Spirituality gives Airmen a reason to keep going
By Audrey Jensen, 21st Space Wing
/ Published March 07, 2018
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Though all four pillars in the Comprehensive Airmen Fitness are needed, the spiritual pillar can help Airmen cope with a bad day or a traumatic life event.
Just like anyone, Airmen need a way to handle their daily stresses. This is why a team of resiliency trainers at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, teach new Airmen and units that request training how to acquire spiritual fitness, which gives Airmen a sense of purpose and well-being.
“The spiritual pillar gives you optimism; it helps you adjust to the adversities of life,” said Lt. Col. Tammy Dotson, 21st Space Wing 21st Mission Support Group deputy commander. “Change is part of life and if you were rigid, stuck in your ways and never able to change, you would not be a good fit for the military. The spiritual pillar allows you that openness, acceptance, flexibility and being able to go with the change.”
The spiritual pillar is the core pillar which brings the mental, social and physical pillars together, said Dotson, who became a resiliency training assistant in December.
“The spiritual is just a belief in something more than yourself,” Dotson said. “Yes, religion is a part of that, but there are other things that ground people, that give them hope or faith. It’s what they believe in — that’s all wrapped up in the spiritual pillar.”
According to Dotson, Airmen should identify themselves with their beliefs, principles and values.
“All of us have our own belief system, we all have our own values,” said Dotson. “It’s your personal choice, it’s how you define it, but knowing it can give you connectedness, growth, influence, hope and faith. All of those things are attributes to having that spiritual pillar fulfilled.”
For those Dotson has seen experience tough times, she said she was impressed by how they were able to get through their trials.
“I know Airmen who have lost their children,“ said Dotson. “To watch them go through that and still come out on their feet, it’s because it’s their belief of, ‘I’ve been called to something higher than that.’”
Dotson said her religion and faith in God is what helps her make it through each day.
“When you’re dealing with separation from family, when you’re dealing with a lot of people and their problems, their issues, their trials and tribulations — a lot of that weight is heavy because we weep with those that weep and we rejoice with those that rejoice,” Dotson said. “When you’re in a position of leadership, it’s very taxing.”
Though religion does not constitute the spiritual pillar, if an Airmen’s spirituality is associated with their religion, Dotson said the Airman can go to the base chaplain, who will connect them with a local resource in Colorado Springs if need be.
“For me, spirituality has been my rock and salvation the entire time I’ve been in the military,” Dotson said. “It has allowed me to stay positive no matter what, because I always know it will get better. No matter what situation I’m facing it will always get better.”
Editor’s note: This is the first of a four-part series on the Comprehensive Airmen Fitness pillars.