OIF

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My battle, D, & I in Taji, Iraq

Music is my life and it’s one of my biggest escape routes to just forget how things are now and let me replay the memories, good and bad. Music is also a great way to express what you are feeling here and now.

For me it’s essential to reflect back to the then and compare it to the mentality and growth that I’ve been working on today for myself and my future, and remind myself of who I used to be compared to the individual I am now.

When you see my playlist, you will see a lot of mixed feelings in this journey, but you need to realize a lot of soldiers go through a lot of emotional pain, physical pain, and spiritual pain, whether it’s on the surface or not.

Keep notes that this playlist is of my world and mentality back in 2006-2007. Even though I still enjoy all the music below today, does not mean I feel exactly the same now then I did back then.

First, I will give you my Top Ten of songs that symbolized myself, my hardships, and my mentality when I was in Iraq, also, these songs kept me straight throughout the year in the sandbox.

10. Blue Oyster Cult – Veteran of the Psychic Wars

9. Drowning Pool – Soldiers

8. Toby Keith – American Soldier

7. Tim McGraw – If You’re Reading This

6. AC/DC – Highway to Hell

5. Three Doors Down – Here Without You

4. Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name Of

3. Crossfade – Washing The World Away

2. Mark Schultz – Letters From War 

1. Fort Minor – Where’d You Go

Here is the rest of my playlist that I have created for my Operation Iraqi Freedom soundtrack called “Boots on Ground” that’s created with some Country, a touch of Hip-Hop, and various Rock music.

 

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Be the change, don’t wish for it.
I hear it over and over again.
I do what I can, when I can.
Damn, I try.

Finding my purpose in life.
Not an easy pathway,
But I think I’ve found the light.
A new day passes.

The end of the tunnel expands.
The sun rays, I feel on my skin.
Clouds creep from the distance,
Threatening the moment.

I throw out the umbrella; let the storm come.
I’m at the finish line, I’m done running.
Fists up, ready for what may come.
A passive lover turned aggressive fighter.

Wanting all that I’ve earned,
Accepting the gifts I’ve been given,
Using them to make for a better tomorrow.
The road to healing is turning its course.

Arise from the mercy of the knees,
Re-baptized by the Earthly rains.

2015 Copyright @ H.M. Gautsch

All Rights Reserved.

Leading a horse to water.

So for my birthday this week, I requested to ride Sterling. I didn’t get much time, because again, I am not very time oriented. I tried to pull off normal during my session. It didn’t last long. I didn’t open up much, but Sterling did react to my high anxiety the moment I stepped into the arena with him. My horse trainer spoke up about it.

Anxiety plays in a number of events in my life right now. I am permanently done with the army life, therefore a second try to a transition to civilian life. I am moving to a city that’s four times bigger than my present city, and I am finally figuring out my purpose in life after long adjustments in my personal life.

When stress is high in my life, the nightmares return and I become more restless than I already am. Not the war flashback nightmares, they only come so often. My nightmares are more symbolic and line up with my native spirituality whether it involves animals or natural disasters. Most commonly, tornadoes. This past week I was introduced to rattlesnakes and other venomous snakes. I think I have some research to do to find the meaning.

Anyways, back to my therapy session. The horse trainer was concerned. She warned me that if she felt tension and no comfort in Sterling, I’d have to get off right away. It was a chance I would take just to be on him. I trusted him and he trusted me. Sterling knew what to do though with my condition, before and after I was on his back. Sterling relaxed while I was grooming him and prepping. I kept hugging him to feel him breathe and sync with his calmness. Everything went smoothly regardless of having a new intern with us and my high anxiety issues for the day.

It was a bummer he doesn’t do bareback like Joseph does, but it felt good to be riding nonetheless. Bareback is how I also prefer. You have a better connection with the horse, feeling skin on skin. It’s the spirituality in me that allows me to feel the spirit/humanity in animals, let alone horses. Not everyone has the gift, but from day one, my therapist and my first horse trainer asked if I was a horse whisper. I guess the gypsy soul in me links with the spirit of a horse.