By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
This issue of the Catalyst, developed in partnership with Jay Ponti and Peacelink, is dedicated to supporting veterans with alternative treatment resources. It is inspired by Congressman Tim Ryan, a remarkable man who has become a champion of meditation and yoga programs for helping people to heal, including veterans suffering from PTSD.
In my view, one of the most important things for the larger Shift in our world is to help evolve the warrior archetype, which first of all means deeply honoring the sacrifices warriors have made throughout history to protect us from the worst of human behavior. Veterans have often paid the toughest price during a long epoch of continual war (including shocking rates of suicide, depression, and more) and what we’ve found is that they are also some of the most heartfelt, thoughtful and strategic thinkers for how we begin to shift to a culture of peace.
We co-sponsored with the Alliance for Peacebuilding a conference with top military professionals in DC at the U.S. Institute of Peace in 2012 and I was blown away by their brilliant ideas and deep commitment to peace and shifting our security focus to strong, resilient, sustainable networks. They were often more forward-thinking than many in the new consciousness arena about how we make these shifts real.
In a new era, we still have a real need for our warriors, but warriors who increasingly take a holistic approach to peace and the well-being of local cultures and themselves. That also means taking an integrated approach to healing the aftermath of war on physical, psychological, and spiritual levels. Leading-edge scientific research is increasingly showing the effectiveness of practices like meditation and yoga in helping people heal, including veterans suffering from PTSD.
That’s why we’re enthusiastic supporters of Congressman Ryan’s initiatives and why we showcase many aspects of veteran’s health in this issue.
We feature videos of Congressman Ryan talking about meditation and one about veterans being treated for PTSD by iRest, an ancient yoga meditation practice. Other featured writers include Jay Ponti from Peacelink sharing about the Veterans Health Coalition; Richard Miller, founder of iRest and innovative work with veterans, as well as an amazing story from Keith Mitchell, a former professional football player who healed himself after a paralyzing injury through yoga. There also are heartfelt articles from publishing genius Bill Gladstone and yoga-instructor Olivia Kvitne supporting veterans.
We also have inspiring profiles from two highly decorated military veterans — Josh Rizzo is the founder of PTSD United which provides resources for people suffering from PTSD; and, Rev. Bill McDonald is an author, minister, yoga teacher, veteran advocate and Founder of The American Author’s Association and The Military Writer’s Society of America.
The Featured Artist is Emmanuel Jal, a former Sudanese child soldier, renowned musician/speaker/author. Emmanuel will be performing and speaking at the Peacelink 10 X Summit in Los Angeles in October 2014 (we will have more about that event during the Summer of Peace).
To help with this work, I strongly encourage US citizens to first of all sign the petition to provide veterans with alternative treatment resources by clicking here; and, asking your Congressperson to support The Veterans and Armed Forces’ Health Promotion Act of 2013 (H.R. 3516 – introduced by Congressman Tim Ryan). Also, you can support a great Indiegogo campaign to raise awareness about how to end veteran’s suicide – click here. For people of all countries, reach out to your veterans and ask how you can assist them.
Let’s all commit to becoming one human family, which means joining hands with our veteran brothers and sisters to heal and work together to create the world we all know is possible.
Ohio Congressman on Meditation
CBS Evening News recently interviewed Congressman Tim Ryan about his practice of meditation. Rep. Ryan is promoting meditation in schools and as a way to help veterans with PTSD. He calls the spread of meditation “the quiet revolution.”
iRest with Veterans – clip from The American Veteran In this clip of The American Veteran produced by the Department of Veteran Affairs, a close look is taken at the iRest (Integrative Restoration) program being used in Miami's VA hospital, led by teacher Molly Birkholm. To learn more about iRest’s work with veterans, click here.
The first time I saw Tim Ryan give a public address was electrifying. Imagine a clean cut, mid-western ex-football star turned U.S. Congressman, speaking with such earnestness about his life changing experience with meditation and his commitment to use his office to help promote and cultivate a “Mindful Nation.” I knew that this was the leader our conscious communities have been waiting for, even if they didn’t know it yet, and I immediately pledged to him that he would have Peacelink’s full support . . . [read more]
As a literary agent I have had the pleasure of representing some of the finest authors and teachers in the world ranging from Eckhart Tolle to Jack Canfield and Marianne Williamson. What I have learned from them is that now is the time to speak up. Our world is at a crisis point and it is essential that aware and courageous people focus their efforts on communicating both the nature of our current crisis as well as the direction for future solutions in every way possible. Peacelink is an organization that is making a significant difference in bringing younger generation voices together with wise teachers and innovators. Together these groups can and will make a difference . . . [read more]
As a clinical psychologist, meditation teacher, researcher and someone who works with active duty service members, veterans, and others experiencing PTSD, I know it’s possible to heal from the symptoms of trauma and PTSD. One tool I use to help people heal trauma and its symptoms is iRest® Yoga Nidra . . . [read more]
In my personal transition after leaving the National Football League, meditation and yoga have served me and my purpose for living. I was permanently sidelined from my career as a professional linebacker after a fatal spinal cord injury left me suffering from paralysis from the neck down. I was diagnosed with a spinal contusion, my c2-c4 are fused together, that also left a nice size bone spur that impinges on my esophagus . . . [read more]
After teaching yoga for many years, it is inevitable that one finds a niche. Some excel at teaching a practice that celebrates the physical aspects of yoga. Their goal as an instructor may be to get as many people standing on their heads as possible. Others prefer teaching in a hot room, or to pregnant women, dancers, yoga for weight-loss, yoga for addictions, and everything in between. I found my niche in teaching yoga to a population who for quite some time has been overlooked by the modern yoga community yet would benefit from the practice in a profound way, to the point of even saving lives.
. . . [read more]
I have been working at both the spiritual and emotional levels for over 40 years with veterans in dealing with the adverse effects of war. When the fighting stops and the war is off the front pages of the newspapers and it is no longer worthy of any television coverage, unfortunately the pain and the cost of war still goes on. It is this human element of war that I have dedicated my adult life to. This has been up to now, just a personal effort on my part to bring about some healing; but now I have some hope that this can become a much larger community response . . . [read more]
PTSD United – is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources for sufferers of PTSD, their friends and family, and anyone else interested in learning more about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Their primary method of helping PTSD sufferers is through their free, completely anonymous online social community, which is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week where people can go to connect with others living with PTSD. To learn more, click here.
Debbie Ford’s final work, Courage: Igniting Self-Confidence – is now available in paperback. In Courage, Debbie provides a life-altering path to discovering confidence and authentic self-expression. Debbie wrote several bestselling books, including The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Spiritual Divorce, Why Good People Do Bad Things, and The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse. During her lifetime, Debbie Ford traveled the world conducting workshops and trainings that supported lifelong personal, emotional, and spiritual education and transformation. Debbie died in 2013 after her long journey with cancer. Her legacy lives on at DebbieFord.com and TheFordInstitute.com.
As She Is – Restoring Sacred Balance to Life. This film project is about a personal and collective journey towards wholeness ... to reclaim, value and live the feminine aspect of ourselves. To learn more how you can support this film – click here.
Sign the petition to provide veterans with alternative treatment resources – click here; and, ask your Congressperson to support The Veterans and Armed Forces’ Health Promotion Act of 2013 (H.R. 3516 – introduced by Congressman Tim Ryan). Also, you can support this Indiegogo campaign to raise awareness on how to end veteran suicides – click here. For people of all countries, reach out to your veterans and ask how you can assist them.
• Spring of Sustainability
• Luisah Teish 7-week course
• Inspiring Women Summit
• Gabriel Nossovitch 7-week course
• Julia Butterfly Hill 7-week course
• Margaret Paul 7-week course
• Robyn Benson 7-week course
• Thomas Huebl intensive
• Summer of Peace
• Sacred Awakening Series
• John Perkins 7-week course
• Enneagram mini-summit
• Enneagram 9-week course
• Andrew Harvey intensive
• Catherine Ingram 7-week course
• Lion Goodman & Carista Luminare 7-week course
• Dawson Church 7-week course
• Shakti Summit
• Lisa Schrader 7-week course
• Bill Bauman 7-week course
• Robert Moss 7-week course
Operation Warrior Wellness: a division of the David Lynch Foundation, offers the Transcendental Meditation-based Resilient Warrior Program, a simple, easy-to-learn, evidence-based approach to relieving symptoms of PTSD and major depression and developing greater resilience to stress. To learn more, click here.
Emmanuel Jal is a South Sudanese musician, former child soldier, and political activist. His autobiography,War Child: A Child Soldier's Story, was published in 2009. His second album, Ceasefire, was a collaboration with the well known Sudanese Muslim musician Abd El Gadir Salim. It brought together opposing sides of the conflict and different music traditions to a common ground of the wish for peace in Sudan. Emmanuel will be performing and speaking at the Peacelink 10 X Summit. To learn more about Emmanuel, click here.