Firefighter Zen: A Field Guide to Thriving in Tough Times

Firefighter Zen: A Field Guide to Thriving in Tough Times

by Hersch Wilson
Firefighter Zen: A Field Guide to Thriving in Tough Times

Firefighter Zen: A Field Guide to Thriving in Tough Times

by Hersch Wilson


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“Be brave. Be kind. Fight fires.”

That’s the motto of firefighters, like Hersch Wilson, who spend their lives walking toward, rather than away from, danger and suffering. As in Zen practice, firefighters are trained to be fully in the moment and present to each heartbeat, each life at hand. In this unique collection of true stories and practical wisdom, Wilson shares the Zen-like techniques that allow people like him to stay grounded while navigating danger, comforting others, and coping with their personal response to each crisis. Every life contains the unexpected and the unwelcome. How you cope with those inevitable events, more than the events themselves, defines the quality of your life. Firefighter Zen is an invaluable guide to meeting every day with your best calm, resilient, and optimistic self.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608686889
Publisher: New World Library
Publication date: 08/18/2020
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 1,075,949
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Hersch Wilson is a thirty-year veteran volunteer firefighter-EMT with the Hondo Fire Department in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. He also writes a monthly column on dogs for the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Read an Excerpt

"When we serve, when we take care of strangers, when we work in community to save a community, we feel most alive. . . .You don’t have to be a firefighter to find the same fulfillment. You just have to see the world through a firefighter’s eyes. To see your life as one of purpose, meaning, and service. Firefighter Zen will show you how.” — from the book

Table of Contents

The Joy of Firefighting xiii

Why a Field Guide xv

Introduction: First Call 1

Part 1 The Firefighter Universe 11

Chapter 1 I Can't Die, I'm Booked… 15

Chapter 2 The Glitch 21

Chapter 3 God, Chaos, and Firefighters 27

Chapter 4 So, Death 33

Chapter 5 Cowboy Kicked by Dead Cow 41

Chapter 6 Rites of Passage 49

Chapter 7 On Dying 61

Part 2 Keep Calm and Carry On 65

Chapter 8 Adrenaline Junkies 69

Chapter 9 The Eighty-Seventh Problem 73

Chapter 10 Emergencies, Problems, and Inconveniences 79

Chapter 11 Not My Emergency 87

Chapter 12 The Zen of Firefighting 93

Chapter 13 Staying Calm: A Primer 97

Part 3 When Dragons Come 103

Chapter 14 Something Is Coming Toward Us 107

Chapter 15 Stay Inside the Hula Hoop 115

Chapter 16 Get Under the Smoke 125

Chapter 17 The Dragon Fire 131

Chapter 18 We Are Not Superheroes 141

Part 4 The Grief Road 149

Chapter 19 The Midnight Call 153

Chapter 20 The Next Few Months Are Gonna Suck 163

Chapter 21 When the Caring Comes Back 169

Chapter 22 I Will Never Be the Same, But I Will Get Better 173

Part 5 Be Brave. Be Kind. Fight Fires. 181

Chapter 23 Be Brave 185

Chapter 24 Be Kind 193

Chapter 25 Be Useful 203

Chapter 26 Belong 213

Chapter 27 Be Tough 221

Chapter 28 The Blue-Hazed Prairie 229

Epilogue: The Oldest Fire Department in the West 235

Acknowledgments 241

About the Author 243

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