Kevin Sousa is a Program Director and Ocean Therapist at the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation, as well as a therapist in private practice in Hermosa Beach, California. While we initially approached Kevin to learn more about the benefits of surf therapy and the work of the JMMF, we quickly learned that Kevin had his own story to tell about his path to sobriety, being present, and the importance of enjoying the wave you’re on right now.
Kevin shared with us his doctoral thesis, Soul Seeking: A Crossing, where he shares his journey from alcohol abuse and addiction to sobriety through the lens of training for the Catalina Classic, an annual 32-mile paddleboard marathon from Catalina Island to Manhattan Beach, CA. Kevin’s story is one of endurance, gratitude, and one of healing himself by helping others. Training for the Classic carried Kevin through the earliest and most difficult days of his path to sobriety. As a professional musician, building up his physical endurance to complete the race was only part of Kevin’s journey. Unleashing new found creativity, songwriting and performing, played a significant role in Kevin’s ability to confront and deal with his addictions.
We learn about the history and the work of the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation, one of the oldest surf therapy programs in the country, which provides surf therapy to “at-promise” youth, veterans through the Wounded Warrior battalion at Camp Pendleton, and most recently, first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We talk about a lot more than surfing. Kevin shares his views on meditation and how being mindful has helped him along his journey. “You can’t do it wrong,” he says.
Whether it’s meditating, writing music, performing, surfing. . . Kevin tells us that it’s all about putting yourself in situations where you have to stay engaged and stay present. Kevin’s message is one we can all learn from: focus on the present. “The perfect wave is the one you’re on.”
Episode Links and Resources:
Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation: https://jimmymillerfoundation.org/
Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race: https://catalinaclassicpaddleboardrace.com/race-info/
International Surf Therapy Foundation: https://intlsurftherapy.org/
Watch: Resurface https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8W1yvrPA-U
Listen: The Perfect Wave (original song by Kevin Sousa) https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-perfect-wave-acoustic-single/1569002326
Read: Blue Mind