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PODCAST: Trauma, Resilience, and Mindfulness with Constable Jon Carson

Updated: May 7


Veteran police officer and PTSD survivor who became a "mindful cop" managing crisis interventions training, communications, and recruit training for the York Regional Authority police department in Ontario, Canada, Constable Jon Carson (ret.) discusses his "train before the trauma," approach and the mindfulness-based resiliency training (MBRT) programs he conducts for first responders. The traumatic event that turned his life upside down and drew him towards the world of mindfulness and self-awareness. How first responders can mitigate the pain and trauma resulting from tragic experiences by preparing themselves mentally and physically before any such event. His simple but powerful strategy of ‘recognizing breath’ for leading a mindful life and appreciating life every step of the way.

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Trauma, Resilience, and Mindfulness Transcript


Richard Goerling: 

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another day of Session 2 - Mental Health and Resilience of the Global First Responder Resilience Summit. My name is Richard Goerling and I'll be your cohost today. And today's theme is Mental Health and Resilience. And I'm here today with Jon Carson, and I'm going to read Jon's bio just to give a little background on who Jon is. 

So, as a police officer Jon Carson is no stranger to tough situations or emotionally disturbing experiences. However, in 2009, Jon encountered an extremely traumatic call. He was diagnosed with PTSD and spent the initial phases of his diagnosis self-medicating. It was not until 2013 when he took an opportunity to look at things differently using mindfulness practices to prevent trauma from taking its toll. By doing this, Jon realized the importance of being self-aware and explores the importance of training before the trauma. 

So Jon, welcome. It's really great to be here and full disclosure. For the audience, Jon is a good friend of mine. I've known Jon for years and admired Jon for years, and really excited here Jon to talk about your story and see if we can maybe illuminate some grit and authenticity for folks listening who might have a similar experience and might find some value in your path. 


Jon Carson: 

I'm very grateful. Thank you, Rich. Just to be sitting there, obviously I'd love to be sitting in person with you but via the electronic world to see you again and what you've meant to not only my career but my life and this pathway, in this journey of mindfulness and resiliency building, and you've been an integral part of that so I'm grateful for our friendship and this opportunity to have a little chat. So, I appreciate, thank you. 


Richard Goerling: 

Yeah, thanks Jon, really great to be here with you, man. So, let's start out with maybe just a real generic ask. Can you just tell us about your path? What are you going to share? 


Jon Carson: 

Yeah, so for me, I started my career policing in a small town in northern Ontario that kind of borders the American Sault Ste Michigan, Sault Ste. Marie Ontario kind of thing and I policed there for probably four or five years and moved my way to the southern Ontario for various reasons in the summer of 2005. Worked at various capacities, different units. 

And it was in 2009 I was back on general patrol, I’ve just done a stint in our traffic unit and intelligence unit. And I got a call one morning and if I can insist a citizen -- it was like medical assist to help the fire department, it was come across as a miscarriage. And we all have been there and I can probably recite to you what that event was in my head and how I would show up and firefighters would wave you off and you'd be driving away, and it didn't turn out like that. 


And without going into a lot of details which I really, really don't talk about anymore, it resulted in the death of a newborn child and that myself and two paramedics and some other police officers had performed CPR on. Brought back once and ultimately went VFA or vital funds absence again. And it kind of changed the trajectory of not only my life but my career and just how I viewed the [incomprehensible] world. 


And I started to experience a lot of trouble afterwards. Things that I normally probably would have been able to kind of let it roll off my back, this particular event, I couldn't. And I think the precipitating event is I had a young baby at home that was 18 months at the time, and I remember going home and just being like a puddle and not being able to like comprehend anything. I'm like, why am I having all this, not being able to sleep and having nightmares, like nothing had ever really, really touched me in this way. I went a better part of the time just kind of numbing myself self-medicating. I will change areas in the policing world, my unit, like go to a different unit. And guess what, the crap was still following me. 


And ultimately I sought some help, I was diagnosed with PTSD shortly after the event, but I think I do what most first responders with the stigma built around mental illness and stress injuries. I got to about a fifth or sixth session with a psychologist and I was like, I’m good. But we all know that when you get to those sessions and shortly thereafter, that's when you start to do the real work. And I kind of was on this pathway and kind of diving in and out of like trying to hide this from coworkers. 


And it really wasn't until 2013 I was like, I spent a better part of four years medicating myself with booze and alcohol and kind of trying to seek out help but kind of doing it in such a way that I wasn't being noticed, like, go see a psychologist or a therapist. 


I got really involved with one psychotherapist, he’s a good friend of mine Daylesford who had men's group so I got really, really involved with those and I found it very beneficial to be around other people that had experienced some of the things that I had experienced, not just from an emergency service culture but just from a man's perspective, because I think a lot of times men just try and suck down the big sandwich [distortion] that we all are looking at and so Dayle really, really helped me. 


And I think some of the other pieces to that were the fall of 2013 where I'll give you a little plug in, I saw you sitting cross legged on a magazine and we have had conversations, some of the drama that centered around that picture that you took, but that was really kind of setting me on a path that to heal myself, I had to go internal. The external world, as much as it's nice to sit there, I had to start looking deep inside. 


And I kind of became -- and I always classically refer to when I do my talks with a closet meditator we had like rooms in our police building where I would kind of go and barricade myself in, to use that term loosely, ‘barricade’, but just so I could sit and be with the one person that I hated being with the most, which was myself. 


Richard Goerling: 

Thank you for responding to that open question and it's really great to lay some groundwork for your experience. One of the things I think that I'm particularly interested in is normalizing this experience you had with not just one traumatic incident, but chronic occupational stress and acute trauma that occurred, and perhaps even in situations that you're not talking about now, right? 


And so maybe we could go back to your self-medicating, and without being detailed, how would you describe just the narrative in your head at that time? What sort of conversations were you having with yourself about yourself and about your experience? 


Jon Carson: 

Yeah, I think a lot of it was centered around, there was something wrong with me, because this physiological response that I'm having to the stimulus of the events that took place didn't match up to the stories I have been told or have told myself of what a police officer is supposed to be. And I think that plays a large piece inside someone's head as they navigate the challenges of the stress injuries. 


And I think there's little sub conversation, micro conversations that take place in there and then you start to, you know, is my self-worth in there, is what I'm doing for my family good enough, and all these little things. And really when it comes to like the self-medicating part it's just kind of to numb that, for lack of a better term, like it's just to kind of cut you off so you don't have to listen to those voices that kind of odd that might sound but the internal narrative that you keep kind of telling yourself about this event and that may be how you've responded or reacted to it is in the right way. 


Because again, I think we've been told this false narrative, and not just policing but all of emergency services as well -- forget that, all of human concepts within this world that you're supposed to feel a certain way. And I think it was a really, really big battle with myself in that self-medicating phase that I'll call it, that I was at struggle with myself and my own identity of who I was as a person and as a human being, and ultimately as a police officer moving forward into a career that up until that point had been quite rewarding. Right? 


Richard Goerling: 

Yeah, thank you, Jon. This inner narrative I think is one of the most interesting places for us to confront occupational stress and trauma. And what you've described is, it's consistent with I think what I've experienced, what I've observed in this space of emergency services where this ideal culture frames this ideal of here's what it's like to be this really strong first responder. 


And then you add some really gender distortion to that too, you know, this hyper masculine culture, so now you add gender identity to it which is just entirely distorted. And we're trying to live up to this expectation that we can go to these acutely traumatic radio calls time and time again, combine that with just the chronic stressors. And somehow in the shift, put our civilian clothes on and go home and it’s as if nothing ever happened. 


And what happens I think Jon is what happened to you into this space of measuring yourself against that ideal, and it creates all kinds of inner critical negative thinking and then we know this about just how the human brain works and default mode network and all sorts of interesting neuroscience there. But practically, you wrestled with that for quite some time. When did you feel like you were able to confront that inner narrative and move inward to really do that deep inner work to be able to retrain that narrative? 


Jon Carson: 

So, it's interesting, and I think I mentioned like in fall of 2013 I read your story, I see that thing, I kind of start scratching the surface of it. And I'm very experimental kind of dude to begin with. I kind of like playing these social science experiments. So I actually I had just transferred into our training academy and I was put in charge of our, as funny as it may sound, our mental health area, crisis intervention, mental health course. And then I was really looking at it and going, I'm going to change this up. 


So I was kind of taking some of those own self experiences I was having with meditation and I was kind of intertwining it into our crisis intervention programs without really telling anybody that I was doing mindfulness. And I kind of just did like a self-study kind of from my own research, and it wasn't until that I kind of really realized that I was onto something was, I think we go to like the fall of 2014. 


And during the summer 2014 I've been really, really vocal, I've been part of some PTSD tours, awareness tours here in Canada and speaking very publicly about my story. All the while I think I was re-harming myself to a certain extent as well because I keep reliving these things. But it wasn't until September, a little bit around that time of 2014, or September ‘13 I was running a charity baseball tournament for a friend of mine who was murdered on the job, and I was hurt. I ended up getting a concussion. And in that concussion, I ended up being a neurosurgeon. 


And so I've had a history of concussions in my lifetime, I have had about seven or eight, some documented, some not documented. But he gave me permission. He gave me permission to use holistic practices to help treat my inner injury. And the three things that you've described to me was like fish oil like once a day, I want you to go see this acupuncturist specialist if you want to stimulate blood flow, and I want you to meditate an hour a day. And I was like, holy crap. Like, Doctor, I've been doing this but I didn't know -- and he started telling me about all the benefits of actually taking inner holistic practices to actually dive into your own stuff. 


But it was amazing, so I was off work for about a week and I started doing it, and I was probably back to work within about two weeks, like we're talking when I was knocked out. I was knocked out for about nine hours, woke up in the CT scan machine, like the doctors there and people were looking at me and going, this doesn't look good. And I was back to work within about two weeks of taking those holistic practices. 


And you and I had been talking throughout the summer and I've been trying like how do you introduce this thing. I know you guys were just starting to do some initial research but I know you had – we met in Hillsboro, you had a little conference going on and I had been given approval to go and then this accident took place, and I was telling the neurologist about it, and he's like no I'm signing off for you to go, you got to go listen to this, like I'm telling you, you got to go listen to this. It's that pathway of here it is, I'm telling myself this story that maybe I'm unworthy, the practices I'm doing, and just give me like the pain medication to deal with the ball that I'm in. 


But then I was reaffirmed by this neurologist, then we go out west and it's reaffirmed by you and all the amazing people at Pacific University and all the people that were talking to you out there and then it just kind of snowballed from there, that you’re truly giving yourself an opportunity you can start to manage some of those internal narratives that you tell yourself about the impact of the trauma within your culture. 


Richard Goerling: 

Yeah, thank you Jon. Listening to you, it just really strikes me that you found yourself on a path to begin to work with that comparison that you had between this unrealistic ideal and your own experience and you started doing your own work. And you started doing that on your own. Right? And then you have this, we'll call it the gift of baseball, this concussion that brought you to this neurologist who validated what you were doing. 


And it's interesting to me that you had to have another injury and an external interventionist to validate your own journey. And we can have a long conversation and maybe we'll bookmark this for later in our talk today, but we can have a long conversation about just how that represents systems failures, institutional failures. Right? But I want to come back to just the critical component that you've described and that is integrated medicine, and how important that is and how it validated your practice. Do you have any thoughts around integrated medicine for first responders who might be listening to us? 


Jon Carson: 

I come back to this story that I had, I thought of doing my meditation and mindfulness training with the University of Toronto, their applied mindfulness meditation program. And I remember being on lunch with this amazing person, Dr. Ellen Choi who is really, really good friend of mine. She's in the research and she asked this question, she's like 

so how does the cop -- like, she didn't want to know how I came to mindfulness, but she wanted to know how do you continue to go down this holistic pathway. And she's like what are your thoughts around it? 


And I'll never forget it because I was like, it’s like everything that you've been told for 30 some odd years is complete and utter bullshit. It's all these dogmatic principles that you've been given to help deal with pain and how your body is reacting or responding to events that you can help mitigate or manage those symptoms or that symptomology with self-awareness. 


And again, I'm not advocating that people don't listen to their doctors and stuff like that, but I think there is a conversation to be had about how holistic practices in a very broad term can help you start to navigate some of the pathways to healing. And that's kind of where I came up with that thing, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, but training before the trauma, right? So, what is it eternally the preparation that I'm doing to take the quote from the US military book, the ‘Left of Bang’, like what is that preparation prior to that bang. And I think these practices can help us, because we all know that the bang is coming. 


Like we just finished watching the 20-year anniversary of 9/11. Like, that's a very big macro, but we have micro events, we have like little tiny paper cuts that happen every day. So what is your preparation prior to those events taking place? And I think with all the training that we do and rehearsing of things, I think the foundational piece is you can actually help yourself beforehand before even experiencing any of those events by doing some of these practices, these holistic approaches to self-care, to use some other terminology that's been thrown around a lot in mindfulness, you can actually start to kind of navigate those pathways even before they take place. 


And then there's the post bang like what did your effective preparation lead to after that big event took place or that minor event. And in my case, there was this event with this child and as I look back on it, I had never been trained, I had never been told, I had never been told what to do with the aftereffects. And I think just starting slowly by, to give you an example, recognize yourself breathing. What does your breathing look like? And then build from there. 


Like, after my last concussion the doctor wouldn't clear me to workout. And then when I finally was able to workout, I started with one pushup a day. So again, it's just some awareness. There are different methods that I'm sure will be talked about throughout this week of this conference like it’s simply recognizing what your breath is and where it's at. Because there's some interesting thing that you'll start to discover and identify whether you do it, or whether you're not doing it, and it's just simple breath work. 


Richard Goerling: 

Yeah, thanks Jon. I really love how you frame this notion of training before the trauma and then training in the recovery of the injury and post injury, really doing the deep personal work that is necessary that as you described is not easy. It's not easy to do that deep inner work. 


So, talk to me about mindfulness, and how mindfulness has shaped your journey, your journey to recovery and resilience. And, yeah, think about the first responders listening who might be in that space of trauma injury, or just right before that space of trauma injury, what do you have to say to them about mindfulness? 


Jon Carson: 

I will be completely honest, without these practices and without stuff that I've learned from great practitioners such as yourself and other people that I've met along the way, I wouldn't be sitting here. I probably would be one of those statistics that probably would have ventured down the path of self-destructing. And in many ways I think I did self-destruct to come out better on the other side of it. 


For me, mindfulness has just been about really self-awareness, and what does my self-awareness dictate to me throughout the day. And I used to be very, very reactionary on things, so it's even changed how I approach simple mishaps through the day; traffic jams and all these things. I look to mindfulness as most of the things around my environment are my teachers and give me the ability to look inward to see why my ears are getting bright red and my face is getting deep red to understanding that it's not all rainbows and unicorns, like they say, right? 


And I think people have this misnomer about mindfulness being like the catch all thing to save you. It's not. It's a tool that you can use to help navigate you down those pathways when we can all say most first responders that are listening to us that most days are complete, utter chaotic, caustic work environments whether it’s internal or external. And what I really found with just doing simple breath work I was able to lower heart rate, lower my inability to respond effectively. 

 

And really what mindfulness has given me is the ability to in everyday life, not just policing, like we're so beyond just talking about this in such a micro fashion, this is a macro where we're thinking about everything that takes place in your world. And I have two kids. Most days they are driving me up the wall because they’ve got a million questions. 


But what mindfulness has given me is to see things through a different lens to help them navigate the challenges of life, right? And we've all been in the lockdown and I'm sure for those that have had kids at home during lockdown it has been challenging. But the one thing that I've really, really worked on with my boys is just tell me how you feel, not about what you did. What's the feeling that you have because this event took place? And then the conversations that spurn off from that. But that only comes with self-awareness. 


And it was when I introduced it into crisis intervention, and myself and Daylesford had created a de-escalation model. Self-awareness leads to self regulation, which leads to co-regulation of the person that is in crisis. And I really take that kind of approach in most days because the cashier at the Walmart or wherever we're at or whatever the story is that’s having a rough day, if she sees that I'm not getting upset, maybe that will help mitigate her internal physiological response to the stressful event of the price not showing up properly at the till. 


So really, it's just about doing the breath work. And again, I think a lot of people and this is one of the things that was kind of dispelled when I first met you was like, you think I [inaudible] on a -- and there was some memes of me floating around on clouds and stuff like that, and it's not like that at all. Like, I do a lot of in-the-moment meditation where I'm just like, hey, you feel it. For me, I feel it in my chest and my shoulders. That's the cue. Like, that's a cue to enact the things that I know to help me navigate that challenging event. And the challenging event could just be, I'm stuck in traffic. I'm waiting in line, especially during COVID, at the grocery store, right? Like it just helps you put down the defense mechanisms, not in a bad way, to recognize that it's just a fleeting moment. That event is just a little speck of dust in the grand scheme of the picture. And when you get upset about a particular event, how that derails you from all of these other wonderful things that are going on in your life. It's been pretty rough, I've gone through some pretty insane shit in last ten years and I'm still sitting here. 


I'll be honest, it saved my life, and my focus, it narrowed down to one particular practice. I was trying to be mindful every day and as a man I try to be better than I was yesterday. And I've taken that from some sports teams out there that utilize these practices and just be better than you were yesterday. Right? 


Richard Goerling: Yes great, Jon. Thank you. I want to highlight a couple of things you said, one is self-awareness. And really the practice of mindfulness is about self awareness. And what that leads to is self-regulation. And so it's this awareness of what we're experiencing and the self-regulation that follows, and that is key. I mean it's huge. If we can self-regulate in the middle of a crisis, we can perform skillfully. 


And in the de-escalation training you framed it self-awareness, self-regulation, co-regulation. And so now we're talking about how we perform in relation to other human beings. How we can co-regulate, and how we can work and be attuned to others and so really we're sharpening on one hand our emotional intelligence skill set or social intelligence skill set, our ability to show up and be that warrior humanitarian that is a first responder and to do that skillfully. 


And in the self-awareness too, as you've described Jon is recognizing when we're in states of dysregulation as a result of a trauma injury or stress injury and being able to hold some self-compassion for that to know that it's normal kind of like what we talked about early on in our conversation, that this inner critic of self-defeating, self-deprecating, there's something wrong with me, if I was only as strong as this other person I wouldn't feel this way. 


All of that nonsense that shows up in the wake of a stress injury can have a really deep negative impact and exacerbate the injury, prolong the injury. And what I hear you saying in your description of your own journey is that you sort of been around on that narrative and confronted and worked with. 


And along with that intervention, integrated medicine, and as you've mentioned psychotherapy, mindfulness is a really helpful tool to navigate that inner journey. And so, the question that I have – so thanks for letting me go through all that – the question that I have is, how would you describe mindfulness to the first responders listening? 


Jon Carson: 

I know it's been defined in many different ways by far greater people than myself, so I can acknowledge that. It’s about being here. I struggled with my mental illness of allowing that event to be my life's narrative. And I find most emergency service workers are really, really good at sticking themselves in the ship in mud, and the whole of what that looks like. And I think a lot of times we project or are trying to achieve or attach ourselves to something future down the road. 


And what I used to teach police recruits is, this is all you got. And a conversation usually pops up around controlling situations and events, and I quickly don't agree with them. We don't have control. As police officers we manage scenes and we manage events, and for mindfulness to not only take place there but in my home life and with my kids, I need to be present. So I need to stop distracting myself with all these external noises that take me away from what my true definition of mindfulness is, is this moment right here and right now. 


You and I both have a bazillion things going on in our lives, but I know that when I'm with you, I'm getting rich, and vice versa. Whereas I think sometimes when we're talking to people that we work with or family members, there's all this other stuff that's taking place. And I think for me, mindfulness is just being right here right now. I think it helps me to avoid going back to those traps of my past and helps me stay away from the far-off horizon of what my future might hold. And to live in this moment, is it perfect? No? Do I get distracted? 100%. Am I [inaudible] Not a chance. But it allows me to be here. 

And I think most importantly the path that I've taken has allowed me to break some claims of historical trauma that was placed within my family, so that my boys aren't carrying around with them for the rest of their lives. And again, as a dad I'm ever evolving, and mindfulness is a big part of me evolving as a man to reduce the stigma around. It’s okay, son, you can cry, like it's okay. I'm not going to judge you, I'm going to hold space for you, I'm going to sit here and be with you and it's truly about being with them in that moment. 


Richard Goerling: 

Yeah, that's beautiful, Jon. I hear you describe it as this remarkable skill of humanity, the skill of self-awareness, of self-compassion, of self-regulation that you've embodied, and so it's part of this journey that you're on. It was part of your journey to recovery and healing and post traumatic growth, and now it's part of your journey as a dad, it’s part of your journey is -- well I'm gonna ask about like, what are you doing now but it's part of this journey of this work that you're doing now. And so, yeah, that's exciting. Thank you for describing that. Maybe just a real short comment on what mindfulness is not. What isn't it? 


Jon Carson: 

It’s not Buddhism. I've had that thrown in my face so many times, it isn't religion. It is not going to be the answer to everything. And I think as a Western culture we believe that medication and all these things just that alone will help save you. It is not easy. It is not going to be easy. 

 

Again, sitting in a position wherever you're at and just giving yourself some time, it’s not an easy pathway. And I think there's a lot of ways this has been sold to organization that isn't true to what this actually is. It's work. It's work every day. And I think that people think that mindfulness is -- it used to be funny because that someone say to me, [inaudible] get upset with them well, this must be mindfulness. And I’m like, that's not the point. Like, I'm still allowed to be a human being and acknowledge that I'm angry or upset about something, not to be turned in a way where I'm going to go and sit and become all [inaudible] because it's just not going to happen. 


So it's this misnomer of like what people believe this really is. And again, it's not easy. It's not going to be easy. And I think it gets sold quite a bit, and I think this could boil into a conversation about organizational leadership and how they think that by enacting little things here and there helps their members and then they sit back and go why this isn’t working. Because work; and if you don't have faith validity, psychological safety, all the things that are encompassed with doing this work, then it's not just going to get the results that you're looking for, right? 


Richard Goerling: 

Yeah. But thank you for that, Jon. So, wrapping up, I want to ask you if you can share with us what you're doing now. So you spent 21 years in police service, you retired, you're starting kind of a new chapter in your journey. So tell us about it. 


Jon Carson:

Yeah. And again, just to kind of build on that this isn't easy work. In the summer of 2018, I was away on vacation and I'm unfortunately in a situation where I had a three-year-old boy die beside us at a hospital, sent me down another spiral. I was able to kind of catch it. Went off work, spent better part of last two and a half, three years really trying to get myself back not only with this mindfulness but with my psychologist. 

And I strongly encourage people to engage members if you have benefits, get in and get yourself a baseline. I tell my police recruits all the time go get a baseline of where you're at so you know now when something bad happens where you can kind of come back to. So right now, I took a medical retirement, I’m going back to school. I have this inquisitive mind, and it was something that always kind of spurned up when I was doing mindfulness is people always wanted to quantify it. 


So I've been doing some data analytics and business analysis, and then I just enrolled in a post grad Research Analyst course to help me navigate some of that research that I definitely want to get into in the mental health world and in the business world. But on top of that I've also had hobbies where I'm kind of helping out in the baseball world with as an associate scout which just basically means they don't pay you, and you get to go and watch baseball and evaluate players, and the Philadelphia Phillies organization has been absolutely phenomenal with me. 


So I've been able to do that, and hopefully one day down the road I'll be able to take some of these skills that I've learned here and help young athletes navigate the challenges that they're facing. I think I mentioned when we started, I haven't talked publicly in almost three years and the last thing I did was a TED talk that I did and I spoke to one of the judges here that was doing a report on policing and creating change, and I just stopped, and then with this opportunity I found out it was going to be you. I said this is full circle. So for that I'm very grateful for the opportunity to speak with you and take a few minutes here to explain my journey, my story and hopefully it helps and touches somebody out there that will wind up there. 


But I see myself in the next few years doing some research, may be come and do some guest spots with you at some of your [inaudible] and supporting you, my friend, in your endeavors to help you spread the work I think that needs to be acknowledged as much as you're here questioning and talking to me I think the work that you've done has helped pave the pathway for a lot of stuff that is taking place within the emergency services world. 

 

We may not see the shade of the tree for the seeds that we’ve planted but hopefully one day we'll get to a spot where this won't be viewed upon as such a stigma dealing with mental illness, and resiliency strategies will become the norm and not something that bosses fight because they don't want to spend money on it or invest time and effort into it. 


Richard Goerling: 

Yeah, thank you, Jon. I just want to acknowledge that you are a pioneer in mindfulness and policing, and maybe even deeper than that, right? You're this pioneer is someone who shows up with authenticity and courage just to have a frank, practical and tactical conversation about what's broken about our attitudes and our actions around occupational stress and trauma particularly trauma injury. So, thank you for that. It's a privilege to call you a friend and I look forward to doing that research with you. 


One final question, and it's about one thing I've learned. And one thing I've learned is to cultivate resilience and practice resilience, and it's a practice it's not some place we get to as you well know. Intentionally creating and finding joy in our lives is mandatory. And so the question is, what brings you joy? 


Jon Carson: 

It’s a good question. I’ll probably get all teary eyed on that one. It's funny that I took my boys and I went to this amusement park just close by yesterday. Needless to say this year has been tough on everybody. But I couldn't help but sit there yesterday and see my boys having fun, which brought me joy. I put the phone away, I wasn't answering emails, I wasn’t answering calls. 


And I think it's just those little moments I think that I are so fleeting and common goals so that is one example, the drive into school. I kind of moved on to the outskirts of town so I’m in a little bit of a farming community so I have about 20, 25 minutes with my kids in the car. My oldest has gone off to high school, so it's just that joy you find in those everyday little moments that I think probably up until five or six years ago didn't exist because I was constantly distracted by stuff that just didn’t matter. 


So, for me joy is the little moments that I think we sometimes don't pay attention to that maybe don't exist anymore after that moment is gone and passed. 


Richard Goerling: 

Yeah, it's beautiful, Jon. Thank you so much. And thank you for your time here in this interview, and again just acknowledge that you just are a fantastic inspiration for first responders that are paying attention to this, that you can move through injury and do the really difficult work and seek the necessary interventions, so integrated medicine, psychotherapy, seeking joy, relationships, all these things. And you can embody this practice of mindfulness and this practice of resilience, so thank you for continuing to be that example, and I look forward to a time when we can meet up on the ballfield. 


Jon Carson: 

Yeah. I look forward to it, and I think the thing that has pushed me through all this and just my final word is on the other side of that door, as much as you're probably gonna get bloodied and battered and beat by it but when you get through it on to the other side and you look there is a huge piece of sunshine, sunrise, sunset sitting, just the beauty of life is sitting on the other side of that work that will be hard but the other side of it is something else to behold, and to your point, it brings you joy, right? 


Richard Goerling: 

Yeah. Right on, man. Thanks again, Jon, great to be here. Take care. 


Jon Carson: 

Thank you. Take care.

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