In years past I have always spoken of our veterans with great respect and honor, but it isn’t until this year that I really appreciated the human experience of our veterans and their loved ones. This appreciation goes beyond our political views, our religious views, our differences; it is about understanding the humanness of what a veteran may have gone through in the hopes of protecting some of the greatest freedoms we have in this country.
Mindful Littles is a journey of compassion. And when you lead from a place of compassion, you realize not only the sacrifices veterans have made during their time in the armed forces, but the sacrifices they continue to make upon returning to civilian life, how difficult it may be for them to cope, to reintegrate into civilian life because of their long and difficult stints away from home.
Yesterday we had a unique opportunity to partner with a wonderful organization called Veteran’s PATH to put together a heartfelt event for local families. Veteran’s PATH “enables returning veterans to rediscover meaning, purpose, and joy in their lives through mindfulness, meditation, and a safe community.” Mindful Littles had a chance to help these returning veterans by making “Peace Kits and Gratitude Cards” for them.
As always, we wanted to make these kits and cards with a lot of love and mindful intention. In order to do that, we spoke about the many, many sacrifices that veterans make, even watching a moving tribute that ESPN had compiled of veterans returning home. Tears were flowing. We had a few of our littles pass out flowers to veterans in the audience to say thank you. We then had a chance to learn some mindful movements from Travis Groft and his adorable daughter, Gabi. Travis is a veteran who had gone through the PATH program and now generously volunteers his time to advocate for the Veteran’s PATH organization. It was powerful to have them both lead us through a few yoga postures in a story format. Afterwards, our families had a chance to make beaded bracelets, put together lavender pouches, decorate friendship rocks and write gratitude cards, all placed in customized tote bags. Families included messages of compassion asking simple questions like “How’s it going?” or “We are happy to have you back home.” These peace kits will be given as gifts to welcome new vets into the Veteran’s PATH program.
You could feel the positive energy in the room yesterday; there were lots of tears, smiles and emotion. We feel grateful that on this Veteran’s Day, we not only got to honor and respect our veterans, but that we also got to wish them peace, love and heartfelt gratitude.