Artwork: Lucio Fontana

Good morning beautiful people,

Armor Down is the name of an organisation started by my school friend, Ben King, after his time at war in Iraq.

Ben, alongside his team throughout The United States helps veterans re-insert themselves into society by using the principles of mindfulness meditation. This work became his purpose after suffering from severe post traumatic stress disorder, including chronic pain, insomnia and the inability to manage overwhelming emotions. These symptoms which are also suffered by many of us, are often overlooked and seen as a sign of weakness, but when the body holds such strong messages, they cannot be avoided or just “toughened” through.

Mindfulness, which is the practice of non judgmental awareness of what is taking place in the present moment, is used here to enable the meditator to see the story she/he buys into and with compassion, notice the tensions and pain that the story keeps entertaining.

Post traumatic growth begins once the pull of the story actually loosens, and from there a new perception of the present moment appears, one where emotions have less of a say, conscious that they change like the weather. It is also from that place of deeper trust in what is, that the guarding of the heart begins to lower, and that the armor of the meditator comes down, finally able to take actions towards what he/she loves instead of reacting, also known as fight, flight or freeze.

Trauma is more common than we think, and makes it really hard to understand why some of us behave in ways that seem so irrational. There is a way to rewire the messages of the brain and change our nervous system though, with patience, compassion and a lot of practice, safety can become the new norm for a body that feels unsafe in the world.

As we are reaching the end of 2019, I pray that we can all feel well, and safe in this world. May we find what makes our heart sing and may we share our love with others. May we feel compassion for the people who behave in ways we can’t understand and realise that often, this comes from deep wounding.

Today, I have uploaded a new meditation called Winter Solstice, that invites us to find compassion for the places within that we wish weren’t there. I like to trust that its all there for a reason.

On this note, I am now doing a monthly ceremony in Brussels, with the fabulous singer/ guitar player Paulina Gonzalez who plays live while i guide the meditation. Last night was a first, and it was such a gift.

The schedule for 2020 will be up soon for London and Brussels and I hope to see you in a meditation room or anywhere else.

Please remember to breath, and feel your feet on the ground, especially when your head can’t figure it out.

With Love and Respect,

Vanessa

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