I have begun to settle into a sustainable role of practicing and teaching. What was missing from my own practice has been filled by the mindfulness class I described in my last post and a civilian mindfulness class on Monday's.
So each week, from Thursday to Thursday, I use my experiences to guide my Thursday post.
Last Saturday I sat in on a staff meeting at The Mindfulness Center in Bethesda, Maryland. I feel very loyal to this non profit organization because they gave me my first opportunity to teach.
As a 501c3 The Mindfulness Center can apply for grants and as per that last meeting they have applied for a grant to teach mindfulness techniques to veterans......for free!
If they receive approval, the classes will begin the June!
This gives me time to prepare them and you for training......ya'll know why you need training, but them......what do they need training for.
Headlines like the one below (Hidden Wounds Backlog Military) reinforce two narratives.
A narrative is a framework of opinion that promotes a particular understanding of the way things are and or should be. The two narratives surrounding these "hidden wounds" strike fear in both the SMBR(service member) and the civilian.
For the SMBR the narrative goes something like this, if I can't see it and you can't see it but it is killing me then I just gotta be tougher.
For the civilian the narrative goes something like this, I wanna help but veterans are trained killers, I don't understand what they have been through and what if I say or do something that sets one off?
Over the past week these two narratives kept showing up.
This article was on the Veterans Affairs blog. It describes a misguided approach by mainstream media when dealing with veterans.
This Blog Post on the Mil Blog, The Madness of the Combat Medic, describes in great detail how far off most civilian understandings of combat really are.
All this is to reiterate the fact that there are a lot of forces at play here and I see it as my mission to help get everybody ready by the summer.
I saw this display of the Star Spangled Banner on my way out of class this morning. Land of the Free home of the Brave. Makes you smile doesn't it?
Class was great today. I got in early and listened to two Vietnam vets chatting about working in the cotton fields from sun to sun at $3 per every 100lbs of cotton picked. They would laugh and make jokes about how the old ones could pick twice as much without breaking a sweat.
The class started with a breathing exercise called ujjayi breathing. I like this type of breathing because it makes a sound like the ocean. (video)
After that we were guided through the meditation.
Even though this is my profession I am constantly surprised by how mindfulness works.
We all know how post trauma stress works....it gets into your mind and body and fucks shit up....well mindfulness gets into your body the same way only it fixes instead of distracts.
Fixes what? Below is a hand out our teacher Karen gave us.
Karen calls each step a bubble, I see it as levels of growth.
We are practicing at the first and second level.....body awareness and breathing.
What I have experienced so far has been a calm mind after each class and a renewed vigor for practicing breathing any time my war left-overs show up.
In my mind the problem is this.....They....don't know how to treat war left-overs because war left-overs are too personal. Because they are so personal civilians think that any SMBR could flip at any moment.
So there we are......in the middle of two narratives that wanna help but don't know how.
It is my opinion that you gotta make the move, but the move is to a place that only you can go. People like the vets in the class, Karen the teacher, The Mindfulness center and me the blogger can show you a direction and a means of transportation.....but the rest is up to you.
Until next Thursday,