Episode 06: Are You Intuit?

What Psychics Can Teach
Us about Grief, Dying,
and Our Own Intuition

On our six-part Netflix series, The goop Lab, we explored six wellness topics. If you’re here, you’ve found one of them: We’ve gathered our best podcasts, Q&A’s, and articles as a resource for the deeply curious. The series is designed to entertain and inform—not provide medical advice. You should always consult your doctor when it comes to personal health and before you start treatment.

There is nothing that can obviate the pain you feel when someone close to you passes. One of the few things that helps us live with grief is talking about our loved ones—and maybe talking with them.

Mediums are masters at getting us to open up in this way, especially if we’ve become hardened. The best mediums not only help us feel connected in the moment but also teach us how to access our intuitive abilities—so that long after the conversation is over, we’re able to tap into that same power and connection as we navigate our relationships, careers, and daily lives.

A conversation about grief is also a conversation about dying, so we’ve included the interviews and tools that have helped us understand that realm, too.

Intuition

How do you cultivate your intuition?

“We all have a knowing,” says LA-based intuitive Jill Willard. “It’s really just a question of whether we’re willing to acknowledge and honor what we know and act on it in a positive way. Often we let our fears get in the way, or we shut it down because we don’t want to believe there is another way and we don’t want to listen. I have been there, too. Trust me. I have completely ignored what I knew to be true because I didn’t like the truth—it wasn’t what I wanted.” Sound familiar?

For intuitive Laura Day, honing your intuitive abilities is about maintaining healthy energetic boundaries. Too often, she believes, we have thoughts that we identify as our own even though they come from other people. Understanding how to tap into intuition to achieve what we want in this lifetime, she says, is a power tool we all deserve to wield for ourselves.

If you’re looking to learn these skills more formally, we’ve rounded up the best online classes for developing your own intuition.

Are we all psychic?

Laura Lynne Jackson, one of the most incredible psychic mediums of our time, believes we all have psychic abilities. We just have to learn how to see what’s all around us. She talks to Elise on The goop Podcast about how we can change the trajectory of grief, where we can find an endless source of love and connection, and what she thinks we’re meant to learn here on earth.

Explore more about intuition

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  2. The Secret Sauce to Opening the Intuition

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Mediumship and
the Other Side

What do messages from the other side look like?

Jackson wrote the book—it’s called Signs—on teaching others to receive messages from the other side. She says that the key to getting in touch with your team—a spiritual cheerleading squad made up of spirit guides, god energy, and loved ones who have crossed—is establishing a set of signs as a means of communication.

You can watch Jackson channel a loved one here.

Are mediums real? What’s happening inside their brains while they work?

For those who are intrigued by the work of mediums, the Windbridge Research Center is an invaluable resource. As Windbridge’s director of research, Julie Beischel, PhD (whose doctorate is in pharmacology and toxicology with a minor in microbiology and immunology), explains it, the center’s mission is “to ease suffering around dying, death, and what comes next by performing rigorous scientific research” and sharing what they learn widely. We interviewed Beischel about how she tests Windbridge’s certified research mediums, what they do (and don’t) know about what happens when mediums connect to the other side, and how this might change the way we think about the survival of consciousness beyond the body—and provide some comfort for our time here, too.

shadow bodies

How do you find a good medium?

We’ve put together a guide to energy healers, intuitives, and mediums. There are many fraudulent or underdeveloped mediums working today, which can have cruel implications for those who are deep in grief, so ideally you want to take a recommendation from a trusted friend. While a skilled medium can act as a telephone to loved ones on the other side, they should not be used as therapists: The best mediums see themselves solely as connection initiators, with the goal of giving you and your departed loved one the faith and tools to continue the conversation without their help, through established signs and potentially dream visitations.

Do our souls survive death?

It’s a big, fascinating question. We interviewed journalist Leslie Kean about her book, Surviving Death, which is essentially an overview of the evidence to support an afterlife.

If you’re interested in the subject, listen to Elise’s conversation with academic neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, who had a near-death experience that defied his understanding of how the brain works. For him, it was proof of heaven, which became the name of his New York Times–bestselling memoir. Since then, he’s been exploring the science of consciousness, connection, and spirituality with Karen Newell, an innovator in sound meditation. Together, they share how they’ve learned to tap into a higher consciousness, the existing evidence of a spiritual universe, and why they think we’re on the verge of the greatest shift in human thought.

Explore more about the other side

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  2. All That We Don’t Know

    “There are more and more academics and scientists becoming interested in matters that have to do with…”

Grief

How do you navigate grief?

There is no right way to grieve. And there is definitely no prescribed, or normal, amount of time for it. In this essay about grief, psychologist Karen Binder-Brynes quotes Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: “The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal, and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.”

Of course, the universality of dying—and grief—is one of the things that connects us as humans. Here are the books and poems for grief that remind us of that.

girl at ocean

How do you cope with suicide loss?

Losing someone you love to suicide is unimaginable. And suicide-loss survivors can face an added hardship: People around them have a hard time talking about it, which can often lead to ostracization and lack of connection when we need it most. Read our Q&A with grief therapist Jack Jordan, PhD, for more information and advice on how to help a grieving friend.

Is anxiety the missing stage of grief?

Science tells us that anxiety, like other mental health issues, often develops or worsens following major life changes (graduation, marriage, divorce, a new job, financial losses, major injury). And anxiety is an underrecognized stage of grieving, says Los Angeles–based therapist Claire Bidwell Smith, LCPC. Using resilience-building techniques, like mindful meditation and expressive writing, Bidwell Smith helps people overcome anxiety disorders that emerge in the wake of loss.

Explore more about grief

  1. The Hot Young Widows Club

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  2. How My Dead Parents Taught Me to Live

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  3. The Memorial Dinner Party

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  4. Breaking the Silence around Miscarriage

    There needs to be more conversation about miscarriage. “It’s so important…”

Facing Death
and Dying

What is a good death?

Talking about death is hard. And usually it’s really, really hard. Maybe it’s because—much like the process of dying itself—it requires us to be vulnerable, to be honest, to come to terms with a denial we engage with, to varying degrees, our whole lives. “Death happens to everybody, yet somehow we’re surprised by it,” says hospice and palliative care specialist BJ Miller, MD. “I’m shocked at how many patients and family members have not only had to deal with the pain of sickness and loss but, on top of that, they feel bad for feeling bad. They’re ashamed to be dying, ashamed to be sick. There’s a horrible unnecessary suffering that we heap on ourselves and each other for nothing.”

The more intimate we get with the idea of dying and the closer we come to folding it into the fabric of our daily lives, the better off we’ll all be, Miller says. Advice on how to die well is really no more than advice on how to live well, with that unavoidable reality in mind.

And on The goop Podcast, Miller tackles more of these big questions about finding beauty in the end: How do we plan for the one inevitability in life? How do we help our loved ones find comfort? How do we make room for grief? How do we make meaning of it all? And how do we feel the wonder, the joy, along the way? (We also loved what Miller had to say about processing our regrets when he sat down with GP at In goop Health.)

girl in clouds

How do we embrace the end?

We interviewed a death doula for her advice on embracing death.

What practical things do I need to do to prepare for death?

We created a checklist for preparing for and dealing with death.

And if you find life insurance policies confusing, you’re not alone: You can read more about understanding life insurance—and getting the best policy—here.

Explore more about death

  1. What Matters in the End

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  2. The Greener Ways to Die

    The Green Burial Council has a vision of replacing our grim, concrete graveyards with fields of trees. The American…

MORE ABOUT THE GOOP LAB: EPISODE 06

Do we all have the ability to tap into energy from the other side? The goop team does a series of intuition-developing workshops with famed medium Laura Lynne Jackson, where they surprise themselves, and each other, with what they’re able to access. Jackson gives two readers one-on-one readings that don’t go exactly as planned. Back at goop HQ, Gwyneth and Elise sit with Jackson and Julie Beischel, PhD, to discuss the work of proving psychic ability and why these intuitive skills are important to develop.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.