Keeping up with the education- and travel-filled fall I’ve been having, I just spent two weeks in Portland taking a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) class through the Wilderness Medicine Institute. The course came so quickly after my meditation retreat that I didn’t gear up for it mentally, just kind of jumped in. It turned out to be fantastic, completely new to me, and a wonderful lens through which to view some of my recent musings.
The course was ten days (anybody know other 10-day adventures I can go do? This is becoming a trend), and covered everything from reducing dislocations to wound management to stabilizing spinal injuries. Snake/spider bites: not as bad as I thought. Femur fractures: really really bad. Epinephrine and Benadryl: bring some. There was a staggering amount of information for the 80 hours we spent together, so I’ll definitely be reviewing my course notes every so often and before big trips.
My main reaction to everything we learned was definitely, “I can’t believe I’ve been going out into the woods for so long without knowing this.” For the most part, I wouldn’t have had any idea what to do if something serious happened to me or my companions out there, or (more likely) if I came across someone in dire straits. There’s not much actual treatment that makes sense to attempt in the woods, but now I know how to assess a situation and help make sure someone is safe while we get however much more help we need.
The reaction that’s continued to grow since the course ended, however, is how much I loved learning how to take care of people in need and start their injuries healing. It was fantastic to learn about how the body works (for instance, diabetes. I had no idea what was actually going on with blood sugar, ketones, etc., and now it makes so much sense), and made me think a lot about the path I’ve been on recently. More and more I’ve been heading in the direction of inquiry into the mind and the body, how to grow and heal them, and how to share that knowledge and experience with others. Outdoor education is a great platform for sharing all this with kids while helping them discover it on their own. This blog is a place for me to put these ideas into writing, but maybe you’ve gotten something out of it as well. Now I’m planning a trip to India for January to do a yoga teacher training, which will probably blow my mind in all sorts of ways. I may find teaching yoga to be rewarding in itself, or it may just be a good chance to deepen my own practice. Either way, I’m excited to continue pursuing this thread of mind/body growth and healing and see where it leads.
I’m pretty sure art fits into this, too, but I’m still figuring that part out. Also, neuroscience.