Remembering Veteran's Day

by Ultimate Spark! Coaching Mindset Coach Jeff Berkowitz

With Veterans Day having been on Wednesday...I find it more necessary then ever to discuss the how the value of mindset and setting intensions can shape the outcome we seek to achieve.

I am a veteran of the US ARMY and in May 9th 2011 while out on mission I was struck by a suicide bomber, I sustained 9 broken bones in 14 different places, ruptured 4 extensor tendons in my left eventually leading to the amputation of my ring finger and metacarpal, partial loss of my bicep and several other shrapnel wounds threw out my body.

The physical scars are something that I will be around forever, but that’s okay… the body is resilient and has the ability to heal and over time you learn to adapt.

The true challenge is how I was going to heal mentally, how was I going to be in large crowds, how will I respond to fireworks being set off, will I have nightmares and constantly be reminded of this day?

The answer to these questions were far more simple then many believe are possible, it was a matter of setting the intention that I was not going to allow this event to shape the outcome of the rest of my life.

The statistic or the exception

As I laid is the casualty collection point (CCP) there were a number of passing thoughts that went through my head, one specifically was my desire to focus on my recovery. I had heard the horror stories about how PTSD impacts the way many veterans lived there lives, the anger and constant discomfort anytime there were large crowds, a simple place like the grocery store could cause a person to storm out with high anxiety and anger because they were uncomfortable with a lot of people around.

The sound of fireworks would remind some of being in a firefight and they would start to relive the experience. This was not going to be my story I had set the intention at that very moment that just I had trained to be ready for combat I would start training my mind to reintegrate back into society, I am the exception, not the statistic.

The Challenge

The biggest challenge that comes with setting this as my intention is the outside influence and outside influence comes in different forms; there’s the outside influence of hearing the constant horror stories of how PTSD effects the lives of veterans and there is the outside influence of people that will constantly remind you that you have PTSD and will attempt to write off every emotion, every thought and every action you have as a result of PTSD.

These outside influences or energy vampires… do everything they can to create a programing inside the mind and it can be loud and it can be powerful, there were even times where I wanted to give into what everyone was saying, accept that I have PTSD and assume that anger filled outbursts were just what I was supposed to have, only its not.


It took me many years, but there is one thing that is for certain, these influences are only a reflection of themselves, not a reflection of my reality. There are select moments where the anxiety of PTSD do play a factor, but they don’t happen often and they don’t happen for long. I have set the intention for myself that I was going to be the exception to the PTSD stereotype and not the statistic. Just because others have the expectation that I am going to react a certain way doesn’t mean that I need to or even intend to.

I know my environment, I know my mindset and I know what I have the ability to control. The rare moments when I do feel my anxiety kick in, I first recognize that it is there, breathe through it and release the built of anxiety, once I realize what is actually happening I am able to return back to a state of peace.

This process takes seconds and is one that we all have the ability to perform, the stories of yesterday do not need to be the same today.

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