About Crawford Coates
Meditation is weird. That’s what I always thought. I was right: It is weird. Life is weird. Not coincidental, I think.
Like many, I didn’t come to meditation because my life was going exactly as I had planned for it to go. Specifically, my wife was in school (and pregnant), house was under construction (and up for sale), work was in flux; finances depleting; daughter two years old; and I was the worse for it. Call it stress. Not pretty or good, I assure you.
So I came to meditation with a whiff of desperation. And cynicism—as if to confirm that meditation is some hippie-dippy bullshit I might expose. But I was lucky beyond my deserving. My teacher had encountered my ilk before. She kept it simple and practical. It is a gift beyond my understanding. I’ve been meditating routinely for about seven years now.
I’ve been working with first responders for nearly twice as long, as a writer, editor, and publisher. Only recently has my practice came up in my work. For most of that time, I simply didn’t see any connection between first response and mindfulness.
That began changing when a couple of my friends—who I talk about in the book, a young firefighter and a cop—had responded, within a short window of each other, to very traumatic calls. And because I knew each of them closely, I saw that there were aspects of mindfulness that might help them recover. Moreover, it occurred to me that had they been practicing mindfulness prior to their experiences, their traumatic stress injuries might have been less pronounced. This experience opened my eyes to a whole other side of this work. And I quickly discovered there’s a whole world of mindful responders out there.
“I tried meditation and I just can’t do it!”
I wrote this book with that comment in mind. You can do it. I’ve also heard absolute horror stories from first responders who were ‘taught’ by people who didn’t understand first response at all, culturally or as applied. It turned them off to it irrevocably. So I talked with my first responder friends. I also interviewed neuroscientists, epidemiologists, psychologists, instructors, a Navy SEAL, and so on. I read a little library of books and scientific papers. I interspersed my own experiences.
The result is Mindful Responder. My hope is to cut through the hype and hyperbole and give you some concrete steps you might take to embody a more mindful life as a first responder (and all are welcome). I’ve found meditation to increase my resiliency, wellbeing, peak performance, objectivity, and overall health. I truly believe that suffering is the root of most of our ills, as individuals and as societies. Healthy, flourishing first responders make for great communities.
Take care. Kick ass. Reach out. Be kind.
Mindfulness means paying attention, on purpose, in the moment, as if your life depended on it.