Wildland Firefighters are exceptional at what they do physically, mentally, and in high stress, dangerous situations. However, they are not exceptions to being human.
Wildland Firefighters experience rates of depression, anxiety, addiction, alcoholism, and PTSD at rates up to 10x higher than the average population.
As a wildland firefighter do you:
Struggle with knowing when to “turn it off” in the off season?
Struggle to find belonging outside of your identity as a firefighter?
Feel you have to perform perfectly in all areas of your life?
Feel you have to “do it all” and do it all alone?
Feel pressure to not show emotions, weakness, or vulnerability?
Struggle with processing emotions and letting people in?
Feel you must maintain a high level of human performance in order to belong?
Feel you have to show up for your family and home life as the stable, strong, and perfect provider at all times?
Feel you have to always be okay for everyone else?
Many firefighters struggle with the weight of shame, anxiety, and grief but are given no tangible training or tools for emotional health, mental health, nor trauma recovery.
We seek to change that.
By curating healing and integrative programs for firefighters to recover, process, share, and learn.
Our 7 day program provides a nurturing container where meditation practice, counsel, community connection, rest, and harmonious time spent with nature support your decompression and grounding after months of elevated stress and strain. In addition firefighters are doing daily work in trail maintenance and building structures that support our anti-poaching and habitat conservation goals.
Daily intentional movement
Conservation work building structures to protect the rainforest
Healing time in the rivers, oceans, and rainforests of Costa Rica
Meditation and Ritual
Workshops and discussions on the nervous system, trauma recovery, and processing emotions
Nourishing local meals
$2,000 for 7 days, all inclusive. Financial scholarships for financial hardship available, Please inquire to apply.
“The key to enlightenment is that everything is ‘chopping wood and carrying water’ and that if one does everything mindfully then it is all the same.” - Zen Proverb
Through mindfulness practice, we teach firefighters to connect to the physical work they do through the deeper levels of their heart and psyche. This embodied way of practice helps create a sense of lasting peace and fulfillment.
By creating a sacred space, leading council circles, and having discussions to promote the release and processing of repressed emotions, people in a period of un-wellness can take steps toward reclaiming their wellness. By incorporating these discussions into a meaningful work practice, the gates open to individuals hearts and allow vulnerability to emerge in an environment that is comfortable and relatable to them.
Mediation is practiced in this program as a means to establish a sense of inner peace and calm. The practice of sitting still and focused helps slow down thoughts and let them pass as they come. A daily practice of meditation creates a foundation for the nervous system to begin to relax and let go of stress responses. A greater sense of well-being naturally arises accompanied by feelings of compassion for others and an ability to leave unhealthy coping mechanism behind.
The ritual practice of Temezcal, or sweat lodge, is an ancient method of releasing stagnant stress, fear, anger, and other negative emotions. Oftentimes people experience this ritual as a complete reset or rebirth.
Ritual practice helps create trust and support within groups through aligning behavior and creating shared experiences. Rituals create a sense of belonging and common identity.
Connection to Nature
This program takes place in a deep pocket of nature. Every activity is itegrated into a relationship with the natural world. We practice like this to create inner balance with nature that teaches us to receive support from this earth, and live in harmony with the seasons, rhythms, waters and forests, animals and plant life of our planet. Our bodies have the inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. This internal healing is supported by our connection with nature.
Rest is vital for better mental health, increased concentration, a healthier immune system, reduced stress, and improved mood. The location of our space is deeply supportive to rest and rejuvenation. The sound of the forest, the river, and the peaceful, safe energy cultivated in this space allows people to fully let go, drop their guard and experience a true state of relaxation, unaccompanied by feelings of restlessness or boredom.
Evan has been fighting fire since 2003. He was Saw Boss for the Midnight Sun Hot Shots before becoming a Smokejumper in 2009. He has been specially trained in crisis prevention and intervention. He facilitates group counsels for cancer patients, Wildland firefighters and EMT's. Evan left firefighting to pursue mental health and wellness initiatives for men after his own healing journey with cancer.
Anna is a licensed occupational therapist and trauma-informed somatic coach focused on nervous system regulation and emotional literacy. She weaves together clinical knowledge of the body, earth based teachings, mindfulness studies, and years of working with clients with complex traumas and special needs. Anna creates gentle and safe spaces for the unlearning of harmful beliefs as a pathway for people to express their genuine self.
Russell has been fighting wild fires since 2001. He was lead saw for 7 years on the Idaho City Hot Shots until he became an Alaska Smokejumper in 2013. Russell is a Zen Buddhist practitioner devoted to helping others reach understanding through mediative practice. He left firefighting to pursue private consulting for spiritual centers in high danger zones.