Band Of Brothers #6; Finding Another Choice

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Six more Vietnam and Iraq veterans, all with PTSD, faced their fears and not only opened their hearts but found another choice of behavior and began to heal themselves in only eight weeks:

 

by Allen L Roland

 

The first meeting of the Healing The Wounded Heart Veterans Workshop #6 was held on May 25, 2011  at 11 AM in Yountville, California

They had never met me but they had been told about me, by their adjustment counselor Sal, and were prepared for an eight week commitment to face their fears and open their hearts in the process. They knew I was a former active duty Naval aviator and that made a big difference.

All of them had some symptoms of PTSD and even TBI but all had the common symptom of a closed heart and the inability to love and receive love ~ mainly because of deep unworthiness issues that originally started in childhood and were reinforced through their military experience.

I told them that this was an action based workshop and if they did their homework they would reach a place of not only another choice but would open their closed hearts in the process. They would also begin to see through different eyes ~ eyes unclouded by fear, resentment and unworthiness.  I also explained through my Cycle Of Life chart how psychic pain will override Joy to the extent that most people have no idea that beneath their deepest pain and aloneness is love, joy and connectedness ~ the  Unified Field.

After each session ~ part of their homework was to read each session in my book RADICAL THERAPY / SURRENDER TO LOVE AND HEAL YOURSELF IN SEVEN SESSIONS ( not seven years ) which reinforced the previous group session.

Of course, that first session I shared my own heart’s journey to find a lost and alone little boy within myself who not only wanted to fly, and became a Navy Fighter pilot, but also to love as deeply as I loved my beloved grandfather before I was torn away from him at six years old. We briefly talked about the war and all of them briefly shared their heart’s journey and by the end of two hours ~ they began to feel a sense of commonality.  Their homework was to produce a life chart of the path of their individual heart’s journey ~ which they would share with the group over the next two sessions. The objective of the life chart is for the participant to see their life as a quest, versus a struggle, to find their authentic self and how every relationship and experience has played a role in that quest.

As one participant later wrote in his journal ~ “ Allen took the first of us sitting closest to him and immediately begin questioning and working to discover what are the specific issues that most need to be addressed to jump start this individuals heart, and in doing so opening them up to seeing inside of themselves, maybe for the very first time!

Allen seems to have the uncanny ability to reach down into the very core of our most sacred and intimate sense of our very existence, and expose and reveal our God center, or our innate connection to a  “Unified Field of Love”, as he refers to it.

Allen gave each of us a copy of his second book titled “Radical Therapy” which describes verbatim the self healing process we were embarking on. He literally took us by the hand, and began to lead and coach us essentially to the warm and wonderful world of self discovery.

The first thing he had us write down was… It’s my turn !

Also we’ve each been assigned a good amount of homework, all designed to reveal ourselves in a Life chart.

Most of  us were at one time or another moved to tears. For me it was tears of spiritual joy. For others it was perhaps tears of glimpsing past the pain, and under the sadness, a sense of the innocent little boy we all once were.

Yesterdays two hour session has left me so moved, I find myself having to share it, for it is to date, the most significant experience I’ve had since my living here in the Veterans Home for the last wonderful eight years.”

The next three sessions they all shared a childhood picture of themselves as well as their life charts with the group describing their individual journeys to find love and acceptance as well as themselves ~ as I helped each one of them see it as a quest. We briefly discussed their war experience but they quickly realized their deeper commonality ~   in that their lives had all been a journey to find meaning and that all of their love relationships had significance regardless of how they turned out. They were already a band of brothers on a common inner journey of the heart ~ the ultimate fire fight with fear.

After sharing their individual life charts, they did the Victim /Accountability exercise and had the chance to feel the lightness of being accountable versus the heaviness of being a victim. Their homework was to take the people they had resentment towards off the hook and realize that many of these people they had deeply loved had really been gifts in their lives ~ regardless of the outcome.

The fifth session they met the innocent child within by means of a powerful guided visualization. Every one of them saw that long lost innocent child who told them what they needed to do to fully embrace him in their lives now. Their faces literally changed and became younger as they made that inner connection. Sunny wrote about it in his journal ~   “This week, Allen put us through an intense visualization which made it possible for all of us to meet our respective ”Inner Child”… the fresh experience of seeing and feeling my inner child within me leaves me accepting and loving myself more completely  than ever before ! I repeat~Loving myself more completely than ever before… I now see everybody with new loving eyes! Wow! ”

All of them not only met their inner child but received answers to questions like What’s my next Step and What’s the most important advice you can give me?

Here’s what they heard ~ Accept yourself and open your heart ~you are loved, be yourself, surrender~love yourself, be honest and find your voice ~ accept yourself and open your heart, you are loved~Surrender, I’ve always been here for you ~ Stay with me and surrender~Go beyond your fears, accept your past.

The next session, one week later, was all about gratefulness and thanking the people who have been there for them their whole life ~ with the help of a guided visualization. Some of them had virtually not thanked anyone and certainly not themselves and their homework was to thank the people they have not thanked and tell them why they were a gift in their life. Gratefulness is the lifeblood of soul consciousness and it must begin with ourselves ~ and all of them forgave themselves.

By now the Band of Brothers were inspiring each other on their common journey through fear ~ they were beyond the point of no return. Their homework was to thank at least 15 people who had touched them before the next session. We still hadn’t dwelled on the war for there was no need to. They were already healing themselves by taking responsibility for love and sharing gratitude with others.

The next session, one week later, was the Death Exercise where they, through a visualization, were guided in a profound death exercise which helped them to experience the degree to which the people closest to them really knew them. The exercise actually simulates your death and quite often the shock of knowing that you did not truly share yourself with the people closest to you or that very few people really knew you. Obviously, it is a strong inner stimulus to open your heart with the people closest to you ~ and that was their homework to accomplish with the five people closest to them before the next session.

It was in that same spirit of action and celebration that we had our Eighth and final session where everyone acknowledged each others common journey through fear to the joy, love and light beneath. The resultant change in their demeanors was breathtaking and their evaluations reflected this change; Robert: The workshop helped open my eyes to me and let others in ~ it’s my turn. Gerard: I don’t easily anger anymore, I’m a little more patient and able to forgive myself for not trying to live up to someone else’s expectations of me. Jim: This workshop more than met my expectations; I’m much more open with my feelings. Ed: This workshop helped me become less fearful and I loved expressing my feelings without being judged. Kent: I have a far deeper awareness now of how my fears are constricting me from fully living. Sunny: The Healing the Wounded Heart workshop is the most valuable self discovery venture I have ever experienced!

Once these wounded warriors complete this workshop they are now much more inclined to participate in the other venues of the Concord Vet Centers heart centered approach which includes Healing Touch, Meditation and Tai Chi.

All of them were once stuck in the grey zone of anger, pain and unworthiness but now a heart centered light has gone on within them ~ they can now begin to clearly see the path to their recovery. In essence, they have all met themselves and to celebrate that occasion ~ I gave each of them Derek Wolcott’s very appropriate poem Love After Love ~

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here, Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life ~ whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs,  the desperate notes ~ peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit, Feast on your life.

And feast on their life they are as I continue to be honored and humbled in helping this growing Band of Brothers find not only themselves but experience another choice of behavior ~ a heart centered choice. Band of Brothers #7  begins on July 28th.


About the Author: Allen L Roland is a Freelance Alternative Press Online columnis. He is also a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his web site at AllenRoland.com. He also guest hosts a Truthtalk, a national radio show that airs monthly. He is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations via email at [email protected].

Latest in apps, sites that promise deals; Money tip.(Business)

The Seattle Times (Seattle, WA) June 19, 2011 Byline: Gregory Karp; Chicago Tribune Technology is a huge help for consumers to spend money smarter.

For example, you can search online for best prices, or if you’re already in the store, you can use your smartphone to read a product’s bar code and get competitive prices.

Problem is, new money-saving websites and apps are launching almost daily. It’s nearly impossible to investigate them all. We’ve rounded up a few interesting and promising ones that have come out in recent months.

With many, it’s hard to predict whether they’ll succeed and be available a year from now. And we weren’t able to thoroughly review every one.

But if you’re a smart consumer who likes trying new sites and apps, these seem worth a shot. All are free, and more details are available online.

Keep in mind that these aren’t being listed as the best, just a sampling of some of the newest.

AwardWallet.com: The website will keep track of your frequent-flier miles, as well as hotel and credit-card rewards points in one place, perhaps allowing you to use them more efficiently. And it will alert you, for example, when your miles are about to expire. web site free printable grocery coupons

DealNews.com app: Prominent deal site DealNews is not new, but its iPhone/iPad app is. Users can browse more than 100 deals a day or request push alerts, which send personal deal alerts for specific products or coupons to on-the-go users.

CouponNetwork.com: The world didn’t need another site with printable grocery coupons, but this is produced by a major player in the coupon industry, Catalina Marketing, the company behind those coupons that print out at the end of your cash-register receipt. Notably and exclusively, the site includes YourBucks, which aren’t coupons, but relatively high dollars off your future purchases. For example, recently if you bought two bottles of Listerine Whitening Rinse, you got $4 printed on your register receipt to spend however you want, like cash, on your next grocery trip.

Upromise.com app: Upromise is pretty well known already; it’s a site where you can earn money for college expenses as you shop — ideally, making purchases you would buy anyway. It now has a GPS-enabled smartphone app for an iPhone, Android and BlackBerry to make it easy to find nearby restaurants and retailers that participate in the Upromise program. It will give you directions from your current location.

PayDivvy.com: Having trouble keeping bills straight with roommates? PayDivvy offers online bill pay and group payment. It can, for example, automatically divide bills among roommates, friends and family, who can then pay those bills automatically. go to web site free printable grocery coupons

BiteHunter.com: This site bills itself as the Kayak.com of the restaurant world, aggregating deals for dining rather than travel. BiteHunter scavenges the web for deals and information that restaurants are promoting via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, websites, newsletters and daily-deal sites and compiles it in one place. For now, it operates only in New York, San Francisco and Chicago.

SavingStar.com: This site puts a different spin on paperless coupons, or e-coupons. That generally refers to choosing coupons online which electronically links them to your supermarket or drugstore loyalty card. That way, you automatically get the savings at the register. With SavingStar.com, which claims to be the largest digital coupon service, your checkout bill is the same but savings are squirreled away in an account, which you can cash out by direct deposit into a bank account, PayPal account and other methods. SavingStar also has apps for iPhone and Android that allow you to choose coupons on the go.

WildcardNetwork.com app: This gift-card management app for iPhone or Android devices allows you to store your gift cards on the phone, look up balances and spend gift cards by showing the bar code on the phone.

Again, these sites and apps are new endeavors, some backed only by individuals who think they have a great idea. You’ll have to decide for yourself how helpful and relevant they are to you. And if you’re particularly concerned with privacy, be sure to examine the privacy policies of various websites.

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