A few years ago, I was fortunate to be in a place and time where I was a part of the birth of Warriors Live On. Filled with hope, we envisioned creating transformative experiences that would integrate various healing practices to help combat veterans transition from combat to community. Based on our own successes with various healing modalities- mindfulness-based therapeutic practices, heartfelt and supportive human interaction, mentorship and community-building, outdoor education and connection with nature, and other healthy living practices- we saw the experience of a long trek as being a metaphor for living. Many steps. Ups and downs. Each step an opportunity to let go and move forward. Each step an opportunity to Live On.
I’d like to send my best wishes to those who have made the first Warriors Live On trek a reality- participants, sponsors, volunteers, other supporters. I send my heartfelt respect and congratulations to Eva Belanger for your dedicated and determined work to turn dreams into reality. I am not there in person, but I am there in spirit! I hope to be with you along the next journey. I love you all.
I encourage anyone reading this post to support this effort. You can so here.
I offer this humble personal note to trek participants, just as a way, perhaps, to plant more seeds:
It seems that life is often about finding balance between the opposing forces that pull us in one direction and then another. Each step you take on this trek is like a balancing act. Moving forward is a balancing act between holding on to what serves you well and letting go of what doesn’t support you well. Being yourself is a balancing act between accepting the fabric of who you already are and striving towards the life you’d like to lead. Let this trek help you move forward in a new balanced way. Let the experience of being with others in nature, trekking, sharing, supporting, and learning give rise to new perspectives in your life.
Learning from nature can teach us how to find better ways to live. Living in flow with nature can help us heal and move forward in a balanced way:
Winter is the season of the Warrior: it’s about standing with integrity; it’s about being present like the air we breathe and being strong yet flexible like a tree in the changing Northerly winds. Take moment to stand with your trekking mates, as a group of brothers and sisters, as you know how, respecting and honoring one another.
Spring, the present season, is the season of the Healer: it’s about being whole-hearted; it’s about being supportive, like the earth we stand on, and learning to trust the interdependence of all living things as we spring to new life. Take a moment to lay down in the loving arms of Mother Earth and feel its infinite support for you; look South, feel the warmth that’s always there.
Summer, the season you are approaching, is the season of the Visionary: it’s about seeing and telling the truth without blame or judgment; it’s about walking forward with authenticity towards your life’s purpose, being your true shining self, like the summer sun. Take a moment to be mindful of your true self, without judgment, as you walk forward, look East with the clarity of a new day, and live on.
Autumn is the season of the Teacher: it’s about reflecting upon and accepting things without attachment to the outcome; it’s about trusting and letting go, like leaves falling from autumn trees or water flowing down meandering streams; it’s about finding the wisdom in all things and being your own teacher. Autumn is about transformation, like water, as we constantly seek our source. Just as the sun sets in the Western California sky, let go of today and have faith in the new day ahead. Tomorrow, you will be a mentor for another warrior….
Balancing our Warrior and Healer instincts, our Visionary and Teacher attributes, we too flow towards our source, I believe, the center of our being, the ocean of inner peace and love that connects us all. For me at least, when I am in this place where I feel this balance and deep sense of connectedness, using nature as my model, I feel at home. (For me, this usually occurs in the mountains… where my spirit soars!)
To each combat veteran trekking with Warriors Live On this month, I wish you the best. I send you my best wishes, my support, my love, and my unconditional respect. I hope that the experience in nature with a team of supportive brothers and sisters helps you find balance, see new perspectives, and feel the connectness that we all share. Trek On! One step at a time. As Warriors, Healers, Visionaries and Teachers…
In all four directions, in all four seasons- and like the air, earth, sun, and water- may you find balance, inner peace and inner power, and Live On!
And please know that you can travel in all directions and still find your way to Vermont! I’d love to meet each of you one day.