The Joie de Vivre Independence Project

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They call it “community readjustment problems” without ever casting an eye back on the community and asking how it is adjusting.

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The Joie de Vivre Independence Project (JVIP) :

The Joie de Vivre Independence Project (JVIP) They call it “community readjustment problems,” meaning that the individual can no longer fit in the community. They make this pronouncement without ever casting an eye back on the community and asking how it is adjusting.

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The war in Iraq has been going on longer than WWII.

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At least 1.5 million service members have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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75% reported being in situations where they could be seriously injured or killed 62% knew someone seriously injured or killed more than a third described an event that caused them intense fear, helplessness or horror .

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Thirty-eight percent of soldiers and 31% of Marines report psychological symptoms. For the National Guard, it is almost half. “What protrudes and does not fit in our pasts rises to haunt us and make us spiritually unwell in the present.” —J. Glenn Gould

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The second most common health issue among veterans (two to three times the rate of the general population) is Mental Health. As of 2nd Qtr of 2009, there were 111,239 cases of PTS diagnosed.

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More than one million veterans are unemployed. Nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Nearly 400,000 veterans experience homelessness over the course of a year.

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Three thousand Marines divorced last year alone, many under the strain of lengthy deployments. Today there are over 100,000 single parents in uniform. "Life must be rich and full of loving—it's no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone." —Jack Kerouac

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The VA's suicide hotline gets more than 14,000 calls per month; that is more than 450 a day. In the last five years, the rate of soldiers hospitalized for having suicidal thoughts has soared to 7000%. More soldiers have been lost to suicide than to Al Qaeda. Veterans account for one of every five suicides in this nation. Every day, another 18 veterans kill themselves. A Fall 2011 report states that the military is losing the battle against suicide.

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Every 80 minutes, a veteran commits suicide.

Every 80 minutes.:

Every 80 minutes.

Every 80 minutes.:

Every 80 minutes. “To be an artist is to believe in life.” —Henry Moore

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The Joie de Vivre Independence Project (JVIP) like no other work of art

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The Joie de Vivre Independence Project (JVIP) A dozen Marines A plot of arable land Building supplies A rotating roster of experts sustainable architecture, permaculture, native wisdom, spiritual enlightenment A rotating roster of artists painters, sculptors, potters, glass-blowers, blacksmiths, architects, novelists, photographers, poets, musicians, dancers, actors, film-makers, chefs, singers Five years THE GOAL: independence, prosperity, recovery THE CONSTANT: dignity THE ANATHEMA: judgment

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For the Marines, this project will not be a retreat but rather a chance to break permanent ground and pave the way for similar colonies. For the rosters of experts and artists, this is a chance to serve. “There is something wonderfully rewarding in being part of an effort that does make a difference.”  —Brian O’Connell

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Veteran Tim O’Brien is one among a pantheon of writers who alchemized their experience of war into literature, among them Ernest Hemingway, Walt Whitman, Ambrose Bierce, and Wilfred Owen. Although not everyone who writes about war changes the course of human culture, these writers tapped a powerful dynamic available to all: that is, that creative expression can promote healing.

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Research has consistently shown that art therapy, whether literary or visual, reduces the severity of the symptoms of PTS. Though art therapy cannot supplant pharmaceutical or cognitive behavior therapy in overcoming PTS, it can work in tandem with these more clinical therapies to add focus and an outlet for expression.

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But we need not just to create art; we need to recreate life itself. Mainstream society is so broken, its isolated approaches cannot begin to adequately address the issues facing people coming out of the armed forces. That is why suicides in the military have skyrocketed. In the words of one vet, “I didn’t need another pill; I needed a community.” “Anything scares me, anything scares anyone but really after all considering how dangerous everything is nothing is really very frightening.” —Gertrude Stein

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As well-meaning as caregivers are, the truth is that healing another is impossible. There can only be space made for people to heal themselves. Without that space, people die. However, with that space, there is a chance for miracles. This project is about making that space so that as human beings, we can all recover from war.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.”  —Anne Frank :

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.”  —Anne Frank