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May 16, 2024

Story Behind The Song: “Things That People Do”

Stories and Songs from our Music Therapy Retreats

Music Therapy of the Rockies provides evidence-based music therapy practices to support veterans and other people who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

We host regular music therapy retreats, at no cost to the participants, so they can gain mental wellness through the power of music. During the retreat, we utilize music therapy “best practices,” including goal setting, mindfulness, songwriting experiences with professional songwriters, and adapted guitar instruction.

Our approach helps people identify triggers, learn coping skills for self-regulation, and reframe lived experiences.

As part of the Retreat experience, each veteran receives a brand-new Breedlove Guitar which they use to work on physiological and psychological skills through playing and writing their own music.

About Nathan Leu and “Things That People Do”

When I was an Air Force physician deployed to Afghanistan, I saw a couple of children who were placed in very compromising positions. I saw a young boy who was shot by a member of one warring faction when a member of another faction used him as a human shield.

I also saw a little girl who was injured and was brought to our medical facility for care on a NATO litter. Someone noticed a wire hanging over the edge of the litter and realized that the litter also contained explosives. Members of our explosives team were able to remove and disable the explosives without any harm to her or our medical personnel.

These experiences made me wonder what these children’s stories were and how they ended up in these positions. Did they find a girl who was already injured, or did they cause her injuries? Was she stolen from her family or did they sacrifice her for this purpose?

It makes you stop to wonder what we’re truly capable of as humans. Although I don’t think most people are inherently bad, I wonder what causes some people to do hateful and horrible things like this and how they live with the consequences of their actions. Were they coerced or threatened? Is it an attempt to survive, to process pain, to get ahead, to feel like they have meaning in life?

Before I deployed to Afghanistan, I was told that I would have to carry a handgun. I couldn’t help but think about how the enemy forces were all someone’s child, parent, or friend. It made me start to ask what I was capable of, what I was willing to do.

Fortunately, it never became necessary for me to use my weapon. That’s something I didn’t want to have to do.

Listen to a preview of Nathan’s song with Eric here:

Support Mental Wellness for Veterans

Music Therapy of the Rockies has served more than 100 veterans at retreats in Tennessee, Colorado, Maryland, and beyond.

With just a $100 donation, you can receive this song — along with two full albums that give you an inside look at our retreats. The stories and songs compiled here highlight our veterans’ experiences.

Listen to memories unfold, as veterans’ experiences are explored and captured in song.

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