My name is Lucas. I am a combat veteran (Fallujah, Kirkuk), and have served in two branches of service (active duty). I have been an active member with VFP for about 18 months, and I would like to take a moment of your time to ask something of you. First, a quick introduction:
I, like many of those I served with, struggled to find my footing after my contract ended. My experiences had left me jaded, angry; I had lost my sense of purpose, and had doubts about the purposes I had previously been serving for the last 8 years. Here is more about that story.
Since moving to Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in 2014, I have learned (and am still learning ) much about myself; living in community is indeed like looking into a mirror. The intellectual ferment at work both here and in the VFP newsletters has helped me find and craft my voice, and realize what it is that I have been needing to say and do, and I’ve settled on three things:
I need to help expose the true cost of war by sharing my experiences;
I need to take an active roll in helping veterans heal from their experiences; and
Spreading the word that Veterans and Intentional Communities can be a very powerful combination, and serve to help one another craft real, lasting examples of progress and hope within our society for others to see and follow.
While I am not yet a member of any VFP Chapter (the closest city has a population of 109 and connecting with other vets is difficult out here), I live in a community that is a demonstration project for environmental sustainability, and talk with tourist and visitors regularly (I’m currently serving as Tour Coordinator for the non-profit). I often speak of my membership with VFP, and encourage people I meet to look into our organization.
I was also featured in this AJ+ video a few weeks ago, which put VFP in front of about 2.8 million people (views, actually; I’m the last picture), and have written a few pieces that VFP has been kind enough to echo on their site, so this may not even be the first time I’ve “spoken” with you. I humbly hope that these contributions have helped our cause, and I now ask for your support in manifesting a larger, longer-lasting, more tangible project.
I am honored and grateful to have fostered a partnership with both The Milkweed Mercantile Eco Inn at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage and Sami Aaron, Master Nature Process Facilitator and Level 1 Instructor in Mindful Resilience for Trauma Recovery with the Veterans Yoga Project, to offer two workshops this year- and we’re hoping you’ll help us get the word out to fill them. But that’s not all! We are also launching a project that will help Veterans lay the literal groundwork for pathways toward peace through Operation Peaceful Paths:
The Nature Process Workshop for Veterans @ Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
Please circulate these links (and/or this page) widely!
In conjunction with these workshops, I have spent the last few months developing a detailed plan to build a labyrinth here at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. We have sourced all the needed materials and tools, we just need some minor financial support to make it a reality!
The Labyrinth project, Operation Peaceful Paths, aims to bring Veterans together with community and healing, and for those same veterans to lay the groundwork for a monument to peace, to be traveled and admired by the public for years to come.
It is my hope that you all will consider sharing this campaign within your circles, and/or donating to the construction of “Horizon” (working title). We’re offering some wonderful perks, up to and including having your name engraved on the centerpiece, and even free nights and meals at the Milkweed Mercantile and a tour of our community with me, Lucas.
I hope you’ll wish this project well, and support it further if you can.
Thank you for your time.
Tour Coordinator, Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
Post 9/11 Member, Veterans For Peace