Cover art for podcast Breathing Wind

Breathing Wind

98 EpisodesProduced by Sarah Davis and Naila FrancisWebsite

Breathing Wind is a podcast about grief and loss and how we journey with these lifelong companions. Naila Francis, grief coach, writer and former journalist and Sarah Davis, podcast consultant, speaker and writer, are cohosts. We offer warm, honest and insightful conversations for the introspective … read more

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February 22nd, 2024


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A Welcome Space for Grief

February 20th, 2024


In this episode, inspired by our powerful conversation with communal grief tender and song circle leader, Alexandra “Ahlay” Blakeley, we discuss our …

Singing Together to Open Our Hearts

February 6th, 2024


“I believe that community singing, which I define as, when a group of folks come together and they sing songs together that are easy enough lyrically …

Guided by Grief - Reflections on our Conversation with Susan J. Tweit

January 23rd, 2024


“When I was on the Camino, there was this moment when I was spreading [my dad’s] ashes and just talking to him and I realized that was why I was there,  that he wanted me there. And I felt so connected to him, and at …

Living and Dying with Love and Compassion with Susan J. Tweit

January 9th, 2024


“If we have the intention to live with love and compassion, we can handle anything. We are amazing beings, we humans. We can also really screw up badly, but if we have the intention to live with love and compassion, it …

Blue Lights: A Holiday Episode

December 19th, 2023


“Our Christmas lights now are all blue since Ron left. I want to honor the day and the spirit of it, but the bright, shining twinkle lights and jingle bells don't speak to my heart. When the blue lights are turned on, …

Grief as a Transformational Journey: Reflections on our Conversation with Ning Tendo

December 5th, 2023


"If you're willing to open to the journey and if you're willing to really allow yourself to feel your grief and have practices to engage it, it does shape-shift over time. It does become softer. It does become something …

Dreaming into Grief and Love

November 21st, 2023


“Just having that dream visit, even just one visit, can nourish somebody and really give them the courage to go into their grief because it's not enough to have those dreams. It doesn't negate the pain of their physical …

Spaces of Witness and Belonging: Reflecting on our conversation with Dwight Dunston

November 7th, 2023


“I think runners, by nature, have this environment of excitement and energy and support just built into a race. It doesn't matter how fast you're running. You're just all together and you're all part of this big happy …

Tenderness and Reverence in Grief and Joy

October 24th, 2023


“I have never been more practiced in honoring my grief, and I truly have never had more gratitude and joy and reverence for life…When you really feel …

Giving Ourselves Grace

September 12th, 2023


In this bonus episode, we reflect on our conversation with Dan Fischer of One Last Wave, an amazing project that invites grievers to memorialize their loved ones by having their names etched on a surfboard that Dan …

Episode Swap! Emerging Form — Checking in One Year Later

August 24th, 2023


“Having an established creative practice helped me in ways I would have never known, and I think it’s the greatest gift my younger self gave me now.”

Episode swap! Emerging Form's Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer and Christie Aschwanden Discuss Creativity in Times of Trauma

August 10th, 2023


“Grief cracks you open. It makes us vulnerable… I feel vulnerable.” 

~ Christie Aschwanden

“A creative practice prepared me for grief.”

~ Rosemerry …

Growing a New Heart

August 1st, 2023


“[Grief] breaks us open, which we may not expect. There's some allowing that has to happen. I'm going to allow this to break me open, to grow a new …

Love is the Mother of Grief

July 15th, 2023


“It's healthy, I believe, to touch these places. I don't know how you can touch your love place without touching your grief place. They're both there. They're layered on top of each other and your joy place. They're all …

Intuitive Grief

June 20th, 2023


"Grief, for me, has been about following intuition. It's been about following the feelings. I don’t know what they're saying to me. I wish I knew, …

Surfer Dan Fischer is Shaping an Active Grief Memorial through One Last Wave Project

June 8th, 2023


"Something that I didn't have any sense of before...was happiness was up here and grief was down here, where it's really not. It's a universal human experience to lose. If we can recognize that we're all going …

Mother’s Day Grief: Glimpses of Love and Loss with Sarah Davis and Naila Francis

May 14th, 2023


“I think with any person's life, there's a lot of joy. There's a lot of beauty, there's a lot of love and hope, but there's also a lot of grief and tragedy and, and sorrow.” 

~ Christina Vo

In this week’s episode, Sarah …

The Silence and Soul Work of Grief

May 2nd, 2023


“Some people think solitude and loneliness are the same thing, but to me solitude is almost this soulful, nourishing kind of quality that I need, …

Grief, An Illogical and Ever Present Companion with Sarah Chaves

April 18th, 2023


“Grief is ever present. It's not like this little cloud that hangs above my head. That's not it. It's the fact that it is a lens through which I view the world and all my relationships constantly. I cannot take off that …

Leaning into Love is Leaning into Grief: Reflections from our conversation with Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

April 4th, 2023


“Leaning into love is leaning into grief,”

— Sarah Davis 

In this week’s episode, co-hosts Naila and Sarah muse on our conversation with poet …

Honoring the Full Range of Grief: staying open to meet the moment with Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

March 21st, 2023


“I really trust life itself to rise up and help me meet the things that I cannot control. I trust love to show up and help me meet the things that I …

Our Old Friend, Grief: Season 4 Trailer

March 7th, 2023


“[Grief is] really almost like a relationship. It's not, ‘Here's this chapter of my life, here's this season of my life. Here's this thing I have to focus on now or get through now;’ [Instead] it's this enduring …

Evolving Joy: Season 3 Finale

December 17th, 2022


Welcome to the Breathing Wind Season 3 finale.

In this season, we explored joy in context of grief. In other words, how does joy show up for us in the wild? How is joy an act of resilience? What if joy is unexpected? …

The Holidays are in the Air

December 6th, 2022


"While I never know what it's like to celebrate the holiday season with my aging mother, I've come to appreciate her presence in my life in a way …

Grief Doesn't Have a Timeline with Kendra Rinaldi

November 29th, 2022


“There really is not a timeline. You do not know how long it may take.

It's a journey and it's something you carry, not much different than love. I …

The Possibility of Pleasure Miniseries Finale

November 22nd, 2022


"Grabbing those moments and claiming them for yourself so that you have a bit of goodness and nourishment to support you as you go on the sometimes really hard road of grieving…that’s really important.”

—Oceana Sawyer

The Sensuality of Place and Grief with Roshni Kavate

November 15th, 2022


“There's just something about the air. If you live by the ocean, there's a saltiness in the air. You can smell the fruit every morning as you walk the streets, depending on if it's a market day or what's in season.

So …

The Portal Between Life and Death and Life with Karine Bell

November 1st, 2022


“My grief is the one at the wheel.”

— Karine bell

In this episode, Karine Bell speaks of several significant life transformations for her — birth of her daughter, death of her mother and father. In each, she emphasizes …

Beyond the Ears: Music for the End of Life

October 18th, 2022


We have to be very awake in a really deep, rooted way…And listening with not just our ears, but all of our senses really.”

—Melanie DeMore, on singing for people at the end of their lives.

This week’s episode …

The Possibility of Pleasure

October 4th, 2022


Joy allows you to open up a little bit — expand just a little bit — and reach for something maybe that you couldn't see before.”

—Oceana Sawyer

In …


September 27th, 2022


“When I just let myself surrender and fully feel the grief, there's a certain point where my body knows that it can't take anymore. I often feel a …

The Willingness to be Open with Vinny Ferraro

September 20th, 2022


“One of my teachers says that all emotions contain their opposite. So when I'm willing to be with the grief, I have access to joy again. Instead of this armoring that comes very natural to us, we do our best to remain …

Resilience is an Act of Care

September 6th, 2022


“We often feel like maybe it's a betrayal of our grief to feel joy or that there's no room in grief for joy, or that it means, if we're grieving the loss of somebody who died that we loved, maybe we're not loving or …

Born into Grief and Fully Embracing Joy with Colleen Attara

August 23rd, 2022


“I understood really early about when you go through extreme grief, that there's loss in different kinds of ways. It’s not just the person that …

The Body is Everything: Making a Home for Grief and Joy with Simon Baker

August 9th, 2022


"So it's not [about] bypassing the grief, or bypassing any of it. It's about creating space for it, holding it, seeing it, recognizing it, having a …

Devoted to Joy, Devoted to Grief

July 26th, 2022


"I think you really have to have the sad to also appreciate the beauty."

  • Moon Fang

This episode is a part of the Breathing Wind miniseries titled

Joy As Resilience: Miniseries Trailer

July 19th, 2022


"Personally for me, joy is my inherent nature. I really do feel it to be the essence of who I am and how I move through the world, which is interesting because so much of the work I do is around grief and loss and …

Joy and Grief Touch the Same Part of the Heart (Part 2): Popular Film and Grief with Erin Lim and Angela Tabora

June 28th, 2022


"So they experienced this death. And then they all have to band together – ‘we're still going to make everything happen.’ That's kind of how I felt after my dad passed away; I'm just going to do everything that I need …

Joy and Grief Touch the Same Part of the Heart (Part 1): Our Parents and Humor with Erin Lim and Angela Tabora

June 19th, 2022


"…you have to find the humor. If it's not in their death, it's maybe something in their life.”

  • Erin Lim

“My dad used to say that laughter is the …

Inner and Outer Wilderness: Finale

June 2nd, 2022


“It feels like a wilderness exploration journey where, yeah, some parts of it we know and love. And some parts of it, we just don't know enough. And it's always a bit of a discovery. And the weather's always going to be …

Compassion for Ourselves and Others: A Gateway to Emotional Freedom with Wendy Rolón and Duncan Cheung

May 17th, 2022


"No one can avoid negative stuff happening. Negative stuff happens all the time on a lot of different levels, whether I got gum on the bottom of my shoe, or my father died, right? And everything in between. We can't …

Lindsay Joy Taylor is Allowing Space for Joy and Grief

May 8th, 2022


"When we give ourselves some space to just be, that's where those quiet little moments [of joy] can pop up alongside the grief."

  • Lindsay Joy Taylor

Reflective Joy: Reflecting on Experiences in the Inner and Outer Wilderness with Rick and Karen Najarian

April 28th, 2022


“Out there, we are not our Mercedes or our home or our job or our degrees. We are just us. And it's enough.”

Karen Najarian

This episode is part of a Breathing Wind miniseries titled Inner and Outer Wilderness, hosted …

Sydney Williams is Hiking her Feelings

April 12th, 2022


“So, in the pursuit of healing, joy is kind of a natural byproduct of that for me. But it takes a tremendous amount of work and awareness to recognize joy when it's present, because it's not always sunshine and rainbows …

Inner and Outer Wilderness

April 5th, 2022


"Be fully there. Breathe it in, listen to what the winds have to say. What the birds have to say, what the water has to say, and (this sounds so …

The Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage with Diane Wyzga

March 24th, 2022


"The undercurrent of the Camino is pilgrimage; it's walking in some spiritual way and being willing to rely on the kindness and support of others. You're removed from everything that you know. It's not your language, …

Turning Pain into Purpose: Carly Moosah's Breast Cancer Journey

March 8th, 2022


“Chemo was really hard. But there were really good days too – they weren't the best feeling healthy days – but there was something that happened on those days. You suddenly have the shift in perspective of appreciating …

Writing from the Heart with Dr. Jason Ridler: Finding unexpected new directions from grief and tragedy

February 22nd, 2022


“The joy was not just in the simple stuff — like a good cup of coffee and being being mindful and present — but experiencing joy, looking for joy, …

49: A Walk in the Park with Friends

February 8th, 2022

"Everyone goes through their own grief in their own way. And to know your own allows you to respect that of others, gives you the opportunity to …

48: What is Joy?

February 1st, 2022


"Joy is who we are when our hearts are at their wildest. It's the integration between our doing and our being."

- Duncan Cheung

"Humor has always allowed me to get closer to my grief, explore it, and better understand …

47: Memorable Moments from Season Two: Healing

November 30th, 2021


This season, four hosts covered healing from very different perspectives. This episode is a compilation of a few conversations they held.

Wendy …

46: Without a Fight

November 2nd, 2021


How might you care for someone at the end of their life when your relationship isn’t perfect? In this episode, Laura Davis and Sarah Davis talk about caregiving when still healing from past traumas, power dynamic flip …

45: Caregiving Mantra

October 22nd, 2021


What are mantras? What is their purpose? In this bonus episode, I explore this concept and Serena Malkani provides a caregiving mantra.

This episode is part of a Breathing Wind miniseries titled Caregiving Journey, …

44: Advocate and Caregiver

September 28th, 2021


Who is advocating for cancer awareness in your state? What is their story? In this episode, Kandis Draw and I have a conversation about her caregiving and cancer advocacy. Kandis Draw lives in Chicago, is a classically …

43: Being Held

September 14th, 2021


How might you care for yourself while caregiving? In this episode, Rachel Mark, Lucy Bellwood and I talk about caregiving. Rachel Mark is a fabrication artist for stop-motion animation and an ADHD/Creative Coach. She …

42: Letting Go

August 17th, 2021


How do you let go of making everything perfect when caregiving? In this episode, Rachel Mark, Lucy Bellwood and I had a conversation about caregiving. Rachel Mark is a fabrication artist for stop-motion animation and an …

41: Staying in

August 16th, 2021


Cheryl Jones prepared for 10 years for her first wife’s passing. She did this in a way that was true to her and true to how they chose to live. This prepared her to be able to support others. In this episode, Sarah …

40: Flipping the Script on Caregiving

July 20th, 2021


Caregiving is a rite of passage. How might we find joy in it? In this episode, Sarah talks with Jenn Chan, about her caregiving journey, support …

39: Caregiving Journey

July 13th, 2021


In this episode, Breathing Wind host and producer, Sarah Davis talks about the upcoming mini-series on caregiving.

The Caregiving Journey miniseries …

38: Reclaiming the Death Roadmap

June 15th, 2021


Who writes the roadmap when one doesn’t exist? In this episode, Deborah interviews Naila Francis, a death midwife and grief coach, about her journey to becoming a death midwife and how this work fills a gap for people …

37: Walking Beside: The Work of a Chaplain

June 1st, 2021


Are chaplains only for religious or spiritual people? In this episode, Deborah talks with Jeffrey Ishmael, a chaplain on the outpatient palliative …

36: Power of Story

May 18th, 2021


What is the power of narrative? In this episode, Deborah talks with Jessica Zitter, MD, MPH, about the power of story in context of palliative care and her calling in this work.

This episode is part of a Breathing Wind …

35: Embrace Death, Live Life

May 11th, 2021


How might we begin to demystify death for each other and live fully alongside it? In this episode, Deborah Szeto, ICU and palliative care nurse, and …

34: Belonging

May 4th, 2021


What is resilience and how does it inform a healer’s work? In this episode, Tim Nguyen and mini-series host Ken Breniman from Season One (ep 08) talk about Tim’s relationship with his father, his father’s diagnosis, …

33: By Land and By Sea

April 20th, 2021


How might we form our unique and continuing bond with our parents who’ve passed away? In this episode, Dave Koz, accomplished saxophonist and entrepreneur, and mini-series host Ken Breniman from Season One (ep 08) talk …

32: Water in Her Eyes

March 23rd, 2021


What is memory? In this episode, Madeleine Bachan Kaur and Ken Breniman from Season One (ep 08) talk about how we remember our deceased parents. Madeleine Bachan Kaur is a motherless child who has found healing through …

31: A Work in Progress

March 16th, 2021


What is meaning making, mortality, and medicine? In this episode, Ken Breniman from Season One (ep 08) and Sarah Davis, founder of the Breathing Wind podcast, talk about belonging, medicine, ritual and normalizing …

30: What Feels Safe

March 9th, 2021


How might we learn to find safety again after loss? In this episode, Wendy Rolón from Season One (ep 15) and Emma Stern, AMFT, trauma-informed yoga …

29: Activating the Healer Within

February 23rd, 2021


How might we use sound to work with grief? In this episode, Wendy Rolón from Season One (ep 15) and Serena Malkani, Sound Practitioner, Ayurvedic …

28: Hope

February 9th, 2021


"You know, this is not just an emotional experience, but a physical one, often a spiritual one, to explore those aspects of what is changed in you when grieving and then to start to take stock of resilience and find …

27: What is Healing?

February 2nd, 2021


“Grief is this way that we metabolize loss, and grief affords us the chance to really get intimate with our experience with our own needs.”

- Wendy …

26: The Adjourney

January 22nd, 2021


What is the focus, is it grief plus change, or change plus grief?

This is the first episode of Season Two (technically, though, it’s 1.5), and Sonia Loredo Traviesa and I have a conversation about her work, as well as …

25: Irrational Thoughts

November 10th, 2020


What role does wonder have in grief? How do we change when grief affects us so young?

This is the last episode of Season One and I’ve chosen Surya …

24: Family Man

October 27th, 2020


How does who we are carry on from who our parents are? Christopher Williams’ dad, Donald, passed away suddenly when he was in his late thirties. In this episode, we talk about his dad, his family and upbringing, his …

23: Grief is a Shipwreck

October 20th, 2020


How might death shape us as compassionate and connected human beings, and how do we hold our community and allow our community to witness us during …

22: The Male Dynamic

September 29th, 2020


What role does our gender play in grief? Paul Sockett is from England and has been developing his career as a professional actor and performer for 15 …

21: Silver Linings Person

September 15th, 2020


As grievers, I think we can all relate to hearing something like, “At least they didn’t suffer,” or “Well, they had a good life.” These cringe-worthy …

20: Training Wheels

September 1st, 2020


What do you prioritize in life and why? In this episode, I interview Andrew Kaufteil, a marketing executive and friend of mine. When he lost his dad, he shifted his approach to prioritizing relationships over success …

19: Trauma, Grief, and Emotions

August 18th, 2020


What effect does trauma have on our bodies? How does grief fit in? Joie Seldon is a trainer, coach, and specialist in the field of Emotional Intelligence. In this episode, she talks about the type of parent loss and …

18: Loss is a Relief

August 4th, 2020


Can genetics determine our future? What do we do when permanent loss creates mixed feelings and outcomes? Saam Barringer explores some of these ideas and how losing his dad shaped how he parents his children today.

To …

17: Tending to Grief

July 21st, 2020


What does it mean to tend to our grief? Alica Forneret is a writer, facilitator, and Grief Guide who creates spaces for people to explore their grief. She is fiercely committed to making sure that we have more …

16: Uncovering Her Mom’s Narrative and Redefining Her Own

July 7th, 2020


How can we make sense of and reshape our narratives around loss when the loss is so formative? In this episode, I interview Christina Vo, a women's mentor and guide, about the experience of losing her mother at age 14, …

15: A Feeling of Completeness

June 23rd, 2020


When we die, what choices do we consciously make? How might we be guided through this major transition? Wendy Rolón’s background is in birth and end …

14: Living Every Year Like It's the Last

June 2nd, 2020


How can we make sense of tragedy? In this episode, I interview April Rinne, a public speaker, advisor, writer, and globetrotter. She advises, speaks, …

13: The Space to be Messy

May 26th, 2020


Grief is at an unprecedented level during Covid-19 and yet we are losing the normal in-person ways we grieve. How can we stay connected? Lennon Flowers is the co-founder of The Dinner Party, a platform for connecting …

12: Beyond the Bookends

May 19th, 2020


Grief is at an unprecedented level during Covid-19 and yet we are losing the normal in-person ways we grieve. What can we find from the spirit world to guide us during these times? And, what can we do to show our loved …

11: When Spirit Eats Beauty

May 12th, 2020


Grief is at an unprecedented level during Covid-19 and yet we are losing the normal in-person ways we grieve. How can we create connected ways to grieve? Siena Tenisci is a facilitator, or “grief tender,” of the Pacific …

10: Comfort in the Written Word

May 5th, 2020


Grief is at an unprecedented level during Covid-19 and yet we are losing the normal, social ways we grieve. What are some tools we can use to process …

09: Seeing Your Story in Others

April 28th, 2020


What is the value of hearing stories from others? In this episode, I interview Dara Kosberg, Director of Programming for Reimagine, who discusses art and connecting as ways to process her grief, her views on her …

08: Finding Our Response to Grief

April 14th, 2020


How should we respond to grief? In this episode, I interview Ken Breniman, a licensed yoga psychotherapist specializing in providing trauma-informed, …

07: Teachable Moments

March 31st, 2020


Is there anything that can teach us about loss? Sara Karbeling, as part of a close family, discusses how her father’s death helped her family understand death, how she learned that death is a part of life, and how she …

06: Best Friends

March 17th, 2020


This is a bonus episode, and it deviates from the format of what I’ve been producing so far. I have been operating mostly on pause due to travel to France and Spain, as well as dealing with the general fatigue of jet …

05: Legacy-Minded and Future-Oriented

March 3rd, 2020


When someone passes, how do we honor their legacy? Through doing or by being?

In this episode, I interview Dr. Haakon Faste, a design educator and …

04: A Part of the Family

February 18th, 2020


Does being adopted change our relationship to our parents?

In this episode, I interview Anne Marie, a social worker, about the experience of losing her mother and father, and how being adopted fits into her experience. …

02: Never Alone

January 21st, 2020


In our lives, what are the defining moments? How about who is in our life, our family or our friends? In this episode, I interview Benjamin Gunning, a leader at a global design firm who is also a nationally recognized …

01: Our Energetic Connection

January 7th, 2020


How do we stay connected after losing our loved ones? Ebony Carter, a yoga therapist and Assistant Director at the Healing WELL, talks about how she stays connected to her father, as well as the experience of losing her …

00: Why Grief? Why Now?

December 6th, 2019


My goal for this podcast is to share stories about parent loss and grief, so that we, as a community of peers, can move through life with our grief. I know you’ll find that these stories are as much about life as they …

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