Episode 356 Kathryn Vecchio Expressive Arts as a Pathway to Healing and Resilience Transcript

This transcript is from episode 356 with guest Kathryn Vecchio.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

When things go sideways, will you be prepared? Some people are concerned they might have to go for a long time without electricity or even food. That’s why I want to introduce you to 4Patriots. com. Get preparedness products you can use now, and that could save your life later. My favorite is 4Patriots new solar generator, the Patriot Power Generator 2000X.

It uses the endless free power of the sun to power lights, your TV, medical equipment, even run your fridge. Plus it’s expandable and comes with a free solar panel. Or pick up one of 4Patriot’s best selling survival food kits. Delicious tasting and designed to last for [00:01:00] 25 years. They even have kits with real meat.

And if the power’s out, no worries. Just boil water over a fire, simmer, and serve. You’ll enjoy a hot meal and stay safe in a crisis. More smart people than ever are finding 4Patriots. Over 2 million customers trust them. And you might have even seen them on TV. I had the folks at 4Patriots set up a special page for you at 4patriots.com/DriveOn so that listeners of this podcast can see this week’s discounts and deals before they go away. Go to 4patriots. com forward slash drive on, but hurry, these deals won’t last long. Save more and get peace of mind now by going to 4patriots.com/DriveOn.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today my guest is Kathryn Vecchio. Kathryn is here today to discuss how she’s utilized her experiences and education to develop a unique intervention program utilizing expressive arts. And we’ll get into that [00:02:00] more in just a minute here, but first I want to welcome you to the show, Kathryn.

I’m really glad to have you here.

Kathryn Vecchio: Thank you. Good to be here.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. So, um, for, uh, the listeners and, and just kind of, um, you know, providing a little bit of background information, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and kind of who you are, where you came from and, and how you got into doing what you’re doing now?

Kathryn Vecchio: Uh, yeah, I, um, I’m from Cleveland and, uh, came from, uh, a really proud serving family of, um, service, service men and women. My mother’s a captain in the Army. I’m really proud to say that. Um, anyways, I went to, uh, studied history and education, an undergrad and went on to study psychology and seminary, um, Um, and all of that led me to a variety of different jobs, um, in city, county, state government, in mental health.

I was a staff [00:03:00] psychologist at a maximum security prison and, um, worked in private practice and, uh, sort of, and also had a contract with, uh, Fort Bragg, uh, where we deployed, uh, uh Worked with, uh, servicemen that were being deployed and servicemen and women. Uh, so I’ve really had the privilege to work in a lot of different ways.

personal development. And so at 62 years old, I was not ready to retire. And I thought, you know, what has been the arc that connects a woman on death row, a serviceman or service person who is being deployed and leaving their family, a suburban couple that’s on the brink of divorce, or [00:04:00] a child on the spectrum.

And I was In a group, and it occurred to me when I asked this question in one of my groups, I said, what do you feel is the greatest work of art of the last millennium? And people answer all kinds of different ways. Picasso’s Guernica, the Brooklyn Bridge. This kid says something, and all of a sudden I realized the answer to that question arc.

And the kid said, it’s your life. That’s the greatest work of art. And I went. Oh, aha. And the aha moment for me was, all of these stories I’ve heard over all these years, there’s no like 10 steps to figure out a good life, figure out a way to be content. There’s no [00:05:00] one theory in psychology that fits every situation or a way out of a messy world.

If, if, You try to impose some kind of simple answer to help a woman who’s sitting in a human cage for the rest of her life. Right? It’s nonsensical. So the point is a person has to imagine and create this unique way out of life’s problems. So I started thinking, you know, how do we ignite imagination?

Because I think that’s part of what we’ve lost in our culture. So I started thinking, what do we do to Ignite that. And [00:06:00] COVID hit, so we developed this model where we put together supply boxes, we mailed them out, and we started Zooming these interactive, experiential, creative, expressive art programs and All of a sudden, people who said, I, I’m not an artist.

I can’t, I can’t do this. I can’t do, before you know it, I’ve got people going down to pottery studios, taking drama classes, cooking. One, one kiddo is doing a podcast. Cooking, and they found their canvases, and they’re finding their way out, and finding solutions. Um, so, and, and, and working with, working with veterans is, we do a lot, I, I, teach a lot about trench art, [00:07:00] if you’re familiar with that, um, which is on my website.

There’s a, there’s a little piece on, uh, trench art, which was, uh, an art form that, uh, was, um, popularized in World War I, um, when our servicemen were in the trenches in the foxholes, they would take Casing, shell casings, and carve these most elaborate sculptures. I mean, I’m, we’re talking ashtrays, elaborate sculptures.

There’s actually a museum in, uh, Louisiana. It, at the Trench Art Museum. It, it’s amazing and, um, beautiful. The point is being creative. Elevated these men out of foxholes, and I hold these pieces of art, and I think, think about it, they’re eating emerys, feet in the [00:08:00] mud, and carving these beautiful pieces of art, and it elevates them, right?

So that’s, that’s where this whole concept came from, and we’re seeing incredible movement. Uh, and shifts.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And so all of this is, um, the way I look at it is it’s a way of, um, probably just grounding yourself in the, in the present moment and, and making it. Um, you know, just thinking about the, the soldiers that you’re talking about in, uh, in the trenches, who were making all these elaborate pieces of art, you know, there’s probably some, uh, at some points there’s some downtime between, uh, you know, firefights and skirmishes that took place, and you got all these shell casings laying around, uh, on the ground, and, um, it’s not like you, you can [00:09:00] just lug around a, you know, um, A whole, uh, kiln and pottery supplies and all this kind of stuff.

So you’re going to make something, you’re going to make it out of what’s available to you and you got these, these shells laying around, no one’s going to miss them. So you know, you, you start going to work on those and, um, you know, it just occupies your mind so that you don’t go back to those places that you don’t really want to be, right?

Is that kind of the idea behind this?

Kathryn Vecchio: Yeah. Yes. Another example, it’s, it’s sort of like you have the ashes or ruins or, or regret of your, of a life. How do you create something from the ashes? Another aha moment for me was I was watching, uh, a news, uh, show on the, the Sandy Hook story when the radio, the guy who was, uh, protesting on the radio [00:10:00] and he, they, uh, he was saying that it was, was a big fraud and then they came and he was in defamation suit.

Anyways, the mo, one of the mothers was, um, talking about a program that they came up. with to heal what had happened in Sandy Hook. As she was talking about it, I remember when the murders happened, I was watching and I thought how in the world are these parents ever going to find a way to have peace and joy.

After this event, and I’m an incredibly optimistic person in the face of tragedy, but I can remember thinking how to way out. Now, fast forward to this story, they figured it out, but they had to be so creative and what they’ve done the program. I see it. Oh, it’s [00:11:00] I can barely fight back the tears. This is just so this is the, the enormity.

of the rise of the human spirit is so profound to me. The program’s called Love Wins Post Traumatic Stress Growth. They refuse to empower it and give it the, give it power to call it disorder. And they’re literally finding that these kids have compassion and kindness, forgiveness, and watching this woman, her son was the son who protected and saved lives.

He was six years old when he was murdered. He saved lives that morning. And that woman so clearly had peace, has, lives with peace and [00:12:00] love. And even this radio man that, that defiled that, that morning, she’s had, she’s free. She is free. And, and the point of that was even, being a creative person myself, I thought, wow, this is Really an exciting way to think about living, to imagine that in any circumstance, something that all of us could probably imagine, losing a child, and in that way, there’s a way, there’s a way out if, if we can Throw ourselves into this idea.

Imagine, imagine, imagine, and so I, Sandy Hook is on the website as well, because I think if they could do it, [00:13:00] surely, for sure, there’s got to be a way that at least we can try. So that’s what inspires me.

Scott DeLuzio: And so. Let’s, let’s get into it a little bit more and talk about, uh, what exactly it is that, um, that you do with these folks and, and how. On the other side, how it helps them, like what, what’s the, I don’t know, maybe the science behind it and what, um, what allows people to heal from these traumas that they, they’ve experienced.

Clearly being a parent of, uh, you know, a child and, you know, shooting like that, uh, you know, no parent should ever have to bury their child, but, you know, here we are. You know, in the world, and people do have to do that at some point or another, and, you know, how do you cope with that? How do you deal with that?

And, uh, how do you move on, um, and not just exist, but how do you live, like, a good life after something like [00:14:00] that, you know?

Kathryn Vecchio: Well, I think the first piece that’s related to this idea of art is, you know, do we see something, and this is my phone, I’ll just use this as an example. This is a Kandinsky. Of course, I have art everywhere, but this is a Kandinsky, right? And so, you know, what, what, like, in art, is, is, are these glasses or are they two somewhat circles?

That are side by side. So, do you see murders? Do you see divorce? Or do you see something else? Can you even begin to see something else? Or do you just see the tragedy? Do you just see disappointment? Do you just see failure? Or do you see that this could be the dark night of the soul? that opens the way to the hero’s [00:15:00] journey.

Could your humiliation be your crucifixion that now becomes your resurrection, your opportunity to resurrect? Because you can’t resurrect unless you’ve been crucified, right?

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Right.

Kathryn Vecchio: Right? So, but, but if you can’t imagine that, you can’t even begin to hope to get off the ground to sort of, in my mind, I guess, in my experience, I’ll put it this way, I’ve been crucified a couple of times, let’s put it that way, and I can’t say I’ve been resurrected as many times as I’ve probably, or crucified myself, and probably done it to myself more, um, but when it, when I didn’t resurrect, it [00:16:00] was because I didn’t do this, I didn’t allow, I couldn’t see the possibility, so in art, it’s, When I think, when people begin to open up the possibility, like, I can create something, a lot of people I see, they won’t even pick up a pen or paper that, I’m not an artist.

Oh, okay. They look at a, they look at a blank canvas and I say, how many people are intimidated by it? Yes. I, I paint all the time. I look at a blank canvas. It always still makes me nervous. It’s like, what am I going to do with that? Can I do something with it? What am I going to do? And it’s like, what, what, what is that about?

That I’m just not like comfortable to be, be creative. It’s, it’s an interesting, it’s [00:17:00] interesting. And so learning to be comfortable with being creative. That empowers us to address a problem, I think, with a

more pliable kind of approach, so that when something happens, like a divorce, it doesn’t have to be Just a tragic end. It can be like, you know, it can be the dark night of the soul and both the opportunity to grow, um, in ways that you never could if you would only have had the marriage that you wanted.

If that makes sense.

Scott DeLuzio: Okay, so when, when you get people, you know, involved in this and they’re [00:18:00] looking at this blank canvas, and I’ve seen a lot of Uh, artists, uh, especially veteran artists, and a lot of times their artwork is more on the dark side. There’s fire and skulls and explosions and things along those lines, right? And, um, a lot of it’s really Well done, you know, very detailed and, uh, you know, for what it is, it’s very well done. Um, but it sounds like what you’re saying is, um, you know, that might be the thing that they’re stuck on perhaps. And, uh, it sounds like maybe if they can see something that the good that comes from a tragedy and they can, they can express that, then that’s, that’s maybe a first step to finding that hope. of the better, uh, the better path, the better future, things along those lines. Am I kind of understanding that correctly?[00:19:00]

Kathryn Vecchio: I, I, yeah, and I think it’s both. I think we have to stand in front of a problem before we can move through a problem. So the. Um, the process of being with it, you know, painting it, exploring it. And I think the, the process of the, the painting, the fire and the skulls and really examining how that’s impacted and it, and that’s a process too.

I think that can evolve over years. And you see it coming out in different ways. Um, in. In, uh, veteran art, you know, I’ve seen it evolve, but it can be both. It can be awareness of the tragedy of the problem and the, um, the air, uh, that comes [00:20:00] from it. I just saw an exhibition not long ago at the Nakao. the National Veterans Museum here in Columbus, Ohio.

We’re, we’re blessed to have that here. Mary White is a, is a well known artist. She did an amazing exhibit of veterans, from each state. And they had different, they all have different forms of PTSD, and they’re both in terms of what their trauma is, and then what they, how they overcome as far as what their, what their vocation is, or, you know, maybe, maybe surfing or something, you know, some, some sort of, uh, um, um, um, Accomplishment in their lives.

And so it’s both and I really love it. And I [00:21:00] got to meet her. She’s just a lovely, lovely person or her art. I actually have a book and so her name’s Mary White. If you would want to look her up, but so it’s. It was lovely in that it really honors both sides of the, of a life. And I think we get stuck sometimes in the negative.

And the old way, the way when I was in graduate school, the old kind of way of doing psychology was more in the realm of what we called psychodynamic, which was a lot of talking about historical stuff. And now what’s popular is a approach called positive psychology, happy psychology. Um, and, and I, uh, am more, I am in the realm of coaching, uh, consulting, um, doing things [00:22:00] out in the field.

Um, and, and it’s, it’s more of a sort of the what now, what now, not what, what happened, but, but you have to acknowledge that narrative. In order to be about what now.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that makes sense. I think, uh, when you have something traumatic that happens or, or, you know, it doesn’t have to be traumatic, like a death or, you know, combat or anything like that. I mean, uh, going through a divorce could be traumatic, you know, any, uh, type of situation like that, uh, right. And Yeah, definitely.

You want to acknowledge that it happened, uh, you know, how, how is it? affected you? What has changed since then? You know, you used to be a happy go lucky kind of person, and now you’re, you know, down and depressed and, you know, all that. And so, okay, well, now, now we see, A to B, what the, what [00:23:00] effect this has had, uh, on you.

And, um, like you said, now what? Now, what do we do with this? And how do we move forward, uh, and figure out how to Perhaps reset you back to the person that you once were. Um, you know, maybe that’s, maybe it’s not a hundred percent possible, um, because all of these experiences, they affect who we are and, and you’re not going to get back to that.

But if you, um, if you were the person who was, uh, you know, the life of the party and now you don’t even want to go to the party, um, you know, maybe we can get you in the door at least, you know, maybe you’re not the life of the party anymore, but we can, we can get you back, uh, going to the party and, um. At least not completely isolating yourself away from that type of situation, right? And so I like how that has sort of changed because dwelling on the past Uh, to me, it feels like it just [00:24:00] reinforces it and just makes it like, uh, it’s, it’s never going away. It’s never going to change. It’s always here. It’s always present. Uh, that to me just doesn’t feel right when you start talking about the what now and what’s next and how do we, how do we address this?

Uh, and maybe this is just me being a guy. Like I want to fix things, you know, like when, when things are wrong, I want to fix it. And so, um, you know, Probably that’s the reason why I have this podcast, because I noticed there were things that were wrong, and I wanted to fix it. So here we are, and we’re in the process of trying to fix it.

Um, you know, 300 some odd episodes later, I’m still trying to fix it, but well, we’ll get there. We’ll, we’ll fix it. Um, you know, so that’s the point, point that I think that’s where, where the change can happen that, that really will, uh, help accelerate the growth in people. And I like what you were saying before with the post traumatic stress growth, not

disorder, [00:25:00] uh, and, and, and whatnot.

It’s, it’s, you’re looking forward to that growth. And I’d love to know more about how that growth occurs and like how people experience that.

Kathryn Vecchio: Yeah, well, I have this kiddo I was working with this summer. So interesting. Started the summer is this whole course. We actually get high school credit for it and we started the summer with 10 weeks of different exposures to different mediums in art. Right? And week 1. I can’t draw. I’m not an artist to throw in the pencils.

By the end of the summer, a big journal of drawing, and just, Dr. Kafton, you want to see this drawing? This is, like, okay, it’s kind of like, okay, okay, gotta go, gotta go. Like, okay, what’s another one? And, you know, and, and, the, [00:26:00] how, how, how did that inform how he changed? It’s I can do things. I am bigger than my limitations.

I had no idea. In the beginning of the summer, I, we, we, uh, my staff, we bound a book because we took photographs all through the summer, so he could see the progression and it was amazing because he would, he wouldn’t have been able to see it if we hadn’t documented it in photographs, right? It’s amazing, absolutely amazing, because it’s in, it’s in real art pieces and he’s Illuminated.

A beautiful human soul that otherwise would have been holed up in a room, isolated, is now out in the community going to pottery classes, going to school, you [00:27:00] know, going into, going into a building, um, I mean, it’s, it’s amazing. It’s important too with art, I think, because we teach all different kinds of art.

Cars are art. I mean, a jaguar, it’s, that’s a woman’s body. I mean, that’s, these are forms of their artwork. We even have here in Columbus at Ohio State, uh, there’s internships, uh, designing, uh, Designing cars, but house design, cooking, these are all art forms, but these are important things for people to be able to do in their quiet mind, you know, to have something that’s your own and not, and I don’t mean just mindfulness sort of stuff, but something that you can just, you know, Turn [00:28:00] to that’s not, you know, this kind of thing, you know, which, which, you know,

Scott DeLuzio: phone, right? Yeah.

Kathryn Vecchio: It, it that, that you’re just taking in someone else’s information. You’re not sort of letting your, your heart, soul, brain percolate again. Like, who am I? And your life is a creation. It’s not about going back backwards to your innocence, it’s to me, integrating. Yes, the innocence and integrating with all the lessons of a weary, broken world with your creative high mind, whatever you believe spiritually or not, but the whole of it, your connections.

And then this miraculous possibility, like [00:29:00] the people in Sandy Hook, that the human spirit can rise, like Pele kicking a soccer ball, like the human spirit, or Jerry West’s buzzer shot, you know, like, human spirit rises, and it’s like, it’s like standing amazement, right, and, but, but it’s so easy, To stand there and go, this tragedy is beyond, and I was, I was on a podcast once and I said, look, none of us get out of here alive.

Okay. And I say that and people like, back up and then it’s like, well, it’s true. And the thing is, like, the first noble truth in Buddhism is all of life is suffering. Once you get that down, the rest is easy. Right? Because the bumps, the bumps are the road, the, the bumps. Yeah. are not in the road, they are the road.[00:30:00]

Scott DeLuzio: That’s right.

Kathryn Vecchio: Right? So, I mean, like, get some better shocks on your car, and, and it’s alright. I mean, in a way, I mean, I just, I personally, I just don’t expect things to go well, and then they go well, you

Scott DeLuzio: And it’s a pleasant surprise when, right, if, if, if you, if you don’t have the high expectations and then everything goes well, uh, when, when

Kathryn Vecchio: I mean, yeah, you know, and I say that, and, and just, like, a day or two ago, I was, I was, like, crying about something, but, you know, it can be both, you know, it can, it’s, Life is really, really, really, really hard. It’s a really weary world. Sometimes, a lot of times, it’s also really, really amazingly, surprisingly amazing world.

Scott DeLuzio: and there’s beauty in the, the chaos sometimes too. There’s, there’s beauty out there there, you know, even, even in the midst of, uh, you know, combat [00:31:00] or in the midst of, uh, you know, uh, a riot or some uprising or whatever, you can find something that is beautiful in those situations. Uh, there’s, you know, maybe there’s a child who’s caught up in one of those situations, but that that child is still a beautiful person, right? And it’s like that you can focus on that and be like, okay. Yeah, all of this sucks, but there’s still some good here, right? And, and maybe we can focus on that. It’s like, well, how do we make it better for that person? And, um, you know, when you were talking earlier in the beginning of this episode, you were talking about the, um, the kid that was Uh, talking about how life is like the most beautiful of form of art.

Uh, I forget exactly how, how it was phrased, but, um, you know, something along those lines. Right. And I started thinking about the, um, the guy who started off. I can’t I can’t draw, I can’t paint, [00:32:00] I can’t do any of this stuff. And, and then you were taking pictures throughout, you know, the course of, you know, the summer and you, you showed how all of that came together at the end of, uh, now you really can, right?

And so when you look at it, it’s like, It’s almost like a flip book, the way I thought of it. Like, you know, you

used to draw like those little stick figures and draw, you know, the soccer ball, you know, being kicked across the

page or whatever. Um,

Kathryn Vecchio: That’s cool.

Scott DeLuzio: you know, it’s almost like that, where you’re looking at the progression of, I can’t do it to holy crap, here it is, I did it, you know?

And, and that’s a small section of this person’s life of going from I can’t to I did, and.

Kathryn Vecchio: And I will.

Scott DeLuzio: and, and I, I, I will again, and I’ll continue, and I’ll, I’ll, uh, persevere, and I’ll, I’ll be able to overcome those other things that I thought I can’t, because, [00:33:00] hell, I just did, and, you know, and, and so that’s a small piece of this person’s life, but, um, that can be used as fuel to help overcome other areas in their life where they, I can’t get over this tragedy.

I can’t, uh, uh, forgive myself for the things that I did. I can’t do this. I can’t do that. Well, yes, you can.

Kathryn Vecchio: Right, right.

Scott DeLuzio: but you’ll figure it out, you know?

Kathryn Vecchio: Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: When things go sideways, will you be prepared? Some people are concerned they might have to go for a long time without electricity or even food. That’s why I want to introduce you to 4Patriots. com. Get preparedness products you can use now, and that could save your life later. My favorite is 4Patriots new solar generator, the Patriot Power Generator 2000X.

It uses the endless free power of the sun to power lights, your TV, medical equipment, even run your fridge. Plus it’s expandable and comes with a free solar panel. Or pick up one of [00:34:00] 4Patriot’s best selling survival food kits. Delicious tasting and designed to last for 25 years. They even have kits with real meat.

And if the power’s out, no worries. Just boil water over a fire, simmer, and serve. You’ll enjoy a hot meal and stay safe in a crisis. More smart people than ever are finding 4Patriots. Over 2 million customers trust them. And you might have even seen them on TV. I had the folks at 4Patriots set up a special page for you at 4patriots.com/DriveOn so that listeners of this podcast can see this week’s discounts and deals before they go away. Go to 4patriots. com forward slash drive on, but hurry, these deals won’t last long. Save more and get peace of mind now by going to 4patriots.com/DriveOn.

Kathryn Vecchio: You said something earlier about, um, that when we were talking about, like, going back, going over a problem, and I wanted to say, it’s like practicing, you know, the I can’t. It’s like, it’s like, we, we, we end up [00:35:00] practicing and we’re learning about the brain. You, you literally entrench that in the brain.

So, I think the other part of creativity and art is it’s whimsical. It’s, it creates a sense of awe. It gets us out of that practice. When I, when I was at the prison, I, I was in charge of the psychiatric inpatient unit. The prison, and we, we would have to, at times, use these paper gowns, um, if, uh, for, for different levels of, um, security.

So we decided to do a fashion show using the paper gowns in, in um, Allowing the women to, it was like Project Runway, they didn’t, we, okay, we were like the precursor to Project Runway at North Carolina [00:36:00] Correctional Institute for Women, okay? And you can’t even, we were laughing and having the greatest time, and you would have never known that it was The psychiatric right unit at a maximum security prison and you talk about like elevating the, the moment and redemption like Shawshank Redemption.

Right? This was right. And I have to say, like, a bunch of chicks having a fashion show that that’s Shawshank Redemption now. They’re right. And I’m going to tell you, some of those were like, pretty, pretty nice, pretty nice dresses.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s funny. That’s funny. And it’s, you know, like you said, it’s creative. It probably, whoever was In whatever factory, somewhere making those, those paper gowns, they, they probably never expected that they would end up in a correctional facility

being [00:37:00] designed for a, you know, a fashion show of some sort.

Uh, they never would have envisioned

something along those lines happening, right?

But what you just mentioned, uh, earlier, um, where, when you’re kind of dwelling on the past and you’re talking about that thing that happened over and over again, and it’s like you’re, you’re practicing. That thing. And it’s like, you’re, you’re just practicing the wrong thing and you can get really good at doing the wrong thing. You know, cause, cause practice, like this, the saying practice makes, makes perfect is not correct. It’s, it’s perfect practice makes perfect. And if you are just practicing for the sake of practicing and you’re not doing the right thing, like for example, my, uh, my son, he pitches in baseball and he was having trouble with some of his pitching and he just kept doing the same thing over and over and over and over.

And I said, Hey, you’re going to get really good doing that. And he looked at me and he’s like. [00:38:00] He’s like, yeah, but I still have this problem. And I go, yeah, you’re going to get really good at doing it the wrong way.

Kathryn Vecchio: Well said.

Scott DeLuzio: because that’s what you’re doing. You’re, you’re doing it the wrong way and you’re doing it again, the wrong way.

And again, and again, and again, and it. It just reinforces, it creates the muscle memory of, of doing the wrong thing. And so when you’re out there in a game and it’s a stressful situation and everything, you’re going to rely on that muscle memory and you’re just going to go

back and do the wrong thing. So I said, break that habit. Do something different. Change it up. Um, when I was, when I was younger, I was, uh, uh, playing golf and I had this terrible slice. I would always hit the ball and it would always slice and I, I couldn’t figure it out. And I realized one day I was on, on the driving range just practicing and I realized. I keep doing the same thing over and over again, and it’s basically the definition of insanity.

If you do the [00:39:00] same thing expecting a different result, well, that’s insane, right?

And so I said, okay, well, I need to change something up. So I just made, I started making little adjustments here and there. Okay. That didn’t work. That didn’t make any better. So let’s go back and let’s change something else. All it was was all I needed to do was just a simple change in my grip, just a little small change and everything started going straight. And I was like, where has this been for the last, however many years, you know,

10, 15 years, however long it had been. And. I had been, what I was doing, I was practicing the wrong way and I was getting really good at doing it the wrong way.

Like, if I wanted the ball to go to the right all the time, I’d have been great at doing that.

Kathryn Vecchio: right, right.

Scott DeLuzio: that’s not what

you want to do and you want to practice the right thing. So I think going back to your point, dwelling on that thing that happened, you’re practicing the wrong thing. What is the thing that you want to do?

How do you want to adjust? Look at that and, [00:40:00] and focus on that, right?

Kathryn Vecchio: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s just as the way you, the way you’ve said it so well said, just the getting entrenched and doing the wrong thing and not just stop and go, what am I doing? Can I at least imagine the simplest? It’s the simplest adjustment, but I do, I’ve done that in so many areas where I get stuck, where I just don’t take a moment to pause and, and, and reconsider.

I say, I’ve seen this so many times in personal development, where people will just stick with a therapist or even psychotropic meds years and years and years and years and years. It’s the same thing and it doesn’t work and like, well, how come, how can we keep doing it?

Scott DeLuzio: Right. Yeah.

Kathryn Vecchio: But I could say that to myself [00:41:00] in so many different areas of my life until a friend or someone says, so why do you keep doing it?

And then I go, thank you. I just didn’t realize I needed to stop. So try to, I really do try to check myself and, and. Pause. And for me, the holiday season, that’s what it’s all about, is just taking a minute to pause. It’s not all about all the rushing around and stuff. It’s just, uh, really, what have I done all year?

And, and, um, that Beatles, that John Lennon song, So It’s Christmas, What Have You Done? It’s just like, I love that.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And what have you done? And not to say that, that it’s all good or all bad. It just, it’s what you did. Right. And,

and maybe you can say, okay, I’ve been doing this thing and I’m trying to accomplish this goal. Uh, you know, whatever this goal happens to be, um, And I don’t really feel like [00:42:00] I’m getting anywhere.

You know, maybe you’re, you’re, you started the year with a weight loss plan and you’re, you’re going to the gym and you think you’re eating all the right foods and you’re doing all this kind of stuff, but there’s something missing. There’s, you know, maybe you’re not exercising enough or maybe you’re still overeating or whatever.

It’s like, okay, well stop doing that because you’re getting really good at. Increasing your weight. And, and that’s not, that’s not where you want to be, right? You know, it’s just,

just, you know, that type of mindset, but, but you can apply that to things mentally too, in your mental health and your, your physical health, all throughout your life.

You can, you can apply that same type of concept. I, I, I like the way that you, you put that there. Yeah.


Kathryn Vecchio: I mean, the other line in that song is another year older, a new one’s just begun. It’s time. It’s the only commodity. I mean, that’s the only thing I care about now. You know, I don’t, I mean, what I want money can’t buy. I’m not interested in stuff and junk.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Kathryn Vecchio: It’s, it’s meaningless to me [00:43:00] now.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And we all have only so much time, uh, here, you know, like you said, the, the, we all have an expiration date at some point where we’re, we’re checking out of this, uh,

This hotel, you know, so, um, uh, you know, why, why not make the best of it? And I think of it this way too, especially in regards to a military context, uh, a lot of times folks are coming back from, uh, deployments and things, and, uh, maybe they lost a friend or, or something.

And, um, that, that friend, unfortunately it’s not coming back, um, there. They’re gone. And, um, people blame themselves, they feel guilty, they, um, you know, they’re just beating themselves up, beating themselves up, beating themselves up, and it kills me to see them when they’re doing this because it’s like that person who didn’t make it, uh, if [00:44:00] they were looking at you now, they’d be like, what the hell are you doing? Why are you, why are you doing this? Why, why aren’t you out there living your life? I didn’t have the chance to live my life. You do. Go do that. Go and live. Go enjoy life. Go find the beauty or joy or happiness or find something. And don’t, don’t sit there and beat yourself up and kill yourself over what happened to me.

You know, like that would be my message if, if,

if that, if that was me, you know,

Kathryn Vecchio: I

Scott DeLuzio: we do that still, you know, it’s,

Kathryn Vecchio: Yeah, I have a really good friend, and he, he gave, you know, gives the orders, right? And lost a best bud, they were playing softball the night before, and hey, it’s dangerous business being a soldier. It’s dangerous business, okay? And you’re, you’re dealing with really, really dangerous equipment, and it happened, [00:45:00] and literally, what has it been, 30, 40 years, maybe?

And, and, I mean, I have nothing but compassion, but it’s, it’s the same, like, the way you’re describing what, the way you said it, it’s the same channel, and it’s, it’s this being beaten up, and my, my awareness. With regard to military is, I gave the order. I gave the order. I gave the order. And there’s, there’s different pieces that you all carry that we don’t and, and, and I feel like that’s really important in the work I do with veterans that.

You, you all do have a different kind, a different burden altogether, and it’s important. I think it’s really important to honor that. And it’s also, you know, as first aren’t, you know, part of the duty. The job it is to be that [00:46:00] it’s what made him so what makes him so good at being a first SART and why he became a first SART is that the same thing that keeps him ingrained in SART.

That mentality, right? So it’s, it’s, there’s a psychology to this whole thing that can keep a person trapped in some of the thoughts that aren’t helpful in moving on, if that makes sense.

Scott DeLuzio: does. I know what you’re saying, because when you’re in the military, for the folks who are listening, a lot of veterans and service members are probably listening, but there’s some who maybe aren’t, but when you’re in the military, you are trained As if everything is pretty much life and death because a lot of times it is, um, you know, if, if you’re not moving with intensity or purpose and, and you’re, you’re not, uh, focused on the mission and, uh, you’re not paying attention [00:47:00] to, uh, the things around you, your situational awareness, if, if that’s not, uh, where it needs to be, that’s where people get injured, people get killed, uh, you know, bad things happen when it. You’re not in that mode. And so that’s how you train. That’s how you’re taught to be is doing everything with purpose, intention, uh, paying attention to your surroundings, all of that stuff. That’s just ingrained in you. And that’s how you’re supposed to act. And that’s how you’re supposed to, uh, uh, just function and operate, uh, is, is in that manner. Um, and even in a non combat situation, even when you’re just. You know, back at the barracks and you’re, you know, doing whatever. And, uh, you’re not in that mode, maybe not quite as high intensity, but, uh, you know, when you’re not paying attention to your surroundings and you bump into somebody or whatever, it’s like. Like, what are you doing? [00:48:00] Why aren’t you paying attention to that? And they, they drill it into you.

Right. And that’s just life in, in the military. And so now let’s take this outside of the military and just apply this to everyday life. And now that’s how you’re operating. And you’re at this high intensity when, you know, you’re in the grocery store and when you’re, you know, someone bumps their carriage into you in the grocery store. And you’re, you’re about to flip out at that person. It’s like, it was an accident, man. It’s not that big a deal. Like you can take it down a notch. I, but I think one of the things that the military has, has done well is they they’ve ingrained that into the, the, the military personnel, because you need that in a combat situation.

But what they haven’t done is installed the dimmer switch where you can turn it down a little bit, you know, turn it down, it doesn’t need to be a hundred percent all the time because there’s. You know, a lot of people operate, it’s either zero when you’re sleeping or it’s at a hundred and there’s really no in between.

[00:49:00] Um, there’s a dimmer switch. You could bring that down and you can, you can go to the grocery store at maybe a ten. You know, you

don’t have to be all the way at a hundred, you know?

Kathryn Vecchio: Well, I like, I like how you said that dimmer switch. I, I remember at Fort Bragg, I was standing with the colonel. We were talking about how what we really did. Did the, did the, did the soldiers need more on the prep on deployment or reentry? And they wouldn’t give us the funding on reentry. And, um, my sense was, I said, you know, the, the things That are in training are absolutely contrary to the, the kinds of things that they will be expected to do when they come back to marriages and parenting and all the softness and, and listening and engaging and all these, all those, all that dynamic and you hit that door at the house [00:50:00] and you’re in it.

I mean, or off the plane, you’re in the soup and, and everybody’s like on it and your, your kids, they, they’re not even the same kids. If they’ve gone from eight to 10, they’re double digits and they were eight that you’ve, you’ve got to, it was your little girl and now it’s, it’s like, uh oh, uh oh, you know what I mean?

Scott DeLuzio: oh. Yeah.

Kathryn Vecchio: you’re protecting the perimeter, right? Uh oh. It’s all, it’s, it’s just, rockets are like, it’s, it’s, I’m going to use, say, it’s unfair. It’s not fair, in my opinion.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and you know, one of the things that I’ve thought of is, is that definitely there needs to be something on the The re entry, the reintegration side of things, however, in my own experience, I found that when I got back from deployment, I didn’t care what [00:51:00] anyone had to say about anything. I was home and I wanted to be with my family. I didn’t want to go to any of the classes or any of the trainings or any of the, it was, I would go in, I’d check the box, yes, I was here, and I’d leave. Any of the mental health providers that they had the mandatory screenings afterwards, everything’s fine. I’m not having any problems. I want to leave. I want to go home to my family. And thinking about that experience, and I’ve had conversations with other people who’ve had a similar experience, and this is not a universal, I can’t say this is everybody’s experience, but it was mine. And so I’m sharing it. But, um, one of the things that I and other people have talked about and I think might be beneficial is, uh, sort of like resiliency training beforehand. Um, you know, just like you go to the gym and you exercise, you know, certain muscles and, and you get, uh, you know, training in that. When you need to use that [00:52:00] muscle more intensely, It’s a whole lot easier to do that had you had the prior training, as opposed to, I’ve never, never lifted weights. I’ve never entered, stepped foot in a gym.

I’ve never done anything like that. And now I need to use this muscle with super high intensity. Now I’m gonna need physical therapy. I’m gonna need, you know, some,

some, uh, you know, all of this extra. So I’m gonna need a lot of extra work to fix that muscle. after the fact if I’ve never exercised it at all. And so how do we incorporate some sort of resiliency beforehand so that way when they do experience these, these traumatic events, and they do have these problems, they come back, and they’re, they’re able to bounce back a little bit easier. If that makes sense.

Kathryn Vecchio: Oh, absolutely. I, I totally agree. And I, I think what I’m hearing you say is the, the traditional stuff in the [00:53:00] traditional way, like you come back, you had mental health classes. I think that’s, for me, I looked at the profession or the whole of what I’ve done, and I said, where it, I I looked at where the gaps were, and I, being a creative person, I see where different kinds of things make more sense.

Like, in my mind, you come home, why would, why would anyone want to go to a traditional class? I do something with families, it’s called Kintsugi. And what I would do with, for re entry, this would be my fantasy with, with a military family. It’s called Kintsugi. In Japan, when pottery breaks, they put it together with gold leaf, right?

And people, and this is like a big part of what we do. And the more gold. Veins are in the pottery, the more beautiful [00:54:00] it is. And of course, the metaphor being brokenness makes you more beautiful and consider that the next time you break. So, in families, what we do is we break pottery and we put it back together slowly and we talk about where things are broken.

in the family might have cracks or breaks and we hold it up to the light and where the light shines through the gold and it’s an event with the family somebody doesn’t have to leave the family again which seems doesn’t make sense to me why would you want to leave and go to a class and it’s you what I mean it’s so to me and to me it would be something Something like that, that to me is And of course, I know this is like my, [00:55:00] me and my creative brain of how, what it would look like, but why not?

And then again, why, why not? If, if Sandy Hook could come up with something, why couldn’t we come up with really creative ways to bring our soldiers back and integrate our families and, and, and, and teach this stuff in, in different ways? But, I mean, I don’t know. I only, I only, I don’t know. can say this is just my, my thinking.

Um, and it seems like it’s helped people, um, in measurable ways. So,

Scott DeLuzio: you know, I, I think, I think there needs to be, uh, a, a combination of things, you know, so stuff like what you were just talking about, I think would be great. Um, you know, the traditional therapy because everybody wants, or, or, or will respond to something differently. And, and so having all these options available, I think are great. Um, but I, I feel like the, the [00:56:00] after, um, is. It’s kind of like cleaning up the mess that shouldn’t have existed in the first place, you know, if we did a better job in the first place. Training people and getting the right stuff in, in the first place, we shouldn’t have to deal with the aftermath and

the after effects like that. And so, but it’s, it’s a tough sell when, when you’re talking to, um, you know, especially the military, you got budgets and, and things like that. And it’s. Like, how do we, how do we fit in the budget, uh, funding for something that may or may not be needed, you know,

Kathryn Vecchio: Well, I will say this. I, I, I do totally agree with you about resiliency. The data. With regard to art therapy with PTSD in the military, and I’m not, I’m not trying to push that, but the data is very, very strong. And [00:57:00] that’s just really interesting to me. Um, that it, that it comes out to, to show how, uh, uh, really effective, uh, effective it is.

And again, the, the museums that exist that show our veteran art is just really, um, inspiring.

Scott DeLuzio: and, and I’ve seen, I’ve seen some incredible, incredible artwork from some veteran artists, um, and, and it’s the widest range of, of things. You were talking about pottery and, you know, painting and, and all the traditional kind of artwork that you would think about, but there’s even, uh, people who have, um, you know, painted murals on the side of buildings with like spray paint kind of thing and and and they were just a plain brick wall with you know nothing on it and it turned into this magnificent looking thing, uh, after the fact.

Right. And then, um, you, you said, I think [00:58:00] earlier, you know, even cars and, and other things like that, you know, even, uh, creating furniture, you know, the woodwork and the, um, you know, getting the patterns of the fabrics and all that kind of stuff, all of that is an art form in and of itself too. Right. And so there’s so many different ways that you can create and express yourself. Um, and I’ve used it myself, uh, in, in various, uh, uh, at various times. And, uh, it’s helped me. My wife even mentioned to me, uh, while I was painting, she said, you, you just seem so much happier when you’re doing that, you know, and, and it was, um, in a way it was kind of eyeopening cause I was like, I didn’t think I was really that bad, but I, you know, without it, but maybe I, maybe I am. Um, and so. You know, when I’m when I’m doing that, I just find that I kind of lose myself in what I’m doing. And the [00:59:00] things that are stressing me out or worrying me or bothering me that They don’t exist on that canvas anymore, and so it’s almost like that stuff doesn’t matter. Obviously, reality kicks in and it does matter, but you know, for a period of time it kind of brings me, you know, back down to, to a certain level, and that’s, that’s a nice place to be, and I think a great way for people to, um, you know, kind of, kind of experience a little bit of that benefit is, is through doing some, something, uh, creative, like,

um, So, could you tell people a little bit more about, uh, where they can go to, uh, you know, find out more about what you do and, and how they can, uh, get involved or get in touch if they’re, they’re interested in, uh, you know, participating in, in some of the stuff that you do.

Kathryn Vecchio: Um, well, we have a website. It’s artfortheheartfoundation. org. We have an office in Westerville, Ohio. Um, [01:00:00] you can reach me at drvecchiogroup at gmail. com

Scott DeLuzio: Awesome.

Kathryn Vecchio: and all of our phone numbers, our office address. Um, we also have the, uh, office in North Carolina, but it’s all on the website.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent, and I will put a link to that in the show notes as well, so folks can find the information that they need if they’re interested in participating, and I’m sure, um, you know, there’s going to be some people out there who, um, you know, just didn’t know where to get started and, you know, maybe need a little bit of guidance and need a little, just a little help. Push outside of that comfort zone, where, uh, you look at a blank piece of paper, blank canvas, or whatever, and you just don’t know where to get started, and

you need to kind of experience that, um, you know, maybe with a little bit of guidance, uh, and I, I think And like you said, you do them kind of like [01:01:00] over Zoom type meetings, right? And so you can do it from the comfort of your home or wherever it is that’s comfortable for you. You don’t have to go out to, um, you know, a big group of people who, uh, might be unfamiliar. You may not want to be in that, that kind of setting quite yet. Um, this to me seems like a, a great way to, to do that.

So, uh, again, the link will be in the show notes for anyone who is interested. Um, so before we wrap up this episode, I. I like to end the episodes with a little bit of humor, um, just to, um, uh, kind of leave it on a light note. Sometimes we talk about some heavy, dark things that may not, may not be great just to end it there, you know what I mean?

And, and so I, I like to just, for all episodes, I, I try to inject some sort of humor. Whether it’s me telling a joke and making a fool of myself because it’s corny, uh, you know, whatever. Um, or, um, you know, watching a funny video, uh, whatever it is, um, you know, just try to make people laugh. In this case, I got a Uh, just a quick [01:02:00] joke here, um, to, to hopefully wrap up this episode and put some smiles on people’s faces.

So, um, so the joke is here, uh, the U. S. military had too many generals, so it offered a significant lump sum. to anyone who retired, uh, any of the generals who, uh, volunteered to retire. Uh, and the way they decided how much each person would get is they would measure, uh, whoever retired, uh, measure from any point on their body to any other point and pay 5, 000 per inch. And the generals got to choose which two points on their body that they, they, uh, they measured between. So the first general asked to be measured from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. And he was paid 400, 000. And the second general was a little smarter and asked to be measured from the tip of his outstretched arms over his head to the tip of his toes and he was paid 600, 000. Then the last general came in and asked to [01:03:00] be measured from his left butt cheek to his right butt cheek. And the person who was measuring said, are you sure about that? Uh, that’s not, doesn’t seem like it’s that far. And the general said, yeah, last time I Last I remember, my right butt cheek got shot off in Vietnam. Think he took the cake with that one.

Kathryn Vecchio: Well, thank you for that.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, no problem. Um, and thank you again for taking the time to join us and sharing, uh, you know, everything that you do. I really do appreciate all that you


Kathryn Vecchio: you. Nice meeting you.

Scott DeLuzio: Yes, likewise.

Kathryn Vecchio: Take care.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you [01:04:00] listen to podcasts.

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