Podcast weblog: A career in law enforcement is one of the most rewarding, challenging, and selfless professions out there. The Guns and Yoga podcast explores the intersection between the impact a first responder career can have on those on the job, their families, and the importance of adopting and maintaining a holistic lifestyle. Wendy Hummell is a seasoned law enforcement officer in the Midwest with close to 25 years experience. She is a LEO spouse, mother, and wellness enthusiast. She knows first-hand the difficulties this line of work can bring. For the past decade, Wendy has been exploring various ways to improve her emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical well – being. She continues to learn and has a passion for sharing these tools to improve the quality of life not only for herself and her family, but for all first responders. Wendy is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. She teaches yoga, mindfulness, and resiliency to first responders at her current agency where she works as the Health and Wellness Coordinator. She also teaches throughout the state of Kansas and other national platforms. Wendy retired from the Wichita Police Department in 2019 at the rank of Detective where she spent a majority of her career working persons crimes. The intention of this podcast is to add value, provide support, and share resources by providing a platform for honest conversations with first responders, family members, retirees, and wellness experts. Whether you are a law enforcement officer, work in corrections, dispatch, Fire, EMS, The Prosecutors Office, the Coroners Officer, are a member of the military, family member or anyone who supports front line workers, please subscribe today and hear hear the stories of these brave men and women, the challenges and difficulties they have faced; the wonderful programs, people, and resources available to support first responders.
Tuesday Dec 06, 2022
Episode #37: Mindfulness and Purpose with Blue Line Golf founder Matt Mintier
Tuesday Dec 06, 2022
Tuesday Dec 06, 2022
Welcome to the Guns and Yoga Podcast.Today I share a conversation I had with Matt Mintier, a veteran Deputy working in Oregon and the founder of the non profit organization - Blue Line Golf. Matt and I discuss his path to law enforcement and how growing up as the child of a cop influenced him. Matt opens up about events in his childhood, in his personal life, and on the job that lead him to seek help. We cover some difficult topics such as his fathers suicide and other traumatic events so I wanted to prepare anyone who may not be in a place to hear this conversation.
Matt shares how a he stumbled upon something that provided him the opportunity to relax and be mindful.. playing golf. I encounter many first responders who are still turned off by the word mindfulness. I am not sure exactly why; maybe the word has over saturated the market, they think its too woo woo; or maybe they don’t think it works. In the work that I do, I encounter a lot of first responders and so many of them are actually describing mindfulness, but they use different language. So, I want to take a moment to define it because I have a lot of friends who play golf, hunt, fish, do martial arts, or woodworking. Often we associate meditation with mindfulness, and while this is absolutely one gateway to mindfulness, it's not the only way. As my friend and colleague Kim Colegrove likes to say, "meditation is to mindfulness as exercise is to fitness." Yes…if you want to be more mindful, meditation can help with that, but mindfulness a way of being. Non Judgmental Present moment awareness. I talk to so many that find peace and solace in nature or outdoor activities. It provides an opportunity to be present with nature with little to no distractions so what one person told me “they can hear themselves think” and just be. My mindfulness practice is yoga, meditation, and walking outside. What’s yours? If it helps keep you grounded and helps you to be present in all areas of than you understand. Mindfulness helps at work, being self aware is a component of emotional intelligence and helps keep you in check during high stress situations. Self awareness is a crucial part of officer safety. Mindfulness helps with our relationships, and really how we do anything. You can even mindfully wash the dishes.
Think about how often we aren’t present and how much we miss out on? Our brains aren’t designed to necessarily be mindful, so this can be a challenge and something we need to be intentional about. We are hard wired to look for threats and danger and first responders know this more than anyone; while this is absolutely necessary in certain situations such as while we are at work; it doesn’t always serve us in other areas of our life. That is where mindfulness practices come in.
Matt tells us about a time he was in a trauma informed training class for working with victims of Domestic Violence when he first learned about vicarious trauma. His story prompted a memory for me from 2016; the first time I heard my now dear friend and colleague, Darren Ivey teach about secondary trauma. I remember having a knot in my stomach and having to hold it together emotionally when I first heard him discuss the impact of hearing about other people’s traumas. As a persons crimes detective, I would occasionally get overwhelmed with emotion and even sometimes feel physical symptoms while interviewing someone. I stuffed it down and held it together in the moment, but didn’t always find a way to deal with it. Hearing this was a common but not healthy response to not so normal work somehow made me feel less ashamed. I now know a whole lot more about secondary and vicarious trauma, and have made it my mission to educate other first responders.
Matt has found solace and purpose in golf and now shares his love for the game with other law enforcement officers. Blue Line Golf’s mission mission is to improve the mental and physical health of active and retired LEO's through golf. In Matt’s words, “golf became a way to relieve stress, connect with myself, my family and friends, and the mindfulness practice of golf has been instrumental in helping me improve my life”.
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