Unshakable Lessons from Crisis

Back from hiatus with a solo show with some of what I learned from using the tools and practices to become unshakable during the crisis of my mother’s illness and death.

episode transcription


Welcome to Unshakable Being, the podcast with inspiration and practical tools for purpose led leaders like you to relieve stress, build resilience, and unlock vitality in your life, body and business. I am Dr. Heather Clark, and I’ll be your host.



Hello, and welcome back to Unshakable Being. As you may have noticed, Unshakable Being has been on hiatus. What happened is my mother became gravely ill last October, and she died in mid November, after about a week of caring for her at home with hospice.



I needed a little time to process that, as you might imagine, and I want to take a moment to share with you a little bit of what I’ve learned from this experience.



So first of all, I’m just so grateful that I have been working on these tools to become unshakable. Because if I hadn’t been doing this work, I think things would have gone dramatically differently. For me, don’t don’t hear this like this wasn’t a stress, this was an incredible stress. However, as a result of using these tools, I feel like I was able to really ground and center and get super clear on what was important to me. So I was able to move through this stressful situation in a way that helped me respond to what was happening instead of react.



So one of the big things that was a takeaway for me is, it is crucial to truly understand that you are loved. Love is always present, and is just not always packaged the way you want it. It’s not always delivered the way you want it. But it is always present.



And through using these tools, I was able to really see Oh, okay. I kind of knew that in my head. And I completely got it in a different way through this lived experience. And part of how I got there was applying the tools that I teach clients.



And that is, number one, deeply love yourself. But through actions. Maybe not, but through actions, but mostly through actions. And one of those actions is putting yourself ruthlessly and relentlessly first. Now, I just want to acknowledge how it might sound like, wow, this lady’s a jerk, her mother was dying. And the big thing she learned was to put herself first.



Yes, I got very clear, what was my desire in the situation. And I put my own needs first. And the end result of that was what I discovered I truly wanted to do was to be able to show up for my mother, my father and my family in a way that was powerful, in a way that was calming, and in a way that could create more for everyone. That was my desire. So that’s what I set out to do.



And part of that was discerning Well, what do I really need, what do I require, and then making it happen. So a lot of times that you’ve heard asked for what you need. That’s important. And especially in a situation like this. It’s, for me personally, I wanted to focus on mom’s needs, and dad’s needs. And I bring up dad as well, because he fell the day after mom was admitted to the hospital. So he required some extra care and attention, he had injured himself. And he needed some help getting around. And just in addition to this other extremely stressful situation he was in. So I wanted to truly show up. And I was able to because I was able to put my own needs first.



And sometimes that looked like, you know, I can’t have this conversation right now. I’m too tired. Let’s revisit this in the morning. Sometimes it looks like this is great and everything I need to go take a break. And sometimes it looks like no, this is exactly where I want to be. I don’t want to leave for dinner. So it’s getting very clear about what you want, and being able to speak up for that.



And in addition, being a stand for receiving what you require. So for instance, a form of support is information. And for me, especially in a healthcare situation, I require information about what is going on what is the clinical course what is our plan, that’s how I roll. So I would then ask for that information, and when the response was, “oh, she’s doing pretty good.” No, break that down for me. Because it isn’t good enough for me. And for other people. They don’t want the nitty gritty. So it’s really important to be super clear about what you want and you require, and then ask for it.



And accept support, not just ask for support, but accept the support that comes in and allow that support to come in in ways that maybe you don’t expect. And a tool I found incredibly helpful, because there was several times I’m like, I don’t know what to ask for people were like, how can we help you? What can we do, and I had no idea.



So I would just tell people that I don’t know what to ask for here. I don’t even know what we need. So we would love the support. And you can surprise us or offer us a short menu of options. That was really helpful for me, like what is a short menu of options, what three or four things you might want to do. And then I can pick from that. And that was really wonderful, because people were able to come up with types of support that I never in a million years would have dreamt up on my own, it was just beautiful.



Also, allow not only allow people to support you, but allow people to not support, let them not help. Because not everybody can contribute. And because you’re putting yourself first do not tolerate any interference of that support. People may say or do things from a space of meaning well, but really, it is not helpful at all, and you don’t need to put up with it.



Love is kind, love is not necessarily nice.



And let that be okay. That goes along with learning to harness the power and intensity of the situation. Because when you’re in a situation where you’re supporting a parent who is gravely ill, where you are doing a lot of emotional labor, a lot of mental labor, a lot of physical and spiritual labor, or you’re doing a lot of work, really allow the power and intensity to help you. It’s easy to get quite overwhelmed. Really, it’s almost it isn’t quite a get out of jail free card. But you can view it as that.



So one of the ways I moved through this being as unshakeable as possible, is we were in the family within a meeting with physicians. And we were receiving some news that we did not want. And it was very upsetting. And I was able to listen to the information and translate that for the family in a way that made sense. And I could then stop and cry. And then I would move on with the meeting and then stop and cry and move on. That is the power and intensity of the situation. That I have gotten to a point in my life where I can do that on the fly…first of all, is is fantastic for me, because in the past, I would have no no I can’t cry right now and just pushed through. And then it would have taken me weeks, months, maybe even years to process the information later.



Again, I’m not saying I did this perfectly, no. But what I’m saying is my ability to show up present in the moment. And I invite you to show up present in the moment, no matter how powerful no matter how intense and allow the feelings to not only happen, but to express. It allowed me to respond to what was happening and to be as fully present as possible.



Another thing that I got from this was just this knowing that there is love all around. You. Yes you–I’m talking to you–are truly loved. And as you step into that understanding of how you’re loved that is a huge component to becoming unshakable. Because there’s a lot of us that had it within like, Oh, I’m I don’t have the love or love doesn’t come this way or it doesn’t work out for me bup bup bup. We’ve got up that inner chatter. But what became clear to me was that love is all about And I could apply that love, I could use that love, I could receive that love, I could use love as a carrier wave, it came at an important talisman and helped keep me on my equilibrium through some very difficult, very challenging situations.



And while this experience was horrible, it was also beautiful. And I am so grateful that using these tools, I was able to experience the beauty. I was able to experience the love and I was able to take from what is not a good situation, I was able to really experience the joy within each moment.



Thank you so much. I hope this has been helpful. Please reach out. I’d love to share more. If you have more questions. I’d love to have a discussion. Let me know. Thank you so much.



Thanks so much for listening. I’d love to hear from you. Go to unshakablebeing.com and submit your question, comment or topic request may be unshakable, unstoppable and vibrant again. Until next time.