top of page

Five Lessons Grief Taught Me About Mind, Body, and Soul

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

It’s all about growth through healing, and aligning with intuition.

Like for so many of us, 2021 was a trying year for me.

In 2021, I met the one-year anniversary of my husband’s passing. I rode the waves of grief and tragedy, as I closed the chapter on my search for why my husband ended his life—and made a commitment to myself that I’d try to live mine.

In 2021, I moved across the world (again), this time landing in Hawaii. I bought my first home—something I never would have imagined doing without my husband. I have made it my own.

In 2021, I “came out” as a psychic medium, letting the world know that not only am I able to talk to so-called "dead people"—but that this ability has opened my eyes to my purpose in this life beyond what I ever could have imagined. Settling into this skin is an ongoing process that’s called for constant recalibrating of reality as I know it. At the same time, embracing who I truly am has led me down a path of incredible growth and self-knowing.

Most importantly, in 2021, I learned how to listen to my inner knowing and tune in—really tune in—to what I need to calm my body, ease my shattered heart, and find who I am after losing my B. Within that space, I’ve deepened my love for natural mind/body/spirit practices, and traded my Type-A need to control for letting my intuition take the wheel.

All in all, it’s been a big year of pain and suffering meets healing, expansion and growth. Taking a bird’s-eye view of 2021, the theme of the year has been mind, body, and soul.

With that, here are the five big lessons on mind, body, and soul that 2021 taught me:

1.) Our intuition uses our body to physically express itself—and lead us to our highest good.

Stomach flutters, tight muscles, breath patterns. These are all ways that intuition “speaks” through the body.

When my body says “no,” my entire being is saying “no.”

Conversely, when my body says “yes”—no matter how subtly—then I’m all-in.

This year, I learned to identify, listen to, and trust my intuition more than I ever have before. And as I’ve listened—it’s never led me astray.

Not once.

Most importantly, in 2021, I learned how to listen to my inner knowing and tune in—really tune in—to what I need to calm my body, ease my shattered heart, and find who I am after losing my B.

My intuition led me to my new home, my healing island in the Pacific. It led me to the people and practices that have helped me rebuild my life after absolute destruction. My intuition guided me to understanding why my B is no longer here in the physical world, and helped me pick up the pieces and find purpose and meaning in the aftermath.

With so much validation, and feeling so good when I follow my gut instinct, I’ve gotten to a point where my body and intuition are now what I base all decisions on. I’ve found a flow that feels really, really good—so much so that I never want to let it go.

As I settle into this flow, fear, guilt, and people-pleasing have, in turn, taken the backseat. Operating primarily on intuition might not seem “logical” or make sense to others. And that’s just fine. I trust that my intuition is guiding me towards what it always right for me.

So, I'm learning to pass my intuition the reins, trust with conviction, and let go for the ride.

2.) We are our own best healers.

Our bodies and intuitive selves know which healing interventions feel right—and which don’t.

Certain natural mind/body/spirit interventions help strengthen that connection to our inner knowing, while also healing the body and mind.

This year, I fell even more in love with yoga and meditation, which were my saving graces in the first months after my B died.

I also deepened my work with Reiki and other forms of energy healing, hypnotic visualization meditation (like this one), and Solfeggio Frequency sound healing.

Further, through the meditative practice called “sitting in the power,” which psychic mediums use to train, I deepened my own practice of communicating with my B, my ancestors, and my guides on the Other Side. I also got to know my own soul even more. And wow—She. Is. Something.

All of these practices helped me regulate my nervous system, settle into my emotions and process what I was feeling, and deeply connect to my own inner self and soul.

In 2021, I also expanded my repertoire by adding two new practices, led by two incredible healers with whom I worked directly via Zoom.

First was conscious breathwork journeys, led by my friend, colleague, and healer for survivors of suicide loss, Rebecca Jax. Working with Rebecca helped so much in resolving conditions such as debilitating reactions to trauma triggers. The sessions also facilitated visceral spiritual insights, which connected me to my B in Spirit, my guides on the Other Side, and my own soul. And all this was done only through guided, controlled breathing techniques—completely natural, profoundly effective.

The second healing practice that I added in 2021 was EFT Tapping, an evidence-based technique for treating trauma and emotional distress by tapping energy points on the body. While I was already familiar with the practice, the positive impacts deepened when I started working with the incredible EFT tapping coach for women, Giulia Halkier. Using a trauma-informed, body-centered, intuitive approach, Giulia has helped me shift and resolve my relationship with my trauma and my body, and align with what truly makes me happy. No guilt, only compassion for myself, my purpose, and my needs.

Taken together, this collection of completely natural, self-led healing practices has helped me stabilize my nervous system, ease deep sadness, and alleviate acute stress, physical tension, and anxiety.

These practices bypassed the analytical, thinking mind, and went deep into my inner truth and self. Getting to know this self and easing her pain has been enlightening, empowering, and has given me so much hope and direction for life after loss.

I’ve continued to see my grief therapist, an incredible practitioner who helps me navigate the shifts and changes. However, we only meet once, maybe twice a month now—versus twice a week, as in early grief. While there are still very hard days, I’ve learned how to regulate my own body, and know what helps me move forward in life with joy, openness, and curiosity.

Through the meditative practice called “sitting in the power,” which psychic mediums use to train, I deepened my own practice of communicating with my B, my ancestors, and my guides on the Other Side. I got to know my own soul even more. And wow—She. Is. Something.

3.) Healing is never “done.”

I’ve come a long way in my healing journey since my B passed 22 months ago. However, I also recognize that healing is never done and dusted. Healing is on ongoing, never-ending, non-linear process of falling down, and getting back up again when we can.

The body, mind, and soul will always encounter new pain and obstacles. And in trauma, the past may re-emerge months and ever years after a traumatic experience was endured.

Trauma triggers reared their ugly head for me many times over the last year.

Take the afternoon this past July, when I went to buy furnishings for my new, first home. What started out as an exciting outing quickly dissolved into me sobbing in a heap in the Nordstrom’s houseware department.

“What about these, miss?” the sales attendant asked me, holding up an avant-garde white dinner plate, proudly displaying the pattern.

I took one look at the plate—and on impulse, broke down into thick, audible tears.

In the last conversation my B and I’d had before he took his life, we talked about buying new dishes for our apartment.

Unbeknownst to this sales attendant, a year and a half later in a completely different environment, being asked what plates I wanted for my new home—a home I’ll never live in with my husband—brought me back to a place of instinctive panic, overwhelm, and despair.

Thankfully, the shock didn't last long, nor did it completely take me down. A year ago, however, it would have totally set me over the edge for weeks on end.

Trauma and its unexpected triggers are a part of life (and healing) for those of us who’ve lived through the unfathomable.

The key is learning tools that keep us safe and mitigate catastrophe, to allow us to observe the pain and let it pass—rather than the pain taking us over.

The dinner plates incident knocked me out for a couple days. But the wave did pass, and in the meantime, I knew what to do to move through it.

I still have moments of breakdown. Waves of anguish still wash over me. But thanks to the cumulative effects of the healing work I’ve done, as well as my knowledge about how to regulate my body and keep myself safe when triggers hit—the waves don’t hit as often. And when they do, they don’t last as long nor are they as catastrophic as they once were.

4.) As we heal and let our intuition lead, our identity expands, shifts & (re)emerges… And it’s supposed to.

When your person dies, so much of you dies with them.

In 2021, I underwent a complete overhaul of who I am and who I will be—as I woke up to who I’ve always been underneath it all.

In so many ways, my identity was totally obliterated over the last year-plus.

I’m no longer a wife, but now a widow—and a widow by one of the most traumatizing, stigmatized means imaginable.

I’m no longer a researcher with a cushy career—but now someone who knows their purpose melds the socially-acceptable with the “out there” and unknown.

I’m no longer an expat, but have come back to my home country after years living abroad (although Hawaii is anything but Main Street, USA, to be fair).

I no longer live by a five-year life plan. Instead, my gut, my loved ones on the Other Side, and other spiritual energies I can see, feel, smell, and hear—but not touch—guide me.

These shifting roles and realities left me up in arms for the better part of 2020 and 2021.

But sometime last year, I began to settle down—and settle in.

Slowly, gently, at a pace that felt right for me, in 2021, I came out as a psychic medium. “I talk to dead people!” I let the world know.

As my voice got louder, my network expanded.

I lectured at my alma matter, the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois, on holistic healing of grief.

I gave several interviews on how my intuitive gifts awoke the night my B passed away.

My aforementioned colleague, Rebecca Jax, and I began recording episodes for our podcast and video show, Life. Death. And Then What?, launching in 2022.

I began receiving clients and giving formal psychic mediumship readings to others, and started writing about these encounters and the deep healing they bring in my blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

As I shared my insights through my writing and talks, I met more and more people who also have the ability of psychic mediumship—including others whose ability also awoke when their dearest loved one passed away.

Through it all, it’s become clearer with every post, article, and blog entry that my purpose is to marry my left-brained scientific side, with my intuitive, right-brained self, to help make mainstream healing through science-plus-spirit.

My human ego has needed nurturing and love as I’ve moved through this process of shedding skin and coming into my own. Our egos activate when they’re trying to protect us, after all.

Yet I’m learning that when we surrender to our intuition, we open up to becoming so much more than we ever could have imagined. The happiness and joy that we experience when we’re embodying our true selves—what we incarnated to be and do—trumps any fear or false expectation of who or what we “should” be.

When we’re embodying our true, authentic selves, it always feels right.

It’s true that who I’m growing into—I never would have anticipated it. I certainly wouldn’t have planned it. But now that I’m getting there, I’ve never felt more comfortable with who I am. And I’ll never go back.

As I shared my insights through my writing and talks, I met more and more people who also have the ability of psychic mediumship—including others whose ability also awoke when their dearest loved one passed away.

5.) Who I’m becoming has always, intuitively, been a part of me.

As I settle into who I’m becoming, I’m realizing that it not only feels good—it feels familiar.

It’s comfortable.

It’s easy.

It flows.

It’s what spiritual gurus and lightworkers refer to as “coming home to yourself.”

For me, this coming home is understanding that somewhere deep within, I was always this spiritual being. Although I had no way of seeing it before, I was always someone who straddles the pragmatic and the ethereal—a researcher and a psychic medium. It’s just that life circumstances fast-tracked me to uncover my path, and that I’m finally now settling into my authentic being without shame, guilt, or fear.

Letting my intuition and soul guide me is what allows me to move freely and confidently through the waves of change.

If it feels right in my body, gut, and soul—then, it is.

Lenore Matthew, Ph.D., MSW

Head home to join my email list and stay up-to-date on news and events. Take a look at some of my other blog posts and published articles.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page