Nita Sweeney (author of Depression Hates a Moving Target) interviews Kim Colegrove (author of Mindfulness for Warriors) on her blog.
I interview wellness authors to find out what makes them tick, and why they write the books they do. Kim Colegrove, another Mango author, and I met when she invited me to endorse her book, Mindfulness for Warriors: Empowering First Responders to Reduce Stress and Build Resilience. She’s also a frequent guest on the Mango Heart Wisdom panels. Given my own meditation practice, and my husband Ed’s membership in our local citizens police academy, her book was a great fit. Kim shares a powerful story of tragedy turned to good purpose. I knew you folks would want to get to know her.
Nita Sweeney (NS): I know your story, and I’m going to dive right in. What prompted you to write this book?
Kim Colegrove (KC): In the fall of 2014, I lost my husband to suicide, less than three months after he retired from a 30-year law enforcement career. David’s death led me on a journey of discovery about how chronic stress and accumulated trauma impact our first responders.
I was shocked to learn that we lose more police officers and firefighters to suicide than line of duty deaths, and that approximately 22 military veterans take their own life every day.
I FELT COMPELLED TO DO SOMETHING TO HELP.
So, I started an organization to help first responders cope with stress and trauma, and I wrote the book to share my story and reach people in these professions who are struggling with mental and emotional issues.
NS: Please tell us more about that work.
KC: My organization, Pause First Academy, offers resilience training to first responders. We focus on holistic wellness and work-life balance. Most of our trainers are military veterans and first responders, and have experience speaking or teaching on wellness topics in their own professions. We offer online courses and in-person training for individuals and organizations.
NS: You’re probably heard it all, But what’s the worst mental health advice you’ve ever heard?
KC: In my line of work, “suck it up, buttercup,” has been the traditional mental health advice given to first responders. Thankfully, that is beginning to change.
NS: I’m very grateful to hear of that change. What is one thing about well-being you wish you’d learned earlier?
KC: I WISH I’D KNOWN THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW, AND THAT I COULD HAVE SAVED MY HUSBAND.
NS: Given what you know now, do you have a go-to wellness practice you would like to share?
KC: Meditation. I’m a 45-year practitioner of meditation, an enthusiastic proponent, and I’ve been teaching professionally for a decade. I know a lot of people shy away from meditation for various reasons, not the least of which is that it can be difficult to practice and commit to. However, the benefits far outweigh the sometimes-challenging learning curve.
NS: Has your life turned out differently than you expected? If so, how?
KC: 1 million per cent. However, I’ve accepted that the loss in my life created a new, important path for me, and I just keep taking the next step.
NS: What wellness book could you not put down?
KC: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I believe I read it for the first time in the late 90s or very early 2000s, at a pivotal point in my personal development and evolution.
NS: What’s next for you writing wise?
KS: I’d like to write a follow-up book for spouses and family members of first responders.
NS: Mermaids or Goddesses? (Superheroes or Gods?)
KC: Goddesses. But it’s nearly a tie.
NS: Toast or bagels?
NS: Ocean, mountains, or forest?
KC: Ocean, ocean, ocean.
NS: Leggings or jeans?
KC: Sweatpants and pajama pants.
NS: Dogs, cats, fish, guinea pigs, or horses?
KC: Oh my goodness, dogs! I want all the dogs! Dogs are my favorite people!
ABOUT KIM COLEGROVE
Kim Colegrove, author of Mindfulness for Warriors, is a 45-year veteran of meditation, the creator of Pause First: Mindfulness for First Responders and the founder of Pause First Academy – Resilience Training for Frontline Workers.
Colegrove is the widow of a first responder who died by suicide. She previously taught mindfulness in corporate settings such as Garmin International, United Way, Department of Veterans Affairs, and The National Court Reporters Association. After her husband’s death, Kim turned her full attention to helping first responders cope with stress and trauma through mindfulness training.
By pulling from her own life experience and applying her relatable, mainstream style, Kim developed curriculum first responders could trust. She now leads a team of instructors who offer resilience training, holistic wellness, and work-life balance courses in-person and through Kim’s online platform: Pause First Academy.
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How Running With My Dog Brought Me Back From the Brink (Running Depression and Anxiety Therapy, Bipolar)
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Empowering First Responders to Reduce Stress and Build Resilience
A traumatic way of life: First responders have the incredibly difficult job of running toward danger while the rest of us run away. No training can prepare them for what they will see and endure. Kim Colegrove understands what it’s like to watch someone go through that. After 30 years in law enforcement, her husband took his own life. This agonizing experience opened Kim’s eyes to the desperate need for an effective form of stress-relief and support for first responders.