What's New

August 2010

War Healing

It’s been a long time since I updated this website and a lot has happened! In January of 2008 I went to my first Soldier’s Heart workshop/retreat with Dr. Ed Tick at the Krotona School in Ojai, California. Dr. Tick has been working with veterans for over 30 years and specializes in helping veterans heal from PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. See:
www.soldiersheart.net for more information about this organization.

Dr. Tick left with a veteran above Ha Long Bay
Dr. Tick (left) with a veteran above Ha Long Bay

After that initial workshop which was based on Tick’s book, War and the Soul, I signed up to study with him for a year in his Master Class in War Healing. My plan is to take everything I learn from Dr. Tick and bring it home to Canada for our veterans, many of whom I know are not getting the help they need. There are presently too many suicides, too much substance abuse, homelessness etc. in our veteran communities.

Tick effects a lot of his healing without or with minimal use of drugs. Sometimes drugs are necessary but as someone who has had PTSD myself, I think of the rampant overuse of drugs for this problem as the, “unplugging the alarm instead of putting out the fire approach.” I am the Western Canadian Regional Contact for Soldier’s Heart.

Ex NVA
Ex NVA soldier and a Marine:
Former enemies embrace

In November of 2009 I traveled with Dr. Tick as we brought eight Viet Nam veterans back to Viet Nam for healing and reconciliation. To say this trip was transformative in a good way for all considered is a rank understatement. Tick has been leading a yearly trip back to Viet Nam with veterans for 10 years now and will continue on for the forseeable future. I also brought my then sixteen year old son and what an eye-opener for him. Also the vets loved him and having him around was a reminder of how young they were and how little they knew of the world when they went to war. It helped make them more understanding and even forgiving of themselves.

 

 

 

 

Greece

Athena's Sanctuary - Delphi
Athena's Sanctuary - Delphi

Besides war healing, Ed Tick’s other area of genius is Greek history and the ancient Greek practice of Dream Healing. (See his book: The Practice of Dream Healing: Bringing Ancient Greek Mysteries Into Modern Medicine). In April of 2010 I went with Ed and 7 others on a two week pilgrimage to Greece. We went to many ancient and sacred sites; Delphi, the Cave of

Dog kisses: Ed Tick and feral dog on Poros
Dog kisses: Ed Tick and feral dog on Poros

the Muses on Mount Parnassos and several Asklepions, where ‘dream healing’ was practiced in ancient times and originating from the God of healling, Asklepios.

Poppies in the ruins of Troizen
Poppies in the ruins of Troizen

It was a magical and transformative journey. In spite of Greece’s economic troubles we had a fantastic time. What we heard in the press and media did not line up with the kindness, hospitality and generosity of the Greek people that we experienced everywhere we went.

 

Europe

Garfield in 1944
Garfield in 1944

In September of this year 2010, I am taking an 87 year old WWII veteran back to Belgium and Holland for the first time since 1944. With the Lake Superior Regiment, John ‘Garfield’ Johnston arrived on Juno Beach with his older brother, Wilson Thorburn ‘Toby’ Johnston in the summer of 1944. In mid-September ‘44, Toby was killed on the Leopold Canal in Belgium and is buried in Adegem Canadian War Cemetery.

Garfield was wounded by a sniper two months later in Holland and invalided back to Canada. He has never been back to Europe or visited his brother’s grave. He has also had a running battle with cancer and wants to do these things before he dies.

John 'Garfield' Johnston in 2010
John 'Garfield' Johnston in 2010

To me Garfield represents the legions of everyday Canadian men who sacrificed and served and lost their youth, their health and often their lives in WWII. He is one of the treasured liberators of Belgium and Holland and will be honoured on September 19th at the National Liberation Museum in Groesbeek, Netherlands.

 

 

Motorcycle News

Me on my 2005 BMW R1150 R
Me on my 2005 BMW R1150 R

In April of 2009, with my son being 16 and very independent, I returned to a great passion of mine that started about 30 years ago, motorcycling. I’d given it up when he was 4 or 5 because it wasn’t practical and there was just no time for it.

I knew the passion was merely dormant temporarily and it has come back with vengeance since I bought a new bike a year ago April. In the 80s I was an instructor for the Canada Safety Council Motorcycle Training Course for two years. I have traveled extensively in Western Canada and the U.S. and also taken bikes twice to northwestern Europe for 6 and 5 weeks respectively. I’m thinking of doing that again.

Vancouver Corner Monument at St. Julien, Flanders gas tank detail front fender
Vancouver Corner Monument
at St. Julien, Flanders
Gas tank detail Front fender

I still ride solo a lot but I’ve also joined 3rd C.A.V. Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Unit/Ypres. They are a great group, safe riders and do a lot of excellent charity works. My current bike is my 8th in 30+ years, my 6th BMW and my favorite of the lot! I had it customized and it’s now basically a two-wheeled war memorial.

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