I honor all of the United States Military men and women, active, retired and deceased. My grandfather was Benjamin H. Corning, Jr., a decorated Navy officer in World War II. His parents were veterans of World War I. That part of my ancestral line has been on this soil since long before the Revolutionary War, when the United States of America was born. When we honor our ancestors, something in our family heals. Something in us heals. It is as simple as that.
I knew Ben affectionally as "Baka", the name my eldest cousin, Etienne, gave him as first born grandchild. Baka died at age 74, and he suffered a lot due to complications of Parkinson's Disease. I was 18 when he passed, and going through intense mental health issues and a series of hospitalizations that prevented me from mourning his and my grandmother's death, which came a few months before. I was on a lot of medication at the time that prevented me from feeling the loss, which is a story for another day.
Baka wore many hats, and I knew him best for being the loving grandfather who loved us all and encouraged creativity and freedom. He was a gardener, a historian, teacher, and had a wonderful sense of humor, not unlike Benny Hill. He was also an accomplished poet. For the past several months, I have been re-reading my grandfather's poetry book that my family put together back in the 1990s, around the time of his passing. The more I read, the more I appreciate him, and what he did for our family, and for this country. I have never served in that capacity. I will never know what it is like, but having a legacy of poems by him helps me empathize with the pain, sacrifice and true strength it takes to be a US Military Veteran. I will continue to share the poetry as well, in an effort to further honor my late grandfather.
In early 2024, we will begin offering a 5 week series for Veteran's and First Responders and others struggling with Post Traumatic Stress at The Current Healing Arts, Inc. in New Bedford, MA. . This series is a Kundalini Yoga Trauma Recovery Trauma Program, which is an integrative approach to treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). More information on this program will be shared within the month, and I will update this blog post with the details. This program will be co-facilitated by myself and Tim Mills (Simran Randeep), Kundalini Yoga Teacher and retired US Air Force Officer. This program is accredited through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), and Tim and I are trained via The Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine and Humanology. If there are questions on this program, please direct them to Julie Silvia (Devi Namdass) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will schedule a call with you to discuss.