By Eric Beach
I didn't work out this morning. I could blame the rain. I could say rest was more important. I could give you a list of reasons as to why I stayed home. But the simple fact is, I made a choice.
I woke up with every intention of heading to the pool, but when i walked downstairs, I felt a strong pull to read. Lately, the intensity of my training schedule has disallowed me reading time. I accepted that fact, but as time has gone on, I realize must find a way for my rhythm to include time to read. Its one of the vital pieces to this healing puzzle.
Understand, healing for anybody, is a complex thing. A broken bone mends as long as we rest it. A broken heart, an abused soul, a trauma surviving brain requires so much more. For me, that means therapy with my psychologist once a month (unless I need to increase the frequency), reading books like "King, Warrior, Magician, Lover" "Iron John" "The Alchemist" "Grendel" and others. It means training for triathlon. It means running towards relationships though I want to run from them. It means being my authentic self as vulnerably as I possibly can. It means sobriety, zero alcohol. It means working with my wife on our marriage while building Project Echelon and serving organizations that have helped me, and it means attending healing intensive experiences like This Able Veteran and Save a Warrior.
Thats a part of my journey. Each piece progresses me towards my goal and my core purpose. I read to understand and challenge myself. I train to see what I'm made of and burn off adrenaline. I also train because its meditative for me as well as a it provides me the physicality I miss from the Army. I seek relationships otherwise I'm 3 months from isolating myself and family. They deserve so much more.
Heres what I've come to understand. We as veterans can easily seek the brotherhood/sisterhood. We can drink, fight, talk trash, lift weights, ride motorcycles, objectify the opposite sex, avoid real depth and vulnerability, and much more. But thats stunted living. Thats living in 1/4 of a shadow. Stepping into the light is brutally painful and is a long process. Its the reason so many stay where they are. Its why I did for so long.
We tend to build a persona to become social, but our true self remains isolated, numbed by our patterns of "comfortable". In reality, if we are honest, we aren't comfortable at all.
I chose to forgo the workout today. In the past, I'd define it as a failure. But, healing comes in many forms. I didn't fail. I listened to my soul and finally answered its murmurings.
Its when we slow down and listen to whats bubbling beneath the surface of consciousness that we begin to hear the long silenced voices, crying out desperately to be heard. Give them voice, adjust your plans so they can be heard. Its the journey. Do this and I'll happily welcome you into the arena, where the work begins. Its tough in here, but I'll let you in on a secret, you're not alone!