Friday, March 13, 2009

(Warrior Garden) For Soldiers with PTSD


For sometime I have been thinking about ways Soldiers and other Serviceman and woman can live with and function with PTSD. I personally think instead of planting victory gardens, these soldiers should start a Warrior Garden.

My reasons for this is based on Samurai warriors and how they tended their gardens. Samurais were warriors who lived and bled the art of war. They had to be ruthless, but at the same time they found a sense of peace and balance within their lives by fully saturating themselves into the beauty of flowers and creating a space outside the warrior realm that encapsulated the essence of harmony and peace. Each samurais garden was a reflection of his inner being that represented something beautiful and that enabled him to engage in war with a clear mind and more importantly with a clear conscious.

This leads me to think about the warriors of today. They are asked to do things that many cannot and will not even dream of doing. They are asked to destroy things with there hands and minds for the betterment of our humanity and many of them have suffered with unforgivable regret for the things they have done. How much better would it be for these warriors to grow and tend to delicate plants that produce a bountiful harvest with the same hands that they have used to destroy their enemies.

If I can I would like to devote some more time and attention to helping warriors start their own Warrior Gardens. I wonder if any thought has been given to this to see if this may be a useful tool to helping returning Servicemen and women Combat the battle fatigue and those who are suffering from Post Traumatic stress Disorder.


7 comments:

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

I think this is a fantastic idea. I believe my dad worked out a lot of his Vietnam stress by sheer physical labor - and we always had an immense garden growing up. I'd contribute to this cause.

ATW said...

Melissa, I honestly think this should be used as one of the tools for treatment. Staying busy is so important. Gardening helps you stay focused and more importantly it keeps you in anticipation of what should happen next. Sure soldiers will have to deal with the stresses that plague them everyday; but what better way to deal with stress than using hands to produce something edible or creating something that space where you can go to and do a little wooo-saaah for awhile. Well this is a starting point, maybe oneday it can take root. Thanks for your comment.

Naomi Sachs, ASLA said...

Thanks so much for your comment on the TLDBlog. Gardening, and even just being in nature, is absolutely an antidote to PTSD, and some good research is being done in this area. I'll do another blog post soon about PTSD. We're working on a redesign of the Therapeutic Landscapes Network's main site (http://www.healinglandscapes.org) and will be adding more information about both veterans and PTSD once we re-launch later this spring. In the meantime, check out a colleague's blog post about VA hospitals: http://www.acerinstitute.org/veteranshealthcare.html. Another good resource would be the American Horticultural Therapy Association (http://www.ahta.org). I will be blogging about this again soon, too, so stay tuned, and please keep in touch about your efforts with Warrior Gardens. Maybe they could be called Peaceful Warrior Gardens to emphasize that they are for soldiers recovering from the vagaries of war? Just a thought.

ATW said...

Naomi Im glad I found your site. I will be doing more research into horticultural therapy. I had no idea that there were groups like yourself that were focused on this issue. I will be following closely how your ideas develop and hopefully I can piggyback on several of your ideas and one day intergrate them with some of my ideas. One day I will talk about my bouts with PTSD and how engulfing myself into nature and gardening has helped me. Right now it's still a work in process and the story is being written everyday. Thanks for your comments and I look forward to learning alot more.

ChristyACB said...

Couldn't agree more!

My garden really came together after 20 years in the Navy and I have to say, it really does work as a way to "exorcise the demons" that creep in.

Seeing too much, let alone doing it, can affect more than just us servicemembers. The more graphically people are exposed via the media to horror, the more I think they could benefit from this.

ATW said...

During my first deployment to Iraq we were in a really bad area. Im talking really bad. I can't get in particulars but this wasn't the type of place where people enjoyed our presence. As many may know Iraq is very hot and dry and where I was, was pretty desolate. However, I had my wife ship me some tomatoe seeds and I made it my personal mission to grow Tomatoes in the middle of nowhere and Actually thats where I learned alot about soil. Well to make a long story short I broke the Urban Legend that tomatoes can grow in the desert, but to my demise, I had a serious mission to attend to and I was away for a few days and the fried in the Iraqi sun, it was disheartening. But my friends were actually amazed that the tomatoes sprouted and grew and we all looked forward to seeing how much they grew everyday.

ATW said...
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