As a former critical care nurse, Mary shares her story of becoming a Life Coach and Reiki Master after the unexpected death of her husband. Skilled in Chakra Balancing, use of Essential Oils, Aroma Touch Massage, Holistic Health, Energy Healing and Meditation, Mary specializes in helping the bereaved to heal and connecting people to their purpose by helping them put the puzzle pieces of their life into perspective.
5:18 Mary's finds Reiki.
18:14 The gift of healing.
24:01 The benefits of energy healing.
29:47 Motivation after loss.
38:07 Grief group and the importance of saying our deceased's name.
46:41 Goals and secondary losses in grief.
52:00 Finding a happy place.
58:02 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
1:04:39 Self-love exercises.
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Vonne Solis 0:00
Welcome to another episode of Grief Talk. Everything you want to know about grief and more. I'm your host, Vonne Solis. As an author, life transformation coach, online instructor and bereaved mom since 2005. I'll be bringing you great content that is informative, inspiring and practical. Whether you have suffered a loss or other adversity, stay tuned and tapped in as I cover a variety of topics to help you get where you want to go on your journey to heal and grow. Today's guest is Mary English. Mary is a life coach who is specializing in helping the bereaved and people who feel stuck in their present life, have trouble with self image issues, or are searching for their life purpose. Mary is an experienced Reiki master working in the health wellness industry, skilled in chakra balancing, use of essential oils, aroma, touch, massage, holistic health, energy, healing, and meditation. Mary loves working with people and helping them find their way to a happy joy filled life by putting the puzzle pieces of their life into perspective. Welcome back to a another episode of grief talk. And today, I am so excited to have my guest, Mary English, Mary, I just want to say hi, if you want to pop in for a second say hello.
Mary English 1:25
Hi, everybody. Thank you for letting me come on this podcast. It's, it's kind of exciting for me to do this.
Vonne Solis 1:32
It's super exciting for me, Mary and I just do an intro ahead of the interview for my viewers and listeners, because I like to explain what we're going to be talking about right up front. And so I'm very, very excited to have you on the show Mary because one of the things that's always interested me is a cross from I'm a bereaved mom. And so I've I was thrown into the grief world. And while I've had other losses since my daughter, you know, parents, her best my daughter's best friend died, her biological father died, his sister died, all people I was really, really close to those deaths, you know, have not really impacted sorry, impacted me in the way that my daughter Janae is death did. So I'm always, you know, eager to learn about grief from different perspectives, and what it's like for other individuals who are grieving different types of losses, because I'm trying to reach a really a really wide audience here and touch on all areas of grief support, grief, advocacy, alternative healing, personal growth.
Vonne Solis 2:54
But one of the things that drew me to you, Mary, and we just met recently, but the minute I saw your profile on one of the platforms we met on, and I saw that you had come from traditional and critical care, nursing, and then you moved into all alternative healing. So that right there was like, Okay, this is really super interesting. And then I understood that, you know, you all also run a grief support group, and then you and I chatted and met over over zoom, and I instantly connected with you, and you agreed to come on this podcast, and which is new for both of us, quite frankly, me as a host and you as a guest. But I maintain that all voices are really, really important. And we learn through our stories, we learn through our shared experiences. And for those of us, you know, willing and brave enough sometimes to, you know, talk publicly about what we're doing, what we think, what we believe, it just adds to the mix. And it gives other individuals listening or watching the opportunity to pursue certain type of treatment, for example. Certain type of grief support. Think, you know, change their mind. Think about things in their own healing that they maybe didn't think about themselves.
Vonne Solis 4:08
So on that note, I wanted to start with saying that I visited your website. And I saw there that you said that you do love sharing stories. And you love spending time in nature and with your friends and family. So I thought you came to the right place, Mary. So thanks again, you know, because we're fast friends, and I love that. And when I connect with people that I really feel on a deep level, there's something there, you know, they stay in my life. And there's always things we can learn from each other. So I'm really happy that I get to introduce you to a wider audience as well. So I wanted to open my first question, which was basically what drew you into the world of alternative healing, and I know you work With your Reiki master, and you work with aroma touch, and we're gonna get to that in the next question, what exactly is that, but what drew you into that world? You know, once you left your critical care nursing career,
Mary English 5:18
I think mostly, it was almost, I'm not gonna, I was gonna use accident as a word, but it, it just kind of evolved after my husband passed away. I entered into a grief group of myself to make sure that I was okay, I thought I was, but I thought maybe I should just check this out. So I did that. And I became acquainted with someone who did Reiki and who was very into alternative medicines and holistic healing. And I just began devouring books and learning from her and learning from anybody I could could start talking to and find out more better. And I ended up going to school and studying psychotherapy for a while and studying doing courses on totally, they're called Total sounds so that you begin to work on your own your own self, and learn more about meditation and learning more about your body and feeling what you're actually feeling all those things. And that just continued to do evolve. For me, I learned how to do Reiki over a period of about a year and a half. So I became a Reiki Master. And that contact with people being able to use that energy with people and see what their experiences are pre and post the sessions. It just, I think it's just a driving force and looking at how that helps them in in different ways. And everybody has has different sensations and feelings. From the those experiences it just, it just, I guess it energizes me to continue growing and continue learning. And after the death of my husband, I wasn't prepared to just sit around and do nothing, I was still a fairly young woman, and I needed to find something else to do. So it just it just all began to evolve for me. And it's still evolving, is still going and growing and learning itself. So it keeps me motivated, I think on a daily basis.
Vonne Solis 7:23
Yeah, well, we're always healing and growing. And I like to sort of center my work in this in this um, you know, sort of statement of, you know, personal power and a journey to heal and grow. And I'm, I'm just like you, Mary, I'm with you on that I'm learning every day. And I'm a very curious person. And so do you think that curiosity sort of plays a role in you know, staying motivated, you know, wanting to always learn, add new skills, you know, do new new things in life? Like, are you, you strike me as someone who's probably quite curious, is that true?
Mary English 8:01
It does. And I think the whole whole realm of energy work was something that I had never really looked at before. Until I got involved in it. And as I said, As I continued to read and learn and began to feel the energy myself, it you want, you want to do more, and you want to understand more. And when you see your own abilities begin to shape and take form or get stronger. You want to continue to search and do things and share that it's not something to kind of hide in your back room and not share with someone it has to be shared with people.
Vonne Solis 8:38
Yeah, I totally agree. I've known about Reiki for a long, long, long time. And I am curious, we're going to move into that just shortly here to what exactly is Reiki and aromatherapy, how they work together. And so but I want to lead up to that by saying, for myself, and for millions of people, we do store pain in our body. And so I'm going to, you know, sort of assume that one of the things you're going to talk about or can share with us with Reiki and then and then how smell actually, the sense of smell actually works into healing as well. But I know that when I first became bereaved, I had some Reiki sessions done on me, along with people who, you know, did prayer. And it was very powerful. I never pursued that energy healing, but I did end up becoming an Angel Therapy Practitioner, and I certified under Doreen Virtue in 2006. She's no longer working in that field. But, you know, it's working with this energy and working with unseen forces that I believe are so necessary for certainly holistic healing, some definitely physical healing and in our spiritual healing and And once I got into it, even though I had been an avid student of metaphysics, and, you know, an A Life student, you know, in the spiritual path, getting into that world of angels was a completely different thing for me, and I'm sure it was sort of similar to how you got into Reiki and you you know, and then once you're in, it's like, you can't stop, right, you just can't stop it becomes so, so much a part of your world. So in terms of doing Reiki, the what was it about Reiki itself, we'll talk about aromatherapy and and aroma healing as well, but what was it specifically about the Reiki that attracted you to that type of work, and then if you can move into it, how the true benefits of it?
Mary English 10:48
Okay. I think when I had my, the person who did my very first Reiki session, was part of the grief groups that I had been attending. And she was she was learning Reiki and needed to have some candidates to work on. And so I thought, well, you know, I'll give it a try. I had no idea what it was. But after that, I've searched for sessions, and I was basically sold, she brought up issues that I think I probably had buried for ever, and especially since my husband had passed away, because you tend to do things to survive that grief process and without realizing that you're just trying to tamp all that down without letting it kind of flow through you. And it really amazed me when she said that it shocked me in a sense, because I really had thought about it. But after she had done the session, and she was the person that did my first Reiki session is very highly intuitive. And she's also a medium. So listen, you know, things that she brought up, just sort of questioning me or you know, things that you I kind of felt really gave me a lot of food for thought it was amazing and surprising all at the same time. Shocking, I think to a little bit, but it made me want more. And it drove me to to want to be to learn more. So once she became a Reiki Master, I said, you're teaching me this. And when are we starting.
Vonne Solis 12:19
I love that. You're teaching me this. Yeah. I love that.
Mary English 12:23
We're very good friends. And we still laugh about that today. But I continue to be a little impatient that time. So when when do I do level two? Well, you have to wait you're when champion when I have to wait. So I was very, very much in the mood to get going at and and wanting to go through it. And the experiences that I had, as I, I became a Reiki Master and we're working with people have been, each person is a little bit different, each person feels something a little bit different. But the responses of them after they've had a session with me, especially those who have never done that before. I think they're all very nervous. And it's, I clarify with them that although it is a spiritual thing that I am doing, in a sense, it's not connected to any faith process and not connected to any churches. I understand why I clarify that with them. Because I usually do have something to say before the session. And really, most of the people just really are amazed at what they have felt. They feel a lot of energy, they feel more. They feel heat.
Vonne Solis 13:33
So you're just basically, um, not just basically. Let me rephrase that. In Reiki, is the Reiki I've had it's the practitioner puts the hands over various areas of the body can feel tension, not pain. Probably even pain related to certain events in a person's life. And then do you go over the whole body? And is this is this sort of what Reiki is like, can you explain what Reiki is for people and what benefits they can expect? Like is it is it a releasing of tension? Is it a an awareness of oh, I've been holding pain in my body there related to this issue that I had no idea was there. Is that sort of what the the Reiki is?
Mary English 14:21
Or what happens and each person is a bit differently, but for myself, I usually start at the top of the person's body at their head. Um, getting permission to touch their top if if I would put my hands on your body. Some people are fine. Most people are fine with that. But there are people who prefer not to be touched. So you gear you gear with that sense of how they're feeling that way. I usually talk a little bit about you're closing your eyes and relaxing and just kind of letting your mind go as blank as they're able to. And so then I work my way down there down through their head and their neck. Their their arms and trunk, and each side of the body. And sometimes I also have them turn over and do their back because I work with the chakras and the chakras are both back and front. So I work sometimes with that with that. And sometimes people have people this day and age seem to have a lot of difficulties in their back or back pain from the way we work and whatnot. So I find that's definitely a benefit to people. The session itself lasts about an hour, but I'm basically I guess, I see myself as a conduit of that energy. That energy sort of flows through me to them. So how it's going to work or where it comes from, or what they're going to actually feel. Usually, once we are finished the session, I sort of sit with them on the stretcher and see how they are and how they're feeling and what they sensed and what they felt. And if I sense or felt anything, I'll share that with them. Sometimes they really register with what I've said. Sometimes they don't until they go home and then they'll call me back and say, I realized what you said was right. Okay, I thought about it and it was right. So it's also very relaxing. It does tend to release a lot of emotions, people quite often will get very teary during a during a Reiki session.
Vonne Solis 16:17
Mary English 16:19
Yeah, they didn't they didn't you know, they don't know why they're crying, but they're crying and I say, well you know, when you go home, you might find that that'll come, you'll come to mind what triggered the tears.
Vonne Solis 16:28
Oh, I thought you said cheery, but you said teary, but I'll still say, Well, that's nice, because tears are a release. And so I'm going to sort of, you know, say that what I'm hearing from you is that the practitioner is gifted. You are a gifted individual in the in the energy work field. Energy healing field. And so is it would it be fair to say that the energy coming from a Reiki practitioner shifts the energy around in the client? Or does it? Does it it? Can it actually move? Like get rid of negative energy in the body?
Mary English 17:19
The energy itself comes from the universe, basically, I'm sort of like I said before, I am the conduit. So it comes through the universe to to me to the client. And yes, it does shift our energy in people in our thoughts. Certainly not anything that's a visible thing, but it does shift the energy. And we can look at if if the energy the practitioner is sort of feeling that there's a lot of negative energy there, she can work at that particular part of the body.
Vonne Solis 17:48
Mary English 17:50
I tend to not speak to my clients much when I'm doing the session. I just tend to concentrate on the patient. Once in a while, if there's something particular, I will check in with them, to see if they're feeling anything particular that play at that spot, or if they've had some issues with that area or something and get their feedback. But normally, I try to not speak to them and just allow that to kind of happen and then we talk after the session.
Vonne Solis 18:14
Yeah. I think that's so wonderful. I was just I just I have a question that like, were you as a child, and even maybe in your teens and early, early 20s, or whatever, but you know, those sort of formative years as we grow into adults? Did you ever have a sense that you had some curiosity about or maybe even a gift or that you had this ability to be a conduit for, you know, universal energy as a as a healing tool?
Mary English 18:49
Not really, I mean, I always wanted to be a nurse. I mean, that was the only thing I ever wanted to do from a small child. I was always very inquisitive about the, the, the faith that I was raised in, but I was never able to get answers that would satisfy me.
Vonne Solis 19:04
Mary English 19:05
And it was sometimes a lot of things that, you know, women weren't allowed to do certain things in that particular church. And so that it was sort of close, close a person down and you tried to figure out who this you know, supposed spiritual big being is and then a bit more about it, and nobody could really give me answers that satisfied me. But I didn't think I wasn't even thinking about, you know, energy or any of that kind of thing at the time.
Vonne Solis 19:29
So was it a bit of a surprise to you? Because when I became an Angel Therapy Practitioner, that was a coined phrase through, registered actually through Doreen Virtue at the time, and she was an internationally renowned Angel Practitioner. And so she went around the world, holding, you know, five day training sessions, if you will. And after my daughter died, my sister had got me into angels. So we went to California together to become Angel Therapy Practitioners, or at least take the training. And she went not because she really wanted to do it, she just wanted to take care of me and make sure I was okay. As that was nine months after my daughter died, and I was terrified to even get on a plane. I was just really afraid of the world at that time. But I knew I was driven. And I knew I have to do this, I have to do this. And so I hadn't even thought about angels before. You know, it's like hat there. You know, it was all very biblical for me angels were in the Bible, and they were Christmas tree ornaments. So I found myself absolutely shocked when I pursued this healing field. And I'm just wondering, like, did you kind of shock yourself with all the interest that you had in this and was it like, almost like, purpose driven, besides being a passion for you when you delved into this world?
Mary English 20:57
There, it was definitely a passion, but it was something I just never thought I would do or could do or should be doing or was worthy of doing. And it took a long time to really begin to, I mean, I was doing this even when I began doing Reiki. I mean, I certainly had some incredible feedback from my clients, but I just never thought that I would ever do that. It is it took a long time to finally be able to do this. And then just relax and concentrate on this. Not have to work so hard at concentrating. In the beginning, in the first probably year, I really felt like I was working hard to concentrate on the patient and not letting my mind float all over the place to other things in the world. Now I don't find it near near so difficult. So it's like I get into that zone with the client and myself and and I'm able to concentrate a lot easier and feel much less relaxed. And I think that's where that all starts to begin to happen when you relax with it and allow, allow that energy just to do whatever it has to do. I have no control of what it does. It does whatever it needs to do and goes where it needs to go most for that particular person.
Vonne Solis 22:02
I just think that's beautiful. And and I think when we, when we talk about it as alternative healing, it should just be healing and not thought of as alternative. It's holistic healing. It's beautiful healing. And even when I had people come to me for Angel readings, and I was a channel, I didn't work with cards or anything. I was just a conduit like you for messages. But one of the wonderful tools in this. So one thing I would sort of ask you is, is Reiki treatment, and I also want to have you talk a little bit about aroma, aroma healing, and but is Reiki treatment something that people can do on a regular basis? Or once the energy shifts, and I realize that we could have pockets of energy that need to be shifted, like, do we need to have our energy shifted regularly? I think that's my question.
Mary English 23:01
I just I usually advise my clients to to, to come when they feel they need to come some will come on a semi-regular basis, like maybe once a month or once every couple of months, they'll come. If it's something acute, such as a grief episode working with people, then you know, they may want to come more often. I I try to let them decide what they feel they need. I don't want them to feel like they're being pushed or pressured into coming on a regular basis. Reiki and Reiki has kind of become much more mainstream. So I think more people are learning about it. But there is a there is a cost and a lot of insurances right, now don't cover that cost.
Vonne Solis 23:39
Yes, I was just going to ask you about that. Mainstream, but we won't pay for it. Kind of like I'm not sure if if some insurance cover naturopaths, homeopathy and that sort of thing. But they're just so important as a complement, or to work in tandem with traditional medicine, which you know, all about as a critical care nurse. And so I mean, you know what you're doing. And so I'm sure you see a lot of benefits from energy work, and your aroma, touch. And, you know, the work you do with that, that can complement what people certainly with physical pain, and and again, maybe the mental and emotional pain, that traditional approaches, medicine and therapy, you know, maybe can't reach some of that. And so this is where I think the two worlds coming together are just so important. And I do think it should be covered by insurance. I really do. Because it's powerful.
Mary English 24:40
As far as to the best of my knowledge, only very few cover it at this point in time. But hopefully, you know, because there's so many different forms of energy work coming, coming forward and probably still more to come forward, that it's going to get more and more mainstream and more and more accepted. And maybe that's that will be a time when that when that will be covered so people can take advantage of that.
Vonne Solis 25:02
That would be exciting. That would be exciting.
Mary English 25:05
It's great for stress. People who are you know, and certainly over the past few years, there's been a lot of stress in the world. Any people who are going through, you know, a lot of stress and anxiety, just a simple relaxation and feeling that, you know, be able to let go of a lot of stuff through the Reiki treatment, during the Reiki treatment is definitely a help to people.
Vonne Solis 25:26
Yeah. So did I hear you say correctly, that there are other forms of energy healing that are becoming popular?
Mary English 25:34
There are other forms of energy healer that are out there. They've been out there for a while. So different people choose different things. And Reiki is probably one of the oldest ones.
Vonne Solis 25:34
Mary English 25:38
To the best of my knowledge, I think it is. I mean, it comes. It comes from, you know, the other side of the ocean. I think, the Japanese. So, but there's other things like, you know, there's Body Talk, and there's Therapeutic Touch, which is something I learned when I was doing my hospice work, and for the clients in hospice and the families also. It doesn't last as long as Reiki, it's a shorter duration for people like 20 minutes instead of the hour. And it's also a form that helps that person who is who is on their deathbed to relax a lot of times. It also is good for family members who are there with them. So you know, there are people that would do that in the hospice setting as well. So there's different kinds of energy work that can that can be used.
Vonne Solis 26:34
Wow, that's interesting. What I want mostly viewers and listeners to think about when Mary and I are talking about, you know, energy work, be it having somebody channel angels like I do, or Mary work with in person with her, her hands with Aroma, physical products there, you know, that still within this, it's, it's about the energy. And we are made up of energy. I'm not going to try and convince anybody, but I've read about this for decades, and learned enough to know that I just think we are made up of energy. And that's why it's, at our core, and this is why the vibration, how we vibrate, you know. Whether we are thinking and acting and feeling in a more positive way than a negative one. We have a lightness to our being. We get motivated. We get inspired. We smile more. Good things happen. When we are stuck in very, very low and painful places that energy is vibrating much lower and we're not experiencing life in the way that I like to say we're meant to. Which is with joy and love and all the all the comforts we want mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Vonne Solis 28:03
And it does take I'm leading into my next question, it does take an enormous amount of personal commitment, the willingness, the motivation, but mostly all the wanting to feel and be better. And which is a if you're a life student, it's a never ending pursuit. We're going to be doing this until our last breath. Always curious, always learning. But when we think about it in motivating people. I mean, sometimes in the work we do, we are motivators to encourage people to want to be better. Have more. Feel feel better. And when I say be better, I mean, feel better. Be more empowered. You have this wonderful, I'm going to just have a play on words here, call it power within you to be a conduit. We all have that power within within us to be a conduit of wonderful things that are more than just the physical. But even if we limit it to just the physical because we don't get, you know, necessarily embrace the beyond, fine. We still have an enormous amount of power within us to create the life we want. So, this is leading me to my next question that I had for you. You say that all people hold the key to their own healing. And so for you, what what would you interpret, or think of this key as being that could help people listening to our talk today? Or watching it?
Mary English 29:47
I can only speak for myself, I think I think for me, it was that motivation when they started learning those sorts of things. And it was almost a mystery to me. I wanted to understand it more. I wanted to know more about it and and having a sense of developing a sense of openness to openness to whatever the world has, and whatever the world is giving you, and how your own struggles can be turned into positive things and, and shared with other people. And I think I spent a lot of time this past week of my grief group, we spent so much time looking at allowing a grief process to flow through you and experiencing all that gut-wrenching pain that you have. But then it comes a point when you want to look at where you're going. And I asked them this week to picture themselves in three months from now, how do they want their life to be? How would their partner like their want their their life to be? And you know, what baby steps do they want to take to be someplace different than three months. Whether that be getting up with a little bit more happiness. Maybe that's the starting an exercise plan. Looking at setting goals for yourself. And I think for me, I just kept setting goals. And I had a lot of help on the way. You don't do these things by yourself. You do them through through prayer, through meditation, but also through people who you become acquainted with. And I think over the time, since my husband passed away, I've been gifted with some very beautiful people that have come into my life that have been mentors, and teachers and friends, and sometimes all all of those things in one that have given me the ability to do begin to be more open and learn more and share more about my feelings and realize that they, they are real. A lot of times you have all those feelings, wondering and questioning, but you don't want to tell anybody because you think they might think you're a little bit crazy. So you keep them to yourself. And then when you when you begin to be able to open up and be confident with the people that you're surrounding yourself with, you begin to learn more. And the more you learn, the more you want to learn. And for me, I just have always wanted to keep on learning. When I was was not able to finish a psychotherapy program due to other technical reasons, through the school and stuff, I wasn't prepared to call that an end. I thought you know what, I'll find something else to do. So I went into the coaching program, and that sort of led me to a lot of other things. So, I think a lot of it's your mindset. What you want to do and how you know, looking makes you happy.
Vonne Solis 32:24
Exactly. And I'm so glad you talked about it. The key thing I heard there is yes, we need to acknowledge all the pain that is within us and the experience. Whether it's been traumatic, sudden, unexpected loss, which still hurts. At some point, we have to reach a place of our choosing, that point of our choosing, where we do have to consider where we're going. Huge point, Mary, and thank you for saying that because I know, we'll talk a little bit about your grief group and the work that you do there, but I know that I know deeply raw pain of losing a child. And there hasn't been one practitioner I've talked to that hasn't substantiated what we read about and hear about so often, which is the worst loss is child loss. And the second worst loss is a young child losing a parent. And I've heard this over and over read this over and over again. And so when, I've been thrust into that world 17 years ago in July now, it does take an awful lot to get yourself motivated and, and inspired to learn to dream again. To be able to even have a chance at looking at where we're going. And I just want to mention very briefly here and I'm sure you'll agree Mary, when we talk about setting goals, this is not the way we might interpret goals through a mainstream personal development course. Life coaching or whatever where it's like set the goal go for it set the goal go for it, you know. Those goals are very, very difficult to set nevermind achieve when you are afraid to even put one step ahead of you or you've just been so shattered you can't or you're not sure where that step's going to land you. So I'm pretty confident in saying that Mary, you as someone who has been widowed, lost your husband probably a lot sooner than you had wanted to or thought was going to happen and have to reinvent yourself, and me losing my child at the age of 22 that she was 22, seventeen years ago, that I didn't see coming. And so we have we develop a compassion and an empathy for the journey that other people are on wherever they're on it.
Vonne Solis 34:52
But as Mary has said, and I agree, it is a long and winding road. We all reach the points that we are meant to reach and want to reach with the support of others. And certainly in my case, angels pretty much saved my life. But having said that, there, we can't do it alone. And so I read countless books. As as many books as I could read. I did go to therapy. I also went to mediums, you know, and, and I had my daughter visit me a lot. And all of these things combined helped me. But ultimately, we do reach a point where we have to decide what we want for our life. How we want it to look going forward. Do we or don't we want to be in as much pain and suffering. And while we're not talking about that today, that's sort of the pickup point that I jump in with my work. But there are a lot of steps to get there. And it has to be done in an extremely gentle and supportive way. And so that's what you want for anyone watching, listening and you feel hopeless. You feel stuck. You want to reach out to people who have that compassionate, empathetic approach, and a lot of these people are working in alternate fields of healing.
Vonne Solis 36:20
So it's just important to point that out, because you need people that understand what you're going through and can be on the journey with you, even if they're a few steps ahead of you. As they say, all you need is somebody who is a few steps ahead of you and can share, not tell, share what they learn with you. Not tell you what to do, and give you the tools and the option to decide what feels right for you. But we've all been there and we've all reached out to other people for that type of assistance. So, it's a community. Healing is a community, and as many people are in it, as practitioners and as those that are wanting to heal, you know, it's amazing. And very often taking up the healing yourself as an individual, wanting to heal like you did, Mary, you find, oh, it can lead you to your own passion and purpose work. Which is pretty cool.
Vonne Solis 37:17
So turning to your grief group, I know that you do grief work Mary. Do you want to talk a little bit about basically what you offer? I know that it's in a support group, you know, obviously, it's confidential, so it's not about that. But it's more about the tools that you use. Do you focus on motivation, support? Some support groups, mainstream support groups, you know, focus on, come tell your story. We'll talk what we need to and you leave. In your group, I believe you told me you had a six week program. And so start to finish, what is your aim to take the griever through attending your support group?
Mary English 38:07
For me, it's fairly informal, but what I emphasize at the beginning is that they come and share how they're feeling. How they're feeling that day. Not how they felt last week, but how they're feeling when they arrive at the group. It's, it's, I think it's very hard for people to come into a group of people sometimes and be able to share their, their heart feelings, their their, their, you know, their horrible feelings and their sadness, or whatever those feelings might be. So I encourage them to take a few minutes everybody as they want to. Nobody has to share. Just if they're comfortable they can. I ask him to do that. I ask them to tell me who their their person that they're grieving, what their name is.
Vonne Solis 38:49
Mary English 38:50
Tell me about them.
Vonne Solis 38:51
Mary English 38:51
And with the emphasis on that makes it real. That person had a life and they're real, and they're definitely real to the person who's grieving them. And it's always good to keep that name alive. And it's good to to use the person's name when you're talking about them. And then we've done things like sharing stories, sharing good stories about them. Sharing different things about their life together, so they have that. I also have them bring a picture of that person, so that we can talk about that and they can share those sorts of things.
Vonne Solis 39:26
That is so wonderful. I just want to jump in really quickly. It is so important that we be allowed to say the name of the loved one we lost and talk about them. Because mainstream world out there at least when you lose a child, doesn't really allow us to do that. There are some types of loss, I just want to say, that are much more culturally accepted. Child loss is not one of them. People are afraid of it and it does not let us, in the bereaved parent community, allow us to remember our children. And what it feels like when you can't say the name of your loved one, and it doesn't matter, I'll extend this to any loved one you lost. If you feel that you can't talk about them, you can't say their name, can't tell anyone about your memories, your experiences together, it completely leaves a void in your life as the griever. It wipes out part of your identity, because part of our identity is sharing our stories. Sharing our experiences. Talking about the people in our lives. And for anyone that is has lost a partner, has lost a child, has lost a sibling, I mean, it's a horrible, horrible feeling, and to not be able to share that. And it almost feels like you're carrying around some dirty secret. And I'll be talking a little bit about more more about identity loss, you know, in the future, but I know Mary, you've talked I believe I, I've, you and I talked to or you've talked about in your website about loss of identity. And, and that can happen from any type of loss. It's not restricted just to like the worst losses you can imagine. So thank you for allowing, asking, inviting your, your support group attendees to bring that picture. Talk about, name that person keep that person. It's not that we're keeping them alive, Mary. We're keeping, we're keeping true to our stories. Our life experience, right? I mean, how would you describe that when people or you know if it even happened to you, but the people that you counsel, coach, when they come in and they feel oh, I just I can't say that my loved ones name who's died. I can't talk about my life with them or anything. What do you think that does to them?
Mary English 41:44
It diminishes the person that first of all the person who's died. But it it just I think, to me, it shows that they that's the pain that they're experiencing. So I guess in my mind, what came to my mind, was to just allow them to chat about whatever they want to chat about. And then maybe as you get to know them or as you, you make that connection and they become, feel the safety, the safeness and the comfortableness talking to you, they will slowly begin to open up. Maybe they'll tell you a story, but not the name. Maybe they'll tell you a name, and then they'll want to talk about it. But I think my aim in that respect would be to continue the connection and allow them to slowly begin to open up in that way. We're all built differently. We all come from different life experiences. So it's different for each person. And I think people in my group, the things that I tell them and the things that I give them to do, you know, they're all at different stages. So I say, you know, you have to do the work, to to get to work through the grief, but you have to do it at your own time. So if I give you homework, and you don't feel that myou want to look at that this week, then I say, maybe you look at it next week, or in a month's time, but you've got it with you because they take it home. I say, you know, if you can do it, that's really good. But if you're not at a place to do it, keep it and go back to it at a later date and work through it. And they know they can call if they if they need to ask any questions or share anything they might want to share.
Vonne Solis 43:18
So would you say that your grief, the grief support groups that you run, are they are they designed to, because you're saying the people that attend are at various stages of grief, so is it is it is your main, you mention connection as one important factor in the work that you do, but are you also in that six week period trying to encourage them or inspire them to leave with a vision for their life? Which, with some more tools that they can go back out into the world, like with some structure? Maybe with some, you know, tender goals? You know, like what is the sort of the ultimate outcome for the approach that you're taking?
Mary English 44:03
To find who they are. If they want to find who they want to be, or they find out who they were as a younger person. Is there a part of that joy that they used to enjoy doing that they want to revisit? Maybe they would like to go for coffee with with their friends and they haven't been doing that. Maybe they want to start in that way. Maybe they you know, maybe they just want to not get up in the morning and cry every day. Or maybe, you know they make that goal in three months, I'd like to be able to go a full day without being you know, crying, or being able to manage the tears a little bit better. Those sorts of things. And I said, you know, I encourage journaling. Some of them are doing it. Some of them aren't doing it. But I encourage journaling because I found by my own experience, I journaled the first year that my husband had passed away. And when I went back after the first year and looked at where I started that journal, and looked at what I was saying at the end of that year in the journal, to see where I had come to after that point in time. You go from that gut, heart-wrenching pain and not knowing where you want to go and the overwhelm because you are looking after, these are older women, looking after a household. They used to share that responsibility with their loved one. Looking at how you manage that, and how you got through those sorts of things, and began to learn how to do those things.
Vonne Solis 45:24
Mary English 45:24
I encourage that they, they lean on, you know, families, or let their families know how they're feeling. And you know, families maybe don't want to say anything. They don't want to upset mom. So if mom says, you know, I'm really having a rough time, but I don't know how to cut my grass. Dad always did that, then lean on them to help you. Either they can cut the grass for you if they're close, or they can help you find somebody to cut the grass. Those sort of logistical things that are very normal for life, you know. Maybe households run differently. Maybe the woman did certain certain things and the man did certain things. And now, you know, the person remaining doesn't know how to do all those things. So looking at how to be able to work through that kind of stuff. Pay the bills, do the banking, you know. Those are all practical things that come come about as your life changes so drastically. So we work we work on that for the first half to three quarters and then the last couple of weeks, it's okay, Now, you know, what did you lose when your your your partner died? And what did you gain? What have you gained seeing as you've been through your experience so far?
Vonne Solis 46:28
Mary English 46:29
Where do you want to be? Let's just go three months in advance. And I said, if you can't figure that out today, or don't want to think about it today, think about it over the next week. Where would you like to see yourself in three months time?
Vonne Solis 46:41
Yeah. So so powerful.
Mary English 46:43
Getting rid of your, maybe it's just being able to get rid of some of your husband or your wife's clothing.
Vonne Solis 46:49
Mary English 46:49
Maybe, you know, start with that part. It could be anything. Anything that they feel they want to make as a goal.
Vonne Solis 46:55
So Mary, do you use sort of, I'll just use the word specialize in grief support largely for you know, spousal loss or partner loss, or do you do other types of grief support as well?
Mary English 47:16
The spousal one is what I'm doing at the moment. I've done grief work for a while, but I'm only just recently beginning to open up and do the group that started grief. This will be my first actual group that I've actually had. I worked, I volunteered to hospice for the first few years after my husband had died. So I did one to one group there and I do one to one group with a place in Toronto that they have given me some people or sent some people to speak to me and I am counseling and coaching those those people through a process as well. I do them on zoom, but my grief group I do at my house. So I'm pretty flexible about it in that respect.
Vonne Solis 48:01
Yeah. No, it's just so important because you know, I've always said we teach what we know. And, but when we're talking about grief, it's the other thing I want to point, out a couple of things here. Is number one for people again, listening watching, is when you lose a person, you know, and we're talking about grief related to human loss in this episode largely, but when you lose someone, there's all kinds of secondary losses. And there's things that you have to go through. I mean, I remember the day I had to go and close my daughter's bank account. And I couldn't speak. I could not speak to the teller. My husband was with me and he had to say everything and I just signed through absolute tears streaming down my face. There are so many finals. That's it, that's that was the final thing. And even when you mentioned, you know, in the case of losing a partner, someone, well, that was their job to mow the lawn or their job to do the garbage or their job to clean the bathroom or whatever. And now it's just not there. And, you know, that can throw you into a tizzy spin and you don't know who you are even. Like, so there's, that's where sort of identity loss comes in. And it can become much more severe for some people. I know. I went through it. Losing, I had two children. I lost my only daughter and I completely did not know who I was anymore. It wasn't just losing one child and and you know, I had two and now I've got one. It was, don't show me anything with the word daughter. You know, for years and years and years and years, I could not even pass cards in in you know, stores with the word daughter on them. Birthday cards and whatnot. So, there are a lot of lingering effects like that and we don't have time to get into any of that today. But just know, I can tell Mary talking to you, you're a wise, experienced woman. And your background as critical care nurse, no doubt has given you some extra foundation, some extra chops there, to see things. Attend to things. How to handle a person in crisis and all sorts of things. Your alternative healing. I just wanted to quickly ask. I don't want to forget about it. How important is aroma? What is aroma doing for our senses and how does that help us heal, Mary?
Mary English 48:11
The aromatherapy, the aroma touch?
Vonne Solis 49:13
Vonne Solis 49:13
It does two things. Well, it does a lot of things, but I think a lot of people are lacking touch. Especially if you're in a grief or grief situation you don't have that hugging or in touching people that you would normally have or holding hands or feeling that feeling of that person. And also the oils I use, we we use eight different oils. And when you do aroma touching, we work on people's backs and feets. There's a lot of meridians and nerve centers in there. So that is also a way of helping people to release stuck emotions or anxieties or stresses that they're having. So I work on that, the back and the sides. And then we work through the different meridians on the feet. And all of those things. The different senses of the oils themselves. Some of the oils, when you begin a session and help that person to kind of let go and relax. I use a little bit of deep breathing at the beginning to kind of help them relax again and just kind of get into, I try to get people to go to a place where they really feel safe and comfortable as we start it. Just go to that happy place, Whether that's sitting on the beach or sitting out on your back porch or drinking a coffee with a friend, go to that happy place and just let that place kind of carry you through the session as I do my work. And it's
Vonne Solis 52:06
Some of us don't have a happy place. And I know that was in my earlier years in bereavement, like sometimes I'd be with therapists and they'd say find a happy place. And I didn't have one. So if you don't have a happy place, it's okay. I'm not sure Mary, do you have anything you could say to someone. I did want to sort of, we're coming sort of to the end of this, but did you have tips that you could sort of leave people with, one: I do want to ask, if we don't have a happy place, what, and maybe you can't answer this, but if you can, what could help us initially find a happy place?
Mary English 52:44
I'm not sure I can answer that. I think if I say that to someone who I'm beginning to work with, I will that's fine. They don't have a happy place. I'll maybe just go through something like you know feel, just pick your a nice sunny day. Feel the warmth of the sun on your face or on your back and just sort of breathe into that warmth and just smell the water or smell the woods where you're you know that you're sitting. Depending on what what kind of music I have on or whatever sort of comes to my mind, I'll say those sorts of things. I don't think it's a right. There's really no right or wrong. If they don't have a happy place, they don't have a happy place. I would do whatever I could do to try and help them feel something. To feel warmth or to feel comfort or feel an arm around them somehow or whatever.
Vonne Solis 53:30
Yeah, what's coming to me right now it's really interesting is like the chakras and you know, they're all related to color. And I'm wondering, I'm just gonna throw this out there because it's just coming to me now to share, is if we don't have a happy place, maybe we could focus on a color and wrap ourselves in a color. And you know, and just whatever. I actually, I'm in a room with rose walls and it's bare and I painted. We painted these walls two years ago, but rose is a healing color. And when I come into this little tiny room in my condo, that's my room. It's my room. I do everything here. All my work here. I feel safe. I don't feel enclosed and in a dark space, I feel the healing power of the color. So color could be important. And you know if we don't have that happy place and we might yeah. I love what you said though. Picture the sun on your on your skin, because we can all feel that in our in our minds. And we can, most of us, can remember and look at it and even just try and appreciate it. But I'm also going to say never, ever, ever force yourself to try and feel something. It doesn't work. I tried it. So to try and force yourself to feel something, think something, do something, it doesn't work. And what I find really helpful is just to acknowledge that you can't feel it. You know? You're not ready to let it go. I want to be angry about this. I am in pain, you know, excetera. Because trust me, with some work, I'm not convinced that anything goes away without a little bit of personal work, and I'm thinking Mary might agree with me on that.
Mary English 55:18
It's very hard work.
Vonne Solis 55:19
Mary English 55:20
It's very exhausting work actually. I find when I do have a client, especially is a first time client, I usually take 10 or 15 minutes to have a little chat with them and see where they're at, and why they've come to see me. And if there's any issues that they you know, want to share or anything I need to know before we get started. That gives me that inroad when I get started, and where I will go. If they don't feel that they would have a happy place to go where they would be able to do that at this point in time, then I would find something that would maybe, I would try to find something without them. I always have some kind of a relaxation type of music on or then just maybe some voice and we're gonna talk them into kind of taking some deep breaths and settling in and you know, go from there. Each time I see someone like that it's going to be a little bit different.
Vonne Solis 56:09
Mary English 56:11
Some people are not prepared to go that way. Some people don't want to feel good yet.
Vonne Solis 56:15
Mary English 56:16
And we work with that until they are starting to take maybe the next step. And I give the group, the group that I have that comes for grief group, one of the first things I give them is what is called the the grieving person's Bill of Rights. What they need to do and what they deserve, and you know, that certain things are okay. That are, you know, it's okay to use that name, it's okay to cry, it's okay to laugh. You know, if it strikes you as comical and you laugh. It's okay to laugh. And those sorts of things. And I send these things home so that they, they can look at them when they need to, or if they need to, or whatever.
Vonne Solis 56:59
So one of the key takeaways for me on this is going to be the grieving person's Bill of Rights. I love that. And the other and sort of to close, well I'll ask you if there's anything else you want to add. But my last question to you, Mary, and this has been extremely informative, and just wonderful. I wish I lived closer to you because if I did, I'd be coming for a Reiki and aroma touch. But for people who, you know, maybe don't have the money, or the interest or the practitioner to go to, like a practitioner in their area to go to, is there one or two things that you could leave them with that even if it's a certain scent that is associated with healing, and what that scent would be and where they would place it on their body, or anything they could do for themself. Hand over heart or something like that to sort of move energy around a little bit just for themself. Even doing this and thinking about this, oh, I'm energy. Oh, I'm in pain. Oh, I feel knots in my stomach, or I'm really, really, you know, tight in my rear end or something. I mean, when I mean, I wouldn't normally disclose this, but when I, before the pandemic, and I was regularly going for massage therapy, and I had this one therapist that she worked on my back end. It was filled with knots. And it wasn't from sitting around all day. And I associated all that pain, because I had. I went into major, major stress. I live with post traumatic stress disorder and so all of those symptoms and all the shock and all the trauma and everything lived in my body for many, many, many years. And I went to doctors. And I mean, I remember for months at one point having my my chest just feel like glass shards that they were going to explode at any moment. And the doctors, I went and saw a few of them. And they all just said oh, it's stress. Oh it's stress, oh it's stress. And one kind doctor said, Has anything happened in your life? Well, yes, I lost my daughter. And at that point, it had been maybe four years. Okay. But they really, my PTSD wasn't diagnosed until 2014. So that was nine years later. And so I didn't really get you know, that's why I said the angel saved me because immersing myself in that work as a practitioner for other people, healed me at the same time. You know, it helped heal me and I'm not healed, you know, to the extent I want to be by any means. I'm not suggesting that. But like you said, Mary, it's, it's hard work but I also don't want to frighten people. Because the journey of self-discovery in healing can be a really beautiful journey, don't you think Mary and very empowering?
Mary English 59:55
It is. It is a very beautiful and empowering journey. It's, you know, for people, finding their voice. To be able to speak what they believe or what they feel, whether that be their, you know, feeling really joyful, or whether they're feeling like down to their bootstraps, to be able to start to articulate that to their family members or to a friend or whatever is so very important. If somebody's, you know, they don't have anybody near them, or they don't know anybody near them, I always I would think my first my very first go to would be breath work. And it takes a little bit of patience. But taking those deep breaths, even for three to five minutes, just breathing in and out slowly. And you can add, you know, a hands on heart to that. Breathe into your heart, because your heart is paining. Or your heart, you know, your heart is, is, I mean, the discoveries now, being that the brain the heart has power that's much like the brain. It is very knowledgeable, and it holds memory. It holds a lot of those sorts of things. And I've only just been begun to start reading about this. And so there's, there's, there's pain and there's trauma that is there, whether it be a grieving person or someone who's lost a job or someone who's having difficulty in their relationships, to take that five minutes or three minutes if that's all they have, and and just take those slow deep breaths. And hands on heart is a powerful thing to do when you begin to do it and really concentrate on your on that heart as maybe feeling a lot of pain or a lot of anger, or whatever those feelings might be and breathe in and out. Breathe you know breathe in comfort and breathe out some pain. Or if there's other words that come to mind that you want to use us what we're just at work for you. Those sorts of things, I think are really important for people to do.
Vonne Solis 1:01:56
What is the one, if they could only like afford say when essential oil or they don't really trust oils and they just want to try it, is there one essential oil, okay we'll say two, that would be the primary ones associated with healing?
Mary English 1:02:13
There's a lot of different ones and I think it depends mostly on their likes. I like the woodsy oils. I find those are ones that are kind of my go to, and I mix them with other oils sometimes because it can put you in the mind of being in a forest.
Vonne Solis 1:02:32
Mary English 1:02:33
Tinctures are refreshing. And are they all
Vonne Solis 1:02:37
Are they all, sorry, are they all considered then healing? So it's like, I love eucalyptus, for example. And I'm just immediately like feeling at peace and calm with eucalyptus. So would you say people just experiment with the scents just to see for varying moods. And should they best be used, like can you put oils directly on your skin and if so, where and use them in a diffuser? Like, they can be used? Can they be used directly on the skin or is it best to have them in a diffuser?
Mary English 1:03:11
Both places. And for the oils that they have properties that can assist with our healing We can't claim that they're going to heal anything. Like that's not something because of political things like government standards, FDA standards, I can't go up to you say, and say, use this cedar wood. It will heal your stuff. That's just not something that we can we can say that it does. It's telling you something that doesn't necessarily heal. but it can help you do to relax. It can help you to emit up those sensations. And when I do the aroma touch, some of those oils, that's what they do. They help you to kind of relax. And some of them are invigorating. I use peppermint. I use deep blue, which is a pepper obviously know what peppermint is. It gives you an invigorating feeling. The Deep Blue also gives a different kind of invigorating feeling. It goes deeply into your tissues. So you feel those sensations. Other different ones like citruses that are invigorating to smell, like peeling an orange. So smelling, that kind of thing. So they can bring up sensations or emotions and stuff to people. And when you bring those things up, then you're able to maybe sometimes you're able to start releasing those.
Vonne Solis 1:04:28
Mary English 1:04:28
It's not that we can say they will cure anything or they will heal anything, but they can help to to bring those emotions up or give you maybe a comfortable feeling of some sort.
Vonne Solis 1:04:39
Yeah, yeah, for sure. They they are they're beautiful and I really, I need to get another diffuser and get back into a little bit of scents because I absolutely love them. And you know, but I've kind of let that slide in my life. But these things, the environment you put yourself in and I just want to mention before we have our last words, hand over heart. So this is basically, my understanding from psychologists, psychiatrists, is just hand over the heart, literally. Put your hand over your heart and love yourself. A lot of the work, it's centered, what I do, is centered in compassion and empathy. And the psychiatric world, psychologists, psychiatrists, I've done several webinars through an organization in the States, and they're dedicated to trauma. And, you know, they, they say, the brain isn't really wired for us to be as empathetic as what we really should be, because our brain's still a little bit of a relic. But we can be mindful of it. We can be mindful that we need to be caring, compassionate, and empathetic towards each other. Which just means that we really don't want to see another person in pain and if we see them in pain, we want to help them heal. The very definition of empathy.
Vonne Solis 1:06:01
And so, to do that for yourself, not all of us are going to go out in the world and be healers, but we're all responsible for our own healing. So to do that for yourself, and put your hand over your heart, and basically just love yourself. Tell yourself, call yourself by name and just say, I love you. Call yourself by name so you're actually acknowledging yourself, because very few people in this world acknowledge themselves, and particularly, as personally powerful individuals. And this is the work that Mary and I, and countless other people do to help people touch that part of themselves. Tune in and touch that part of themselves and not be afraid of it. Not be afraid to claim your worth. To claim what you want. To claim what you deserve. And all of these things that we do and other practitioners do, that's the goal of the work. Right Mary?
Mary English 1:07:03
Yeah! When you begin to do that, it feels uncomfortable. And when you begin to say, I love you know, Mary, I love you. Or you're looking, some people say look in the mirror and tell yourself, you love them, you love yourself. It's really hard to do that.
Vonne Solis 1:07:17
Mary English 1:07:18
Most people it's very hard to do that. But if you're doing it, you know, when you're on your own, you're doing and you begin to do it over and over again, it becomes easier. You begin to actually begin to believe that, but we had to do that exercise, actually twice now. And the first few times, I found it very, very hard to do that. And so if you can tell someone else that you love them, or tell them they're how good they are and how smart they are, whatever. But to tell yourself that, we're not, we've never been programmed really to do that. Even growing up. We have not been programmed, so most of us haven't been programmed to do that. So
Vonne Solis 1:07:55
I completely agree. I completely agree. And so an exercise folks that you can do is to look in the mirror, and especially when you've been through traumatic pain or loss of another type that, you know, is maybe less traumatic, but very painful. And look in the mirror and look into your eyes. And again, acknowledge yourself. Tell yourself how wonderfully courageous you have been. You're still standing, you're still standing. That you love yourself. That you forgive yourself. There's all these things that we need to go through as a process. But you're right Mary. To stand and look in the mirror and just look into your own eyes. It's hard enough actually having an exercise where you were to partner with someone. I once had an exercise where we had to pair up and not break eye contact with the other person for five minutes. And that was tough. Try just looking at yourself in the mirror. And if your eyes are painful, they're painful. And you acknowledge it as part of your experience in this world. But also at the same time, balancing that out is, and always remember this, the choice you have to claim the power you are to have the life that you want. Right. So, Mary, is there anything else you wanted to add? We're at the top of the hour on this one. And I'm going to ready to close this one out. But is there anything else that you wanted to add? Could you just send give us the listeners and viewers the name of your website and I'll put the link below?
Mary English 1:09:29
Okay. www.openheartwellnesshealth.ca. That should be everything you need there. I do, do work online with people as far as the coaching and the counseling stuff. And you can do distant Reiki. I can do that online. I don't do it very often, but you can do it online. But I just like to thank you for getting me to step outside of my comfort zone once again. And being here with you on this podcast. It's definitely been an honor and a joy. So thank you.
Vonne Solis 1:10:00
Well, thank you again, Mary. You're a beautiful vibrant, I almost wore my yellow T shirt today. And I'm like, Oh, white seems to be my thing. Stick with the white. And then I thought we would have been twinsies. But you're a beautiful woman. And I know we're going to stay connected. And I thank you so much for coming on this podcast. For sharing your wisdom and experience. And I again, I'll put the link to your site below and for those that are interested, go to that link. Check out Mary's site and services, because she is a wealth of wisdom. And I can feel the healing energy here. Anyway, thanks again, so much, Mary. And we'll talk again. We'll talk soon.
Mary English 1:10:48
Vonne Solis 1:10:48
Transcribed by https://otter.ai