"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. 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. As in Zen practice, firefighters are trained to be fully in the moment and present to the heartbeat, the life at hand. Each of five sections applies the firefighter's experience to everyone's lives. Listeners learn to maintain perspective and equilibrium even in the midst of urgency and to prepare for adversity as well as aftermath and recovery. Finally, six key strategies for thriving in the face of difficulty include practical exercises and real-world advice. Every life contains the unexpected and the unwelcome. Since how we cope with those inevitable events, more than the events themselves, defines the quality of our lives, Firefighter Zen is an invaluable guide to meeting every day with our best calm, creative, and optimistic selves.
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“Hersch Wilson uses clean, elegant prose to tell stories that are at times light, dark, funny, tragic, and compelling, and always instructive. This book is a must-read…for all of us who at times experience life’s unrelenting, tragic, and sublime beauty and want to think more deeply about it.”
Cary Johns Griffith, author of Lost in the Wild