April 15, 2021

Revealed: How to Embrace Gratitude after Grief and Loss with Jacqueline Steudler

Revealed: How to Embrace Gratitude after Grief and Loss with Jacqueline Steudler

Life has its way of challenging us in ways that can lead to incredible transformation. This week, I’m welcoming my good friend Jacqueline Steudler to the show. Jacqueline is an Art Therapist and Grief Coach. Since her mother's death in 2013, she has focused on helping women navigate the sometimes overwhelming feelings of grief by using her knowledge as an art therapist and training in grief recovery. She helps grieving women navigate their healing journey without leaving their loved one who has died behind by using art-making, mindfulness, and humor. Art-making is a tool that helps her clients find new expressions of their feelings when words are missing. 

In this episode, Jacqueline shares her journey with grief and how her journey has led her to become a creative art coach supporting others during their experiences of grief by using the power of gratitude and creativity.

Timestamps: 

[1:52] Jacqueline’s story from grief to healing

[10:28] Acknowledging grief to build resilience faster

[18:47] Getting unstuck from grief using creativity

[24:01] Becoming open to creative possibilities

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For more information on the Make Time for Success podcast, visit:

 

https://www.maketimeforsuccesspodcast.com

 

Connect with Us!

 

Dr. Christine Li [host] -

Website: https://www.procrastinationcoach.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/procrastinationcoach

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/procrastinationcoach/


Jacqueline Steudler -

Website: https://www.healingforgrievinghearts.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jst_arttherapy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/healingforgrievinghearts

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacquelinesteudler/ 

The 5 Resources Guide to help move forward in Your Grieving Process: https://www.healingforgrievinghearts.net/ 



Transcript

Christine Li:

Welcome back to the show. This is Episode 18. One of the most difficult areas for me to talk about has always been the topic of grief and loss. I thought it would be necessary for me to find podcast guests who could help us to consider these types of emotional issues in ways that could make us feel like we could embrace the topic of grief and loss with the joy with which we have loved the people, pets and experiences that we have lost. Fortunately for us, I found the perfect person to help us. My guest. Jacqueline Statler is an art therapist and grief coach who helps grieving women navigate their healing journey without leaving their loved one behind. By using artmaking mindfulness and humor. You're going to hear Jacqueline's personal story of loss inside this episode. And you'll also get to see how wonderful beautiful and brilliant she is. Let's go listen to the episode. Hi, I'm Dr. Christine Li, and I'm a psychologist and a procrastination coach. I've helped 1000s of people move past procrastination and overwhelm so they can begin working to their potential. In this podcast if you're going to learn a powerful strategies for getting your mind, body and energy to work together, so that you can focus on what's really important, and accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When you start living within your full power, you're going to see how being productive can be easy, and how you can create success on demand. Welcome to the make time for success podcast. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to The make time for success podcast today. I am so grateful. Even before we begin to invite my good friend and new friend to the shower. Her name is Jacqueline Statler. And we met very beautifully, I would say online in a coaching program that we had both attended. And Jacqueline was just so gracious with her help to a total stranger who was calling for help at the time. And we got to know each other. And I just felt very moved to share her with you all who are my kind listeners on this show. So Jacqueline, welcome to the show.

Jacqueline Steudler:

Thank you so much, Christine, for having me. It's a pleasure. And yeah, since we met last year, in the summer, I think you have been such a wonderful support as well. So it was really fun that one weekend when you had some technical problems. And I'm not really a super technical person, but I knew what you needed to know. And so we connected right away on that level and ever since I feel really, really connected to you and your work. So thank you very much for having me today. Well, the feeling is very mutual. I think we have a lot of areas of alignment and mutual understanding. So thank you for joining me. So could you introduce yourself to our audience, tell us what you would like us to know about you your background, what you love to do in life. Sure, thank you. So like you know now My name is chuckling styler and I call myself the creative grief coach. I have a background in art therapy. And you might hear a slight little accent in my speech. So I'm originally from Switzerland, but I have been living in Canada for the last 17 years. And I can almost not believe it that it has been that long. So I'm really proud to us Canadian and my background in art therapy. I graduated in 20 00. Actually, in 2000, it's 21 years in a few weeks, that I have been working as an art therapist and the grief coaching part came about eight years ago when my mom died. And it was just you know, as a as an art therapist, I should have known how to deal with that challenging time and the grief was anticipated and I just thought I had it all together. And then she died and I did not expect to be so taken apart by that grief. I didn't feel any more that I had any ground under my feet. It was really like my whole life that I knew how to go forward. was stopped. Because the one person that knew me so very well and always had my back, no matter what I did, she was always there for me, she was gone. And I really felt lost and didn't know anymore. Where am I? And is therapy still the thing to do for me, or should I go into a new direction, but I always heard her voice kind of, in my heart and also in, in my head that always said, You are a natural helper. And that is true. I always say in my former life, I actually worked as a teacher in Switzerland before I became an art therapist, and it was the, the need of helping in a different way that I became an art therapist. And then that whole creative part really became even more a part of my life, I was already a painter, and I just, yeah, it just took that into that helping piece as well, which was fantastic. And like I said, then my mom died in 2013. And everything got kind of turned upside down. And after really three, four months, where I was just going to work coming home crying, go to sleep, and do the same thing over and over every day, after about three months, my partner said, Hey, Jacqueline, this is not healthy, what you're doing. And I'm kind of, you know, sitting there crying, and no, it has to flow it has to flow. And while saying it, I realize nothing is actually flowing, I'm just repeating the same circle over and over again. So I just kind of sat down with myself. And I looked at what I knew, as an art therapist, and I started to paint and to write about my feelings, I created little rituals that I could implement to really honor my mom. And yeah, it became this little program that I did for myself, and then realized, Oh, my God, if I as an art therapist don't know how to get help, there must be other people that don't know how to get help. And the healing for grieving hearts program was born, I took some special training in grief recovery, and it just resonated with what I was already doing. And so yeah, and ever since I'm working with women, that are grieving a loss, it can be any loss, and it's very fulfilling. And last year, Christine, like, you know, when we met, I was in the process of creating a membership that is more affordable. And my time is also only that much in a day, so that I could touch and help more women that are grieving, navigate their healing journey, how I like to call it,

Christine Li:

I love your story. It's a beautiful, integrated one, with so many different phases that kind of gently come together, where you're doing work that really is so meaningful, and beautiful and transformative to the women that you touch and the people who are in those women's lives. So thank you for sharing that background story. I have a few questions. One of them is when you were finding yourself in that prolonged period of grief after your mom passed away, how do you understand that section? Are those symptoms of the constant crying or that not being able to let go or the feeling like your energy is stuck? What are your thoughts about that period of time where that group of symptoms

Jacqueline Steudler:

I just think that I was really good in not looking at what was happening. You know, I had some stress relieving pieces that I did habits. For instance, I watched Netflix for hours and hours so that I didn't have to really face what I was feeling inside and what was going on. So it just took my mind to another place. Other people might go and shop for new shoes or new books or For me it is has always been TV and with Netflix it makes it even worse. So yeah, and it was really bad point. Were, my husband just said, this is not normal. And I had to fight him, right? And today, I would say to everyone that is in that position and ask the question, Is this normal, I would say, yes, it actually is normal. And it can happen to anyone that we get stuck. And three months actually is not a long period of time at all. And don't get me wrong, I'm still grieving the loss of my mom, there are still really tough times when there is a birthday coming up, because we share the birthday. So it's always my birthday, her birthday, my sadness that she is not around anymore, but also at the same time, my happiness that I am, and that I can still honor her and celebrate. So that kind of feeling that the grief is not normal, should perhaps kind of point you in a direction to look a little bit closer, but also feel okay, that, that there are things that we are doing to get through a grieving process that seemed perhaps a little bit unhealthy. But in the end, they help us also to, to stay afloat.

Christine Li:

You're making me wonder if when people might be tagged as having not normal grief, that that is actually a reflection of the depth of the connection that they had with the person that they lost.

Jacqueline Steudler:

That is definitely a part. Sometimes, it might also be that we just have experienced a lot of loss in our lives. And that one loss that comes on top of it just makes the whole thing explode. But in your feelings and with your emotions. And I really think that sometimes we we can dig into our resilience faster. And, you know, find all those pieces that help us to get through a difficult situation like that. And sometimes, that resilience door just closes. And with my mom, that door closed for a while. And I was really kind of telling myself that crying was the right thing to do. And I'm still thinking crying is the right thing. To let that love flow and that overflowing sadness come out. But at a point, you also have to find have to sounds really harsh, but to acknowledge that you find the place where you can feel better with the flow of the emotions. And that can be in painting them out. Writing in a journal, having little rituals, like I said before, buying their favorite flowers, celebrating with others, their birthdays, or anniversaries, and sharing stories, really, you know, we want to keep our last one, if we had a really good loving relationship, that relationship has not died with them. You're just taking it a little bit differently in our hearts. And we are moving forward with them.

Christine Li:

Yes, beautiful. As I'm watching and listening to you describe these processes. I'm feeling my own body reacting. I don't know if that is a common situation that you go through as well when you're helping women to grieve and to enter into a situation of gratitude. Is it a bodily change?

Jacqueline Steudler:

Um, there are times when Yes, when that happens. I mean, we all know how, when you hear music, for instance, how our body reacts immediately, or our memory kicks in immediately when we hear a special piece that reminds us of whatever it can be a wonderful situation when we graduated, or when we met our first love or when somebody died because we might have had a music piece that connected us so very well. And that is really our body has stored all those memories. And yes, so when I'm working with grieving women, it can happen that we start to cry together. And some might say but you have to be removed and be kind of clear that this is not you that is grieving But I have found that it is easier for me to work with someone, when I let my feelings that come up flow with Well, I am always in control as the person as the grief coach on the other side, because I'm, I know, I cry. So I make really sure that I know, I'm not kind of switching into my own grief, I'm crying out of compassion for the story that I'm hearing and the person's feelings and sadness. So it's, it's kind of that balance that I think I can keep really very well. And also, by doing that, and not taking the feelings with me into my life outside the session, it's really it stays with that person and with that session, and I always have little pieces of like a little Gong that I have at the beginning of the session, and at the end of the session, so that the body again, through the ear hears there is a beginning and there is an end. And with that it can kind of that sacred space that we create together, can be holed in that space between the gong sound, and it makes it easier for both sides to step out and go back into our everyday life.

Christine Li:

I really like the gong sound technique, I think I'm going to borrow your technique already.

Unknown:

And

Christine Li:

I'm also curious if you wouldn't mind sharing the kinds of rituals that one could develop or create, to honor the grief and honor the loved one, as well and to assist in moving ourselves forward.

Jacqueline Steudler:

Yeah, so I have done a lot of reading, write about rituals and what works and what not. So it's a combination. It's not all my ideas, the ideas are out there. And one that I really, really are drawn to is having like a bowl of sand and candles and add a birthday, for instance, or anniversary, if you can safely bring together some friends of your loved one as well. But you can also do it in a distance kind of over soom ritual, that everybody has a candle that they light. And when they light it, they talk about a trait that they really loved about them. For instance, my mother, she had really great humor. So I always love to tell stories about things that were so funny that she did or told us. And so that candle is lit, you tell the story and you put it in the sand when you're done. And going around the table like that, or going around a circle of zoom users. It really also creates that space of love and humor and storytelling. And it's always so fun to recognize that others still have also those stories so close to their heart.

Christine Li:

My thought is that it's re enlivening the spirit of the person that the person comes right back. It sounds really beautiful.

Jacqueline Steudler:

I love that. Yeah, when you say it that way.

Christine Li:

Now, my thought goes to being stuck. And though you have this beautiful compassion that you have philosophies and rituals, we can get stuck in so many different ways. You're making me think our stuckness is is so meaningful, because we're hanging on to something and we're refusing all the other options. Do you gently guide people forward? Do you wait it out? Do you address it with words? Do you paint it out? What are your factions?

Jacqueline Steudler:

I think all of the above that you just mentioned. The thing is that when someone comes to me and approaches me, those are the people that have already acknowledged that they are stuck. Right. So there are many, many other people that don't realize yet that they might be stuck a little bit. But I always say you know, give yourself at least a year. Before you call yourself. You know that you have difficult grieving peace If you're grieving someone, and your doctor tells you, you should get medication for depression, then you might also first look into your grief and see if you're stuck in something. Do not refuse the advice of your doctor, I'm not saying that at all. But that could be an indication that you're stuck in your grief. And it just culminated to that part where you need medication that helps you to kind of really find yourself again. And yes, what I find actually that unstuck works, the best is creativity. Because with being creative, we get into flow kind of feel, our brain just shuts a little bit off, it gets that whole part of, I'm sad, I cannot live with the person, I still hear their voice, I feel them around me all the time. And it can make me upset or happy at the same time. But it's unnerving. And when you create, it can be writing, it can be painting, it can be singing, then you kind of give your brain that time to relax and find a new input. So going into that flow state, I find very, very helpful to just you know, when some people are knitting crushing, now, and I find that is so cool that they are doing that because I know how much it helps also with the whole situation that we are in with the pandemic, to be creative, and to do something that is really getting our brain a break from all the news and all the sadness status happening in our lives or in other people lives. So yes, for me, it's creativity.

Christine Li:

Yes, wonderful. And I can feel how powerful that must be, I can already envision how helpful that would be to get your brain to click out of a more logical obsessional style of hanging on to something and moving into a flow. You mentioned the pandemic and these difficult times and I have been thinking of inviting someone onto the show to talk about grief and loss, because there's so much unspoken, in the past year, about the tremendous number of layers of loss that we've all had to experience, whether it's an actual loss of a person or loss of experiences, loss of relationships, but then I also thought, as with issues of grief, our society also pushes aside creativity. So it feels like it's just hard to jump into a conversation with someone about creativity or about your laws. What are your thoughts about how difficult sometimes it is to approach these topics with people?

Jacqueline Steudler:

You mean about creativity or through printing?

Christine Li:

I guess my thought is maybe it's not difficult for you because it's your area of specialty. But I think for me, I've always thought of myself as a psychologist who feels somewhat wary or unsure of myself in the area of talking about bereavement, not for lack of experience or desire to be helpful, but it's just an area that I feel a little less comfortable approaching, sometimes, maybe just an old fear, I don't know, maybe it's just a thought stuck in my head. And I also think creativity is such a massive area in general that has brought relief and joy and life to so many, but that so many people also do not have an experience of being connected to so i think i'm talking about that, that we tend to maybe push into the dark corners, these areas that are more creative, more about love more about gentleness, more about sadness, and I just wanted to hear what your thoughts might be on that topic.

Jacqueline Steudler:

Yeah, I think that is a normal reaction that has always been there making creativity accessible also, there is this little fear, you know, I think it has to do that. When we were born. And as children we will just draw we would you know, color things we would not think about anything we would seeing wrong and right and nobody would kind of everybody just thought that is So cute. And then comes that stage where someone says, oh, but this looks different, right? A house has to look like this, or a car has to look like this. And then you're starting to realize, oh, there is a right and the wrong piece. And some of us, we kind of stick to our guns and we say, no matter what we will create, others are just getting into that thing. Okay? I was told I cannot paint or I cannot draw, so I leave it on the side, and they never take it out again. But I always find, as soon as you give someone, just the possibility to use crayons, or colored pencils, or a brush with some paint on it. And you say, hey, it doesn't matter. Because I know you're not an artist. And you don't have to be an artist. Just put a mark on that paper with the color you think depicts your feeling at the moment the best. And then you can see how really in their body as well, this heaviness is lifted off because, okay, there is no right or wrong in doing anything creative when I'm just putting a mark on paper. But the accessibility is still sometimes a problem. But I think it's of our own making that we are not accessing it as much. Right now, I am so thrilled to see so many groups, you know, coming together online, painting together, knitting together, cross cutting, doing all kinds of creative things, or all the music, sing alongs karaoke at his best with people that are leading people in sing alongs. And I have found that over the last year, if you really want to find a place where you fit in and just try out creativity, you can actually now find it. Because everybody has gone online and has adapted to that challenging time in that regard. So there is something good coming out, I think out of the pandemic. But on the other side, there is that distancing part that is happening, where we can't be there can't hold their hands, can't comfort someone with a hug when they lose their job, or the relationship breaks apart because we were too much on top of each other. And all those little pieces are now not possible. So I think that creativity and artists at the moment are really stepping it up to keep our population mentally healthy. And I really applaud them everyone that that's that at the moment.

Christine Li:

Beautifully said absolutely recognize to and I'm glad for that as well. And thank you for reminding me and my listeners that there are so many opportunities now to get reconnected if you've been more isolated or if you're trying to explore a new untapped talent there lots of opportunities. And Jacqueline, I'm so excited that you are developing your own program and getting it ready for relaunching it into the world. Could you describe your program in a little bit more detail to us?

Jacqueline Steudler:

Yes. So I have a membership that is called Healing Hearts collective. And you join the membership. It's a half year membership first I had it as a monthly but I realized night I think people should at least stick it out for half a year. What do you get is every week there is a compassionate, creative or numerous or ritual meditation, peace, whatever is there so each week has one piece so not to overwhelm anyone that is grieving that they can easily just listen to me and then do it. I have attachments that you can download. And so every month has its own theme. And it starts with kindness for yourself because that's really, really important. Take that shower again and do those little steps. And then we go over the next month is about honoring stories about our loved one. The third month we are taking into our resilience and Just bring up where we still have those tools, then the fourth month goes into movement. And movement really can mean more stories, or it can really mean moving your body around meditation, music that your loved one, and you share together and just do things with that. Then the fifth one is laugh, and there is kind of that peace of Love is the answer. And in that particular part, we go deep into rituals. And then the last one is gratefulness, where we bring all the themes together and look at all the tools that we have accumulated over the last five months, and really kind of almost make a little tool belt that we have for moving forward in the future when grief comes knocking on the door and just is giving us another hard time because it will happen, unfortunately. And if somebody wants to stay longer than six months, they can because I will just add new pieces to the kindness part. And we just go through that circle again, because I know that repetition is golden. When it comes to mental health and self care.

Christine Li:

Beautiful, I am sitting here thinking about how many people in the world are connected to you, because of your work, your compassion, your kindness, your loveliness. So thank you for sharing all of that with us today. I know you also have a book and perhaps a guide to share with our listeners. Could you mention those as well?

Jacqueline Steudler:

Yes, I have a book that is called from grieving to grateful. And it is on Amazon Kindle. It's kind of from I always forget my own title isn't that sad? From I have framing grieving

Christine Li:

to grateful heal your broken heart.

Jacqueline Steudler:

Yeah, heal your broken heart. Once in a while, I will have a Healing Hearts experience where I have full week of workshops, and Q and A's. And if you're interested, just go and join healing for grieving hearts.com it's join dot healing for grieving hearts.com. If that is something that interests you, you can find more information there. And it's a free week of just helping you along and finding those first. I call them compassionate actions towards your healing.

Christine Li:

Wonderful, wonderful. Thank you so much. I have a feeling you have helped many people who are listening to this show right now to get the feeling that there are different ways to go through grieving and different ways to express our love to those we have lost. So thank you for sharing everything with us today, Jacqueline.

Jacqueline Steudler:

Thank you very much, Christine, for having me.

Christine Li:

We'll see you soon. And I'll see you next week. Bye, everyone. Thank you for listening to this episode of The make time for success podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard, you can subscribe to make sure you get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website make time for success podcast.com for past episodes, show notes and all the resources we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me over on Instagram too. You can find me there under the name procrastination coach, send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes you've been listening to. And let me know any topics that you might like me to talk about on the show. I'd love to hear all about how you're making time for success. I'll talk to you soon.

Jacqueline Steudler

Art Therapist and Grief Coach

Jacqueline Steudler is an Art Therapist and Grief Coach. Since her mother's death in 2013, she focuses on helping women navigate the sometimes overwhelming feelings of grief by using her knowledge as an art therapist and training in grief recovery.

She helps grieving women navigate their healing journey without leaving their loved one who has died behind by using art-making, mindfulness, and humour.
Art-making is a tool that helps her clients find new expressions of their feelings when words are missing. The Healing For Grieving hearts program is carefully designed to help the bereaved lift the layers of grief, uncover their inner resources, and find new meaning in life.

In April 2020, she released her first ebook ‘From Grieving to Grateful: Heal Your Broken Heart’ which became a number one bestseller on AmazonKindle in Canada.