Peace Through Music Helps Local Vets

Dudley Evenson dogtags

Recently I was invited to do a presentation for veterans at the Bellingham Vet Center. Several years ago, Dean and I had visited there and dropped off some of our music and videos and it turns out they had been showing our Eagle River DVD at their gatherings and potlucks where people really enjoyed the relaxation effect of the images of nature and the peaceful music. Eagle River was actually created after our first visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, DC where we did a presentation on music and healing to the patients, many of whom were wounded in combat or suffering from PTSD . We received feedback from the commanding officers that they really needed that video of eagles and nature along the Nooksack River as it would help people dealing with their flashbacks and nightmares from the trauma related to their combat experiences. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which is what many people suffer after extreme combat situations.
Walter Reed dog tags 2These are the dog tags the chaplain at Walter Reed gave us when we visited there a few years ago.

I was pleasantly surprised when I got a call a few weeks ago requesting a presentation about music for one of the local PTSD men’s groups.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but found a group of older Viet Nam era vets as well as some younger ones from more recent wars who were ready to work on dealing with their issues. As the leader said later, the men appreciated being able to step out of their comfort zone. I actually had them breathing, toning, singing a mantra and doing ‘I am’ affirmations. I also shared the RELAXATION TRAINING GUIDE we created for Walter Reed so they would have an overview of how to use music in their process.

Then a few weeks later I was invited back to work with a group of women dealing with PTSD, either as veterans themselves, or because of being married to a veteran who was suffering form PTSD. I found this group of women very open to what I was teaching them and much more able to express themselves through the singing, toning and affirmations I had them doing. It is interesting to me that what I am actually teaching these military folks is based on the yoga of sound and it really seems to work. The women want me to come back and go deeper into the process so I am excited to be able to share what Dean Evenson and I have been learning and teaching all these years about the healing power of sound and music, meditation and self-expression.

Here’s a link to the Eagle River DVD and also to Healing Sanctuary, an album we created after 911 to help people deal with trauma. Both of these were among several of our albums used at Walter Reed and given out by the chaplain there to the wounded.

Please add your thoughts about this important issue and especially if you have or know of anyone dealing with PTSD and I will send a free mp3 healing music track to those who comment.

4 thoughts on “Peace Through Music Helps Local Vets

  1. Zeeva, thanks for sharing your story of healing. There is so much to be aware of that goes beyond the realm of mainstream medicine. Creativity and art are so important in our lives and we are glad when our music helps people. I will check out your book The Art of Wellness! Blessings, Dudley

  2. thank you so much for all you do Dudley! I’m a lifelong dancer/musician/artist & activist who has long used the healing power of sound, movement, music (& ‘eastern’ techniques like yoga too.) When I became brain-injured from acute toxic chemical exposure & all the MD’s gave up on me-it was my training in the ARTS (as well as a very unusual education by an MD/Med Prof father who still believed that HEALING was an ART as well as a Science) that allowed me to BEAT 5.5 years of blindness & illness the MD’s said I’d never beat! I shared this post on my Zeeva the Art of Wellness FB page (with a note to please comment here on your blog to get the mp3–which I’d love to have too!) So many wrote me to learn HOW I got my my sight back & got Well Again–when all the MD’s said I wouldn’t–I wrote my story with a how-to manual on practicing the ART of Wellness–my 4 Principles of Wellness are Holism, Self-Awareness, Ecology & CREATIVITY! Zeeva the Art of Wellness is also the name of my book–now on Amazon-getting 5-star reviews.

  3. Dear Neil, thank you so much for sharing your story and we are glad that Soundings music has been helpful for you. I want to send you some of the CDs to replace the ones you lost so will be emailing your requesting your address. You are the reason we do what we do. Thanks for your service and stay positive. Things do improve when we stay focused and keep our faith. Peace Through Music blessings to you, Dudley and Dean

  4. I first heard your music at a booth at the Anacortes Arts Festival in 2004, after I did a PCS to Whidbey Island NAS from a ship in Pearl Harbor. I was exploring the area and came across this festival. I heard you music being played and I got a CD that year, Forest Rain. The following yr, I got other CD’s, Dreamstreams. My finally year there, I got Healing Sanctuary & Desert Moon Song. I never had anymore $ to get anymore or I would & that was the only place I knew I could get them to.

    I am a US Navy Veteran that has completed 3 combat tours in 5th Fleet (Middle East) from 2000-2004. We deployed earlier than scheduled after 9-11 happened to support the TR Battle Group in their operations. Granted I wasn’t boots on ground in the sand, but we had & dealt with different situations at sea. I have not been diagnose officially with PTSD from the VA, (typical VA issues) but the DAV and other local Vet organizations are willing to help me get that official diagnosis.

    In 2008, I received an Honorable Discharge & returned home. The first few months were ok, taking time to us, finding a place & getting settled back in back home and adjusting to civilian life (which I don’t think I will ever fully adjust). Since leaving the service, I have struggled in so many ways, from financially, emotionally, to spiritually. At one point, with everything goin on in my life, thoughts of suicide were running through my head. So bad that I actually called the Suicide Hotline & sought help. I used to listened to these CDs almost every night as I went to sleep, or as needed. I loved those CDs & music, & I miss them. I lost them when I lost my storage units in 2011. The house my family & I were renting was sold out from underneath us and were forced to live in a motel because we couldn’t find another rental. The rental agency screwed us over by saying we owed them money from repairs to clean up. And gave us a bad rep until it was paid. With me struggling to keep a job, and living in a motel, we couldn’t afford to pay it. We finally got out of the motel almost 3 yrs later, and yet again, I struggling with stable employment. Since I got out in 2008, my life has always been a huge struggle.

    Y’all’s music is like, how to put this, it helps almost in a meditatively state I guess you can say. It helps relax, and reduce stress for me somewhat. I used to listen to your music every night. I miss your music so much and I wish I had the money to buy the CD’s again. I never knew of your Relaxation Guide as well and I will be reading after I am done with this. I don’t use iTunes and I hope that you guy look at going with Google Play for music as well.

    I have tried may other forms of music to help relax, help me emotionally, mentally, meditatively, etc; but I have found that y’all’s music, is the one that helped me the most. I want to personally say thank you. Thank you all for you music. It has helped me. & I hope it helps other & there is more music to come. I hope to be able to buy your music again someday.

    Thank you,
    ~Neil Viertel
    US Navy Vet (’97-’08)

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