The Stuff of Life

The Stuff of Life
For those of us who find nature to be both aesthetically beautiful and life-sustaining.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Shall Not Be Infringed: A Defense of Our Second Amendment Right to Defend Ourselves

“I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.” ~Virginia’s U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788. (LaPierre, 2009, p. 158).

Controversy is abundant over the second amendment and the verbiage in the amendment has become one of the most debated, argued and misinterpreted pieces of our constitution. The Second Amendment was written in 1789 by Congress and in 1791 it became ratified by the States and became a permanent fixture in our original Bill of Rights.

The Second Amendment was intended to protect and forever preserve all citizens' rights to individually protect themselves and their lives. This right of self-protection stated:
“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” (Barton, 20ll, p. 5).

Over time, anti-gun enthusiasts have taken pieces of history, pieces of the amendment and out-of-context literature then used this information to suit their agendas. The words “shall not be infringed” are immensely self-explanatory. There is no other way to interpret “shall not be infringed,” but to declare and state that this “right” as stated, cannot be broken, undermined, encroached upon or any unauthorized use of the terms being restated. To infringe is to "encroach upon," to "restate" or to "break the terms of" and ultimately to "undermine" the original intent. Those that want to argue that you do not have the right to keep and bear arms are arguing that you do not have the right to defend and protect yourself. This is a direct infringement upon “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

Later, anti-gun activists have argued that “the people” may not be "you or I." They also argue that “the people” means the "socially organized people" such as the military, police and government. This is absolutely taking our history out of context. These rights were written into the constitution in order to protect "you and I" from the infringement of those “socially organized people” or "others" that would threaten our livelihood (Barton, 2011, p. 6-13).

One of the most utilized pieces of legal script used in the origination of the Second Amendment was known as “Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws” (Barton, 2011, p. 15). This commentary became a source for America’s legal system, attorneys and judges as well. The Blackstone Commentary was first introduced in 1766 in America and the commentary clearly stated that citizens have rights to own and use weapons for their own self-defense. It further stated that this is a "natural right" to be used for resistance as well as individual self-preservation in the event that society’s laws are “insufficient to restrain violence of oppression” (Barton, 2011, p. 15).  This was a three part course of action. First, the citizen has the right when their rights have been violated or attacked to justice in the court of laws, secondly, the right to petition a grievance to the government and thirdly, the right of owning, having and using fire arms for self-preservation and self-defense (p. 15).

These citizen militias “being necessary to the security of a free state” were the reasoning behind the historical landscape under which the constitution and the amendment were written and intended. The “free state” was a priority of the times so that our future freedom from the risk of a government that was not of the people, by the people or for the people would not be threatened. This “free state” concept is still a priority as is self-defense and the right to defend our own lives. Our founding fathers were suspicious of the motivations of government for good reason. One of Jefferson’s famous quotes sums up this belief: “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in Government” (Pratt, 1995, xii). There lies the number one reason to continue to fight for your right to keep and bear arms given to you by one of our founding fathers himself. He and the founders of the time knew what history has shown many times over: that governments with too much control over the people can and will become dangerous and that the people may, as a last resort, have to defend themselves. The most frightening thing about gun control is when the government itself wants to disarm you. You must ask yourself why? Our founding fathers didn't want to disarm us. We had fought too hard to get where we were and they knew we were a necessary entity.

These rights were so important to our founders that our early history is peppered with examples of how undoubtedly vital gun ownership was in our history. In 1658, Virginia required every home own a working firearm and if you didn't own one, after 1673, the government would provide one for you. In 1676, the law stated that you must carry it with you everywhere that you go. In 1632, the Plymouth Colony required that every citizen bear arms at all times or they would be fined. In 1639, no one was allowed entry to any public gatherings without their firearm in Newport Colony. Later, Connecticut added fines for failure to carry weapons and powder, then Georgia added fines and others followed suit. These laws are evidence that the government not only valued well-armed citizens, but demanded it. They considered every citizen a member of the militia. Every citizen was part of “the public defense” system (Barton, 2011, p. 16).

This brings us to the meaning of “a well-regulated militia." The English militia system under Elizabeth I became a commonly understood “concept of a universally armed people ready to stand in defense of their nation” (Pratt, 1995, p. 7). In the context for which “a well-regulated militia” was written, this "militia" was the citizens of America and the “regulation” was the legal requirement of this militia to keep and bear arms. The citizens of America were “the well-regulated militia.” In the “Centinel” it was written that “a well-regulated militia” is “composed of the body of the people” (Halbrook, 1994, p. 80). The militia was comprised of the people and the people were considered necessary to the “security of the state.”

Why are the people no longer trusted or considered necessary?

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed-unlike citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
~James Madison, the father of the Second Amendment  (LaPierre, 2009, p. 6).

Once again, we are reminded that we cannot always rely upon our own government to have our best interests in mind or to protect us in the event that we need to be protected. As was the case in our history, we may need to protect ourselves and it is vital to any self-reliant individual that he or she know how to take care of and defend themselves should the situation call for it. Other evidence in our history that the government may not have our back as we would like to believe is made obvious by the following quote:
“To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” Stated by George Mason in “his suspicion of government” (Pratt, 1995, p. xiii).

There is no doubt that our world is every bit as volatile and dangerous as it was in these vital formative years. To disarm citizens today is to say that the citizens are no longer valued and recognized as individuals who have the right to defend and protect themselves. Citizens are no longer respected as being a valuable piece of the public defense system as we once were. Our “rights of the people” are being infringed upon in a dangerous way. The government, media and gun control activists would have you believe that owning weapons leads to more violence. This again, is spinning of facts to suit agendas. The right to keep and bear arms and the right to carry them may in itself function as a crime deterrent. Criminals are unaware which citizens may be armed and which citizens may be able to protect themselves. This makes it more difficult to target people for the criminal. Those who choose not to own or carry weapons stand to benefit from those that do for this reason (Lott, 2010, p. 275).

Crime is a choice made by people. Owning guns does not make you commit crimes. And, criminals would be the primary citizens that would gain control of weapons should they be taken from the rest of us anyway. There is ample evidence of crimes committed against people via knives, bludgeoning, falls, drowning and many other methods. In absence of gun ownership or accessibility, where there is criminal intent, there will still be a crime committed using a different method. If someone intends to take a life, they will find another method if they cannot access a firearm. Most people if asked, would rather be shot than bludgeoned or stabbed. Taking citizens’ rights to protect themselves via a firearm, will not keep bad people from doing bad things, but the right to keep and bear arms will allow some of us to protect ourselves from these bad people doing bad things. The individual right to protect myself  is an inalienable right. The Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Second Amendment simply acknowledge that right and declare that my right shall not be infringed.

“The Notion that the Second Amendment somehow belongs to a small number of gun rights advocates is simply wrong. The Second Amendment belongs to all Americans.”
(Cornell, 2006, p. 218).

Works Cited:

Barton, David. “The Second Amendment: Preserving the Inalienable Right of Individual Self-Protection.” 1st Edition. 4th Printing. WallBuilders. 2011

Cornell, Saul. “A Well Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America.” Oxford University Press. 2006.

Halbrook, Stephen P. “That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right.” The Independent Institute. 1994.

LaPierre, Wayne. “The Essential Second Amendment Guide.” World NetDaily. 2007, 2009.

Lott, John R. Jr. “More Guns Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws.” Third Edition. The University of Chicago Press. 2010.

Pratt, Larry. “Safeguarding Liberty: The constitution & Citizen Militias.” Legacy Communications. 1995.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Harnessing Fear In Survival Situations: How To Use Fear To Create Change

"Everyone experiences fear. Do not allow fear to make you inactive. Activity harnesses fear and uses it as a catalyst toward change."  
~K.M. Frost

In any survival situation, whether that situation is "daily life survival", wilderness survival or surviving a catastrophic event, fear and how you manage fear, may be the number one predictor of whether you get through the event. Fear can be crippling, leaving you frozen, inactive and unable to think or act coherently. Fear can also be life-saving and give you the heightened mental awareness necessary to move you into action. Everyone experiences fear. Differing events create different levels of fear in each individual. What may instill trauma and terror in you, may be fascinating and exciting to me. And, while you may enjoy sky-diving and swimming with sharks, I'll pass. 

Survivology broken down:

 "Ology" is a suffix that means "the study of" and to "survive" is to endure, get through, and overcome a situation. Survivology is the study of survival and the ability to get through stressful, changing circumstance. That circumstance can be bad things that happen in your daily life or more serious things that disrupt your entire world as you know it. Survivors often have particular mindsets, qualities or actions in common. And, we can all learn a great deal from studying the way that people who have survived being lost in the wilderness or diagnosed with cancer behaved or thought during and throughout the circumstance. 

In facing similar circumstance, how do some people come through events empowered while others either perish or are severely damaged from trauma? There are many factors that go into the study of survival situations and sometimes it is a combination of behaviors, actions and luck. None of us can know for certain how we will behave in a survival situation without having been through one. But, one thing you can know with certainty is that if you have the ability to harness fear to keep you mentally active you are more likely to get through everything from job loss, divorce, and health issues to being lost and cataclysmic events.

Fear can be crippling or it can carry you into a level of functioning that enables you to endure things you never thought possible. When faced with a survival situation, you will be frightened. Harness that fear and use it as a catalyst toward change and you will more likely find yourself a survivor rather than a victim of circumstance. 

How do we harness fear?

Let's start with a common life situation: You have children, jobs, a mortgage, more bills than you can shake a stick at, you are out of shape and have been in a long-term relationship that is beginning to go south. You find out that your partner or spouse is leaving you. You are panic-stricken. You are thinking you will never make it through this. You don't have enough money. You don't know how it will affect the children. There are many unknowns which terrify you. You wonder who will want you as you haven't dated in years and haven't been actively putting effort into your physical appearance. You find yourself going through the stages of grief. You plead with them to stay. You go through denial and bargaining before settling into depression and allowing your fear to cripple you. 

This is a classic example of a life situation that can either cripple or empower you. The inability to harness the fear and use it as a catalyst through the circumstance and as a change creator can leave you forever damaged. You may never love again or trust again. You may never be able to have a healthy relationship where you feel safe. Or, you can use the fear of the unknown to spawn your ability to face the adversity head on and actively do something, anything, but actively working to keep your mind busy and forward moving.

The same situation faced with a survival mindset and the ability to harness fear:

You are still frightened because change is always scary, but you are keeping yourself busy. You begin to list your fears and you know that money, the children, your ability to find another mate and your ability to move past the anguish of losing someone you love are high on your fear list. You then begin to face these fears in a very matter-of-fact manner. In looking at the monster under the bed, you are now less afraid of that monster. Now, your monster has a face and a name. You can now begin to strategically use that fear to face these monsters and plan your way through them using activity. You begin job hunting for a better paying job, or you take on a part-time job. You begin to have honest and encouraging conversations with your children and you help them adjust in the healthiest way possible through the adversity. You role-model someone who is strong and can do this. You begin to believe in yourself. You begin to work out and even though you can't afford the gym yet, you do what you can at home. You begin to look into downsizing your home. One by one, you use activity as a mechanism to handle your fear and slowly, but surely you begin to get through it. Once through it, you are empowered and have a new-found sense of self-esteem and self-reliance that you never had before. 

What did you learn from facing the adversity?

You learned that the worst thing you can do is to do nothing. You learned how to use activity to avoid wallowing in your circumstance and to avoid freezing and becoming a victim of your circumstance. You learned that you are strong. You learned that activity is like a brain-aid that keeps your mind active and keeps you forward moving. You learned that you do have what it takes to survive bad or traumatic events and have gained skill in using that adversity to become a survivor and to be empowered. 

This same concept of using activity to harness fear and create change can be utilized in extreme situations as well. Practice this idea and this philosophy in your behavior in your day-to-day circumstance until it becomes habitual nature. When faced with adversity, your brain will more quickly move into activity mode and problem solving mode as you slowly modify your behavior under stress. Survivors of various wilderness survival situations have one very common bond: they kept their mind active, they didn't allow themselves to drown in their fear, they used that fear to create change even if that change was simply a mental shift. That mental shift may be the change that saves your life or gets you through.

fear management

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Deliberate Parenting: A Business Model For Parenting A Self-Reliant Child

There are as many parenting styles as there are parents. Most everyone is internally motivated to raise a child that has great qualities and will be successful in life. The problem lies in the fact that although most people have an idea of what they want their child to be like when they are an adult, they are consistently going about the "business" of parenting with little to no thought or planning. Without a business model or a plan, any business is likely to fail. Parenting most certainly is a business and parents are the leaders and directors of the company.

Every single moment that you are interacting with your child from birth is a teachable moment. Parental leaders need to be always in tune to the heart-beat of their company and how their parenting style will impact the final outcome product i.e. the adult that you are raising your child to be. Unfortunately, parents frequently parent with randomness contingent on the moment rather than deliberately focusing on how their actions will impact their future product. For example, one fatal error that many parents make happens all over the world, every single day. Go to any large grocery store or super center on any given day and you will see fatal parenting in action. The scene goes something like this: Mom is in a hurry to get through the store before little Johnny gets any crankier. Mom approaches the check out area with fear and trepidation because Johnny has been losing his patience since passing by the cereal and pop-tarts. Now, Mom has to make it past the strategically placed candy by the register. Mom moves in. Johnny sees the candy. Mom begins to let her gaze stray around the store to see how many people are around and within hearing vicinity. The store is busy and small sweat beads begin to run down Mom's forehead. Johnny also cases the place and has quickly surmised that with enough volume he can accomplish his mission of obtaining candy. Johnny deploys a tactic that any bystander would know he has used many times before. Johnny begins to demand the candy, cry for the candy, and scream for the candy. Mom is placing her items on the counter and telling Johnny "not right now." Johnny has no intention of taking "no" for an answer and his volume increases until Mom hands him a package of candy. Fatal parenting at work.

What has Mom actually done? A great deal of future damage to her final outcome product. Mom has selfishly thought of herself in the moment. Getting out of an embarrassing situation that she has put herself in from previous failures is more important than considering the long-term ramifications of what she is actually teaching Johnny. Let's bullet point what that fatal parenting error actually does to the product:

*Teaches the child that they can control your behavior through social embarrassment.
*Teaches the child that patience is not required to get what you want.
*Teaches the child that they don't have to earn or work for things because they can demand them, manipulate for them or behave in a negative and controlling manner to get rewarded.
*Teaches the child that there is a positive reinforcement for rude and obnoxious behavior.
*Teaches the child to expect instant gratification.
*Teaches the child to have no concern for how their actions impact others.
*Teaches the child to not be socially aware of their behavior.
*Teaches the child to have no self-control.
*Teaches the child no self-regulation.
*Teaches the child not to self-soothe and that they can get everything that they want.
*Teaches the child that if they cry long enough you will pacify them.

There are more, but you get the point. Everything about that moment in time is a fail in terms of your final product. Let's go back in time even further. When a baby cries, they get fed, cuddled or their needs met. This is normal and good and teaches the baby to trust you. But, once all of the baby's needs are met and they still cry (which is also quite normal) what do we do? We stick a pacifier in their mouth. What does the word "pacify" mean? It means to "cause" someone who is angry or upset to become calm. Does this sound like a good thing to put into your final product? If YOU are "causing" the person to become quiet or calm, is the person learning anything? Are they going to be able to self-soothe, self-regulate or be self-reliant if you are always pacifying them? The point is that sometimes we as parents do pacify. We want our children to be calm and quiet in most situations. But, if you are repeatedly behaving in a way that is "you" soothing and pacifying "them" and making everything all better under all circumstances for your child, you are damaging your final outcome product. The product that is destined to hit the shelves one day will be a fail.

What is a final product? A final product is the adult child that is going out into the world to go to college or go to work, to be a husband or a wife, an employee or a boss, a service worker, agent, teacher, counselor, representative or whatever they choose to do. The consumers of your product, a.k.a. the people that have to put up with the individual that you raised, are the bosses, employees, customers, co-workers, family members and others in society. When I encounter completely obnoxious people that make my life miserable, I secretly loathe their parents. You are the manufacturer of this product. Take some responsibility for that product before it hits the shelves.

You, as the leader of your family business, need to recognize and understand that you have a small window of time to have an impact and imprint on the slate of who your child becomes. Learn what successful company leaders do and how they are successful. You need to model this same behavior. Effective company leaders motivate, inspire and guide others to be the best that they can be, to be team-players, to be confident, competent and compassionate. Great leaders inspire others to follow the company mission, vision and philosophy. As a leader of your organization, consider developing a family mission statement, vision and philosophy that will go into your parenting style. An example of a company philosophy might be "to raise self-reliant, socially aware and empowered adults that will positively impact their world." Using this philosophy as a guiding principle, a parent would know better than to give into Johnny's demands at the store because it goes completely against the company philosophy. Your company vision should include what you envision for the future as well as your business strategies of just how you intend to create this. Your mission statement is simply your idea of your company's purpose. What is your idea of your purpose in parenting and in the "business" of parenting. Have a detailed list of the qualities, characteristics, and core principles that you want in your product before it hits the market. This may seem a very strange way to view parenting and children, but it is far more loving to consider helping your child to know how to take care of themselves and to feel safe, and confident navigating life than it is to make certain that your child is frightened and dependent and ill-prepared to handle adversity.

 Even if your children are older, it is not too late to model qualities and character that is vital to your concept of a successful outcome product. Don't just consider the product that you like or that makes you feel good about you because you need to feel needed, consider the final product. Consider how much better for your child and your child's future if they are socially aware, self-reliant and empowered rather than dependent, obnoxious and demanding. Deliberate parenting is about considering what kind of outcome you want in every teachable moment rather than parenting in the moment or doing whatever is easiest. Deliberate parenting positions you as the leader, role model, teacher, mentor, coach and head of marketing and product development. And, because you are head of product development, if you produce a product that has a negative impact on society, then you have some accountability in that.

Now and then, under the best of circumstances and with the best intentions, some adults will just not behave in a way that the parents had hoped and dreamed. This happens and there is no point in beating yourself up. We cannot control what happens after the product hits the shelf. All that you can do is put all that you can into your product before it goes out into the world. All of your efforts should be concentrated on the long-term effects of your parenting style rather than on momentary pacifying.

Now, I should probably let you go as I know that you have an important business to run.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How To Raise a Child To Be A Survivalist: The Top Ten Things That You Can Do Now

Survival, in any sense of the word, is an enormous accomplishment and definitely worthy of celebration. Think about your life and all that you have been through and all that you have overcome. Nearly all of the events and circumstances that brought us to a point of really feeling proud of ourselves or our accomplishments involved some degree of endurance.

We have all endured pain, agony, loss, fear, sleep deprivation, disappointment and so many other emotions, sensory perceptions and feelings to reach the point of where you are right now. If you went through these life events and overcame them enough to still see the good things in life, you are a survivor. Maybe you haven't overcome everything you have been through in the best way possible or the healthiest way possible, but you have endured many of these emotions, nonetheless, and you still believe there is beauty in life. And, you are here now...reading this.

 So, how do we do it? How do we get through all of these painful experiences and still find things to hope for, events that bring us joy and reasons to smile?  There are multiple reasons we are capable of suffering and still smiling. But, the number one reason that we are able to do this is because adversity builds self-esteem, character, tenacity and makes all of the other life moments more meaningful IF you have the capacity to pull through these adverse circumstances to land on the side of empowerment rather than damage.

We all have different ingredients that went into how we were raised. For me, the survival instinct that I carry was deeply instilled in me via my father. There are many life lessons about survival that my dad taught me, but I compiled a top-ten list of the things that dad taught me that I believe are the most beneficial in raising a child to be empowered, self-reliant and a survivor.

Your child will be far more likely to grow into a capable, emotionally strong and confident adult who is well-equipped to handle life's circumstances, regardless of what life throws at them, if you actively instill these core principles into your parenting philosophies in all that you do, in all that you say and in all that you teach. First, you must also model these principles yourself. As you read them, if some do not apply to you, practice them until they do become a part of your belief system as well. A strong sense of self, a strong belief in your own abilities and an adaptable mind are vital for any human being navigating their way through the many emotional avenues of life. These principles will serve you or your child well whether enduring a job loss, a divorce, being lost and alone or a catastrophic event.

1. The world doesn't center or rotate around me. I am an inter-connected part and my actions affect others.
2. To survive circumstance and life, I must be adaptable.
3. To flourish and to positively impact this world, I must learn to utilize my abilities.
4. Even though I cannot control life or mother nature, I can harness mother nature's and life's gifts and use them to my advantage.
5. Survival requires the will to endure and the tenacity to overcome. Life requires these plus a sense of humor.
6. I am special, but I am not that special. I am just like everyone else, but I can stand out by being among the few who truly believe in my own talents, abilities and skills.
7. No one will rescue, salvage or save me from all of life's painful encounters. I must be able to be self-reliant enough to take care of myself regardless of the unpredictability of life.
8. I should never rest on my laurels as there is always more to learn and more to practice.
9. I need to hope for the best, prepare for the worst and expect something in between the two if I am prepared.
10. I must cherish every blessing, every gift and every opportunity presented to me because I only get one life.

These core life and survival principles have carried me through some turbulent times and I have come out on the the other side a stronger and even more adaptable person each and every time. I hope some of these will help you as well and carry you or your child through the tough times in order to truly value the joyful times.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Life, Leadership and Survival Quote Compilation PART III

This is Part III of a compilation of survival, bush-craft, leadership and life survival quotes that I have written over time. I hope that you enjoy them. Please feel free to use them or share them. I ask that you please include a link to my blog if you do:
Enjoy! Please also check out Part I "A Compilation of Survival Quotes" and Part II "Life, Leadership and Survival Quotes."

"Boredom should be a wake-up call that you are not doing all that you can, not fulfilling your dreams, not planning your future, not playing and not enjoying the now or creating a purpose for your life. You only get one life, cherish it and use it wisely."

"Nearly all of our anxiety stems from regret about the past or trepidation and fear about the future or the unknown. Value where you are right now, grow from where you have been and plan for your tomorrow and turn anxiety into empowerment."

"Not everyone is going to like you. It's futile to invest too much energy into people-pleasing when some people are not capable of being pleased. Jumping through hoops for praise is appropriate if you are a German Shepherd. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and learn to love who you are regardless of external validation."

"Socially we have been trained to value youth. However, wisdom, leadership ability and ingenuity are born through experience. Consciously and systematically we need to train ourselves and others to value aging for the societal gifts that are only possible though life experience and having overcome adversity."

"A survival situation is similar to life survival in that you may experience discomfort, pain and deprivation, but as you go through adversity, you come out on the other side wiser, more self-reliant and empowered. A survival situation is different to life survival in that life is also meant to be enjoyed and cherished. Never approach life as something you have to "get through" except when facing adversity."

"In our chaotic, stress-driven lives of abundance, we could learn a lot from the simplest of creatures. For billions of years, amoeba have been prolific by physically moving only toward nourishment and physically moving away from things that do not nourish or are stressful or toxic. What is obvious to the amoeba takes many of us a lifetime to grasp."

"Before you prepare, don't forget to plan to prepare. All preparation begins with planning and preparing the mind."

"Happiness is no accident. What you focus on, you will be rewarded with more of. And, this reward can be either good or bad contingent upon your focal point."

"When at an interpersonal impasse, your best maneuver may be to agree upon the fact that you cannot agree. This "agreement" may be the epicenter toward peace."

"We all have to deal with difficult people on occasion. It's quite alright to have to make minor adjustments to your interaction style in order to accommodate those with inadequate people skills. However, the moment that their behavior infringes upon who you are as an individual, is the moment that you adjust yourself no more. You are training others on how you allow yourself to be treated. Adjusting, compromising and negotiating are valuable tools in a reciprocal environment only.Never accommodate your integrity or to the degree that you are no longer yourself."

"Question everything even old quotes. "That's the way the ball bounces" does not have to be true. You do not have to accept things that are unacceptable. You always have choice. You can roll the ball, catch the ball, throw the ball, lose the ball all together or even get a whole new ball or play an entirely different game if you choose to. Remember that the ball is actually always in your court as long as you recognize that you always have choice and that you are in control of your own thoughts. Sometimes things are as simple as just looking at the ball and your options differently and sometimes you need to play the game completely differently."

and just for fun......

"One of the most difficult things about work is that it cuts into perfect fishing days. This is yet another reason to find a way to make money doing something that you love. Do what you enjoy and you will lose a lot less perfect fishing days and still get paid."

and just for more fun......

"Bacon is like friendship: You feel better when you are together and when you are apart, you are making plans to be together again. But, bacon is not like friendship because bacon doesn't borrow your stuff and not return it."

Life, Leadership and Survival Quotes PART II

I have been writing quotes for inspiration and motivation for quite some time. This is a second compilation of these quotes that I thought that I would share with others. Please feel free to use them or share them. I only ask that you include a link for my blog if you do. Thanks for taking the time to read them.

"Everyone experiences fear. Do not allow fear to make you inactive. Activity harnesses fear and uses it as a catalyst toward change."

"As you age, "live and learn" transitions to "live and discern" where not everything has to be learned the hard way anymore."

"In every human interaction, attempt to make it your goal that the other person will leave the interaction feeling more positive than before the interaction."

"Four things to never leave at home: your knife, your lighter, your Kelly Kettle and your sense of humor."

"Don't seek to please others, seek to better them."

"Follow your instincts rather than that little voice inside your head. Hopefully, your instincts will advise you that you shouldn't have a little voice inside your head in the first place."

"Sometimes it's just safer to keep your expectations of others very low, but hold them to a higher standard nonetheless. More often than not, they will attempt to meet your expectations."

"Always remember that negative people will desperately attempt to point out your flaws and what is wrong with you because they are envious of what is right with you."

"Whether leading others, parenting or animal training, fear and intimidation may give way to submission, but will never be the catalyst toward inspiration, growth or true change."

"You could be happier, less stressed and more at peace if you stopped living in the future. Stop telling yourself how much better things will be when you get that job or pay that bill. Stop thinking how great everything will be in just a few years or after this or after that. Life is right now. There will always be new challenges, issues, problems or bills. If you "spend" your time waiting for that precious moment in the future, you are "spending" your life. "Save" your life by enjoying it right now instead of planning to enjoy it at an imagined time in the future."

"Don't wait for a natural disaster to remind you to live and love."

"In all things, preparedness begins in your brain."

"Many people place unnecessary and inappropriate pressure on themselves. First, it is never your job to keep people you love or others happy. It is impossible and they need to captain their own happiness ship. Second, not everything is about you. Most people are battling their own demons. Control your own mind and respect and appreciate that you can't and shouldn't want to control anyone but yourself."

"Let the outdoors be your toy box."

"The threshold between truth and deception is compromised whenever and wherever there is greed of any capacity. The secret to avoiding this threshold is to be content with what you have. Live more and want less."

"Enduring + overcoming = empowerment. Let adversity make you a stronger person rather than a damaged person."

"Happy people are sometimes targeted by unhappy people. Miserable people can often only temporarily mask their own misery at your expense. Take it as a sign that you are doing something right if you have acquired so much happiness that it offends others."

"No matter who you are or what kind of person you are or how hard you try, not everyone will like you. Never put your own happiness on the line by expecting otherwise."

"Self-esteem is built from the ground-up, from sweat equity, from years of remodeling and repairing damaged and weakened structures, from experience and from customized materials for more durability. Never allow other people who have invested little to no effort into their foundations tear down what you have spent years building."

"Focus on what you can do and never on what you can't do. And, there is always something you can do."

And, just for fun......

"Life is a series of events that happen in between eating bacon."

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Compilation Of Survival Quotes

I have been writing quotes for motivational and inspirational purposes for quite some time. I thought I would compile a few of them together in one post to share with others. I hope you enjoy them and please feel free to share them with others as well and use them freely. I ask that you please include a link back to my blog if you do choose to share.

"Never expect other people, mother nature or circumstance will adapt to you. A survivor mindset is adaptable."

"Your thoughts are your choice and in your control. Never let outside influences control your thoughts."

"Choose to overcome and the mind will lead the body."

"You have the ultimate control over your own mind and you, therefore, have the ultimate control over your own destiny."

"The mind wills the body."

"Your ability to overcome and your will to live are controlled by your own thought processes."

"The more adversity you have experienced and overcome, the greater your ability to improvise and adapt to changing circumstance."

"True leaders learn from those that they lead."

"Adversity is the spawn of ingenuity and the catalyst of wisdom."

"To truly overcome a circumstance, you must first acknowledge the gravity of the situation and have the tenacity and the grit to get through it rather than around it."

"Leaders are not born they are developed through adverse life circumstance and practiced ability to overcome those circumstances."

"When it comes to friction fire, if at first you don't succeed, join the club and keep on practicing."

"He who laughs first is not worth your time."

"If you can envision it, you can create it."

"Practice makes perfect is a lie. Practice makes improvement. Practice makes empowerment. Practice makes confidence. Practices is always evolving, so there can never be true perfection."

"A survivor mentality can be honed through consciously choosing to adapt and overcome circumstances that are outside of your control."

....and just for fun:

"Life is like bacon: there's never enough of it and it's always better when shared. On second thought, who shares bacon?"

I hope you enjoyed these. I have more which I will post on a later date. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hunger Rage: How Far Would You Go To Feed Your Family?

Hunger, violence, rage, riots, looting and danger are all locked into an intertwined relationship with one another. Hunger breeds violence and violence breeds hunger. In our fast-food world of excess, it’s difficult to fathom the depths of desperation that severe food or water deprivation would lead to. How many times have you skipped lunch and mentioned to someone that you are starving? But, the truth be told, you were merely hungry or peckish. Starvation is something entirely different. And, unless you have experienced it first hand, you would have no real way of knowing just how far you would go for food and water. The body and the mind are absolutely driven to insist that you find food or water in a way that you must experience to understand.

What we do know is that normally non-violent individuals will quickly resort to violence in the act of gaining food or water supplies. November 8th, 2013 in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most devastating documented typhoons on record, there was a secondary storm that swept across Southeast Asia and the Philippines. This secondary storm was the storm of millions of desperate, starving people. With parts of the Philippines being wiped out by winds in excess of 235 miles per hour, there was little to no food for the survivors. People in mass quantity foraged through remnants for anything edible. Shops, stores, malls, and stands were depleted of all food and beverages rapidly. This hunger and desperation quickly became a catalyst toward violence. In Tacloban, a small city with nearly a quarter of a million inhabitants, they had only about 20 out of nearly 300 law enforcement agents show up for work in the immediate aftermath. There was no other governmental agency, entity or branch working. It became an impossibility to enforce any form of social order or law (Robberies) (Baculina).

The news is peppered with examples of hunger and violence. We have all heard of the string of rioting, looting and shootings that occurred following Hurricane Katrina. In addition, In 2011, a string of robberies was blamed on hunger in Philadelphia. In 2008, after Haiti had been hard hit by multiple hurricanes and tropical storms, the entire population was hungry. There was zero infrastructure, zero food or water supplies, zero social order, zero electricity, zero drinking water, zero public health system. This lack of social order and infrastructure gave way to widespread disease, corruption, violence, tension, riots, slums and hunger rage (Hunger).

Social control and social order is a very fragile entity. All pieces and parts of the concept of the control and order must fit perfectly into place in order for it to be effective. When one piece of our societal system is fractured or broken, the entire facade of what we deem to be order and control can go tumbling down. In a domino effect one falling piece immediately affects the next one and one by one the systems break and fall. In a butterfly effect, the cause of widespread destruction of social order can begin months earlier with an event that may not by itself seem capable of fracturing and devastating an entire social system. But, because social order and social control are built upon a social system with interrelated and interconnecting parts, there is no way but for one event to impact others until the problem grows exponentially.

Reading about what others have done in the face of death from starvation, how far would you go in order to feed yourself or your loved ones? These are questions to ask yourself sooner rather than later. If your answer is that you would do whatever you had to do in order to feed yourself or your family, then why would you not stock pile food, water and supplies in your home and in cache locations now before disaster strikes? Why would you wait for desperate times if you know in your heart that you would do anything in order to eat or drink? If your answer truly is that you would do whatever you needed to do to feed your family, then “whatever you need to do to feed your family” should be to plan ahead and to be prepared.

For further reading:

Baculinao, Eric F. Brinley Bruton And Alexander Smith. NBC News. “Typhoon Haiyan’s Hungry Survivors: We Are Not Looters.” Nov. 12, 2013.

“Robberies Blamed On Hunger.”

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Rise Of The Prepper: How Uncertain Times Are Increasing The Popularity Of Prepping

Prepping is a term used to describe a variety of lifestyles. For the vast majority of people, the term is thought to describe an individual or group of individuals who recognize the risk of catastrophe, calamity and uncertainty and thus attempt to prepare for these uncertain times so as to be better equipped mentally, physically and tangibly to survive any situation presented. Preppers value being able to take care of themselves no matter what. They value not relying on the government or other agencies for their survival needs. They know and recognize the need to plan ahead to meet their own and their loved ones basic needs no matter whether the event is small or large scale.

Prepping Through Time:

Historically, prepping has been around for a long while. Our ancestors were adept at planning ahead for times when things might be more grim. They were nomadic in nature and survived and thrived by planning ahead for more difficult times. Only recently has the term "prepper" been used so widely. There were a variety of preppers spawned from historical uncertainty as with the Great Depression after the stock market crashed in 1929 and the Cold War era leading up to 1980. Many feared a nuclear attack and began stock piling preps and building shelters just in case.  Y2K and the widespread fear of electronic collapse also gave way to prepping for the unpredictably of the future. Following the events of the Great Depression, a lot of people no longer trusted the government or banks or anyone else with their safety and security. Lifestyle changes came about from having experienced a time of loss of prosperity and going without. From this period, a great amount of us had relatives or grandparents who salvaged and saved every spare piece of tin foil, butter containers, rubber bands and other odds and ends for that "just in case" time when they might need it and not be able to get it.

This Great Depression was, in essence, the spawn of the prepper mindset: A mindset and worldview that states that I might not always have access to food, water and medical care. I might have to find a way to take care of myself and my family. I might not always be able to count on others. I am going to plan ahead. I am going to save this tin foil and other items because I have had to go without and I learned a valuable lesson from that experience.

Modern Prepping:

Fast forward to our modern inter-connected, wired, heavily migrated and immigrated world and everything is far more complicated on a much grander scale. We know that today these uncertain events can become globally catastrophic. We also know that due to our higher population levels that our job markets are much more strained. We know that we could lose our job. We know that a pandemic could spread far more rapidly and globally than what the CDC (Centers For Disease Control) or WHO (World Health Organization) could compensate for and keep up with.

From the vast amount of internet, radio and television programming, we know that weather causes major catastrophic events all around the world. Now, more than ever before, we can watch war, hurricanes, kidnappings, terrorism, pandemics, economic challenges and international relations from our own living rooms. The world has always been a dynamic and potentially dangerous place, but now we really can't pretend that it cannot or will not affect us anymore. We would have to disengage from all types of media to include the newspaper in order to really tell ourselves that nothing bad could ever happen to us.

Prepping Awareness What Happens When McDonald's, Coke and Snickers Are Not Available:

This awareness is a catalyst for the rise of the prepper. Being prepared is now far more mainstream and acceptable. It is much more difficult to look at someone who believes in the value of having life-saving skills and supplies on hand and not question whether maybe we should do this too. To ignore the importance of prepping is to say that you actually believe that nothing bad will happen to you and if it does, someone else will take care of you. No one wants to verbalize that out loud. They know deep down that they should actively do what they can to be prepared. There is undoubtedly a sense of shame in admitting that you are ill prepared to take care of yourself or your family should you need to.

Following the sinking of the Titanic, no one wants to be on a cruise ship that doesn't have enough life rafts for everyone. Likewise, knowing the possibilities of things that could occur, no one should want to face severe weather, job loss or catastrophe without food, water and supplies. It just makes rational sense to do a risk analysis and contingency planning in order to be prepared for those risks. It's "just in case" insurance. We all should value the feeling of being prepared.

Preppers are no longer being viewed as paranoid or strange. They are slowly and surely being viewed as role models for the rest. They are actively showing and teaching others the value in having skills, knowledge and supplies to take care of yourself during uncertain times. The more and more that preppers share online or in writings or with other media and groups, the more mainstream this lifestyle and mindset becomes.

There has rarely been a time in history that was calm, smooth sailing with little to no worries, but now, more than ever our future is uncertain. Now, more than ever, we are made aware of this uncertainty. Now, more than ever we need to be planning ahead. Now, more than ever, prepping is gaining in popularity for a very good reason.

Monday, July 7, 2014

How To Survive Your Current Situation And Empower Yourself For When The SHTF

Approaching the great outdoors with a beginner’s mind will allow even the most experienced to view the surroundings with an open mind. Opening up your mind to all of the possibilities your surroundings offer will only increase and improve your odds of survival. With the mind of a novice everything has possibilities and you are only limited by your own imagination.

 All of us approach our physical and social worlds with mental models that are a compilation of our past experiences, our internal values and judgments and our own mental roadblocks that are put in place over years of disappointments, successes and failures. But, by purposefully stepping out of this box we have put ourselves into and viewing everything with a new, untainted perspective, we open up a world of new options.

 This mental practice, when put to use in practicing survival skills, enables you to be more innovative and increase your ability to expand your potential options when presented with a situation. We tend toward the same responses when problem solving that we have always relied upon. To approach a problem with a novice mindset takes practice in and of itself. Once you have mastered this ability, however, you will be amazed at how much creative energy is allowed to surface that we typically cut off with boundaries and mental roadblocks.

 An open mind that is wide-open to possibilities will far sooner be able to recognize any opportunity than a closed, jaded, know-it-all mind. Do not allow your own brain to keep you from seeing things with a new perspective. Remember what it was like to practice your skills when you had never seen it done before. Teach a child how to do a skill and you will see an open mind in practice. They have no preconceived ideas of what the outcome will be and are therefore much more open to problem solving and seeing opportunities wherever they may be. Children see everything as possible and this is the mindset that you want to hone in on. As adults we slowly narrow our options until we are confined by our own lack of daring creativity.

 Problem solving in survival situations or real-world, day-to-day circumstances is a skill that not everyone is great at. You can improve this ability via learning how to put down your everyday lens that you use to view the world and pick up a lens that has not been used yet. Mentally pretend that you are viewing the problem with this unused lens. Everything about the problem should look different with this new lens. Consider all of your options and all of the possibilities utilizing whatever you have on in terms of every-day-carry items, what is in your immediate surroundings and what is perhaps beyond your immediate surroundings. Attempt to problem solve your way around the problem with new eyes and see if more solutions don’t come to mind.

 In every-day life many of us get caught up in patterns and routines. Because of these patterns and routines, we become “stuck” or unable to get ourselves out of a situation that we no longer want to be in or that is painful to be in. Why is it that some people always land on their feet while others struggle with the same sort of problems over and over again? Because of these mental models and routines some people are virtually unable to see a new solution. Therefore, they continue to respond to problems with the same set of solutions expecting different outcomes each time and never really grasping that they will continue to get the same sort of outcome if they continue to respond to problems with the same set of solutions.
Taking a chance on "you" can be frightening. Sometimes we are blocked by an inability to see the potential in ourselves. Opening up your mind to possibilities and practicing looking at solutions without stopping yourself with a lack of belief in yourself can be difficult. Explore your world, explore your options, explore change and explore these options with a free and open mind as if you were a child again. Remember when you thought you could be an astronaut? Remember when you believed 100% that you would be a race-car driver? What happened to you between those dreams and your current set of circumstances? You got in your own way. You kept yourself from being able to believe that you would ever be able to do those things. And, so you continued on the path of least resistance a.k.a. “the easier path.” When looking at solutions to survival situations and having a survival mindset, it is vital that you do not get in your own way.

You have to believe in yourself. You must believe that you can get out of the situation. You need to accept that although it may be one of the most difficult things you have ever been through, you can and you will survive. You must have the will to survive. You cannot afford to have a lack of faith in your own ability and you cannot afford to be closed-minded to the survival options you are presented with in a SHTF situation. Having the ability to see the entire situation for what it is and exploring what your options may be without thinking of all of the reasons that you don’t have what it takes to succeed is the point of practicing a survival mindset.
You do have the capacity to problem-solve and to explore options and utilize your experience and your wilderness skills to best meet your needs and survive another day. You can do this now, in your current life. You can practice looking at your situation for the first time with a new set of eyes and exploring all of your options not just the options that you immediately think of. Not just the options that you usually give yourself….but, all of the options. Use your new lens. Use the lens of a novice. How would someone who hasn’t lived your life, hasn’t experienced what you have experienced and hasn’t made all of the choices or suffered all of the consequences of those choices view your life? Would they offer new insights? Would they see new solutions? Most certainly they would. We are only limited by our own lens and our own borders. Expand those borders in your current world and in your wilderness practice. View everything with a new untainted lens and see how different everything looks. An open-mind creates a world of new opportunity for which we were unable to see before.

 This is not to say that you should foolishly go out into the wilderness with only an open mind and everything will work out. This is one more skill to add to your survival pack. You should have the practical and experiential knowledge of self-reliance, bush craft and wilderness survival skills before ever partaking on an outdoor adventure into uncharted territory. You should not travel alone if at all possible and you should always let someone know where you will be and when to expect you back and when to become concerned before heading out on a camping trip, a day hike or a longer-term survival trip. Make sure you have the necessary clothing and gear and that you are amply familiar with how to use any gear that you take along. Add to that, an open-mind that allows you to see all possibilities and you will most certainly open up a new world of options, solutions and improve your survival mindset.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Recognizing The Gravity Of The Situation: How Bushcrafters, Survivalists And Preppers Mentally Prepare For Danger

As I watch the news, read the paper, research situations where people survived, and recount my own experiences, I frequently encounter a common theme. People who tend to respond to dangerous encounters in a way that aids in there own survival, recognize the "gravity of the situation" and are able to kick into flight or fight mode as needed. Some people recognize the gravity of the situation and under the intense stress and pressure they close down and are unable to think coherently or make rational decisions. Whereas, others are able to recognize the level of danger and still make survival decisions. And then there are those who are unable to fully grasp the profoundness of a life or death situation and may not take the unfolding events and their corresponding decisions seriously enough until it is too late.

Why is that? I have been fascinated by this fact since I was a child and found myself in a life or death situation. I, along with a friend, were in a life-changing moment in time that terrified both of us. I made rapid decisions and choices under the extreme stress, while she froze in a completely unresponsive manner. We were both from similar backgrounds, both the same age, the same sex, with similar likes and dislikes. Why did my flight or fight mechanisms kick in so well and her's not at all? 

Fast forward, years later, and I have gleaned a great deal of insight into the survival personality. The personality type that recognizes the seriousness and the gravity of the situation, but refuses to accept defeat, refuses to buy into hopelessness and will do "something" whatever that "something" is in order to save one's own life. This life-saving ability may be innate in a manner that one either has it or doesn't. But, that never made sense to me because it fails to explain the years and years that humans have adapted to their environments and survived and thrived among dangers, predators and each other. There is a historical learning curve that has taken place in order for you or I to even be here. If our ancestors had not adapted and developed the ability to function under stressful circumstances and make quick, potentially life-saving, decisions, we simply wouldn't be here as they wouldn't have survived to reproduce. 

These ancient survival clues that are unearthed as we learn more and more about where we came from, are insight into our modern potential and capabilities. To me, this clarifies that the survival personality can be honed. We may not need these survival abilities anymore, on the day-to-day as we once did, but perhaps they are buried deep within us under a pile of tablets, magazines, remotes and Mp3 players. 

The ability to move toward action rather than inaction and the ability to get yourself out of trouble and to make life-saving decisions are abilities that are still within each of us. These abilities are gifts, bestowed upon us from the blood, sweat and tears of the many that came before us. The fact is that the human plight has been a painstakingly difficult one. We are the ultimate survivors. We survive without actual flight, without long, sharp claws and without 6-inch canine teeth. We survive because we systematically adapted to our environment, mastered fire-craft, shelters and tool-making and responded appropriately to threats and dangers.

So, how does one hone this innate survival ability?

We hone this skill like any other life saving skill via knowledge and practice. Bush-craft skills empower you with the ability to utilize your surroundings to your benefit. Practicing these skills enables you to consistently consider every angle of a "potentially dangerous situation." As you pack two to three ways of making fire, cordage, containers and knives into your kit, you are readying yourself to face potential odds. And you are readying yourself to recast those odds in your own favor. These skills increase your own capacity to make decisions under duress, stress and danger, by gently and systematically exposing your brain to "what-if" scenarios and responding to those "what-if" scenarios with knowledge, skill and a plan. 

When I look back on my own situation, the primary difference between myself and my friend is that I had been preparing throughout my childhood for survival situations, but I never actually realized it until adulthood. The fact that I was introduced to wilderness survival techniques and situations in a timely, fun manner, literally saved my life when the SHTF in a real-life scenario. It wasn't so much the skill, although skill is precious in saving lives. It was the empowerment and the mental preparation that I had done on my own through practicing these skills that ultimately saved my life. I had been developing a survival mindset. 

If you can envision it, you can create it. The mind is powerful. Fuel your mind with knowledge and skill that will not only aid you in life-threatening circumstances, but will aid your mind in recognizing the gravity of the situation and responding to the situation. You can train your brain to be a survivor through bush-crafting, prepping and survival skills. Your life is precious. Train your brain to be there for you if you ever need to save a very important life....your own. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Is The Survivalist Prepper A New Breed? Bringing Survival Tactics, Bushcraft and Preparedness To a Whole New Level

The ability to adapt to changing circumstance and to become self-reliant is something that we should all strive for.
I happened across a survivalist forum that asked a general question regarding whether each visitor was a survivalist or a prepper. After some time spent skimming some of the answers to that intriguing question, I set out to read other blogs, forums, social-media sites and discussions on this topic. Eventually, I was able to deduce that there is a historical divide between the two groups for some people, but not for others. I discovered a new, and rapidly-growing group of individuals who appear to label themselves and identify as both a survivalist and a prepper.

Although it appears that this fairly-new, mixed-breed, known as the survivalist-prepper, identifies with both philosophies, they do tend to model skills and information which leans slightly more toward survivalist or slightly more toward prepping. But, as time passes, the philosophies are steadily morphing into an entirely new concoction. The individual that practices outdoor survival skills and bush-craft, believes in home defense, values having food, water and other necessities stocked up for "just-in-case events" is now doubly prepared. This person has an overall worldview that puts a high priority on being prepared mentally, physically and has the skills and knowledge to adapt to changing circumstances whether those circumstances equate to being lost in the wilderness or an economic collapse. This person is self-reliant.

The self-reliant individual is not unlike this multi-purpose tool.
Self-reliance is a term not used enough in the survivalist, outdoor survival, urban survival, prepping or bushcraft genres. It is used with more frequency in off-grid, permaculture and other self-sustaining groups. But, self-reliance and self-sufficient are not the same thing. One can be self-reliant without necessarily living a self-sufficient lifestyle. Generally, I would say that anyone that is able to live off-grid and practices permaculture and self-sustaining homesteads is very much self-reliant in most or all areas of survival and preparedness.

Self-reliance is something that every individual should strive to become. The term denotes that you are capable and able to take care of your self. Self-reliance is saying that you can rely on This is not to say that you will never need others. A fully self-reliant person is capable of utilizing any skill necessary to accomplish the mission at hand to include social skills if need be. To be self-reliant is to be adaptable to changing circumstance. To be self-reliant is to be capable of navigating the terrain and improvising and adapting when the terrain suddenly or drastically changes. To be self-reliant is to know that you are ready, willing and able to do what needs to be done to acclimate and systematically overcome the odds even when those odds are seemingly stacked against you.

Shouldn't we all want to be able to rely upon ourselves? Yes, we are social creatures and we do need people and we do need groups and communities. Yes, your odds of survival if you are socially adept and can acclimate your social landscape successfully and with ease are increased. But, what if you are ever in a situation where all that you have is yourself? Would you feel safe with you? Would you depend on you? Do you have the knowledge, skills and abilities as well as the mindset to navigate your way through emergencies, disasters or catastrophic events? The confident, self-reliant individual would have adequate knowledge and skill in areas that cover the gambit of survivalist, hunter-gatherer, bushcraft, tactical, home defense and prepper.

When preparedness meets survivalist 
This new breed of prepared-survivalist is not the militant-survivalist of decades past nor the apocalyptic prepper highlighted recently on television, rather something in between the two. And because of this clear delineation that appears to come with differing perspectives that are a combination of multiple lifestyles and philosophies, the survivalist-prepper both needs and deserves a new name that highlights this belief system and the combined knowledge, skill and ability which is exponential when you bring philosophies together. This new breed is deserving of being coined as self-reliant. With self-reliance comes confidence and competence. Who wouldn't be proud to call themselves self-reliant. There is no doubt that when it comes to everyday life events gone awry or serious life-changing events, I want to either be self-reliant or be right beside someone who is.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Waking Up America: A Fight For Your Second Amendment Rights

"America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw; confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law."
Excerpt from "America The Beautiful"
(Sherr, 77)

Our modern American society is, in essence, in it's adolescence and has wandered far from its revolutionary roots. America the "great," in infancy, was the spawn of exploration, revolution, desire for change, preparedness, tenacity, will, determination and an overall survivor-mindset. Founded on concepts such as liberty and law, America was the ultimate survivor. America knew how to overcome tumultuous odds and grew to be something that instilled pride in everyone that called themselves "American." America had an immeasurable spirit of positive, forward direction.

There is a sense of urgency in the necessity for our modern nation to re-read these words, written by Katherine Lee Bates in 1893, later used in the anthem "America the Beautiful." Words speak volumes. Words and phrases such as "self-control," "liberty," and "law" have a definite meaning and understanding that should not be easily debatable or misunderstood. And, yet, bring forth 2014, and one would rarely include the phrase "self-control" in lyrics intended to describe America, the supersized-McCapital of the world, the instant-gratification nation.

This once great nation of integrity, ability, perseverance and strength both mentally and physically, has germinated into a society comprised of sleeping citizens. While the media and other activist groups are attempting to teach us to be materialistic, egocentric, and narcissistic, we are becoming intentionally distracted and disconnected from our roots. This systemic-disconnect equates to a modern culture of lost identity, disappointment, disillusion and ultimately citizen disarmament as we continue to follow the masses and sleep at the wheel. 

Our founders had to work together with a sense of community that is non-existent today. Our modern, technological gadgetry and shattered focus has successfully distracted us to the point of indifference to who we are, where we are, where we are going and even what could happen to us if we don't wake up.

Where are we now?

America we must stand together and let no one attempt to break our true American spirit. For many, the skills and the passion are no longer in-tune with our former greatness and grassroots. We, sadly, are becoming a nation of self-entitled, disconnected individuals in a mass-pursuit of pleasure over planning. Some are content to live blindly in the present with relatively little regard for the possibilities of tomorrow. They do not plan ahead. They do not believe they have to work hard for anything as they assume that things will always come easily or someone will spare them or save them from their own foolish choices. They have completely lost connection with what it means to truly work for something. They have lost their will and devalued tenacity.

Americans are now being taught as children that we are all winners with little to no effort. We all get a trophy if we were present and participated and everything is fair. There are no losers. Everyone wins equally. How did our pioneer roots and previous hard-working, predecessors that built this country with blood, sweat and tears culminate in "participation ribbons?" Americans are busily raising young Americans with the modern philosophy of "life is always fair" and "always equitable" and "everyone plays nice."

We are now forced to debate, protect and defend our own second amendment right to bear arms. We are being taught early that people all play fair, life is filled with love, squish and bubble-gum drops. This is unequivocally not true and by giving up your arms you risk giving up your own freedoms and safety. And, when bad people do bad things with a weapon, we are being taught that the weapon is the bad guy and that guns themselves bring evil. Where is the accountability on the bad guy? While the media focuses your attention on their anti-gun agenda, your second amendment rights are being challenged. Your own right to defend yourself is in jeopardy.

 One evening of watching the world news and we can quickly surmise that the world IS a dangerous place. We do not have to be afraid, or always expecting trouble, but it would be a disservice to not inform ourselves that there are dangers in this world. Our founders allowed us the right to take care of ourselves should we need to. The modern world is different, but it is not safer. We would be even more foolish now than in our country's formative years to trust that the government or other agencies will always take care of us if we are in trouble. In chaos, whether that chaos is driven by a natural disaster or a man-made disaster, when it gets bad the are on your own after a point.

Historically, life is rarely fair and rarely does everyone "play nice." So, where does this new philosophy get us?  No one knows the long-term ramifications yet, but we do have a lot of those "participation ribbons" hanging on the walls to prove to ourselves and others that we are "special" even though we didn't do much of anything to earn them. We just showed up and we were given a ribbon for our sheer presence. 

The world doesn't function that way. The business world doesn't even function that way. What are we really teaching? We are teaching our American youth that they do not have to try, they do not have to have the guts to gain the glory. They do not have to fight for anything not even their own constitutional rights. This is nonsensical. Hard work, grit and tenacity are what America was founded upon and if we want to remain a great country, it is imperative that we get back to valuing the qualities, characteristics and respect for "sweat equity" that we once all shared.

The pioneers and the modern-day survivalists:

Survivalists, preppers and others that plan and prepare and recognize that the world is a wonderful, beautiful place that has inherent dangers and risks are more in sync with our founders than most other distracted, Americans. Perhaps if catastrophe occurs, these characteristics and this gumption will come out in all Americans again. Survivalists recognize the risks in neutering ourselves via over-confidence and lack of preparation, skill and training and buying into a philosophy of "someone else will protect me," "someone else will save me" or worse yet, "nothing bad will ever happen to me." America would not be here as it is today had our founders sat back and expected everything would just work and the only thing required of them is to just show up.

Americans have had a nice ride, but like all good things, if you take that easy-ride for granted, you can lose it. We need a country to be proud of again. We need to be the epitome of the "American spirit" again. We need to "confirm thy soul in self-control" again by recognizing and responding to the need to get in touch with our American foundation: respect for our constitution, respect for hard work, respect for planning ahead, respect for preparation and then, and only then, (and only occasionally) should we sit back in our lazy chair, setting up our fifth smart phone and stuffing our face with a Big-Mac.

Read more and visit my blog and comment at:

Lyrics at top of essay: Written by Katherine Lee Bates
Excerpted from: Sherr, Lynn. "America the Beautiful; The Stirring True Story behind Our Nation's Favorite Song." New York Public Affairs, 2001. Print.