I used to feel inspired sitting with the troops at the base. There was always something positive that came out of our interactions, even if they were sometimes challenging; by challenging I mean emotional. It doesn't take much to poke at something sensitive when someone has been to war and is facing injury or illness. It didn't take much to hit my soft spots either. I could always read the gnawing jaw, the pursing lips, the far-off gaze, and the wandering eye contact. It all meant something raw was surfacing, then someone would crack a joke and well, the mood became lighter. I always found that the quiet moment after the joking around settled down and the eye contact returned, there was an enormously loud, silent pause. Many times a sigh followed the pause, closing with a final wringing of the hands on the back of their neck. I can imagine a few of you reading this doing those very things.
It's okay to feel inspired by something again. I know it's been a long while for many of you, but giving yourself permission to feel that is the first step. If you think you aren't worthy of feeling lighter, then the first step has to be giving yourself permission. I know soldiers who feel most at peace sitting on a log at the edge of a lake and waiting for the fish to bite. They are inspired by the quietness of nature, at peace in the stillness, and feeling full in their own company. They have permission to be who they truly are at that lake. This is okay. When we arrive at peacefulness inside of ourselves and embrace these kinds of experiences, inspiration grows. The key is how do you translate the sense of peace, wholeness, and fullness that you feel at the edge of that lake to a place of peace in your daily living?
The lake is simply a tool for reaching the best parts of yourself. Use what you learn at the lake and bring the lake, the feeling, the peace, the fullness home with you. What small adjustments can you make in your day to bring an ounce of that peace to the surface in your daily life? A soldier could sit all day waiting for that fish to bite and I can wait all day for you to find one small change you can make, because I know they exist; They are accessible to you, but can you see what they are? Do you give yourself permission to see them?
It's not a matter of convincing yourself that life is wonderful and inspirational. If you have PTSD, I can guess that approach doesn't work all that well. If you have to convince yourself of something, it doesn't feel natural, but what you can do is know that something better is possible.
Sometimes just knowing something is possible is enough to help you take the first step. It means we are not in the business of giving up, giving in, or calling it quits. It's not how I roll and it is not how I let soldiers or police officers roll. Own where you're at. If it stinks, say so. No harm in that, then take a look at where you can impact change and start with that. The smallest of changes can make a viable impact.
There's no escaping post-traumatic stress and trauma. It's a novel thought to think that we can and to be honest, everyone I've ever met who has struggled with it, including myself, thought to some degree or another that they could out run it, cover it up, strong-arm it, hide from it, wrestle it to the ground, or ignore it; that never goes well in the long run. Now, out-smarting it is another story. Haha....I'd like to think I did a little of that. It almost had the best of me until I realized I had the power to pave another roadway in my brain. Small changes over time led to big changes in my power of perception. Many things that I thought were one way, weren't that way at all. I'm not sure that actually qualifies as out-smarting it, but it puts a positive twist on a challenging process.
Think about how you can bring that place of calm, peace, and fullness into your daily life through some minor changes. Knowing you have the power to do so, is an empowering step. We aren't victims here any longer. We are peaceful warriors...........never mistake a calm demeanor for lack of strength, resiliency, skill, foresight, and the ability to impact change.