Hi there, my name is Silouan Green. I am married to Thecla and we have nine children. You read that right, nine! Our oldest is 21 and our youngest three. Our first date was a road trip to Graceland and that was followed up with a fairly epic three and a half month motorcycle/camping journey across the American west. The rest you might say, is history!
We started our life in one of the world’s great cities, San Francisco, where I was publishing an outdoors magazine, and then fate brought us back home to Indiana. We now live in a large stone house in the woods next to a winding creek, accessed by a long drive-way with a bridge. It is a fitting location for our tribe. My wife homeschools our children and does her best to corral the happy madness while I travel across the country helping all sorts of people – first responders, veterans, addicts, the unhappy and hollow, the depressed, you name it – learn to rebuild with meaning and purpose.
Why is that? Well, after a tragic jet crash when I was in the Marines, I found myself hopeless with a gun to my head. An entire life was ahead of me, yet all I could see was what I had lost, pain and despair. Desperate, I took off into the night on a motorcycle trip that ended up being 23 months and over 20,000 miles long. I wasn’t alone, there was an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. The devil coaxed me, “Ride until you find a really cool place to get off the road and put a bullet in your heard.” The angel countered with, “Keep riding until you find a reason to live.”
Thankfully, I found my “reason to live” and the journey has continued. Wherever you are at, welcome to this journey, maybe I will see you on the road someday at one of my workshops or conference keynotes. In the meantime, check out my videos here and on Youtube. Listening to my better angel has allowed me the opportunity to help thousands of people across the country from military bases traumatized with PTSD and suicide, to small towns overwhelmed with heroin addiction. I’ve heard the tears of police officers facing the trials of their service alone, mothers struggling to raise their kids in a culture of loneliness and consumption, and people of all ages and races struggling to find their identity in an age of technological numbness.
Keep reading for the full version of an amazing journey:
A tragic jet crash while serving as a US Marine followed by a whole host of complications and medical conditions descended Silouan into the hell of post traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD), depression, suicidal impulses, long-term pain, and a completely shattered life. It was here, staring into the abyss, that he was given a choice, continue down the same devastating path, or live free. He chose to live free.
It began by buying a motorcycle and guitar after selling everything else he owned. As he learned to play the guitar and write songs he became more adept at riding the motorcycle and on the day he was disability discharged from the US Marine Corps he took off on an epic two-year trek. He road for over 30,000 miles and packed a lifetime of adventure into just 24 months.
He met his wife on that trip and she joined him for almost 8,000 miles of the journey! Camping on the rim on the Grand Canyon, pitching a tent in Yellowstone surrounded by Buffalo and Elk, they trailblazed over mountain passes and many more incredibly vistas. Since then, they’ve been married 17 years and have eight children whom they home school! The adventure continues as they raise their children with a spirit that life was meant to be lived with meaning and purpose, each day an opportunity for something amazing. He is living proof God created us to live with purpose, and whatever the circumstances, we can use our brokenness as fuel to live free.
But it’s not just his own life and that of his family that Silouan’s journey has impacted. He has traveled over half a million miles the last decade helping thousands begin their own amazing journeys even when they were living in the darkest of places. Whether through his speaking, music, books, or workshops, his message is a flaming arrow of hope, direction, and practical advice.
Inspired by his own journey, Silouan created The Ladder UPP life skills program based on his own recovery and it has helped give people around the world hope and a plan to truly make the most of life’s trials and transitions. With The Ladder UPP, Silouan has worked at Walter Reed, with the US Marines, the Army, the National Guard, Willow Creek Community Church and various other groups, organizations and mental health professionals. He also speaks to police and other first responders around the country as a national lecturer for the Public Agency Training Council. The United States #1 public training agency.
He has the tools to help you make the most of your life. If you are living in a dark place, he can help get you out. Or if you are just tired of muddling, a new journey can begin today. Even if it seems overwhelming, every moment is a chance to take a step towards a life that matters. It could be picking up a guitar, volunteering, taking a long walk, stepping foot in that church down the street from your home. You are not alone, we all know what it is like to face our demons and feel like we are alone. But you are not alone, none of us are. You can prove that to yourself by reaching out to help someone just like you.
A message from Silouan for those in search of hope:
“I survived severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a tragic jet crash to discover the ingredients we all need to reach our full potential – a life of passion directed by a clear identity and purpose.
When we are locked in the deep dark holes of life, it seems like nothing good can come from our despair. Falling down the rabbit hole, it is here that the cold steel of a .357 magnum can feel like sweet relief. So when the above mentioned TV report aired a few years ago, “Meet the man they call an Angel”, my first thought was of hell. The one I had escaped.
It was a hell of insomnia, despair, pills, hallucinations, failure, fear, and an end to my pain. They gave it a label, severe post traumatic stress disorder, but it was more than that. It was a problem that struck the core of my being: WHO AM I? I had never really answered that question. In many ways, I had run from it. The post traumatic stress was really just the end of a long crooked road. It was a devil that made me face myself or face death.
The shell cracked when I was in a training accident as a US Marine. I had to eject from a jet not twenty feet from the ground. My instructor was killed and I fractured my spine. The complications that followed left me a shell of a man and I began my descent into hell.
I would have died if I didn’t do what seemed incredibly rash to everyone at the time but me. A few weeks before being disability discharged, I sold my possessions except one, my car. Then on my discharge date, I met a flight surgeon at a motorcycle shop. He paid me cash for my red Porsche. I took the money inside and purchased a motorcycle. I spent the next two years on the road.
On the road, I was reborn. I discovered my purpose, the love of my life, rediscovered by faith in God, and the will to not let the hell I had escaped define me. Riding across our great country, each mile allowed me the freedom to begin to dream again. I felt like a child again. I began to write, to sing, to learn the guitar – all the things I do today to make a living.
Maybe you know what it’s like to be falling down the rabbit hole with nothing in sight but a black hole. Maybe you are a college student who went to school because that is what you are supposed to do, but you don’t really like what you are studying and you are worried you won’t get all that you want out of life. Maybe you are in a career that provides money and security, but you are unfulfilled and fearful you’ll look back on life someday with regret. Maybe you’ve undergone severe trauma in your life and the pain and fear paralyze you and each day is just a long slow nightmare. Maybe you are muddling through life and you are sick and tired of feeling empty.
I want you to live free. I want you to find what I found on the back of a motorcycle – identity, purpose and most of all, passion.
Hopefully this blog will help. It is not only a testimony to my survival, it’s part of my mission to help others get their second chance, or start their first chance the right way.
Sometimes life can feel like you are wrestling with God himself, but in the end, peace is found when we discover the unique purpose and identity that we were created for. Please send me any questions you may have about escaping your demons, reversing the direction of your life, and finding hope in the midst of despair. You might just need a kick in the butt to leave the world’s rat race and chase after your dreams. I pray you find some motivation and may God bless your journey.”
Also, check out Silouan’s article on PTSD in the Washington Post. Click here to go directly to the article.
Learn more through an interview with Los Angeles California’s number #1 morning drive host, Bill Handel: Click here to listen to Silouan and Bill.
“Silouan Green’s journey of overcoming incredible personal trauma to find passion and purpose in life is both inspirational and timely. I look forward to helping spread the word and reach those who need to hear his message.”
Sheron Bellio, Producer, Bill Handel Show, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment