By John Chacksfield (John Chax)
I was in Israel during operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 visiting my friends. I recall several events that I witnessed during that time. I saw the rockets being fired into Israel on three occasions, one near Tel Aviv and two across Rishon Le Zion. I witnessed the Iron Dome system destroy two rockets and saw one destroy an apartment in a tower block.
I had to run for cover five times when the sirens rang out in Tel Aviv. This was quite scary. I waited in a stairwell with friends twice. The other times were outside. Many people were frightened. During this time also, I was in a friend’s apartment in Tel Aviv when I heard a loud boom and fire brigade and then ambulance sirens. This was a bus bomb a few streets away from where I was. A Hamas terrorist had entered the bus and exploded his suicide belt. It was the same bus I used occasionally. I was scared to travel on buses for a while after that, as were my friends. I spoke to the BBC television very shortly after the event, on 21/11/2012.
John Chacksfield has worked for the last 27 years as an occupational therapist and manager in the field of mental health. Between 1994-1998 he was Chairman of the Association of Occupational Therapists in Mental Health, now known as COTSSMH.
His interest in meditation and mindfulness has spanned his career, since he learned the technique from a pioneering psychologist and zen meditation teacher in the late 1980’s. John went on to be one of the first occupational therapists using mindfulness within stress and anxiety management groups within adult mental health and adult addictions work. John is now (2016) undergoing his PhD in Health and Wellbeing.