Name It! Podcast
Name It! Podcast
NAME IT! Podcast: Grieving during COVID and BLM: Interview with Kierra Taplin


Mazarine Treyz: Host

Kierra Taplin: President and Founder of the Healing Footprints Foundation

  • 00:03:27.630 –> Why she founded the Healing Footprints

  • 00:06:53.010 –> What happens when we allow ourselves to grieve?

  • 00:09:31.110 –> What more people need to understand about grief

  • 00:10:57.360 –> How to deal with the discomfort of grief

  • 00:17:09.540 –> How grief is affecting us now with the COVID-19

  • 00:22:47.790 –> What happens when people push down grief?

  • 00:28:02.160 –> How you can embrace your grief and rewrite your story

  • 00:31:14.260 –> Why we all need self-care and self-love.

  • 00:35:30.990 –> What lessons can we learn from experience of the pandemic?

  • 00:38:13.860 –> Allow yourself space and time to grieve.

New power Fundraising Conference

00:00:06.150 –> 00:00:07.200

Mazarine Treyz: Everybody, welcome to the Name It Podcast. I am so happy to have Kierra Taplin here. I heard her speak at the UPRooted retreat, Kishshana Palmer’s retreat, and it was fantastic. I had to have her come on and talk to us. Kierra, please tell us who you are.

00:00:31.110 –> 00:01:12.270

Kierra Taplin: Well, first let me say I am honored to be here. I, like you, totally enjoyed the Rooted Retreat. I think this is a great sign of how wonderful the collaborative is, that it was able to bring us together. I’m Kierra. I’m a woman who is just like so many of us, who was at one point in life searching for fulfillment, searching for more. I knew that there was more for me to do. I sit here today as someone who has discovered her purpose. It’s such a beautiful journey when you know that you have a purpose and you can live with intention.

00:01:12.660 –> 00:01:39.090

Kierra Taplin: I’m a woman who brings hope to everyone that I come in contact with. I’m constantly pouring into my husband, my son, my family members, the women that I’m blessed to be connected with. That’s who I am. I’m a connector. I’m a light of hope in your darkest moment, I show up and I bring light, I bring laughter. That, in a nutshell, is who I am.

00:01:42.030 –> 00:01:45.900

Mazarine Treyz: You’re the executive director of the Healing Footprints Foundation.

00:01:45.900 –> 00:01:47.160

Kierra Taplin: Oh, that’s a minor detail.

00:01:57.060 –> 00:01:59.820

Mazarine Treyz: I think that’s impressive. I started a non-profit; that’s hard to do.

00:02:02.190 –> 00:02:43.710

Kierra Taplin: It’s terribly hard. I just don’t like to admit it so that’s probably why I don’t want to bring up that part. Yes, I am President and Executive Founder of the Healing Footprints Foundation. It is a labor of love that I created over eight years ago, and I’m very proud of the growth that the organization has experienced, but also the growth that I experienced, personally, from taking on that responsibility. It’s a huge responsibility. I don’t think I entered it understanding what it really meant to be a founder of an organization and to commit to serving people.

00:02:43.710 –> 00:03:26.250

Kierra Taplin: I think if you commit to human services, the Journey is a little different because your motivation is different, the commitment is different, and, of course, the responsibility is different because now if I fail or if I show up and don’t give my best self, I’m not just affecting my bottom line, which for most corporations is maybe funding or finance, for me these are people. I’m investing in people, in their future, and their healing. So it’s a huge responsibility to be a founder. I jokingly said that it is a minor detail, but I fully understand the gravity of having such an organization.

00:03:27.630 Why she founded the Healing Footprints Foundation

00:03:27.630 –> 00:03:35.220

Mazarine Treyz: For people who don’t know, you have a movement and you have a mission. Could you share with us more about why you founded this nonprofit?

00:03:38.370 –> 00:04:17.160

Kierra Taplin: Yes, the organization is committed to serving families who have experienced or are grieving from pregnancy and infant loss. What I realized at the start of my journey is that grief is far more than the loss of life. What the movement is, it’s reframing how we see grief. That it is to be experienced, that we don’t have to run from it. We don’t have to hide it. We don’t have to suffer in silence. You don’t have to avoid it. That we actually can embrace the grief, and that if you do that, you’ll actually learn to see the beauty in it.

00:04:17.490 –> 00:04:48.090

Kierra Taplin: It’s a valuable lesson that we have, a valuable life experience that we have. There are so many life lessons wrapped up into it. That’s what the movement is about. It’s about exposing grief and the beauty that we can find if we actually take the time to get to know it and embrace it, and embrace our individual journeys of grief so that we can get the lessons that we need to learn and we can view it from the experience that we are to have.

00:04:48.420 –> 00:05:21.630

Kierra Taplin: That’s what the movement is about. My journey, again, started out focused on infant death, and went from infant death to pregnancy loss, understanding that one in four women experienced some type of pregnancy loss. Your neighbors, your co-workers, your family members; you are more than likely know someone who has experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth or some type of newborn death. Oftentimes, they may not talk about it, especially if it happened early on during their pregnancy.

00:05:21.630 –> 00:06:01.710

Kierra Taplin: There’s this grief that they’re carrying that they’re not able to expose. However, you can connect with them because you too may have experienced some other type of grief. You may have experienced divorce. You may have experienced job loss. There may be some other losses that you’ve had in your life that you can now use to connect with the person who has experienced the type of grief that’s a little more devastating, I will say. That you can connect in that way. Grief is, I think, one area that bridges all of us because we have experienced some form of grief on different levels.

00:06:53.010 What happens when we allow ourselves to grieve

00:06:04.980 –> 00:06:43.740

Mazarine Treyz: I love that you say that because, right now, I feel like, during COVID-19, we’re experiencing a lot of grief. During the BLM movement, we’re experiencing a lot of grief. Part of being a human is experiencing grief, but we don’t really have structures and outlets for that. I was listening to the For the Wild Podcast with Lama Rod Owens about liberatory rage. He said we’re not allowing ourselves to feel sadness and despair, and we’re not allowing our hearts to break, and that is what upholds patriarchy.

00:06:44.940 –> 00:06:45.360

Kierra Taplin: Yes.

00:06:53.010 –> 00:07:01.140

Mazarine Treyz: It touched me so deeply. What is your experience of that, when you allow grief versus when you fight grief? What have you seen with the people that you work with?

00:07:01.560 –> 00:07:56.220

Kierra Taplin: I think allowing grief is giving people permission. For me, I’ve literally had to give a lot of my clients the permission to grieve. To your point, we have this cultural stigma that you’re not supposed to hurt or you’re weak if you show signs of pain, if you cry, that somehow it diminishes their strength or their masculinity. We connect all these expressions of strength with denial.  We’re actually denying our humanity that if my mother or my father passes away, that it hurts. If I come home and my wife has packed up everything and moved out, that I’m hurt that I’ve poured 20 years into this relationship and now it’s over. It’s okay to say that I’m hurting.

00:07:56.250 –> 00:08:55.260

Kierra Taplin: A lot of times, we don’t call grief what it is, that it’s grief. It’s oftentimes disguised as bitterness. We’ll say someone is bitter, or they’re angry, or they can’t control their emotions, or they’re insecure. Insecure is one that I hear a lot. We often relate grief to some form of insecurity that you don’t feel powerful or that you’re good enough to move on. I see a lot of that where we’re not identifying grief for what it is because I think if we recognize it and called it grief, that we’ll be more likely to approach it. Who wants to really approach feelings of anger, or disappointment, or not being worthy, or feeling that you’re not good enough? Who wants to really admit that? To go into a relationship or the ending of a relationship and say, “Maybe I wasn’t good enough for that relationship.”

00:08:56.140 –> 00:09:27.930

Kierra Taplin: However, if you say I’m grieving because it’s over, that I had these plans, and I had this dream of what my job would look like, and now it’s over. How do I move on? How do I move forward? How do I deal with it instead of just moving on to the next position or finding a better title, or moving on to the next relationship and suppressing all of those feelings? If we recognize it as grief and call it what it is, then we can address it properly.

00:09:31.110 What more people need to understand about grief

00:09:31.110 –> 00:09:41.670

Mazarine Treyz: I love that. What do you wish more people understood about grief?

00:09:50.100 –> 00:10:30.300

Kierra Taplin: If I had one underlying mission of my grief moments, it is to dispel the myth that time heals all wounds. Usually, when someone addresses grief or talks about grief our response is, “Oh, give it time,” or, “You’ll feel better in time.” I see it all the time across social media; time heals all wounds. It’s a myth. It’s not true. If you sit in your bedroom after experiencing some deep loss, whatever was important to you, if you just sit there and allow time to pass, you will continue to just sit there. Things will not get better for you. Things will not change for you.

00:10:30.300 –> 00:10:55.710

Kierra Taplin: We have to be an active participant in our healing. I think that’s important for us to understand grief and the responsibility that we have in our healing. No one is going to come from the outside and make you feel better. Nothing outside of yourself is going to make you feel better, and that includes time. We have to be an active participant in our healing.

00:10:57.360 How to deal with the discomfort of grief

00:10:57.360 –> 00:11:28.620

Mazarine Treyz: Thank you so much for saying that. I know what comes up for me when I activate how I feel in my body, I feel grief. I get very uncomfortable. One of the things that Lama Rod Owens said is, comfort will not get us free. The question he asked was, how can we begin to center discomfort so that other people can get access to the resources that they need? I thought that was an interesting question.

00:11:28.650 –> 00:12:06.030 

Kierra Taplin: That’s actually a good one. I often talk about the discomfort of grief, and also, how we can become comfortable in our discomfort, that we allow ourselves to not address it, especially when it comes to pain. If you are accustomed to pain, if you’ve experienced childhood trauma and a lot of trauma in your life, it’s possible to become accustomed to that pain. You feel that it’s not necessary to address it. You believe that pain is just a part of your existence; that it’s your reality, that you are designed to live in constant pain.

00:12:07.050 –> 00:12:29.820

Kierra Taplin: It’s important to know that if you activate your healing, that you can get out of that place of pain, and that the discomfort may start to look like healing. Addressing those dark places, addressing the trauma that you’ve experienced that that initial discomfort is actually a lot of your healing. It starts to look like healing.

00:12:31.280 –> 00:13:10.860

Kierra Taplin: I tell people all the time, healing can be extremely messy because you have to admit, one, that something has actually hurt you. You sometimes have to admit, too, that someone that you love has hurt you. That’s hard to do. It’s hard to admit that my parents, who were amazing parents, were very good parents, did the best that they could, however, some of their behavior; some of their thought patterns were painful for me. It’s hard to admit that, to say that my wonderful parents may not have been the best at all times for me.

00:13:14.760 –> 00:13:50.250

Kierra Taplin: I think that makes healing messy. It makes it very uncomfortable. It’s important to understand that that discomfort is what liberates you. That discomfort is where you’ll find your healing and it’s extremely freeing to get to a place where you can admit and call it what it is, that this thing actually pained me. It’s very liberating. I will warn that once you get on this path of discomfort, I think, naturally we start to seek comfort.

00:13:56.940 –> 00:14:41.640

Kierra Taplin: One of the areas that I’ve experienced grief is after losing a job. I was laid off after 15 years of a wonderful career in information technology. I had experienced several corporate restructures, but I always ended up on the right side of the restructuring. So the very first time that I got laid off, I was devastated. I did not recognize it initially as grief until I started to experience a lot of the same emotions and reactions that I had when I lost my son. I went through anger. I had a period of guilt. I had periods of depression. I questioned my self-worth, and it’s because I had wrapped myself into this position and this title that I had.

00:14:41.640 –> 00:15:21.790

Kierra Taplin: When I got to a place where I was able to understand and I was actually grieving, I started to feel a huge weight lifted off of me. Now I can call it for what it is, and that means I now know how to address it. Now, I can find healthy ways to cope with it. I think that’s one of the important parts of understanding the freedom that comes with that and that discomfort. Then, I remember thinking, eventually I’m going to get to a place of comfort because we want to believe that’s the whole goal of healing, that you’ll get to this safe space.

00:15:23.570 –> 00:16:03.500

Kierra Taplin: I will warn you, what you will start to do is expose all of the other areas where you’re hurting. So all these other areas where I’m grieving, the relationship disappointments, other dreams and aspirations that I had, it became very important work that helped me to become a better person. Now I can fully understand who I am and why I feel the way that I feel, and it’s so liberating. It’s so freeing. If I could give the gift of healing to everyone that I know was hurting, it would be my life goal to do that for sure because it’s extremely liberating.

00:16:04.680 –> 00:16:52.170

Kierra Taplin: I know it’s scary because I’ve had those moments approaching the subject. It can be scary, especially when we don’t know what to expect because we don’t know how we’ll respond, and grief is not linear. It’s not all uphill once you make the decision to do it. We go back and forth. Some days, still, 14 years later, after the death of my son, I have great days, but there are still moments where I cry. I’m on the floor bawling 10 years later. It still happens. So grieving isn’t this linear journey where it’s always the same, where it’s always up. Expect to toggle back and forth, but it’s a journey that’s well worth it for sure.

00:17:09.540 How grief is affecting us now with the COVID-19

00:16:53.460 –> 00:17:14.340

Mazarine Treyz: I’m really glad you brought up that it’s not just about one grieving how other things get uncovered when you start to deal with grief. That’s what I’m experiencing right now. I was going to ask you, is there a way grief is affecting us right now that we should be looking at?

00:17:15.390 –> 00:17:54.870

Kierra Taplin: Yes, I think now we are surrounded by grief. For me, personally, I can feel it in the air. It’s a lot better now than it was at the start of the pandemic. When I went into my local supermarket, I could feel the tension and the heaviness in the air. We’re all experiencing grief on some level. Of course, we know people who have literally lost their lives. If you don’t know someone personally who has experienced death as the result of COVID or some illness related to it, someone around you probably has.

00:17:54.870 –> 00:18:35.970

Kierra Taplin: What makes this experience so unique and how we’re grieving is that a lot of the tools that we used to be able to utilize to help us during that bereavement period, something as simple as the funeral service has now been either taken away from us, or it’s been restructured. So the comfort that we used to get from hugs, those aren’t available to us right now. The joy of being able to sit around with your family, and talk, and possibly laugh about your loved one’s life has been taken away from us in some regards. I think that makes the grief that we’re experiencing right now a little different.

00:18:43.900 –> 00:19:17.580

Kierra Taplin: We’re also experiencing a lot of symbolic loss. We’ve had the loss of experiences. Our kids, who were ripped out of school abruptly at the end of the school year, have lost the opportunity to have the proper goodbyes with their classmates. We haven’t had high school graduations, colleague graduations. We’ve had weddings that were planned and that did not take place. There’s a lot of symbolic loss that we’re experiencing that I don’t know if we’re actually addressing it properly or identifying it as grief.

00:19:17.580 –> 00:20:19.500

Kierra Taplin: I’ve heard a lot of people address it as if this is just something you’ll get over, or we’ll try it later, but it does not take away from the fact that a lot of us have been planning for these experiences and now they’re gone. Grief is not always attached to a person or the death of a person. It’s also those life experiences that we’ve been planning for: mouthfuls on birthdays, family vacations. If you’ve been saving for two, three years to take your family on a Disney Cruise, and now all of a sudden, you can’t take them, it’s not as simple as, “Oh, it’s just a cruise,” or, “It’s just a vacation. Be grateful that you have your family. ” Of course, I’m grateful that I have my family, but I still had this plan in place that I had been anticipating and now it’s been taken away from me. Not only has it been taken away from me. most of us have no idea if we’ll ever get to do those things again or what it will look like when we start to do those things again.

00:20:21.650 –> 00:21:11.910

Kierra Taplin: We’re experiencing a lot of loss in that regard. When we hear the orders to stay at home to social distance, we assume that everyone has a safe home to stay in, that everyone has a safe environment, that we have food and fresh air and clean water, and a loving environment. That’s not true for everyone. For some people, the thought of staying home, or the order to stay home or not be able to see my girlfriend’s on Sunday brunch, which was my safe space from a husband who may be abusive, or kids who are being abused, that also contributes to the grief that we’re experiencing.

00:21:13.020 –> 00:22:04.850

Kierra Taplin: The grief that we’re experiencing now is surrounding us in so many ways that I think it’s important to pay attention, one, and two, to have the empathy to understand that everyone isn’t living the same comfort that you may have, that everyone’s life experience is not the same as yours. I’ve had to discuss this when it comes back to starting school. I have a second-grader at home. I also have a husband and I now understand that there is some privilege to having a two-parent home when it comes to this virtual school model. I can’t imagine the pain of the single parent who now has to navigate virtual school and working at the same time. What about the parent who has multiple children?

00:22:05.250 –> 00:22:26.940

Kierra Taplin: It’s important for us to have some empathy when it comes to the experiences of other members of our community who may look a lot different from us, and their journeys are a lot different from us. However, we can connect with them with that commonplace of understanding that there’s some grief that we may be experiencing. I feel like I gave the long answer there.

00:22:47.790 What happens when people push down grief?

00:22:27.240 –> 00:22:50.820

Mazarine Treyz: No, that was beautiful because it’s true. What if the kids are not safe at home because parents are stressed about having to have the kid at home all the time or the moms are safe at home or elders safe at home. There’s so much extra grief we have now. When people push down grief, what do they do?

00:22:52.710 –> 00:23:33.540

Kierra Taplin: It’s painful. I think we have to understand that grief causes real bodily harm. I think we like to think of grief from an emotional standpoint, but there are physical attributes to grief. If you spend days depressed and those days do into weeks, and for some people, months – I’ve met clients who have been depressed for a year’s unmedicated, undiagnosed. You’re risking your health when you decide to not address your grief.

00:23:33.960 –> 00:24:18.360

Kierra Taplin: It not only affects you; it affects everyone around you, not just the people in your home. We’re talking about your coworkers. When I hear stories about road rage or you’re in the grocery store and someone bumps your cart, and instead of an excuse me, it turns into this big blowup, I often wonder the type of grief that people are experiencing. When we hear, oh, they’re just a ticking time bomb. Those are a lot of the expressions that we use to identify someone who has been suppressing so much till you actually lose track of everything that you’re suppressing.

00:24:22.370 –> 00:25:03.730

Kierra Taplin: One of the goals of the organization is we evolved into an organization that addresses the grief experienced by young mothers. One of the reasons that the organization started to focus on young mothers is that I discovered during a lot of my discussions with some clients, when discussing their current loss, they would refer back to the loss that they experienced when they were younger – the pregnancy that they had when they were 17 or 18 years old and they weren’t allowed to even have their baby or it ended in miscarriage and no one knew about it.

00:25:04.350 –> 00:25:59.130

Kierra Taplin: I started to realize that that’s one of the ways that we uncover grief, we start to see the layers that are underneath it. That’s what happens when you’re suppressing your grief. You’re creating layers of pain. That makes your journey, 10, 20 years from now, of healing, so much harder because now you have to peel back all of the layers that you probably didn’t realize existed. When we think about some of the behaviors that we have now as adults, a lot of those, we can often point back to our childhood; some of the images that we saw, or the relationships that we saw around us that were indirectly molding us. That’s one of the other disadvantages of suppressing your grief and not dealing with it.

00:25:59.370 –> 00:26:32.910

Kierra Taplin: You’re creating these layers of a person who may not be who you intended to be. Now you’re disguised because I’m covered in so much grief and pain and trauma, and all these life experiences that I don’t actually experience fully because we move on to the next thing before we deal with the relationship or the loss that we’ve experienced. It’s important to deal with things; to address it.

00:26:35.400 –> 00:27:34.890

Kierra Taplin: We talk a lot about our life experiences, but we need to not just experience the joys of my life. Life has pain. Life has disappointment. Experience it. Feel it. Allow yourself to feel it. Feel the pain. It’s what makes us humans. It’s what shapes us into beautiful people. It nurtures our empathy because now I understand. I can reflect back on my failed relationships, and now I can connect with you during your moment of divorce. I can now draw from those other life experiences that I’ve had. I think it’s important, when we press down our grief, to make sure that we attach ourselves to it so that we can understand what it is. Don’t pack it away, put it in a box, and act like it didn’t happen. It’s important to address it and embrace it.

00:27:36.120 –> 00:28:01.170

Kierra Taplin: I talk a lot about embracing the grief, and I think it’s because when you embrace something, you can now make it and mold it into what you need it to be. Now you can frame it the way that’s necessary for you, for the way that makes it healing for you, and then carry that with you. I think that’s important.

00:28:02.160 How you can embrace your grief and rewrite your story

00:28:02.160 –> 00:28:06.360

Mazarine Treyz: Is it like telling yourself a different story about your grief?

00:28:08.610 –> 00:28:32.940

Kierra Taplin: I don’t know if I would say telling yourself a different story as much as reframing your story. Grief is a lot like art. If you’re looking at a piece of artwork and you tilt your head a little, it starts to look different. Today, I see the beautiful white light, tomorrow if the sun shines a little differently, I may see the image a little differently.

00:28:33.150 –>00:28:59.440

Kierra Taplin:  When I talk about grief and how we carry it, it’s that notion that this loss that I’ve experienced, this pain that I’ve experienced will comfort to me, will fulfill me, will be what I needed to be on this day and at this hour. Understanding that tomorrow that same grief may have a different meaning, may have a different value.

00:29:00.170 –> 00:29:40.230

Kierra Taplin: So it’s important to recognize the life experience for what it is so that you can use it to your advantage. My husband and I talk a lot and we experience now trials in our life because, of course, we’re living, and if you’re living with the goal of thriving, you will experience hardships. However, for us, we always pull from that experience that we had with the loss of our son, how devastating it was. I had moments where I felt like I would not survive. I had times when I did not want to survive.

00:29:40.830 –> 00:30:21.990

Kierra Taplin: However, because I’m able to articulate that, when I experience loss now, I can draw from that experience. I can draw from that strength that I realized that I had from that experience. When you connect with your grief and allow it to be what it is for you, you can draw from that experience, the lessons that it taught you about yourself, the lessons that it taught you about others. That’s how you use that experience. So allow it to be what it needs to be for you in that moment. However,  if you box it up, you lose that. If you don’t resurrect it, then you lose that.

00:30:26.280 –> 00:30:42.870

Mazarine Treyz: In a way, you can say, I can feel so much more deeply because I felt this pain. I can feel my joy more completely. You can also say, I’ve gone through this and I know how deeply I love and sometimes deep love means deep hate.

00:30:43.710 –> 00:30:44.790

Kierra Taplin: Yes.

00:30:45.360 –> 00:30:47.850

Mazarine Treyz: I get you.

00:30:49.470 –> 00:30:49.980

Kierra Taplin: Yes. That’s it.

00:30:51.210 –> 00:30:53.370

Mazarine Treyz: Being a full human.

00:30:55.980 –> 00:31:07.530

Kierra Taplin: As crazy as it sounds, it’s not something that we aspire to do. We want to pick and choose the good parts of our humanity and we want to be that

00:31:14.260 Why we all need self-care and self-love.

00:31:08.820 –> 00:31:13.860

Mazarine Treyz: And when we’re sad, capitalism is all like, “Go buy a car, go buy a boat.”

00:31:14.260 –> 00:32:05.280

Kierra Taplin: Yes, but at some point, you will deal with your sadness. At some point, you will deal with your pain. When the lights go off, when all the cars are parked in the garage, when everyone leaves the party, at some point, you’re going to be sitting alone and you’ll have to deal with the pain. You can only consume so much. I think that’s one of the beauties that I found during this time of COVID, that a lot of our coping mechanisms have been removed: flocking to concerts, vacation. We used to love being surrounded by people because that’s an outlet. For many of us, it’s a healthy outlet. However, you need to learn how to love yourself.

00:32:05.880 –> 00:32:38.010

Kierra Taplin: Self-care has a completely different meaning now. Self-care used to be going to the spa, get your nails done. Now, self-care looks a lot like looking in the mirror and picking out about all the beautiful parts of your face, all the beautiful parts of your body. Now, self-care and looks a lot like that. It’s enjoying who you are; your personal journey, your personal life experience. It’s important to connect with that person, and we’re being forced to do that.

00:32:39.320 –> 00:33:17.700

Kierra Taplin: I pray that everyone is taking advantage of that and we’re not so quick to want to go back to normal. I’ve had to remove that from my vocabulary. I no longer say, “I can’t wait till we go back.” I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to go back to the way things used to be. I am excited about what life is going to look like post COVID. I’m looking forward to life after COVID; all of the lessons that we’re about to learn about each other, about how we need to be concerned about our neighbors and our community.

00:33:17.730 –> 00:33:56.950

Kierra Taplin: This mask mandate is forcing us to think about, at the very least, our neighbors, people that we weren’t concerned about before. Whether you believe the effects or not, you at least need to think about it. Consider your neighbors. We’re a very selfish society, that everything is geared towards ourselves and our needs and what works best for me. For once, you have to consider your neighbors. I have to consider other parents and that’s important. I think that’s the beauty of this time that we’re experiencing.

00:33:59.960 –> 00:34:35.790

Kierra Taplin: I think, at the end when this is over, we’ll have a nation full of people who are a lot more empathetic, that you understand that we can find joy in each other. We now have this corporate grief that we’re experiencing because we’re experiencing it together. You brought up the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s because we’re experiencing it together. There’s strength and community in this belief that we’re all experiencing it.

00:34:36.360 –> 00:35:15.990

Kierra Taplin: Many of us are experiencing unemployment. So now the pain or the stigma often attached to unemployment, now it’s not just you. You’re amongst millions that are experiencing unemployment. Now you have this community of grief that you can draw from. I think that that’s one of the beauties that I’ve found personally during this pandemic. I think that speaks to my personal life journey, that I can take the most devastating thing and find the light in it. I believe it always exists.

00:35:30.990 What lessons can we learn from experience of the pandemic?

00:35:17.700 –> 00:35:30.570 

Mazarine Treyz: That is so beautiful. I love that you’re looking forward to not having it go back, but really seeing the lessons in this pain, in this grief right now. Is that what is alive for you right now in your work? Is there anything else that’s alive for you?

00:35:38.550 –> 00:36:38.520

Kierra Taplin: Yes, it is. It’s that hope. I always carry hope with me. I don’t mean hope in this magical sense. I’m a realist, and I understand that everything requires some work on your part. Even this belief in hope and this belief that things will get better and that things can be better activates my personal responsibility to assure everyone or myself that things will be better. That’s why when I speak of hope and I think of hope, it’s not this magical thing that happens. It requires that we all do our part. We each have a part to play to get to better. What life looks like after COVID, we each have a responsibility to play in how what it looks like. For me, it is life will be better. I think things will be better for us after this. We will care more.

00:36:38.550 –> 00:37:34.500

Kierra Taplin: I was pained by our lack of compassion, pre-COVID, for other people, and their pain. You lost a job, okay, go find another one. Your boyfriend left, okay, that’s fine, go get another one. Let’s deal with what we’re feeling. Now, we have challenges in dating, we have challenges with finding new jobs. We have people who used to have six-figure careers, now they’re Uber drivers. Some of the things that we used to attach our value to are no longer there. We have to find value in other things. I have to offer you something other than my six-figure salary or title or whatever other accomplishments that I had. Now that it’s been taken off the table, we really have to find our personal value.

00:37:35.190 –> 00:38:12.540

Kierra Taplin: I think that’s the beauty that I’m experiencing with a lot of my clients; it’s just attaching and identifying the value that you have to your family. Where you used to anticipate those beautiful vacations, now we have to get creative. We have to take staycations. We have to start having dinner every day now together as a family. We find value in that. We were too busy before for a lot of those activities. That’s the beauty that I’m seeing now during this time.

00:38:13.860 Allow yourself space and time to grieve.

00:38:13.860 –> 00:38:34.110

Mazarine Treyz: I love that. What I’m hearing for you, as the call to arms to our listeners, is asking people, how am I allowing myself space and time to grief right now and what is the world I want to create?

00:38:35.130 –> 00:39:45.030

Kierra Taplin: Yes. I challenged a client, a few weeks ago, to journal. That was the approach I suggested for her; to journal. In the midst of a crisis, I asked her, what would you like for it to look like? She couldn’t explain it. She didn’t have the word so articulate what it looks like. It’s amazing to me how we as adults aren’t able to dream. I see it with my son all the time. He has the best imagination and it’s beautiful to watch. Sometimes I’m actually a little envious of, how does he have the ability to dream like that or to think that that is possible? It’s such a gift to have and I wish that we as adults would tap into that childhood ability to dream, to understand that you can change your circumstances, that what you’re experiencing is not the end. It does not have to be the end of the story. It does not have to give you a glimpse of the rest of your journey.

00:39:45.090 –> 00:40:31.890

Kierra Taplin: You can rewrite your story. You can imagine your deepest pain having a different meaning for you. It can have a completely different meaning. I totally understand the research. I read case studies. I understand the effects of growing up as a result of parents who have divorced and what that means for you, growing up in poverty. I understand what research says your life should look like. However, you can rewrite that story. You can re-imagine what your grief does to you. You can re-imagine how we can utilize your grief.

00:40:32.340 –> 00:41:16.080

Kierra Taplin: Your grief can become the biggest catalyst for you. It can take you so much further when you’re now thinking that grief is something that will suppress you. It’s very oppressing to feel the grief, but it can become so liberating. It can actually catapult you to the very next level that you’ve been dreaming up. Who knew getting there would be the result of my deepest pain? That’s exactly what happened to me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would be the result of my darkest, most painful life experience. I’m joyously talking about grief sitting here.

00:41:25.980 –> 00:41:29.100

Mazarine Treyz: I love that. I want all of this, but we do have to wrap up. What will you be speaking about at the New Power Conference?

00:41:35.880 –> 00:41:44.250

Kierra Taplin: I’m going to teach you how to smile. I’m going to teach you how to look at your deepest pain and find joy. Don’t you want that?

00:41:46.670 –> 00:41:48.250

Mazarine Treyz: Yes, I do. I want it.

00:41:54.630 –> 00:42:34.710

Kierra Taplin: It’s a life skill. It’s taken hard work. I will not diminish the hard work that was required for me to get to this place, but it’s possible. That’s what I want to teach people at the conference: that it’s possible to find the joy in your pain, to find the goodness in your grief. That it’s there, that together we can seek it out, we can identify and I can give you healthy ways to cope with the pain that you’re experiencing. You’ll get this place. We’ll be sitting here chit-chatting. No one will know that we’re talking about grief because we’re smiling and laughing. It’s possible. I’d love to give you this. Follow Kierra Taplin on social media.

00:42:37.050 –> 00:42:46.320

Mazarine Treyz: I can’t wait. This is incredible. Ms. Taplin, where can people find you?

00:42:48.660 –> 00:43:08.700

Kierra Taplin: The organization is healingfootprints.com. You can follow me on social media Kierra Sunay.  I’m on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Kierra Sunay Taplin. Yes, I would love to connect with your listeners. I’m excited about grief. It’s my calling. It’s who I am. I show up as this big bright light in your darkness of grief and I’m on this journey with you. I would love to chat, see how we can connect, and I can help lift you.

00:43:27.090 –> 00:43:32.070

Mazarine Treyz: You thank you so much. I can’t wait to have you speak at the conference.

00:43:32.160 –> 00:43:34.770

Kierra Taplin: Thank you for this. I totally enjoyed it.

00:43:36.750 –> 00:43:43.110

Mazarine Treyz: Me too. I learned so much. All right, everybody, join us. See you next time. Bye.