Ep #250: You Are the Context, Not the Content: A New Perspective on Widowhood

The Widowed Mom Podcast Krista St-Germain | You Are the Context, Not the Content: A New Perspective on Widowhood

So much of what we’re experiencing – from the roller-coaster of emotions and what we believe is or isn’t possible for us – feels so true, doesn’t it?

However, just because it’s there as the content of your experience doesn’t mean it’s what you’re limited to.

That’s because you are the context, not the content, and this week, I’m sharing a new perspective on widowhood that might break your brain in the best way possible.

Listen to the Full Episode:

If you want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to apply for Mom Goes On.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What “you are the context, not the content” means to me.
  • Why seeing yourself as the context, not the content, matters in grief and loss.
  • How to adopt the belief that you are the context, not the content.


Featured on the Show:


Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 250, You Are the Context, Not the Content: A New Perspective on Widowhood.

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.

Hey there, welcome to episode 250. What? 250 episodes. It’s kind of hard for me to believe. Sometimes, I don’t know if you relate to grief time, but sometimes it’s like I’m in a vortex where it feels like yesterday. And then also it feels like years ago and that’s the way it is with this podcast. It feels like yesterday that I started it and it also feels like a decade ago. So here we are, 250 episodes later. I’m glad you’re here.

This episode is going to be kind of short, but I hope it’s really powerful for you. I hope it’s one that you’ll let kind of break your brain and then come back to it again. And what inspired this episode was something I heard. I’m audibling, not actually reading, but audibling, which counts. I’m audibling a book called 10x is Easier than 2x by Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy. I love Dan Sullivan and he has Ben Hardy writing a lot of his books these days.

So I was reading this book primarily because I own a business and they said in the book, “You are the context, not the content.” And it was one of those moments where I was like, “Oh, yes, that’s it. That’s exactly what I’ve been saying.” And they said it in a way that was so eloquent and surprisingly simple. You are the context, not the content. So I want to tell you what that means, what I think it means.

And I want to offer you a way to put it into practice as you’re listening to this podcast episode and hopefully sell you on the idea that this can change your life. This idea that you are the context and not the content can be what lets you change your whole life going forward. So here’s what I mean. When we’re talking about content, what we’re talking about is our thoughts, our feelings, the actions we take, what’s going on inside of us. That is the content that we experience, but we aren’t those things. We are not our thoughts. We are not our feelings. We aren’t even the actions we take.

We are the awareness behind them. We are the consciousness that experiences them. We are the context for those things to happen. Why does this matter? This matters, especially in grief and in life post loss. This matters because so much of what we are experiencing, we are so in it, we see it as the only truth, we see it as truth.

We are so fused with the content of our experience, the intense emotions, the roller-coaster, all the thoughts about what has happened and what’s now possible for us or what isn’t possible for us. We’re all experiencing it so much and so intensely that it doesn’t feel like there’s anything else. So we get super tied to the content of what’s happening without realizing we aren’t the content, we’re simply the context. We are the being who those things happen to.

We are not the actual thoughts themselves. We are the ones who get to experience the thoughts, who get to witness the thoughts, who get to choose the thoughts. And I know this sounds a little bit nebulous, woo woo maybe. But I want you to stick with me because if we can adopt this understanding and really apply it, that we are simply the context and not the content of what happens, we will feel more powerful. We will have more choices available to us.

We will take those intense moments with a grain of salt. Because we realize that we are more than the moments, we are more than how we feel, we are more than what we think. You may have heard me say this before, but I love the Pema Chodron quote where Pema said, “You are the sky and everything else is just the weather.” And that’s what I’m talking about. At your core, you are whole and complete and unharmed by the storms of life. You are the one who the storms happen in. And also you are the one who gets to choose what she thinks about the storms that are happening.

You are the one who gets to choose to think about what she thinks about. You are the one who gets to choose what she thinks about what she feels. Are you following me? And we don’t have to be so attached to any of it because it’s all temporary, it’s all transitory. And just because it shows up in the context of our experience, does not mean that’s what we’re limited to.

So here’s how I want you to play with this right now as you’re listening to the podcast. We’re going to try two exercises, not if you’re driving. I want you to be able to be in a place where you can be inwardly focused and safe. So if you’re trying to drive, please come back to this later. So I want you to try this right now.

I want you to notice one emotion in your body. Whatever you’re feeling at this moment, don’t try to conjure anything, just notice what you’re feeling. Maybe you’re feeling curious. Maybe you’re feeling confused. Maybe you’re feeling intrigued. Maybe you’re feeling hesitant. Maybe you’re feeling bored. I don’t know. Whatever it is that you’re feeling, just notice it. And now notice that there is you, the one who is experiencing the feeling. And there is the experience of the feeling. They are not the same.

Notice where that feeling is that you are experiencing in your body. Can you find it? What part of your body do you notice it in? Is it in your stomach, your abdomen, your chest, your throat, your head, somewhere else, a few places? It’s somewhere and you’re noticing it, but it isn’t you and you aren’t it. You are the one who gets to notice what a feeling is like for you. You are the context where that feeling is experienced.

Now, let’s do this with a thought. I want you to go with me. I know this sounds funny. I want you to think the thought, I can’t raise my right hand. And now as you are thinking the thought, I can’t raise my right hand, I want you to raise your right hand. You can do it. Just because the thought appeared, I can’t raise my right hand, didn’t make it true, did it? You are the context where thoughts appear, but just because thoughts appear doesn’t mean they are true.

And I wonder, where else in life are you experiencing a thought and you’re so fused to that thought, it feels so true to you, that you aren’t even contemplating that it might not be true. That other ways of thinking are available to you. I wonder where that’s happening to you as it relates to how you see yourself, to what you think is possible for yourself, for your life, to what you think is available to you or not available to you, to how you define yourself.

Because if you are the context and not the content, then you don’t have to listen to any of the content that shows up in your mind that isn’t moving you toward the experience you want to create for yourself next. Knowing that you are the context and not the content is a way of opening a door to the next chapter that you really, really want. I want that for you. This is what I love doing with people. I love helping them see that all the things they’ve been believing are optional in the very best possible way. In not a way that shames them or makes them wrong, but in a way that empowers them.

This is what I love to do as a coach. And so I just want to open that door for you. And I wanted you to feel how I felt when I heard Ben Hardy say, “You are the context and not the content.” And so if you don’t like the content that’s in your mind, if you don’t like the way you talk to yourself about yourself, if you don’t like the way you talk to yourself about your life, if you don’t like what you’re allowing yourself to believe is possible. You can change it because you aren’t it. You are the one who can change it.

I hope this breaks your brain a little bit in the best possible way. If this feels basic to you, awesome, you go. But I guarantee because I still go through this myself, there are many, many things in my mind still that I just accept as true because it’s hard to see because it’s in my mind. That just because it’s there and my brain has found a lot of evidence for it, doesn’t mean it’s the only way of seeing myself or my life. But I’m just so used to doing it that way that it feels factual and I’m so fused to it. I can’t separate the context from the content.

And I know if it’s happening to me and I’m a coach and I do this all day long, I know it’s happening to you, which is why I wanted to share this with you. So thank you, Ben Hardy. Thank you, Dan Sullivan, you are the context, not the content. And if you don’t like the content, you can change it. Alright, that’s what I have for you this week. Remember, I love you. You’ve got this. Take care and I’ll see you next time. Bye bye.

If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence. Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than what you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click Work With Me for details and next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.

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About your coach

I created a new life using small, manageable steps and techniques that made sense. The changes I experienced were so profound I became a Master Certified Life Coach and created a group coaching program for widows like us called Mom Goes On. It’s now my mission to show widowed moms exactly how to do what I’ve done and create a future they can look forward to.

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