Chaplain’s CornerBVA National Chaplain Jay McLeod

by Chaplain Jay McLeod

As we find ourselves getting over the holiday season, many things come up for us. I emplore you to remember that we move towards the things we think about and become the thoughts manifested into our daily realities. Some will experience regret over the amount of money spent, giving gifts, the trips taken, the food prepared and many more expenditures that took place over this season.

My fellow veterans, we have made it through the holiday season and now are moving on to the winter months. While for some it has been another battle fought and won, for others it has been a blessing and time with loved ones, for many of the memories that were made will be shared for a lifetime bringing about happiness and fulfillment. The fact is we are here today to talk about the hope we hold onto that all things are good and better times are coming. As soldiers, we are trained to rise to challenges and overcome them. We never settle for the norm but go above and beyond to achieve success.

I want to point out this technique called mindfulness, which is the science of health and happiness. Try to take time out of your day, even if it is only 5 minutes to find a quiet place to get away from everything and meditate. Tune into your body, mind and spirit. There are many forms of mindfulness and all have been proven to have a positive effect in personal well-being in one way or the other. In some cases, I have found that throughout the years I have been applying some of the techniques without having been taught on how to apply them. Such as taking my time chewing when eating, and relaxing during the day with my eyes closed in a quiet place. I also get out and ride my wheelchair down by the boardwalk on the beach where I live at least once a week if not more. The other piece to my personal mindfulness is the spiritual peace; taking the time to meditate on God through reading, studying His word (The Bible) and through prayer and song.

How many of you have hobbies that you take time out to do? I love art and painting. Art therapy is also a type of mindfulness. Take an inventory of your life and see if you are living up to your full potential. I like to think that I can always do more, never accepting that today’s normal will be tomorrow’s normal and definitely not my forever. The Bible says in Mark 9:23 - And Jesus said to him, “If you are able, all things are possible to him who has faith.” I encourage you to take a minute and just stop your world at some point today. Forget about the stressors of the holidays and bring your tomorrow in with peace.

Regardless of your current situation today, there is a chance for you to make a difference of how you see and get through it. The VA hospitals are teaching mindfulness and again I say through practicing it, you can have a tool to use for personal growth. Be of good cheer and remain encouraged!

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