In honor of The Really Big Show this month, we are highlighting not only a volunteer but a true friend of Jimmy’s. Arthur and Jimmy met in Berkeley while attending UC Berkeley. They became fast friends, lived together and traveled around the globe. Arthur’s girlfriend (now wife Lisa) was also roommates with Jimmy. Both Arthur and Lisa have a lot of admiration and love for their dear friend.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
– Ferris Bueller
Where are your thoughts right now? Are you able to concentrate on the words you are
reading or are you ‘future tripping’, worrying about carpool rides for the kids, or maybe
you are wondering if you will be okay or be unprepared and awkward in tomorrow’s staff
meeting? Are you projecting into the future your thoughts and feelings only to arrive at
that time and place never truly ‘be there’, desperately attempting to figure out what may
or may not happen and how I will feel when I get there? This is the very definition of
anxiety. Living in speculation and expectation can lead towards resentment, not only
towards self but towards others and your outer world in general. Or are you remorseful
and resentful, regretting past decisions you have made? Should have, could have, would
have, living in the past, torturing yourself and listening to the lies you tell yourself until it
becomes a narrative that constructs who you are.
These states of being can keep us in victim mode, reacting to things emotionally as they
arise, taking things always personally. These speculative states can only lead to suffering,
and to what end? As our brain desperately attempts to map out the future so that we are
not surprised we become risk averse, stuck in a fight, flight or freeze mode. We are
unable to access higher regions of the brain and self and process our thoughts and
feelings effectively. Living in the past creates doubt and second-guessing, each should,
could and would is a total lie, we cannot change things in our past only learn from them.
We can work on staying in the only thing that truly is; the moment you are in.
Staying present, centered and aware can be challenging, but here are a few exercises to ground
you and bring you into your true reality.
You can first start by naming things in the room, I know it sounds silly but go ahead and do it now… what you are feeling is physically being in the time and place that you are in. When we have gotten good at that, we can continue to cycle through our senses; what we are hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling, literally coming into them… The sounds of the your neighborhood coming to life, the coffee from this morning, the cushions supporting our body as we sit. All of your senses come to life; you can be present to what is in front of you and around you, able to flow on into the next indicated thing.
Anxiety is living in the future, depression is living in the past.
The key to being okay is living in the here and now.
Pierce is finishing his Sophomore year of high school with plans to attend Cal Poly to study Engineering. He always asks how he can support our Marines in the ocean or any of us on the beach. He attends most of our Camp Pendleton session throughout the year and is able to do his service work with JMMF at each. You’ll find Pierce shredding his foamy or shortboard before every OT session, but with plenty of energy to assist our Athletes for hours afterward. We are lucky to have him!
Thank you Pierce!
Photo Cred: Timothy Reed Murphy
What is your narrative? Do you speak to yourself with warmth, Love and kindness or is your internal voice, your narrative, critical, coming from a place of fear and scarcity? It is not your fault; you have evolution working against you, moving thoughts, naturally, towards the oldest part of you, the reptilian part of your brain where a ‘fight or flight’ mentality primarily originates. Fortunately, I am assuming, most of your needs are going to be met today; you will be able to find a food source, you will be sheltered from the elements and, hopefully, no one and no thing will try to kill you. So where does that ancient energy, the ‘fight of flight’ mentality go? Enter anxiety…
What if you are just excited? And the reptilian brain masks your excitement as anxiety? Travel anxiety is a great example of excitement that could possibly present as anxiety. When I am preparing for a trip I can feel somatic (of the body) responses the closer it gets to the time I am leaving. My body can react as if I am being chased by a lion, my ‘fight or flight’ response kicks in and the reptilian brain is activated. It produces hormones necessary to quicken my pulse (adrenaline), sends more blood to my muscles so I can react quickly (norepinephrine) and regulate other biological systems (cortisol) to focus on the systems necessary to aid in my get away. Of course I am not in any danger of being eaten by a lion and as soon as I feel my pulse start to quicken I can start a dialogue with self. I can consciously confront the fear and move towards understanding; how realistic is it that the plane will go down and I have been through crowded the airports before, am I really never going to see my luggage again? Or I can re-frame my thoughts in a more affirming direction; I am just excited to go on vacation, visit friends or family and experience new things. Truth be told anxious and excited somatic responses are totally identical.
Move toward rewiring your brain and telling yourself you are leading an exciting life, moving freely away from an anxious one.
Article From The Washington Post:
By Tony Perry March 10
In song and prose, surfing has long been celebrated as a way to soothe the mind and invigorate the body. But scientific evidence has been limited.
Now the Navy has embarked on a $1 million research project to determine whether surfing has therapeutic value, especially for military personnel with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or sleep problems.
Researchers say surfing offers great promise as therapy. It is a challenging exercise in an outdoor environment; people surf individually or in groups; military surfers who are reluctant to attend traditional group therapy open up about their common experiences when talking to other surfers on the beach.
A surfing program by the Los Angeles-based Jimmy Miller Foundation brings instructors and psychologist Kevin Sousa to Camp Pendleton twice a month. Sousa follows service members with physical and mental injuries into the waves to offer surfing instruction and look for signs of emotional problems or distress. When the surfing session is over, he helps lead an informal group discussion on the beach.
“We believe we can heal each other one wave at a time,” said Kris Primacio, manager for ocean therapy at the foundation.
The foundation, along with VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, supported an early study of the therapeutic value of surfing. Led by occupational therapist Carly Rogers, the 2014 study found that surfing, coupled with individual counseling, group therapy, other exercise programs and medication, can help alleviate symptoms of psychological distress.
Jonathan Sherin, director of Los Angeles County’s mental health department, was a physician with VA during the Rogers study.
“Surfing exposes individuals to the awe of nature,” he said. “It’s good for a population that has turned inward from people and the outside world.”
On a recent sunny day, service members, many of them from the Wounded Warrior Battalion, assembled on the beach at Camp Pendleton to listen to instructors from the Jimmy Miller Foundation.
One of the surfers was Sgt. Maj. Brian Fogarty, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. While Fogarty surfed, his PTSD service dog Blade, a 2-year-old boxer, stayed on the beach and watched. Fogarty will retire soon and join the PTSD Foundation of America. He plans to sing the praises of surfing.