Heart Soul Wisdom Podcast

From Grief to Gratitude

November 23, 2020 Moira Sutton Season 1 Episode 19
Heart Soul Wisdom Podcast
From Grief to Gratitude
Show Notes Transcript

Love & Relationship
Health & Well Being
Freedom & Fulfillment
Passion & Purpose

From Grief to Gratitude

Martha Handler was raised in Northern Illinois, where she began to see wolves in her dreams from a very early age. Always a nature girl, she spent her free time either swimming in a lake near her house or roaming around in the Enchanted Forrest near her home. It was here that she first heard nature speaking to her and asking for her help while promising guidance in this endeavor. Martha is an environmentalist, an award-winning author, and the Board President of the Wolf Conservation Center. Her first novel, “Winter of the Wolf,” was recently published by Greenleaf in July 2020. In her novel, Martha brings together two very important pieces of her life--the death of her best friend's son and her work as President of the Wolf Conservation Center--to tell an empathetic and powerful story with powerful messages. Martha sees magic at work everywhere around her. She does not believe in coincidences, only co-incidents: and things that you hear, see or feel can help remind your soul of its path.

Website: https://marthahunthandler.com

Wolf Conversation Center: http://www.nywolf.org

How Wolves Change Rivers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q

Gift: http://tiny.cc/WinteroftheWolf

Moira's Website: http://moirasutton.com/

Community: https://www.facebook.com/CreatetheLifeyouLove1/

Welcome to Episode 19: "Moving from Grief to Gratitude" with our special guest, Martha Hunt Handler. Martha Handler was raised in Northern Illinois, where she began to see wolves in her dreams from a very young age. She was always a nature girl, she spent her free time either swimming in a lake near her house, or roaming around in the enchanted forest near her home. It was here that she first heard nature speaking to her and asking her for help, well also promising guidance in this endeavor. Martha is an environmentalist, an award winning author, and the board president of the Wolf Conservation Center. Her first novel "Winter of the Wolf" was recently published by Greenleaf in July 2020. In her novel, Martha brings together two very important pieces of her life, the death of her best friend's son, and her work as president of the Wolf Conservation Center to tell an empathetic and powerful story with powerful messages. Martha sees magic at work everywhere around her, she does not believe in coincidences, only co-incidents: "I love that!" and things that you hear, see and feel can help you remind you of your soul life's path. So without further ado, I'm so excited to introduce you to our special guest, Martha Hunt Handler, welcome, Martha.

Thank you, it's so wonderful to be with you today. Really excited to talk to you. 

I'm so excited. I feel like you're a kindred soul right from you know the beginning because oh, we both like nature, we both speak to nature, we both speak to animals, we have that spiritual connection. And I just feel that kindred spirit between you. And so it's going to be so much fun to really bring your wisdom from your heart and soul to our audience today. So thank you.

I'm excited to be here. Jump into nature!

Yes. But let's start going back to part of your intro there that can you share us when you really began to see magic, like everywhere around you. And when you when you first heard that nature was speaking to you and asking you for help, and you have nature with you now with two beautiful dogs. I love that!

I love that too!  So, by the time I was four, I was allowed to just sort of wander out on my own by myself into the woods in my backyard. And I heard, you know, literal voices, you know, the rabbit sounded different than the Hawk, which sounded different than the tree, and lots of angst on their part. And I wasn't sure in the beginning what the angst was centered on. But then it became very clear because the area that we are living in, we were the first house in what was going to become a fairly large subdivision. So they were already feeling the vibrational change of what was about to happen. Hmm. I didn't know that everyone couldn't hear animals. And when I would mention it to my parents or a friend got very strange looks cluing into that this was my gift. And I needed to figure out, you know what I was going to do with it. I also love to read and, and to write and I thought, well, maybe I'm hearing their voices, because I'm supposed to be writing about telling people the stories that they aren't able to tell others. So my first memory of writing a book, I was seven, and my parents were out to dinner, I was with a babysitter and I wrote this book called "The Runaway Bunny", about this bunny that was running away from some a house that was being built and trying to find a new house. And when I gave it to my parents when they came home that night, my father was very dismissive and said, well, it's not a very good, interesting story. The graphics are awful, and writers don't make any money. And so I tell people this because I feel like especially at young ages, we're very tuned into maybe what our what our gifts are here. Then when someone says something negative or dismissive, especially somebody who we respect and look up to, that can be enough to just turn it off. So I don't think I thought about writing again for a very long time. And I ended up becoming an environmental consultant thinking that was one way to give back to nature. Although my heart was just not ever resonating with it. I was writing very technical papers, and always felt in the back of my mind, very unfulfilled with what I was doing and trying to figure out what it was I was supposed to be doing. And as you mentioned earlier, I've had one wolf in particular that has shown up in my dreams and is always frustrated with me trying to point me in a new direction. And sometimes I understood it, but I think a lot of the times, the wolf was trying to tell me to be a writer, and I just wasn't willing to go there. Because my dad's words were so deeply stuck in my head. And I remember, you know, there was teachers along the way that if I'd been open to it, and listening, my English teacher, as a junior in high school, I think was the first person who really, you know, it's like, I feel like you're a very talented writer, and you should really work on this and you know, read more, and write down your thoughts about things. And then I had another teacher in college who said the same thing. But I just thought I could hear my dad's voice, you're never going to make money who makes money as a writer, that's never going to happen. So it took, you know, a really long time, like this tragic event, which was my best friend calling me. I at that point lived in Los Angeles, she was still where we grew up in Illinois, calling me to tell me that she found her 12 year old son hanging. And she and I were brought up really, spiritually, her mom taught a spiritual class to us young girls all through high school, about kind of connecting to our guides, and, you know, believing in serendipity and all the things that are speaking to you each and every day that you might miss if you're not really open enough to hear them and see them and smell them. And my mother was much the same way. She would always say to me, if I was going to ask a question, she would always look at me and say, Well, what is your gut say? Which I love? And I, like, it's the best thing a parent can do. Because, yeah, your gut is telling you all the time, right? You know, you get emotions, like, right, your hair stands on end, you get goosebumps, your stomach starts feeling weird, or you know, the opposite, you feel incredibly calm, and you feel like, you know, known somebody much longer than the few minutes you've been with them, like I felt with you. Yeah, um, that there's just like a connection there. But those feelings are so amazing. I have that. I've read that wonderful book called The gift of fear that talks a lot about this, that you feel so much, but it's so easy to shut it down and not believe in it. So it was so important to me to finally honor that. And I felt it. When he first passed, I was just lost because she was my best friend. And I wanted to help her so badly. But I couldn't imagine. Because we'd been sort of taught Well, you know, you're here for the time that you're supposed to be here to learn the lessons that you're supposed to. And sometimes those are cut short, if you're not maybe in the right place at the right family or the right time for you to learn those lessons. So we were talking a lot about, well, how what did he do in his 12 years that he would be gone already. And she was, you know, inconsolable and it made me also realize how completely different suicides are from other deaths and that on top of the loss of your child, you have blame and shame and guilt. People are asking her well, if he was so sick, why wasn't he getting any kind of help? Why was he seeing a therapist? Why wasn't he on an antidepressant? And the truth was, there was no signs of this. It came out of nowhere, he was a very well adjusted happy boy, you know, from everything that she knew. So that was equally hard, because it isn't. It's just a whole different death to deal with people say really awful things, and not really thinking and I understand that, but it's just still incredibly hurtful. So one day I was ice skating on a lake and just thinking a lot about this. I'd been journaling about it ever since she called to tell me because I just wanted to find some words that would be comforting for her. So just jotting down my feelings about the whole thing and what can I do and please somebody out there give me some advice so I can help her through this because I felt she was really falling apart. Almost immediately, her marriage fell apart. She was a very different path than her husband, I think always but this really highlighted it and then when I escaping this one day, all of a sudden I heard her son's voice. And he was very strong. And he said, you've been wanting to write a novel. And this is it. Those journal entries are the beginning of a novel use my story. So it's not exactly his story. But I would say he stayed with me through the 18 years it took to get this published, always sort of egging me on to go further to take a deeper to explore more the things in my life that I had yet left, sort of undiscovered. So it was such a great 18 years is a long time to be writing a novel, but it changed so much over the years. And I was so happy when it was finished, because it brought so much of who I am and what I believe in and me reconnecting to all those things that had been so important that I'd sort of shelved. And it seems like that sort of this time right now, also, just, I think COVID is making me settle way down. And digging in even deeper. So I'm it's a horrible thing to say I'm grateful to be quarantined, because I feel like I needed it. I feel like a lot of other people are feeling this connection. I know, a lot of people are reaching out to me, on my website. They're commenting on the book, but also commenting on experiences they've had from reading my book, and how it moved them. Because as we, you know, talked in our pre brief, if there's one thing I want readers to take from this, it's that instead of, well, you can't stop the process of grieving, and there's lots of different ways to do it, which is, I think the book highlights a bunch of them. But at the end of the day, you just want to be grateful that you had the soul in your life at the time that you did. And to keep that person alive by talking to them and, you know, asking other people if they can share stories with you so that it's the life didn't end that continues on forever, and your memories, and your photographs and your experiences. So that would be like my biggest takeaway.

I know some people well, for myself, even it's coming up 'Halloween' and this is the one year anniversary that my brother died last year in a battle with cancer. And just in the last week, I've started getting very emotional about six thirtyat night, and just tears coming up and crying. And you know, and I said to my husband, listen, I just want you to sit in front of me and just listen to what I have to say. And you know, it's not a conscious thing. It's just, it's all coming up. And I'm very aware that, you know, that he's in spirit, I can talk to him in spirit and see him in spirit, but it's not an intellectual thing. It's something deeper. And, you know, and I know other people that this would really help them what you're saying, because there's other people I know who somebody passed maybe two years ago, one in particular is my best girlfriend's father and her mother still hasn't been able to heal, she's still grieving. But when people have gone back into spirit, because we're infinite beings, as you know, we, it's infinity, we don't die, we leave the physical form. But we continue. And, you know, when you're in spirit, you wouldn't want the person who's still in physical form to be in pain or hurting or, you know, go on with life because life is truly a miracle and a gift.

True. So true. I have, since the COVID. I've had four, not six of my kids, my kids are all in their 20s Mm hmm. I have four of them. They've lost six friends, I'd say you know, loosely, friends, none of them were very connected anymore, but they had known them very well in high school have overdosed. And it's been really emotional. Because if I know this many people, I can't imagine how many the total number is, because all of them had been clean for a number of years. So you know, just the COVID had sent them off. Just being alone or whatever something happened. One of them I knew the mother really well. And I had called her to see how she was doing and I knew she was like us very spiritual. And she said, you know, you have to listen to the story. So I was driving to the bookstore, to Barnes and Noble and saying, you know, out loud my car like her son's name is Shawn like Shawn, go into the bookstore. I know you're with me, but not having you physically here is really hard for me. I'm going to I need a book right now. So when I get to that bookstore, you need to leave me somewhere that's gonna help me out with this. So she goes to Barnes and Noble, and she walks in the door and there, the music playing is this very strange guitar solo, which was her son's ringtone. And she said, You know, it's the strangest sounded why Barnes and Noble who always plays like cheery music like, this was like, What? Yes, he's like, okay, Shawn, so you're here with me. So she went over to the spirituality like Self Help section. And she's standing there. And she said, The next day happens at a Barnes and Noble employee comes up to her and says, Can I help you? Or, you know, is there a certain book you're looking for? And she said, like, I'm looking for a sign. And she goes, Oh, well, that book is right in front of your face. And she pulls out the book of signs. And it's literally all about asking for signs, all different examples of people that were feeling lost, and then said, if you could just show me an elephant, today, I feel the belief that you're around me, and then being open to the fact that it's probably not can be a real elephant. But it could be an elephant on a billboard, it could be a necklace that you find, yeah, those kind of things that she was like, laughing your head off. Like, it was just so perfect, that Shawn was able to direct me in that way. And the whole morning was so magical, and just made me realize, okay, he's still with me. It is hard that he's physically not here for me to hug. But I know he's here. And I know, he's got, you know, many lives ahead of him. And he just, I just need to reconnect to them, and thank them for showing up.

Mm hmm. For sure. I, I know that when my husband was going through, and we talked about this, this last year, he was going through cancer and, and heart problems and a lot of challenges along with COVID. And I asked at the beginning, and I already knew we have angels around us and Archangels. But I asked for a sign anyway, I asked for a dove to show up for us like to just the dove being the angel show up and we had the dove showing up on our windows cell in our bedroom, you know, and on our deck, like every day, these two doves would show up. And they don't now, but they did during that time. And I know if we ask for a sign or that we're giving it like you said, we don't know what form it shows up in but we're, we're never alone. We're so loved and so supported. And if we, if we aligned with that, and knew that we wouldn't be in this, some of us playing our life small we're here to live this bigger, bigger life's Vision.

So true. And I, it was so hard watching in the beginning of COVID, in New York City, all these people that were grieving so much worse, because they couldn't get last rites to their loved ones. And I'm thinking, well, this is so sad. That, you know, you feel like, what, they're not going to go to heaven if these words don't get spoken in front of. I mean, it's just the strangest thing to me. Because I think all of us that have felt this and know this on such a deep level, the world would just be so much better off if you could just be open enough right to ask for the sign and then to be open to look for it. Listen for it. It's just, yeah, it doesn't have to be as painful as we're making it.

So let's just talk about that. Because "Winter of the Wolf" is about seeking the truth, no matter how painful like you spoke about in order for us to see the bigger vision, the bigger truth behind our life. How would you say to someone else for their personal journey? What would you say to them how to speak their truth because we're both connected into the spiritual realm. And I had this conversation with my father in law the other week that his wife, she's right there beside you. And he was asked me, How do you see them? How do you talk to them? And, you know, we're multi dimensional beings, and you know, and he's going to be 103 this weekend. So happy birthday! and he said, I don't have that gift. I said, we all have it. There's a trusting to just start to quiet that mind and go within. And I think that people you were saying which is tragic in their 20s leaving that a lot of people aren't comfortable being quiet within themselves. They have to be busy, busy, busy. And when you get quiet and you start spending time with yourself, that's scary for a lot of people, but what advice would you give for people to seek their own truth?

I think you know what you said it's so important that it's not that one person has a gift and other people don't it's, we all have it and it's just opening up to it and there's so many books out there and so many you know, you could just do YouTube videos for us. All these different things, and there's just so much proof. I feel like the back of my book, I have a bunch of resources that I think, you know, books that have helped me over the years, but it's just overwhelming how much there is. How many people have you know, had near death experiences and how beautiful it is? To do the research for my book, I went back and read, what's her name that did all the studies with young kids. The stages of grief.

I have your book here - you stated "You have all books by Elisabeth Kubler Ross."

Yes, so she's the one.  She did this one study where she spent a lot of time in adolescent with adolescent terminal patients, and especially really young ones that were like 2,3,4. Because it hasn't been that long since they were, you know, quote, unquote, home, they kept talking about that they couldn't wait to wait to get there. And they felt comfortable saying that to her, but not to their parents, because they didn't want their parents to feel bad. But they remembered how wonderful it is, when you're on that other plane and reconnected with all of your spiritual guides and your ancestors and the angels and, like, it's just the warmth and love that we can't even probably understand on this level. Mm hmm. And it's so beautiful to read what these little kids say.

Because they're so close to their soul.

And then, as we go on, I mean, we forget more and more and more, the feeling gets further and further apart. And so, yeah, it's harder, harder to remember that and you start really fearing death. Yeah, it's just it's very interesting.

Wayne Dyer talks very much around that around death. And, and they've been that we're infinite beings. And if we only got that now and passed it, then we wouldn't be doing that anymore. My thing is, if somebody's in pain, that's the one that's hard for me. You know, if you're in pain, and especially today, these people that are are in the hospital, and they can't see their loved ones, I would think that's pretty, pretty hard. Pretty, pretty hard. So you have this passion for wolves, of course. And, you know, writing so I want people to hear that whatever age you are, you know, we're both young, you and I are so young. So Young, lots of wisdom. How do they really discover their purpose? That's a big one out there for people, they I don't think they realize that. Well, I know how I teach it. But how would you teach somebody to discover their purpose? I know we covered a little bit kind of around this, but not directly.

If I was talking to parents, I think the best gift that you could give your child so this was my mommy and me teaching when my first child was like three months old. And she told us to write an annual letter to our child to talk about who they were, you know, what kind of things that they really love doing? What topics did they find most interesting? That's wonderful. Yeah, if they have free time, what they're going to do so when I turned 60, last year, and none of my kids, I have four, none of them knew that I had been writing these letters every year. And there were many years that it was never one of my one of my sons called up and said, You know how you started off my 15th year, he said, I'm sure there's something nice to say about you this year, but I can't think of a single thing. Because he was like a really trying child. He was just I don't know. But so when I first gave them these books on my birthday, they're looking at me, like, what, what is this? Because each year I wrote like three or four or five pages worth of who they were. And then they would just be calling me at all hours the night like I just read, you know, you know that when I was three, all I cared about was airplanes. I don't even remember that. And that's, you know, the job that I'm looking for right now. So it was just like, you know, that I just think that's like a really neat thing that you could do for your kids because there's so much that you forget about what they like to do.

Yes, yes. I think that's wonderful. I wrote for one year, every day of my son's life, but for you to do that for the length of time you did. It's wonderful. I think it's a great exercise for people to explore especially Yes, people having time right now. What do you want to do? You know, do you want to learn something then go start it, just start it, whatever that is.

That's Yeah, I think jump in and it's so Amazing with all the classes that you can take online now. So, you know, you don't have to even expend much energy because you're not driving to some school to take this evening class, you can take it anytime you want. You know, like I'm doing. I've always wanted to do car be a cartoonists, so I'm taking like just beginning drawing classes just to figure out how what my style is going to be and where I'm going to go with that. That's excellent. Yeah, it's really been fun. And I'm taking a watercolor class, what else am I doing? Yeah, I have like this whole list of things that I've wanted to do. And now, because of lockdown, I've got real time and energy and space to do it. And I'm just really expanding so much more. And some things I do. And I'm like, yeah, that's not really as fun as I thought was gonna be. But most of the things I'm finding are really interesting and fun. And it's so good to be using the right side of my brain, especially, you can imagine writing which of the wolf was very heavy, so it was a lot of years dealing with death. So to be on the other side of that, and having, you know, people reach out to me and thanked me for you know, what it's done for them. And connecting with all these people on a deeper level than I would have thought. Mm hmm. There's just so much space and time to do some of the things that I feel are so important. I sort of started off this whole thing, like, here I have my first novel took me 18 years to write. And it comes out when there's no bookstores open, I guess, planning this big New York City. book signing, I was going to go on a national tour, I had so many things planned, and that all of a sudden, it was just like, over. And but now I can see like the bigger picture like having these moments with people like you to talk about the book, and maybe a much more meaningful way than I would ever get to do if I was just at a book signing in a bookstore that most of the people probably haven't even read the book, or maybe a few have, but I don't think you get to have these kind of deep connections with people about it.

So that's a great point to share. Mm hmm. Yeah. And one thing I love about the show, you know, is the show started, like you shared about 18 years for your book.  This show started 12 years ago, it was like live in person makeup, you know, right in front of the person, you have to drive somewhere, put makeup on dress up. Yes. And it went on to hold the Heart Soul Wisdom. Because of some production problems. I do have interviews on a hard drive B roll the whole bit. But when I knew that I was going to launch this, this year, I knew that Heart Soul Wisdom still spoke to my heart, like the name of the show. And you know, this show is all about connecting with heart centered people and creating a global movement for, you know, to raise our consciousness for the greater good of humanity and our planet. So that's when I know that when I was writing the intro, and outro for the show, I know my family said, is that really what you want? And that's what I'm about.  The bottom in there, that's so important to me.

So, I'm getting a lot of that to where they're reading my book and saying, I had no idea you had these kind of thoughts or these ideas. How can I know you all these years and have no idea this is who you really are.

I think also that, you know, when you talk about youth, like myself, being very young that we could interact with nature and animals and hear voices. I was like you I was told, don't be telling people that they'll think that you're a little nuts. Right? And, and when I started dating, because I didn't meet Cliff until I was 30. I had been engaged before and it didn't work out and you know, and then my brother said to me, both of them, you know, don't be showing that side of you. Like just hide that and I said, I don't think so. Like if somebody can't handle who I am. Well, that won't be working. 

(Martha) So, yes, my husband recently said to me, I feel like you're you're more you than you've ever been, and you're strong and being you.

Yes. It's not honoring yourself. Yes. And that all starts with self love before you can be out there as a leader and to lead others and to help them find their path and for them to have a voice has you had a voice for this book?

Yes. And I feel that I'm being opened up because I can't believe how many people have amazing podcasts on this subject, you know, on related subjects, like, you know, someone will hear me on one podcast and I'll get like three more people contacting me. And that's been really eye opening. I listened to a lot of podcasts, but mostly, I become sort of obsessed with wrongful conduct. elections and sort of gone down that whole road, I visited a woman for six years in maximum security prison, that's just down the street from me. And that just opened my eyes to a lot of the stuff that's going on in the prison world. So that's what my podcasts have been, but like, these are just so much more heart expanding. So that makes me feel great.

Yes, well, so how does your book help a family start this conversation around grieving? Because the the title of this podcast today with yourself, Martha is, you know, coming from "Moving from Grief to Gratitude" and how did they start that conversation in their families, when people would say a lot of people don't talk about death, it's like, we'll talk about that.

Right. So I think so my protagonists been, is very shut down, because she doesn't believe her brother committed suicide, so she can't begin to try to grieve for somebody that she thought she knew so well that she must not have known well, if he would have done this. So that's her starting point. And she's really stuck in the mud. And I think everybody in the family has, is grieving completely different ways, which, so she's got, besides her brother that's passed, she's got two other brothers who she's never very close to. And because they're very, she feels aloof, and cold, she assumes that they're moving right on with her life. They, they seem to be enjoying their sports, still going out with their friends. She looks at them, like, boy, you didn't even lose a brother. And then she's got a mother who can't even make it out of bed most days. And then she's got a father who also seems like her older brothers, where he's just trying to keep the family together in any way that he can dealing with his wife that is no longer able to take care of the kids or cook or, you know, take care of any of the family chores. And he's kind of shut into himself just going along, doing everything that he needs to do. So I think it's an interesting, it's, we don't that we don't all agree the same, but it doesn't mean that we are grieving. So I think being gets very woken up to that there's many different ways to grieve. And that's not something that can be judged. And some people can move through it quicker than others. And, you know, her mother's sort of trying to explain that she's not depressed, she's just simply grieving and trying to come to terms with it in her own time and place. So it's, yeah, I think sometimes grief, you just have to sit into it. But I think it really helps. It helps being a lot to be able to have a best friend that went along with her idea that Okay, so if he didn't kill himself, what happened to him, you know, who can we talk to? What should we do? Let's just not just sit here. Let's figure this out. And to have one person that sort of believes in you, I think, is a huge help. And in doing the research to figure out what might have happened to him and talking to people, it's keeping her brother alive, because everybody's got different stories. And she's learning a lot about him through. He was obsessed with Inuits. So she's reading all his newest books, and learning a lot about how this one native culture deals with death. And it's just opening her up to things that she already believed, but she seemed to have forgotten. Sort of like I did, when this happened to my friend's son, all of a sudden, it just seemed like everything I learned and believe went right out the door, because I couldn't it just didn't fit. It was fine for somebody older today, but it just didn't make sense for me for a 12 year old. Mm hmm. But I think, yeah, I would say, you know, don't you know, I have that Banksy, quote in the beginning, like we have to, we really have to keep people alive by talking about them. It makes their lives so much richer, and go on forever, for eternity. If we can just keep them in our thoughts and keep talking about them and laughing about the things that they thought were funny, and I love it. Yeah, any little stories that we have.

I love this, and as you're talking, it's interesting. My brother came into the room, because as I said, it's coming up to the one year that he passed, and the day that he passed, I went down to see my mom who's 93 She lives in the lower suite of her home. And so I went down of course to see her and we're both crying and then and I'm sitting by her, my brother shows up with my Dad and then the room just filled up with love with people. And they were all talking. And my mom was sharing some funny stories back both in the war time for my Dad and things my brother had done. And so it got us to laugh about those stories, and talk about them. And, and my brother said, along with my Dad, yes, this is what we want you to do. We want you to remember those stories and laugh about it and live. You know, that's what we want. And yes, and that's exactly what they said. And you know. And I said to my mom, he's right there, which he's coming right now, he says, this is great that Martha did this book, and that she's doingthis like, seriously, that's what he said to me sitting right beside me. 

I always try to think of like a bird. And I think it's like, so we months ago, we asked my mother in law to go on a vacation with us. And she said, Well, I can't it's the five year anniversary of your father's death. And I was like, I don't even understand what you're saying, like so you think that every year he wants you to sit in your apartment, and cry over him and like, try to be the bird that's looking, you know, you're this beautiful eagle and you're soaring. And he's looking down at you? Do you think that that's a good vision? Or would he love to see you, with your kids and your grandkids having a great time dancing and singing and telling each other stories? I mean, your telling stories, there's so much healing and stories.

Now, how did you do your research on the internet beliefs and bring that into your book?

So just like it happened in my book, when I was in second grade, I watched Nanook of the North, which was a 1922 silent black and white movie. And I looked at their neck and I thought he was either my father or my uncle, he was someone very close to me. I knew the face so well. And I was so mesmerized by the film. And I remember at one point, looking back at my the rest of my classmates who were bored to death, you know, hurling spitballs at each other, and the teacher was coming over and make it like, I just remember it so well that I was seemed to be the only one that was interested in this movie. So that's where it started. And from there, I just started buying all these books. And I've always felt close to Well, I thought my my grandfather was a Native American so he wasn't a very talkative man or didn't share anything with me. But I was like, went to school dressed like a Native American, I had braids down to my waist, I wore headbands all the time, I always had a fringe ~

I can see the image of you like that!

And then I did 23 and me a couple years ago, and he's not my grandfather. But after that I saw a psychic, she goes well, your genetics have nothing to do with your past lives, you've been, you know, Native American, in many different forms. So it doesn't matter that the blood running through your veins.

I think that's another great thing to share that, you know, if you're attracted to a culture, you've probably had a life and that culture like, you know, I was attracted to the Egyptian culture. And when I was in Britain many years ago, this is when I was single and young. I went through the whole museum and looked at the arts of that time period, or, you know, it's something speaks to you loudly, it's because it's already it's still in you that memory is still part of you, like part of your whole life.

When the publisher first read my book, he said, Be prepared to be attacked for writing about Inuits, when you aren't an Inuit yourself, thankfully, that has not happened. But I think that's a big issue right now that people are having with people writing about something that isn't, which I just think it's wrong, because you can do all the research in the world and can become very informed on anything. And if it touches your heart and soul, I'm sure you'll respect it and write with respect.

Mm hmm. And you become a voice for that community also. So that's coming from your heart and soul. It's not just like you're saying it's something very deep within you. So you know, you're getting all your book sales and royalties. And that's something I think is so generous and what you stand for, to the wolf Conservation Center. So what's your biggest vision for this and your big Why? And then and let's also explore the mission of this nonprofit environmental organization. It's a big question there.

How I first got involved, okay. I we our family moved from Los Angeles to New You're about 24 years ago, and we rented a house while we were building our house. And as soon as we moved it, I started hearing wolves howling, which I knew. Wolves hadn't been in New York since like 1850. So I couldn't understand. I was asking all the moms at the bus stop by my hearing wolves. They said, Oh, no, those are coyotes. And I was like, Oh, no, whatever hearing is definitely wolves. Big difference from the way they sound. One day I dropped the kids off the bus stop and just went into the woods behind my house. And I came upon this large enclosure with three wolves in it. And there was a trailer, and I knocked on the door. And this beautiful French girl, she was probably at the time about 26 greeted me. And she told me that she had become psychically connected to a wolf. And that she was opening this nonprofit to help wolves. And she asked me if I wanted to help her. This is one of those like, co incidents, because yes, yeah, I always felt like I should do something to give back to the wolf that had been showing up in my dream. Mm hmm. And when we had moved, I had decided that I wasn't going to work anymore, because we live more than an hour outside of New York City. And I just didn't really want to commit commute with four young kids. So I was going to try to find a volunteer opportunity. And this was just so perfect, but it just landed literally in my, in my backyard. So I told her I would love to help her. So the things that we do at the wolf center, we've been in existence for 21 years now. We do three things. So we educate people. Back back before COVID, when we were open, we saw about 20,000 students mostly, but also families and all different kinds of groups come through our doors. So we tell them about the importance of wolves, we have all different kinds of lectures also not just about wolves, that could be like the difference between coyotes and and wolves or top predators in different ecosystems. Then the second thing we do is we advocate on their behalf. So we go to DC to fight for bills, we have a very robust social media platform. So we're able to tell people this bill is passing, here's who's you know, here's you should try to call to change their mind. Or write this letter, here's what form you need to fill out. And then the third thing we do is we are part of the breeding and pre release of the two most critically endangered whale species in North America, which are the Mexican gray wolves and the Red Wolves. And the Mexican gray wolf. We're down to six in the world. So to start the breeding program, they were brought into captivity and from those six the whole breeding process started.

So you can imagine I mean, we are talking analytics to figure out which wolf should mate with whom and it's, it's, it's a big endeavor. The Red Wolves were not much better. There was 14 of those and unfortunately, now they're there. I think they're guessing there's only eight left in the wild. And none of those are breeding players because they're all related to each other. The Mexican gray Wolf's have been much more better taken care of. They're up to we think about 150 at this point. But we are literally at the point of a frozen zoo, we freeze sperm we freeze eggs, we do artificial inseminations to make it easier instead of moving wolves around because they don't travel very well. So right now we have three Ambassador wills. So we those are the wolves you're guaranteed to see when you come and then another one of them is one that I I'm ambassador. Yes. Alawa, right. 

Yes. She's beautiful!

So we have so many different programs. You can adopt a wolf you can become a member and get like, first dibs. We have great, amazing videos on our website, which is ny wolf.org. You can watch all these webs of play. So the ambassador wolves, you can see the other ones we really need to keep off exhibit so that when they are released, they will keep their natural fear of humans, which is so important. If they're going to survive in the wild. We need to make sure that they keep away from people. So yeah, those ones you might catch a glimpse of in a fire enclosure, but they're pretty rare to get sightings of those and even we don't have much. That's why we actually put the cameras in so that we know what these walls are doing and Make sure that no one was sick or injured or fighting with one another so, and we became the first place in the United States to have cameras on wolves. So that's why we have like 6.5 million Facebook followers, mostly because of these video cams.

That's, that's excellent. So this whole thing about educating people to because I know in our neighborhood here, we don't have wolves here, but we have coyotes. And they keep building and building around the neighborhood. And, you know, they're, they're pushing them out and pushing them out. And I'll be asleep. And I can hear like, we have our window opened a little bit in the bathroom, and I can hear them, I just jumped out of bed to go to the screen just to hear them because it speaks so much to my soul. And I just know they're there. But yeah, but to protect them, like you're saying, and you know how other than staying away from them and not feeding them and bringing them to us because they're wild? How can humans really better protect animals? What actions can they take? Stay away? Not feeding them? What else can you share?

I would say, Make a donation to somewhere that you know, you really talks to your heart? Yes. Because especially now, as you can imagine, when most places have been shut down for so long and can't have any kind of fundraisers and galas and all that kind of stuff. I know, we're struggling, and I'm sure I'm so connected with so many other animals. Same here, because of what I do that I know we're all in the same boat, then it's just been really tough. So if there's something that speaks to your heart, I mean, I used to get all the time like Martha of all the things to care about a wolf. But, you know, it's part of that education. Yeah, they are at the top of a food chain. There's a great YouTube video how wolves change rivers that really quickly sums up what the role is, which is so important.

Is that also on the on your site Martha or I can get the link from you and and put it below this episode.

Okay. I think it is also on our website. Okay. But basically, it's about the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone in 1995, and 96, and how drastically they brought the ecosystem back. And it happened so quickly, and no one could have dreamt that we would have seen that kind of turnaround. Mm hmm. So it's just it's a great visual for people to quickly understand why a wolf is so important. Mm hmm.

I also love You know, this we talked about this to the picture that you have on your cover with beside a hawk, because, you know, we've talked about animal speaks and Ted Andrews, which I think it's a fantastic book for people everyone to have, yes, mine 30 years and falling apart, but I still have it and animals speak to me in my dreams all the time and, you know, mine is the lunar night times the Owl, but this solar daytime,  my Red Tiled Hawk. So the Geat Horned Owl and Red Tailed Hawk, they're both on my wall and I give them I say have gratitude for them every day and ask for guidance and just thank them because they're, they're very much part of my guidance with my work. So yeah, that's wonderful. I'd like to you to share one of your mantras I would call it Grow or Wilt.

I just think like, it's there's so much so much for us to keep learning and to keep opening up about and so many resources. So if you don't you know, if reading is not your thing, go on YouTube and go on anything like yeah, your death experiences or cooking or crying or sides. Yeah, just do drawing. expanding your mind is just the most important thing we can do. And maybe it's the blessing and the silver lining in this whole being shut down. The you don't have all that outside interference and you can really just soar in any direction that you possibly want to.

Yes, and in a lot of people say I don't have enough time, I don't have enough time. And the more they say that they don't have enough time because they're creating it energetically.


So but yes, I love that and I kind of I I could go on talking to you Martha and we'll have you back definitely next year because I know you're going to be up to so much more to and this is such an important cause and what you're doing you know in the world and helping other people be educated and you know, I just up and Grow or Wilt, we're all about expansion and growth not to be small and diminished we're this bigger vision of our life to really look at that and step into it with courage and you know, commitment and about collaboration and community and all those great 'C' words.

Yes, Martha I'm so grateful to be connected to you. Oh, for so. But yeah, I feel very fortunate to be here with you. This time, it's meant a lot to me.

Thank you, Martha, I feel the same about you. And that's why, also, I just, and when you have to especially 18 years to write your book, but you kept doing it you stayed in there, you were committed, you know, you evolved all the time. And and I'm sure you know, we've all had writer's block that for writing and how to move through that. So maybe we'll go into that the next time that we connect up. Okay. Yeah, if other people but right now I, I'd like to, for you to share with our listeners this very special gift that you're giving them. I'm so excited about it. Because you know, you're going to give this to the listeners and we're going to put the links below to that video, you talked about the ecosystem with Wolves being introduced, where they can find you, Martha, how they can find out more about the Wolf Conservation Center and how they can join in with this and help. So that's going to be below the episode, but you could share this gift, they're gonna love it.

Right? So I'm going to give two chapters, the first two chapters of my novel, in the hopes that you will be so blown away and, you know, a part of the story so quickly that you will want to keep reading.

Yes, it's a wonderful book, thank you so much. And when they read two chapters they're in. And then they're gonna have such a gift of your storytelling and what what you've written there and become part of this movement that you've created. So Martha, thank you so much for sharing from your heart and soul which we've all felt your wisdom on "Moving from Grief to Gratitude" and your inspirational book, "Winter of the Wolf"  Namaste.