Monday, April 16, 2012

Preparedness Week Ten

Again this week is the second of 10 Preparedness tips from Kelleen Bishop at  Please remember, these are not my words or thoughts but, it does make you think.
After the Spiritual Preparedness comes the Mental Preparedness. This is not to say that any one Principle of Preparedness stands alone. Rather all 10 of them work very well together. However, there is indeed an order of prioritization. Where so many folks believe it just entails food, water, ammo, and gold, a wise prepper will understand that none of that will do a person any good if it’s not supported by the “know how” and the mental fortitude to use it.
In her book, “The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why”, author Amanda Ripley provides ample support to this claim. She interviews post “crisis” survivors, including those from 9/11, and was able to clearly map out what the difference was between those who made it through and those who simply froze and suffered. Time and again when I’m asked to teach “some moves” for self-defense or marksman skills with a firearm, I have to first establish the fact that a mental foundation must be in place before any “move” or use of a weapon can be successful. Avoiding the mental work that it takes to be accepting of a crisis scenario will actually cause you to freeze when confronted with the reality of that scenario. For example, as I’ve mentioned before, 9/11 wasn’t the first attempt to bring down the World Trade Centers. Over a decade earlier another bombing attempt was made. After which, several persons got special training as to what to do under such circumstances. However, the disturbing fact is that many of these persons simply froze because they didn’t do the mental work—the replaying, the practicing, etc.—of their training. In fact, some of the security personnel didn’t even know where to direct folks to the emergency exit because they had never used the exit personally—only saw the layout on a piece of paper.

This particular Principle of Preparedness deals with the knowledge that one must have in order to be self-reliant. I call it “Know How” and it seems to be never-ending. From how to start a fire 101 ways, to
how to position mirrors and pictures in your home to aid in your home security, to how to actually use that solar oven you bought. Unfortunately, many sit far too comfortably in their book learning. I, and countless experts in the world of brain power, have concluded that real know-how comes from applying what you learn in a book, etc., as much as possible. This is such a critical aspect of strengthening one’s mental preparedness. It’s one thing to have the solar oven. It’s another to assume that it’s relatively easy to operate. But it’s such a stronger source of peace in one’s preparedness efforts to have actually used the solar oven to the point that confidence is instilled. Literally, when you can instill confidence in how you might handle an anticipated scenario, you do more for your preparedness efforts than countless amounts of supply.
I love the fact that strengthening my Mental Preparedness doesn’t have to cost me money. Thus there’s never the excuse of “I can’t get prepared. I can’t afford it.” Books, videos, the internet, YouTube,
community classes and conversing with other folks who have learned specialized skills goes a LONG way towards enlightenment. I even find that watching a “doomsday” kind of movie or reading a similar themed book helps to actually lessen any anxiety as I allow my mind to play through some of the scenarios and ask myself “What would I do under these circumstances.” The more you can allow your mind to prepare for what could be a “brain-freeze” moment, the less likely you are to experience that “fog of war” obstacle which seems to slow down time, and eliminate any mental preparation you learned.

In the name of Mental Preparedness, you might catch me repeatedly pulling an imaginary firearm from my hip, and going through the rest of the steps to accurately employ the skills I have learned. I want that movement to be so natural, so fluid, that even if I am faced with a horrific moment in which I would need to use my firearm for defense, I won’t have to stop and think about “what to do.” Our own mental preparedness works very much the same way. Practice. Muscle memory. Asking ourselves what would we do under a set of circumstances and then mentally playing through that. It’s almost painful sometimes to watch a movie with my husband as he’ll frequently pause it and quiz me as to what I would do under such and such circumstances. If I don’t answer quickly and confidently, you can bet I’m in for another “learning moment.” *grin*
While there’s a great deal that’s covered under the Principle of Mental Preparedness, one of the aspects

that I feel folks forget is the learning of alternative skills by which they could earn an income if there was a financial collapse or a long-term interruption in our electrical world. Good old fashioned skills and trades are just that—so old fashioned and nearly extinct. I suggest that as a part of your Mental Preparedness you think about a world that better resembles the early 1800’s and ask yourself what do you think you could do to earn the food and shelter you’d need to provide for your family?
Replacing conveniences is also an important part of Mental Preparedness. As I’m using my Bosch Mixer to make my bread, I have to ask myself, “OK. How would I make my bread without this.” I want to make sure that modern technology doesn’t have me blinded as to the skills which I would need amidst a tougher time. So I’m always on the look out for “antiques” that I can use to replace the technology that I’ve come to rely on so heavily. Items such as a rug beater, an old fashioned iron that you heat on the stove, a way to invert the air-flow on my tire pump so that I can still preserve food in Mason jars or FoodSaver bags, a hand-beater, solar cells, etc. will come in handy when the time is right; so it pays to be better mentally prepared by knowing how to use them all.
I’m certain that I’ve become a book junkie in part because of my quest for better mental preparedness. Everything from how to take care of a bullet wound to how to eliminate slugs from my garden I’ve absorbed and then put into practice (not a REAL bullet wound, of course) after reading about it. There’s no such thing as a useless book sale in my world.
Lastly, the mental fortitude that one needs to have in order to endure challenging times is vital. There is so much to distract us in today’s fast-paced, hectic environment. Now is the time to take a step back and determine what we are willing or not willing to do under a set of circumstances. For example, what will you do when someone you don’t know comes to your door asking for help in the form of food, money, or even chemical substances? What are your plans for defending your family? What are your plans in the event that you need to leave your home in a hurry? What’s your path of travel that you have laid out that is least likely to be the same as everyone else’s? Do you know HOW to change a tire, hot-wire a car if need be, and how to filter water with nothing more than sand and dirt. Yup, you could spend the rest of your life working on the Mental Preparedness and barely making a dent, but I assure you that going through the processes to learn what’s important to you and even just what’s interesting to you, will go a long ways in bringing you peace in any scenario for which you mentally prepare.

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