A military veterans experience at TWC in 2021, by Lieutenant Colonel Supple
"Where can you go to experience unconditional love, connection, and acceptance from those you just met, yet know deeply? Where can you go to learn to love yourself again, or for the first time; to forgive yourself and others, and to learn to embrace your feeling self?
TWC is a nonprofit veterans organization, but not just another nonprofit veterans organization. The Warrior Connection (TWC) is not a place, although they have an office in Vermont, a retreat center in Pennsylvania, and a new site mapped out in Texas.
The Warrior Connection IS an amazing group of facilitators, volunteers, donors, and veteran graduates bonded for life into "tribes" that "have each other's six."
How can a group of seven adult females share one bedroom and one bathroom and NOT argue, bicker or fuss? Yet, I just returned from a women's TWC retreat where exactly that happened and we even enjoyed it! There was no "odd girl out," unlike at many women veterans retreats I've attended.
The TWC facilitators and volunteers taught us to ground ourselves, calm and focus ourselves, and nurture and accept ourselves. They taught us to get out of our heads and spend a little time in our hearts, feeling our feelings. Many of us had forgotten how to feel our feelings and some of us never knew how.
One of the ways we were helped to feel (again) was accomplished by guided art experiences during which we created art that spoke to our feelings, our wounds. Not only were the art projects fun, but they were enlightening.
We learned it was safe to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. It was safe to knock down those walls. And it was safe to simple BE.
We came together as a group of women with seemingly little in common except for having served, however, soon we found connection across age, race, regions of the country, socioeconomic status and branches of service. Our differences weren't nearly as important as our commonalities.
Meaningful rituals helped provide cleansing, release, mindfulness, and forgiveness. Healthy food nourished and detoxified our bodies. Each of us picked up after ourselves out of respect for one another. We felt and expressed gratitude regularly .
By the second day we were a family, a unit; a tribe. One of the components of a tribe is a common culture. TWC gave this diverse group of women a common culture and formed us into a tribe.
If you are willing to take the time, make the trip, do the work, and open your heart TWC can and will do the same for you. We may not be able to pick our family, but by attending a TWC retreat you can pick your tribe.
Sometimes our choice makes all the difference."