Monday, August 20, 2018

Mentally, Emotionally, and Physically Challenging

October 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Bras & Boots, Most Recent Posts

I recently had the opportunity to attend an Outward Bound veterans’ trip due to the grant by the Sierra Club which allows veterans to attend OB courses at little to no cost.  I chose to attend the sailing trip off of the coast of Maine because I LOVE the water and grew up near the beach.  I dive, am a complete beach bum at heart, and was devastated when the Army stationed me in Ft. Riley, Kansas, miles and miles from any ocean (while my sister and brother-in-law got stationed in Hawaii).  I had never been to Maine and had never been sailing so I thought that this trip would be a really cool experience for me.  They also tout the trip as mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging and I definitely was looking for a little stimulation as my lack of being able to obtain employment was definitely wearing on me mentally, not to mention financially.  I was also needing some serious perspective adjustments.

I was a little bit leery about how I would deal with a bunch of veterans that I didn’t know in a completely non-military environment, and I have to admit I kind of had a bit of a bad attitude, or at least a very stand-offish one, going into the trip.  I was still holding on to a lot of hurt and anger and tended to direct it at those in uniform because I felt like “those people” were part of the problem just by being in the military.  It was entirely faulty logic on my part along with a complete lack of open-mindedness but that’s how I felt from time to time.  I was having a hard time reconciling my emotions with what I knew I needed to let go of.

Long story short, the trip was an amazing experience and I came away from it with a renewed confidence in myself and in humanity in general.  I was a part of a group of strangers that came together in a very short time and became a true team.  We were open, honest, and vulnerable with each other and bound by the commonality of our military experiences.  The little things that most of us take for granted on a daily basis became topics of daily conversation (think food, sleep, and bodily functions) and the beauty of the scenery and landscape around us lent a peace to the otherwise slightly hectic schedule.  Our slightly hectic schedule consisted of an extremely chilly morning dip in the ocean, weathering the remnants of Hurricane Earl, cooking for 13 on a propane stove, learning to sail, rock climbing, and exploring awesome little Maine towns that we would sail to and from.  We navigated our own courses and told our life stories.  There was no judgment, no expectations, no privacy, and no drama.

During the trip, we had an opportunity to have some solo time away from everyone and got some much needed privacy.  Believe it or not, I don’t do a whole lot of writing, especially of the poetic variety but the beauty of it all and the emotional state I was in gave me a little inspiration.  This is what I wrote:

She sits along the rocks edge,
Listening to the roar of the ocean.
She feels the wind on her back
And the gentle warmth of the sun as it begins its decent.
The waves pound upon the rocks and
Her pulse quickens at the spray that chills her skin.
There is peace in the sounds.
There is a natural beauty that many do not see or choose to ignore.
She sits, with all of this around her
And her mind is still
And she is happy.

Her chest rises and falls like the swell of the seas
And she wishes for the simple things.
For life to be less complicated than it is.
She doesn’t know what the next weeks will hold but right now it doesn’t matter.
The sun is shining.
The sky is blue.
The sea is all around and the water comforts her.
And her mind is still.
And she is happy.

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