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 Veteran 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 war 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 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 shared their heart's journey and by the end of two hours ~ they all felt a sense of commonality. Their homework was producing a life chart of the path of their individual heart's journey. .
The second session, a week later, they all shared a childhood picture of themselves and shared their life chart with the group describing their individual journeys to find love and acceptance as well as themselves . We briefly talked about the war but they quickly realized their commonality ~ in that their lives had all been a quest to find meaning and that all of their love relationships had significant meaning. They were already a band of brothers on a common inner journey of the heart.
The third session, a week later, 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 them they had deeply loved and were really gifts in their lives.
The fourth session, a week later, they met the 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 ~ it was like long dormant flowers suddenly blooming. I was moved almost to tears to see these Veterans suddenly claim their joy and innocence after years of self doubt and despair. For Jim it was the most meaningful aspect of the workshop ~ " I felt the most meaningful aspect of the workshop was recognizing the pain and brutality experienced as a young boy and being able to get in touch with him for my healing". Their homework was to give that child a voice and hang out with him.
The Fifth 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. Many of them had not thanked anyone and certainly not themselves. This brought Pedro face to face with a gratefulness issue he had long avoided ~ " The most meaningful aspect of the workshop was that it forced me to meet and confront issues I usually avoided "
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 25 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 sixth session, one week later, was the Death Exercise where the group, 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 the resultant 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.
Most of them enjoyed the element of the unknown that they were continually coming face to face with in these sessions, especially Mike ~ " I'm finally not controlled by fear and I learned more about myself in eight weeks than I have in 44 years of my life ! "
The seventh session, one week later, reinforced that we are continually being called from within to the path of the heart, but few listen and fewer still respond. It is in this session that they understand that they have all been called to the inner journey of the soul ( through Love) versus the outer journey of the ego ( through Fear ). This session ended with a visualization exercise in which they realize that the most precious gift they have always wanted is themselves ~ free from fear.