April 19, 2021

Episode #13 - Unwrapping The Gifts of Loss - with Karen Chaston

"Their death contains a gift, which has to be opened to be truly received" - Hannah got this message from Spirit after her own healing and this week's guest, Karen Chaston from The Chaston Centre, on the Gold Coast, in Australia, speaks about 'The Gift of Loss'. When you're in a place of loss it's not easy to see the gifts - when Karen experienced the sudden loss of her 27yr old son, Dan, she denied her grief and went straight back to her corporate job. But eventually Karen was forced into confronting all the losses in her life, and Dan was with her every step of the way as she faced and moved through her grief. Karen is now a passionate advocate of unwrapping the gifts contained in loss and asks, "Will you let go of your suffering?". Christian and Dan definitely brought Karen and Hannah together!


Hannah Velten 00:33 Hello, welcome. Come on in. Come on in as usual. Come sit in the circle. I've got an amazing story to tell you today, an amazing guest. I want to tell you a little bit about how I met Karen Chaston [pronounced Chaseton]. Christian was definitely involved on the other side, bringing us together. So, I was reading a Facebook post and the person I was watching was talking about 'one of these online seminars that everyone's doing, I'm part of it' and I thought, Oh, that's an unusual way of saying that you're part of the summit. So I looked at this summit and as I was looking down the list of guests, there was this lady smiling and next to her the tagline was 'The Gift of Loss'. And I sort of looked at it and I thought that's exactly what I think about loss, you know, in the long term now I've been through it all and then I read her little intro, which I'll read now: "Life's too short to be spent grieving and suffering. Karen Chaston explores the deeper purpose of grief in our lives, teaching us to find the treasures and reminding us of the wisdom that comes through the transitions of life". And then she asks, "Will you let go of your suffering?" I was like I've got to meet this lady. This is somebody I have to meet. So I emailed her out of the blue and we just had this sort of conversation. And it turns out that her son, Dan, and Christian, are in cahoots, as usual - this is how Christian does it. He brings me lovely people into my life, who can help me, who can support me, who I can bounce ideas off, who we can work together. And this is... I'd like to introduce you to Karen Chaston from the Chaston Centre. Hi, Karen, thank you so much for joining us. I know you're on the Gold Coast in Australia. Karen Chaston 00:40 Yes, I am. And it's 7pm. I probably shouldn't say what time it is. But I'm in the evening and you're in the morning, which is fabulous. Yeah, you've got to love the world we live in; we can so easily connect. Hannah Velten 02:56 I know this podcast is literally connecting me to a global audience and global guests that come on. I mean, it's amazing. I'm so excited about how the energy around it is rising and we're reaching more and more people. It's amazing. So I've sort of looked at your website, but we really wanted to keep this a really fresh conversation so that you, myself, Dan and Christian can sort of bring in the magic and the energy into this conversation. And so do you want to just sort of tell me about Dan, or where would you like to start? Karen Chaston 03:35 Well, I guess it's Dan and Christian that has really brought us together. So let's start with Dan. So in 2011, Dan was a 27 year old young man who had been back in Australia for two years after being in the UK (believe it or not) travelling around and having an amazing time, as most Australians love to do. You know, the young ones love to do their two years overseas and just see the world and it's so good that he actually did that. When he came back to Australia in 2009, he brought back an English lady with him and she still lives in Australia 10 years later, so she's been in Australia for 12 years. So Dan went out by himself with some mates on the 10th of July 2011. His girlfriend had gone out separately; she had a work do on, he didn't want to go to that. And then he came home late for some reason - he left his key at home, so he rang his girlfriend and said, "Just leave the key out for me". He lived under our house - we were living in Sydney at the time - and he lived under our house {not like a Harry Potter under our house, like a granny flat under our house} And he came home. Yes, he had drunk way too much. But what happened was he walked down the back of the house, walked under, went to pick up the key and as bent down, he fell over and everything did shake up inside of him. And for a long time, I thought it was the alcohol that had killed him, just the shaking up of it. But he told me probably about two years later, three years later, that it was actually his lungs have failed him. And at the autopsy, the next day, they had actually told us that his lungs were so bad that, you know, if he had smoked full on for, say, 10/12 years (which he hadn't, he was only a social smoker), he couldn't have done a quarter of the damage that he had done to his lungs. Now, Dan, is a twin. And we don't know if his lungs were like that all his life, I guess you don't sort of expect that. But when he was in Scotland, two years previously, he had spent a week in hospital with pneumonia. So whether it was from that, I'm not really sure. So my husband and I woke the next morning, not realising any of this had happened. And my husband, literally we slept in late Sunday morning, and he went out the back door to take the rubbish out and he really quickly just called out, he was really angry and going "Bloody hell, Dan's asleep, passed out at the back door", you know, really angry. But we thought he was still alive, he was lying there in the foetal position, and there was saliva coming out of his mouth, so we just thought he was unconscious. But the paramedics arrived really quickly. And they literally just said, "Sorry, madam, he's dead, and probably has been for several hours". Which, of course, was a huge shock, you know, we literally thought a healthy 27 year old had gone out the night before. If I'd known that, I wouldn't have given him the 200 bucks that I gave him to go out with, that's for sure {Karen laughs] But you know, and sure, you know, nearly 10 years on, we can joke about it, but at the time, I didn't know how to deal with loss. You know, I was the CFO of a publicly listed company, and I knew how to do that. So that's what I did - I literally went straight back to work the day after his funeral, working more, eating more and drinking even more. And isn't that what we tell people to do, "Just keep busy, just give it time, everything will be alright". And of course, it doesn't. We go into avoidance, you know; I was working more, you know, drinking more, eating more, doing the whole lot. And the funny thing about it now, in hindsight, Dan's passing was meant to have been my wake up call. Because what I'm doing now, how I've deep dived into loss and how I understand it, and you know, I am a life coach who specialises in loss, what I realise is it was meant to be my wake up call. And because I didn't wake up from it, from my what I call my 'Groundhog Day' days, which I'm pretty sure most people in corporate are living in, you know, we're just in that grind of every day is the same. And this is what success is all about; not realising that, no, it's not what success is all about. So they had to send me another loss event. So 15 months after Dan passed, the next loss came in the form of me having to choose with the company that I was working for, to either go with the newly merged company, not as CFO, but doing everything you're doing now, plus more, quote, quote quote, for less money - for like two thirds of my salary. And I was really angry, I thought, how dare you treat me like this? You know, I've got emails from you telling me I'm the oracle of the company, I set the standard on how to work and all this sort of stuff. But within 48 hours, I had so much gratitude, because I really did start to wake up from that daze. And I very quickly realised, you know what, I'm only there for the money and I'm killing myself over this money that if I'm honest, I'm wasting most of it, just to earn it, which is that vicious cycle that so many of us get into. So, as I said, that boss (and believe it or not, his name was also Dan) actually gave me the greatest gift you can ever give anyone else, because I chose me. And that's when I started on this journey, which I started off calling 'the journey to becoming my own best friend', because I had to get ME right before I could help anyone else. I had to get me right. I had to deep dive into loss. I was just so driven to look for a better way to do it. Because we're not doing loss very well at all. We just don't know what to do. No one knows what to say. No one wants to be around it. Everyone's sort of fearful of it. And that's sort of my journey, and I just love it. So yeah, it's amazing. Hannah Velten 10:26 Gosh, that's a brilliant roundup of the last goodness-knows how many years. But yeah, it really struck me because Christian's birthday is the seventh of July and Dan passed on the 10th of July. And I know Christian and I spent a lot of time in Australia in our gap years as well - we were there separately, but doing similar things, and Christian was at university in Scotland, at Edinburgh. Karen Chaston 10:51 Oh, wow. I've got shivers. Hannah Velten 10:54 Yeah. So I think there's plenty of connections here between the boys. So, Dan has a twin as well, doesn't he… Karen Chaston 11:04 Yes, he has a twin and an older brother. Hannah Velten 11:06 Okay, I'm quite interested in the family dynamics of when Dan died, so suddenly, how that sort of affected the family because you obviously went straight back out to work. Yeah. Do you know how it affected the family? Karen Chaston 11:27 Well, I'm going to surmise, right. So just to get it into context, okay. So we were living in Sydney. So there was Dan, his girlfriend, my husband and I, we were living in Sydney. On the Gold Coast, were my two other sons. And at that stage, neither of them had a girlfriend, or long term girlfriend. And at that stage, my eldest son, Ben, he was a month off 30 and Josh was obviously the same as Dan, 27. So on the day that it happened, I obviously rang my boys, like literally we went upstairs, once the police and the ambulance were there... we went upstairs and my husband just said, "I just want to sit". And I'm like, "No, no, no, I've got to get my boys here, I've got to do a whole lot." And they also have a half sister. So the half sister is my daughter, who I adopted out when I was 16. But she's in our lives. And at that stage, she was not in our lives like she is now, but she was in our lives. So I wanted to ring her, mainly for the fact that I just didn't want to see her in six months time, which is what we sort of tended to do and then she say, 'Well, how are the boys?' And I didn't want to say, “Well, Dan's died”, obviously. So I sort of rang them all. And it was really funny, you know, I couldn't get a hold on his twin. He wasn't answering the phone. And we were like, really, really panicking. And they lived at our property that we had on the Gold Coast, where the kids grew up, and it was a five acre property in the hinterland of the Gold Coast (a really great place for three boys to grow up). And Josh was living there, with a couple of mates and stuff. So Ben, our oldest one, went to try and find Josh, because I'd got hold of Ben, and Ben was actually in a car about to go trail bike riding. And he was driving. I said, "Ben pull over". And he goes, "No, Mum, I'm driving". I said, "Ben pull over the car, now, I have to tell you something." So he reluctantly pulled it over. And he had three other people in the car and they all knew Dan. And when I told them, he said they sat there for about five minutes. All of them crying. So what happened was Josh was actually on a golf course and his phone was ringing and he kept missing it. And then Ben eventually got hold of him, and then Josh rang me. And I said, "Ah, Josh, I've been trying to get you." And I told him and he goes, "Now don't lie, Mum." And I said, "No, it's true." And he goes, "Yeah, I know, Ben's already told me", and I said, "Well, why didn't you tell me that?" He goes, "Because I was hoping you were mucking around." So it really affected the boys a lot more than probably what we all realised, you know. Like Dan's girlfriend, she stayed living with us for 18 months after he passed. I guess the three of us, because we were the ones who saw him lying there, if that makes sense, so we were in a big hurry the next day when we went to the autopsy to see him again, because we wanted to get that image sort of out of our minds; whereas the others weren't as keen to come in. It's never easy. And I think sometimes siblings are sort of missed in the equation. You know, obviously, most people say to me, "How's his twin?" And I always answer, "Yeah, both his brothers are fine.” Because sure they were twins, but, you know, he also has an older brother as well. Hannah Velten 15:17 So yeah, from my point of view, I know that the siblings often get forgotten in the heat of the moment... the parents are the focus... Karen Chaston 15:22 Yeah, they do. The thing that I really want to say is that one of the greatest gifts that we sort of got from Dan's passing, was the comments that we got from his work colleagues, from people that he had met overseas. Like he worked in a pub for a couple years where he met his girlfriend, that he bought back. He worked in this pub in Kent and the landlord, when he heard that Dan had died, he went to bed for the afternoon. And we had the privilege of actually travelling there and meeting the landlord and his wife. Because Dan just raved about this guy. He was amazing. He took Dan under his wing and took him to Lords [cricket ground]. Dan said that he was the most interesting person that he'd ever met. And to hear other people the way they talk about your son... because you never know what they do... So I guess that was probably... now that I'm mentioning that it's really interesting... I never really put that into my books and stuff. Or maybe I have, and I just forgotten about it. But it's just so beautiful to know that you've raised a child who, you know... for example, Dan was a carpenter, and one of the guys on the building site where he was working, when he passed, said to us, "Dan would walk in every morning, he would walk the whole site, he'd say good morning to everyone, and then he'd get to work." {Hannah reacts] I know. Just little things like that, that you never realise and you never knew. But another thing I want to tell you about is, as I said before, we didn't really know what was Dan's cause a death. It was a bit up in the air, and even the autopsy report, it wasn't really like that specific. So in 2014, I was writing a book, which is called "Beyond A Mother's Worst Nightmare", which was my journey at that stage (I think it was like three years or four years since Dan had passed). And I wrote this book. And then I sent it to a friend of mine in America. And I said, "Look, I've been guided to send it to you. Can you just read it before I finish?" And she went, "Yeah, sure." And then she emails me. And she goes, "Karen, I've been told to stop reading." And I went, "What do you mean?" And she goes, "Well, Dan's come to visit me and he's told me to stop reading." And I went, "Why?" and she goes, "Well, he wants to have a three way conversation with you, because you don't know all the facts." And I said, "Oh, okay, well, how am I gonna do that?" And she said, "Well, I'm gonna facilitate it, but he wants a couple of ground rules set." And so I said, "Oh, yeah, sure." You know, we set the ground rules and we did it. So we had this three way conversation and in the three way conversation, he said to me, "Mum, stop telling everyone that it was the alcohol that caused my death." And I said, "Well, what was it, Dan?" And he said, "It was my lungs." So then I went, "Okay, well, I didn't know that." And he goes, "Na" and I said, "So did you suffer?" and he went, "No, it wasn't too bad." I said, "Did you know you were dying?" He went, "Yes". So he lay there for a little while (I'm gonna cry because I don't tell this story very often). I said, "I'm so sorry we were in the front bedroom and we weren't there with you." And he went, "Don't worry, Mum. You astral travelled - you and Dad - you were both there when I passed." Now, isn't that amazing? Because I knew we astral travelled, but I didn't know that we actually helped our loved ones to pass while we're in our sleep, and it was just so comforting. And I know probably a lot of your viewers are going to go, 'that's just way too weird'. But do you know what, it's not weird. It's so comforting to think that... you know, so many times you go, "Oh, I should have been there" or "I should have done this" and "Why? Why, why? Why? Why?" But when you realise that you actually are there and you're actually travelling to see them when you sleep at night - sure, you may not consciously remember, but unconsciously you do know that you are with your loved ones and they're with you. And you know, that's why I do what I do, because so many people get caught up in the 'what if?', 'why didn't I?', you know, and they have all these regrets. Whereas it's like, No, everything is as it's meant to be. And that's why I call my whole programme "The Gift of Loss". And the gift isn't in the actual loss event, like, there was no gift in Dan dying; the gift came in who I became, because of him dying. It's all about you, and it's all about your life. And, sure, people will come into it and people will go, and it's really sad to lose your loved ones, but when you know that you are going to be greeted by them, when you actually move into the next realm and go on to your next adventure, it really does make life a lot easier. And, like, I don't fear death. I just go, Oh, well, I'm just gonna leave everyone here and I'm going to leave my body behind and anything else that I've accumulated and then I just go off and I get greeted, and I have a party, and then I do my life... it all makes sense. Hannah Velten 21:12 Yeah, the astral travel. I mean, our audience are open minded. You know, I've been talking about all these things for ages, so they used to it! But the astral travel... I astral travelled to Christian when he was ill, before he actually died. So I completely... and I didn't know it at the time, obviously... Karen Chaston 21:31 So you weren't conscious of it at the time? Hannah Velten 21:34 No. But having done my trance mediumship with Christian, and the work that we do now, he's told me that I was there with him comforting him. And I actually had lucid dreams about this, much later in 2015 when we actually made a connection. So I completely, completely understand that and it is comforting. It is comforting, isn't it. Karen Chaston 22:00 So comforting. Especially when it was like, Oh, my God, you're at the back, on the cement, literally at our back door dying, we're in the front, fast asleep. You know, it was 2:30am or something when he passed. So it was literally like, Oh my god, that's so comforting. And the funny thing is, when I woke up that morning, before we even found Dan, my brother and I were estranged at the time (we'd had a silly fight probably about 15 months before Dan passed) and we weren't talking to each other - just you know, both of us no, you've got to apologise, you know, all that crap - and as I woke up, I heard a whisper in my ear, "You're going to see Tony soon". Hannah Velten 22:44 Ah... I've got chills. Like mega chills. Karen Chaston 22:48 And I literally was like, hmm, not sure how that's gonna happen. But okay. You know, it was just literally like that. It was just a fleeting thing that came in like that and then just went. So I know it was him {Dan]. So I did see my brother, yeah, four days later, obviously, at Dan's funeral. So yeah. Hannah Velten 23:07 And have you managed to sort out your relationship with your brother? Karen Chaston 23:10 Yeah, yeah. Hannah Velten 23:12 Perfect. Perfect. Karen Chaston 23:13 Yeah. That was another gift. Hannah Velten 23:15 Yeah, exactly. With my clients I have a lot of that, you know, their loved one saying, like, you need to sort this relationship out, or you need to... that's another subject. But if we go back to literally after the funeral, going straight back to work for you... you were just saying like the grief you didn't know how to handle it, didn't know what to do, so you just sort of threw yourself back into what you knew. Karen Chaston 23:40 Yeah. Well, I knew how to do that. I knew how to be a CFO, I didn't know how to be a grieving mother, didn't want to be a grieving mother. Because we've never really been taught how to deal with loss, right, which is what I am doing. I'm helping people to find a better way. And I literally... so Dan passed on the Sunday morning and on the Tuesday, I literally went into work, his funeral was the Friday. I literally went into work just to clean up a couple of things. But I remember saying to myself, 'I'm going in there, so everyone can just say ‘I'm sorry’, and get it over, and then never have to say it again". Which was totally ridiculous. But that was my way of thinking, 'I just want to get all of that over with' and you know, of course, it's ridiculous how you try and control things like that, where there is no control. Hannah Velten 24:46 So, then you had the job ending and that was your moment of 'Okay', so talk me through that... Karen Chaston 25:00 You mean when I was made redundant? Yeah. So you know, I was so angry, like, I’d already starting to think… like the guy who was going to be my boss... how old was I? I was probably about 54 at that stage and I was literally thinking, you know, I'm at an age where I am so sick and tired of people taking credit for my work, people being paid extra for my work. I was the CFO, so I was being paid for my work... I'm not even gonna say the recognition for it, but I just knew that what I did was, you know, everyone was aware, Karen did that. And it wasn't about the glory of Karen did it, it was just a fair exchange, I do the work, you recognise I do the work, and you pay me for it, thank you. Whereas in my previous roles - and I'm pretty sure this happens a lot - you have your boss taking credit for the work that you do, taking a bigger salary than what you do. And so I'm at a stage in my life where it's just not gonna happen anymore. So even before they gave me my contract, I was starting to think they're picking my brains, I really don't know if I really even want to be here after it [the company merger], things are gonna change, I will have literally no say in the way things will be handled. So I was already thinking, hmmm maybe, and that's why I say they really did give me the gift of giving me a contract with two thirds of my salary in there. And, as I said, I was angry, I was really angry for probably about 48 hours, I was like, how dare they treat me like this? Who do they think I am? But then I very quickly started to really go into me, which, you know, as we know, that's where all your answers are. I don't know why we don't look there, we're looking everywhere else, except for there most of the time. And I started to get that Dan passed, nothing happened, you know... if you take this job, you will be dead, within five years; it's going to eat you from the inside out. I was aware even then that stress causes cancer and I just knew that it would cause something: whether it was a heart attack, or a stroke, type two diabetes, who knows. And I literally was like, it's gonna eat you from the inside out and you're gonna have to keep your mouth shut. And you're not gonna be able to keep your mouth shut, and you'll be on less money.... And it's like, I'm at a stage in my life that I really don't want this. So it became a really, really easy decision in the fact that when I went to work on the Monday, all I did was make a whole lot of phone calls to employment lawyers and stuff like that, to make sure that if I said no, to this contract, I still got my redundancy, because that was really important. Because my contract, it was six months redundancy. So I really wanted to make sure I got paid all of that. And it did, and then I resigned. And my boss was, "I can't believe you resigned." And I just went, "Well, you know, this thing." And it was really strange, because I did have to work out some of that time and he couldn't look me in the eye and it was really, really sad and I kept saying to him, "You've given me the best gift you could ever give anyone. Don't feel guilty about not fighting for me, because believe me, it's the best thing you ever did for me." And that's when I knew really, really quickly that I wasn't going to be an accountant in the way that I had been accountant. I knew I was going to do something different. I had no idea what it was going to be. But I just knew that it was like I had just turned a new page in my book of life. Well, that sounds very poetic, doesn't it {Karen laughs} Hannah Velten 29:05 So, you had an idea that something big is gonna happen. Were you talking to Dan at that point? Karen Chaston 29:12 Not like I do now and, look, I get more feelings and he drops ideas into my head. So I've always been quite spiritual. Like I went to my first reading when I was like 21. I was bought up Catholic and I sort of knew no, that's not right, but it does have some elements of it. So I did always believe in a higher being and all those sorts of things. So, 2001 one of my sisters (I grew up in a large family, so there's seven children: six girls and then the boy's the baby. And yes, he is the golden child), so I'm the third eldest. My older sister, who's like a couple of years older than me, her and I are quite spiritual in our beliefs and always have been, whereas the rest of the family aren't so much. But she read this book, which was Sylvia Browne's "Life On The Other Side" and I read it in 2001. And that was my very, very first what I call 'knowing book', which is as I read it, 'I've never heard this before, but I know it's right', you know, every single page, everything about it. And then when Dan passed so unexpectedly, a lot of people weren't coping with it so I actually bought 10 copies of that book, and I handed it out to the people I said, "Read this. It's like, we've got like a little insight into what Dan's going through at this time", which was amazing. Absolutely amazing. And so that was sort of my first thing that I knew he was with me, but I thought I had to wait six months before I could go for him. Whereas now I know that they can talk to you as soon as they die, whereas I just thought it was a time thing. And this was 2011. And so I wasn't as aware as what I am now. So when I had my six month reading, I did it with a lady - her name's Georgina Walker - and she's a quite a well known medium and psychic in Sydney. She's on one of the radio stations, one of the big ones. And anyway, so I went to her. The reading was so amazing, and so graphic that she actually said to me, "Karen, I'm writing my third book. And believe it or not, it's been delayed for some reason, obviously, to be able to write a chapter of your reading." And she wrote a chapter on this reading, and it was just so amazing. Everything that he said was just so spot on, I could relate to everything that she said. Like he says, "I'm going camping at Easter, and I'm gonna win." And I went, "I know what that means." And what it was (just very quickly, so that your listeners can actually know)... So the year before Dan passed, at Easter, my husband and the three boys were going to go to Peru, and they were going to do the Inca Trail. But they left it too late to book and they said okay, we'll all go next year. So then when Dan passed, they said 'Oh, what are we going to do?' And we went, "Still go." I said, "Look, Dan will be with you." So that's what Dan was referring to: I'm going camping at Easter. And that's exactly where they were - they were camping at Easter. He did appear a couple of times to them. He appeared to my husband and Ben, not to Josh. But then I've heard that Josh blocks him because it's too painful, which makes sense. So, that was just one of them; she just kept flying them at us. Everything he said, I went, "Oh, yeah, I can relate to that. I can relate to that." So much so that he actually said, (because obviously he's a twin, so he's always shared his birthday)... so Josh, jokingly, I can't remember if it was the day that he died or the next day, just to ease the situation, Josh goes, "Well, on a brighter side, I get double presents now." You know, just trying to ease the sort of tension in the room and we all went, huh. And Dan, six months later, he goes, "Josh can have the double presents, but I still want my cake." And Georgina just looked at me and she went, "Just get him a little cupcake with a candle on it." And she said, "Oh, no, no, he wants a proper cake!" So every year, on his birthday, we give him a cake and we sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him and we do all of that. So it was just an amazing reading. And it is in her book, the whole story. The whole thing that he came out with. So yeah, he's always been around. But I've also been attracting more and more people into my life who are psychics and who have helped me develop it more as well. But you know, one of my best friends I met in 2013, and the first time I met her she went, "Who's sitting on your shoulder?" And you know, we had this amazing conversation and Dan's very naughty with her actually; one time I had a birthday party and she said, "Look, I will come but I'm gonna have a sleep first". And he ended up waking her up saying, "Mum's waiting for you. You get up." And she's like, "I don't let you guys into my house." So, she was not happy. But she said, "Ah, it's only because it's you." So yeah. So he's naughty. But yeah, I guess they all are. I'm sure Christian is too, isn't he. Hannah Velten 34:35 Well, when you were talking about Dan going into the work site - into the building site - and saying hello to everybody, walking around, that's exactly what Christian would have done. And that cheekiness, that's definitely... they're very well matched. And they were the same age they were both 27 when they passed over. Karen Chaston 34:59 Oh wow. But he passed away a couple of years before though, didn't he? Hannah Velten 35:03 Yeah, Christian was in 2003. Karen Chaston 35:06 But yeah, yeah. Wow. So when was he born? Hannah Velten 35:14 1975. Karen Chaston 35:18 So, that's nine years older than Dan, because he was 1984. Hannah Velten 35:26 Yeah. So, now you communicate with Dan... Karen Chaston 35:34 Yeah, I just get whispers in my ear, like I got on the first day that he died. I obviously have a lot of people around me as well, who tell me things. I get downloads at night that come in; you know, I give him credit for everything I've done, so much so that my Dad [in spirit] actually roust on me and goes, "I do things as well. It's not just Dan that's helping you!" So I say, "Okay, I'll give you all the carpet spaces that I get" and all that sort of stuff. "I'll stop saying thank you, Dan, I'll give all of them to you." It's just easier. That's the main way that I do [hearing Dan], but I'm doing more and more spiritual development as I go on. And I'm just really listening. Dragonflies are Dan's, rainbows are Dan's - like the day of his funeral, oh, my God, we had rainbows everywhere. And the amount of people either going to the wake or from the wake (we would have had over 100 people there), I reckon half of them saw DAN number plates, you know, licence plates. We keep seeing number plates: I was in New Zealand once, with a group, and I went out early with my girlfriend, and she decided to run back while I walked back and on the footpath, in the cement, was DAN, which was amazing, because what I was doing there, it was just like I got his tick, all that sort of stuff. But he just shows up all the time. In photos. Oh my god, in family photos. Like at Josh's wedding, Dan is in the photos in the tree. And there's a group photo and the guy at the back is sort of like going like that with his thumb, and when you follow the thumb and it's where Dan is. Hannah Velten 37:29 Oh wow. Karen Chaston 37:30 It's absolutely incredible. So, yeah, he shows up all the time in photos. And it's funny because I'm writing my book at the moment, which is "Demystifying Loss" and I've put three photos in it, you know, just showing him. At five years, so in 2016, we decided to release most of his ashes. So we released them into Sydney Harbour. I hired like a little ferry and we all went out there and had a nice lunch and then we released them. And then there was a photo taken by one of my friends and the next day, there's Dan's face, just near where we were, right in the water. Which is incredible. Hannah Velten 38:14 Oh, wow. It's amazing, isn't it, how each spirit energy finds a way to make themselves known. It's all very individual and it's individual for you. And once you've got that connection, once you realise it, the whole thing blows open... Karen Chaston 38:33 Yeah, especially when you're about to do something that you haven't done before and it's a little bit outside of your comfort zone. It's amazing how much they turn up, you know, he turns up then as dragonflies, unbelievably so, and it's just like, "Oh my god". But sometimes, I guess you don't see him, and he’s, like, literally coming straight at you into your eyes and it's like, "Okay, yeah, I've seen you now!" sort of thing. But it is just incredible. And you know, Josh has now got a little son - little Rafael who will be two in early May - and he was here one night and his parents were out and we put him to bed and then we went in next door to make the bed up for his parents when they came back and he's talking away, like he's talking and talking and talking. My husband goes "Who's he talking to in there?" I said, "Oh probably Dan, you know he's probably having fun with him and laughing and carrying on and what not.” Hannah Velten 39:29 Yes. Because kids are a lot more open, aren't they? And they just go with it. And then adults and society go, "Oh no, you can't be talking to Dan - that's ridiculous" Karen Chaston 39:38 Isn't it sad that we do that. Hannah Velten 39:40 It is totally. Like your work that you now do with other people... so you had to face your grief. So talk me through - we haven't got a huge amount of time for this - but can you talk me through how you faced your grief. Karen Chaston 40:04 So how I faced it was to avoid it - like most of us do for a very, very long time. I'm fine, I'm fine. You know, I made a lot of silly decisions in that first year, 18 months, but that's okay. But then once I started to deep dive into my life coaching - originally, it was for women, it was to help women stay as women in executive roles (not to turn into a man and become more aggressive like I did) - that's where it started, but it never sort of took off. And then I was working with a lady, a marketing lady, and she said to me, "Karen, look, why aren't you working with like grief?" And I said, "Ahh, funny, you should say that." I was literally told that probably like back in 2013, early 2013, I was told this, and this was probably 2017/early 2018. And I was literally like, "Yeah, I was told that early on, but I was like, Nah, I don't want to be around those people - they're too sad, I'm not like that." But I'm very much if someone says something to me, I listen; I never used to, but I now know, 'no, no, you need to listen to this, it's a bit unusual'. So that's when I started to deep dive into loss and I started to find a couple of different ways, different modalities that I wanted to bring together. And obviously, I was the guinea pig to start with. And I have to say, it's the most amazing progress. I got it from about three or four different places, you know, because I'm not gonna say it's just one place or the other, but I've got it from a lot of proven places, then I've just mixed it together, added some more flavour, and then put my sort of thing to it. So the "Gift of Loss" process that I have, it's a five step process. So the first one is to stop. Right, we don't stop, we don't stop, we just keep going. If you look back at the pandemic, it was stop. You gotta stop, you got to stop being busy. Nothing is going to happen until you stop. And you got to start to do that deep dive. And, of course, the stopping is all about you actually going, "Okay, this has happened, what does it mean for me now, and moving forward?" You know, until you stop, you can never answer that question, because you're avoiding it. And we're so good at avoidance, like, seriously, just look at the alcohol industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the suicide rate, you know, we don't know how to do it. So the first step in my ‘Gift Of Loss' is to stop. The second is to accept. And this is where you take responsibility for your part in whatever has happened. Now there's over 40 different loss events, so it's not just death of a loved one. It could be: a divorce, a job loss, your health, your wealth, your pets, you know (coming back to the pandemic), loss of freedom, loss of choice, loss of status, changing work conditions, changing recreational, changing social activities, all of these things, that's just some of them. When you look at it you go, "Oh, my God". And most people don't realise that some of these are loss, but when it happens to you, because you don't realise that this is a grieving situation, you start with the what's wrong with me? Why can't I get over this? It's because you're not doing the grief process of actually stopping, accepting. And then the third step is to identify, and the identify is where you deep dive into all of this undelivered communication in this relationship. So in every relationship, there's two people, but there's three components. There's the physical, the way you hang out together, the things you do, the way you touch each other, the things you say. Then there's the emotional, and that's all encompassing of your feelings, the good, the bad, the glad and the sad. And then the third component is the spiritual. It's the intangible, you know you're connected, you don't understand why you're so instantly connected to this person, place or thing. When the loss event occurs, all that you lose is the physical relationship. The emotional and the spiritual goes on forever. But it's the emotional relationship because we don't know how to deal with it. We don't allow the emotions to do what they're designed to do, to come in and move out - energy in motion. Your emotions are your friends, they're actually giving you a message. You need to heal this. Like you need to heal the fact that you didn't do this when you were meant to, or you didn't say this, or you didn't take this trip, you need to forgive. You need to apologise. You need to forgive and you need to acknowledge. And that's what that identify is all about - is to identify all of those things that are from this relationship. Now, if it's a relationship, it could be your whole life relationship, like with your parents, or it could be a friend that you've only known for two years. But it's about deep diving into the length of that relationship, and figuring out what are all of those things that you want to bring into that thing. And then you complete the relationship by delivering this amazing communication, never to the person if they're alive, but you deliver it to someone out loud. And then the fifth step is to pivot. And that's where you do the amazing thing of actually going, right, this is where I am. And this is where I want to be. So what are the action steps, the skills, what do I need to learn? How do I need to grow, to get from where I am today to where I want to be? Not just in your life, but in every single area of your life, because there's a different action step for all of them. And that's my "Gift of Loss" process, which I just so love. Karen Chaston 46:07 It's a lot like the process I use with clients as well. That is the process that I had to go through. That was the process I was shown, with Christian. And so you had to experience it. Karen Chaston 46:19 Yeah, I had to do it and the thing about it - and you probably found exactly the same thing, Hannah - when you look at your loss event history, like everything that's happened (you know, we're all gonna have multiple loss events) and when you look at it before you decide, well, this is the first one I want to work on... you know, I had to go back and the first one I actually worked on was the relationship to the baby that I gave up at 16. That was my first relationship that I felt I required to heal first, then I did my Dad, then I did my Mum (but my Mum's still alive). And then I did, Dan. So you would think you do Dan first, but no. And then I did the relationship with the adult daughter. But once I did the baby that I gave up, that helps the relationship with the adult daughter, because, you know, obviously, we're all energetically connected. But it's about figuring out... because when you look at it, you go, 'oh, wow, it was because of this...' You know, I worked with a lady who thought she was coming to me for her divorce, but after the process, she went, "I've got to heal that relationship with my mother first because she loved me, but never in the way that I wanted to be loved. And because I went looking for that love, I made not so ideal choices for my, like, 30 years (she was 50 at the time)." So that's where she went, I've got to heal all that first. And that's what I love about it, because once you heal it, obviously, you can then stop the pattern of repeating it, if you've got the message, and you've got the understanding. So yes, I'm sure it's similar to what yours is. Because it's the time for us to heal this, so they're not just giving it to me, they're giving it to multiple people. Because, you know, we've got nearly 8 billion people in the world, there's a lot of people that require healing. Hannah Velten 48:24 And exactly this time, where you and I have been connected and like this podcast is collecting a lot of other people as well. And it is the time to learn how to deal with grief, how to build a grief ritual that we can all work to - you know, we are all going to have these losses. Karen Chaston 48:43 That's it. And we're all going to keep having them. Hannah Velten 48:45 We have to deal with losses. And to find like the positive from the grief, like the gift of loss. So instead of thinking about it as a loss event and concentrating on that, and stagnating - I did all of that, you did all of that. And we got shown a different way of doing it; a way to heal and transform. Yeah. Karen Chaston 49:05 And we live in a world of duality. So you can't have, you know, dark without light, you can't have bad without good. So you know, we focus on the negative, whereas we say no, no, no, there is some positive here. Sure, it may be a little thing down here, but the more you focus on that little thing down here, the more that you can start to expand it and get to gratitude. Because at the end of the day, it's love and gratitude and joy - all those amazing vibrations, Hannah Velten 49:35 And then it affects everybody, so it's not just for you, is it. It affects the whole family, your community and boom, boom boom... Karen Chaston 49:43 Ah, it's the whole world. We're so connected - it's a ripple effect. And that's why I've taken, you know... for a long time I ignored my CFO skills, you know, my accounting skills, all that sort of stuff, but now in the last six to eight months, I've started to bring it back together and I've created what's called "The People and Profits Connection", going into businesses to say, "Do you know what - you want your people to rock up each and every day, you want them to be productive, you want them to be one dimensional, and you want them just to do the work and go home. It's not gonna happen. We're not one dimensional, we're three dimensional, they all have all of these losses going on in their life. They're drinking too much. They're doing all of these sorts of unhealthy habits, just to get through the day. How about (and it's not a therapy session) how about we actually assist your people to actually see things from a different perspective, so that they can actually come to work the way you would like them to, then they can go home and they go home to a better home and they won't be staying out all night drinking, and all these sorts of things. So it's just starting to sort of, you know, get into places where they're going, "You're right. We do need to look at things differently." And I'm not putting them on the couch and I'm not doing a whole lot of all that sort of stuff, but I'm helping people to deep dive into themselves and that's where we're at. Hannah Velten 51:06 So, if anyone wants to know more about you, because we're just about to run out of time. Karen Chaston 51:11 Sorry... Hannah Velten 51:12 No, no, no, it's been complete joy. Have you got a website that you can direct people to? Karen Chaston 51:30 Just go to thechastoncentre.com. And yeah, so just reach out to me, there's books to download, you can click on all of the different places that will take you all over the place. Hannah Velten 51:41 Thank you so much for joining us, Karen. And Dan, and Christian. Yeah, you know. Yeah, you know, complete joy. And I know, I sort of worry about talking about what I do, but you just said, you know, like, "Don't worry about it, because we are the awakened ones. And we have to be the light for other people." So thank you so much for joining us. Absolute pleasure. And I hope we work together at some point. Karen Chaston 52:07 I'm sure we will. Hannah Velten 52:08 I feel we will. I feel we will say thank you to Karen. And next week, we have... actually I'm not really sure what's going on next week. But I'm going to take a little break this week, so I've actually pre recorded a few shows. So the shows will each come out on Monday; it's just I'm going on a little holiday behind the scenes. Okay, so thank you so much for watching and thank you to Karen. Okay, lots of love. Bye bye.

Karen ChastonProfile Photo

Karen Chaston

Karen Chaston is a business owner, beyond loss mentor and international keynote speaker who has shared the stage with Marianne Williamson, Jamie-Lee Curtis, Valerie Harper and Dr Ellie Drake.

She is the author of eight books and numerous e-books as well as an online TV show host and podcaster.

In her corporate career Karen was a C.P.A., a Chief Financial Officer of a publicly listed company and a senior manager for more than 25 years.

In July 2011, Karen’s life changed forever when her 27-year-old son, Dan, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away at her back door.

Within 15 months, Karen resigned from her CFO role and began a personal, professional and spiritual journey culminating in her becoming a beyond loss expert and co-founding her business:

Karen’s first-hand experience assisted in her creating the Beyond Loss retreats and programs (delivered physically and virtually) which demonstrate the correlations between loss and all areas of your life.

When individuals embrace these concepts, you will easily move beyond any kind of loss and create a better everyday life.

When companies embrace these concepts, they unlock the People and Profits Xonnection. Providing tangible solutions that will help them to challenges the status quo by asking “Is there room in the modern workplace to be more human?” Providing tangible solutions that will help them to make the best possible product, offer the best possible customer experience and build the strongest possible company.