Mindful Monday: Opening Our Hearts to Better Understand Others

I am constantly learning and growing with the work I do. I meet incredible people, witness deep transformations, and am in awe of the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

Currently, I’m working on a project that is deeply touching and is changing me in so many ways.

In September I will be leading a weekend workshop for the spouses and partners of veterans with an Operational Stress Injury (OSI) or PTSD. It is called ‘Awakening the Anchor: Helping Women Stay the Course’. The women will also receive private coaching and a day workshop as a follow-up.

I am working together with South Western Ontario Military Family Resource who was the recipient of the Bell True Patriot Love Fund.

The more I learn about the veterans and their families, the more it opens my heart.

I can’t begin to imagine the challenges faced by the veteran coming home after the war, and the challenges of the spouse or caregiver knowing the person who went to war is not the same person now and may never be.

Our weekend workshop will provide a safe space for these women to learn, share and heal. Many partners experience compassion fatigue and we will be teaching them practical and effective mindfulness techniques to reduce stress, self-regulate, develop self-compassion, find peace and feel empowered.

We believe and are confident the research will show, when the caregiver is given tools to improve their emotional, mental and physical well-being there is an opportunity for transformation within the entire family.

Learning about these families’ experiences and having the opportunity to do this work has really opened by mind and heart to what veterans have sacrificed for our country, and what the families have sacrificed as well.

My dad once told me he wanted to be in the Second World War, but he was too young. He tried to lie about his age but he did not get in. His brother did go to war, and my mom’s brother as well.

As a young girl, I remember visiting my uncles on summer vacation and I knew they were different. One drank a lot and suffered from mental illness and my other uncle who had undergone shock therapy numerous times would sit there and say very little. They were never able to lead a normal life after returning. At that age I didn’t understand, and I felt uncomfortable around them.

Now I am understanding.

As I continue to learn about the people and their families who have made these many sacrifices it fills my heart with so many different feelings that it is hard for me to put into words.

As humans we are resilient. We are strong. When given the tools, compassion and support, it is possible to not only survive, but thrive.

When one person heals, we all heal.

I am grateful, honoured and humbled to be part of this incredible project.

If you are a spouse or partner of a CAF member diagnosed with an OSI and you wish to take part in the SWOMFRC’s 'Awakening the Anchor' weekend mindfulness workshop contact Melikie Joseph.

With gratitude,