I took a tour of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) last week.
NICoE is located on the grounds of the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. My guide was Andrea.
Andrea is a tremendously interesting and knowledgable therapist there.
Talking with her before we began the tour she asked me if I had ever interacted with any service members who have said that they lost their soul in combat.
What a question. It's hard to imagine the courage it must require to tackle such a trauma.
But that's what you see in abundance at NICoE. Courage, dedication to service members and the latest integrative techniques and practices to heal services members suffering from TBI and PTSD.
NICoE is cutting edge in the fight to heal our nation's unseen wounds. It was my honor to be included for even the briefest of moments.
While on the tour of a place that everybody fondly calls "the spa", I noticed the different treatments being deployed and wasn't surprised at all: Yoga and Mindfulness were at the forefront.
On the second floor I came across the Art therapy room. To respect the privacy of the artists I can't show you the original work, but I will share some excerpts.
The first that jumped out at me was a mask covered in a camo pattern with "shame" in big red letters across the forehead. I could really relate to that one.
Another piece of art, on canvas, had two images on an American flag. One image was of Batman, the other a Marine firing his weapon. Interspersed between these two dark Knights were phrases cut out of magazines that read.
In this order:
Take it like a man.
What if you can't?
Imagine the shame.
NICoE addresses these difficult issues in part by creating a safe place for men and women to heal.
Well, as you know from last weeks post, I've partnered with Lisa Wimberger of the Neurosculpting Institute. This weeks training is all about creating a neutral space in your mind, like NICoE, a space free from judgments and shame.
I've been practicing her meditations for 10 days and I asked her a little bit about the meditations and what they were actually doing.
Here is what she said on the AD Facebook page:
Each time you pay "focused attention" to a thought you fire up neuron activity that begins to map or encode that thought--to glue it into your memory so to speak. The more you glue it into the neural map, the more retrievable it is--the more accessible. When you do that enough you create a viable "option B" to whatever your normal "option A" is--giving yourself choice in the moment by creating and exercising neural maps.
Mindfulness is one of many things being used at the front lines to heal our nations unseen wounds.
You may not have the opportunity to receive treatment at NICoE, but you can practice similar techniques.
I'm sure that brave Marine would agree that creating a neutral space away from shame could be a foundation from which you can start improving your life
This post was guided by the 38th stanza of the Art of Peace, a book written by Morihei Ueshiba
Armor Down now has a website. Check it out.
Like the AD Facebook page and I'll email you the PDF of a book called "Mindfulness in Practical English".
Thrive as a civilian.