My dad was summoned to the Vietnam war when he was just 19 years old. He didn't have a choice in the matter and went over to service the vehicles as his trade was a Fitter and Turner. He never spoke of what happened there until I started asking questions a few years ago. His brother was sent out into the jungle where they were spraying agent orange. That uncle died in his early 50's. He told me he was more scared of the tigers in the jungle then being shot. He told me of having to pull dead bodies in from off the beach. I can't imagine how scary and how horrifying that must have been for them. He did however say the tequila was cheap and the surf was good.
Every weekend just about we would go to the beach and he would surf. I think that now even to this day that is why I'm called to the ocean and that's why its my happy place. Myself my sister and brother would go far out into the ocean. We weren't worried about sharks or rips, as dad taught us quite well how to handle those. It was the time besides when he was drinking beer that I would see him happy.
Underneath the surface those memories lie leaking out into every day occurrences. I was taught not to trust anyone different from me. We didn't trust our neighbours and in fact they were always planning to kill our dogs or hurt out family somehow. We would always be in lock down, locking the doors even when we were home. There would be panic and often we would have to drive home if someone forgot to put a stick in the window.
The lock-down of these memories coupled with drinking gave birth to a whole number of problems within the family unit. My brother was quite unwell, torturing animals and me. I felt completely unsafe all the time. And the people who were meant to keep me safe were abusing me. My mother was scared of everyone so I couldn't received safety from her. My brother would often make bombs out of vinegar and baking soda and throw them over into the neighbours yard. I was living in a war zone. People would lash out at each other after drinking all afternoon only to not say anything in the morning. So I lived with this tension constantly of not saying anything to verbally being abusive through drinking, to being frightened and feeling like I could trust no one.
I sought out counselling specifically for being a child of a veteran and he told me that my story is not uncommon. And even scarier that the same dynamics have been noted in the family of veterans. This made my heart break to know others have been though this as well.
I recently read that the Psykia Institute is beginning a partnership with Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the Flow Genome Project, and Veterans For Natural Rights to study the efficacy of breathwork as treatment for veterans suffering from severe Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The study will be led by Dr. Matthew Johnson--one of the key researchers behind the amazing psilocybin studies you've been hearing about and Stan Grof - a psychiatrist and pioneer in LSD assisted psychotherapy and consciousness research, a founder of Transpersonal Psychology (known as the Fourth School of Psychology), and author of some 20 books published internationally. He will be serving as the advisor to the study.
A positive result will open a new avenue of accessible treatment not only for PTSD, but also, potentially, for depression and other increasingly common afflictions not being adequately treated via traditional therapies. You can read more about that here and contribute if you have the means - https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/psykia-jhu-study?fbclid=IwAR0bfgnDABGF-78zXsY-6vyMBGF9qGmZ6AqbexjbrxtlBN6ZqaOwu5vjyrQ
One of the experiences I've had from holotropic breathwork is to actually experience the honour and valour in leading a war. That my cause was to save the land. It has been a valuable experience for me in every day life as I can look at the people who go to war in a different light. And also bring home and integrate that experience into my family life and know that I carry this sense of duty and would do anything to protect them. That I have integrity and valour.
I'm so grateful for Holotropic Breathwork and the healing potential it allows. To encompass all feelings, all experiences and hold them all as one. Without judgement. It truly is the road to Wholeness.
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