EOLPodcast, Grief Travel, Tragedy

Ep. 166 Grief Travel: Lessons from Spain

PodcastSpainpic

 

 

IMG_6174In this episode I’m back from my travels in Spain and share some stories from my trip. When I travel I focus on learning how other cultures have experienced loss and grief throughout history in order to form a deeper connection with all people everywhere. Grief is the great connector of humankind as a universal experience.

(Photo: Tomb of Christopher Columbus in the Cathedral of Sevilla. For more photos go to my Instagram page.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

bartonwebinarThere will be a webinar with Jane Barton on developing resilience in later life titled “Bridge Time: Dealing with the Consequences of Change” on Tuesday October 30th.

Sign up here to listen live or get the replay after the broadcast.

 

Patreonbecome2xThis podcast is supported through generous donations on my page at Patreon.com/eolu. This week I’m sending a HUGE THANK YOU to the following new patrons: Tawnya Musser, Julie, Rowena Wallen, Issac Seigel, and Alicia Coleman. If you’d like to join the team and contribute to this work you can learn more and sign up at Patreon.com/eolu.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Here are some highlights of my travels in Spain:

  • In Madrid I learned about the terrorist attacks on commuter trains coming into Atocha Station that took place on 3/11/2004, which reminded me of 9/11 in the U.S. I understood the grief, panic and horror that struck all of Spain that day as they experienced the overwhelming shock of such an attack on their own soil.guernica
  • I saw Picasso’s painting “Guernica” at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid and learned about the tragic bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War in 1937. The painting is massive and very moving to behold in real life as it portrays the anguish of that awful day.
  • Through travels in Toledo and the region of Andalusia I learned about the convivencia, a period of relative tolerance between Muslims, Jews and Christians who lived as neighbors during the 700-year Muslim rule. They shared literature, poetry, architecture, design, agricultural and irrigation methods, and advances in science, astrology and medicine during the Dark Ages when the rest of Europe was in a time of regression. fullsizeoutput_1966
  • I visited La Mezquita in Cordoba, once the largest mosque in the world in the middle of which a huge cathedral was built after Catholics reclaimed the city from Muslim rule. The mosque is extraordinarily beautiful inside and much of the architecture was preserved and incorporated into the cathedral. The red and white arches of the mosque can be seen in the header of this post.IMG_4437
  • In Granada we visited the Alhambra, a gorgeous palace and walled city from the Nasrid dynasty that was surrendered to the Catholic monarchs of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, in 1492 to finally end all Muslim rule in the country. The beauty of the palace has been preserved as an example of Moorish architecture that is also seen in many Jewish and Christian buildings from that time.IMG_4164
  • Finally we saw many monuments to Christopher Columbus throughout Spain and were there to witness the celebration of Columbus Day on October 12th, which is now being called Indigenous People’s Day in many places here in the U.S. It was fascinating to view Columbus’ exploration through the eyes of the “colonizing country” and compare it to the experience of the “colonized” in this country. Columbus died in poverty and disgrace after never finding the passage to India he was seeking, not knowing the legacy he was leaving behind (which is now tarnished from our perspective in the U.S.)

In conclusion, travel is a fascinating way to connect with people of different culture, ethnicity, race,  and religion and  has the power to bring us back to a place of convivencia, where we can live together in tolerance, even though we have different views. We share our humanity, our mortality and our grief as one people living on one planet.

Remember there will be a new episode every Monday! If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes.

Until next time …

Face Your Fear            BE Ready            Love Your Life

karen-signature

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief, Grief Travel

Ep. 141 Travel to Heal the Grief of War: Tips for a Pilgrimage

Learn how to create a pilgrimage to help you process the grief that follows the trauma of war.

 

PodcastNormandy

griefluggagelg2ED-1149289_1280In this episode I share my own story of traveling to Normandy to retrace my father’s footsteps during World War II. This was part of a grief pilgrimage I took to help me understand the factors that led to my father’s suicide many years later.

Read the companion blog here.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously and join our online reading group for 2018. Read more about it here.

This episode is sponsored by my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu who contribute a little each month to keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air! Thank you to my latest patron: Martha Johnson! I appreciate your support more than you can ever know. To become a patron go to Patreon.com/eolu and receive some special bonuses.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

One year ago I featured a special 8-part series titled Suicide: Surviving the Aftermath about my own journey of healing following my father’s suicide death. This week is the anniversary of his death and I’m focusing in today on part of my journey.

(You can hear the entire Suicide Series at: www.eoluniversity.com/suicideseries )

In order to learn more about the impact of World War II on Dad’s emotional health I took a grief pilgrimage to Normandy to explore the location of some of his traumatic experiences. That trip was a powerful experience that helped me understand Dad better and grasp the burden of grief and guilt that he had carried with him since the war.

Here are my tips for anyone who wants to plan a similar pilgrimage (listen to the episode for more of the details and to hear how my own journey unfolded):

  • Do your homework before you go: Learn all you can about your loved one’s wartime travels so you can choose the places you’ll visit carefully. Check the National Archives for information and military records for your loved one.
  • Visit a museum: You’ll learn a lot of history in a short time by starting your journey at a war memorial museum. You’ll find some of the recommended World War II museums in Europe listed here.
  • Enlist a guide: A local guide with a solid knowledge of history and the area can save you time and show you places you wouldn’t have discovered on your own. Find a guide that speaks your language fluently and is willing to go to the places on your list.
  • Meet a local: One of the benefits of traveling to the location of the war is the opportunity to meet people who personally experienced the war and its aftermath (or their offspring.) Local citizens will have stories to share that will help broaden your perspective.
  • Take your time: The emotions that arise on grief pilgrimage are intense so allow time for reflection and processing. Don’t rush through the sites but stop and take it all in. Let your feelings rise to the surface so that they can be witnessed.
  • Participate in a ritual: Rituals provide a powerful opportunity for healing during grief travel experiences so plan ahead to create your own special ceremony. Or you may have a chance to take part in a scheduled ceremony with other travelers as I did when I visited the Normandy American Cemetery. 

Learn more about how travel helped my grief by listening here.

Tune in each Monday for a new episode and if you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes!

Until next week remember ….

Face Your Fear             BE Ready             Love Your Life

karen-signature

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief, Grief Travel, Tragedy

Ep. 118 How Travel Helped My Grief

Learn how travel can provide a “safe container” for healing grief and loss.

PodcastGriefTravel

kwadriatic.jpg
In this episode I’ll share my own insights into how the experience of travel can help with the process of grief. This is also the subject of the new book I’m writing (I did research for it on my recent trip to Italy) … I’ll share a brief overview here!

You can check out all of my Italy photos on Instagram!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

virtualdeathcafecroppedEach month I host a “Virtual Death Cafe” with fascinating conversations about death, grief and the end of life. Anyone can join by telephone or online. You can learn more about it at www.eoluniversity.com/death-cafe.

Also, if you missed Death Expo earlier this month you can still access the replays at this link: www.eoluniversity.com/de17speakers.

Patreonbecome2xThis podcast is supported through the generous donations of my patrons on Patreon.com/eolu. I’m sending a HUGE THANK YOU to all of my current supporters – your support makes a big difference! Join the fun for just $1 or $2 per month and you’ll receive the “Patrons Only” Q&A recording each month (Hospice Happy Hour!) Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more and sign up!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

During several of my travel experiences in the past I have been dealing with grief and have found the process of travel to be helpful. On one trip to Italy, my husband and I learned of the death of our brother-in-law on the day we arrived in Venice. Unable to cancel the rest of our trip and return home immediately, which we wanted to do, we stumbled through the remainder of the vacation and managed to make peace with our pain.

Here are some of my “takeaways” about how travel can help with grief:

  • Permission to wander aimlessly. On our Venice trip we canceled all of our sightseeing plans and activities. We started each day with a totally clean slate and just wandered the streets and canals of the city all day long. By following our intuition and our broken hearts we were able to enter into our grief without distraction or attachment. Had we been at home with family we would have felt obligated to “do something” and “be somewhere” but because we were traveling we were free of all expectations.
  • Seeing the big picture. Because we were freed up from the details of our daily life at home, we found more space to explore grief from a “trans-personal” perspective, as something bigger than just our own individual lives. Experiencing grief in another country allowed us to:
    • Recognize that all people, everywhere, experience the death of loved ones. Our mortality and the grief it causes us is the interconnecting thread that binds us to all of humanity.
    • Go deep into history. By visiting ancient ruins we can see that all of humankind, throughout history has dealt with the pain of loss and struggled to make peace with death. Our experience of grief is just one part of a vast “whole” picture of human loss.
  • Surrendering to grief to find joy within. As travelers “stuck” in another country even though we wanted to be home, we had no choice but to surrender to the pain that engulfed us. When we allowed grief to find a home within (and even “became” a living embodiment of grief) we also discovered a startling capacity for simple joy over the beauty of being alive. I’ve written this before: suffering hollows us out so that we can contain an even greater measure of joy … and also love.
  • Understanding impermanence. Strolling through cemeteries, relics and ruined structures of the past illustrated to me perfectly that everything that exists in the physical realm is impermanent and will one day dissolve away. Only love and the energy of life persist eternally. And it is the depth of the love we experience for others that causes the magnitude of pain we feel upon their deaths. Grief is one of the visible manifestations of love in the physical realm.
  • Learning how to navigate in unfamiliar territory. On our “grief trip” in Venice we simply wandered every day until we were hopelessly lost. We took in everything around us along the way–noticing all the colors and sounds and fragrances of life. And when we felt ready to return “home” we studied our maps to figure out where we were and to slowly find our way back to more familiar territory. This skill of navigating in the unknown will prove to be very helpful to us throughout life and especially during our own dying process as we struggle to get back to a home we can’t remember.

I hope you will take the opportunity to travel some day, even when you are experiencing grief, to experience the profound benefits it can offer!

Tune in every Monday for a new episode of the podcast! If you enjoy this content, please share it with others and leave a review on iTunes! Until next week remember:

Face Your Fear            BE Ready            Love Your Life

karen-signature