Unfurling The Welcome Mat

Me and the family. Click to be taken to a story. Photo: Ana Venegas, OC Register

Welcome.

Life changes. When we closed the door on our private surgical practice in Los Angeles County, it was so my husband could start on a new path as a surgeon with the U.S. Army. We had worked with veterans from WWII and on. I knew my role as an Army wife would be to help the current generation as they came home from war. Hence, this blog has been five years, and two deployments in the making.

War has a profound effect on body, mind, and spirit. Thoughts of war grip the body, tightens the muscles, and sends an unending profusion of related and non related thoughts through our minds. Every person deals with it differently: some are destructive, others aren’t. But it’s important that the public knows: not every person who comes home develops PTSD, but everyone develops a sense of urgency to help those who do.

Today, the nation is at a crisis. Suicides, divorce rates, secondary PTSD developed by the families are all too commonplace. ¬†For all the therapists, psychiatrists, the days on end that seem to go on forever, the one thing we know is that an active life through sports, outdoor recreation, yoga, and the arts engages all of the senses and helps bring one into the present. But here’s the thing: this blog isn’t just for the veteran, but for their families, as well as combat journalists, and contractors who go to war too.

That’s why we’re here. To act as a platform for the many organizations reaching out to veterans. Many work on a shoe string, others enjoy a big budget. Regardless, the most important program is the one where you live. And who knows… it might be as basic as getting a bike, or a yoga mat.

One thing for sure: You’re not alone.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Kanani Fong. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kanani Fong

Founder, WarRetreat.Org, devoted to helping with the aftermath of war through movement, breathe, and yoga. Army wife, long time mental health advocate, writer, specializing in military and veteran outreach for film and books. Projects include Restrepo, and High Ground.

14 thoughts on “Unfurling The Welcome Mat

  1. Pingback: The Warrior or Yes, Sometimes We Can Be Bears | Sylvia's Friends

  2. Glad to be connected here and to you Kanani……everything you say resonates with me and even when discouraged I know a door will open here to help those suffering in silence.

  3. It would be really helpful if more trainings were offered to civilian yoga teachers that helped create a bridge of understanding between the military and non-veteran teachers. I think Kripalu has something like that going. But something more accessible and less expensive would be good. In teaching Trauma Sensitive Yoga to veterans, I am always, constantly working on that bridge. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. Passive postures for some can be terrible experiences for others and active postures for some can be humiliating for others. No one wants to be shown up. Ever. And there’s a whole lot of vulnerability that comes with moving from the outside of your life to the inside. Breath is one bridge; practice is another but then the teacher has to have to humility to know she can’t know. Much peace all, Beth

    • Hi Beth,I am 81 year old who served as an officer in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict. While I still play tennis 3 times a week, I have also begun practicing yoga once a week .I can tell you that my local yoga teachers are doing a great job in S. Florida. They have a group called Connected Warriors. We have veterans and some active duty from every generation in our classes!
      Connected Warriors Yoga is branching out into other cities throughout USA. http://www.connectedwarriors.org

      • Dear SOB, So sorry to see this so late! I’m glad that many opportunities are out there. And thank you for the resource above. Best wishes, Beth

      • Beth, you run such a great program! Yes, Connected Warriors offers a free 4 hour training, which gives enough information to make people aware, and if they want to –seek more information. They will also provide the teacher with the mats, blocks, and straps if they’re without them for their class of veterans.

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