When I reached the meadow, a staff member and vet came up to me and related a powerful experience of his own, a powerful discovery in the forest that was left by another and he was guided to, a powerful message seemingly written just for him . Then another VCR staffer tells me of his powerful experience, then another staffer in tears tells me of his own powerful experience and how important VCR has been for him, and then I’m noticing that all the vets are quiet and thoughtful, all seeming to have undergone an intense and positive experience.
Everyone was searching for ways to honor this sacred site, to give something back. I saw everyone scouring the sacred meadow for anything out of place, being careful to leave prayers and offerings undisturbed. We took over three bags of garbage off the Chief Mountain road over the three miles from meadow to pavement.
Later that afternoon in the sweat lodge I had the opportunity to sit and talk alone with a grizzled USMC Sargeant after the others had exited the lodge in between rounds. He told me how he had led men into battle, leading some to their deaths, and tried to impart to me the burden this left on his heart and soul. Then he told me that this retreat was one of the most impactful and important experiences of his and the other vets lives, that he was now home in a new way.
Later that night I left the retreat early to drive the 6 hours back to Spokane to be ready for work the next morning, I realized that I had witnessed something intensely powerful and transformative. Affecting not just these vets, but staff as well.
I can’t do justice to this in words, and I can’t describe how I know this to be true, but that day on Chief Mountain, a bunch of souls were made whole, and a group of warriors really came home for the first time in forty years.
I won’t pretend to bear any responsibility for this power and transformation. I’m just a tool being used to complete a purpose.
I want to thank everyone who plays an equal role to me in making these retreats happen. All the people who donate their lodging, food, time, service and energy to healing our warriors and helping them find their way home.
You all make this happen through your energy and intent, and it is effective and good. We are changing lives. Thank you all for being part of this team.