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September 30, 2009

Making Do

As I sort through and organize all of my survival and preparedness gear, I find myself realizing that I will likely have little or no access to what I need when I need it. I try to train myself in how to use everything, the best way to pack things, and label them accordingly so I will be able to easily access anything I have even under the most adverse circumstance. I know that all the gear one could amass is of no use if you don’t have it with you. For this reason alone, it is essential that you gain knowledge, experience, and wisdom above all the gear you can have.

Ask yourself questions that will lead to the most bare bones survival scenarios possible. What would I do in the midst of a catastrophe with nothing, not even so much as a pocket knife? Do you have what it takes to make something from nothing, have a good attitude, a sense of humor, and the will to keep on keeping on no matter what? What would you do if you were caught in a heavy rain wearing nothing more than jeans and a tee shirt? You are soaked to the bone, the wind is picking up, and the temperature has dropped to 40 degrees. How do you avoid falling into hypothermia? Granted, some situations aren’t survivable. You must enter even those with an attitude that you will prevail, after all, there are accounts where someone overcomes the impossible and lives to tell about it. The common thread throughout miracle stories seems to be an amazing attitude, and the will to prevail. I think back over several situations where I really was surprised to make it out alive.

When I was in the Air Force, one of the things I did was to organize a group of airmen to fight a raging forest fire in the Rocky Mountains near Denver, Colorado. Our small group fought fire for nearly 72 solid hours. Nights were a surreal hellish inferno. I recall plumes of flame unexpectedly shooting out of nowhere, where roots had been burning underground, and then suddenly shooting skyward as high as 75 feet. The chances of stepping into a searing hole of white hot ash where a tree once stood was not unlikely. I had one incident of riding a near shear cliff a great distance to the ground in an attempt to escape the fire. What I am getting at here, is that we have innate abilities that seem to wake up at just the critical moment we need them. I know from experience that we can increase our odds of making it, if we will take the necessary time to study, practice, and learn the skills necessary for our core survival.

The rule of threes is a common bit of wisdom to remember at all times. You can make it three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, and three weeks without food. Remember the sacred order of survival basics; Shelter, Fire, Water, and Food. Build and hone your powers of awareness, and be prepared to face the unexpected. Most of all, keep a positive mental attitude under all circumstances. Learn to utilize as much of the surrounding environment as you can. Make observation, and awareness exercises a part of your daily life. When you think about it, look around. What do your immediate situation and surroundings present to you if a need were to arise. Whether in a city or the wilderness, you still have the same needs. Use common sense when going anywhere.

Prepare for weather changes. Build your knowledge base of readily available foods that you can find wherever you are. Be on the look out for possible shelter, and protection sights. Always make note of possible escape routes wherever you are, especially in crowded areas. I have been in situations where civil unrest has broken out and I was in the midst of it. A situation can go from normal to mayhem in seconds. In these times, there may be no reaction time. If you can build your sensitivity to your surroundings, you can sometimes feel tension rising and get out before it is too late. The same principle applies to weather. Don’t become complacent, or expect an authority to be there to help. Even if they are well intentioned, they may be too caught up in the situation at hand to help you out.

The bottom line is to be prepared in advance of anything that comes along as much as you can. This involves practicing skills, cultivating sensitivity, intuition, improvising, and if possible getting out of harms way before the situation becomes critical. Take your survival kits out, and practice using them. Refine them to their simplest form. Learn how to make do without them. Make your mind, body, and spirit your primary survival tool.