"Iter" Tribe, Men's Retreat, June '19
The "Iter" Tribe enjoys one of MANY healthy dinners provided by TWC and our partners - This one is courtesy of Bobby and Linda Phillips (THANK YOU, Mr. & Mrs. Phillips!)
On graduation day, the "Iter" Tribe - Back row from left to right: Joe, Scott, David, Terry, Lenny, Mark, and Aaron. Front row from left to right: Rob, Carlos, Erich, and Stark.
The warm spring breeze brought change to the rolling green hills of Pennsylvania and into the lives of these eight wounded and disconnected veterans who arrived in Pittsburg searching for answers to some of their life's most profound questions: "What is my purpose in life? What do I stand for now that I am out of the military? Where do I fit in, and am I even worth it?"
These anxious men, from all branches of service, arrived at The Warrior Connection in hopes of getting their lives back on track, both for themselves and also for their families - the wives and children who saw them off into military service and who now anticipated their return home, this time though, in a much different way - a hopeful return to their true self, the men they are DEEP inside.
As this tribe's journey began, it wasn't easy. Several were resistant, even combative. It was difficult, and the retreat itself almost came to a breaking point when the men were most divided. It was a challenge to meld a group like this so quickly while
simultaneously juggling the logistics of a new retreat space. Neglect, abuse, childhood trauma, substance abuse, and the effects of combat had all left their marks.
Nonetheless, and all the while, the facilitation team held space and remained resolved to light their way. And, just as TWC has done for nine years, we lovingly invited each man back into their heart - the most authentic place we can all trust. Together, they gradually began to trust each other and believe themselves once again - something many of them had lost entirely since their time in service, or even farther back - from childhood. The key that kept the group together was finding ACCEPTANCE - both for themselves, as well as each other.
Each veteran summoned the courage to dig deeper into some of the darkest places of their life, allowing unprocessed experiences and emotions to surface that could FINALLY be released after gripping them SO tightly for many years, for some, even decades.
By going deeper into the retreat process, each man found a new sense of self, acceptance, belonging, and purpose. Moreover, these men found the courage to move TOWARD their now brighter futures for not only themselves but also for their families. While throughout the week, from laughter to tears, and every emotion in between, the bond and trust grew within this group, searing this sacred brotherhood of this "Iter Tribe" - which means journey in Latin, into our hearts and souls. Their new journey forever connects them.
Please join The Warrior Connection in congratulating ITER!