| | Advanced Search

 

RI Politicians Who Sought Redemption from Misdeeds—See the Rhode Island politicians who have bounced…

Fall’s Best Foodie Events—Something that's different now -- much different than…

Brian Counihan Joins Iron Works Tavern as Executive Chef—Chef Brian Counihan has joined the team at…

Narragansett Bay Ranked #5 as Best for Boaters in US—Providence has ranked as the #5 best region…

newportFILM To Present Last Two Outdoor Screenings of the Summer—newportFILM will host their last two outdoor screenings…

Trinity Rep to Debut Great Writers Series for 2014-2015 Season—Trinity Rep will present the Great Writers Series…

Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Red Peppers and Potatoes Frittata—End of summer combination with red peppers and…

Rhode Island Ranked Third Worst in Nation for Online College Students—Rhode Island has ranked as the third worst…

Arrivals & Departures Highlight Emotional Day At Gillette Stadium—The New England Patriots and New England Revolution…

Block Calls Out Raimondo For Failing To Support 2010 Tax Reform—Republican candidate for Governor Ken Block has blasted…

 
 

Carol Anne Costa: From Shock to Chakra

Thursday, August 28, 2014

 

Jessica Coulter

If you did not get a chance to catch MSNBC’s “Taking the Hill” this past Sunday, it provided a close look at the battles that face our returning veterans. The series is hosted by Chris Murphy, a former two-term Congressman from Pennsylvania.  Murphy is the first Iraq veteran to serve in Congress and his unique perspective on veteran’s issues provides an avenue for all citizens to better understand the struggles at home. Murphy and MSNBC in partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) feature the stories of veterans as they return to lives forever changed by the selfless act of service to the nation. The latest WWP film featured on “Taking the Hill” which aired on August 24, 2013 was the story of a Rhode Island vet, whose story brought me to tears and then cheers. Her story is as much about the come back as it is about the trauma.     

A Rhode Island Story

Meet Jessica Coulter, a woman who decided, perhaps in a classroom at Bay View Academy or maybe strolling the Newport waterfront that she was going to serve. She knew college was not for her and that the military was a good fit to develop her future. So she enlisted in the United States Air Force. A year into her service, she was the victim of a military sexual assault; an act of violence sadly shared by thousands of men and women in the military. Over 5000 reports of military sexual assault annually leave scars well beyond what most of us can fathom. The VA, WWP, and the United States Senate are moving toward as Senator Patty Murray put it, “to change the culture of the military” with regard to the scourge of MSA. The post-traumatic results of these assaults are shocking and leave a trail of broken minds, families and hearts in their wake. It remains a priority for society and communities to assist these people from the ground up. And, as for Rhode Island the continual shredding of the social safety net, high unemployment, a depressed job market, the shrinking availability of safe affordable and decent housing, disjointed information delivery systems and antiquated government practices only tend to exacerbate the amount of veterans that simply need a hand. That is why Jessica's story is so important, moving and should provide a first hand testimonial on how to better serve our veterans, and sometimes it only is a shoulder to lean on.  

A single mother of two really impressive sons, Jessica like so many other victims internalized the trauma and suffered guilt, self-blame and embarrassment. The journey back into civilian life came with many obstacles and a tendency to reject the thought of reaching out for help. She found the strength to move on in the eyes of her children and the simple offer of a gift card. The emotions that jumped off the TV screen at me made it so clear it was her motherhood and human compassion which spurred her healing, “When Mom goes down we all go down.” spoken like a soldier, she kept her allegiance to her family in spite of her sometimes deep and dark despair. The chronicle of the frustrating journey through red tape and bureaucracy was palpable. It leaves little doubt why so many vets make terrible choices with too often, fatal consequences.

Hope and Healing in Yoga

Jessica’s found a new direction in yoga, a new energy a power that fends off the negative and provides a reboot. Chakra is said to be the molding of the physical energy. Chakra functions in order to vitalize the body and awaken self-consciousness. What Jessica discovered on the yoga mat proved to be life altering and a reaffirmation of her vitality.  She finally found time for herself, and the chance to quiet the noise and find her center. Thankfully, Jessica shared her story, which in and of itself is not an easy thing to do, but it is her testimony, which will provide a guide as our warriors return home with PTSD. It is in programs like the Wounded Warrior Project, which pay it forward for vets. The WWP bio of Jessica states, “Jessica stayed active as an Alumna, and WWP helped with things like understanding the new G.I. Bill and resume writing to get her professional life on track.” The WWP also helps vets with peer mentors in order they have a person to call on when feeling unsure and overwhelmed. It is up to us to honor the service of the military by supporting efforts to bolster them in their transition to civilian life.

Paying it Forward

It was Mother Teresa who said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” A hand up, a smile, an offer of help, are all things that go a long way.  As a nation we can only help these folks one at a time. Having found healing in yoga, Jessica has begun to share her talents and experiences for folks suffering with trauma.  Jessica is a yoga instructor at the Naval Undersea War Center specializing military and military family yoga, helping active and retired service men and women. She is a yoga instructor within the City of Newport as well as a spoken word artist. Jessica is available for any organization that would further like to discuss how yoga helps heal trauma. You can learn more about her at http://www.jessica9names.com.

Carol Costa is a public relations and community outreach specialist; she has experience in both the public and private sectors. She is the Chairwoman of the Scituate Democratic Town Committee and has extensive community affairs and public relations experience. She previously served in the Rhode Island Judiciary for nearly 17 years. Carol also enjoyed a successful development stint at the Diocese of Providence as Associate Director for Catholic Education and is currently a public housing manager. Her work has been published in several local outlets including GoLocal, Valley Breeze, The Rhode Island Catholic, and Currents Magazine.

 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.




Write your comment...

You must be logged in to post comments.