My intention was to become a firefighter. Come March I’d walk with my academy mates to shake the hand of the fire chief moving from firefighter recruit to full fledged firefighter. Alas…that’s not what will happen. Firefighter will not be part of my resume.
CrossFit, strongman and weightlifting prepared me physically for the academy. Upon entering the academy I felt physically strong and ready to put my body through the demands of training to become a firefighter. The physical aspect of the academy was definitely a challenge and my body took a beating to say the least. However, feeling like I was doing something physically was quite rewarding at the end of the day. Looking back at what was accomplished in such a short amount of time – running 2.5miles as a warm-up (who does that?!), for example, was a win in my book.
Yoga prepared me for the mental challenge of the academy, sort of. I have never been in the military, nor do I ever want to be. Imagine my surprise when faced with the militaristic style of the academy! To say I hated it would be an understatement. It was a complete shock to the system to also find out how intensely phobic I initially was of the SCBA. This all boils down to some fairly deep rooted patterns within me, namely the fear of loosing control or letting go. My very basic breath practice helped to get me through most of this, while the awareness of this pattern has pushed me to work with it so that I can hopefully one day move beyond the fear. Interestingly enough, I learned the power of meditation during this time as well. I used to be of the “this is too woo-woo” camp and was resistant to the idea. When faced with the challenges I encountered the week+ I was in the academy, meditation became a necessity to maintain presence.
The combination of all the above gave me the confidence to quit the academy. Crawling through the maze in full turnout gear on day 6 of the academy I realized that had that been an actual burning building I would’ve wanted no part in that whatsoever. When I exited the structure I pulled of my mask and told my instructor and Lieutenant that I was done and would not be continuing. That was the last moment I would be a firefighter.