Swim With a Stud-Muffin

Living from the Heart is offering an amazing dolphin retreat in Sept.










This is Seth with Amizcle, (Uh-MEEZ-clay) the enormous 600 lb playful loving dolphin stud-muffin (he’s got like 18 kids). He is the guy we spent most of our time with when we made the trip to Mexico in November.

If you have a child with special needs, they will be 100% accommodated and no one bats an eye at any behaviors. If you have only typicals, they will have a blast. All are welcome.

If you’ve always wanted to go to Mexico, or swim with the dolphins this is a great opportunity for a family vacation with lodging and most meals covered in the cost.

$1,888.50 for a family of four.

If a retreat is not in the cards for you this year, perhaps enjoy living vicariously by reading Macy’s blog and watching the videos of the dolphins on her site. It is so relaxing to do so. File Cozumel in your dreams and perhaps one day, maybe sooner than you think, you’ll be experiencing Amizcle’s magic for yourself. You never know.










I’ll never get over Riley riding a dolphin across that pool. She started showering on her own after we got home from the trip. No longer afraid to get her face wet. No longer afraid to let go of me in the water. I know I probably already blogged this but I am still in awe and will never take it for granted. She’s upstairs in the shower right now as I type this. Last year I had to stand there the whole time. Rinse her hair for her. Listen to her cry over it. Flinching the whole time. Now she does it herself. To me, this is a miracle. This is a load off. This is a step toward living independently one day. I really adore Macy who runs the program and can’t say enough good about it. So pardon me if I repeat myself like an old grandmother who doesn’t remember what she told you yesterday(I truly often don’t remember what I wrote yesterday). Indulge me, while I sit here typing, drinking my tea, not rinsing my child’s hair.










I really hope to tell as many people as possible about Living from the Heart.

Did I mention since we got back, when I tuck Seth in at night I pretend to give him sonar? I put my lips to his forehead and make dolphin sonar noises. He pretends to only tolerate it, but secretly he loves it. I know he does.

Final Night/Cancun

The last night in Mexico, we went all out and stayed at the luxurious J.W. Marriott in Cancun. Below is the view from our room. Every room has a view of the water.

In the photo below, you see the little hot tub? Just to the right, past that little bridge? Riley and I sat in it and looked out at the ocean. And when a waiter went by and asked us if we wanted drinks, we said, “Yes.” So often in life it is, no, no, no…but this time it was yes.

I ordered a Mojito. Riley ordered a Shirley Temple. We clinked our glasses together, took a few sips and she leaned over to me and said out of the side of her mouth, “We’re really pampering ourselves, aren’t we?”

There is no describing how much I love this girl.

Below is the view from inside the dark blue infinity pool above. Seth and Todd spent a lot of time swimming in there.

I love Marriott hotels. They consistently have nice white bedding. Lots of pillows. These beds were so comfy. And Todd and I were able to sit on the balcony at night after tucking the kids in, looking up at a gorgeous display of stars. We also had an aeriel view of a young couple getting engaged, (though we predicted they won’t make it… based on what an ass he acted like in the pool earlier in the day)…but whatever, it was romantic.

Seth looking out in the morning.

I had already been up and out on a sunrise walk on the beach before any of them rose. It was glorious. Twice on this vacation, an idea I’ve been tossing around for a new book came into my head. Once it was during a massage on the beach (did I mention I had a massage on the beach our first morning)? Once was when I was getting sonar from the dolphins. The idea just floated in and hovered there during those states of deep relaxation.

Standing ankle deep in the wet sand, looking out at the sunrise I agreed to write it. Again, I said, “Yes.”

Below is a picture of my friend Clarissa. I don’t know who took it and I don’t know what beach it is on, but I am ever so grateful to her friend Dave who sent it to me. I felt her presence on this trip. Such a magnificent gift she gave us.

One we will never, ever forget. Thank you Clarissa, for being a friend to me and my family.

Dolphin Therapy

The main reason we chose Mexico for our trip was for the dolphin therapy. My friend Betsy already had a dolphin trip planned for her family and somehow it fell into place for us to go at the same time. Our vacations were separate, but our stays overlapped, so that we shared our second day at the dolphin center with them. It was perfection to share such a special experience with such a dear friend! Betsy’s son is 18 and profoundly affected by autism. Her husband is an MD who specializes in overall wellness and also autism. They do good work.

This is us on the first day, getting acquainted with the dolphins. The woman with us is Macy Jozsef, Director of  The Dolphin Experience, Living from the Heart Dolphin Therapy. She is awesome. Riley took to her and trusted her immediately. We’d walk down the streets of Cozumel with Riley holding her hand, leaning all over her. It’s an energy thing. Riley responds to love.

Riley was excited to see and interact with the dolphins, but still quite tentative in the water. She absolutely did not want to swim in the deeper section and was content to stand on the shallow landing. This dolphin’s name is Amizcle (Uh-MEEZ-Clay). He is huge. About 600 lbs. He eats 75 pounds of fish per day.  Riley said many times throughout our time with him that he reminded her of her service dog Jingle. Again, it’s about energy and both animals are sweet, playful, helpful (and she liked that they both have pink on their noses).

We had three sessions our first day. In between sessions we were allowed to go to a tiny private beach on the Dolphinaris property. It was there Riley found her own bouyancy for the first time in her life. She had a breakthrough earlier this year, and was finally able to put her face in the water but had not yet gotten the buoyancy concept in her body. We kept the life jackets on, and I carried her out onto the soft waves. She straddled my waist, like a much littler kid, and we bounced and floated, and twirled. Looking up into the blue sky, I couldn’t help thinking, “This is what I wanted for you when you were tiny.” We missed this developmental stage. Her nervous system was so very jangled at the time. She had always been so anxiety filled in the water, she was not light or bouyant at all. She was certain she would sink, and she would have, all contracted like that.

In and out of the water all day. She played in the sand. Laughed and played with Seth. Ate PB & J. More dolphins. Back in the water, holding my hand she finally, truly, got the feel of floating. She was sitting back, relaxing, bobbing along in her life jacket. Holding my hand, but basically doing it herself.

During dolphin therapy, there is a lot of time to socialize with the dolphins, interspersed with moments of receiving sonar. Hear, Amizcle is offering sonar directly to Riley’s head. Sonar is similar to an ultrasound. If you’ve ever had ultrasound used on a sore muscle, it’s kind of like that. It immediately relaxes the body. Sonar would be for a minute or two, and then more playing and fun. Todd and I tried it and both of us felt like wet noodles coming out of the water. It puts you in a total zen state. Beuno cool.

Our next session with the dolphins, we all swam out to the middle of the pool, with Riley clinging to mine and Macy’s hands. We were proud of her for stepping off the landing and coming into the deeper water. I held the back of her life jacket to stabalize her as the dolphins swam past so she could reach out and pet them with one hand.

The third session, we did the same, only this time, she deliberately let go of my hand. There was Riley, floating in 13 foot deep water, reaching out and petting humongous dolphins which slowly kept weaving their way around us.

And then…she surprised us all by agreeing to do this:

Seth did it first and his bravery surely inspired his sister. Todd and I both took a couple of dolphin rides too. They are so strong! Their bodies are pure muscle, and they go super fast, although Riley’s went a bit slower with her, thank goodness. It was a smaller female dolphin that she rode. The dolphin trainers were very intuitive and respectful about what the kids needed. They didn’t push, but at the moment they felt there might be receptivity, Riley was on that dolphin before she could even think about it. And she was so proud!

Seth recieved many sonar session too. We hoped it might help his PANDAS and at the very least, anything that relaxes the body is going to have a positive effect. They even did some sessions together, head to head or feet to feet.

This next photo is one of my very favorite photos from the trip. I just love the tiny boy juxtaposed against the enormous dolphin. Such a gentle majestic, beautiful creature Amizcle is. And any time I can see Seth without his hat, I love it.

Here is HT, getting a smooch from a sweet girl dolphin.

Here I am, loving my good, good kids.

Macy joined us for dinner a couple of times. Her story is interesting. She survived breast cancer decades ago, and felt a strong pull toward dolphins as part of her healing process. She continues to use meditation fueled with dolphin imagary to maintain her vibrant health. This was particularly poignant to me since my friend Clarissa, who made the trip possible, died of the very same disease.

Is there anything more beautiful to a parent than the sight of your children sleeping peacefully? Especially with sun kissed cheeks? I think not. Dream, dream, little ones. Dream of dolphins and floating, and blue water and sky.

Tomorrow, we hit Cancun.