Mid-afternoon on Sunday (27 June ) a 16 strong group of men descended on Shackleton Lodge in the Brathay Trust Estate in the Lake District for the third in this series of experiential retreats for ex-forces personnel.
This carefully choregraphed programme of individual and group processes is designed to support veterans to, either refresh or develop, a more meaningful purpose and direction for themselves and, with the bonus of warm sunny weather, this retreat did not disappoint.
So much so, that when it came to our scheduled departure on Tuesday afternoon (29 June ), no-one really wanted to leave the safe and healing environment we had created – as the following testimonials attest.
“I arrived in the Lake District in quite a bad place both physically and mentally. The PTSD, anxiety and depression were beating me, and I genuinely believed there was nothing left for me to try that would help me. I took part in each of the workshops/ group discussions and slowly felt more confidence opening up after each one. Just being in an outdoors environment, doing the short hike and being with like-minded people really helped me. For the first time in over 5 years, I actually felt at peace when we did a small meditation piece at the top of the hill we hiked up. It was a moment of enlightenment and serenity for me. The moment that topped everything off though was the second morning, doing the Wim Hof exercise. I managed to find a place of complete calm and held my breath for the full 90 seconds, and then I was the first to jump into the lake and the last out. I didn’t breathe heavy, and it just felt right. This moment has stuck with me, and I want to try to integrate this method into my everyday life moving forward. All in all, I suppose I just wanted to say a massive thank you to Tom Harrison House for organising this special retreat and being there for struggling veterans in their time of need. I really am very grateful and think I will take much of what I learned in these few days into my daily routine and life in general. Thank you for everything. God Bless.” SR
“The retreat was an outstanding experience, giving me the opportunity to go deeper within, and fix a few more things going on for me, in a beautiful environment around great like-minded people – you could not buy this stuff. If I could say anything to veterans, is that just give it a go and see it as another part in your growth.” SF
“I found this experiential retreat challenging as it pushed me to explore my emotions, however I did get a lot out of it, especially experiencing this with the rest of the group who had similar issues” AD
There are still places available on this AFCFT Positive Pathways funded project, namely on our September, November and December Veterans’ Experiential Retreats – please contact THH’s Activity Coordinator on 0151 233 8481 / firstname.lastname@example.org