on maybe letting that go as you breathe out.

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On your next in breath, go ahead and breathe in and out.

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Nice, slow, deep breaths.

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When you're ready, you can flutter your eyes open

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and really slowly just come back to the

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space and where we are and rejoin us.

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Good job, you guys. Awesome.

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Thank you so much. That was awsome.

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Damn, thank you.

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That was great, that was great. Oh, my gosh.

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I'm just going to have to listen to the recording of that every night before bed.

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That was awesome.

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I can't imagine how beneficial that stuff would be when I was middle school age.

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I know. Never had that language.

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I tell them all the time.

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I'm like, you guys, I wish I knew this stuff when I was your age.

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I'm just now learning it.

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Well, hey, you get to do it now, right?

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You get to be the person to bring that to them.

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Yeah, it's pretty amazing.

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Thank you so much to

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Marguerite for doing this mindfulness segment with us throughout the season.

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And next week, we'll be rounding out this season of So Curious!

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With an exploration into a very

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popular, yet vague buzzword we see used everywhere nowadays, wellness.

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It's something that we experience, and

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it's something that we evaluate for ourselves.

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Make sure you subscribe wherever you get your podcast from.

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Look for So Curious, presented by the Franklin Institute.

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God, how many times can we have to ask?

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We don't want to have to beg, but we just want you to get the updates.

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Do it now. Do it now.

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This podcast is made in partnership with Radio Kismet.

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Radio Kismet is Philadelphia's premier podcast production studio.

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This podcast is produced by Amy Carson and Emily Cherish of Radio Kismet.

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This podcast is also produced by Joy

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Montefusco, Jayatri Das, and Aaron Armstrong of the Franklin Institute.

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Head of operations is Christopher Plant.

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Our assistant producer is Seneca White.

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Our mix engineer is Justin Berger, and our audio editor is Lauren DeLuca.

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Our graphic designer is Emma Seeger.

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And I'm Kirsten Michelle Cills.

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Oh, yeah, and I'm the Bul Bey! See you next week!

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