Pirie Jones Grossman looks like she has it all together. She’s a successful personal coach and works on helping people make their lives better. Unbeknownst to many, she had to overcome a fair amount of trials and soul searching. At 39, she couldn’t have kids, she got divorced from a well-known Hollywood director, and suffered an emotional breakdown. Being in the movie and film business, her identity revolved around projecting herself on camera and obsessing about the perfect body, the perfect face, and the perfect hair. Over the years, she put on layers of inauthenticity until she lost her identity. Pirie talks about rising from the ashes, facing her true self, taking back the throne to her life, and helping others do the same through soul-centered life coaching.
This episode, I have the good fortune of interviewing a sweet soul, Pirie Jones Grossman. Pirie is somebody who used to work as a reporter for the show E! Entertainment and also Entertainment Tonight, and she did that for over ten years. We go through a lot of her adversity. She was married to a very famous director in Hollywood and lived that Hollywood lifestyle. At the end of the day, it was not the life for her. She ultimately moved off to Sun Valley where she found herself. She’s been through a whole lot. She’s also been involved in the Special Olympics. She’s also been involved in various wellness institutes. She was a TED Talk speaker. She also puts some time with the Dalai Lama. She is now living in Sun Valley. She has been for quite some time as a personal coach. She’s working on how to better other people’s lives. Anytime anybody is doing that, that’s incredible. Please always go in to rate and review. It really helps with the visibility and really broadcasting the news out to people who need to hear these great messages from people like Pirie. If you want to hear anything from me, what’s going on, my clients, my public speaking, social media following, MarkPattisonNFL.com.
Listen to the podcast here:
Pirie Jones Grossman: From Breakdowns to Breakthroughs Through Using Soul Centered Life Coaching
I’m pumped up because I’m in one of my favorite most magical places on the planet and that is Sun Valley. I’m so honored and grateful to have Pirie Jones Grossman on the pod. We’ve got some really amazing things to talk about as we get into this and a lot of it is going to be along the lines of a spiritual journey. Pirie, how are you doing?
I’m doing great. I’m so glad you’re here because I get to do this in this beautiful valley and look at this incredible view.
You’ve been here now for twenty years and five years in your particular home here. Certainly, you know that this valley is magical in many different ways. I’ve been coming here since I was nineteen years old. That’s been a long time. I taught my kids how to ski here and one of the reasons I keep getting drawn back to Sun Valley is because of the magical energy that it feeds within the valley here.
It’s known as a healing place. The energy vortexes from the mountain are probably just as strong as Sedona. A lot of people come here for healing. They don’t even know why, they’re just drawn to this place. As you sit down and talk to people from all over the world, they start sharing what happened to them, the transitions and healings and their journeys. People move here because they’re called here.
Why did you move here twenty years ago?
I came here 25 years ago when I was married. We had a second home here. I was living in Los Angeles and had a really terrible divorce. We’ve been trying to have kids for about five years and I just couldn’t get pregnant. My husband came home and said, “That’s it. The marriage is over. You can’t have children.” I was 39 years old and I thought, “What do I do now?” I had an emotional breakdown. I moved back to Texas with my parents for a couple of months and I just prayed. I was probably the lowest I’ve ever been. I went through so many fertility drugs. My whole system was completely screwed up.
Do you think it was the stress and the anxiety of wanting to get pregnant and you couldn’t so you’re feeling more pressure in that way? Was that part of it?
That was part of it, but there was also the physical part. I was in a coma for a week because we took out too many embryo transitions. I’m one of these determined people, so I told my doctor, “Let’s do this every other month,” which is unheard of. It wore me down and I got down to about 90 pounds. I’ve always been a positive person and someone that could beat the odds and pull my big girl panties on and start again, but this time was different. I had a harder time. I had a spiritual, a mental, and a physical breakdown.
You’re going through all this stuff and what was the trigger then that led you to come into Idaho?
I wanted to get out of LA, number one. My Dad was like, “You’ve turned into something I don’t even know.” It’s part of the identity that I was doing. I was in the business and I was all around movie business and the film business. I started taking on those layers and I lost myself, so I wanted to come to a totally different area.
What does that mean you’re taking on layers?
I put on so many layers of in authenticity and not even knowing who I was anymore. I lost myself and I felt like I wasn’t grounded. I was in this city. I had stopped working in the business. I was married to a well-known movie producer. I lived this fake LA life and I didn’t know who Pirie was anymore. I’m from Texas and a Texan is very grounded. I’m used to that. My parents were really grounded and I needed to get to a place where I could start peeling back the onion and figure out who am I. What was my purpose? I don’t even talk about this very often, but I was in a lot of drugs, taking a lot of drugs, fertility drugs and some other drugs. The night that my husband came home and said that the marriage was over I had just gotten out of the hospital. I looked at about five bottles of pills sitting in front of me, sleeping pills, pain pills, mood altering pills, and I decided I don’t have it in me to start over again, which is the darkest place I’ve ever been.
I took all of those bottles of pills. I remember laying down in our movie theater room and just going to sleep saying, ” I can’t do this. This is too much.” Hours later I found myself in our bed and I was throwing up. My husband was over there in front of me and helping me as I was throwing up calling the ambulance, and took me back to the hospital. They pumped my stomach. When I had some memory of what had happened, I was shocked that I had that low point where I didn’t even think two seconds about it. I understand how people get into that darkness quickly. For that moment, in that emotion which is right there and that instant decision, you make some stupid mistakes. I felt like God gave me another chance. He brought me back to life even though I knew I was going to go through a tough divorce, and I wanted to start over. I loved Idaho when we came here. I love the beauty and I felt the energy. I felt like this is where I could find my soul again. I moved here two months afterwards and I stayed on the floor. I would take a walk. I decided I’d like to learn how to ski. I was 39 years old and I went up on that mountain and I decided that my job was to heal, to ski, to go out into nature and just find my spirit again. I also found some amazing friends who were very authentic and who I could sit there with and put my head down and say I need some help. I was never very good at asking for help. I was always the strong girl who could handle things, but in that moment I couldn’t.
That story resonates a lot with me for a number of different reasons. Seven or eight years ago, I was going through a very rough time and that’s when we had moved from Seattle where I know everybody down to Los Angeles. My now ex is a good person but we weren’t connecting in any of the right ways, and it was a very dark and lonely place for me. I had those moments of reflection of what’s my value on this earth? That’s a scary place to be. Fortunately, I never did anything about that, which is great, but still it was a moment of truth and trying to dig out from the emotional hurt and everything else that goes along with that. You talked about moving to Sun Valley and being connected with the mountains, the air, the trees, the people. For me, that was the point of me realizing that what I needed to do is go out and do something great. I needed to find my purpose. For me, I found the mountains.
In those mountains, one of the things that’s been very wonderful about that place for me in some of these remote locations that I go to around the world in my climbing is that there’s no cell phone, there’s no internet. I’m out there for weeks at a time with no communication to the outside world, except with the people within that group. It’s a very grounding experience. You’ve got no distractions. It took me at least three or four days to get through that before I re-entered and I’m like, “This is totally cool. This is the way to be.” There are no distractions and then your mind shifts from all the junk to becoming very clear about your path forward and what you should be doing. That’s what happened to me. I can’t believe where I’m at now six years later with a bunch of these mountains down, but more importantly, how I’ve been able to grow and meet new wonderful, amazing people and start a podcast and really broadcast my message and the journey of others through what they’ve gone through. It’s been a gift. If somebody would’ve told me, “Mark, you have to go through that junk to actually receive that gift,” I would have never believed them.
You mentioned disconnecting from a lot of social media, from the phones, from all the busyness. I work with teenagers and I work with people in counseling and that’s where a lot of depression happens. It was something that I realized I was doing in LA. I had stopped connecting with the real world. I had stopped connecting with nature. I was keeping my head down, not connecting with other people. We get a lot of our help and a lot of our strengths from other people, and being able to be truthful and not be ashamed of any stigma on how you’re feeling and just say, “You know what? This is what’s going on with me.” If more and more people would do that, they would meet other people who’ve been going through the same thing. That’s where we get our strength from, is from one and other.
It’s all about being authentic. I’m over 50 now and it took me really at least those 50 years to finally figure out, and this happened on one of the mountains I was on, that the more vulnerable I was, the more strength I exuded. Being 6’2”, 200 pounds and having played in the NFL, I don’t know why I ever shied away from that. Somebody would think less of me because I wasn’t as truthful or out there. Again, it’s been another one of those realizations that this bolt of lightning hit me in the head and I figured out late in life. It’s been another one of those lessons and blessings that has come my way. I know that you worked for ten years or something for E! Entertainment?
I worked for Entertainment Tonight and E! Entertainment Television.
You’re on those shows and you’re getting a lot of self-gratification. Like, “Pirie, it’s great to see you out there. Great interview with Tom Cruise,” or whoever you’re interviewing. Going back to that moment that you’re looking at those pills, where was the disconnect between who you were and what you would become?
It was something I noticed when I moved here to Idaho. My identity was being on camera and people knowing me, that’s where I received a lot of love. It became performance-oriented. If I acted this way, if I looked this way, obsessing about the perfect body, the perfect face, the perfect hair, that was all there was for me. I had a spiritual background. I’d been through quite a bit in my childhood, but I had not really learned to love myself and what did that mean? What did that mean for me to be able to have healthy boundaries with people and to be able to be strong enough to say, “I’m not going to put my life body through all those fertility treatments?” I really want to have a child, but am I willing to throw myself away? Just to be loved. It was just to be loved and to be told that you’re valuable. I married a famous movie producer. The more famous he was and the more successfully he was, then that person, if he said that he loved me and he married me, I must be pretty great. I lived according to what others thought of me, not what I thought of me.
That’s a hard place to be.
I didn’t learn that either until I was in my 50s. It’s never too late and something that I work with women and teenagers about is what is your self-worth? Do you know what it’s like to have self-love and to really love yourself without anybody else’s input? You can just stand alone, take that throne instead of beside it, in front of it, behind it with somebody. No. You take that throne by yourself because it’s the throne of your life. I didn’t learn how to do that until about three years ago.
It is a mental shift and trying to put that focus on getting your gratification through somebody else versus the things that are important to you. What strategies then would you have in your advice for somebody who’s going through this? How do you get them to shift from others to themselves, to love yourself first in order to thrive in life?
I just finished a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica in LA. I graduated about a year and a half ago and I had done a lot of healing in my life. I thought I did a lot of forgiveness. Notice where I said, “I thought.”What I realized is no matter how much work I did, I never felt like I could get rid of that feeling of unforgiveness for my mom, for a lot of things that happened, unforgiveness for a friend. I would let any outside experience, person, place or a situation affect me and really get me upset, those triggers. I heard that when you learn to how to take care of yourself and love yourself, those triggers don’t hit so much. The first thing I did that I share with a lot of people that I coach is, number one, we identify what is it that is the most lacking in you. We go straight for the vulnerability.
How do you figure that out?
You can look around at your outside life, what does it look like? If somebody comes to me and they say, “Life is good. It’s wonderful and I feel fabulous.”Then I’ll ask some questions, “Tell me about how are your finances? How is your job? How is your career? Do you know what your meaning of life is? What are your passions? How are your relationships?” If I start hearing things, “My relationship is not so great. I’m not really making the money that I want to make, or my direction in life is pretty low,” they’re not okay because whatever your inner reality is, is the world that you create. We are co-creators.
So many people float on that surface level and it drives me crazy when, “How are you doing?” “Great.” “What’s going on?” “Nothing.” You go through all the stuff that you really haven’t said anything at the end of that wheel.
First of all, let them know that you really have to be the one to take responsibility for your own life. It’s not that life happens to you. Life in the universe is conspiring for you to have an amazing life and for you to believe that. I listen also to how people talk. How do they talk about themselves? How do they talk about others? What do they think about? What do they feel? All of those triggers is what really starts the behaviors. If someone tells me, “I think this and I believe this,” but their life doesn’t show it, I know they’re not telling me the truth. It always is in alignment when those things are in alignment. What I had to do is figure out because I’ve heard the phrase so often, “You need to love yourself.”Maybe in a good co-dependent girl, I would sit there and think, “Love myself? That’s selfish. Shouldn’t I be thinking about others and be in service of other people and I should really be last. That’s how I was raised.”It started with a simple thing, even what they tell us on the airplanes. What do we have to do? The mask goes on us first and then we can help others. I’ve realized it’s not a selfish act. It’s something that is imperative for everybody to start taking care of their own lives.
Another thing that we do is as a tool, start writing down. What are all the things, acts or beliefs that are limiting beliefs that are keeping us from really being successful in life and who are we not forgiving? People will make a list of that and I’ll say, “List the things that you’re not forgiving yourself,” because there’s a spiritual tool that’s so important. It’s compassionate self-forgiveness, and you’ll be surprised how, when you talk about forgiveness, people go crazy. They either defend it or say, “I’m not going to forgive that person. That person did this to me and did this and this and make a whole big thing, so therefore I’m not going to do it.” It only hurts them. Or they’ll say, “I have forgiven,” and you ask a little bit deeper questions and then you realize they haven’t forgiven themselves for something. It usually starts with family trauma. When you meet with somebody and you talk about what they’re feeling and they have a moment where that limiting belief started, it usually started with an event that happened when they were a child. Uncovering that, taking care of that inner child, and believing that inner child deserves better. Sometimes we as adults, we don’t think we deserve better because we judge ourselves.”You did this. You’re not that great here,” but if you can switch that and say, “What does my six-year old deserve? What is that little inner child inside of me? What does she deserve? What does he deserve?” then it’s easier to go in and touch that vulnerability.
You have to be very brave to go do that for guys and girls. I don’t know if you find women easier because they’re more emotionally available than men. That’s the bottom line. We’ve all gone through stuff. It’s just a matter of who’s willing to talk about it and who’s willing to really go out there and heal.
I thought my private practice was going to be primarily with women and what I have found, I’m dealing with teenage boys, four for them.
Which have no idea how to express themselves.
They don’t, but they want to and they’re open. Usually people come to me when they’re in pain. Pain is what transitions all of us. We never transition in life to be better if we’re having a great old jolly time. We’re like, “Life is good. I don’t need some work. I’m okay.” When we have an incident or an event that hits that painful spot, that’s when we know we got to get some help and work through it. To be honest with you, I find young adult men and teenage boys are just as open as the girls are, and that surprised me.
What is a spiritual psychologist? Is that a particular religion base or is that like the whole universe or what is that?
I call it soul-centered life coach. I’m not a psychologist. Soul-centered means when you’re working on yourself, sometimes we have labels that we carry. “I’m an alcoholic, I’m co-dependent.” We put all these very challenging labels on us and we tend to treat the symptoms. We tend to treat, “We’re going to detox you here or we’re going to send you away. We’re going to just help this situation here and send you over here. If you have an eating disorder, we’re going to help you how to figure out your diet.”Soul-centered means you pull the Band-Aid off. Anybody who has an eating disorder has nothing to do with their eating disorders. It has everything to do with their self-worth. It has everything to do with the pain, the sense of control. It’s pretty much that way in everything.
I go for the Band-Aid pull off and I go for the core because our souls are perfect. We already are radiant beautiful beings as we are. We get mixed up in our ego or limiting beliefs. Some of these thoughts and experiences have molded us into a certain way, but it’s not who we are. I believe we can get back to that radiant, wonderful, loving place, to our core, when we deal with some of those limiting beliefs and they go away. You can change behaviors, you can change addictions and it’s pretty incredible. We do brain health work and tools and techniques that help with that. You can change the neuropathways and give them a different message. CBT therapy is the same way. Our brains are extremely powerful. If you look at an athlete, my kids, for example, they’re at the top of the mountain. They’ve memorized a course and you’ll see them at top of the mountain. They’ll close their eyes and they have it memorized in their head. Do you know their brain has no idea whether they’re actually running the course or not? The visualization is just as powerful as you’re actually doing it.
That happened to me. I was very fortunate to be on the winning side of many last second touchdowns in college and in the NFL. Some people said I was lucky. What they didn’t know is the hours and hours not only of practice but of the visualization. I literally did that in my sleep all the time. By the time that it actually happened, I just realized my dream, my vision board that I had created years before. It’s really amazing. This spiritual journey sounds like it’s taking you on an amazing path. I read you had a conference here where the Dalai Lama was here to speak to kids or everyone in the world. I’ve seen him and he’s amazing. What was that like? I saw him Seattle at the Seattle Center Key Arena. I was one of the 10,000 people out there just watching him up on stage and it was great. My sense is that you actually interacted with him.
Yes. I had such an amazing experience with him. That was part of a spiritual lesson for me without me even knowing it. When I recreated myself here in Idaho, I became a mother. I did have my two amazing miracle children after all in my forties, so I’m an older mom, but they keep me young and the wisdom that I have now, thank God. I think about it in my 40s, I don’t know if I would’ve been so great. I reinvented myself. What happened is I started getting into the events business, but I always love some spiritual interaction. A friend of mine, Kiril Sokoloff, who lives here part time, called me and he said, “Listen, I’m bringing in His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, for a 9/11 anniversary. It’s in 2005 and I want you to help me put together all the VIP dinners and some of the fundraising and all of that.”I wasn’t really interested about that. I said, “Let me think about it.” I went home that night. Raising money, being around VIPs, taking care of their jets, was just not my deal. That was a whole other world, and I thought, “What could be meaningful?” I went to sleep, had this dream, and I saw kids from all over the state in buses. They were coming to Wood River Valley Stadium where we were going to hold the five-day conference event. I saw kids standing up and talking with His Holiness about what compassion looks like because His Holiness, he is the Dalai Lama of compassion. This vision was so powerful in me.
The next morning I woke up and I thought, “We got to do a Children’s Day. We have to do a Children’s Day.” I ran over to Kiril’s house and I said, “I’ll tell you what, I’ll help you with all the VIP dinners if I can produce this Children’s Day.” I told him about it and he said, “That’s amazing.”We ran this contest for kids in the state to write in read essays about what compassion looked like for them. We got hundreds of them and we could only pick five boys and five girls. We took them on the plane when we went and picked up His Holiness in India and brought him over. He could only pick one boy and one girl. I was at the airport when he was coming in with his monks and I’m standing there next to Kiril and all this, and he walks out and he’s got all of these papers in his hand. Lama Tenzin who was the main Lama who is taking care of him came up to me and he said, “Your Holiness, this is Pirie. She did the Children’s Day.” He grabbed me and gave me a big kiss on my forehead. He had all these kids’ compassion essays in his hand and he said, “This is going to be my favorite day,” and he says, “However, I can’t just pick one boy and one girl. I’m going to address them all. I want to meet them all.” He gives me this white scarf, which is a blessing scarf called the khata.
We produced a day where the kids actually read part of their essays and they came on stage one-by-one so His Holiness could meet them and he gave them a blessing. The stories that we heard, everything from a young girl who’s in junior high and her brother was going through drug problem, the cops came to his house to arrest him. His parents were there and his sister was there and the brother came out and he went into his pocket. The cops thought it was a gun and they shot him. This little girl was writing an essay about how do I forgive? How can I forgive? How can your compassion forgive? He met with each one of those twenty kids and shared with them his story and talked about how nothing can be so great, it’s so painful, but there’s always the power of forgiveness and having compassion for people. When I spent that week with him, I saw he lived what he talked about. We became friends and then we ended up doing the Seattle event from Sun Valley. Then we went to San Francisco and did another event. He was the one that encouraged me.
I had a dream about putting on the Special Olympics World Games here, the Winter Games. I thought, “We can’t do this.”He was the one who said, “You can do anything. This is right. If this is something that you want to do and it helps everybody, this can be done.”He gave me that sense of believing whatever’s in the greatest good and the highest good of all can be done and you only need one voice. That was the beginning of my journey of realizing how powerful we are and how one voice can make a difference in the world. I thought, “If that doesn’t teach me about self-worth, what will?” That was the beginning of that path. We ended up going to India. I brought some friends over. He blessed them. He was just an important teacher in my life. I’m a very strong Christian girl. We would talk about religion and Buddhism and I’d say, “Your Holiness, how can I meditate? I have the hardest time keeping myself still and meditate.”He looks at me and he goes, “I do, too.” I was like, “You’re the Dalai Lama. What do you mean you have a problem meditating?” He says, “No, I do.” He says, “I’m looking down and I’m thinking all these thoughts in my head, and you know what I do? I start thinking about how I could help other people. All those thoughts that are in turmoil, it’s all about us. It’s our lists. It’s our to-do things. It’s our problems. When you start thinking about what you can do for others, you breathe into it and then your soul comes in and then you go into meditation.” I thought, “I’m going to try that.” He was right. I said, “I’ve learned quite a bit from Buddhism and what you’ve taught me.”He says, “What are you?” I said, “I’m Christian,” and he goes, “I don’t want you to be a Buddhist because I want you to be the best Christian you can be.”His best friend at the time was Desmond Tutu who’s a great Christian. He says they argue all the time, “He believes in God, I don’t, but we learned from one another.” That’s where that power of oneness and the greatness of the human spirit came to me. It was through him.
Religions have different paths on how you ultimately get to a higher place. You don’t have to agree on them but the commonality amongst each one have to do with this little thing called love and forgiveness and all the other words that fit in that realm. That’s the world that I love to play in and every place I’m trying to go to is towards the light. By having forgiveness and love and compassion and being humble and grateful and all those great words, I think it can help you get to where you need to be. The end result of all that is this inner peace about where you’re at in terms of whatever your journey is on that. The other thing you mentioned is about putting on the Olympics and also this kid’s event had to be with one voice, one person. You start there. I had this amazing soul on, Mandy Harvey, and she is this deaf, beautiful singer that took fourth place in America’s Got Talent. She was on my podcast and I said to her, “Weren’t you petrified when you’re in the Rockefeller Center or someplace where she had to get up and thousands of people and Simon Cowell and all the people, in front of all the judges, millions of people watching on TV,” and she goes, “I didn’t care if I placed first place or the last place. I just want to get there and affect one person.”Now, in her case she blew up and she ended up being in the finalist. She’s affected so many millions of people that are afflicted with deafness or just any disability. It was just a really incredible story to hear from her what her whole idea was and her intention when she went on that show.
That’s a powerful intention just to be in service to help. I hadn’t had any communication. I wasn’t even around a lot of Special Olympic athletes. I wasn’t around a lot of people that had intellectual disabilities. I was around some people who had some physical disabilities and so when we first won the bid and they gave it to us, I remember giving a speech. I was excited that Idaho won the bid and I said, “We’re so excited about helping these athletes from around the world.” We have 3,000 athletes here from a 150 countries and my vision at the beginning was how much we were going to help them and someone whispered in my ears afterwards and they said, “When you meet these athletes and spend time with them, it’s you that’s going to be helped and all of us that are going to be helped by them.” I thought, “Wow.” I met them and they came here and they’re so pure and there is no ego. They’re so pure in who they are.
I remember there was this one event here in Sun Valley that was a cross country event, and there was this young girl from the Ireland team. She was supposed to be the favorite one and all the press was here and everyone was expecting she was going to win the gold. She came up to me and she goes, “Mrs. Grossman, I’m so excited.” I said, “I so excited for you, too.”She right at the gate, she took a couple steps and she fell and her equipment had some failures. She kept tripping. She stood up and everybody could hear and she kept doing that around the track. She came in dead last. I go up to her and I’m trying to think what can I say to this young girl? She came running up to me and she says, ” Mrs. Grossman, did you see me get up?”There weren’t any excuses, “My equipment was terrible. I had a bad day, this or that.” It wasn’t about the negative aspect. It was about what she achieved. That was what was on the front page of the paper, “Did you see me get up?”Dead last with a big smile on her face. I saw the greatness of the human spirit with those athletes that worked so hard. They’re so determined but they’re so happy inside of themselves. It doesn’t matter what’s going on out here. They’ve got the biggest smiles in their hearts and they show them and they’re there to help anybody and to encourage anybody. That was another big lesson out of that whole experience of what I learned.
You’re talking about service. I was blessed to be invited down to Tanzania last year to raise a bunch of money and build water wells for the people at the Maasai tribe. We went out to some of these different tribes and the people came up and just showered us with gifts. Think about this, we are sitting here in your beautiful home in Sun Valley and you can get up right now and walk ten feet and you turn a little dial right and outcomes water. No big deal. For them, they are celebrating. They were jumping up like Michael Jordan had just hit the last second in game seven against the Lakers. It was insane. The point of all that is this little thing called service that you brought up. The amount of joy that I got was like 50 times more than I was watching from them just because of I was able to help affect change. It wasn’t just me but the group of guys and women. It had a mega shift for me of not just donating because we’ve all donated but actually putting my time in to go help, then actually see this and what it does. These young girls no longer have to walk two miles down and get raped and everything else, bad stuff that happens, and the impurity of the water and disease that comes with that. Now they can just go out and it’s filtered and there’s gushing water and it was incredible. It was just a magical moment for me what I was able to be involved in. I want to shift a little bit. You were asked to do a TED Talk. Tell me about TED Talk.
You should do a TED Talk. I just shared with you about twenty years ago how an event took me down. I’m going on another journey and I’m working with Arianna Huffington. I’m working with all these speakers because I lead the Sun Valley Wellness Festival. I created one in Telluride, a Wellness Festival and one in Sedona. Everyone thought of me as the wellness girl. Six years ago, I remarried when I came here and met a wonderful man. We had our two kids and six years ago, after sixteen years of marriage, it collapsed. I was on my way to another divorce. A week after we split up, my father died unexpectedly. My father was my everything. I fell apart again and I couldn’t sleep for days. It was the most painful feeling I’ve ever felt, to lose him. Here I am losing my ex-husband, the second one. I had that feeling again of just feeling I couldn’t get up. I was in bed. I had two little kids to take care of it and I could just muster enough energy to take them to school and to pick them up. I’d lay in bed and I would eat chocolate bonbons and watch Oprah all day because I started feeling good. I got addicted to sleeping pills. For six years, I was taking Lunesta to go to sleep because it was a behavioral thing. I could take that little blue pill and in fifteen minutes I’d be out. I’d be in the go and go save the world again and be this wellness girl.
About a year ago, I noticed my brain was getting a little foggy. I couldn’t remember things. I kept repeating things. My kids would say, “Mom, you already told me that.” I was like, “Really?” I’d go to my friends’ houses and have dinner, we wouldn’t even be drinking and came home. The next morning, I couldn’t remember how I got home. I got really scared. We had our Sun Valley Wellness Festival last year with Arianna Huffington here talking about sleep. She introduces me, waving at everybody. We’re talking about all this great stuff, but I hold a secret. I started doing some research and I thought, where can I go to get some help? I couldn’t get off the sleeping pills by myself. I found this place that I loved because they not only detox you, but they take off the Band-Aid, give you new changes behavior and some tools where that addiction goes away, you get some help. I checked into an amazing place, it’s called Seasons in Malibu. I stayed there for a month and they detox me, taught me new ways of tools and techniques, which is the brain health which I’d never done before. I did the spiritual work. I did the emotional work. I hadn’t really done the physical work because our bodies retain the trauma that happened to us. That’s usually how addictions happen because we want to forget, numb, do anything, whether it’s over shopping, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, whatever it is we need to numb because our bodies hold it. These techniques, I learned to let them go. I came back home and it’s been nine months since I’ve not had any sleeping pills. I have no desire to have one.
I’m sharing this story because being completely authentic is a real courageous thing to do and to live in your life. Most of us don’t. When you come out on the other side and you do what we call spiritual bypass, you go around it, you go through. You go through that pain, you say, “I’ve got an issue. I can’t live like this anymore and I’m willing to do the hard work.” What you get on the other side is so much aliveness and my purpose in life has doubled. I feel like I’m totally authentic. I have no secrets. I’m not hiding. I’m not depending on anything other than spirit and my own spiritual practice to have this amazing, beautiful life. My girlfriends have come to me and said, “I’m so glad you brought this up because the addiction to sleeping pills is rampant right now.”All I can say is if anyone out there has that addiction, think about it because it is cutting off your light. It cuts your life short and you’re numb. Everybody deserves to have an awakened consciousness and awakened life, and it can happen. There are tools out there that can help people.
This journey you just described, is that what your TED talk was about?
They came to me and said, “We’d love for you to do a TED Talk.” This is before I went to Seasons and I thought, “I can’t remember anything. How am I going to remember a speech, eighteen minutes,” and you have to be restrained to this little circle.“How am I going to remember this?” I said, “I’ll do it.” “What are you going to talk about?” There’s a whole other story but I started a Suicide Prevention Task Force here because we have very high suicide rates in Blaine County. The whole new study came out where we found out that ski towns have the highest rates of suicide and we’re losing a teenager every two hours in this country, and every teenager we lose is between fifteen and nineteen. There are100 to 200 attempts. It’s all depression and it’s social media and again, that “I’m not good enough. I’m not lovable. Look at everybody else when it’s all BS.”
Coming back to Seasons, I sent in this, ” I’ll talk about this.” It was almost a test for myself. I thought, “Can I really get my memory back? Can I do these tools and techniques?” I get off the Lunesta and I had three months to prepare this TED Talk right after I got back home. It was the scariest thing in the world I’ve ever done. I’m a speaker. I’m out there talking all the time, but the memorization, was looming over me. As you write your speech, they work with you. You cannot go over that time. You can’t have notes. It’s just you. It’s really tight and you’ve got to remember. I was so nervous and I remember finally getting out there and I thought, “God, this is your deal because if I make it through here, I’ll tell I just had a miracle because I couldn’t remember my last name a month ago.” I went out, I remembered everything. It was just like this feeling of I wasn’t even excited about me doing a TED Talk. I was excited that I remembered what I wrote and I was able to share that. It was such a blessing for me that to go through this challenging time and getting off this medication, and then to be able to say, “I got my brain back. I got my memory back and I could still be in service to people completely authentic.” That’s what that TED Talk meant to me.
Public speaking can be a very scary thing. I’ve got one coming up next week. It’s about getting hyper-focused on exactly what you want to get out of it from a beginning, middle and end then having those words magically come out of your mouth in the right way. That would be scary if you had gone through this fog and emerging out of that like are the words going to come out in the right way. In this case, down to that eighteenth minute, you’re done, you’re off.
What it was in the big picture was trusting the journey you’re on. The universe conspires for us, it doesn’t conspire against us. The universe conspires for us and it’s just what you choose that you want to believe. What is the belief? I could’ve gone in there and said, “There’s no way I could do this. Are you kidding? I just got off sleeping pills for six years. There’s no way. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to put myself out there.” I had to have a leap of faith. I’m that personality anyway, I like challenges and it was almost a challenge to God, to Spirits to say, “All right. I’m willing to do this. I’m willing to put myself out there and do the work. I’m hoping that I get some positive results and I can apply back to my life. I’d love my memory back. I would love to have that as a gift.”I felt like it’s almost a present. Just like because I was willing to do the work for myself, then I got blessed. It was like the universe said, “Here you go. Well done. We’ve got you.”That meant everything to me because I applied it in other areas of my life.
I’ve said, “Clear mind, full heart.”It has to be that way if you want to lead a very purposeful life and driven with doing the right things. Where can people find you?
I’ve got my website. It’s PirieJonesGrossman.com and I have a business phone. People can text me if they want to work with me, if they want to get information on things that we’ve talked about. The phone number that they can text on is 208-720-7725.
I’m very grateful for you coming and sharing your brave story, your bright light, and you’re very soulful. I know it’s not easy to stand up and expose yourself like that, but through that, it makes you a greater person to me and it really exudes a lot of strength. I congratulate you and I appreciate and feel honored that you come on this podcast.
Mark, thank you. Thanks for letting my voice come forward. If it helps people, one person, it’s worth it. I always tell my clients, “Nobody is better than the other.”If we share from our vulnerabilities and we learn from our weaknesses and our challenges, that’s how we grow. That’s how we connect. If everybody came out and said, “I’m so perfect and I’m this,” it’s always BS anyway. If we connect from our vulnerabilities, that’s where the true magic happens for all of us. We learn from one another.
Thank you very much again. I appreciate it.