Grief Talk w/ Vonne Solis

Ep. 52 Getting Your Shenanigans in Order!

August 23, 2023 Vonne Solis/Barb Ashcroft Season 3 Episode 52
Grief Talk w/ Vonne Solis
Ep. 52 Getting Your Shenanigans in Order!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This is a fun and insightful conversation that you don't want to miss if you want to be a better support to someone you love who is bereaved or prepared for any life emergency!

Barb Ashcroft is an Author, Grief Illiteracy Speaker and Mentor who loves assisting others by supporting their health, wellness, and lifestyle goals. In her book, 'When your Bucket List Springs a Leak' Barb shares 12 life lessons for do-overs, undo's, and life preservers when travel, health, business and life do NOT go as planned. 

When it comes to grief, Barb teaches people step by step how to prepare for any life emergency through her unique workbook Taking Action, and how to become the best grief support friend or family member you can be through her Compassion in Action workshops and online community.

With decades of experience in the natural health field and Law of Attraction work, Barb is a wealth of fun and experience that I thoroughly enjoyed having on my show!

0:00    Intro to episode.
1:07    How Barb got into the field of natural health.
6:29    When Your Bucket List Springs a Leak
10:22  The power of self-care.
16:19  What are your top four fulfillment needs?
22:44  What is your calling?
26:04  Solution-oriented thinking.
30:04  Today is just a snapshot.
34:23  Why we want to feel safe.
36:05  Grief illiteracy.
39:27  What is Compassion in Action?
42.18  Getting Your Shenanigans in Order
45:44  How to prepare for an emergency.
52:02  How to get started with compassion in Action.
55:18  Closing

Barb's book: (on Amazon)
When Your Bucket List Springs a Leak

Connect with Barb:

Connect with Vonne:
Books (Suicide & Grief Support)
Online Course

Subscribe to the podcast! Share your favourite episodes! Connect with Vonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Barb Ashcroft  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, mentor, and bereaved mom since 2005, through guest interviews and coaching, here's where you'll always get great content that is inspiring and practical to help you heal after loss. 

Vonne Solis  0:22  
Today's guest is Barb Ashcroft. Barb is an author, mentor, grief illiteracy speaker who loves assisting others by supporting their health, wellness, and lifestyle goals. Her book "When Your Bucket List Springs a Leak" is just a hint of how Barb shares do-overs when travel, health, business and life, don't go as expected. Barb offers her workshop "Getting Your Shenanigans in Order" and has created a resource guide with tips, tools and training to help eliminate the grief illiteracy that exists today. 

Vonne Solis  0:54  
So welcome to the show. Barb. I have been so eager to have you on the show to share your wisdom and your experience with my audience. So thank you for being here.

Barb Ashcroft  1:06  
Oh, well. Thank you Vonne. I mean, my goodness, it just felt like synchronicity, right? So just really thrilled.

Vonne Solis  1:14  
So for the audience, Barb and I did have an introduction through another one of my guests, and she passed me on to somebody else who has been an also an important contact. So it just shows you paying it forward and building your professional community should not be underestimated for those who are in the midst of trying to do that, or even your personal connect personal connections. It's just fabulous to know you Barb.

Vonne Solis  1:35  
So Barb is a wealth of information and experience. And so Barb I wanted to get right into this. And as I introduced you in the beginning, your're a mentor. You're a grief illiteracy speaker, which we're going to be touching on a little bit today. You help people from your life boat, you know get back in their own. And we're going to be touching on on things that you know you do to help people support the bereaved. Actually deal with unexpected things that happen in their life. So that's why we're going to be touching on "When Your Bucket List Springs a Leak". This is a book that Barb has written and I totally love the title. But before we get to that Barb, how about you just explain a little bit about what you used to do in your earlier career, and how that sort of transpired into the work you're doing today?

Barb Ashcroft  2:26  
Well, thank you so much. Wow, goodness. Well it's kind of a real great month to have this time with you, Vonne. I'm gonna be 75 in just a smidge. 

Vonne Solis  2:44  

Barb Ashcroft  2:46  
And it's so interesting because I don't know whether other people are but you're more reflective looking back. Because you know the time forward is a little less than what the time, you know, looking in the rearview mirror. But looking back on my career, I was very fortunate that natural health found me first. I was suffering from all kinds of health issues. I'll just put them into one big bucket there. And anyways, at age 33, and that was after about 12, 13 surgeries, the right people, the right tools, the right supplies, the right everything came together. And I love to learn. I will never stop learning.

Barb Ashcroft  3:38  
So I started taking all kinds of training and learned from so many wonderful pioneers and became a Natural Health practitioner doing iridology. Had the blessing to study under Dr. Bernard Jensen. I became a live blood cell biprosthetist and a certified herbalist. Just all those kinds of things. But what it was, was it was a way of being able to support people with that whole modality. So that I would lecture across western Canada into Washington as well. And do consulting for three decades. 

Vonne Solis  4:29  

Barb Ashcroft  4:30  
that I did that. So that was powerful, but what was really sort of more plugged in to what what I'm morphing to now is, I found you know, you can't do anything as you know, as a solitary soul. You really need community. And so I, all of that partnered with personal development. And I learned so much. And again, maybe because of my age or whatever, but I I was blessed to have personal training from Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar. Stephen (indecipherable). I mean, just Les Brown. You know, all of these ones that really helped shape mindset and how we can get through tough situation. And so that was, that was very key to what I did for well, 41 years ago was when I started my natural health practice. 

Barb Ashcroft  5:27  
So now, what I do is I mostly help through education through my newsletters, etc. I'm not out on the road doing all that consulting anymore. But I really feel I was blessed with some tools and some talent and was able to package that to help those folks.

Vonne Solis  5:50  
That's so wonderful. And you know, I do want to touch on age just a little bit here. And for those of us that reach that age, and we can sort of feel we have a little bit more time to digest all we've learned. And put it into different types of practices for ourselves, as workers. You know, how we're gonna go about our work and share because we don't want to have all this knowledge and experience go to waste. And so I really appreciate you sharing your age, and still offering the wealth of experience you have for people. Maybe just in a little bit of a different way. 

Vonne Solis  6:29  
So I want to turn to your work "When Your Bucket List Springs a Leak". I absolutely love that. I took a quick look at it and I'm going to have a link for that in the description for anybody that wants to take a read. I love your description about it. What are some of your key lessons in that book and why did you write it?

Barb Ashcroft  6:48  
It started, well, it's been, it was ruminating for a lot of years. But I had team members with my natural health business that kept saying, What ? do you use? Today in this with all the emotional ups and downs and the marketplace, and this and that the other thing, and, you know, I'm really a hope evangelist is what helped me you know.

Vonne Solis  7:20  

Barb Ashcroft  7:20  
Because I was blessed with a dad that really you know, formed me with what's the nicest thing that's happened to you today? We couldn't have dinner without answering that question. So, that was all good. But I knew that I had been learning lots with my decades of career. And being a student of you know, personal development, law of attraction, and allowing and all of that. And so, we had planned the bucket list trip, right? And so, my husband and I were on this trip to New Zealand and Australia. It was, you know, it was going to be my Thorn Birds trip. Do you remember the book?

Vonne Solis  8:11  
I do. 

Barb Ashcroft  8:12  
So, you know, we were going to that area of the world. We were gonna be on an island. You know, it was gonna be the, you know, whatever. Well, about five days before the trip started, some little calamities started piling up. And, and so the book is actually 12 life lessons. That each chapter is devoted to one more speed bumps on the road of life and travel and health and business that doesn't go the way you think it's going to go. And about, well, it was kind of goofy because it was by day eight or day ten, I finally clued into, Oh, this trip is all about, you know, up-levelling, I'm having to put all that I've learned into practice from all kinds of craziness that happened on this trip. And so you learn about the crazies that go, you know, all the mishaps that go on. But mostly what you learn is okay, what's the pivot? What is the lesson that you can put into place you know? Here we are, on the Tasman Sea, and being just tossed all over the place. And it was scary and it was really bad weather. And learning some of, you know, or not. I'd already learned and taught with doing masterminds for Law of Attraction. So I already knew that but and I had to apply it myself. 

Barb Ashcroft  9:57  
So you know, it was very interesting to do it that way. That's what the book is. Twelve lessons. Life lessons on how you get through what are your un-dos? What are your do-overs? What are, you know what are you're, you know, you're mulligan's? But all those things when they don't work. What do you do to get through to the other side?

Vonne Solis  10:21  
Yeah, so great. I'm actually going to be buying your book Barb. I just saw it this morning and I read the description. And I thought that this is probably timeless information. Because different things happen to us, I'm sure you're going to agree at every stage of life. So what we're going through in our 20s, even our teens, but 20s 30s 40s 50s 60s, and obviously, your 70s, hopefully, we get our toolbox filled. So that we just know which tool to grab when something confronts us. So in a way, it doesn't have anything to do with age. And people say that Barb. I know I'm sure you've heard that. People go oh, has nothing to do with age. But I'm going to beg to differ. Because you do reflect differently, and you wouldn't maybe make the same decisions and choices that you made in your 30s and 40s, and maybe even your 50s. So age gives us grace. It gives us distance and grace, and a different way to decide how we want to live.

Barb Ashcroft  11:27  
I had my 40 days in the desert. This is what I choose. Grace Over Grind. And that's not my book, but it's you know, I just love it. Because it says how grace will take your business where grinding can't. And I was a very productive individual with my career. I mean, I was, you know, in those days, I had the philosophy, if it is to be it's up to me. I don't know who coined that. But as you age, or at least as you realize how limiting some of the the body is, you really sharpen your BS meter.

Vonne Solis  12:13  
Okay, I love that. Sharpen your BS meter. I'm writing that down. Yep.

Barb Ashcroft  12:18  
So your antenna gets very fine-tuned us to, No! I'm not going there. No, I'm just I'm putting that person in a pink bubble and no,  I'm not allowing any of that in. Because you just realize that self-care is really key to being able to, you know, create a life that you really want to be in the middle of, you know? So that's where the book was perfect at the time. But also, then we went into COVID. And then a lot of people had a lot of loss. They had a lot of, they had to renew. They needed to pivot as to, Well, what do I do now? And you know, so much loss with all kinds of PTSD kind of depression, you know? And then all the things that happened with losing businesses. Losing the pet. Losing a loved one. I mean, just on and on and on. All kinds of things. So of course, the book, I believe, is timeless. Because it's life skills. And we all need to have a good dose of bounce back ability.

Vonne Solis  13:51  
Yeah. You said something else really important. I just want to touch on it for a brief moment. Because in this very competitive world that I never noticed, I'm sure we all know, it's competitive. But I never really noticed how competitive it was until I started to go, you know what? I need to be a little bit more visible. I'm going to start my podcast, which I thought about for two years before I started it. So I was learning different things from different business leaders. Some of them quite successful and offering communities to join and courses, and so on and so forth. And, you know, there were a lot of times I felt like, I'd have to kick myself to the sideline, because I just couldn't change as rapidly as tools and trends were changing. And just all of this stuff. 

Vonne Solis  14:41  
I'm very grateful that more recently, some of the, a couple of the business leaders I sort of work with, are starting to understand in their younger years, I might add. Late 30s, 40 ish, about authenticity. And bringing this authenticity piece to running business and going and against the grind, you know? And so I love that piece that you brought in about our bodies. So we can have the youngest mind ever. But then, and this isn't age related, but you know, if the body, the mental state. Your emotional state is not allowing you to function at a pace that you normally would have. Would today, if you could. I woulda, shoulda, coulda. You need to pay attention to that. And it doesn't mean you are never going to succeed. Doesn't mean you're a failure. It just means you have to find your way around the same thing a little bit differently. And, you know, make your mark. And if you aren't struck by anything serious. Health or whatever. Still, the body's getting older, you know? Stuff happens, you know?

Barb Ashcroft  15:50  
Well, you realize that if you're wanting to redeem the time and actually do the things you want to do. Not that you're the other stuff that you have to do. It takes some pivoting. It takes

Vonne Solis  16:05  

Barb Ashcroft  16:06  
really strategies to be able to come out with what is working for you.

Vonne Solis  16:12  
What tools are necessary for us to draw on when we're strategizing things for our life?

Barb Ashcroft  16:19  
I've led workshops on you know, finding your purpose, and finding renewed purpose. But I always focus on what are your top four fulfillment needs. Because when you know what your top four fulfillment needs are, and you access them, then you feel you're in the zone as you are so full of joy, because that's all being met. And we actually take people on, we call the game, it's a game called Survivor. Which was coined by Michael Losier, of the Law of Attraction. 

Vonne Solis  17:03  

Barb Ashcroft  17:03  
But you take your thirty fulfillment needs. And with this process of the workshop, you drill it down to what four are surviving that are your top four fulfillment needs. And so I know, for me, right now, you're fulfilling two of those because one is connection, and one is community. And then another aspect for me is accomplishment. I'm the kind of person that I want to be able to check off that little box that says I did that. And so my fourth one is fairness. And if you're ever in a networking meeting with me, when I'm been given the timer, yeah, I will be interrupting you and say, you know, that's great. If you can just hold that to the end. Everybody needs to have a turn. Because it's just really the way I'm created. Right? 

Barb Ashcroft  18:07  
So anyways, when those four fulfillment needs are being met all in one day, that is an incredible day. When they're not being that that's a real crappy day. And what I learned through this was there's stuff that we don't necessarily want to do, but we have to do it. So I'll give you the biggest example of that as a strategy. And so even though I've been in natural health since 1979, I am not drawn to exercise. I know we're made of atoms. We have to move them. I mean that's key, you know. But I would just, I'm a thinker, I'm a planner, I'm a dreamer, I'm a writer. And so give me you know, a blankie. A hot cocoa and a soft place and, you know, that's where I float. But I know I need to, and I have to. 

Barb Ashcroft  19:06  
So what I did, as a strategy was I signed up for a lady's fitness class, which I attended, but I never went there for the exercise. I knew I was going to get my community fulfilled. I was gonna get my connection fulfilled. I was gonna get my accomplishment fulfilled. So that was the strategy of just having a different lens to look through to say and then of course, I exercised. But that wasn't what the end all was, for me initially. That's how I got around my, my wanting to just, oh, no, I'll get around to it. I'll get around to it. No, it was a case of okay, well, here's a strategy that you can do to do that. So I love working with strategies with folks to help them find okay, what can we do to get around that speed bump? You know? How did we get over the mountain? Or around the mountain? Or whatever. What is it that because you know that it's necessary.

Vonne Solis  20:14  
I just have a quick question with these top four fulfillment needs of yours. Now do you apply those as well to your personal relationships, like family.  To every area of your life. And just see those those fulfillment needs as being fulfilled differently? Or can you have other top four fulfillment needs depending on what area of life we're addressing?

Barb Ashcroft  20:38  
Definitely. I feel those top four fulfillment needs are basically static. They're there. And so, but what we do work with people in this regard, is, you know, you've probably seen it in the past. It's called a life pie. So what we've done is, we would take a particular piece of the pie. Let's say it's relationships, and we would work on that for a period of time. A month to a quarter of the year. And say, Okay, how can we get our fulfillment needs met? What strategies can we have? Let's say it's family, okay. And we have family that doesn't live close. So what are we going to do to have that connection? Have that community? What are we going to have to choose to set aside to make sure that we accommodate that within this timeframe. So and then just go through the pieces of the pie of all the different things. Whether it's, you know, whatever it is that you're looking at. Health, wellness. Whether you're looking at finances. Whatever. Whatever piece of pie, and work on that, you know, one at a time.

Vonne Solis  22:01  
For the audience, I think that's really great about thinking, if we can leave you with one thing, hopefully more, but one thing in terms of strategizing, I love Barb, your idea of, think about your top four fulfillment needs as something static. And then I'm going to do that as well, and it does help, you know, it does help with the feeling of success, probably all around.

Barb Ashcroft  22:30  
Can I just add one more piece?

Vonne Solis  22:32  
Please do. Yeah, please do.

Barb Ashcroft  22:33  
Because I think this will add some clarification for folks that have never heard this before. In that a lot of times your top fulfillment needs, sometimes people say well, what's your calling? What's your, you know, what is it? And people will say, Oh, well, my calling is that I'm supposed to teach. Or my calling is that I'm, I'm an artist. But they miss the big, the big part of that. Is that isn't accurate. Yes, they might be drawn to teaching. But they're drawn to teaching for the joy that they get from making a difference. The artist being creative. Those are all fulfillment needs. 

Barb Ashcroft  22:49  
And you see we've what we've done is we've distilled it down into an actual, not a job description, but what is it that you gain? And so the whole thing about finding renewed purpose is the end result is joy. And with everybody going through so much loss, that's a key way of being able for people to get out of paralysis back into finding joy again, even though it's tough. But that way, with the four fulfillment needs, you can then you know, maneuver and coach and strategize to be able to say, oh, okay. If I get that met, then I'm on the right path. You know, I'm working towards joy. Because that's the goal. Not being a teacher. That isn't the goal. To be a teacher. The goal is what you get out of teaching.

Vonne Solis  24:27  
Yeah. I think the reason I was sort of, I'm sort of, I'm not stumped, but why I'm thinking a little about this is because we don't think very much or talk very much about self-fulfillment. And go what really fulfills me? We have to stop and think about that a little bit. Because I think we are so programmed and for many decades now, which is why I want to move into this next segment with you and talk a little bit about happiness. We're so programmed to achieve the outcome,  we don't really spend a lot of time on the steps to get there. Other than, I remember very well from the 80s, and even into the 90s, the vision board. The create your vision. You think it you can have it, etc, etc. 

Vonne Solis  25:12  
But it wasn't until, you know, I had my own trauma in 2005, I had to toss everything I'd learned. Eighties, nineties. For the past, you know, 20 years. Actually 23 years. And go, no, no, this doesn't work when your life is falling apart. Anybody, is there anybody out there that's going to tell me what to do when your life is completely and utterly fallen apart and you don't know who you are. My work was born from that. And 18 years later, it's taken me 18 years of just like you went on your journey of self-discovery, and putting all the pieces together, and presenting it now to the world in a bit of a package. However, I will always be learning. We will always, like you said earlier, you're you're a lifelong learner. Me too. 

Vonne Solis  26:04  
And so learning these different terms, I'm going to throw out there just because I have to give a nod to this. I had an interview with a young person. So we were talking about happiness, which I'm going to move into. And she said to me, she works with a doctor, and she works in functional medicine. So they kind of bring a little bit east west together. And she said, Well, happiness is just a byproduct. So we got into a little bit of a conversation about you know, you really can't chase happiness as the outcome because we can't sustain happiness. It's an emotion. You can't sustain it. 

Vonne Solis  26:37  
And so I said to her, okay, okay. I've sort of been raised from the 80s, 90s. That's what you did. You want it. You know, you went after happiness. This is my experience. My sort of interpretation of it. And how, and I've been battling for some time now. Years, about how to stay happy. So when she told me, and this resonated with me. If it doesn't resonate, the information with you, I'm not here to try and change anyone's mind. But I'm a very, as well as being a very spiritual creative person, I also love the science behind stuff. And I love the fact that thinking, Okay. I feel better understanding, I can't sustain happiness. So I need to change my goal. So we got into a little conversation about, Okay, so what's the end goal? What's the outcome? So for her, it was presence. For me it was balance. And I went, you know, I love putting the two together. And that's the byproduct is going to be the happiness. The joy and contentment and many of the things. 

Vonne Solis  27:41  
So I just wanted to throw that in for us to think about just a little bit. Because I have to be untrained in some of the thinking that was instilled in me 40 odd years ago, and go, Okay. Maybe this isn't, you know, maybe this isn't kind of, maybe I could expand on my consciousness a little bit today, you know, and see how that fits with what I'm personally trying to achieve in my life. For me, it's all about balance. Balance and feeling at peace and contentment, and oh, whewf! I don't have anything that's gonna rock my world today. 

Vonne Solis  28:22  
But this is where your work is so important, because we all know that your world could get rocked even by a teeny tiny thing. Because that's life. So that's life. Things don't always go our way. And things happen for other people that we're close to. And I don't want to be reactionary. I always want to be responsive. And solutions. A solution-oriented approach I have discovered over the last several years, this is what allows us to be responsive. And when you're, and I just want to say for my audience who might be struggling with a very difficult loss right now or in grief or in trauma or anything like that, the sooner that you can understand there's a solution for everything. It might take a while to get to it. And you might have to let go of something in exchange for the solution you're looking for, but it is possible. 

Vonne Solis  29:12  
And I really, really wished one of the major things, there's two major things I would have wished in my early grief. But that's one, I would have wanted. Going back to the toughest years of my grief is just to trust there was a solution for everything instead of panicking and thinking I had to put out every single fire by myself, which came from the trauma. So Barb, I didn't want to talk about that specifically today. But what I, unless you did want to offer something on that piece that I just said. I just always like to put a little nod to people who are struggling and you know, go I don't have time to think about fulfillment. I'm busy putting out fires in my life and my life's crappy and you know, I just lost my child or I just lost my spouse or you know what I mean? And we're not thinking about fulfillment in those situations.

Barb Ashcroft  30:04  
Well, I go back to what I was called as a handle as a hope evangelist. 

Vonne Solis  30:16  

Barb Ashcroft  30:16  
You know, I think often we have to think in almost slogans, not even a whole paragraph, we have to think in short snippets, because that's the only thing that's going to sit and land. And one thing that I experienced myself with loss was the issues today is just a snapshot. It's just a snapshot. It's not the whole picture. I'm not gonna throw out everything, just because today is super crappy. And I'm, you know, it's just a snapshot.

Vonne Solis  30:53  
I love that. So today is just a snapshot. Tomorrow, you could create a new picture, or even a beginning of one. Anyway, what I don't want the audience here to let go of is hope. And it is extremely difficult. This episode is not about that. I will do one I promise on an upcoming episode on hope and the struggles with that. Because it is essential, from my experience through 18 years of being bereaved as a mother, it is essential to find a snippet. A snippet of hope in something. In just something that you can hang on to. 

Vonne Solis  31:34  
For me, it was a little pinprick of light because of an opportunity that was upcoming for me. And then there was a bigger one, and then a bigger one, and then a bigger one. And I hung on to it through all the crappy crappy stuff that was going on in my personal life at the time. Or that I perceived as really crappy but looking back, it really wasn't. It just, but you know, anyway.

Vonne Solis  31:54  
So but I want to actually move on a little bit here, Barb. And thank you for sharing. you know, today is a snapshot. Thank you. Let's talk a little bit though about happiness. I know you're a hope evangelist. I'm just curious. What I just said a few minutes ago about happiness as a byproduct, does that resonate at all with you? Or is your position that we can sustain happiness and we go for happiness as the outcome? You were speaking earlier about joy, as you know, we can experience joy when we have our fulfillments met. Do you think people are chasing something? And if it and if they are chasing something, what are they chasing?

Barb Ashcroft  32:37  
That's a very big topic. But I, I believe that we all want happiness.

Vonne Solis  32:48  

Barb Ashcroft  32:49  
And, and life is a real, you know, Heinz 57 kind of experience. You got everything going on, right?

Vonne Solis  32:58  
Yeah, yeah.

Barb Ashcroft  32:59  
What I think is even more important to me, is the people I've met, and that have been and the experts that I've interviewed on my Compassion in Action interview series, the whole aspect of that, that comes true to me, is nobody makes it on their own. 

Vonne Solis  33:23  

Barb Ashcroft  33:23  
It's all about we need people around us. We need mentors, we need people that give totally of themselves. And to be able to have those truth speakers into our life, that help us. Because we're also like, a pendulum. We can swing this way and swing that way. 

Vonne Solis  33:47  

Barb Ashcroft  33:48  
So we need people to pull us back and say, Hey, what about you know, this? For me, it's my spouse. You know, it's like, really? That wasn't very nice. You know, or whatever. You know, you've thought those people in your, in your life, but uh, I think community is even mostly important for people who are in grief with whatever the loss is. That they, they need to have community around them. And to be able to not have to rely on themselves to put out all the fires.

Vonne Solis  34:23  
I agree with you about community. So ultimately, I think we want to feel safe.

Barb Ashcroft  34:29  
That's a fulfillment need. So again, we're all a rule of one. We're all an experiment of one. So everybody's going to be different with what fulfillment needs or categories they feel as key to them.

Vonne Solis  34:46  
Yeah, well, this is coming from the, from people who work as experts in neuroscience and brain stuff and that the brain is wired for us to feel safe. I'll just put it biologically for a second. So in order to feel safe, we're going after different things. But by and large, I agree with you. I think we want to feel happy that we identify, perhaps, and interpret happiness as our safety. Because if everything is going well in our life, we don't have struggles or if we do we know we can manage them. We don't have financial worries. You know, we've got that soft place to fall. We have a warm bed to sleep in. Our food to fill our tummies. Enough to pay the bills, etc, etc. Hey, I'm happy. So the semantics maybe will change for different people. And I think that we feel a greater sense of relief and safety in numbers. Which is your community. And actually, I believe that a good part of our healing comes from our shared stories. I absolutely 100% believe that and we just need more people talking.

Barb Ashcroft  35:57  
Especially, you know, that's the whole thing. Like you had asked about grief illiteracy. And

Vonne Solis  36:04  

Barb Ashcroft  36:05  
How this all evolved for me was, I had for friends become widows in a matter of weeks. And these were all special people that I cared about. And I was totally grief illiterate. Meaning, I wanted to support them. I wanted to, you know, be able to be all that they needed but I was frozen. And so being that I've loved learning, well, somebody knows. Somebody knows. So having four at once like that really threw me into for my own self, I have to learn what to say. What to do, rather than freeze and do nothing. And just feel the guilt of not being the support that I wanted to be.

Vonne Solis  37:04  

Barb Ashcroft  37:04  
So that's how that all got started. And it evolved into Compassion in Action. And what's interesting about that bond is, it's actually geared for the community, or the people surrounding the bereaved. Because when we don't know what to say, when we don't know what to do, we do nothing. And then we feel the guilt and the poor bereaved is feeling that they've been ostracized or defranchised or whatever. 

Vonne Solis  37:41  

Barb Ashcroft  37:41  
And so that was the whole focus of that. And so I was actually in a mastermind at the time, as a as a student. And the coach on this one particular session was, she said, Okay, what are your friends or your ideal clients, what's keeping them awake at night? Well, Vonne, I broke into the ugly cry. Because I could imagine myself with, you know, all the questions that are going around in their head. And so based on that, I started interviewing on Zoom, experts that were sitting across from grieving individual, saying, what, what about this? What about finances? What about all the legal mumbo jumbo? What about where, spiritually, what does this mean? 

Barb Ashcroft  38:38  
And so anyways, now we're approaching two years for that, and it's my passion project. I doubt if I'll ever stop doing it. But it really, I was so pleased with how it was helping build confidence. So the people surrounding family, friends who are going through a loss will step into it. Will, you know, offer. They'll be there. They'll be able to assist in a bigger way and to, because it is a sacred space, you know, to be able to do that. So that was really key with all of that. And so that's, that's what my newsletters are all about.

Vonne Solis  39:27  
Yeah. So I just want to say, so I did see on your website, you could sign up for your newsletter on your website. I also see that you have quite a healthy Facebook group going and is your Facebook group related to Compassion in Action?

Barb Ashcroft  39:44  
Well, I've got several Facebook groups, but more than more than the best exposure for that is on LinkedIn.

Vonne Solis  39:54  
So if someone visits your website, we'll have all the links to your socials and your website, but and we're gonna get to that in a minute. But I just want to throw this in now. So if somebody visits your website, they have an opportunity to join your Facebook group from there. Read about Compassion in Action and then get further information about how they can get involved. Are you doing zoom calls where you, I just want to ask are you doing zoom calls still with regard to Compassion in Action like on a regular basis?

Barb Ashcroft  40:24  
Oh, well, I'm interviewing people all the time. 

Vonne Solis  40:28  

Barb Ashcroft  40:28  
On Zoom, and that those interviews go into my newsletter. That's what my newsletter is. As their monthly, there's a new interview. Whether it's end of life doula or it could be anything and any, I've got amazing interviews on there. And then I,

Vonne Solis  40:47  
Oh okay.

Barb Ashcroft  40:48  
Yeah, yeah. So that, that's how that sort of comes together. Another thing people can do to save time and effort, they can certainly just contact me from the contact information, and I'll be happy to direct them. There's a lot of different places you can go. But if you want the full meal deal, you can go here. If you want a snippet, you can go you know, so.

Vonne Solis  41:11  
Yeah, no, that's perfect. Thank you so much Barb, for the work that you're doing in that. Because I know when you and I first met, and we had a little chat on Zoom, and you were telling me about that experience with your friends becoming widowed. And you know, and you starting this grief illiteracy work, it's so important. Because it's not really work like that I feel I could take on, because I'm not in the role really of struggling to support someone bereaved. But I certainly did lose pretty well everyone in my life. And yeah, that was really hard to go through. 

Vonne Solis  41:45  
But having said that, I do just want to say I understand why people leave us, especially the harder the loss. I really do understand that. But grief literacy is so necessary. So thank you for the part that you're playing in bringing this awareness to people because they don't know what to say or do. And often we don't need very much from you people. We just need you to know that we're not going to give you anything like really bad or catchy. Especially those of us that have lost a child. 

Vonne Solis  42:18  
I did want to actually move a little bit to your, your workshop "Getting Your Shenanigans in Order". I just love that. You have the coolest names of things Barb. You really do. So what is that "Getting Your Shenanigans in Order"? And who is that workshop basically designed for?

Barb Ashcroft  42:39  
As I was interviewing experts, and then and grieving individuals with my newsletter, there was a whole PS that came up. And that was related to the chaos or the mess that was left when they lost someone. And so I thought, Oh, my goodness. Because I'm, you know, I'm an organizer, you know. And I've been a hub for decades with knowing who does what, how and who to refer, you know. For me the "Getting Your Shenanigans in Order" was a, a, basically paying it forward with love. 

Barb Ashcroft  43:28  
And so it's a workshop on putting together your binder. And I learned from all of these individuals, so many key things like, you know, who has a key to your home? How do they get passwords? What about where's your medical number? Or all of these things? So what I've done is I've created a workshop. It's called "Taking Action". Peace of mind comes after you take action. And so what it is, it's personal instructions on putting together your own binder and I've created videos on exactly what needs to be done. And I also have special forms that you would fit, like here's a sheet on what to give to the paramedic, that has everything on there. Your go-to list. Who's your notification? Who, if something happened to your husband on the way home, who is going to stand beside you? Who's going to help you when all the blood's drained from the brain and you've got to figure out okay, what, what, what? And who has a key? What family and friends need to be contacted?

Barb Ashcroft  44:52  
And then I have a 16 page government, it's called After a Death checklist. And it has all the government numbers. It has also check lists that okay, well, gee, okay. And so what we do is I have a paint by number workbook that's on my website. So they can just go through and do all of these. But it's so amazing. Like, we found out so many things that, for instance, one of my four ladies had their car and bowls names, but she had to prove that she was actually married to him because she with her marriage certificate. Well, who on earth? You know. Anyways, so many little things that can be stumbling blocks. And so for me, this was a way of putting it together. I have to go-to people. They both know where my binder is. They both have all the legal documents of how to access that. And even on the front of my binder, it even has 911 in case you're just, and my address, and how to get there.

Vonne Solis  46:10  
Is this a resource that people can download from your website, or is it part of the workshop? Or how does that work?

Barb Ashcroft  46:18  
Well, what they would do is they would purchase the workbook, and then they download it there.

Vonne Solis  46:24  
Okay, so Barb that's fantastic. Personally, we've already pretty well done all of that in our family. But I have talked to financial experts. I have talked to insurance experts. And everybody agrees that there is still illiteracy around pre-planning for emergencies, estate stuff, wills. And really what you're covering here, just what to do. Because when you're traumatized by something sudden, you could even forget the 911 number. 

Vonne Solis  46:57  
And I lost my mother super suddenly, five years after my daughter. So I got the call. My husband was overseas. And

Barb Ashcroft  47:07  
Oh, my goodness.

Vonne Solis  47:08  
My son was 18. And you know, so I mean, you're dealing with stuff. And then and then I'm thinking, Well, how am I supposed to go to work tomorrow? And you know, and all these things. And then you gotta call all the relatives. And I can tell you also, when you just mentioned things like passwords to your accounts, having a power of attorney is the best thing you could do, in my opinion, if you're going to be responsible for someone's medical. Or at least be named in a will as the executor. So just to access bank accounts and stuff, because you know, you can't access a family member's bank accounts, unless you're named as executor. Or you have agreement from all the other family members who could have a say in it. And it can get nasty and awful, even when there's no basic money. And just think about that. 

Vonne Solis  48:01  
And, you know, in my mom's case, we were so lucky because my mom told me exactly what to do in the event of her death, because she was in the hospital a month before she died. And I was like, You're not going to die, Mom, you're not going to die mom, right? And, of course, she did die, like at home, but you know, four weeks later. But I knew exactly what to do. How to pay for the funeral and all of that stuff. Because it's thousands of dollars, folks. If you haven't had any experience, average today, people have been telling me it's probably running up to $10,000 just for basic funeral services. Because back in the day, like at even at my mom's time of death, and my daughter's five years apart, we're running $4 or $5,000 at that time. That is not even a memorial. So people don't think about this stuff. And we're not Barb, we're not taught about it.

Barb Ashcroft  48:54  
No. Exactly. And, you know, I just want to share an important point, is that when I was doing all of this, and I felt oh my goodness, it doesn't have to be this way. People could have this binder done. And that would be the peace of mind. But I was doing so much work around it and doing workshops and all of this, that my husband says, Do you know something that I don't know? About him, you know. No, I said. Here's the important point. This is our love for our kids. So they will be able to grieve without the chaos.

Vonne Solis  49:35  
It's so important Barb and so I'm glad we're talking today about all these things. And this is the nuts and bolts of life. You know? It's either you are going to die and leave someone struggling with stuff if you haven't talked about it, or you're going to be the one left cleaning up the mess. And I can tell you for a fact, whoever your loved one is that passes, and you're stuck cleaning everything up. And if they're renting a place, you know, you have only a very finite time before they want, they want you out of there and you know, and get the place where you re-rented. And if they have a mortgage, there might be all kinds of stuff that has to be taken care of. Like, there's all sorts of stuff. 

Vonne Solis  50:22  
So at minimum, it becomes really vital that you talk amongst yourselves in your immediate family and to some degree and extended family, where necessary. And agree to who wants to take on role of executor. How, where the wills are. You know? Who's getting what? Do you want this? You know, do you want my car? And you know, like, because it becomes very burdensome in and amongst the sometimes trauma. And any sudden loss, quite frankly, is trauma. Trauma inducing. But let's just even keep it to a loss of a parent that you're kind of expecting, but you know, it's it's really hard. And then having to dispose of all of their stuff and memories. I did it. Had to do it. And trust me what's important to your loved one, and it's not important to you, if you want to have a conversation about how guilty you feel when you have to throw stuff in the garbage or recycling or give to Value Village or this that and the other. That you know, maybe were treasures of your loved one? Yeah, it can produce tons of guilt and heartache and whatever. So just talking about it. Hey, if anything ever happened to you,  what do you want? You know, do you want to be buried? Do you want cremation? Where do you want it? What kind of service do you want? Because we can't read each other's minds. And people really, I'm sure you know this. People really struggle with how to lay their their loved one to rest even, if they've never ever talked about it.

Barb Ashcroft  52:02  
Yeah. And that's the key thing is again, where the whole, whole premise of all of this is that it doesn't have to be that way. Because you can do this as an act of love for your family.

Vonne Solis  52:18  

Barb Ashcroft  52:19  
Put it together. And that is a paint by number workbook. Basically, you can go through it. You can even do a page a day. 

Vonne Solis  52:27  

Barb Ashcroft  52:28  
You'd be done. I mean, it's. And so anybody who purchases the workbook, they automatically get invited to my private Compassion in Action Facebook group where I do go live and go through different pages at different times. So they can pause me. You know, you've got any questions about this? We're growing a community there. But it's basically for people that have already taken the first step. There lots of hand holding. You don't have to do this on your own. But the key thing is, reach out and get started.

Vonne Solis  52:28  
Barb, this has been awesome. Do you have any key takeaways for the audience before we just wind up with your resources?

Barb Ashcroft  53:12  
Well, I think I just have a one liner.

Vonne Solis  53:15  
Okay. I love your one liners.

Barb Ashcroft  53:17  
We gotta wanna. WANNA. Because, absolutely, people can help support you. 

Vonne Solis  53:27  

Barb Ashcroft  53:28  
They can be around you. They can fan the flame of that little tiny light. But got to light it yourself. You gotta wanna progress. You gotta wanna take action. You gotta wanna, you know, have a better, more fulfilled life. You gotta wanna. Because nobody can do your sit-ups for you. You know, I wish they would, but...

Vonne Solis  53:55  
You know what I did about that, though? And I know you said back a while ago that you know, you're not really drawn to exercise very much? Well, me either. Uggh. As you were talking about everything and cozying up with a hot chocolate and stuff. And I'm like, Barb and I are kindred spirits there, you know? But hey, it is good for us. And so I've gone through different periods in my life where I've done different levels. Never high, high intensity. But Aqua size and I don't know this and that. And more recently, a few months ago, you know, I was starting to feel sluggish. And so I went, Okay. 

Vonne Solis  54:29  
So anyway, I started to do, get out my yoga mat, right? And start with some, you know, exercises. Very minor exercises, but enough to move parts of my body, my legs and so on, that I could handle. And then more recently, about a month ago, I went you know what? It might be more fun if I follow some freebie YouTube workouts. Just five minutes, seven minutes. So that's what I've been doing. So I feel like I'm part of a community with the instructor even though I don't pay for it and it's not live and I go at my own pace. And, you know, I've built up stamina for it and I like it, because I'm viewing it as a gift to myself on the days that I'm doing it. Which is usually five to six a week. So it's just the willingness to start something. Anything hey, Barb?

Barb Ashcroft  55:16  
Yeah, you gotta wanna.

Vonne Solis  55:18  
So Barb, we're at the top of the hour and it has been my absolute pleasure to have you here. I just want to say that people can find you at I'll have the link below to anything else. But you can pretty well find anything that Barb has talked about today and her offers on that website. Again, And you're a wealth of information. So thank you, Barb, for being on my show. It was just great to have you and I'm so glad that we're connected.

Barb Ashcroft  55:55  
Thank you so much Vonne. It was a treat.

Vonne Solis  55:58  
Absolutely. Take care.

Intro to episode.
How Barb got into the field of natural health.
When Your Bucket List Springs a Leak
The power of self-care.
What are your top four fulfillment needs?
What is your calling?
Solution-oriented thinking.
Today is just a snapshot.
Why we want to feel safe.
Grief illiteracy.
What is Compassion in Action?
Getting Your Shenanigans in Order
How to prepare for an emergency.
How to get started with compassion in Action.