It’s probably no surprise to you that I’m a voracious reader and avid collector of books. Along with the ubiquitous “to be read” pile that just about everyone has, I also keep a shelf of reference material that I turn to over and over again. Some are related to my day job; others are a reflection of my hobbies and nerdery. Then there’s this book.
Deep Survival is nominally about what it takes to survive accidents and the great outdoors, often when one is part of the other (you can grab a copy at this money-grubbing affiliate link)
According to the author, Laurence Gonzales, survival requires people to see what is there, not what they expect to see. To be in the present when observing. To accept what is seen.
It requires “turning fear into focus.” It requires being resigned to your fate, but not giving into it and continuing to struggle and endure nonetheless because you have faith in the outcome.
It’s about staying positive, about finding the good and the beautiful, the wins small and large. It’s about maintaining a sense of humor in the face of all odds.
Because staying focused on process, on letting the patterns become a dance, that’s what lets you survive in the face of great odds, particularly when that focus keeps you from being pushed into facing extraneous information and becoming distracted and confused by it rather than leaving that data as just a subtle awareness in the back of your mind so that you can concentrate on what’s important.
But “survival” has a connotation of being about avoiding dying, and I think it’s so much more than that. I think it’s living life to its fullest. Survival situations like those that Gonzales describes simply bring into sharp relief what matters the most: being present, accepting reality, celebrating the good, and continuing to just keep moving and doing.
It’s easy to get caught up in what’s happening in the wider world and to worry about all of the bad things that might be happening (and there sure seem to be a lot these days). I struggle with it myself. It’s less easy to know that that’s all going on but to remain in the part of life that’s you and what’s immediately around you. It’s hard to keep your attention on what is going well, on what you can do, and on what is within your ability to control and change.
Right now, for me, I’m working on managing and healing a chronic injury that took a turn for the worse earlier this year. COVID and election news are on my radar, but I’m instead going to spend a little of my spare time researching the political atmosphere of the area I’ll be living in soon. In the meantime, I’m enjoying having my art collection around me.
So what about you?