Grieving is a subject that will touch all of us at some point in our lives. Whether we have experienced loss directly or indirectly, the process of grieving can be overwhelming.
Elise Fletcher has had to overcome many changes in her life in the last year as she recently lost her mother. In this interview, we discuss how CBD has helped her to navigate grief and come to terms with her emotions, and how her career as a yogi has helped.
To hear more about Elise’s journey, check out her most recent podcast appearance. Podcast – A Yogi’s Fight to find Peace
Hey Elise, it’s a pleasure to explore this subject with you. Do you wish to start by sharing your experience of this past year?
It’s difficult to describe. During the pandemic, I lost a parent, so grief played a big part in this last year. A loss of financial security also hit me hard. Fitness and yoga weren’t supported industries, and there was so much uncertainty even as things reopened again.
I had to face a lot of transitions and go back to therapy. Learning boundaries with others in a personal and professional sense was a lot to handle. In one year, I lost my mom, moved across the country twice, and did my Soulcycle training. And now I am working with BreadxButta in Brooklyn, NY. I teach yoga full time, and I am a personal assistant to someone who has a botanica, so I get to work closely with CBD.
What have you felt when expressing your experience to others?
I feel a disconnect, as people put me on a pedestal. The other day, I crossed paths with a yoga teacher who is a new mother, and I had to pace myself. It’s important to share and talk about grief, and it’s important to speak about and normalize. Yet I notice that people have a hard time speaking to someone who has been traumatized in this way. I’m noticing that people don’t know how to hold space, even if they want to. But, I feel that when I can deliver this truth grounded in who I show up as others feel like they can talk about it too.
How has your emotional experience of grief changed your perception of yourself?
The thing with grief is that it doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s hard to understand until you experience it. It’s not sadness, or comparable to any feeling about someone. You can shake off emotions. Grief is something that you learn to shift around within you, not outside of you. Grief never leaves the body, you just learn to understand it better and where it sits in you. You just meet it where it is. Giving myself space to accept that this is going to exist for the rest of my life, it’s a story that is a part of my story. It’s not necessarily about shifting my grief outside of me, rather knowing where it sits inside of me.
What has it felt like?
I often feel frozen with exhaustion. I can just feel drained out of nowhere. Physically, you can be in great health, but energetically grieving can be so draining, because your mind is running rampant trying to make sense of it.
It feels like an out-of-body experience really, like what you knew is no longer real. And it makes you think more about your own mortality too. Those feelings can really make you freeze up, or you can go to the other side of the spectrum, and really live because you understand that everyone has a timeline.
How has CBD helped you to grieve?
CBD helps me grieve in the sense that it allows me to rest. Grieving brings up anxiety and CBD allows for me to really pause, and feel my body. I can relax instead of being on edge. Grief kept me on edge in the beginning, and CBD has helped to ground myself, which has been really helpful.
How has CBD helped you as an athlete?
The CBD Oil with Curcumin and Piperine has been amazing after my daily practices; I’ve really noticed the anti-inflammatory properties. The Freyja cream has also been helpful for anxiety-driven rashes. I use the 1000 mg CBD oil with non-alcoholic cocktails like Bonbuz when I want a drink but have to perform with work.
Does being an athlete allow you to go further with your emotions and embody them in a different way?
I think for athletes, our emotions are our fuel. Athleticism has allowed me to spend time with my grief in a positive way. It can also be a moment to get out of my head and focus on my body. Having a somatic experience allows the mind to take some time away from grief, and reminds me that I still have a life. CBD reels me back in and reminds me that I’m still here. It’s been really helpful.
What has helped you feel grounded?
Breathwork, just taking a second and closing my eyes, and CBD. Also knowing and trusting that what I’m feeling now isn’t forever. When I feel like I can’t regulate my emotions, I just try and let myself feel and ride out the experience.
Who have you learned to rely on?
I’ve really learned to rely on myself. I can’t rely on my family, I have a few close friends that I rely on and my faith. Faith is a good thing. I rely on things I can’t see, my spiritual practice has been important. Relying on people who show up for me when I don’t even ask for it. Relying on my gifts and my effortless talents and relying on those to do the work when I can’t.
Athletically, when I don’t have the energy to give, I can get on a bike and you would have no idea that I’m having a bad day. When you have to survive, you do what you have to do. Moving from survival to thriving can just be surreal. It’s all still a work in progress.
When I’m using CBD, I know I’m taking care of myself, because it’s muscle memory. Anything from the earth, like cannabis or CBD, helps me to be me and helps me not get quite so anxious in my mind. CBD calms me and eases me a bit so I don’t slip into unhelpful thought patterns or get overwhelmed by what I’m feeling. It’s been a game-changer, really.