Surviving Adversity With The Power Of Now
– With Corrie Lo
In this podcast, I will interview not only experts and psychologists but also people who are survivors of great pain. In today’s conversation and some other ones in future episodes, that is what we will do.
I have found this conversation with Corrie Lo to be tremendously beautiful and vulnerable. Corrie’s strong spirit is revealed in every line she uttered, yet you cannot help but feel moved by her vulnerability. She reminds us of the internet fragility in human life and our place in it.
In this episode, hear from Corrie about how she survived one trauma after another, including her boyfriend taking his own life, what it means to be resilience, why focusing on the present moment is the best coping mechanism and the wisdom of remembering that life is about constant changes.
Please note that some of the conversation may trigger strong emotions, and what was said is not meant as medical or professional advice.
Please refer to trained medical professionals for any severe mental distress. If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, , please contact your local crisis hotline, community mental health team, your GP, or at least tell someone. If you are in crisis, please contact emergency services.
MY CONVERSATION WITH CORRIE
HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN INTENSE? OR DID SOMETHING CHANGED AT SOME POINT IN YOUR LIFE?
If had you asked me if I was intense even as recent as five years ago, I would have told you no. But through my own inner work and personal journey, I’ve learned that I’ve always been emotionally intense, but I just didn’t know how to express it. So, for me as a child, it was much easier, I repressed my emotions. The only way that I really was able to express my emotions was through art and music. It didn’t need any kind of words, I didn’t have to verbalize it, but anything as far as interpersonal reactions, I repressed everything. No one knew how I feel. I didn’t even know myself how I felt. At times I felt numb. I see now it was that I didn’t know how to handle the full breadth of my emotions and how to use them.
I was never taught how to process anything. The household that I grew up in, it was one of those things, if you cried, it was, “Suck it up, buttercup. It’s okay. Why are you freaking out? There’s no reason to freak out.” More or less, it devalued my emotions. I felt that it wasn’t something that was important that I had to deal with, so I just pushed it.
I was always sensitive, but I didn’t let it get me down. It was one of those things. I dealt with it, I pushed it to the side. In a way, I guess I dealt with it, then I numbed it, I guess you could say. Suppressed it to the point that then I didn’t feel it.
ALL THESE UNTIL FIVE YEARS AGO…
I had a whole series of events that I believe were put in my path to teach me, “Corrie, you’ve got to deal with this stuff, and if you do, instead of avoiding it, if you do actually dive head on into your emotions straight first,” and it’s my belief they’re meant to be kind of like a guidance system to lead a better life, kind of like a GPS, that when you’re able to do that, then you can do really astonishing things.
Whether it be in your life or your business, because I do life and business coaching now, but prior to that, I had to go through this experience to learn exactly how to do that. That was something that was self-taught.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED?
In a span of four years, I first had a miscarriage which actually in hindsight, was the most minor of all the incidences that happened. I had a miscarriage, through the miscarriage and grieving the miscarriage, there were elements to my relationship with my now ex-husband that came to light, that I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had been in an abusive relationship for a very, very long time.
Then, we went through a divorce which was very all over the place, because there were addictions involved, and my son was five months old. I did eventually get pregnant right after I lost my first child.
My son was five months old in the middle of the divorce, I was homeless, I was running, I was homeless. My ex-husband at the time lived in the apartment and I was the sole breadwinner, so I was paying for an apartment that I couldn’t live in, because I felt it was unsafe for me and my son to be there, so we were living with my parents, which I needed to do through the end of the divorce because ultimately the divorce drained all of my finances because I was the sole breadwinner, so the courts made it that I paid for everything.
With that said, in the middle of all of this, I was running a large company, I was running my family’s company, I was the third generation to do so. I had been in the business for 15 years, so I’m trying to hold it all together. Again, suppress, suppress, suppress. Everything’s okay, going through all of this stuff while I’m running a large company with other people that depended on me.
During this time frame, I saw my son a maximum of maybe an hour a day. I mean, thank goodness my mom was able to care for him while I had to go through this process, because I mean it was, it was all on me. I had to make money, so that we could save money to get a new house and to rebuild our lives.
WHAT HELPED YOU PULL THROUGH THIS HORRID TOUGH PERIOD?
I had to run this business that depended on me to make decisions and grow it, and maintain relationships and stuff like that. It was a very stressful time and I remember sitting in those two, two and a half hour car rides sometimes, and just bawling my face off the whole way home. But the other thing that was a light in the whole process was during those car rides, because I was stuck and I was by myself, I used that time to listen to a lot of audiobooks and listen to a lot of podcasts, and use that time for self-development.
A lot of what I teach today is a result of all these different tactics that I learned, to kind of get through.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE BOOKS/ PODCASTS THAT HAVE HELPED YOU?
It’s different depending on the phase of life you’re in.
During this phase, I was recently divorced, so I was listening to a lot of relationship podcasts, I was at the time, I was exploring whether or not I wanted to start dating again, so I was listening to a lot of the dating coaches, like Matthew Hussey for example.
A big one that probably made the greatest impact on me was I listened to The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Which is with his accent and everything, it’s such a relaxing book to listen to, as an audiobook. But that book changed the way I viewed the world and that’s when I started saying, “Okay, well I’m going to live in now.” Like, “Okay, well I’m in the car right now for two and a half hours, but my life isn’t going to be like this forever, so it’s okay I’m in the car two and a half hours right now. It will be all right.”
That’s a really good reminder that the good things are not going to stay forever, so we need to be grateful for them, and the bad aren’t going to stay forever. What goes up must comes down, and vice versa.
There’s no point to getting attached to pretty much anything. Good, bad, or indifferent, because life is a series of changes. That book helped me release some of those expectations and those self-limiting beliefs that I had, so that I was able to start moving forward. It started off through my divorce, and let me tell you, the dating podcasts and everything else I was listening to, it worked, because after about a year and a half, I at that point had been able to save enough money that I bought a house.
It was a big step up for me, so I was able to buy a house, my son and I live in a beautiful community with a great school district.
It was the next step forward, so what did I want in my life now that I had to start over?
The miscarriage was the first step in starting over, because I was like, “Okay, well I thought that I was going to be a mom and now I’m not, so all right, where do I go from here?”
BUT IT GOT WORSE…
I’m going to continue to share this story of the four years, because it gets worse.
What I learned from having to start over so many times is that each time I got to the other side of it, I was always in a better place than I was before whatever the problem was, right? That was something I learned as I went along, so I started to view my own adversity as, “This is an opportunity” instead of, “This is something that’s going to keep me stuck.”
It started with the miscarriage which ultimately if I didn’t miscarry that child, my son would not be here today, because he was conceived a month or two after that had happened. Then, through my divorce, I would still be living in the city, I would still be commuting God knows how long. I would be in the bad relationship still. Now I’m in this beautiful home in a great suburban community, it’s a much better environment for my son, so again, it was an improved life following the events. Then, also through that, and again, the dating books and websites and stuff, I decided I wanted to find love again and I went through and I kid you not, I dated, I’m almost embarrassed to admit this online, I dated 50 men over the course of a year and a half.
I wanted to make sure I was really, really sure and it’s really ironic because by the time the guy that I was sure about came along, I was convinced that I wasn’t ready, and it was one of those things that it just kind of organically happened. So, I ended up meeting a man that I love very, very much. We were together over a year, we were even as we were talking about having kids and moving in together and getting married, and we had three kids combined. I had one, he had two.
THE DEATH OR MY EX BOYFRIEND
And things were just really, really great, until once again, I had to start over. He decided that he had his own demons and he was tired of suffering, and he took his own life. I was the one to discover him. Thinking back on it now, and I remember it so, so vividly, I remember standing on the lawn in front of his apartment, because again, I was the one that discovered him, so I had to deal with the police being there and the investigation, and all this stuff. I had to wait outside in the hot June sun, it was like 90 degrees out with the sun beating on my face.
I just remember thinking to myself, “All right, well if I got through the miscarriage and I got through the abuse and I got through the divorce, and each time I always ended up in a better place, I don’t know what that’s going to look like right now, but I know I will be able to start over again.” That was that day, that I remember thinking that to myself. I still allowed myself the time to grieve, and I’ve never grieved like that in my entire life. That loss was really, really difficult.
It’s the most complicated type of grief that anyone can experience, and the only way that I was really able to find some sort of healing was by joining a suicide loss survivor group. I had to find other people that had specifically gone through that kind of a loss, because it’s very, very different than if your spouse gets hit by a car, or if your grandmother dies from cancer.
Usually then you’re angry at the drunk driver, you’re angry at the cancer, and in the case of suicide, the reason that they passed is because they did it to themselves. It’s a very conflicted type of grief and there’s also a certain amount of guilt that goes along with it, too, because you’re always thinking, “What could I have done? How could I have not seen this?”
WERE YOU ANGRY AT HIM?
Not then, probably more so now. And very, very recently, because the year anniversary just passed for me this past June.
It was very recently, in like June I started to feel a little bit more anger about it.
It is probably very healthy to feel this way. I’m at this place now where I can feel whatever it is, the grief, the anger, whatever it is. I feel it in the moment, I’m fully invested in it, and I realize that the sooner that I do that, the sooner it passes. I forget who I heard it from, somebody sent me this beautiful poem that was right after he had passed, and it talked about grief coming in waves, right? Right after the event, it’s like a hurricane, and the waves are huge, and they hit you, and it’s all or nothing. But as time continues to roll on, then it becomes the water’s almost flat but it’s like little ripples, and you get some grief here and there, right?
And it still happens to this day. I mean, even a few weeks ago I would, you know, cry out of nowhere. Just that I missed him. Through that poem, the one thing that I felt that was so eloquent, the way they worded it was, “Your grief is a reflection of the love that you once shared that is now lost.” It’s the absence of that love, so yes, you’re going to feel it very, very strongly, but it’s not a bad thing. For me, I viewed it like this is a beautiful thing, that I was able to share this type of love with somebody that their absence makes me feel this way.
And I will get through it and as a result of this grief, I will be stronger.
WHAT IS A COMMON MISUNDERSTANDING ABOUT TRAUMA THAT WE HAVE?
All trauma is bad. Yeah, some people have it worse than others, no doubt about that. I mean, I’ve heard, I’ve interviewed even on my show, I think at this point it’s been like 17 or 18 people with their own stories of adversity and trauma, and it’s a whole range of different experiences.
But it’s more in no matter what, and even as I say now, people who talk to me are like, “Wow, you experienced a lot in four years.” Guess what? That’s not going to be the last of it. I mean, even now, my son who’s four, we just learned that he’s on the spectrum. So, now we’re going through that process, because again, it’s not starting over like the other trauma was, and it’s not trauma in general. It’s a situation that makes him different than everybody else, but it’s one more element of life that’s kind of changing the direction that I thought things were going. This is life, that’s what it’s supposed to be like, and we learn through these experiences, right?
It’s up to us to not necessarily view it as a roadblock, but instead to view it as an opportunity to grow.
HAVE YOU EVER FELT LIKE YOU WERE A VICTIM?
Never. Because even in the instances, for example, like with the abuse in my relationship, I mean, ultimately I chose to stay as long as I did. There’s never any excuse for what he did to me, but I played my own part in it. Each and every situation I’ve been in, I’ve played some kind of a role and there was some kind of of a conscious decision to either allow it to continue, or to stay stuck in a specific position and not to go to try to get out of it. No, I’ve never felt like a victim.
I believe that you really only become a victim if you allow yourself to stay stuck. Because ultimately, after it happens, whatever that is, you have choices. So, it’s up to you to make those choices in a way that you’re going to be able to grow and move passed whatever that experience is, and to be able to live a more fulfilling life.
Don’t get me wrong, I had difficult moments. I mean, especially after my late boyfriend passed, I was like, “What? I don’t get it. I’m a good person, I always have been, I do for others, why now?” But I understand now the reason why is because I was meant to do what I’m doing today. This is the Corrie I was always supposed to be, and guess what, it’s going to change again once something else comes in my way. Because I’m only, I’m going to be 38 this month, I’ve still got a long way to go.
NOT TO QUANTIFY TRAUMA, BUT CAN YOU PINPOINT THE BIGGEST TRAUMA OF YOUR LIFE?
Without a doubt, losing my late boyfriend.
I mean, never mind losing somebody I love, but just the whole experience and having to be involved with the police and the shock, and just the whole aftermath after.Most people don’t realize the average suicide loss affects on average 6-8 people because of their social circles around them. Whether it be colleagues, friends, family, whoever else.
I don’t remember the exact numbers because I used to use it in a motivational speech that I used to give, but I think it was in … What was it? 2017, when you extrapolated it out, it was over like 800,000 people worldwide or something more than that. I think it was 800,000 people took their lives worldwide. It was in the millions of survivors, that were left in the wake. It’s really number one, people think when they’re in that situation, too, that no one would ever understand what they went through, because no one’s ever been in their shoes, but the numbers speak the exact opposite, right?
Everybody I’ve spoken to in some way, shape, or form, has known somebody that has taken their lives. I’ve only known that because I’m very vocal about it. I talk about it. But for other people, they hold it in and they don’t speak about their problems, thinking that no one’s going to understand them, and ultimately they’re doing what I did as a child, they’re repressing what happened, and they’re not getting their emotions and feelings about the situation out there with people who potentially will understand what you’re going through and be able to provide support.
I think our society tends not to talk about it which leaves people in isolation.
WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF RESILIENCE?
You get knocked down, you keep going. You understand that everything is temporary. That’s a big portion to resilience, I think, is you have to know, whatever it is, it doesn’t stay this way forever.
ONE BOOK THAT HAS CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
Definitely The Power Of Now. I mentioned that one earlier. That book helped me realize however bad it is today, it’s going to get better. Things are temporary. It also helped me learn to experience more joy in my life because I am so present. I see little details now that as I look back throughout my memories, I’m able to recall them, little things like whether it’s like taking my son to the beach, or the way that, one memory that sticks out in my mind right now is the lilies in my backyard bloomed in a specific way and I remember being taken aback. It was almost like a Satori moment.
But because I was so present and in that moment, the lilies blooming at that time, it cut through my grief. This time last year, right? Because I was able to sit and experience how the beauty of that moment, right? It’s really changed the way that I live my life on a daily basis. I highly, highly recommend that.
A SONG OR POEM THAT HAS INSPIRED YOU?
A quote by the poet Rumi, and it goes something along the lines of, “Do not grieve. Everything that you have lost will come back in another form” which has been in my experience, that’s happened each and every time. Even now, it’s actually a great place to add into it, so I lost my late boyfriend a year ago. I’ve been in a very happy relationship with someone new-
I’ve been able to find love again, because I knew after that experience, I thought I lost love once with my ex-husband, and it’s not. I found it again. I lost it, but I will find it again. It’s out there. That poem was essential in me finding that. Actually, I remember, I pinned that to my board above my desk, it was New Year’s Eve, because I decided 2018 was a crappy, crappy year. I was going to put it behind me, we’re going to start over for 2019, and that was part of my vision board, along with what I was looking for in a relationship, and come to find out I met this guy on January 1st, on an online dating site. First guy I talked to.
FINALLY, WHAT ARE YOU THE MOST CURIOUS ABOUT RIGHT NOW?
I’m in the process of building out a membership site, which is something that’s new for me. I’ve been in web development like I said, I’ve been in tech, so the tech part is not the problem for me. But as far as trying to think of ways to make it really, really beneficial for people who would be a part of it, so my website’s called Survivor Society. It’s going to be launching hopefully in September, and basically, it’s going to be an online community where people can talk about this stuff, and not have any kind of fear of it being on Facebook or any of the other social networks.
It’s a private space where it’s specifically designed to connect you with other people experiencing the same trauma that you’re going through.
Corrie LoGiudice is a life & business coach who helps survivors of adversity find purpose through leading emotionally fulfilling lives and businesses. She’s a former SVP, single mom, and survivor of miscarriage, divorce, abuse & suicide loss. She embraced her trauma as an opportunity to help others and works to inspire others to do the same.
As the host of the Corrie Lo Show, Corrie each week showcases strategies, tips, resources and interviews on how to lead a more emotionally fulfilling life or business, regardless of your circumstances.
Corrie is an advocate of destigmatizing mental health awareness worldwide, which drives her to provide value and healing to others each and every day. She shares her strategies through her show & podcast, coaching, speaking engagements, writing, online courses, and social media platforms. She also has been featured in the Mighty, Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, Elite Daily, Girlboss, HelloGiggles, the Everygirl, Insider & Business Insider.
The Corrie Lo Show: http://www.corrielogiudice.com/thecorrieloshow
Please refer to trained medical professionals for any severe mental distress. The information provided on this web site or links to other information should NOT be used as a substitute for seeking professional care.
If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, , please contact your local crisis hotline, community mental health team, your GP, or at least tell someone. If you are in crisis, please contact emergency services.
As the podcast is distributed worldwide I could not provide contact details for all crisis services here.
If you are in the US, you can contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or call 911.
If you are in the UK, you can contact Samaritans on116 123, email@example.com, or call 999 in an emergency.
Imi Lo is a consultant and published author with extensive and international experience in mental health and psychotherapy. Her books Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity and The Gift of Intensity are available worldwide and in multiple languages. Imi has two Master’s degrees; one in Mental Health and one in Buddhist Studies. She works holistically, combining psychological insights with Eastern and Western philosophies such as Buddhism and Stoicism.