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Let It In with Guy Lawrence

The Capacity Of The Heart: In Memory Of Justine Ruszczyk Damond | Don Damond

Nov 8, 2022

#235 Loss affects every area of our life. Whether we lose a loved one to death or divorce, or experience challenges financially, physically, emotionally, or spiritually, we can find ourselves struggling, questioning, confused, not realizing that instead of “going crazy,” we are simply grieving. What can we do to ensure that we honor the losses, grieve in meaningful ways, and yet live our lives with meaning and purpose, even joy? 

In this episode, I will bring on a very dear friend, Don Damond, to help us answer that question. In 2017, Don’s life was torn apart by the tragic killing of his fiancee, Justine Ruszczyk Damond, at the hands of Minneapolis Police. Justine called 911 to assist someone she thought was being assaulted and, instead, ended up becoming a victim herself. While standing in her alley, barefoot and in pajamas, she was shot and killed by a police officer. 

That loss led Don down a very difficult path, but her memory ended up becoming his guide through the tragedy. He learned so much about love, resiliency, the human spirit and healing. Since then, he has been working tirelessly to make sure Justine’s death leads to real public safety reforms, and so far so good, because there have been some really positive changes in their city. 

By sharing his story with you, Don hopes that you will be inspired to start “the next chapter” of your beautiful life beyond the trauma of grief as you engage in deeper self-exploration and bring greater purpose and meaning out of the losses in your life so you can live intentionally and with joy. He will highlight several action steps that you can take including appreciating life, building a relationship with yourself and others, personal strength, new possibilities, and spiritual development, which are all vital to helping you heal. I hope our conversation will mean as much to you as it did to me. Enjoy!

About Don: Don Damond is enrolled with the Iroquois band of Oneida First Nations. He passionately worked for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, running their casino resort operations for 29 years. He is passionate about conscious leadership and leading with care, presence and love. He recently stepped away from that amazing career to step toward purpose.

He teaches meditation to incarcerated men and juveniles, knowing these teachings can reduce stress and anxiety and ultimately help these men create a different life. Don has led men's groups for several years and recently stepped into using ancient sacred plant medicines in sacred circles. Don teaches a weekly meditation course called High Vibe Tribe and he can be reached at for more information.

Key Points Discussed: 

  • From Loss To Life: In Memory Of Justine Ruszczyk Damond (00:00)
  • Stepping away from doing to focus on “being” (01:05)
  • The meditation that led to the love of his life (05:12)
  • Experiencing the magical energy of love (10:48)
  • Horrible tragedy that tore his life apart (16:00)
  • Dealing with the sadness and grief of his loss. (26:45)
  • Stepping away from the global attention that surrounded his fiancee’s murder. (32:5)
  • Love is never lost: Discovering what forgiveness really is and the beauty that came with it. (35:00)
  • Trying to work on taking meditation to the police force to help them emotion regulation. (40:52)
  • The heart’s unlimited capacity to love despite the pain and trauma we experience in life. (43:29)
  • How he surrendered to his heart’s journey. (58:30)
  • From the darkness of loss to stepping into his amazing evolution. (1:04:42)
  • Experiencing healing that spreads to generations before and after. (1:08:47)
  • Using our pain to ascend, evolve, and grow. (1:16:00)
  • On a mission to heal the police and his community with breathwork, mindfulness, and other traditional practices. (1:24:00)
  • The value of being in community with loving people and embracing ancient practices that will help you heal. (1:30:45)

How to Contact Don Damond:

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