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.
Wednesday Jan 18, 2023
Wednesday Jan 18, 2023
As we continue this week with our Retiree Masterclass Series and explore the pillar of leadership, I wanted to share something I recently learned about that ties into what I wanted to discuss today. As I shared last time, the first concept of the conscious leadership paradigm is Radical Responsibility; this entails taking charge of our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational well -being. As we begin to better manage our nervous system and increase self-awareness, we are better equipped to take radical responsibility for the circumstances of our lives and become more open, curious, and growth minded. One avenue is to surround yourself with others interested in this same path.
I recently learned of a social dynamic among female elephant herds called "elephant circles" and shared it with an incredible group of women I know. Much like a women's circle, which is an ancient practice where women gather to provide a safe place to connect, share, and empower, the elephant circle is formed either when a female elephant is giving birth or if one is injured - either way the other female elephants gather in a circle protecting their sister from outside attackers when she is vulnerable. As fierce protectors, when a sister is down, they gather around her, shoulder to shoulder, they stomp, kick up dust, masking her vulnerability much like what women do for each other when they are speaking up, sharing new ideas, new spaces, and new life; when they need their people to surround them so they can create, heal, or recover - we circle up have each other's backs. After the new life comes, when healing begins, or the darkness lifts and our sister is ready to rise back up - we celebrate.
We are meant to be there for one another. Sometimes we are the one's in the middle, sometimes we are the ones kicking up the dust with fierce love.
The genius of the group is much greater than the sum of it’s brilliant parts. This is simply peer support in action.
Many first responder agencies have embedded peer support programs. Peer support is based on the premise that you can be vulnerable with others in a safe environment with those you have something in common with.
This same principle applies to retirees. A recent article by Brian Kinnaird that appears in Psychology today titled “Peer to Peer Support for Police Veterans” addresses the transition to retirement and offers suggestions for those seeking support to do so. As I mentioned last time, we spend a lot of time training and preparing for this career, but little to no attention is given to our exit; it is our responsibility to do this for ourselves. Connection with others is a component of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that he puts after safety and physiological needs which we covered last time with the importance of nervous system regulation and stress management; but some experts argue this is the most important component.