Posts Tagged ‘MEDITATION’

The parking lot suicides: They take their lives at the doorstep of the VA

Photos by Jenn Ackerman

Sixty-two percent of veterans, or 9 million people, depend on VA’s vast hospital system, but accessing it can require navigating a frustrating bureaucracy. Veterans sometimes must prove that their injuries are connected to their service, which can require a lot of paperwork and appeals.


Veterans who take their own lives on VA grounds often intend to send a message, said Eric Caine, director of the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention at the University of Rochester.


“These suicides are sentinel events,” Caine said. “It’s very important for the VA to recognize that the place of a suicide can have great meaning. There is a real moral imperative and invitation here to take a close inspection of the quality of services at the facility level.”


Keita Franklin, who became VA’s executive director for suicide prevention in April, said the agency now trains parking lot attendants and patrols on suicide intervention. The agency also has launched a pilot program that expands its suicide prevention efforts, including peer mentoring, to civilian workplaces and state governments.


“We’re shifting from a model that says, ‘Let’s sit in our hospitals and wait for people to come to us,’ and take it to them,” she said during a congressional staff briefing in January.


For some veterans, the problem is not only interventions but also the care and conditions inside some VA mental-health programs.


John Toombs, a 32-year-old former Army sergeant and Afghanistan veteran, hanged himself on the grounds of the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the morning before Thanksgiving 2016.


He had enrolled in an inpatient treatment program for PTSD, substance abuse, depression and anxiety, said his father, David Toombs.


“John went in pledging that this is where I change my life; this is where I get better,” he said. But he was kicked out of the program for not following instructions, including being late to collect his medications, according to medical records.


A few hours before he took his life, Toombs wrote in a Facebook post from the Murfreesboro VA that he was “feeling empty,” with a distressed emoji.


“I dared to dream again. Then you showed me the door faster than last night’s garbage,” he wrote. “To the streets, homeless, right before the holidays.”


Continue reading


Where do I start?

Giving without regard for reward has many benefits.


Giving this way, opens up our compassion center.


Gratitude will grow when you help others, a great side effect.


Life looks and feels different when giving takes over.


If you need a purpose, none better than giving.


Gratitude and giving change us, transforms us, offers us the space where wellbeing and happiness live.


Besides my family, giving is the most precious possession I have.

That awareness has developed with daily meditation and practice.


Besides being a possession, giving is a boomerang.

Throw giving around and watch what comes back.


Even smiles and kind words have enormous power.

Do all of us have a purpose?

Do all of us have a purpose?

Matthew Ricard say yes, our purpose is to be happy.

“Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things”.

This means chasing pleasure is the wrong fork in the road.

Happiness is connected to having an enormous feeling of gratitude, to a life of giving without regard for rewards.


Happiness is also having desire, greed, jealousy, anger, anxiety and suffering held in perspective.


We must be able to leave our losses, our unworthy thoughts and judgments behind.


Happiness exists in one time frame, the present moment.

Without purpose depression, unworthiness, boredom and suffering enter our lives.


Purpose brings us back to current awareness.


The mind works best, going slow, focused on the current task or empty of thought and focused on the senses.

Even Carl Jung knows the journey is difficult



“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely”.

 – Carl Jung




 This terrifying thing is part of our journey to wellbeing, our stated affirmation.




 In this moment, right now, I approve of myself.




 Do no harm means giving up unworthiness, guilt and shame.




Mindful Wisdom

Never give depression, anxiety or unworthiness attention, power.

That means we stay present, positive, grateful and active.


We do not write poems or posts describing how powerful, how pervasive or how much of a victim we feel like!


If I am feeling depressed, wisdom tells me, my thoughts suck right now.


I am not aware of right now, I am lost in judgment and emotion.


Living an active, healthy existence takes vigilance and discipline.


It takes courage to stay present and take action.


It takes courage to let go of that helpless, hopeless feeling.


Focus on what we have, not what we lack or desire.


Change things up and find someone to donate a smile, an ear, or a helping hand.


Attitude changes with emptying the mind of the noise.

Mindfulness is a natural painkiller by Alexandra Thompson




Mindfulness is just as effective as go-to cognitive behavioural therapy

Both help improve ‘physical functioning’ and reduce the risk of depression

Mindfulness is a natural painkiller, research suggests.

A study found the trendy meditation – favoured by the likes of Hollywood’s resident ‘health guru’ Gwyneth Paltrow and pop sensation Katy Perry – is just as effective at easing discomfort as the go-to treatment cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Focusing the mind on the present moment is thought to help sufferers cope with their discomfort, which also improves their ‘physical functioning’ and reduces their risk of depression.

The research was carried out by The Ottawa Hospital in Ontario, and led by the biostatistician Dr Wei Cheng.

Writing in the journal Evidence Based Mental Health, the scientists said: ‘While CBT is considered to be the preferred psychological intervention of 

‘Although a number of recommendations have been proposed to improve CBT for patients with chronic pain, an additional solution may be to offer patients mindfulness based stress reduction.

Continue reading


Upon awakening this morning, I felt overwhelmed, anxious, and vulnerable.

Following these feelings and emotions backward, worry, doubt and fear were present.

These judgments projected danger for me. Complex PTSD highlights dangers that it creates.

My mind seemed confused, wanting to avoid or eliminate my predicament.


You could label this catastrophizing, predicting gloom and doom. It stems from my abuse, my critical upbringing. Never safe, never calm.

What can we do?


A couple deep breaths, intently focusing on this moment, cleared this cognitive mess.


I am fine taking this breath, collecting data from all my senses intently.


Awareness returns to this moment.


Reminding myself, life is not lived predicting anything in the future. 


Remember, happiness visits only one time zone, now.


You can not be happy in the past or future.


My healing has not eliminated these overwhelming thoughts,  but I do have tools to handle these fears.

%d bloggers like this: