Liesel Teversham, a wellness coach for sensitive souls, shares helpful lessons learned from losing her beloved “fur baby” – a Jack Russel dog called Jack.
So whether you lost a dear pet some time ago…
Or are in the midst of grieving the loss of someone close to you – family, friend or beloved pet – this episode will help you.
Or perhaps you want to help someone you know to get through their grief.
Liesel shares her top Self-Care tips for supporting you – 5 ways she herself got through the painful journey and final trauma of losing Jack – who she loved like her child.
She began by writing her pain into blog posts which eventually became her book, “Coping with a Dying Pet.”
Writing is one of 5 Self-Care tips she shares about getting through her painful journey of losing Jack who she loved like a child.
Here are other vital tools you will hear about in this interview with Liesel Teversham.
SUMMARY OF 5 SELF CARE TIPS
- Writing – in a journal or blog – to process hard-to-express painful emotions
- EFT Tapping – Calming and regulating the nervous system with a tool like Emotional Freedom Techniques
- Sleep – get enough to stay well
- Nature – spend quality time
LIESEL’S WEBSITE: www.savvyselfgrowth.com
BUY COPING WITH A DYING PET HERE:
Liesel Teversham 0:00
The message there for me was the deeper we love, the deeper the grieving will be. So it’s a painful, painful process to grieve when there was a very special dearly beloved person or animal. And in time, it will transform into gratitude for how much we really cared and loved for this animal.
Caryl Westmore 0:16
So if you have ever suffered the loss of a beloved pet – your fur baby, or if you have even been through the grieving process of a family member, our guest today Lisel Teversham has some wonderful tips and tools to help you in that difficult time.
Hello, and welcome to the Write the Book Inside You Podcast, tips, tools, and interviews for coaches and healers like you who want to write a nonfiction book to boost your visibility, clients and cash flow while making a difference. I’m your host Caryl Westmore, a multi-published author and energy psychology Tapping Book Coach. Now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Hello, Lisa, it’s a pleasure to have you here today.
Liesel Teversham 1:12
Thanks, Caryl. So good to be with you.
Caryl Westmore 1:14
Tell us about your actual work in the world. As an emotional wellness coach, you help introverts, I believe.
Liesel Teversham 1:23
Yes, thank you. We call it a niche, working with a specific group and it came to me over a very long time. And so at the moment, I help sensitive introverts, usually who have their own business, and they are shy to show up so they can help people and they want to help people, but it’s hard for them to step out into the world and shine their light brightly. And so I help them with EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) to overcome those blocks that they might have internally and also with Clifton Strengths Finder, to help them find their very unique strengths because it’s when they find strength and know they can rely on it – that’s when some confidence starts blossoming and blooming in them as well.
Caryl Westmore 2:05
That’s beautiful. So I presume, therefore, that you are a sensitive soul. And reading your book about losing your Jack Russell shows how sensitive you were and how deeply you were affected. Could you tell us about that book Liesel? Tell us the name and the story behind it.
Liesel Teversham 2:23
Pleasure. So it’s “Coping with a Dying Pet.” I just have a copy, right here. Yeah, it’s a very cute face. It was a lady who illustrated, who made a watercolor painting for me of a photograph my husband took – and it’s on the front cover. So it’s quite special.
So this book actually came about because as he was going through his health journey through Cushing’s disease and liver disease and two knee surgeries over about five years, I wrote as a part of my own healing. And as a part of coping with all the difficult emotions about it, I don’t speak easily to people. I’m more of an internal processer, that kind of introvert thing.
And when I write, it’s easier for me to kind of express myself. So that’s what I did on my blog, in fact. So I wrote little chapters of this book, over time, as there was a big story, or a big thing that happened, or another knee surgery or a problem that cropped up, and I wrote this in chapters, not thinking about a book at all at the time.
And then I started getting comments from people and they commented on the blog, they wrote me emails, how much it meant to them during that whole process. And then after he passed away I had the idea: “What if I made this into a book, so really, part of it was my own healing, just processing all of that difficult stuff. And then afterward, it’s like, Hmm, this could be a book and then I also included other authors who didn’t think of themselves as authors at the time but they contributed to the healing journey for me because they were animal communicators or they were dear friends who also had to deal with a big loss and and really felt the loss because it was like part of their family.
Caryl Westmore 4:08
So Liesel, when you talk about Jack, there will be steps that you took during that time, obviously, journaling or writing was one of them, but could you summarize maybe five or six tips – go through each of them – that would help someone else in the process of caring for a sick animal – but maybe it could be the caregiving of a family member, as well. What would be some of the tips for self-care because your remit on your website is savvy self-care – savvy self-growth, – isn’t it? So to be wise about your own self care, which as you admit in in your book wasn’t always easy for you? What have you learned going forward in hindsight?
Liesel Teversham 4:52
Yes, absolutely. Definitely not easy for me because, as with many sensitive people, they take the cares of the world on – and they put other people first. And that was the big journey with with self-care. I have to risk crumbling and then I’m no good to anybody else. So one of the tips, Caryl, is to find a way to calm the nervous system so that we can go through the journey in a more resourceful way. And the way that I find incredibly useful is EFT or Emotional Freedom Techniques. So I described that in the book, and I know you’ve got books about that.
So it’s a very well-used technique worldwide, millions of people are using it. And so really, we have to find a way to literally help calm our nervous system down. Because I was like this (tense and frazzled) all the time with when he was ill. And there were times when he was ill with my husband was ill and my mom was ill and everybody around me was ill. So it was like a lifeline for me to have that, you know, even if it’s 15 minutes a day, where you can just sit focused on your emotions and literally calm the nervous system to just come down a little bit. So that’s one of the tips.
Another one that I would say is just getting in touch with how impossible it really is to control situations. It’s a very hard one to learn. Because as human beings we want, we feel safer when we can be in control. So we try and control things to make ourselves feel more safe and to make things go our way. And then we can relax. But life doesn’t work that way. Right? Things happen. Big things happen.
Caryl Westmore 6:26
And one of the questions that people ask is “Why me? Why now? That you mentioned Byron Katie, what is it about what she says that refers to control?
Liesel Teversham 6:36
She said, there’s three kinds of business in the world. There’s my business, your business, and God’s business, right? And the big things that happened, like my dog got ill, there’s a pandemic, I fell down the stairs a couple of weeks ago. If we ask why me, it’s, there’s never a good answer to that. Not in the moment, you know, maybe weeks or months later, we can find the answer. But some things like that. It’s just God’s business. And if I scratch in God’s business, and I try and figure that out, I get anxious, I get upset, I get angry, I get sad, all of that stuff. And then there’s your business, you know, the things that other people do that I can also get upset about. I can’t control other people, I can’t control God’s business. Who can I control is my business, my reactions to things. That’s the only thing really, and it’s not in our control immediately to control our emotions. I’m not saying that’s a good thing. But I can literally not control somebody else or what happens in the world. And that’s what EFT is useful for me for to help calm my emotional reactions.
Caryl Westmore 7:39
It regulates us, doesn’t it? What I also heard you say in your book, is that you met a caregiver who has written a book, I think, Michael Bloom. And there was something he said about sleep as well.
Liesel Teversham 7:51
Yes, it was very difficult because as the dog he was sickie, he was drinking copious amounts of water and 6,7,8 times a night, sometimes we had to get up to let him out because the cat flap wouldn’t let him out. He was too big for it. So emotions were frayed. So really, I had to start asking my husband.
I’m a light sleeper, so I wake up at the meerest little sound. So at stages, I just said to say to him, please, can you can you do it? And he was always willing and always helpful. It wasn’t like, he said to me, no, you know, who do you think you are? I’m not so keen or willing to ask for help.
Caryl Westmore 8:31
Yes and I think that comes through about your personal type. And about a lot of the sensitive people that they need to clear some of the inner blocks to being able to stand up for themselves, ask for help, even throughout your book on Jack, there are times when you reached out to an animal communicator, a Shaman-type journey for Jack, and you got messages back from the animal communicator which helped you on that journey, especially at the end. Can you tell us how it helped to have that message from Jack that he was ready to move on? And to release you from trying to hold on to him?
Liesel Teversham 9:10
Yes, that was a very difficult time for me, because I want to know that I did the very best that I could. And it feels like such a huge responsibility to make that decision. Like it’s, it’s time for me now to take him to the vet to go to sleep permanently. And I had been communicating with animal communicator friends over maybe a year or so. And at some stage, they told me he’s not ready to go so and I could make peace with that thing. And so finally, he started declining a lot. There was a friend of mine who visited who knew him for about five years or so. And she had not seen him for two years. And she was absolutely shocked at the decline. So that opened my eyes because we had just gotten used to it gradually. And then I reached out to my communication friends again, and I said, “Please help me. I’m not sure what the right thing is to do now.”
And I think two or three of them, the replies that I received said Jack is absolutely ready to go. Now it’s the right time. And things still didn’t work out the way I had planned in my head for a year! I thought when it’s time for him to go, I want him to go at home, I’ll call the vet here… we’ll have candles, beautiful flowers, all of that. None of that could work out, it was the most strange circumstances, everything that I had planned so beautifully couldn’t work out. So again, I had to learn about control. Reassurance from outside of myself that it is the animal’s wish – he’s ready now. And I didn’t have that huge responsibility resting FOREVER on my shoulders like: Did I make the right decision or not? So that was very helpful for me.
Caryl Westmore 10:44
And I think that’s a message that our listeners need to know – they don’t have to handle it all on their own whatever, whether it’s caregiving for a family member, seeing a pet through ill health, it’s very important to get support and help because we can get go down the rabbit hole of our thoughts of our wishing to control to make it perfect the way we see it. And sometimes we need someone to say just let go, it’s going to be okay. And I think what I’d really liked about the spiritual side of your communication with the people who helped you was that they really showed you (and you can expand on this) the soul companionship that that dog had – a meaning he had for you in your life. He called you his mom. It’s really moving when you look back on that time, what was the meaning of Jack for you in your love when it comes to that Soul companionship?
Liesel Teversham 11:40
Caryl, it was almost like a parent-child relationship. Because my husband and myself married later in life, we didn’t have children. So when he came, it was like, I could feel a smidgen of what it’s like to care for a child. And so I took this responsibility quite seriously. And I think that’s part of the journey was with helping me to almost realize how one can take “over-responsibility” for something or somebody else and how really hard it is to, to feel so responsible that for instance, I neglected my self-care at some stage. I neglected my sleep, I wanted to be everything to him. And it was really impacting my health in such a way that I would have crumbled and not be able to take care of him if I continued on that journey. So one of the last messages that I got from him from one of these beautiful animal communicators was “Mom, you need to start taking care of yourself again, you need to walk around the block, you need to drink your water again.”
So he was giving me the messages like remembering, it’s not all about others, you need to take care of yourself. And I think messages like that will stay with me forever. It’s one of my biggest struggles in life is putting myself first and so getting that from my little doggy companion was very special.
Caryl Westmore 12:57
Yes, I can see that when you share your story of overcompensating and I can see that an animal or a child who so dependent on you can tip you really away from thinking of yourself.
I mean, honestly, I can relate to that with what I’ve been through in my own life- to pull your energy back from being too obsessed and absorbed with trying to heal that other being that you love so much. And there comes a time when you realize they have a soul journey that is not in your control.
SPONSOR MESSAGE: Today’s podcast episode is sponsored by the book “Coping with a Dying Pet, My Dog’s last days, Passing into the Lght and Other Stories” by Liesel Teversham. The author tells the story of her faithful dog Jack, whom she loves with all her heart. As he began to ail and battle with his health, she suffers deeply but found a way to deal with the anxiety and emotional turmoil. Firstly, by using the emotional wellness tools, she is trained in, like EFT tapping. And secondly, by writing her feelings into articles on her blog, which she later published in this book. You can buy her book on Amazon, where you will also find her other book, “No problem – the Upside of saying No for Sensitive Introverts.” There was another tip which I want you to talk about, which was you were advised to keep something juicy in your life. Now at one point you gave up your embroidery so that you could be home and you were in a terrible turmoil because a trip came up – at that time you were in South Africa – to go to England but you didn’t want to leave him So tell us about knowing to balance your life with the things that really energize you – no matter what you’re going through.
Liesel Teversham 14:58
That is such an important won’t get old. And I must keep learning it over and over is when we go through a difficult time, the tendency is to focus in on that thing because that’s the problem. That’s the thing that makes us feel unsafe or stressed out. So the brain just does that it focuses in on that thing, and it forgets all these other wonderful parts of life. And so we get more and more stressed, more and more focused on the problem and exclude all the other wonderful things more and more It’s just like it can go into a never-ending spiral where we end up in such a stressful place that we are no good to anybody around us. And I learned through many, many experiences that it is so useful to keep the balance and keep remembering that Michael Bloom that we spoke about earlier – he said put chocolate in your pill box, you know, even if you’re so sick that you take 10 pills a day, just put a little piece of chocolate in that pillbox as well. Remember to do something really joyful that brings in different chemicals in our body, endorphins, serotonin and things that can just help us to remember that life isn’t all bad. And it just brings in a little bit of calmness, a bit of balance, even in the most difficult situations. It’s not always possible to feel grateful about something but do something that makes you energy feel a bit uplifted, because healing doesn’t happen in those difficult moments. It happens when we can bring in some lightness it’s like letting the air in a little bit.
Caryl Westmore 16:23
I think one of his quotes was “Life is about finding and singing your song.” So Lisa, tell us what is your song at the moment? What is the juicy component of your life in England because you’ve moved from South Africa to England. What right now gives you that juicy energizing reviving and recharging feelings?
Liesel Teversham 16:30
What a great question. We moved recently from London to Hazlemere out in the country a little bit more. So now we live almost right next door to a forest. And every day I get my little nature fix in that forest. So whether it’s 10 minutes – whether its half an hour or an hour, sometimes over weekends, just going into nature, where there’s just trees around me I can look at the green I can hear the birds – just feel so rejuvenating energizing that, you know, the day could have been an awful day for whatever reason. And when I can get that, that that brings my juice back. And the other thing is going around to little villages. Now still pandemic where we’re not able to travel a lot. I love travel. And so that is a sadness for me. But going around to other little villages and looking at the amazing architecture, the old buildings sitting in a cute tea shop, you know, the cup of tea. I just love it. So there are simple things, the things that bring us joy don’t have to cost money, but simple things that just lift the energy inside.
Caryl Westmore 17:45
Yes, I agree with you, I just must share quickly that during the time of recuperating from my foot up, I can’t walk anywhere. And I particularly can’t swim in the sea, which is my best love. So we just drive to these beautiful spots in Cape Town especially on a winter’s day that sunny, and just recently I posted some beautiful pictures we took as we went on our way to Hout Bay and people are just raving about them. And all I did was take my camera, open the car door sit there and have a cup of tea, we take our tea. I make sure – Nick is beautiful like that – to take me somewhere that’s uplifting and breathe the sea air and then go home again and just feel recharged. So I’m pleased to hear you say that – and to encourage other listeners and people watching this podcast that no matter what challenges come your way, you can always find those small things to keep your life grateful and juicy. Another tip I think we’ve covered was breathing.
Liesel Teversham 18:41
Yes, breathing. You know we have to breathe in and out and when we get stressed, anxious, nervous – all of that – we start breathing very shallowly and there’s a very important nerve in our body – the Vagus nerve that people may hear about a lot and the Vagas nerve is the nerve that tells the body to relax, to put us into parasympathetic. When we breathe in very shallow, the vagus nerve doesn’t send those calming messages, so we become more and more stressed. So a very good thing then to do some deep belly breathing. So just lie on your back, put your hands on your stomach and literally try and expand your stomach. Feel the rise and fall of your stomach so we mustn’t breathe here in the chest.. Chest breathing almost creates anxiety, you can do it for yourself and create some anxieties and when we do belly breathing it It literally engages that Vagas nerve and we will start to feel calmer. In stressful times five minutes of belly breathing, just something simple. You can already be lying in bed just before you fall asleep and just add that to your routine and just start adding little spots of calmness in the day and they will spill over to the rest of your day.
Caryl Westmore 19:47
We haven’t mentioned meditation but these are the things yoga, meditation, sweeping the world today, which all help regulate the nervous system and bring us back to center.
Liesel Teversham 19:59
I find sometimes when I try and meditate when too much is going on for me, if I don’t do silent meditation, my brain is all over the place. So then I just use a guided meditation where somebody takes me on a beautiful journey or I try and take my mind to the forest. But yes, those moments of quiet where we can just calm the nervous system and get away from the frazzle and running around on the on the wheel of life, the rat race, very important because we deal with so much more than we actually realize, Caryl. It’s this onslaught of things coming at us all the time, and we think it’s normal. So we are kind of used to it. But the nervous system is not quite designed to handle all of that, all of that.
Caryl Westmore 20:37
Of course, we know the value of a pet in helping people with their lives, especially if they live alone, you know, what is the situation with you in England with a pet at the moment?
Liesel Teversham 20:48
We don’t have a pet right now, as renting properties. So it’s sometimes hard to find properties that will allow pets and when we have, because I feel so responsible for my animals, when I have them so when I travel, I feel bad to put them in a kennel or to leave with them with somebody. So we’ve decided for a couple of years now, hoping the pandemic ends soon, we just want to travel and do all of that. And then we’ll have some calm and restful time – we will definitely get a cat again.
Caryl Westmore 21:17
And my daughter has a dog which we called my “grand dog”. Because we also travel so much – that’s the nearest I’ve got to having my own special pet.
To circle back to a saying you’ve got in your book that “PAIN IS INEVITABLE, BUT SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL”. I thought that really signifies maybe sums up the message you have from your book about coping with a dying pet.
The Buddhists talk about the second arrow, right? So the first arrow is what comes and shoots us in the shoulder say, and we have a shoulder wound now that’s like on a literal level. But then the second arrow is what comes afterward and continues the suffering. And the second arrow is the thoughts of the suffering that we have because of how we think about the thing that has actually happened. So my dog is sick, there’s the pain there – but my suffering comes when I think thoughts like this shouldn’t happen, I should be able to help him I’m responsible, I should have prevented this, I should know how to handle this, I should find the perfect vet that will take it away. All of those thoughts is what bring us suffering. So if we can find ways to deal with them – kind, helpful ways to help minimize those thoughts and calm ourselves when we think those thoughts, then the suffering can lessen, and that is then a life that’s easier to llive.
Brings balance our human condition. Is there anything I haven’t touched on that you would like to share, Liesel? Or do you feel complete in telling your story about Jack and the message for the listeners?
Liesel Teversham 22:49
You know, Caryl, one of the things that I probably thought of as I was writing that book and now it’s very up for me as well- is when I see – oh, I’ve lost friends in South Africa at the moment – I’ve lost many dear people; my parents are old; I lost many pets over a lifetime. It’s very hard for us to remember this when things go well. But life doesn’t last forever. Not in a person, not in an animal. The message there for me was the deeper we love, the deeper the grieving will be. So it’s a painful, painful process to grieve when there was a very special dearly beloved person or animal, it’s painful. And in time, it will transform to the gratitude for how much we really cared and loved for this animal. So it’s a kind of a two way sword as it cuts deep both ways. The Love is huge. And the grief then is huge as well.
Caryl Westmore 23:39
Thank you. There was one other quote that in your book that I loved. You said after Jack left “sadness came and passed like clouds under the sun”. And I think that will be something that the grieving process has to accommodate, isn’t it? That it doesn’t just go away and you can’t tap it away. Allow it to pass like clouds in the sun?
Liesel Teversham 24:00
Yes, thank you. It was a process of ups and downs. And, you know, on many days, I felt great afterwards, like the relief was huge that he wasn’t suffering anymore. And then the ouch but I hurt so much because he’s not here and I miss him and maybe I should have done things differently. You know, all those doubts, the second arrows, and yes, they pass like clouds in front of the sun – and the sun is still there.
Caryl Westmore 24:25
Beautiful. So thank you, Liesel for sharing your heart with our listeners. As far as writing a book. Is there another book inside you?
Liesel Teversham 24:32
Ah there are many and I’m not working on it as diligently as I want to. But I have many topics in mind. My process sort of works like really slowly over years. Then suddenly one day I just decide “OK now is the time and I’m going to finish this thing. So there’s a couple of sort of halfway finished some of them for sensitive introverts, some about other topics.
Caryl Westmore 24:51
So Lisel, where can people find you? Your books and your work?
Liesel Teversham 24:56
My website is SavvySelfGrowth.com and a page specifically for my books. And there’s a lot of free information in there. Even some of the articles that I wrote for this book “Coping with a Dying Pet.”
Caryl Westmore 25:10
So your blog posts are still there at SavvySelfGrowth. And I’ll put that in the show notes. And I think your books are also on Amazon – and we look forward to keeping up with you.
ENDS: Thanks for joining me on today’s podcast. Want a free gift to inspire you further on your book writing adventure? My free checklist “5 Book Hook Tips to Kickstart your Book Writing Journey” will help you get clarity on the key essentials to make your book a winner. Download it at writethebookinsideyou.com/freegift. The links are in the Show Notes. Until next time, a big virtual hug and keep writing