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Kripalu Guest Stories: Tom I.


Tom I.

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Since the early ’90s, Kripalu has been a cornerstone for me, a sanctuary and a vacation—sometimes both at once. In finding Kripalu, I found a place to plug in for peace and grounding.

I came for the first time at the recommendation of a friend, using some of the last of my money. I came because for 15 years my life had felt difficult to manage. I was distant from myself and everyone else, and my feelings were confusing and hard to sort out. My troubled relationship with myself spilled over into my marriage and all my other relationships.

That week was very powerful for me—and began my ongoing relationship with Kripalu. Life can feel difficult and overwhelming at times, like when my son was born needing multiple heart surgeries. When he was eight months old, in between the third and fourth surgeries, my wife and I brought him to Kripalu, along with our hopes, fears, and worries. People were very warm and understanding, and we got some relief from everything we were going through.

Then in 2001, September 11 happened. As a New York City firefighter, it was a terrible nightmare for me. We lost 343 firefighters that day, many of whom I knew and worked with personally. In the months following 9/11, if I wasn’t working on the pile for recovery, I was going to a funeral. I didn’t get to see much of my family, and I accumulated many horrible memories. In spring 2002, I took a firefighter friend, Tony, with me to Kripalu to de-stress. It was healing and very helpful.

It’s not only in tough times that I’ve visited Kripalu. In 2008, I came with two old high-school buddies. It was my year to pick our destination and my friends were a little reluctant but respectful of my choice of Kripalu. Well, since then, they have thanked me so much—and would come back with me in a heartbeat. They especially enjoyed the food and hearing nutritionist John Bagnulo’s insights. We also had lots of good laughs.

When I drive from New York to the Berkshires and start nearing Kripalu, I get as excited as a child does when the first snow of winter comes. When I walk through the doors, I feel peaceful and warm. I’ve only experienced good things at Kripalu. I’ve met people I love—and there is no better healing than love itself.

—Tom I., firefighter, St. James, New York