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…Good and Bad

 

We all have that friend, the one who know’s you better then most… good and bad. If you are like me, you keep in touch and that deep connection resumes seamlessly, as if the absence were hours, not months. You catch up as usual and that is even more fluid then most as you listen and share, rather then wait and run down your own list. Again, if you are like me, you catch up on those long ago days as well…good and bad. It doesn’t come from a lack of anything substantive to talk about, and it goes beyond “shop talk” like you have with other Vet’s. Together you have shared some of the best and worst humanity can throw at you and together you have relied on each other. You listen and share…good and bad.

John is that guy I spent almost my entire career with, both at work and on our off time. We shared a similar background in very unique ways, and yet we are polar opposites as well. I am the “Yankee” and John is the “Redneck”… one from New York City and the other from the hills of Virginia. Both had been Marines prior to becoming Soldiers and we both had connections to New Jersey… oh it get’s weird, trust me. But the guy I want at my side in a fight, and the guy I know who will shoot just as straight when I ask him his opinion or advice.

Like I said earlier, the one who know’s you better then most…good and bad. So during this most recent conversation, there was just that… the good and the bad. I only came to this after we had hung up, but John had asked me a very direct and honest question that only a friend who know’s you on that deeper level can ask. He already know’s the answer, but it made me take stock, only to confirmed something that I had only recently come to understand, but it has tied into this journey. Also, that no matter what I may have believed, he honestly took my well being to heart. It was that day, after I had been wounded and I was chomping at the bit to get back into the fight. It is the prime motivator for so many of us to return for multiple tours, over and over. There is a sense of having not done enough, of being next to your brothers and facing experiences that leaves an indelible stain upon our memories. John knew me enough to break my heart and take me out of the fight. He knew enough then that although my heart was in the fight, the IED blast had altered my ability to effectively lead and he wouldn’t accept anything less then 100% medical clearance. I knew he was right, but it was a bitter pill to swallow. We just had the bad part of the conversation and there wasn’t a negative reflection on that event, but a complete agreement on my part as to why I had needed to sit on the sidelines. Only because it also took me on a path that I might never have seen, my road less travelled.

I started talking to John about IAM23 and how we are seeking to change the narrative, about so many of us wanting more then this “new normal” that many of us have expected to live with. About my own post traumatic growth and soon John found out that I was on a roll when I started talking about this new direction, and as brief as it was this was the good part of our conversation. Simply said, John stated that there was a purpose in my voice that he had not heard in quite some time. That was it.

We all have that friend, and they can hear our true selves better then most others. They pick up on the subtle because of that connection, that bond you share. It is also the part of your own narrative. A friend that can ask those deeper questions is an invaluable tool for us to regulate ourselves and take stock of who we are and who we strive to be. Shoulder to shoulder we shared an experience that forged a reliance for our very survival, and I challenge everyone to continue that support now. We stood for one another in the worst of times, and that also should never be forgotten now that we are home.

 

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Jay Whitacre… Regaining Purpose

The story below exemplifies what IAM23 promotes. Jay Whitacre and I served in the same Battalion, and his story show’s the extent of suffering many of us experience. However, the decision to NOT suffer, or become the next statistic speaks volumes in terms of the inner strength we all have. Finding the way toward your own path is often the most difficult journey, however just as with Jay… if we learn to trust ourselves and take that first step the results are literally transforming!!

As an infantryman I was always looking for an opportunity to show how brave I was. I knew in my heart that I would have no problem putting my life on the line for others. What I did not expect, however, was how I would react to human suffering. In 2005 while I was deployed to Iraq I witnessed this firsthand. That event, coupled with the difficulty of transitioning to a civilian role…I spiraled out of control. Alcohol, food, and 10 years later, I allowed myself to reach 370 pounds. Even though I had given up on life and thought of suicide, I could never do that to my family. But I wasn’t alive either.
This past July, I could feel a life altering event making my decision for me, and decided if I wasn’t going to give in to suicide, I was going to put in the work. I started going to the gym (I mean I already had paid 4 years at this point, lol). I started doing meal prep, counting calories, and cut out all liquid calories. From July to December, 5 days a week I was in the gym doing strength training. I didn’t do any cardio because I’ve seen too many others blow out an ACL or something because of weakness and putting too much strain on their joints. I went from 370 to 343. Beginning of January I started doing cardio at the end of my workouts…I felt I had gained enough muscle. I’m happy to say that from January to July I’ve gone from 343 to 245 lbs. Yes, that is 98 lbs in 6 months, and 125 lbs in a year.
This post is not specifically to bring awareness to the 22 veteran lives that are lost every day to suicide. This post is for anyone dealing with PTSD, depression or mental illness. So often we get discouraged by others choices to commit suicide (I miss you Dom), I felt we need to hear some success stories. My before picture is embarrassing AF (so is my bathroom for that matter), but if it helps motivate even one person to get off their ass and change then I feel my embarrassment is worth it. If I can do it, you can do it (insert Shia LaBeouf gif).
If you have any questions about fitness or nutrition, shoot me a message. If you are having thoughts of suicide please reach out to me or someone else.
1-800-273-TALK (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
1-800-273-8255 (The Veterans Crisis Line)

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State Troopers Stand by our Veterans

As with all of the resources we post, the latest addition is a great resource for Veteran’s. The New Jersey State Police have created an organization of both Active and Former NJ Troopers, who have gone above and beyond when a Veteran has needed assistance. To date, they have provided funding for over 25 service dogs (mine included!) nationwide through K9s for Warriors in Jacksonville FL, among numerous local projects… all aimed to improve the lives of of our nations Veteran community.

For more information check their link on our homepage or look them up on Facebook.

 

 

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Abandon Words. Choose Action. (Thomas Faulkenberry)

Cowards follow orders blindly. I know those are harsh words, but they are true. Better words would explain that it takes great strength to challenge orders, especially ones that go against the core of what we believe. Denying the heart makes one sick.

On active duty we were trained to follow lawful orders without hesitation: to execute those orders, hoping for the best while expecting the worst. The transition to a different mindset as a civilian, as one who wants peace, has been much more difficult than I imagined. I’m finding that I’m not alone. In fact it seems to be more common than not for our fellow brothers and sisters in arms to share this struggle.

I was a coward. Since I was very young, I have known that you can’t be brave without having fear to face. Many times I have demonstrated my aptitude for bravery in service while being a coward in my personal life. I stayed absent from life in order to avoid conflict and strife.

Military life was easy: Guidelines that are easy to follow and gray areas easy to navigate, especially when your buddy’s precious life is on the line. Orders were given and followed to create unity and safety; to allow effectiveness in some pretty “severe schools.” Home life was far different. If we had a spouse battling from the home front, it is very likely that you had a very strong partner, fighting battles and creating a safe system in your absence. Returning home to that partner only to feel as if you are a disruption to that system, as opposed to being battle buddies, is a bitter pill to swallow. Especially when your family was your motivation for serving well. There is a fine line between absent and meekly present. I can clearly see what a delicate balance that is. I want to know more.

A radical change of heart and mind has helped me to create a new and better reality that fuels a purpose-driven life. My desire to continue to serve my fellow man has not changed; it just looks very different than I had imagined. The ugly word that kept me in cowardice and had to be faced is SHAME. Giving shame a voice removes it from its hiding place and requires accountability.

Regardless of its source, bringing shame into the light requires great strength and humility. We tend to believe that vulnerability has the same meaning as weakness. In my experience it actually takes incredible strength to expose our weaknesses and then to ask for help with them. My desire to be free from the pain that was keeping me stuck finally got me looking for answers to a better way of life.

The critical point for opening up and expressing shame seemed to be able to do so with people you love and trust and place an equal love and trust in you. Call them your TRIBE. If you question who your tribe is, simply open your mouth and reveal your true self; those still standing with you afterward are very likely your tribe. Those who abandon you in your time of need were likely never truly a part of your support system and needed to go.

That can be hard to accept when you have had dreams and desires to live life with certain people, but requiring people to be something they are not able or willing to be is cruel and doesn’t foster healthy, intimate relationships.

For me, life after the military is about struggling well so that true strength can be built and modeled well. True strength is about regulation and using emotion to fuel action. Positive action, even if your initial action doesn’t feel positive. A very dear mentor recently told me, “Be the man I know I am, not the man people say I am.”

Those powerful words helped fuel my resolve to stand up and fight for what I believe. I believe that my family is my first mission and deserves the bulk of my fighting energy. Teaching and training my sons to be strong, compassionate and moral men, has so much less to do with what I SAY and so much more to do with what I DO before them.

Sadly, many veterans struggling to deal with the destructive effects of PTS don’t get the chance to model PTG (post traumatic growth). They might want a better way but don’t have the practices to help them find what they are looking for. This is a tragic loss, especially for those who have stood by them and truly deserve their best.

Their attempts to isolate themselves are typically very effective, and if they can’t find the safety they seek in their dysfunction, then death by their own hands becomes a very viable option. I know, because I have faced that monster more than once.

Knowing that every day we lose more veterans to suicide breaks my heart but also fuels my fire to find better solutions for our families and us. The world typically doesn’t even know the name of a single veteran who takes his or her own life on any given day. The sad truth is that outside of the destructive wake left behind, we have no idea what was truly lost with that precious life. I want to know what we have lost and what is yet to be saved!

Better yet, what is yet to be created? Purpose and passion are seeded within the heart of every human; I want everyone I meet to know that is true for them and point them to the truth they are seeking. Serving yourself first is in contrast to our training, however; until you square yourself away, you can never assist anyone else in finding his or her own path. Illuminate your own path, and those standing with you will also have light to help find their own way as well.

If you won’t serve yourself, will you still complain about being underserved? It is time for the tremendous resources that lay hidden in our veterans to be called upon. The percentage of the population that truly understands DUTY is not being utilized and that is a value our nation needs to tap into. Hopelessness is an epidemic that is not unique to veterans. Veterans have grit that is highly valued in a time of wavering values, and supports the courage needed to stay the course, especially when it’s hard.

Embrace the suck and be the professional who doesn’t get sucked into a gunfight but instead looks for “shit to do”: connect and build community. Reflect your values like a mirror; be who you know you are, not the one they say; don’t betray your nature.

Give shame a voice and watch it disappear and free you from what keeps you stuck. Give it a voice and see who your real tribe is.

Don’t be number 22. Be the one who stands to stop the destruction of hopelessness.

The only sin I know is borne of people who sit by and allow evil to over take the world. Our sphere of influence is our world around us. The night is dark and full of terrors, but leading with love means that YOU can be IN the darkness AND be the light that shines brighter…be the difference.

 

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Confirmation Bias – James Ryan (Editor-in-Chief)

Your Confirmation Bias-Why You Need To Be Aware Of It

          I remember about half way through a deployment while serving with the 173rd Airborne, Paktika Province Afghanistan, dealing with constant chronic and sometimes extreme pain in my right knee. I would limp a lot, popping pain pills, and always had an ice bag at the ready. Our Brigade redeployed back to Italy, and I immediately sought help at our Army Health Clinic. After the x-rays, and eventually a MRI, I was told unless it is an emergency, I could never run again. I was devastated, and was also told that I was in danger of being, “Medically Retired” from service. Although I won that battle, had my 5th knee surgery, another combat deployment as a Commanding Officer, I was eventually retired. After retiring, I remember going through our Veteran’s Affairs hospital processing centers, and was told right off, that I was allowed to have a handicap placard. I thought this is something awesome to have, and I immediately starting using it. I finally in my life was able to, “Park at the curb” whenever I wanted to. Everyone wants, and wishes to “Park at the curb” because it saves time, and even gives one a sense of, “Entitlement.”

Your Confirmation Bias, and the Power of Symbolism

Symbolism plays an important part in our lives, even if we are not proactively studying the symbol, and what that symbol represents. Humans are all, “word” and “symbol” controlled creatures. For me, it happened one day as I was walking out of a gym just finishing a workout. As I came out of the gym, I looked at my truck in that giant handicap space-that giant “Infantry Blue” handicap symbol, and thought, “I just finished crushing myself through an extremely powerful workout, and I am parking in a handicap spot?” I started probing deep into my subconscious, and began to argue with myself (because other people will just tell you), “You earned it.” Now, upfront, I am by no means against anyone using a handicap placard. If you truly need it, or perhaps you are having a really bad day, then, that is your business, and uses the placard-BUT that symbol stared back at me. It forced me to confront my confirmation bias, because even if indirectly, I continue to look at that symbol, and keep telling myself, over and over again, through the use of symbolism, that I am disabled. From that moment onward, I look at that handicap symbol in a different manner. If physically fit, and able, why not use the extra distance in the parking lot, to burn some unwanted calories? Why not let someone else use the spot, if they are worse off than you? Have you ever thought that if you have a handicap placard, the symbol could be confirming your inner critic voice, that you are wounded, or disabled, when in fact you are way better off than you realize. I know for myself, even though I was a decent runner, ran a couple of marathons, and triathlons, I despised running. When I see someone running by me now, I wish I could run with them, but I never will be able to again. You do not realize how much you miss something, until it is taken from you. However, that’s where you find other ways to condition yourself, physically. Military Veteran’s tend to define themselves physically. Break out of your confirmation bias. Where you cannot perform one type of exercise, certain type of sport, or racing, find different ways to, “Get Back On The Horse!!”

Your Perspective And Your Confirmation Bias-How They Can Be Used To Help You

Military Veterans are excellent on gauging perspective. Unfortunately, and fortunately, I have had to spend quite a bit of time assisting wounded and disabled Veterans, either in hospitals, on multi-day white water rafting expeditions, long bicycle rides, in order to raise funding and awareness, or even assisting them in their homes with their families. You can learn a tremendous amount about life when you spend quality time with wounded and disabled Military Veterans. Through the use of perspective, the person with the shrapnel, or gunshot wound, will look at the person who lost their arm. The person, who lost their arm, will look over at the person, missing both arms. The person that is missing both arms will look at the burn victim, and the burn victim will look at the person who lost their vision. The person with the Traumatic Brain Injury or Post Traumatic Stress will look completely normal, but are hurting inside, and feel just as wounded as everyone else, though their wounds are not visible, which in many ways could be way worse.

You are in control of your injuries more so, than you give yourself credit for. Your mind is one immensely powerful, “Supercomputer.” Having a profound confirmation bias is an extremely powerful influence in your life, and everything I am conveying here, completely ties into preventing Military Veteran Suicide. “Suicide is a permanent solution, to a temporary problem.” When things are taken from us in our lives, or we feel “The Walls Closing-in” or you just think there is no point in life, take a step back and size up your confirmation bias. Fully assess your confirmation bias, and then use perspective as a technique and management tool to keep your attitude, and outlook strong. Do you have confirmation bias, and if so, what are you doing about it?

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VA Victims

I know when I left the military and settled in my little town, I had no idea what the future was to hold and truth be told, if I had known, I may have balked at the “path” I was on. The road ahead of me seemed to be lined with one failure after another, one more appointment with the VA, one more pill to take etc. What I did not know then, and what I have only recently discovered, is that the VA only serves to create a society of victims.

Victims… addled with the drugs given out like candy within the VA, most of us cannot see that there is indeed growth after trauma, and the VA treatment model only serves to make us feel victimized. Even being told this is my “normal” and the goal of treatment was to learn how to live with this new me. Dangling benefits in front of us, then either pulling them back or burying the process in red tape. What I was searching for and what I did eventually find, was that the old me was still there, and that I was getting in my own way. I could not change what had happened, but I could change how I moved forward.

We have a new generation of Veterans with all the potential to shape and change the world and we have yet to find the voice that will speak for us. We all drank the kool-aid and believed that the system would take care of us, when in fact the system is rife with problematic trends, which have a negative impact on the people it is designed to care for. So if the VA cannot address the issues we have, then why are we not addressing this ourselves? We walked through very gates of hell, to do what most would not, only to fall when we come home to peace? We have the tools, training, and fortitude to battle this with as much energy as we fought the real enemy.

This is where I found my way… through the support of my “brothers.” Those of us who venture outside of the VA have found that there is so much more to life then what we had been led to believe… there is growth and success, having what you want and deserve. Just as life in the military, it takes discipline, and hard work, all of which we are NO stranger to, but for some reason we lost that drive. There are no handouts, no magic pills… only the knowledge that my brothers will not LET me become that victim again.

So… are you a VA victim?

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A Tale of Two Brothers

They didn’t grow up in the same house, or even in the same town. They became brothers in one of the most lasting ways that someone can…by sharing the same battlefield…

This story of two best friends with two separate endings is one that is all too familiar in our Veteran community.

Throughout my childhood, I have always believed that a brother is someone you have grown with in the same house and shared the same toys, and even had the same friends. This is true for most people, but all the same, there are people who meet in their adult life and the life experiences shared together define them to be the closest of brothers. This is the story of Aaron and Ricky.

Both had a love for their country and made the sacrifice to fight and defend their country as Soldiers. Coming from different background, the two met in the battlefield, defending each other and their country with honor, dignity, and respect. You see, there is something about the battlefield that makes one change. When the battle is a matter of life or death and the person next to you is the closest one will get to family; hence, the strong bonds created by Soldiers during combat. It is here that one’s love for Country and friends is tested. With the brotherhood created through the sharing of the battlefield and watching each other’s back, Aaron and Ricky were practically brothers.

In as much as through resiliency they both made if off the battlefield and back to their loved one waiting for them on the home front. Living after the war required one to have a brother and family to help them get through the shared experience. Together, they would travel this path. As brothers, they would forever have each other’s back, and ensure that the experiences shared would never separate them.

But somewhere along this journey, something changed. No one is really sure when or why which is the hardest part of acceptance.   For Ricky, the internal struggle became too much and he made his choice. For everyone, this came as a complete shock. How could his brother, the one he had shared good times, fought with, and was even willing to give his own life, make the choice to end his own? For many, we can never understand why a Soldier like him would choose such a path. Those left behind are often left struggling, wondering what we could have done to help.

In the wake of this grief is when we learn that success as a Soldier is not only about getting out of the battlefield, but also choosing to fight and live after the war. It is this point that we understand the concepts of PTSD, and begin to understand how it can affect us and those we hold dear. Aaron chose to live despite the grief as a way to show other that they too can choose to live.

“Et lux in tenebris lucet….. – and the light shineth in the darkness.”

It’s time to change the narrative. It’s time to let your life be the inspiration.

 

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The Warrior Rises….

Many people will give you an excuse to be negative when circumstances in your life are negative and disheartening. The response to discouraging circumstances is not automatically a negative attitude. You don’t have to accept the excuse to be bitter. People who give you the excuse to be bitter do not believe that you deserve better or that you can be can feel, and can achieve better despite the circumstances. Excuses to be bitter limit your ability to be inspired life beyond the problem.

Soldiers suffering from PTSD have maintained a positive attitude through tough times. Have triumphed over the problems and risen out of the fire. They were driven, not by the negative circumstances, but by the positive hope each possessed. They ignored the excuse to think negatively but accepted the responsibility to move positively with determination.

You can be inspiring also. Connect deeply with your hope. Trust that you can go through the negative without being negative. Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams. Remember, a problem is a chance for you to do your best and to strengthen who you are. Tap into your greatness and your internal inspiration to succeed beyond the problem.

You are not your problems. You are not your disappointments.

The struggles you face today do not define you. What does define you is your attitude toward them.  You must approach problems and disappointments as just challenges. Approach them with positive determination to overcome them. To possess that positive determination, you must look and see clearly beyond the problem. Be inspired by the hope beyond the problem and you will be determined to go beyond your problems.

When you face disappointment, do not cry “Why me?” and beg to give up in defeat. Take a moment first to see what the day will look like beyond the disappointment. Be determined not to allow the disappointment to persist longer than necessary. Take a positive approach and be the triumphant person you truly are for success.

Your finest moments will most likely occur when you face your greatest challenges, obstacles, and problems. Amid discomfort and disappointment, you will reveal that you are stronger, more determined, more flexible, innovative and creative than any difficult circumstance you encounter. If suffering from PTSD, go forward despite the problems, be inspired beyond the problem, and prove who you are.

“Et lux in tenebris lucet….. – and the light shineth in the darkness.”

It’s time to change the narrative.  It’s time to let your life be the inspiration

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Reclaim Your Warrior Spirit

While reading Man’s Search for Meaning, I came across a phrase the perfectly sums up PTSD, and the struggle many vets face on a daily basis.

Et lux in tenebris lucet – and the light shineth in the darkness.”

Many vets daily are struggling; here are some success secrets to help them overcome.   Listen and learn about the internal battles those with suicide on their mind face.

Soldiers suffering from suicide need to transcend the internal battles they struggle with and be uplifted above the situations they feel overwhelmed by. In the case of soldiers battling often daily for their lives, the intensity of emotions is significantly increased and therefore demands extra attention.

Your past does not determine your future.

No matter how bleak or miserable your past may have been, you owe it to yourself not to let it define your present and future. Your best days and most blessed days are ahead of you!

What a tragedy it would have been for President Abraham Lincoln to have quit his pursuit of the presidency after he lost 7 political elections and thought himself to be an absolute embarrassment.

How sad it would have been for the authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul to have believed the rejection letters from 61 publishers who turned their book down before they decided to self-publish and not listen to their critics.

Sylvester Stallone may not be a household name today had he listened to his critics and naysayers who refused to believe in his original movie and screenplay “Rocky”. Nevertheless, against all hope, he continued to believe and persevered despite the odds.

Stories such as this are innumerable and countless. Therefore be encouraged and never let your past define your future.

You don’t have to figure everything out.

Life isn’t always easily understood. Curve balls come to us all, as sudden circumstances surprise and blindside us. Nevertheless, as you stay the course and go forward despite your feelings and initial assessment of the situation, all will be well concerning you.

Trust your heart more than your head.

Listen to your heart when your head gets overly analytical and tries to discourage you. Regain your childlike heart and begin to believe again.

Your heart deep within will never mislead you. Yes, feelings of discouragement may come, but the spirit and heart within you are full of resurrection power to arise over every circumstance. Reconnect with your heart within and arise with a new spirit to win.

Run to the battle rather than from the battle.

Life is full of battles and challenges. If it doesn’t kill you, it just makes you stronger. Many are they who quit along the way and succumb to adverse pressure. Yet adversity is your best university. Therefore don’t allow adversity to crush you, but rather make you.

The crucible of life is where diamonds are formed within the fiery pressures of life. Know you are a diamond in the making if you are undergoing and experiencing any kind of pressure.

Let your mess become a message to somebody hurting more than yourself.

Encourage others less fortunate than you. If you have a roof over your head, food in your refrigerator, and transportation (even if just a bus) to get from point A to B, then you aren’t as bad off as you may think. Consider many suffering without these essential elements of survival in the third world. Consider the many physically impaired individuals without legs and arms in wheelchairs.

Find something to be thankful for.

Be thankful for the air you breathe, the water you drink, the roof over your head, the wonderful people in your life, the family and friends you possess, and the opportunities in front of you.

Forgive those who have wronged you and live free from bitterness.

Rather than growing bitter, become better. Learn from your life experience, mistakes, setbacks, and hardships. Be a warrior and a lover, who understands life isn’t always perfect. Be bold and courageous, choosing life over death.

Your life is always going to be celebrated and cherished by someone. Therefore guard your life and resist the temptation of quitting prematurely before you create your lifelong legacy.

Future generations are eager to see what you will do and say with your life. Don’t disappoint them.

…………What will you be remembered for?

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Negative Energy-It Is Extremely Addictive… Use Your Shields! (James Ryan – Editor in Chief)

Every time I think about negative energy, I always fall back on that famous quote from the movie, “Return of the Jedi.” Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker are battling it out with Lightsabers, and when Luke is about to be defeated, Vader clinching his fist says, “Luke, if you only knew the power of the Dark Side!” Negative energy is an extremely powerful, and destructive energy. It is an energy that is highly addictive, and when one gravitates towards negativity, negative people, and negative situations continue to show-up in one’s life. Negativity, attracts more negativity. Have you ever walked into a room full of people where no one has said one word, but you can feel that everyone in the room is angry or frustrated about something? You knew something did not feel right, because you could fully sense the negativity. It permeated deep inside of your intuition, without any verbal or physical verification.

We currently live in a negative world. Bad news sells. Most news stories on the Mainstream Media are stories that are related to tragedy, fear, suspicion, and sadness. Even the weather reporter will tell you that there is a 10% chance of rain, when instead, could tell us all that there is a 90% chance of sunshine!

Military Veterans are subjected to negative energy often, whether in training or in combat. As with radiation overexposure, being constantly exposed to negativity, can cause people to become overly cynical or just jaded. Although our military works through, and creates a wide array of developmental initiatives with partnered agencies, and organizations, and furthermore assisting through humanitarian outreach programs, most its focus is on destruction. Depending on your job position in our Armed Forces, planning, preparation, resources, training, research and development, are all areas driven towards finding more efficient ways to destroy and kill enemies of the United States. Recruiters will often shy away from these kinds of conversations with new service-member prospects, and instead will talk about all the benefits and incentives that come with joining our military. Understanding the nature of negative energy, and then assessing how much exposure you have, could be critical to any type of real positive change, and recovery in your life.

Negative energy is something we must deal with often. The important thing is how one responds to it. “Is the glass half full, or half empty?” Life is unfair, for sure, but going forward what is your plan for combating negativity, especially when you are aware of its destructive nature? One of the techniques I use, when I can sense fear, anxiety, or just people surrounding me with poor attitudes, is Captain America with his magnificent shield. Internally I use the mantra, “Shields.” I visualize that shield Captain America uses, and I continue to repeat this word to myself over, and over again. This helps me, but something else might work for you. I am by no means stating that one should avoid issues or problems that are negative, but I do believe that you must find different methods in approach in combating negativity when it just seems like everything around you is negative, and people are constantly complaining. Remember, how you react to negative people and situations is completely up to you. You are in total control over your perceptions, and attitude. “Is the glass half full, or half empty?”

You decide………

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