The first podcast episode with a trigger warning… ⚠️
Grief is something that gets to us all at some point.
Even though we know that it’s the inevitable cycle of life, it never makes the loss feel any easier.
I got Whitley Rose @TheTranspersonalTherapist on to tell her story about how the sudden loss of a close family member changed her life and the way that she works with therapy clients.
Everyone grieves differently and it’s important to honour that process, whatever it looks like for you.
Whitley has some really powerful insights for how to allow and grow through this process using her own personal experience and professional therapy background.
Listen to ep.18 of the podcast now 🎙️▻▻▻
If you vibe, click SUBSCRIBE! ✨
Hi Whitley. Hi, how are you? Good. Thank you so much for coming on today. I know that this episode is going to be so impactful and really speak to people because I know most people have had some experience of grief, whether that's a beloved family, pet, a grandparent or someone really, really close to them, it has touched us all in some way.
So I'm so grateful to you for coming on and preparing to be so raw, real, and vulnerable, and share your story with us today. Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I feel so honored to be here and I just, I love connecting with people in this vulnerable space. And so I really just feel honored to be a part of that.
Oh, you'll say welcome. So let's introduce you to everyone then. So you're a transpersonal coach, a Tarot reader, and an astrologer. Anyone who came to our Halloween tarot master class will know Whitley. We did a whole two hour master class about reading tyroid together, but in that masterclass, we never shed too much of our rain journeys.
So what journey led you to working in the spiritual space like you do today? Yes. So I originally had gotten into this kind of spiritual world way back when I was around, I want to say 18 or so. And what actually led me there was, I had a really, really hard rock bottom that I hit. Um, so I grew up in a really traumatic household, with a lot of abuse and trauma and.
Up until that point, I had been using substances to numb my pain. I hadn't been working through any of that trauma pretty much from the time I can remember. I honestly had been numbing a lot of that. And so I reached a point where I had gotten arrested and I had a lot of really intense things going on, like a breakup.
I was failing out of college and. So it led to this rock bottom, where I actually worked with a therapist and she took me through a meditation for the first time. And then from there, she took me to a yoga class and I was like, wow, this is what living is. And so that was my initial, dabble in spirituality was literally in meditation with a therapist.
Wow. It sounds like she was an incredible mentor in your journey. Then she was, and she is the reason that I went to study it to be a therapist because I was like, people need this medicine, they need this magic. I had been on like antidepressants, literally from the time I was like nine years old or something.
And I was like, this is this natural space, this natural medicine and the world needs it. So I'm like, how can I give this to the people that don't have access to these holistic ways of like healing, all of these kind of shitty things. In life that we go through,
Yeah. So I was actually going to ask you, what was it that drew you to training as a therapist and helping people in this way, because you specifically do transpersonal therapy. So can you tell us what that is exactly. And what the approach to therapy is? Yeah. So transpersonal means trans beyond the person.
So what that is is like going beyond the self, beyond the ego. And so it works with the parts of. Our self in the world that we can't see. And so when you think of like a trans state, you know, you think of like hypnosis or something that works with the subconscious, like beyond our conscious mind. So transpersonal is a type of therapy that works beyond that, the conscious ego.
So we work with like hypnosis energy, the body. Yeah. Somatic healing. Um, all of those things that go beyond the self. So beyond that, just talking about the trauma, really, really touching with the mind, body and soul. So moving trauma through all of those three lenses. That's incredible. I know that you have a lot of years of training and experience as a therapist.
So what has that journey looked like for you kind of training in therapy? Yeah, so surprisingly enough in grad school is actually when my, when my sister passed away. And I know we'll go through that here in a second, but it's crazy how. I was in the midst of doing this intense therapy training to be a therapist, to help people and then something so traumatic happened.
And I don't think it was coincidence because I was just in the midst of learning about mental health and learning about trauma and learning about grief that I had experienced my biggest grief to this date yet.
Yeah. Yes, definitely. So would you be willing to share some of your experience of what this grief was? Cause I know this was probably the most life-changing event that you have had so far. So would you be willing to share with us what happened there? Yeah. So. This was in 2018. And, I received a phone call from my mom that my sister had passed away in an accident.
And. I get goosebumps talking about it right now, because it was that life-changing that big for me. And I can still remember, I just fell straight to the ground. My body gave out, I literally couldn't move. And I started just rocking. And I'm saying, I just talked to her, but I just talked to her, but I just talked to her, but I just talked to her.
And from there, I, I literally was just kind. Even fathom what I was going through. And so for everyone listening, my sister was literally like my mom to me, we were best friends. You're inseparable. We did everything together and she was my biggest supporter. My biggest cheerleader. We had gone through trauma together.
We went to high school together and it was. Literally, I always explain it as like, if I can name one person in this world, not to take out like my person. It was that. And so it was that life changing for me that I didn't have my person anymore. Wow. Or even a mashing Walt that was like, and the best blog that I have ever read ever to this day was the one that you wrote on your website about your experience of grieving your sister.
And I think you wrote it quite a while ago. I think it's maybe one or two years old, but it was so raw. So vulnerable and by reading the way that you wrote about it and how you are struggling to do with your therapy clients at this time, because you were going through such intense life-changing grief of your own.
I really gave me an insight into your mentality at that time and how you were feeling. And like I said, Said at the beginning, we've all experienced grief of some kind. I lost my stepsister when I was in year eight, which is the same as grade eight, I'm in the USA. And it was also very sudden she was around 30 and she just had a brain hemorrhage one day.
So she. To laps. She was with her fiance at the time. She was just at home in her flat collapsed. I think she started having a nose bleed. He called the ambulance. She was in hospital for a week. Had brain surgery was in a coma. they thought she was getting better. Yeah. So they moved her out of intensive care.
And then as soon as they downgraded her, she died at nighttime. And the craziest thing was that she died in the middle of the night and that night I had a dream and anyone who's had a visitation in a dream knows exactly what I mean is not just a normal dream. It's very, very different to that. And I opened a door and the funny thing was is that she was wearing my sister's pajamas.
So my full blood sister, she was wearing this. Uh, of cobalt blue. So John is that my sister has, which was like representing the sister adamant because she was my step-sister and I opened the front door and I was so panicked in my dream and I was saying are UNK UNK. And she was like, I'm fine. I'm absolutely fine.
And then when I woke up, I found out she passed in the night. I knew that was a visitation and it was the strangest things. Obviously I grieved, but I feel like she came to visit me that night to save me from some of the intense grief and confusion that I would have felt otherwise, because that always comforted me.
She told me that night before I'd even heard the news that she had died, that she was okay. So I never had to worry about that in that sense. So it was really, really powerful. And I know that you have had so many. The signs and symbols from your sister. I gave you a tower reading back at the beginning of 2020, and she gave some messages to me, which I had no idea what they meant to at the time about like rainbows and things like that.
So what experiences have you had in terms of signs from your sister in spirit? Yeah, so I struggled with this for a really long time, honestly, because when this first happened, I was obviously already. Really spiritual before this happened and this happened and I couldn't connect to the spirit world. I was honestly really pissed off at the universe.
I'm like, Oh, screw all of this, crap. Like you took my sister out. Like, I don't understand why this isn't fair. Like screw the universe. Why would you do that to me? Those kinds of things. And so I literally couldn't connect. It actually was putting a wall up for a really long time. And I think that wall was, was actually out of, um, Well out of pain because I didn't want to feel her on the other side.
I wanted to feel her in this life and it honestly made me really mad. So I couldn't connect with her for a really, really long time. And I sought out all kinds of things to connect with her like psychics. And I loved your terror rating because rainbows is actually a way that now I know that she shows up for me, to, and any family trip we go on to this day still, we will always see a rainbow.
Every time I come to my mom's. I see a rainbow and it's just definitely not by chance, but it took me a long time to get there because I was so mad at the universe. I wasn't willing to see the signs that were there. That is incredible. So how does the experience of this incredible grief and this life changing event that you have had?
How does that influence the work that you do now with your clients? Yeah, it definitely shifted a lot of that experience for me. And I can now I think show up in a space for people that are dealing with grief on a whole nother level. It's like, I get you, I feel you on so many layers with that. And yeah, you're right.
This pain sucks. And like let's, let's work through this together. so I definitely think it it's opened up a whole new lens. I definitely was not. Wanting to really work in deaths. Um, when I first started, I was definitely working in the realm of, um, trauma and abuse and like childhood. So I worked with a lot of adolescents and now I've noticed I've shifted a lot to working with, grief and, the loss of a loved one.
Because it's hard, you know, a lot of people are uncomfortable talking about death and, and understandably so it's painful to think about that. And it's scary. We actually don't know what happens, you know, when we die, but we do know death is the only certain in this world and that is a scary place, but it also is a place of union that everyone in this world we will be bonded in that uncertainty.
Um, but that's scary. Death and taxes is what they say. Death and taxes are the only certainties. And I think that's why the work that we do in terms of the spiritual work is so important because people do want to have that connection. And that's why people turn to mediums and Redis and things like that to get that sense of certainty and to feel that connection.
Yeah. With their loved ones who have passed over in addition to obviously all of the signs and symbols and angel numbers and things like that, that we might receive as well. So do you have any advice for someone who is listening to this episode and who is really in the thick of grief right now? Yes.
Yeah. So I have a couple of things that helped me during my intense grief and the first thing. I think that I would like to share is just to be gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to grieve. And so when I first went through this experience, I didn't know how to show up in the world anymore.
I didn't know how to be a friend. I didn't know how to be a partner. I didn't know how to be an employee because I was like, well, if I can die tomorrow, then what the hell am I doing? Sitting at a work desk working like this just doesn't make sense to me. What am I doing? Wasting my time with people that aren't giving me my energy back.
And I just really didn't know how to show up any more. And so I just want to share, like, give yourself permission to fail. Feel whatever you're feeling. Like. I thought something was wrong with me because I was feeling that way. I was like, how can I be so ungrateful? And so me and, and so negative and what is wrong with me that I can't go to work and what is wrong with me like that?
I can't do this. And so just give yourself permission to be and be with your experience and grieve if you're grieving. Like, with my partner. I would say probably two out of five times that we go out to dinner, I'm crying at some point. And at first I was like, felt bad because I was like, people think he just broke up with me.
You know, I'm bawling at the dinner table. We're at this nice restaurant. Like, it looks like he literally just broke my heart and we ended up just being in that space together. And, just allowing tears to come and that pain to just come as it is. And so instead of trying to stop it and resist it, we just cry at dinner at a really fancy restaurant and just like, let it be.
And so I think that's the most important thing is just to let your grief come when it comes and be gentle with yourself. Like if you need a day off from work, please take a day off from work. If you need to cry down the aisle at Walmart or whatever. Do it, you know, if you need to scream, punch a pillow, if you need to, um, laugh uncontrollably, you know, whatever it is, just allow that to be because I resisted, resisted a lot of this for so long and it costs me honestly, more suffering.
In what ways did you resist it? Oh yeah, I, I resisted it big time, so I would compartmentalize a lot of the time. Um, I would use distraction and I still catch myself with that. Like an example would be with pictures, for a really long time. I couldn't look at pictures of my sister. I couldn't look at any of that.
And by doing that, I was never honoring her. And, and I was never honoring the love and the pain that I have without her. And so it made me really resentful. And by starting to incorporate spaces, to look at her picture and cry and honor that space, I've been able to connect with her and I've been able to loosen that wall on my heart that I had had.
And so it's like those kinds of pieces of resistance where I had shown up in a way that was, honestly like, not very nice, I guess I was really mad and really mad at the world and it showed up in anger and it took me a really long time to, to learn that that's a part of the process and by surrendering into that anger and knowing, yeah, I deserve to be pissed off someone I love is taken out and there's other ways that I can, honor that. Yeah. And I just want to touch on something you said as well about how you, um, Connor, your partner, also an engineer, which is hilarious because they're exactly the same in that way.
How, when you're at the table and you were both crying, you were both there together, and this was obviously your sister. So you weren't the only person grieving at this point. Your partner will have also known her for years. Obviously your parents and you have another. Sister as well. So what did that look like in terms of grieving as a family and grieving with other people all at the same time?
Yeah, that's a great question. And I'm really glad that you brought that up because I think even just from a therapeutic lens, a lot of, people struggle with that because everyone does grieve differently in the family system. And, and, you know, she, she had young kids at the time that her, she was passing and they were, I think seven and five at the time when she passed away.
So they were really young. And so there's so many layers to all of that, but it's hard to show up when you have everyone in the family grieving in different ways and you're totally right. Is everyone's relationship to her was different and, in their own way special. So I'll just use a quick example as well.
So for myself, I'm a feeler, I'm an empath and also a therapist. So I want to be in the work. I want to be crying and processing the emotions and not leaving bed for a whole day to allow it to move through me. And. My mom, for example, didn't have the luxury of doing that. So she she's a nurse and she had to go back to work right away and she had to help raise kids.
Now that are a part of her life. I mean, they were always a part of her life, but she, now takes on the role as that mother figure. And so she really didn't have the space to grieve and she didn't have the space to do that. And so. We really had to, as a family kind of balance out how we can show up in these ways.
And one isn't better than the other, like for her, she needed to compartmentalize because she had kids to help raise. And for me, I was able to have the space to like, explore that. Uh, so I don't know if that answered the question or not, but. No, it definitely did. And thank you so much for sharing that with me.
I know that people do deal with grief differently. And unfortunately, in my case, my stepdad was already an alcoholic, so that just plunged him really, really deep. Into the bottle and I'm going to do a whole other episode of the podcast about addiction. And I'm going to have a spiritual coach on who has experienced addiction, and we're going to do a whole separate episode about that.
but just seeing the way that it played out with his family, obviously I was, uh, just a step sibling and I hadn't actually known her for that long, relatively, but seeing how it played out in terms of my stepdad. And she had a brother. So my stepdad turned to the drink, the brother shut down. The mother was a very Christian, so that helped her a lot, I think, but everyone does deal with it.
So different needs. So thank you for sharing some of the different experiences in your family. And I know you do a lot of trips to commemorate heroin and app. No, no way. Has she been forgotten her? And I know that you honor her all the time through the work that you do as well. So where are you today?
Where are you on your grief journey? Yeah, I'm still definitely in it. That's for sure. Um, I, you know, they say like timing heals wounds, and I really don't think that that's true. I think our relationship just shifts to the grief. Throughout our life, it just looks a little different and. Right now, I am just taking it moment by moment.
And that's kind of the only way I've been able to survive since this happened is, literally moment by moment. Because with grief, you can't even take it day by day because you could have the best morning ever. Feel super positive. And then you see a little kid at the grocery store and you're reminded of how your sister will never see her kids at the grocery store and then you're there for a year into it.
So I always think of grief of like taking it literally the moment by moment, because each moment is different in shifting. And so I've really been trying to embody that and just surrender into whatever I'm experiencing right now. And it's so healing to be able to, Hold space in a therapeutic lens with clients as well, because it's so healing for me to guide others, to like connecting back to their self because I had lost myself.
I was literally, I always explained it like shattered into a million pieces. And I would say like each year, maybe I've Picked up one piece, re-evaluated it, and started to glue some parts back together. Um, but the thing is, is like that whole vase is not the goal anymore. You know, it's gonna look different and it's going to be a totally different shape.
And so I'm really just in that space of trying to find myself again and trying to see what pieces no longer serve me, what relationships may no longer serve me. And, Yeah, it's, it's a journey for sure. And it's definitely going to be a lifelong one.
And I've heard that so many times about grief when someone has lost someone significant, whether it's a child, a husband, or wife, a sibling, a parent, your life's never going to be the same, but it's about finding the new reality after that person. And while obviously still remembering them and loving them.
Right. But just trying to find your new place in the world, a place that you can be happy with. I'm ready to make the most of the rest of your life as much as you possibly can. So thank you so much for sharing all of this for being so open. I know it's going to speak to so many people, so where can people find you and how can you support them?
Yeah. So you can find me on Instagram at the transpersonal therapist or, um, at the transpersonal therapist.com. And I'm actually doing a grief podcast that is going to be launching here soon, and it's called love and loss. And so essentially I am bringing on tons of guests and we're all. Sharing our experiences with grief and all different kinds of loss.
Whether that's someone to suicide that is someone to a traumatic accident, terminal illness, or just holding a space for everyone to know that you're not alone. Cause grief can feel so, so lonely. Um, so yeah, be on the lookout for that. And you can find me on Instagram in the meantime, I, I like to just show up so authentically too.
And so yeah. If, you are feeling lost or feeling like, you don't have a voice or a confused then yeah. Come find me. And we can chat because I really just love connecting in those hard spaces because you know, in life there's a lot of resources for us. They're about love life happiness.
However, there's not as much for that shadow self in that, that darker side and the hard shit that no one wants to talk about. And so that's really what my platform is, is like, Talk about the hardship I'm here with you in it. I've been there and let's get through it together.
Yes, you're very good at talking about the shadow. And I know you've written some for, in so many incredible Instagram posts, but there's one that sticks out where you were saying even I used to be all love and light. And I remember using the hashtag, Good vibes only and things like that. And then you say your experience of grief has completely changed that.
And now you're all about the shadow work. Absolutely not about spiritual bypassing at all. This is about recognizing your feelings, feeling them, expressing them so that you can actually move through them. And move on. So you're so powerful, so incredible. I can attest to all of the work that you do. You are literally one of the kindest, most caring, most giving people that I've ever met.
Like you've been a coaching client of mine and I've been able to see the huge amount of energy and love that you pour into your clients. Like I know you would be helping people all day every day, if you Kurt, and you would go to the ends of the earth to help and heal people. So thank you for sharing your gifts through all of the work that you do in your therapy and your tarot readings and your astrology.
You are truly an incredible person. So thank you for coming on. Oh, my God. You're like bringing tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for that. And yes, I want to reflect that back to you to the work that I did with you has been so life-changing as a coach and just helping get my message out there. You've been able to really help me, find my business voice and really, really share this with people.
And so I want to thank you for that as well. Oh, you're so welcome. Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode. Everyone do reach out to Whitley if you would like her help in the therapy space. And I hope this episode was still uplifting, even though we were obviously talking about a difficult topic, it's so important that we are able to talk about these things and not suffer in silence.
So thank you everyone for joining us on this episode, and I hope it resonates with you. So thank you so much again, Whitley. Thank you.