Thursday, May 18, 2017


Emotions are contagious.   "You can catch a mood, just like a cold," says Marco Iacoboni, M.D.,  author of Mirroring People: the Science of Empathy: How We Connect with Others.   When you watch a person doing something, the mirror neurons in your brain are activated, even if you're not doing anything yourself. So if you see someone smile, your mirror neurons  for smiling fire up, whether or not you're in a good mood.   "Spend time with happy people and you'll eventually feel happier yourself," Dr. Iacoboni says.

Monday, May 15, 2017

EPIS - Visual Therapeutic Recreation

Of course it is a "touch more real" in person!  Awesome to experience the blooming of these plants!  On  The note about these plants is that they are a form of succulent and are VERY EASY TO GROW!  They do their own thing!  They take water once a week or every two weeks in the winter.

These pics are from the Epiphylyllum Society of San Diego's Mother Day Sale.

Epiphylums come in a wide variety of colors; some (mine) flower only for one night.  Many of the colored Epis flower during the day and stay around for 4 or 5 days.

Theme was from up in space.

Sunday, May 7, 2017


Every so often, this Gray Matters blog turns to The Ocean Matters, so I can express my heart to you.

I want you to please understand what is happening to the dolphin and whales (as well as all marine mammals) under water.

Also, please read the next below,
where I reveal my experience while sea-kayaking
with a baby whale
in the La Jolla waters,
out past the caves...


Cetacean Advocacy

- Low Frequency Active Sonar causes brain injury to sea mammals

  (These photos are not of Heidi, but were chosen 
so you could imagine her experience.)

The intention of this letter is to increase awareness of the devastating health risks that whales and all sea mammals are facing due to Noise Pollution and powerful sonar sound waves.  My experience with an injured whale deeply saddens me.  I have been a kayaker for about 20 years.  On November 2014, I went on a paddle with two fellow sea-kayakers.  We put in at La Jolla Shores and paddled out past the caves.  A whale surfaced about 30 feet from my boat.  It was a baby.  It was alone.  It swam right up next to my boat.  I could see the barnacles on its back.  She (or he) stayed relatively close, giving us some time to admire her.  Yet her mother was nowhere around.  What could cause a mother whale to separate from her young?

It is not new news - sonar has been used in California waters by the Navy, for quite some time.  I recently found out that most, if not all Navy ships have sonar-firing capabilities!  Sonar uses very powerful sound waves that can damage whale and dolphin’s hearing and brains.  I can explain to you a little about brain injury, because this is my field (   Whales and dolphins being injured by sonar can be compared to soldiers being injured by blasts from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).  Sonar has caused whales to hemorrhage (or to bleed) around their ears.  Their hearing is essential for survival; when their hearing goes, they are mortally disabled.  I feel an ache in my heart for their disability.   Their hearing being blasted by sonar, threatens their survival; mothers get separated from their babies!

I am sharing this because all those above water need to know about the condition of the ocean environment in which the sea mammals exist.   They are traumatized by screeching loud noise under water.  I looked at that baby whale with no mom’s love or support and I felt what s/he was going through.  He was fully disoriented.  I have seen people disoriented from a brain injury.  I know what they go through.  I have experienced it myself.  When the baby whale went underwater, we paddled on for about half an hour around the cove and then paddled back (one hour total) and when we returned, the whale was still there!  It was still alone and notably DISORIENTED!!!

I am writing to advocate for the whales and dolphins.  I hope to educate about the devastating effect of sonar on the brains of sea mammals.  For more information about the effects of noise and its impact under water, see

The Ocean Matters!

Heidi Lerner

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Gray Matters
Brain Injury: The Inside Perspective

Brain injury refigures a person’s reality. Though physically, you may not be able to discern that this person has survived a brain injury, in the unseen world, this person is not a mirror reflection of you.    It is not easy to understand how a survivor’s world is different, without the right guidance.  Survivors are often misread and not understood. Their world is re-assembled; and of course, many dynamics are problematic, yet survivors usually become more genuine people.   Gray Matters is aimed at giving you the personal sense of what it is like to walk in the shoes of a brain injury survivor, so you can understand for yourself what type of personal alterations take place after going through a brain injury.
The lack of personal discernment and sensitivity regarding survivors of brain injury is what stirred me to write Gray Matters.  When others treat survivors with lack of consideration, or even look down at them for what they’re not able to do (like follow conversation or remember what was just said - and the list goes on...), this indignation drives survivors further into isolation or depression.  With Gray Matters, I am looking to familiarize my readers with what it is like to go from abled to disabled and the all-inclusive effects of brain injury, because “Knowledge births tolerance and acceptance. For survivors deserve to be granted their peace!”
The very first poem I wrote about brain injury (see below) provoked such inner reflection, that I was inspired to keep writing.  Finally, it became evident that I was writing a book. My intent is to give my readers a personal feeling, not just a cognitive library.  Yet if I use any clinical terms, definitions can be found in the glossary and other references can also be found in the bibliography; the aim is to target people to learn about brain injury.  The purpose is to present a new, uncomplicated method of understanding what happens when our brain is injured.

I am writing this just for you,

Because I intend to give you a clue,

My poetry comes from my own inner construct,
I give you markings so you can at least draw dot to dot,

I want to personally disclose this to you,
Because I want you to better understand what I speak to,

I’ve been through some life experiences that do awaken,
Well, I’ve had my noggin shaken,

That is a Traumatic Brain Injury,
And I want you to discern what it does to me,

Cerebral bruising, tearing, bleeding & swelling,
Not just mental impairments, there’s much more to be telling,

I’ll translate this into real life,
So you can understand my neurological strife.

I want you to better see,
So you can more competently talk with someone like me,

I’m not going to be playing the cosmic trickster,
I want to point you to the holistic picture,

I’m going to communicate what I can,
So people with brain injuries you can better understand -

I talk straight from the heart in my chatter,
I say this to you, because GRAY MATTERS!

Read Gray Matters and delve into the Inside Perspective of Brain Injury.  Come to know the importance of hope, support, love, faith and a good attitude!
  Survivors can gain a more complete understanding of their injury and of themselves; I have been told that reading Gray Matters has helped many to cope.   Friends and family can gain a better understanding of their loved one’s condition and how they can proactively interact. Gray Matters is uplifting and inspiring; it contains many gems!  Soak it in!