12 suicidal Veterans undergo an ancient 12 day Vision Fast ceremony – out in the wilderness with minimal shelter, fasting, alone – seeking transformation.
Veteran Rites initiates Veterans into true identity, purpose, and belonging after military service.
Since the vision fast, Sheryl began working for Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, where she is Veterans Navigator for Antioch University in Seattle.
After 28 years in the Army and Army Reserves, Chuck gradually lost his vision due to a retinal disease. He remains independent and has become an adaptive sports enthusiast. Chuck participates in the adaptive sports program on a local and national level as well, taking part in archery, goalball, ju-jitsu, wheelchair, cycling, sailboat racing, kayaking, snow-ski and rock climbing. Last summer he completed a 488-mile tandem recumbent bicycle ride along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. The Jacksonville resident says adaptive sports empower him to light the way for other wounded warriors. He is a pioneer who works closely with the VA on technology to help others with visual impairments.
Regarding his experience on the land, Chuck reports the following: “Once I accepted Elderhood, it was easy for me to understand that my job in my life is to continue to push to myself to inspire others. Never before have I ever been so confident in my ability as an elder and an inspiration. The Vision Fast absolutely changed my life!” He wrote a recent blogpost for Veteran Rites reflecting on his experience that we witness in Leaving It On the Land. Read his blogpost here.
Wes came home to focus on his family and to continue his work as Director of Bedlam Arts, a nonprofit organization he founded that is dedicated to providing creative outlets for Veterans of the Armed Forces. All artists of various skill levels and specialties are welcome. Drawing upon the strengths of military service and artistic expression, we can inspire others and bring about positive change in our community. Utilizing various forms of artistic expression in our Veteran Art groups, Veterans are able to build mindfulness and centering skills while interacting a social forum. Participants develop and improve social skills in a creative environment, as well as improve their ability to recognize and cope with difficulties related to life during and after military service. Here is an article about Wes and his work: read here.
Tim is an Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran, serving 5 years in the Army as a Forward Observer. After his service he attended the University of California with a focus in Illustration. Tim then attended a veteran focused agriculture program through Cal Poly University. Tim has served many veteran non-profits, written for veteran blogs and currently is helping veterans develop new businesses. He currently owns and operates 13 Fox Farm, a tech focused organic farm aimed at providing reliable produce to the local community year-round. Tim is ground operations overseer of Tatley Outpost, a veteran operated farm and ranch in Eastern Washington.
I am following my heart career-wise and loving what I’m doing so far. I’m a part of the team at a fly shop, working hard to learn as much as I can. I continue to help people and work to brighten their day as I have in the past. I do so now without neglecting myself as much and attempting to keep more balanced. As for the demons, they’re still there but being on the land with them has taken some of their bite away. For now, I’ll be taking life each day at a time, following my own path!
Malik reports from his home in New Orleans: “I am actively involved within my Veteran Community at Bastion in New Orleans. I’ve recently became permanent and total by the VA and now I can focus on raising my 2 kids. My plans are to find new surroundings, buy a family vehicle, and find the will power to start working out. Although, life has its ups and downs, I have been taking things 2 days at a time. I hope to grow spiritually and stay positive on life.”
Ian Stout is a filmmaker and a combat veteran. In his 15 months to Iraq he survived two roadside bombs. Over the last decade he has been on a powerful journey of healing for himself and is on a new mission to bring healing to the world. After watching the results come in from MDMA assisted therapy in MAPS’ Phase II trials with the FDA, showing 68% of the test subjects no longer had PTSD after their 12-month follow-up, he quickly thought of the healing potential this could bring to so many of his veteran brothers and sisters. Ian is committed to raising enough funds to not only make the film but also be able to pay for each and every one of our veteran participants’ total cost of treatment! For more information about Ian, see his blogpost at Veteran Rites: read more here.
Justin has moved from Washington to Golden, Colorado to make a transition to a career he truly desires. He reports: “I’m leaving behind a comfortable if uninspired life behind to go back to school full time and pursue the opportunities that I truly want.”
Gino reports: “In my “life’s” journey since my fast I have found that intentions, along with many of life’s other little hiccups and rollercoasters (big and small), are indeed doable, overcomable (Gino’s new English 🙂 and conquerable. I have found that in order to accomplish this as well as live fully by my own standards that each intention requires, and deserves, my time, personal effort, fortitude, resilience, perseverance, hope, love and most of all my patience. Patience to allow myself to reflect, revise and put my boots back on the ground so that I can allow myself to further my journey of discovery into who I am and what this world that I am now living in is all about. In conclusion it has been a lot of work that has been a lot of fun as well as sad and often madding at times….even so I am enjoying the learning process and every day I am thankful that my fast helped to not only start on this journey but that time on the land also advises and informs me each and every day.”
Brandon returned to Eastern Washington for a second vision fast in 2019 to build upon the experience we witness in Leaving It On the Land. He aspires to participate in this healing work as a guide, and he will be assisting at the Veteran Rites fast that will take place in April 2020. Brandon reports “I’m living my intention to the best of my ability on a daily basis in every capacity.”
As we saw in Leaving It On the Land, Lindsay aspires to a life of service. She has been pursuing training in ceremonies like the one we witnessed in the film.
More about Ryan coming soon…
A major talent in American filmmaking. All his work is imbued with power, intelligence, social concern, and utter dedication.
Frederick is a man of integrity; his word is his bond. He is a man who cares about lives; his stories go beyond entertainment to impact. He is a man of significant creativity; he uses his talent to make a genuine difference in the world.
My hope is that people who watch [Veterans Journey Home] take away a deeper understanding of the American Veteran, who we are as a collective, and a greater sense of how to speak to us as a population.
Thank you Frederick for clarifying a simple solution for just about every wrong in our planet. Backed with multiple lifetimes worth of expert knowledge, Rites to a Good Life presents us an opportunity for getting our world back on track. The work is critical for our survival. Will we do it?
Filled like a banquet with rituals, stories, medicines, quotes and models, recipes for genuine growth and transformation... Rites to a Good Life is a call for us all to reflect on our own personal journey and its place in the culture and cosmos around us.
Frederick Marx has written a touchingly intimate account of love, loss and healing. Losing a loved one is something most everyone faces at some point in life. At Death Do Us Part shows the possibility of navigating through this journey with consciousness, understanding and an open heart.
Mr. Marx shines a light on a place and a way of life that are rapidly changing.
Most people know Frederick Marx from Hoop Dreams, Journey From Zanskar, and other fine films. They probably don't know that he is a longtime student of dharma, an ordained Zen priest, and a gifted writer exploring the terrain of the human heart.
AT DEATH DO US PART is a true love story, on the plane with Joan Didion's YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING and Joyce Carol Oates' A WIDOW'S STORY. Heart-breaking. Heart-healing.
This book is one's man's story of love, loss, and realization; actually it is a story that many of us know or will know. Heartbreaking, beautiful, intimate, challenging... This is a book we should all read.
The Steven Spielberg of documentary filmmaking.
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