What is the root cause of our grief and the trauma we experience from the loss of our wives? Is it loss and loneliness? Is it feeling helpless?
My guest today is Tim Ohai a strategic effectiveness expert and coach, who I met in the business world, but got to know deeply as a fellow widower. Tim lost his wife Diana in 2020 and is now a single father of two, with a son 22 and a daughter 20.
Tim is a man of strong faith and purpose, along with having an educational background in behavioral science and psychology, and we had plenty to talk about: discussing Tim’s journey from grief to growth, exploring the challenges he faced and how mind, body and especially spirit helped him on his way.
Tim. 15:45 – So that physical movement… when I shut down physically, when I opened back up, all of a sudden, things started to unlock. And so there is something powerful that happens when you tap into that mind body connection,
Tom 16:04 – There is a disconnect that happens when we’re grieving between our mental state and our body. Because what’s happening is, we’re living in our mind, we’re almost disconnected from our body and reality. Our alarm systems are going off and we don’t want to be in the present as a result. But our mind is telling us not to be in the present because of the perceived danger and feelings of grief. But when you connect with your body and you start doing things, it kind of resets that clock, and now all of a sudden, we are in the present. And we will learn to process the grief at that point. And so that physical activity, and for me, it was vital in my recovery running was vital for me going to the gym exercising was vital. Talk about that a little bit. I mean, do you think that’s what happened with your son?
Tim 16:53 – So it’s a combination, for me it’s walking. And I’ve gotten back in the gym, and I used to be a gym rat. So I mean, you know, used to rip phone books and you know, push pretty big weights, I’m in my 50s now so that’s not a great option anymore There’s something about the combination of the physical movement, but it’s also that blood flow. And you’re releasing different chemicals and different hormones in your brain so that it reacts differently to your current reality. So the neuroscience of it is, how do you get yourself out of that limbic reptilian part of the brain, the part of your brain where your pure emotion, and there’s no real logic to it, and to get out of that space to get to your prefrontal cortex, where you actually have logic, thinking and language and you have words to describe things. But when you’re grieving, you’re locked into an emotional state. So the only way to let your brain kind relax, come out of the emotion and into logic and thinking, is through physical movement. And I learned that whenever I get tense, whenever I’m going for a walk it doesn’t just clear my head. It actually gets my brain unlocked. So then I can start doing different things, feeling different things, and thinking different thoughts and feeling different feelings.
Tom 36:33 – There’s a sense of control, I think, in doing some of those things that you need to get back because you do feel so helpless and so out of control through sickness and loss. Things are so much bigger than you realize. So I think there’s a perspective there that you get. But also you feel helpless. And I think doing little things towards improvement and growth are so important. So for me, one of the first things I did was to make the bed, and since that first day after the loss, I now make the bed every day. Now my wife Judy used to do that. And I used to think it was stupid. I’ll be honest, there were many times I said, why do you bother to make it as we’re just gonna mess it up again, kind of thing. So funny. Now, every day. Even Tim, when I’m in hotel rooms. I will organize the bed. I was just on a retreat recently. I made my bed every day.
Browse the Video Version:
The information in this podcast is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical, mental health or spiritual advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, mental health counselor, spiritual advisor or other qualified health-care , mental health or spiritual provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, mental or spiritual challenges or treatment. Before making any changes to your health-care, diet, exercise or other aspects of your life, please seek professional advice, and never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or heard on this podcast or through other Growth through Grief resources.