When You Miss War

Posted: July 26, 2015 in Coming Home, Courage, Healing from War, Post War Life, PTSD, Warrior Identity

You miss warfighting. Miss war, miss your team, miss having life and death within your power. Miss the cohesion, the shared misery, the trust. Life was simple, fucking hard, and combat required all of you.

Now nothing requires all of you.

Warfighting is a spiritual calling, which means that tug on your soul doesn’t go away just because circumstances prevent you from continuing. I see so many combat veterans looking for a way to keep fighting — angst and anger at the government and system, hatred for civilians who just don’t seem to “get it” — there are justifiable reasons for the frustration, yes, but at the end of the day, it comes down to what demobilized warfighters have gone through for millennia. Not being able to accept that their warfighting days are done and not knowing who they are supposed to be now.

When your spiritual calling is to defend, protect, destroy, fight — not being able to eats away at you. Life goes on, much of your energy is spent trying to suppress the inner knowing that you’re no longer doing what you are here to do. Trauma from combat fuels much of the negative emotions and symptoms you have, but a good portion of the weight gain, turmoil, anger, feeling lost, reliance on pills and alcohol — comes from not being able to live your calling anymore. It takes a ton of energy to deny what your soul knows to be true for you. And many of you are killing your Selves because of this. Some of you with weapons, most by staying in relationships that no longer nurture who you are, accepting mediocre jobs that require little of you, overindulging in anything that numbs you out, and complaining and bitching about what’s become of “the country”.

This is NOT who you are. You are better than this. And you are meant for more.

You are people of honor, individuals who are willing to act with courage, and do what most people can’t. You know what true strength is, endurance, the fragility and value of life, you know power.

So, why is it that you get out and turn into whiny, disempowered people who can never be pleased? (sounds a lot like the civilians you rail against)

I know why. It’s because you are stranded out here without a fight that you know how to fight. You assume that the way you were trained to fight is the only way there is, and now that you can’t, you don’t know what to do. You feel disconnected from who you know you can be, who you feel you are, and what you can actually do about it in your life now. Some of you have been warfighters in past lifetimes as well as this one, it’s a role you feel natural in because it’s what you have known for a very long time.

So, where does this leave you?

Let’s look at things a bit differently.

What if your spiritual calling isn’t to the physical act of fighting, but to fighting for something, in general?

What if you can still find a way to live out that calling, if you realize that it still takes the same energy, passion, devotion, sacrifice and drive to fight for something on this earth whether the enemy is human or deeply ingrained beliefs that keep people stuck and small?

What if you are still meant to be a warfighter, it’s just that the way you fight has changed?

The blatant drive to destroy and kill is the basic level of true warfighting. It’s time you level-up.

The more advanced forms of being a warfighter shift you from extinguishing life to fighting the thoughts, lies, and beliefs that keep humans disempowered and disowning their ability to create a meaningful life that aligns with their soul. Advanced levels require spiritual, emotional and mental agility and stamina to recognize how fear deceives us all to destroy our belief in our own power. It is a fight that you have had a taste of now in this post-combat life as you have come up against thoughts that are powerful enough to convince a person to put a gun to his mouth and pull the trigger. This is not warfighting for the faint of heart or for the easily discouraged. You get to this level and the whole game changes. And life is on the line.

Maybe it’s time you up your game, retrain, and  fight for Life and true freedom, not political freedom? Maybe your mission now is to learn how to fight at the advanced level for your own Life so you can be ready to carry on the greater mission of this lifetime? There is no doubt that we need you here.

Warfighters are called and driven to serve the greater good. This self-based, poor-me life that you’re living right now doesn’t feel good, does it? Of course not. And it never will.

You are meant for more. You are meant to stand tall with the humility of true leadership among the rest of us, to carry the wisdom and weight of warfighting along with the wisdom of what living truly means. You have already proven your ability to face Death, you have already met your own strength. We need that from you still.

Shift your perspective. Own your sense of self and your calling. Stop trying to deny what is an essential part of who are. Realize that you don’t need to be less of who you are. You need to be more. Understand that until you stop fighting what is, until you stop denying the fact that the way you need to fight has changed, you won’t move forward and you won’t be of the value you can be in this world. Change, transformation, evolution is how Life works. A calling to serve, to stand for something Greater Than Ourselves may last an entire lifetime, but how it is expressed will and must change for us to be who we are meant to be and have the impact we’re meant to have.

Don’t let the fact that the game has changed convince you that you no longer have a vital role in it. In life, just as in war, you adapt and up your skills to be of maximum value to the mission.

Life is asking you to be more. Rise.

Comments
  1. walter maude says:

    There is a certain adrenalin rush associated with being in a combat zone that for me was missing when I came home. There was no longer any reason to be hyper alert. I ultimately replaced it by doing sports activities where I could push to the edge of endangering myself. Things like going cross country skiing with the temperature below zero in the middle of a blizzard. Or taking my sailboat out on the lake when I knew a storm was blowing in. Or going full out mountain biking on a single track in the middle of nowhere. At the time I did those things, I didn’t know why I was doing them other than I knew I felt a sense of self that nothing else could give me. It is only in retrospect that I can look back and understand what was driving me. Time and age has had a way of tempering those activities, but the desire to push to the limit is still there.

  2. Reader says:

    Hi.
    Who are you? First, I intend that Q for the write of the article. My answer is that you’re some kind of angel for warriors.
    Having asked it, I wonder what the answer is for readers, who may or may not try to share an answer.
    Who am I? — That is one thing this article prompts me to ask.
    Again, I found myself crying through an article. Why here? — It feels related to the fact that I’m one who has felt that I’ve lost my purpose. Let me try to be open with you: Right now, I’m really not sure who I am, or just how I’m going to express the person, or the spirit I am, the one that I know Is Aching to be discovered and expressed.

    It can be scary feeling like you’re not sure who you are now: I almost wrote, “…feeling like you’re not sure who you are anymore,” but that sounds endless, when the truth is, that what I’m feeling is about this moment. This fear doesn’t have to last forever! That’s part of what I’m taking from this article tonight.

    We have choices! I have choices! It doesn’t always Feel like I do, but what I feel is only one part of the overall reality in this life right now. Ok. So, at this minute, I don’t know how my life and purpose is going to play out, what I’ll get to do, see, feel, who I’ll get to meet, befriend or let go of… There’s always going to be more that I don’t know than I do. And, yes, I’m still addicted to fear. That’s something I’m seeking help to recover from one day at a time, so it makes sense that I’d respond to many unknowns in my life with fear. However, I’m beginning to believe more deeply that this Is something I can change, with help/with teamwork, facing reality as I perceive it, not hiding in my apartment alone, but by sharing some of what’s going on inside of my heart /gut, mind, body, spirit.

    This will take effort. I’m talking about a new form of Basic Training! It may turn out to be a Boot Camp for Life After War. Maybe looking at it this way will help me to find ways through this newly seen “obstacle course” of life without people surrounding me, who have even a flipping clue about what I’m seeing as obstacles, things that may not phase any of them…
    Just yesterday, I was at a 12 step meeting, where I was emotionally triggered when someone said, ‘So and So, will you Take Us Out?’ Part of me knew for sure that she meant ‘with prayer.’ Yet, another part of my mind, jumping into survival mode thought, “Take us out? Are you insane?!” Fear rose in me, for I lived for a substantial time when being “taken out” didn’t mean for dinner, or closing a meeting with prayer, it meant being killed.

    Yeah, I’m in boot camp. F’ ing Boot Camp? Again?
    Seriously, if it was for Military Service, and I could physically and in every other way handle it, I might just go for it. Why? — Because I’d know that I was being tested. And, I was More than ready to Prove that I could do it, Anything asked of me! Tell me I can’t do something??? That was very often like an invitation for me (or felt like one) to show you that I was up for the challenge! I could regularly and accurately be quoted as saying, “The more challenging the better.” It was (as ?) a motto I lived by.

    How bizarre it seems to feel more afraid of learning to live without my life in significant, ongoing, obvious danger, than I Seemed to while learning to live in danger. I say, “Seemed to” in ref. to learning to live in constant danger, because, having been away from that way of life for quite a while, I at some point realized that it wasn’t that I was not afraid of anything or anyone, anywhere, it was honestly that my life was so very dominated by fear, even terror, that I couldn’t discern it from any parts of my daily life. The fear was so constant, that I had nothing to compare it to, nothing to define it (as opposed to _______)!

    I don’t know if there’s anyone else who can relate to that. But, then again, there’s a response to the above article in which a guy writes of having gotten back from combat and engaging in many life risking activities. I’ve done that! And, I’m not at all sure that it wasn’t my subconscious looking to give me external reasons or excuses to feel the fear that was in me from my days and nights in combat /in dangers beyond my control.

    Regardless of whether that’s so or not for myself, you, the respondent above, or any other, I’m still, as said, addicted to fear. And, as Life has it, I’m in no condition rt now to engage in my former “dare-devil” activities. Maybe that’s going to allow me to face the fears I might otherwise excuse as reasonably present by filling my life with adrenaline rush evoking actions, avoiding the things inside that Require Expression in Healthy, Honest, and Direct ways, If I am to Re-Train my body-mind-spirit-environs-relationships-Life with the Strength, Courage and Honor that I may have lost track of, but, which as part of who I am, has never lost track of me,
    so that I Can Live Successfully, Satisfyingly, in ways that demand continuous improvement of my skill sets, adapting to differing conditions, “officers in life” outside the combat zone, who are commanders, commandants, like it or not, in “this” zone, that of my present external environment(s).

    What did I just write? @#$%&! Does this mean that I’m going to have to find my back bone?
    Where’d I put that thing? — Oh, wait, it’s behind me. It was with me in the past, but I didn’t leave it there! It’s behind me, helping to hold me up to some challenges bigger than any I have yet known how to face, right here, away from combat! Here, I will have the chances to face my emotions, my identity, the parts of it that can be or have been altered, And, the parts of who I am that will be with me forever in one form or another, none of which do I need to judge unless perhaps they are traits that are in any way harmful to myself/others (Can’t hurt one without hurting others); in that case I will need to take a closer look, and get help asap to change what in and of myself that I can, with as much help as it takes to do so!

    Who’s writing this? Could it be the warrior spirit that hasn’t died, and isn’t as disabled by disease as my body or mind have been (Body currently with Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy, which I’ve been out-living the prognoses of for over a decade; my Mind currently still has been suffering from an addiction to fear, that I’m seeking to release and gradually, gratefully recover with.
    Experience has taught me that addictions don’t go away, but can be dealt with by admitting my personal inability to control them / harder to say, but important to do, admitting that I’m actually powerless over having the addiction, Yet very importantly, Not powerless over what I choose to do with my awareness of any of them, not unlike, it seems, my overall difficulty in adapting to civilian living…

    I’m Not Alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE . WE ARE NOT ALONE! FEELING ALONE AND BEING ALONE ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS. You know the saying, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine”?– I suppose every Branch of Service has a similar saying, stated and printed or not.– Anyway, it’s True! We All Still Have Each Other. Even when not physically present together, we remain team members. We Remain Family.
    Now, I know I’m going out on a limb here, writing way more than most might, but why the __ not, I’ve gotten this far, and it can be edited! I’m thinking of some guys and women who were often on the periphery, feeling like outsiders, maybe because some of us pushed you in that direction. If we did, I want to apologize to you right here, right now. I know how it feels to think and feel I don’t, won’t, even can’t fit in. And, as much commradary or fellowship there may have been for many of us, I’m guessing that there are plenty who felt out of place even among peers in the Service. I think of those who’ve been sexually assaulted, or had other crimes/forms of mistreatment committed against them, but never felt safe enough to tell anyone among your squad, battalion, etc. I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE EITHER!
    Maybe you were failed by those who should have had your back. Even if that’s so, YOU STILL HAVE A BROTHER – AND SISTERHOOD Of Others, Who Like You, Have a Warrior Spirit, a Warfighter’s Spirit, WHO ARE WITH YOU IN SPIRIT RIGHT NOW. AND, IF YOU REACH OUT FOR HELP, WITHOUT GIVING UP BEFORE YOU GET IT, YOU WILL GET IT. I BELIEVE THAT THOROUGHLY, FOR YOU. Now, I’m going to pray for help, and plan to push myself to ask for the help I need, until I get it, probably sometimes to be found in the process of giving it; but Only If I’m Open To Receiving It, to find it myself…
    This probably won’t be easy for (that m)any of us, finding our new forms of fighting for the safety, the human rights, of all people, including ourselves. But, this Britta woman seems to know what she’s talking about. I don’t know about you , but I Want to take a Leap of Faith into some things that I don’t feel confident I can do well right away, like getting past the feeling that I won’t ever be able to fit in well to civilian living; developing healthy socially intimate friendships, a healthy, also mutually supportive relationship with a potential, maybe someday an actual spouse; building trustworthy relationships; renewing my purposes as one with a warrior spirit and identity that hasn’t died because I left one way of expressing that essential part of me!
    All of this seems scarier than facing gunfire to me! But, WE are Not Alone, and won’t be, through any of this… Have you read the other articles? Some remind us that there is Power Greater than we, like the power of Good, Kindness, Right, Love, that our Country’s Constitution kind of says exists for All of us. These things and the rights to pursue [and hopefully experience them] were part of what put the fire in my gut to fight for and with them to defeat forces that I believed threats to our innate and in many cases legal rights to have, feel, know, as our own.
    If I can and will believe that there was and is a power greater than myself in this universe that loves me, and wants to defend against the thoughts that tell me I can’t make it as part of the civilian world and remain true to my warrior spirit in new ways, I’ve got chances I haven’t yet dared to believe could exist for me… It’s been So hard to even imagine being Happy, joyous, and free; feeling alive and encouraged vs. afraid. But, at least at this moment, it’s beginning to seem more possible, for me, No Matter What! I’ll hope and pray that the same is true for you.
    Closing: Scientific studies show, conclusively, that prayer and well wishing have positive effects on that or those prayed for whether or not the ones prayed for know it or not. You can look it up! May we all find the courage to live exceptionally well after having lived with and through combat. Some are doing it right now. Why not we?
    Peace, Reader G.

    • You can’t imagine how healing it is for me and others to read these words from you. Thank you for expressing yourself so well here, for being a leader and for choosing to hold on to hope and remember your power. I emailed yesterday, let me know if you didn’t get it.

  3. Brendan says:

    Thank you. If you are the author of this thank you if not thank the author for me.

Reach Out Here or Email Me at brittareque@gmail.com

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