After I had been working with leather for about three or four years I started to realize that I was more aware of the moments when my mind would run and hide in a fantasy land whenever I was "triggered". I started to pay close attention to those moments and try to pinpoint not only what is was that triggrered me (which sometimes was not difficult at all) but also to where my mind ran and for what reasons. I found that the more I focused on the work I was doing the easier it was for me to resolve some of the issues of guilt and insecurity that usually led to significant overreactions. I began to focus on normal day-to-day activities and narrate my way through the day to remind myself to stay "in the here and now". Over time this helped me regain control of my mind and discard the baggage of my past that kept dragging me down.
When I was introduced to Gaea Logan through a good friend, my experience was given a name to a face: Mindfulness. Gaea has been practicing analytic psychotherapy since 1974 and has been presenting nationally and internationally on the topics of healing trauma, group psychotherapy, compassion, mindful awareness, and leadership. She, along with the other members of the Board of Directors in their Non-Profit organization, have adopted VetCraft as a project and are teaching us the mindfulness techniques they have developed over the years. In turn, we will have these methods and techniques available to teach our students so that they can have aother effective tool in managing their stress and refocusing their mind on the present. Repetitive use of these techniques helps to retrain the amygdala, which is the portion of the brain that governs our "fight or flight" response.
Not only are they helping us with the mindfulness training but they are also coaching us through the nuances of applying for 501c3 status, grant proposal writing, and fund raising. By working together, we hope to establish an outreach program that not only spans the entire United States territory, but also extends to any person, military or civilian, who has been affected by trauma and suffers from the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We look forward to continued learning from and growing with them in this endeavour.