Those who work in the service of society through law enforcement, emergency medical response, emergency telecommunications and other specialized public safety vocations share a deep commitment to the public welfare and humanity. The demands and pressures on these dedicated men and women are tremendous, the stakes inordinately high, and the human toll incalculable. The operational and administrative demands of these professions often lead responders with the noblest of intentions to stray from those deeply-held and valued intentions, to find themselves feeling lost, unappreciated, burned out, overwhelmed and vilified by the communities they serve.
The empirical evidence for the benefits of mindfulness and compassion training illuminates an opportunity for us to introduce skills-based training to first responders and their organizations. Mindfulness and compassion training offers to enhance resiliency & human performance in these dimensions: situational awareness, physical & emotional health, cognitive performance (sense making and decision making), leadership and balancing operational demands with life beyond the watch. Grounded at the intersection of science and contemplative wisdom, this retreat is designed to resource responders with skills in resiliency that have influence before trauma is experienced, during a critical incident, and in the wake of such experiences.
The intention of this retreat-style immersion training is to introduce first responders to the power and potential of mindfulness practice for transforming their work through reconnecting them to their deepest intentions that drew them to the field in the first place. A consistent theme of this training will be warrior ethos in public safety, with a focus on the role of awareness, compassion and wisdom. Working from the “inside out”, participants will learn how contemplative practices and mindful activities can train the mind to be calmer, more focused, more resilient and less prone to bias. While scientific rationale will be offered to form the basis for considering this mindful approach, the priority will be placed primarily on personal practice, experiential exercises, dialogue and reflection.