Last month in Montana Chloe and I had a blast playing weekend warriors. I took her with me to attend a “Wilderness Medicine and Urban Survival” course. This was one of the most practical and fun medical lectures I’ve attended because they included emergency and survival courses for children as well. While I was learning about urban disasters, predators, wound treatment, bone setting, water purification and plant toxicology, Chloe was building shelters, learning to fend off animals, start fires and more.
Chloe and I didn’t quite manage to convince Daniel to join us. Learning about snake bites, treating poison oak and pending urban disasters just isn’t the top priority in his “positive thinking” brain. He figures he did enough camping during his ten years in the army. It’s highly unlikely that Daniel will get poison oak, since his idea of camping is when the hotel doesn’t have cable and feather pillows. But he does humor me by carrying the emergency plan I created for him in his computer bag and suitcase.
OK, I’m a little intense. I accept that, and while I might be trapped in a relatively small frame with a genetic predisposition that renders me more vulnerable to certain illnesses, in my mind I’m a bad &$$ warrior! I might be physically vulnerable, but I have a will of steel and I have no doubt it’s my will that has carried me through both physical and psychological challenges in my life.
What others call trauma, I call training. Are warriors born or trained? Or is it a choice? I have no idea, but I do know that I don’t have a choice. If there is an emergency, a tragedy, or a person in trouble, I react immediately. I jump in without thinking, so I better be prepared. My husband says there are people who are wired to run into fires and those who run away and call 911. I am the one who would definitely run in.
I love Lt. Dave Grossman’s description of warriors in his book “On Combat”. He talks about people being in one of three categories on a bell curve: Sheep, Sheep Dogs or Wolves.
Sheep are the majority of people on the curve who don’t want to believe that tragedy can or will occur.
Wolves are the small percentage of evil people at one end of the curve, who prey on the sheep.
Sheep dogs, at the other end, are those with a warrior mentality who protect the sheep.
Interestingly, sheepdogs annoy the sheep because they are a constant reminder that wolves are always threatening the safety of the flock. The sheep would prefer to deny of this reality just keep, grazing away. Like wolves, sheepdogs have sharp teeth that give them the ability to fight wolves to the death if necessary. Sheep don’t like this gift of aggression bestowed upon sheepdogs. The difference is that a true sheepdog won’t hurt a sheep under any circumstance. Yet the sheepdog irritates sheep and serves as a reminder that wolves are a threat.
So why is it important that we have sheepdogs?
Why is it important that sheepdogs be aware and prepared? As Lt. Grossman states:
“While there is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, to the sheep, he does have one real advantage. Only one.
He is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population.
There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory acts of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.
However, when there were cues given by potential victims that indicated they would not go easily, the cons said that they would walk away. If the cons sensed that the target was a “counter-predator,” that is, a sheepdog, they would leave him alone unless there was no other choice but to engage.”
I have no doubt it was my intensity, willingness to fight and pure righteous indignation that saved me from being raped at fifteen years old when I was attacked by a predator. It’s also that mindset that helped me overcome my fear and kept me from acting like a victim following the event.
If I can pass this mindset on to even a few of you, or your children, it will make those past experiences completely worth it!
This mentality and planning extends beyond being attacked by human predators.
It’s the same mentality and planning required for thriving in any disaster.
Being a “warrior” is a mindset. That’s why I’m taking a detour from nutrition to talk about emergency and disaster planning! Ultimately, being prepared and staying healthy is all related to brain health. And as I always teach in health coaching, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. This is never truer than in emergency situations. I think everyone, especially women and children, should be prepared for emergencies. There’s a lot of important information to pass on so I’ve divided this into several segments.
Think about how you can be more prepared to take care of yourself and your loved ones in any kind of emergency situation – The Brain Warrior’s Way!