Sometimes things happen that are essentially beyond our control and impossible to know when they will end or what the consequences will be once they are over.
Wildfires and other natural disasters are good examples of these kinds of experiences.

Generally speaking, these are considered “traumatic events” and while different people experience these things with more or less discomfort, the signal of danger turns on the stress response for everyone – given a long enough time in stress, even the calmest and brave ones amongst us start to get short tempered, make poor decisions and feel the impacts on our health.

These challenging times have an impact on us. A real, sincere, important to recognize impact – the effects of which can be minimized if we have some important information and practical things to do.

This StressLess audio series was created for my community in the Methow Valley during the Carlton Complex fires in Northern Washington in 2014. That was a very stressful time for my neighbors and myself. With the help of our local radio station Kroot 97.5, I produced these recordings to help share some simple ideas about how our bodies and nervous systems respond to stressful events, and what that information can tell us about how we can care for ourselves and our families while going through bad stuff.

Many of my neighbors assured me that these recordings were helpful to them in calming and attending to their own stress response and I hope they will be helpful to you or someone you know (please pass it on).

When going through a dangerous event that will last long enough for you to take stock of what’s going on…it’s a good idea for you to work on behalf of minimizing your body’s sense of stress and excessive effort and activation. I hope you will find enough moments of safety along the way that will allow you to do that. These recordings will share many different ideas on how you might do so.

Wishing you the very best. – Twig, November – 2017

Full Episode Transcript: 

01 01 – Introduction to Twig’s StressLess Series for Getting through Wildfires and other Natural Disasters

[00:00:00] This is an episode from Twig’s stress series for getting through wildfires and other natural disasters. You can find all the episodes at

[00:00:10] Greetings to you. My name’s Anthony Wheeler. I go by twig. You can think of me that way. Think of me as that guy named Twig. You probably don’t know me except perhaps a person of late or maybe the internet has suggested that you might take a listen to some of the audio programs that I’ve created over the years to help people that are going through acutely stressful experiences helped to minimize or decrease their stress response so as to minimize the chance of being traumatized after a dangerous thing has happened. In this way, this series that you’ve come upon today or have here to listen to is about what we might do for ourselves and our families, our communities, when threatened by a wildfire or other natural disaster or event that is going to be long lasting, without a certain end, with unknown consequences and generally quote out of our control. In short what can we do when things are really really hard and it feels like they’re going to keep going that way?

[00:01:19] Since you don’t know me maybe I’ll mention a few things here that will be helpful to you. One is that since 2004 I’ve been heavily involved with and dedicated to the Somatic Experiencing® therapy community and the “New Traumatology.” These are different either therapeutic modalities or the science that is coming out into the world these days about how the autonomic nervous system works, how stress works inside of the human body, how it impacts our nervous system and thus our behavior and what we can do for ourselves and one another to help ourselves feel safer in a dangerous world or after a dangerous event.

[00:02:02] And that’s how we can limit the impact of the stress response and minimize trauma. In that way, part of my role in the world has been to share these ideas as widely and in varied contexts and conditions. One of those happened in my own home town my community of the Methow Valley in northern Washington in 2014. A very large fire started on my hillside in fact and threatened my homestead. After spending about three and a half days defending my home and my land from that wildfire successfully saving the principal home that I had created, I was able to take some time a little hurried in fact but at some time to put down some of these ideas to share with my own community. We publish those over the radio through our fabulous local radio station called Kroot 97.5. In that way these stress less shorts were created in 2014 2015. A subsequent fire season that when I talked again to people in my neighborhood about similar ideas on how we can minimize the stress response, how we can help ourselves recover from these dangerous times with more ease. That is the goal.

[00:03:28] As you go along here, you’re going to hear me speaking to local residents in my valley in northern Washington. And you might very well be in California or Iowa or somewhere else going through something else. Inside these recordings however, you’ll still hear me talking to you about what it’s like when we feel lingering lasting – Day in and day out – stress or danger from an overwhelming kind of experience that we have limited ability to do anything about. Yet we still need to maintain our families maintain, our sanity, and try to do our best to get some sleep and make good decisions. All of these things will still be at play and the functioning of how our physiology how our nervous system is doing will have a big impact on how well we’re able to handle these events. I hope some of this will be helpful to you. It certainly has been to other people. They’ve said so that’s why these are made available publicly for free out on the internet. Please take the time to find what’s valuable in here for you, do what you can share it with others as you like and stay safe.

[00:04:43] Please, find some sense of safety as you go along, help yourself calm down whenever you can. I’m wishing you the very very best. You can find out more about me, Twig at or Take good care now.

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