Natalie Small is a LMFT and the founder and CEO of a unique surf therapy program called Groundswell Community Project.

Groundswell Community Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that offers surf therapy for self-identifying women overcoming various forms of trauma and it’s effects. With their home roots in San Diego, California and branches that extend across the globe, they are a transformational community of surfsisters who provide intersectional, brave, and safe spaces for all self-identifying women to find their unique healing, community, and power in the waves of Mother Ocean.

Groundswell’s surf therapy curriculum is grounded in positive psychology, somatic and arts-based therapy modalities and mindfulness practices. They are proud members of International Surf Therapy Org, supporting the advancement of surf therapy research and best practices. Their Surf Therapy sessions are unique in that they are facilitated and supervised by licensed trauma-informed therapists and surf coaches that hold intentional, safe and brave space to invite your body, mind, and heart to join you in the healing process and adventure of surfing. Their hope is that every surfsister who opts into the programs creates their own sustainable surf practice held and supported by a community of surfsisters. We recorded this episode at the end of May which is mental health awareness month. Natalie is currently in Peru due to the Covid virus quarantine and closed borders and was generous enough to drop in to a conversation with GMN to address new and old traumas we are experiencing during this global pandemic.

Natalie also connected me to Leanne Tibiatowski so that she could join the conversation as well. Leanne attended the groundswell community project to help process and heal from complicated trauma. She found it to be so healing that she bravely decided to share her story to validate and provide light and hope to others. Leanne is proof of the strong ripple effect of this program and has developed support and advocacy groups of her own that also reach women all over the world.

Leanne is a local San Diegan committed to creating healthy community experiences that ignite authentic communication, self-discovery, friendship, and professional connections. She is a facilitator, speaker, and writer. Leanne is known for her ability to create safe spaces for small and large groups where truth, transformation, and connection happen. Her knowledge base includes emotional literacy, communication, leadership, mindfulness, grief, trauma, bereavement, surf therapy, PTSD, community, conflict resolution, and personal development. she is The Founder of Together We Rise: https://together-we-rise.com and In 2 Clarity: https://in2clarity.com/

TOGETHER WE RISE IS…

Leanne’s passion project… our solution to the pain and suffering we see in the world around us.

We create safe spaces where women feel free to be themselves.

We recorded this in May to highlight Mental Health Awareness Month. It is apparent now, more than ever that every month and every day should be about mental health awareness. Since recording this episode, the world’s waves have kept shifting and traumatic events have compiled as we have been slowly phasing out of quarantine. This pandemic has us perfectly positioned to sit with and process images, first person stories and social viruses. The tipping point for a perfect storm. The waves may be new but the undercurrent is always there. Again… new trauma, old trauma, intergenerational trauma and cumulative trauma. Thank you Rachel Mauricio from Groundswell Community Project for recording our intro and your poignant and powerful perspective as a black woman and a surfer!!!!!

Sister Circles. Educational Workshops. Retreats. Community + Team Building Events. Support Groups. 

Research-based surf therapy that builds safe & Brave community for those on their healing journey.

http://www.groundswellcommunity.org/

You can find a variety, integrative and comprehensive list of mental health resources:

http://www.groundswellcommunity.org/resources

Instagram:

@groundswellcommunityproject

@captsmall

@onelovesister

Captain Liz Clark traveled over 20,000 miles Sailing to Surf and explore and wrote a book called Swell – a sailing surfer’s voyage of awakening. She is an incredibly gifted writer, a legit waterwoman, her first mate was a rescued Cat Amelia the Tropicat, and she absolutely rips as a surfer! She also has the most sweet and gentle energy and is a genuinely kind human committed to Loving our planet & animals completely. I discuss her book a lot amongst my friends and on this podcast because she illustrates so well through her writing the parallels of wellness maintenance of her vessel (her boat) and her human vessel and spirit.

We recorded this episode in February 2020 with Liz live from the Island of Tahiti in French Polynesia. We had a bit of sound quality issues but I think it makes the recording sound so exotic!!! Today is April 1 2020 and I am referencing the date because a lot has happened and escalated in the world since our recording in February. We are globally and collectively experiencing a health pandemic so surreal it feels like an awful sci fi movie or an April fool’s joke! The Corona Virus – something that has us on lock down, quarantined and practicing something called social distancing. This virus is not only affecting our physical health – it is seriously affecting the mental health of so many. This podcast episode is SO timely!!!! This is Liz’s post on Instagram regarding our current situation:

“Stormy times we’re in, my friends. Ironically, our Oneness is more evident than ever, even though the most compassionate action we can take right now is to stay separated from others.
Self-quarantine reminds me a lot of a sea passage. Time slows down, you become very present. Simple daily tasks take on more meaning. Resources are limited. You deal with the gusts and squalls as they come, because there is too much uncertainty to plan a week or a month out. You just have to appreciate what’s good right now. The angst of hurry is gone, and what a luxury that is in our modern world … time to stop and reflect on who we are, as individuals, as a society… what would we like to improve on, should we hold this course? Or alter it a few degrees … or more? Time is a gift these days. May we slow down and enjoy the subtleties that we miss in our constant hurry. And do what we can from our confinement, to help those being severely affected by the virus and its widespread impacts. Beaming love to all, especially the world’s most vulnerable, and our healthcare workers. You are all heroes! “

-Liz

SO I hope you find inspiration, validation and comfort from this special podcast episode. If you are looking for a great book that you won’t be able to put down read Swell – you will not be disappointed.

Make sure you listen to the song at the end of the episode. It is the song Liz chose as her life theme song right now.  Bob Marley’s Coming In From The Cold written by Bob Marley and performed by the uber-talented musician Will Kimbrough…..Thanks Will for cranking this out for me – what an incredible gift! To learn more about Will you can follow him on Instagram, Facebook or http://www.willkimbrough.com .

Captain Liz Clark’s book may have an ending but her story does not!!!! Living on the Island of Tahiti in French Polynesia she is currently spearheading and a part of new organizations that will make the world a better, healthier, more beautiful place. Keep following her journey through the following links. Thanks, Liz, for all you do for planet earth and those that inhabit it. You are a genuinely kind and epic human!!

Learn about and keep up with Captain Liz Clark :

http://www.swellvoyage.com, Liz shares her journey with the world in an effort of inspire people to live out their passions, spend more time in nature, engage in self-awareness and personal growth, and develop a consciousness of their everyday planetary impact.

https://www.amazon.com/Swell-Sailing-Surfers-Voyage-Awakening/dp/B07PLLNPZT/ref=sr_1_2?crid=II2SS7F5L58M&dchild=1&keywords=swell+a+sailing+surfer%27s+voyage+of+awakening&qid=1585868952&sprefix=swell+voy%2Caps%2C341&sr=8-2

http://www.changingtidesfoundation.org

https://www.patagonia.com/ambassadors/surfing/liz-clark.html

https://www.patagonia.com/product/swell-a-sailing-surfers-voyage-of-awakening-by-captain-liz-clark-hardcover-book/BK754.html

https://www.atmislandprotectors.org/

Instagram: @captainlizclark

Thanks for all the comments from your listening platforms – I read them all! If you would like to be a part of keeping the platform of GMN strong and growing consider donating to my Patreon account – I have some kick ass rewards!

Photo credit –JODY MACDONALD

Inocente the documentary won an Academy Award in 2013, among many other awards, and should be a required watch for everyone! It is an incredibly important film and just as relevant now as it was when it was filmed as we are still struggling with a serious homeless crisis and lack of funding for after school programs and the arts.

At 15 years old, Inocente the human courageously and vulnerably told her whole story to the world in hopes of putting a face with homelessness (among other huge challenges), bring attention to the importance of what works and to validate others going through similar situations.⁣ Her story did not start with the film nor did it end when the cameras stopped rolling . She stated that one of the most common misconceptions is that she became wealthy after the film won an Oscar. As the subject of a documentary she was not paid. As a matter of fact, The film was financed by Kickstarter and was the first crowdfunded film to win an Oscar. New doors and opportunities did open for her but getting through those doors and utilizing her opportunities on her own were challenging. She did it though and used her platform to become an advocate to end homelessness, keep the arts in schools and facilitate immigration education.

Now 26, she opened up for the first time about the challenges and passages she has been experiencing now along with the details of her life story before any film documentation began. She is still willing to open up and be completely vulnerable in hopes of creating a greater good. Our very organic and candid conversation involved a lot of courage and processing.

Through this processing of childhood events that come up as we become young adults, she came to an understanding that self-care is the path to her newly evolving passions. Let me tell you when this young lady is inspired to do something- there’s absolutely nothing that’s going to get in her way she will push through anything to a higher order of thinking.

After recording an emotional conversation, we went outside into the sunshine and the energy felt light, hopeful and inspiring. At the beginning of the documentary when she was 15 she begins with dear people of the world …. so I asked her present self how she would begin her address… She said it is time to take care of herself before she can take care of anyone else. So… she said “Dear Me…”

To Contact Inocente and or set up a screening facilitated by her:

https://www.originalinocenteart.com/

@inocenteart

@moreinocente

“Three Is The Magic Number” – performed by Canela Rose McCoubrey

Recorded and sound wizardry – Arden Rock Records

http://www.ardenrockrecords.com

For more information about homelessness and domestic violence resources:

Find your local Community Resource Center!

https://endhomelessness.org/resources/

https://www.thehotline.org/   (domestic violence hotline)

https://humantraffickinghotline.org/

Grey Matters Now Patreon – http://www.patreon.com/greymattersnow

Becky Mendoza was born and raised in Miami, Florida to parents who emigrated from Cuba, it wasn’t until she graduated from the University of Florida and backpacked through Europe, that her desire for an education through travel and adventure, was born. With a Law Degree and Masters in Sports Administration in-hand, she moved to Encinitas, CA and began her career as an action sports and entertainment lawyer, opening up her own firm, Action Sports Law Group (ASLG), in 2009. Through ASLG, Becky works with top companies, artists and athletes in action sports helping them with general contract matters and visas to the US.

As she became more well-traveled, she began to seek more from her adventures. In 2014, she did her first Clean Water Courier trip through Waves for Water to Nicaragua, where she raised funds to purchase and distribute 54 Sawyer water filters on a surf trip. After that, she decided the following year to bring filters to Mainland Mexico, to the remote coastal areas of Jalisco, south of Puerto Vallarta, launching “Clean Mexi-Agua” with fellow CTF board member, Sam Bennett. After a successful first trip, their intent was to return to provide more filters for the surrounding communities. Unfortunately, Hurricane Patricia hit the Clean Mexi-Agua communities head-on just 6 months later and she returned for some very impactful disaster relief work.

Through her work in Nicaragua and Mexico, Becky has realized her calling to help others around the world, which is where the idea for Changing Tides Foundation was born. Her goals are to inspire others to help while they’re on their adventures, because there is no better way to show your appreciation to the places you visit than to give back to its people.

Changing Tides Foundation was born from the simple idea that the world would be a better place if we were all given the opportunity to give back. Established in 2016, by a group of water women and adventurers, they feel it is their calling to help others. They do this by teaming up with local organizations globally to raise awareness and address social, environmental, health and safety concerns in the places they visit, because TOGETHER WE ARE BETTER.

Their mission is to bridge the gap between you, the traveler, and the causes on the ground. They are paving a way for you to SERVE NATURALLY, adding life-changing experiences to your journey.

By collaborating with eco-minded brands,  ADVENTURE CONSCIOUSLY, leaving behind the smallest footprint possible, in an effort to preserve the beauty of the places we travel to.

INSTAGRAM @changingidesfoundation @actionsprtslaw

Links:

Every link discussed can be found on The Changing Tides Foundation website

http://www.changingtidesfoundation.org

Instagram links discussed

Ed Lewis: @enjoyhandplanes and @enjoy_the_farm

Captain Liz Clark: @captainlizclark

Kimi Warner: @kimi_swimmy

Bridgit Corbin Fried had a successful career in public relations and marketing before taking time to raise her four children. Bridgit recently combined her passion for travel and adventure with her sales and marketing skills and joined Epic Private Journeys.

An experienced mountaineer, Bridgit has climbed to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Whitney, several 14,000 ft peaks in Colorado as well as Everest Base Camp. She believes the best travel experiences have purpose, through authentic and conscious first hand local encounters, personal challenge and seeking new perspectives. Epic Private Journeys has been a great fit for Bridgit as she can apply her experience as a socially and environmentally conscious traveler with others.

Epic Private Journeys designs trips by passionate and experienced professional guides. Having “lived” the product, they have a profound understanding of what makes the ultimate trip. They want their travelers to feel the same passion, awe and respect for the places that they love. This intimate and direct experience is fundamental to their ongoing success.

Bridgit and I have known each other since we were teens and we have indeed been on our own epic private and collective journeys. It was so cool to be able to share a 41 year journey with my guest and have a conversation about the importance of our roots, our foundations, and our navigation tools. Bridgit – you are a badass! We want others to know that it is NEVER to late to enrich your journey with endeavors, adventure, nature, new cultural experiences and travel!!!

More about Epic Private Journeys:

https://epicprivatejourneys.com

To follow Bridgit and Epic Private Journeys:

Instagram @epicprivatejourneysbridgit and @epicprivatejourneys

Facebook: Epic Private Journeys

Other epic things mentioned:

http://www.4x4surftours.com
Instagram: @4x4surftours

Swell A Sailing Surfers Voyage of Awakening by Captain Liz Clark
Instagram: @captainlizclark

Contact me or Bridgit for our favorite books – we have SO MANY!!!!!!!!!

Does what we consume for our beloved pets really have an impact on not only their comprehensive wellness but the planet as well? The answer is yes! I found this out first hand after desperately figuring out how to keep my sweet dog Daisy Mae well in her advanced years. I dug deep, read everything and integrated eastern and western medicine. I basically started cooking for her and learned everything about pet nutrition from a local small business pet supply store called Pupologie. She lived to be 18.

This is where I met the heart center of this business Denise and Brendon Clifton. Yes – Denise and Brendon are trailblazers in the holistic pet food arena but their passion for what they do lights and blazes that trail. Brendon even helped me save Daisy’s life at one time – it was a pure and profound experience I will NEVER forget – NEVER! Denise and I even share the experience in this episode.

They are champions of TRUTH and empowering pet parents for a world free of toxic pet brands. They fill the shelves with products that prioritize pet-livelihood over profits. They value transparency and love sharing as much information about their offerings as you care to know. They do the investigating so you don’t have to.

Join me, Denise, Sigmund The Seamonster, Big Lucy and ChaKa the cat for our first home recording. I did not edit out ANY of the pet noise – it is all part of the experience!!!

This Episode is in memory of Daisy Mae who led me to these resources and to all the other animal soulmates that have crossed the rainbow bridge.

Instagram: @pupologie and @denisecliftonofficial

Facebook: Pupologie

Web: http://www.pupologie.com

Other links:

http://sdvoyager.com/interview/meet-denise-clifton-pupologie-north-county/

http://www.na-sd.com/SAND/February-2013/Denise-and-Brendon-Clifton-owners-of-Pupologie-in-Encinitas/

Dr. Shiva Ghaed is a California-licensed Clinical Psychologist, currently working for the Department of Mental Health in the Naval Medical Center San Diego healthcare system (Marine Corps Recruit Depot). Dr. Ghaed provides group and individual therapy to active duty patients in the catchment area, maintains ongoing involvement in academia and research, and has served as a voting member on the Institutional Review Board for NMCSD. Dr. Ghaed’s clinical experience includes several years of training and specialization in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare Systems of San Diego and Los Angeles. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the San Diego VA, specializing in anxiety disorders, non-combat trauma, and combat Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) veterans. Dr. Ghaed is a member of the American Psychological Association, and strives to maintain competency and excellence as a therapist and professional in her field. In 2015, she was presented with the Associate Master Clinician Award.

Oct 1, 2017, Dr. Ghaed’s love of country music took her to Route 91 on the night of the shooting in Las Vegas and she, along with many others, witnessed the horror of that night as people around her were shot and killed. She found purpose and meaning in surviving the massacre, and made it her mission to give back to her community and help guide other Route 91 survivors in their healing. One week following the shooting, Dr. Ghaed launched a free weekly support group for survivors and their family and friends. She posted weekly therapy-based articles specifically catered to and witnessing the Route 91 community recovery process. Her goal is to help people better cope with the traumatic aftermath through education and support, and with the hope of preventing the development of PTSD. A website was created, http://www.route91therapy.com, to allow public access to these documents, and this information has been disseminated to the Route 91 community across the United States and Canada. In April, 2018, Dr. Ghaed was honored with the Citizens of Courage Award by the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, and the National Hero Award by the American Red Cross (Metro New York).

There are still many people who have not connected to care or who do not have adequate social support or healthcare. Dr. Ghaed’s strong belief that healthcare is a basic human right, her faith in the resiliency of the human spirit, and her sense of obligation to serving others fuels a mission of destigmatizing mental illness through knowledge and awareness. In honor of the 1-year anniversary of the Las Vegas massacre (on Oct 1, 2018), Dr. Ghaed released her book, Route 91: Healing from Mass Violence and Trauma for free download https://route91therapy.com/route-91-book . The book documents her experience surviving the massacre, as well as the journey of recovery since then, for her and her Route 91 community. She hopes that her book will provide insight into the process of recovering from mass violence, expected reactions, barriers to recovery, and tools to heal. Furthermore, her teachings are applicable to a broader audience who may suffer from anxiety, depression, or other types of trauma.

For anyone that has survived a traumatic event, you can find MANY resources on Dr. Shiva’s site: https://route91therapy.com/

If you need help finding resources contact Dr Shiva through her website: https://route91therapy.com/contact-us

To find a Therapist in your area: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists

To find an online counselor: http://www.talkspace.com

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Brittany Catton Kirk is the Founder and Executive Director of the Social Enterprise Sunlight Retreats for Survivors, an accelerator for healing for survivors of rape.

After being attacked overseas in 2012, she struggled in her career, relationships and gained 60 pounds as she tried to recover from her attack and Post Traumatic Stress. She looked for a safe place to go and heal but found nothing so she created Sunlight Retreats for Survivors.

Drawing on her ten years’ experience creating award-winning programming for military families and wounded warriors at the San Diego Armed Services YMCA, she set out to create a tangible in-person program to empower survivors with tools, trauma education, resilience training and peer support.

Sunlight Retreats is a change-making program that gives survivors a better way to heal, so that they can rebuild and empower others. 100 percent of the forty participants from the first two retreats reported via anonymous survey that they would recommend Sunlight Retreats to a fellow survivor, 100 percent said it aided them in their healing, and 100 percent said Sunlight Retreats made them stronger.

To learn more about Sunlight Retreats For Survivors of Rape visit https://www.sunlightretreats.org.

If you are a survivor of rape, please do not think you have to suffer in silence or alone!!! You can get resources straight from the website above or send an email through the contact portion of their site.

You can also contact:

The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

RAINN25: 1-800-656-HOPE

For individual therapy – resources can be found through Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com

For on line therapy Talk Space: https://www.talkspace.com/

Please do not think you have to do this alone!!!!

Instagram: @sunlightretreatsforsurvivors

Facebook: Sunlight Retreats For Survivors

Epic recording and sound engineering from Bram Kaprow owner of Arden Rock Studio http://www.ardenrockrecords.com.

Every individual is unique.
Every organizational ecosystem is unique.

Building trust and mutual understanding through the understanding of our unique temperaments:

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest medical systems, originating in India over 3,000 years ago. The term Ayurveda translates to “wisdom of life,” combining the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). As a medical tradition, the practice of Ayurveda brings the body in balance to heal itself. However, its holistic principles can also be applied to the unique psychological and physiological elements of individuals as well as to the collective ecosystems of organizations. Cultivating a conscious balance of these elements brings greater vitality, well-being, creativity, and happiness.

The elements of Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and Space offer accessible metaphors for learning how our personal qualities, motivations, and behaviors shape how we relate and engage with others.

Designed and developed from decades of applied learning, observation, and client feedback, Katy Bray and Zeb Severson have created an efficient and effective system that integrates the wisdom of Ayurveda with transformational coaching and skill-based practices that increase self-awareness and drive performance, innovation, and success. They have also created many other resources in the form of published books, workshops, videos, webinars and more.

With this understanding of the temperaments of Ayurveda, we can better understand ourselves and others, creating a more harmonious dynamic for the workplace, family, friends….any dynamic! It is so cool to realize our parallels to nature – once we have this simple understanding, it makes life on this planet earth so much more enjoyable! Ahhhhh harmony…

Connect to their websites below to learn about all of Katy and Zeb’s resources and products :

http://www.leadwiththelightson.com

http://www.livewiththelightson.com

Ian Barry, better known as Poods to his friends, was an extremely gifted athlete that found meditation in movement, an unconditionally kind and creative soul that lived by his words “keep doing your thing and keep being who you are”. On September 27 2012, Ian passed away at 22 years old when he accidentally fell from a bluff. Although it is important to know that his death was an accident and that he was in his element being one with nature (adhering to another one of his mantras – less technology and more nature), Ian’s death is not the focus of this conversation and podcast episode. This is a discussion about living….about how Ian lived so fully and how his parents John and Ali and younger sister Kiva continue to live while they process the grief of losing their only son and brother.

Ian was VERY special and made people that he came to know feel like their “best friend”. He had a quiet, humble, disarming charm combined with an attitude of accepting everyone for exactly who they were without judgment. He truly made you feel better when you were around him. According to his family and friends, his personal struggles simply made him more compassionate and accepting. Ian always tried to see the good in people but never understood acts of unkindness.

This is a story about how Ian’s family channeled his spirit into healing energy for the LARGE community of people he touched also grieving the loss of a friend and special soul. This is a story that is infinite and very much ALIVE. This light from Ian’s heart center, that has been stoked and kept alive by his family and community, has lit and fueled the Rollin’ From The Heart Foundation. It is all summed up in their mission statement:

Providing disadvantaged and at-risk youth the opportunity to participate in skateboarding, surfing and camping in an effort to promote a more active lifestyle and encourage positive choices. By teaming with peer/mentors that share our values of kindness, compassion and acceptance we strive to instill confidence in those we serve so that they can overcome personal barriers regardless of their economic, social or mental health status.

It’s pretty simple really – be kind, be yourself and have fun. This organization provides toolboxes and beams light on the futures of infinite young lives. THIS is a vital, living and moving memorial.

This is the story of channeling challenges into positivity that provides us all with hope rollin’ into the future!

Learn more:

http://www.rollinfromtheheart.org and follow @rollinfromtheheart on Instagram for daily doses of smiles and feel goods

Woody Gutherie song “So Long It’s Been Good To Know You” ( one of Ian’s all time favorites) performed and recorded for this podcast by singer/songwriter John Finkbiner. John is an acclaimed and talented musician and visual artist is a native of Southern California, also with roots in Nashville, TN, and currently lives in Leucadia, CA. Check all his projects out at @johnfinkbinerart on Instagram

If you or someone you know is in need of grief support or resources call your local Hospice! For Hospice resources visit The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization: https://www.nhpco.org/

Rollin’ From The Heart supporters are mentioned in the podcast.  To see all their partners visit rollinfromtheheart.org.

Brixton: http://www.brixton.com

Vans: http://www.vans.com


Ocean photo of Keane by Ellie Hayes Portrait photo of Ellie and Keane by Corey Vilicana.

Keane Webre-Hayes sustained traumatic wounds to his upper body, lost half his blood, underwent at least five hours of surgery, and received 1,000 stitches to repair his torn upper back, shoulder, torso and face, after he was attacked by a shark on Sept. 29 while diving for lobsters. His mother Ellie was on the bluff as the incident was happening. There happened to be several other divers in the water that day that calmly went straight into action and kept Keane alive and got him back to shore safely.

Keane was diving for lobsters with a friend just off the coast of Encinitas, a popular beach city in San Diego County, California, when an eleven-foot Great White shark attacked.

Since he woke up after his first surgery Keane has been adamant about getting back in the water to dive and surf again. “I definitely want to get back out there,” He told his 8th grade classmates, a few weeks after the attack, and he hopes to get back to surfing and skating, “really, really soon”! Keane has been quoting facts and statistics to his mom and the public about how improbable it would be for him to be attacked again. He does this to ease fears others may have about getting back in the water and also to rationalize to his family why it is ok for him to get back in. This young man is SO calm, intelligent, well-spoken and wise beyond his years. He even let me know that he was more at risk of a vending machine killing him than a shark attack (I looked it up and he is right)!!!

Despite Keane’s positivity and eagerness to resume his normal activities, the reality is he has a long road to recovery. His mother Ellie has been SO balanced at letting him own and express his feelings and being a responsible parent, being realistic about their recovery, and learning to navigate a strange new normal.

As we know, most of the deepest wounds are you cannot see, like the ones under Keane’s shirt and the intense and painful emotional wounds Ellie and her family have sustained and are still processing.

Ellie has consistently stated “We are so grateful Keane is alive but we have a long road ahead of us”. Everyone that was a part of that day on September 29, 2018, is on that road to recovery together. This is not just a story about the miracle of survival, this is a story that is still very much alive and is about healing layers of wounds and highly personal processing.

This is the rest of the story.

Click here to support Keane Hayes Shark Attack Survivor organized by Justin Wright.

I love that this episode coincides with the release of my friend and fellow Hospice Social Worker, Cheryl Dienes’ book The Final Dance / What The Dying Teach Us About…EMBRACING LIFE!!

Join Cheryl, Kenn and I for a conversation about the dynamics of death and dying. It is interesting that we are taught, as soon as we are born, to navigate through all general passages of life and development. The one passage that is not part of our developmental education and, that we are all going to experience, is death. If we explore our own experiences and feelings about end of life ahead of time, the conversations are not that uncomfortable and are actually quite liberating. When we process our feelings and beliefs ahead of time, we create a clear open space for being present for processing our raw emotions and or being present for our loved ones for their sacred transition. It is the one thing we will experience that is half physical and half metaphysical. I have had many personal and professional experiences with end of life. EVERYTHING I have learned has been a gift to help be present for myself, others, and for healing during and after a transition of life.

From Cheryl’s book:

I have come to see how important it is to turn toward the end of our life and look squarely at it. We need to learn to accept the inevitability of death. Imagine how different out lives would be if we saw death for what it is, accepted it, and embraced it. Until we do, we will continue to cheat ourselves out of the very gifts that death offers us to illuminate the whole of our lives. These are the gift of clarity about what really matters, the gift of courage to follow our life’s calling, the gift of freedom to authentically speak our truth, the gift of wisdom to let go of what hold us back.

We owe it to ourselves to feed our personal imaginations with images that see death as the natural, non-threatening phenomenon that it is.

-The Final Dance

By Cheryl Dienes, MSW

To purchase and learn more about Cheryl’s book The Final Dance visit www.thefinaldance.com.

To find resources for Grief Support contact your local Hospice. You do not have to be a hospice patient or family member to receive grief support and services through hospice will be little to no cost!

Landscape cover art of me in Big Sur By Kirk Fagergren.