A Prayer Offered from a Warrior Friend

This prayer is offered by a friend of mine, a U.S. combat veteran, who was given this prayer by his mother on this week of the Transit of Venus.

(“Speak this Prayer from the Center of your Heart, straight to the Center of the Heart of Venus.”)

With All of my Heart, I release All Past Life debt, burden, karma, vows, agreements, contracts, promises and bonds. I request that All such be lifted from my Soul Contract and dissolved and transmuted in the Venus Transit Light of Love.
With All of my Heart, I release All Future Life debt, burden, karma, vows, agreements, contracts, promises and bonds. I request that All such be lifted from my Soul Contract and dissolved and transmuted in the Venus Transit Light of Love.
With All of my Heart, I request that All layers of my energy field are cleared, that all blocks are removed, dissolved and transmuted in the Venus Transit Light of Love.
With All of my Heart, I request that all blocks, defences, scars, karma and All such be lifted from my Heart and dissolved and transmuted in the Venus Transit Light of Love.
With All of my Heart, I request that All trauma memories from All incarnations be lifted from my Soul and dissolved and transmuted in the Venus Transit Light of Love.
With All of my Heart, I request that All blocked or stored negative energy anywhere in my physical body, and all of my energy bodies, be removed, dissolved and transmuted in the Venus Transit Light of Love.
With All of my Heart, I request forgiveness of All transgressions, past, present and future – that these are lifted from my Soul Contract and dissolved and transmuted in the Venus Transit Light of Love.
With All of my Heart, I request that all cellular memory and genetic DNA be wiped clean of All trauma imprints and negative energies, and that I be flooded with, and hold, only the Purist and Highest Vibrational Love and Light.
With All of my Heart, I request that my life now starts to reflect only the Greatest and Purist Love and Light, and that I may live a life of unconditional love, flow, joy, vibrancy, magic, wonder, wellness, positivity, happiness, fun, perfect balance, adventure, purity and true abundance.
With All of my Heart, I now ask that my heart become peaceful, that I become joy-full, perfectly centered and anchored in Love. That the Light and Love of my Soul’s very Essence pours through my eyes, my smile, my very Being.
With All of my Heart, I request that I now become the embodiment of Peace and Love – that I feel Deep Peace within me Always – that I come to know the most Exalted and Purist expression of Unconditional Love, and experience this personally, and express this to and for humanity, and ALL sentient Beings on Earth.
With All of my Heart, I request from this day forth that I am bestowed with Oceans of Love, Wonder, Joy, Happiness, Laughter, Peace, Blessedness, Beauty and True Abundance.
With All of my Heart, I request that my life be a Blessed One, from this moment forth.
With All of my Heart, I request that I may come to fully know and experience True, Deep, Sacred and Abiding Love.
With All of my Heart, I request that my time on Earth leaves me with a treasure trove of unforgettable, magical and beautiful memories to take with me when it is time for me to return HOME.
And so it shall be.

Why Start Wild Mountain U?

Why Start a New Nonprofit Organization? Many people have been asking us this question. “The work you’ve been doing at the Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF) and the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) has been so successful. Why start something new?”

Believe me- we didn’t come to this decision easily. The truth is- it took months of reflection and inner turmoil. But when it comes down to it, it’s not about us. It’s about the students and the program participants; it’s about the healing that takes place. It’s about people helping people to find health and happiness, yes; but it’s more about people helping people live. And it’s not just about what we do, it’s about why and the way we do it.

We went down to ASF almost 3 years ago to observe a WWP event that was scheduled. It was the first event of its kind there. We were invited by the ASF Program Director, Pam Greene, because she knew of our team-building experience from our days working together at Mount Snow. The event was for warriors battling through post-traumatic stress (PTSD) from their combat experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pam knew nothing of our recent experiences with non-combat PTSD; Pam and I hadn’t worked together in a half dozen years years. A door opened. We walked through it. I met a guy named Joel. Our lives changed. We’ve been there since, commuting from our home in Vermont. Now it’s time to open new doors in new places.

The work we’ve done at ASF with WWP has been very successful. Many wounded veterans have walked through our doors feeling isolated and without direction, and left at least knowing that there are civilians out there that understand, care, and appreciate them exactly as they are without judgment. Most walked away feeling connected to new friends and motivated to practice new ways of living and getting through each day. New sports and recreational activities took place, yes, but more importantly, healing took place. This didn’t happen by chance; it happened through the dedicated efforts of our ASF volunteers and program staff. It happened through the leadership and passion provided by Jo and me, and the support provided by ASF and WWP to help us start new programs to impact more people in new ways.

There comes a time when organizations need to choose which direction to proceed, especially given limited resources and multiple talents. Jo and I know that there are many, many more folks out there who could benefit from our integrated and holistic approach to heal trauma and overcome the challenges of visible or invisible disabilities. We want to find them and help them.There are over 1.7 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars (Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom) alone.  According to the National Center on PTSD, nearly 40% of all troops who served in the wars are diagnosed with some form of PTSD.  However, this number is thought to be drastically higher as many war veterans are never officially diagnosed and treated for PTSD.  In addition, about 50,000 have suffered from physical disability as a result of these wars.

We believe that the benefits of our work can be more far-reaching than those benefits provided by just teaching adaptive sports in one location. We want to explore these benefits with others… full-time, full-effort, with passion, with grace, with feelings of compassion, dignity, and love, and in other locations. We believe that the mind, body and spirit are indeed related and inextricably connected; that you can’t heal one aspect without involving the others. This vision sounds simple. In practice, it’s the fundamental challenge that we as humans have been trying to solve for generations as we seek sustaining health and happiness. For Jo and me and our Wild Mountain U team, we believe it’s time.

Personally, I believe that the survivors of traumatic experiences, life-altering disability, and chronic illnesses have often dealt with very basic issues of survival and “higher” reasons for living. I believe that when appreciated, this perspective gives them insights into living, health and happiness that are important and deserve to be shared. I believe through attitudes of mindful learning, holistic healing, and community support, these individuals can heal and live healthy lives. I also believe that those who have healed in this manner, and especially those who have served through combat military service, have the opportunity to be the healers (and leaders of healing) of tomorrow.

As we develop our programs and define our organization, we will start by telling stories of those with whom we have worked; they can tell their stories, their challenges, and their successes much better than I can describe here. We have our perspective, our experiences. But each person is different, each experience is different, each story is different, and each story is important. We want to share stories of healing, create experiences for learning, and foster a growing community of supportive individuals of all abilities and disabilities, working together to overcome the debilitating and isolating effects of trauma, physical disability, and chronic illness. People helping people- it brings out the best in people, yes?

Our programs will be intentionally-designed group experiences that foster an environment of trust, relationship-building, skills-learning, and wellness-practicing in an experiential learning format. We know that yoga works; not just the physical practice, but also the present-moment mindfulness, the disciplined breathing and focus, and the deep-rest benefits. Thus, we start with an understanding of the art and science of yoga. We know that rebuilding a sense of personal connection with a group of supportive individuals in a natural setting helps foster a spirit of community, greater-purpose connection, and individual importance. We know that the integration of strength-based and mindful adventure-learning creates feelings of self-efficacy and self-worthiness. We know that healing is not a quick fix, not an isolated discussion or a magic remedy; healing takes time through awareness and learning, intention and practice, intuition and supportive community… unity of mind, body and spirit… and mentors. So, in our programs and through our on-going support of program participants, we will practice and share these teachings with attitudes of non-judgment and dignity, empowerment, and step-by-step adaptive learning.

Soon, we will present more and more programs. We will describe more and more about what we do and who we impact. We will partner with like-minded individuals and organizations. Our Wild Mountain U team will be diverse and inclusive. We believe this work is important; so do others. It is an important time of change. Through our stories, our work will become clearer and clearer to those who want to support us (but may not be sure now). We have faith that the stories of successful survival, healing, and community support will alone create momentum and grassroots support. “Able-bodied” people helping “disable-bodied” people; “disable-bodied” people helping “able-bodied” people. “Invisible” disabilities; “visable” abilities. People helping people; no boundaries, no judgment… a vision we all can support.

We expect to start this new nonprofit based on our previous experiences, but we also are open to change as we continue to live and adapt step-by-step in each daily moment. All the while, we will focus on the vision. We will focus on the people we are serving, dignifying and empowering the individuals who may be struggling now, but who we know will also be the teachers and healers of the future. We will do our best to walk the walk, at their side, as we develop this new organization together.

At first, we realize that the impact of our work may be limited to the first 10, or 20, or 50 people we directly impact through our hands-on work. Eventually, these stories will be shared, these experiences will be taught to others, and new communities of healing will be built. Barriers between abilities and disabilities, visible and invisible, will be broken. 50 will become 500. And 500 will become 5,000. And who knows, maybe 5,000 will become 5 million or 50 million. Each person is important and has unique gifts to share. Yet all people and all things are connected. So, we’ll start one person at a time, one step at a time. The first step is the hardest. By starting this new organization, we just took the first step. Wish us luck! There are many individuals who deserve our support, and we will all be better people by supporting them.

We’re launching Wild Mountain U!

After weeks of preparation, months of questioning which path to take, and a few years of some of the best experiences of my life, I am launching a blog… and Jo and I are launching a new nonprofit organization entitled Wild Mountain U, Inc. Based in Vermont, but with aspirations of bringing our work to all of New England and perhaps to our winter stomping grounds in Utah, we enter into this new journey with our eyes and hearts focused on the following:

Mission: To dignify and empower individuals with visible and invisible disabilities.

Vision: To cultivate healthy lifestyles for veterans and civilians with disabilities ranging from, but not limited to, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain Injuries, and developmental delays, to limb loss, paraplegia, spina bifida and cerebral palsy.

Purpose: To provide exceptional, focused programs for individuals with disabilities that lead to physical, emotional, spiritual well-being, and healing through:

  • the art and science of yoga
  • outdoor education
  • creative expression
  • right livelihood
  • healthy living

Core values:

  • dignity
  • honesty
  • humility
  • integrity
  • community
  • sustainability

This blog will be a place for program participants to share their stories of learning and mentoring experiences as we walk together and make our way through the many transitions of life!