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Marine Corps Veteran Ryan Saunders Finds Healing in Nature

U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Ryan Saunders, saw service in Operation Iraqi Freedom as an Infantry Assaultman. While in service, his experiences led to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To help ease his symptoms, he tried pills, counseling, and other treatments.  They didn’t help as much as nature did.

“At first, getting out into nature was more of an avoidance tactic than anything else. I needed to get away from all the noise, and since I could not escape what was in my head, I tried to avoid at least the environmental noise—people, traffic, cities.  I would get as far away from everything as I could, and that seemed to help me gain control of some of the storm going on inside,” he said.

Over time, he found there’s real healing in nature, and it was far more effective at promoting real change than anything else he tried. He says it was in the wild places of nature that he began to feel again.

“Until this point, I hadn’t found any other methods that were potent enough to lift me out of that numb and empty place where many of us with PTSD get stuck,” he added.

What he’s doing right now in capturing his nature journeys through journals, videos, and his website, isn’t exactly a program.  He has been working his way through his journey to find healing and to move forward.  Although he is “not over the hill,” he’s discovered things along the way that have been valuable enough, he wants to share them with others through video and writing.

His first book is now available on Amazon (Wild Stillness), and he is working on his second book. He hopes by sharing his “journey,” he can at least point others toward a path that’s been working for him. It’s something that veterans can explore further on their own and find ways to incorporate it into their journey.

“I try to encourage people to slow down when they’re in nature—to stop and listen once in a while or to look closer at things. We can’t simply wander out into the environment and expect something magical to happen. We have to make an effort to connect with our surroundings and be there in that present moment. I have received many comments from people who have put my suggestions into practice. Each of them reports a positive outcome such as feeling peace, noticing things they would never have seen otherwise, and enhancing their overall life experience.

You can find his work at

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