What is Meditation to you?
Trust me I'm not sat crossed legged chanting Ohm,
Meditation is just being in the moment and mindful what you are doing.
Falconry for me has been my therapy and passion.
The buzz words I believe now are, 'Forest Bathing, or Earthing'........
.........it's simple, just get out and walk in nature. Nothing weird about that is there.
Maybe stood in a field in the rain or winds flying and holding a Bird of Prey is strange to some, but for me it allowed me to become grounded and at ease. Even if only just for a few hours.
How many times have you just sat staring aimlessly in a fixed glaze.? It maybe that you've just finished nights or just attended a horrendous incident. The brain desperately trying to process what you've just witnessed, numbed, angry with a feeling of wanting to just scream.
Or maybe just complete exhaustion, physically and mentally.
Or just staring blankly at the TV screen.
What is Meditation for you?
It could be painting, drawing, playing a musical instrument, walking in nature or just sitting and being, on a mountain or coastline.
Smelling the coffee, tasting it, not just gulping it down for a pick up fix to get you through the day.
For me, it's been a mix of many things, but what's helped the most was having my Birds of Prey and being out connected with nature. What a contrast from city life and bustle, night shifts and irregular meals. Having a bird of prey, from little to very large birds is a huge contrast in life styles. (Note, not all at same time.)
You have to be in the moment and concentrate on just this until back on glove again and safely back in the aviary. Again my priority has always been to care and look after. The birds health as was my crews and family has always taken priority over my own.
For 14 years I built this up with just a couple of birds and slowly expanding so I could give a varied educational talk and display to schools colleges and families at hotels and other venues.
From Little Owl, to Eagle Owl, Falcon, Hawk and eventually Eagle.
I have learnt so much about myself and my levels of patience. A birds energy and thinking is basically, hunt kill eat sleep and breed, survive. Simple. This is where they are different to us.
If stressed they will rouse (shake) and it's all gone. What do we do? We hold onto it, suppress it down and keep going. Here somewhere deep in our body it will lay quietly and fester.
Relate this to arriving at an RTC and walking up to the trapped casualty. If you look horrified, it will be received by them, there's every chance their hope will disappear rapidly due to our energy we're giving off. A calm re-assuring hand on their shoulder and hope has returned.
Sights, sounds, smells and noises are all absorbed and affects our energy and health.
And not forgetting the Control Staff that are directly talking to the person on the phone. This can be sometimes worse as imagination can take hold. Sometimes seeing it maybe isn't so bad after all.
A bird of preys instincts are heightened. If they are stressed and have poor diet and ill health and surroundings, when they moult and shed and grow new feathers, it's likely they will have fault lines or fret marks in them, (ugly chunks missing in the feathers). Not good for them and reflects on me and how I look after them. For doing Photography events it's not good. It's called fret marks because it's fretting.
I consumed so much stuff over the years that it eventually came out in my skin, I've never had eczema before yet here it was in its full glory on my shins and calves and later on my forearms.
Now I'm not saying go out and buy a bird of prey, lots of bloody hard work and commitment, but maybe getting out into fields and countryside may help ground you. It's proven to help. You will have headspace and a sense of freedom.
Eventually, I began to enjoy my energy of being calm and relaxed and identified with it more readily. When I collected my Eagle he was very fat Golden x Steppes Eagle at 3 years old, hormonal and feisty, never been flown. This was a challenge, and a very real challenge with some strength and attitude, eventually I had a calm bird that allowed me into its food eating area on glove and help feed it. No aggression and the best bit .......flying free and returning to glove.
Also, I had the trust that he allowed me to hood him. This task was difficult for many reasons, but with time and patience overcame so much.
Whatever you choose, you may just wander and watch nature, or even pick up binoculars or camera.
Either way, you're filling your head full of good stuff and memories.
I recall a bad incident involving a car, van and motorcycle that had 2 riders. I'm not going to go into detail, but having to stand for hours afterwards (waiting for Police to do their thing) covered in someone else's blood and stuff, can kind of play on the mind. Washing my gloves, tunic and leggings out into the sink and seeing blood endlessly rinsing out isn't something I enjoyed.
I'm hoping I'm not creating triggers for anyone else, but we have to be aware there are many and will pop up when we least expect them.
It's clear as ever even writing this. How is this affecting me you may ask? To put it simply, my daughter asked me for jam on toast 1 morning. I went into normal mode and it was only when I got to the jam that it hit me, and hard. I just froze and couldn't continue. I had to just walk away. Jam at this moment in time to me was like congealed blood clots. I wouldn't even talk about it, finding myself welling up at maybe inconspicuous things at times, or tad sensitive to films. Hugging my kids would become a giant squeeze that I never wanted to end.
This was all due to everything that had been absorbed over my career.
It might only be small things every time, but each time it's getting piled on top and getting taller.
A colleague said on his retirement, (this was shortly after mine and I re-entered the station environment again, here it comes back instantly, ) that he was " saturated". It doesn't have to be a huge incident or traumatic event to start this off, it could just be one small thing to topple the stack.
Saturated.............This is exactly the right word.
I no longer had room to take on anything else. I want to fill my head with good stuff and memories.
This was for me Falconry, seems crazy as they are birds of Prey, I didn't hunt them, this was for education and displays for the public and visiting OPH and helping Autistic children.
My nature is always to help others.
For you, it's got to be what makes you happy. You may find volunteering at a dogs rescue centre where you get to walk the dogs, but not have to have them at home.
Just gets you distracted and out there. Walk, run or cycle. Just get out and enjoy.
Having a purpose to get up and go again, without the sirens and lights and then 2 tones, maybe is what it takes to allow you to be who you want to be, serving you and your needs.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Acute Stress is very real and won't go away, it needs to be recognised and in turn, treated. There are many ways of helping which I will highlight on this site so you have professional guidance.
It's taken me this long from retiring to now to allow myself to be selfish and start looking after myself.
Actually I am not selfish at all. How can I help anyone if I'm not fit and well.
I owe it to myself. As do you all too.
Whether you're still serving or retired, you can't run a car on empty, it needs fuel, so you must eat. You can't help anyone if you are broken. So please take time to help yourself too.
Whatever you find that you can enjoy and be in the moment with, do more of it.
You owe to yourself
“May be you'll write your own book or blog, it's helping me getting stuff out of my head.
It will always be there, but you acknowledge it and move on.