Transcending Trauma

For the holiday season I am at Ft. Campbell, KY visiting an old friend of mine that I served with in Iraq. Being here has been nice since I am getting a chance to see and experience some of the things that makes a military town a military town. One of the things that I haven’t done in a while is read an issue of the Army Times, mainly because I am no longer in the Army and also because there aren’t any AAFES locations near me to sell them.

Well, as I was reading an issue of the Army Times from 27 DEC 2010, I ran into an article on page 3 of the OFFduty section. To my surprise the Army had written an article on TM and how it has helped soldiers deal with PTSD.  There is a new initiative that has been created by the David Lynch Foundation called Operation Warrior Wellness to do just that. Their mission is to teach Transcendental Meditation to 10,000 soldiers suffering from PTSD over the next two years. At a recent event promoting the initiative many veterans who have served in WWII, Vietnam and Iraq have spoken on the benefits of TM and how it has helped them deal with their combat experiences. There were also many celebrities there to promote Operation Warrior Wellness to include Clint Eastwood, Russell Brand and Donna Karan. In another article on an online news website I read a rather powerful statement: “Uniting them was a belief that transcendental meditation, dubbed TM for short, is the cheapest, most effective and medication-free way of healing people who have suffered severe stress in war and any other extreme experience.”

I practice TM every day and I can personally say that it has changed my life. I was fortunate enough to not have PTSD while being deployed to Iraq but I have had other traumatic experiences in my life and TM has helped tremendously in easing the pains associated with those traumas. I am glad to see that there is publicity on this now especially from the Army Times.

To read more on this please check out the 27 DEC 2010 edition of the Army Times or read more at the following web address:

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Staying Fit at MUM

When I was getting ready to leave the army I had many concerns. One of them was how to maintain my fitness. The army makes it easy to be fit.  They give you a great gym to work out in, physical fitness standards to maintain and mandatory physical training (p.t.) every morning at 0600. And if you were lucky or unlucky than you would get smoked out by your NCO’s for extra p.t.

MUM won’t punish you with pushups or make you wake up with the sun but they will help you maintain your fitness standards. On campus there are a variety of things being offered for your fitness benefit. The gym offers free rentals of  equipment to help you have fun and stay in shape. There are free bike rentals, ice skating shoes and ski’s. The ice skating shoes are great because there are lots of little ponds in Fairfield that get frozen in winter so it easy to utilize them.

Just yesterday I went ice skating on a pond that was frozen next to the house that I live in and it was a lot of fun. Once there is more snow on the ground it will be great to rent ski’s and boots and go cross country skiing through the landscape of Fairfield. I really like the fact that you can have fun right here in your own backyard without having to go anywhere and better yet its free which is great for a student budget.

In the warmer months it is very popular for students to rent the bikes that are provided by the gym. Students use them not only recreationally but for transportation to get around town. Also, Fairfield just recently created more bike lanes so it is perfectly safe to get around town. Its very efficient and sometimes I wonder if its not better than driving a car!

In the warmer months there are lots of hiking opportunities as well. There is a very large trail system just within walking distance from the dorms on campus. Also Jefferson County Park has over seven miles of trails for walking or biking that take visitors through a diversity of landscapes, such as timber, pine tree plantings, meadows, and reintroduced prairies. Nearby are also campgrounds that offer electricity hookups and cabin rentals for a weekend escape. There are also picnic areas with softball, volleyball, and playground facilities.

MUM students canoeing at the Ozarks

Additionally, for the summer MUM offers free rentals of canoes, kayaks, sailboards and life jackets for water activities. There are many lakes in Iowa where you can go enjoy the weekend kayaking and canoeing. Also there are opportunities to go fishing at these lakes as well for different kinds of fish.

The MUM recreation center also has its own outdoor facilities that will assist in maintaining fitness. There is a beach volleyball court, a soccer field, tennis courts and a 25 meter swimming pool. It is not uncommon to see students hanging out at the pool in the summer or playing beach volleyball. We may be in Iowa but we can bring the water and beach to us! I also have many friends that are involved in the different soccer and rugby teams that meet regularly to play on campus.

With so many activities available I don’t think I will have time to explore all of it! I really like the fact that I can have fun, stay fit, stay within a budget and get a good dose of nature all at the same time. And of course make some friends along the way to go explore all these options that are available.

Next week I will talk about the different fitness classes being offered by the recreation center and indoor activities that will also help in maintaining your fitness.

For further information checkout these resources:

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Legendary film directors Clint Eastwood, George Lucas, David Lynch, and Martin Scorsese join forces to help veterans overcome war-related illnesses

In a November 26 article, the Wall Street Journal reported that legendary directors Clint Eastwood, George Lucas, David Lynch, and  Martin Scorsese have joined forces to support a new nationwide initiative “to help 10,000 veterans overcome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other war-related illnesses” through the Transcendental Meditation technique.

By Gurdy Leete

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