For Valentine’s Day, we asked those who serve veterans after war through innovative programs, “What’s War?”
“What is LOVE?
Love is what I feel when I take a moment to feel my breath and my sensations… to look at a bird or the clouds… to feel the sun on my skin… to smell or taste a warm cup of strong coffee… to notice people around me and to offer a smile… When I take a moment to really pay attention to my internal world and to what is happening around me, my mind goes silent for a few seconds. Then I feel real, deep, endless love. And that is always followed by the bubbling up of gratitude for everything life has given me — from my family and friends and everything they bring to me life, to the fact that I live in a democracy that cares about its citizens’ well-being, to the opportunities I have had to serve others, whether in the military or a nonprofit that supports veterans… And in those moments of feeling love and gratitude, I invariably re-commit to love and generosity and service to this world we share and each of its inhabitants.” -Dyan Ferguson, U.S. Army Veteran, Co-Founder, Honoring The Path of the Warrior
Dyan is one of the founders of the organization, “Honoring The Path of The Warrior.” They take combat veterans into the great outdoors, introducing them to white water rafting, hiking, and teaching them stress reduction through yoga and meditation. These free retreats are in Northern California. “The intent is to provide Veterans with connection, community and tools that support them in using their own strengths and experiences to find a meaningful and productive path in civilian life.”
The Women Veterans Retreat at Tassajara Mountain Retreat Center from June 17th – June 21st 2013 and
The Whitewater Rafting trip open to both men and women from July 30th to August 2nd.
Both of these events combine nature and engaging physical activities with meditation, Sensory Awareness and mindfulness practices. The intent is to provide Veterans with connection, community and tools that support them in using their strengths and experiences to find a meaningful and productive path in civilian life.
US Navy veteran Scott Gunning made this video about a White Water Rafting retreat by Honoring The Path of The Warrior.
US Army veteran Steve Lewis talks about his experience: “You get a bond, and you have fun….” Here’s what others have said about these events:
I really can’t put into words what this trip meant for me, but I can say that this was easily one of the most meaningful and special experiences in my life. I got more out of this 4 day trip than I did in the entire 5 months that I was in the [...] PTSD program.”
“I just want to take the time to say thank you both from my complete and whole heart for what you two have given me this weekend. I’m speechless cause the gift you both gave me was HOPE. And I really can’t remember the last time I truly had it. The act of pulling a trigger from a man made weapon on another human being has shattered my person. You both have given me the hope and energy I need to some how find a way to try to put my shattered soul back together.”
All events are nondenominational and are completely free of charge to veterans. We do, however, welcome contributions from veterans and members of the broader community so that other veterans may attend future events. Please support us as you are able: Honoring The Path.