Prepping and Reality

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FAlley's picture
FAlley
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Prepping and Reality

When I was a kid in high school, I discovered Hubbert's theory of peak oil, and promptly understood that before I was able to get to college the world I knew would cease to function. Cars would stop driving, groceries shelves would empty, and my nowhere town would soon devolve into dog-eat-dogness and what not. I filled bottles with water and kept them in my closet, next to an old 12 gauge I kept loaded, and daily checked the survival blogs to see if the sky was falling tomorrow, or next month. It was almost always "in the next year or two".

In college, I had a good friend I went I went on a late night stroll with. I had an army rucksack packed with a small box of fishing gear, a small sleeping bag, a few MREs, and some other small knick knacks I no longer recall. My brilliant plan was that, upon announcement of "SHTF", I'd pick up my pack and head out into the Arkansas wilderness, living off the land, living out of caves, and all n all just being that good ole kind of forest mongrel. The very definition of a life to strive towards.

I tell that hoping it'll be halfway amusing, and also knowing that some of those ideas are not completely atypical of those who find sites like this (though I think this paticular one's more reality-based than others I've stumbled across). I was drawn to sites like this because of a sense of pessimism and skepticism about how the world works, and now I'm developing a growing skepticism about if the sky is falling, if it is, how hard, and whether it will be next year or in the next decade.

I'd like to offer a conversation on reality, moderation, and taking things with a grain of salt, whether they're said by the lamestream media or James Wesley Rawles.

For my part, I've gone from waiting to be the Crocodile Dundee of the Ozarks to training to be a cop, and working police while finishing my degree. Whether the sky falls next year or next decade, it's a path I'm happy with and see a future in. I'd like to chat about what reality means to you, and what optimism means to you.

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joesxm2011
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Joining a gang is a good way

Joining a gang is a good way to prepare for SHTF and it seems like you joined the biggest gang around.

I think being in with the cops is a win win situation.  If things continue as is you have a potential career in a field that adds value to society.  If SHTF you will be in tight with the group most likely to organize some sort of civilization in your community.

I take a similar approach.

I learn about firearms so I can defend myself against potential criminal activity, but it is also a nice hobby - sort of a substitute for golf with many of the same concentration requirements.

I eat a lot of survival foods like rice and beans and vegetables so that I will not have digestive problems if I have to live off stored food.  However, at the same time this semi-vegan diet has helped me to drop several pounds and take 30 points of my cholesterol score.  I was inspired by seeing Chris do even more.

I decided that I would drop dead from hard work or be beaten to death by predators in a SHTF scenario so I started to do some strength training.  If there never is a scenario I still will be a lot better off due to the health benefits of exercise.

With the economy crashing how will I afford the cost of health care as I age.  The above items will keep me healthier than without them and this will reduce the cost of health care down the road.

Like they say, expect the best but plan for the worst.

I may be a crazy fanatic, but everything I do has a dual use and worrying about SHTF serves as a motivation to do these things that I should be doing anyway even if the future is rosy.

 

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Wendy S. Delmater
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Prepper burnout vs cruising altitude

Good topic, FAlley. You're at crusing altitude now. Good for you. Here is how it went for me.

My journey was longer than yours, and in two parts. Part One happened in the 70s--for context, I graduated high school in 1973--when I saw that modern agricultural practices and the growing population bomb were unsustainable. Moreover, to put it mildly we were not handing our waste stream intelligently. I understood the "E" for Environment. And as organisms became resistant to our meddling (germs, weeds, insects) I could increasingly see that this would not end well. I tried to structure my life accordingly. I gardened organically, totally restructured my diet, recycled, and supported green causes - all the while knowing I was in the minority and that we were headed for a cliff. But I changed my lifestyle as best I could and moved on from there.

The "E" for Economy was also something I understood early on. America went off the gold standard when I was a teen, and we were emeshed with other currencies that were also fiat-based. I understood, even then, that fiat currencies do not end well and watched wth alarm as the USA ran up big debts. I was horrified to see my fellow baby boomers use up more than their share, and scorned their blind belief that we--who were merely the Last Man Standing after WWII--were in their opinion entitled to all this as if it were the divine right of kings. When the European Union was born, the flaws in its financial union were obvious to me. Again, I saw that this could not end well. I tried to structure my life accordingly. I was fiscally responsible, got out of debt, avoided conspicuous consumption, and tried not to follow the lemmings into a "popular" career. Getting a degree & career, and getting debt free were choices which took years of daily, sustained effort.

But when Dr. Martenson explained the final "E" of Energy to me, that's when I had my personal Minsky moment. In 2009 I had just moved to SC from NY because I could see the entire financal system was unstable, and I found this site. I watched the Crash Course. I understoood the "E" of energy. That's when I really took the red pill.

Within two years I was a prepped as I could get us, energy-wise. And then I started to burn out. I'm surprised it took this long, considering my Three "E"s journey started around the time I graduated high school. But--to use the analogy of a jet taking off--all it meant was the "climbing to altitiude" was over, and now I needed to coast at cruising altitude again.

Jets use up most of their fuel getting to crusing altitude, and are not meant to sustain the burn of gettng to that point. My first panicked reaction to the crash course can be likened to a jet climbing: I burned through a lot of money, emotional energy, and time. But now things are the best I can get them, and I can chip away at the rest. At this point--what I call cruising speed-- like you, I go on with my life, ready for whatever threats I see coming but not frantic. And all the things I am doing are good for me anyhow: I spend less on electricity, heat, water, and gasoline.

"...everything I do has a dual use and worrying about SHTF serves as a motivation to do these things that I should be doing anyway even if the future is rosy." - joesxm2011

Agreed, and that's the point. Whether or not I am forced to grow things to survive, I can have fresh vegetables and fruit, and gardening for me is a pleasure and a means of exercise. Whether or not the grid goes down my few solar panels are enough to charge our cell phones, a laptop, and our rechargable AA & AAA batteries: in a power outage from a storm that will be huge. Whether or not hyperinflation rears its ugly head, I can live off my larder if my car needs major repairs or I have a dental emergency. I can add to my sustainable lifestyle little by little.

So it's not a matter of burnout, it's a matter of reaching crusing altitude. The initial panic and shock of taking ther red pill is not sustainable. That's okay. Once you realize that things need to change you can reach a new equilibrum. Sounds like you've done that, FAlley, and I applaud you.

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herewego
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longwinded....

Hi FAlley

Thanks for your story and for the interesting questions at the end of your post.

In brief, it took an embarrassingly long time for me to “get” all of the 3-Es - embarrassing because I was raised off-grid, (no TV) and home schooled and didn’t get as much “lamestream” indoctrination as most.  I was keenly aware of the Environment because my life was outdoors and TPTB were busy cutting down old-growth forests around and about.  The foundation of my 3-E journey was love of our homeworld.  Economy was obviously too stupid to pay any attention to, and Energy was Big Oil, aka evil incarnate.  I got busy surviving in the Economy and conducting a green-ish city life.  Finally, in my 40’s, I wondered “What do they mean, peak oil?” and dove into 4 years of self-directed research.  The old worldview will never recover, and my life is heading where I always wanted it to – back to the land.

So much for history.  I'd also “…like to chat about what reality means to you, and what optimism means to you.”

Reality

Long before the red pill, the daily connection with land under threat that childhood gifted me with had already insisted I find communities and methods to handle deep emotions like grief, outrage, rage, fear, confusion and always, under everything, love.  Even without the 3-E information, my spirit was laying an informational foundation for me.   It said: “Whatever else you will be told, buried under every state of mind is a very large love for everything.”

It became apparent that my inner eye saw differently than my culture’s, and I decided to use mine.  What I call reality is invisible to everyday awareness.  Perception of it is always accompanied by powerful experiences of big love.  Getting to it requires paying enough attention to emotional/mental states to let tensions/confusions there become conscious and lose their lockdown on perception.  The company of like-minded humans and of the planet herself make this process possible, makes this process sing. Reality, meaning where and what we are (a fabulous species here together on a magnificent planet flying through space, for crying out loud!) starts to register.  The orientation of my soul to all of this shows itself.  I sing a lot.  I want the reality of this planet – its waters, winds, its glorious rock masses and life forms - to sink deep into me while I’m here in a body to experience them.  I want the gift of a human lifespan to sink in too.  Right now I am listening to a gorgeous track invented by some exquisitely inspired human on the Internet invented by some other fairly talented humans.  There just might be something about us to savor!  It’s also messy.  I cry and howl a lot when looking around at what’s happening here.  This seeing, this grieving, this grappling with confusion and despair, and this celebration of what is anyway are my contribution to the emotional work of the waking of my species.  I come out of it with more inner capacity to face more of everything, of an arduous, tender, beautiful reality that, terrifying aspects notwithstanding, my soul doesn’t stop loving.

Maybe you meant reality as in “Has anyone nailed down just when and if TS will HTF?”  Well, now and later is all I can say.  All the 3-E and other physical realities seem pretty “real” and impactful.  I’m learning to grow food, developing community and so on as fast as I can.  Averting as much “dog-eat-dogness” as possible apparently requires my action now.  Learning to live within the budget of the land is what I always wanted for my species anyway.  Let's go.

Optimism

Regarding the mental state of optimism, I don’t worry too much about it.  The future is unknowable.  Honestly, it’s a big universe.  What do I know about it?  That’s kind of scary/exciting, but I can’t tell you or me it’s going to be alright.  It isn’t alright for billions at this very moment.  I can’t get to optimism by looking outside for proof that things will work out.  If I’m feeling hopeless or scared it’s time to pay some healing attention to my emotions.  They cannot come to balance without my care.  Then it might be time to let the wealth of beauty and function that surrounds me sink in, whether it's the kindness of the people I love, the ridiculous joy of the neighbor’s dog, the screaming orange maples down the road or the slate-black winter storm blowing in across the lake from the alpine.  The need to feel optimistic about the future is bowled over and fulfilled by recognition and appreciation of what is now and of what has been for so long. 

Ah jeesh.  I let the fire go out!  Longwinded today.  It’s past time to sand some drywall, sadly also part of my reality....

Thanks for a fun thread and best luck with all your choices.

Susan

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macro2682
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Fear

When I was little, I didn't really love swimming in a cold pool.  But the worst was getting pushed or thrown in by my dad or older brother when I wasn’t ready (water up my nose, in my mouth, etc…).  So whenever I was by the pool and spotted a threatening glance from my dad or brother, I would simply jump in on my own accord.  At the very least, I wanted control.

I see a similar fear/discomfort/control trade-off in people who talk about heading into the woods with a fishing pole and a warm coat looking to live off the land.  The difference is that many of these people really love the outdoors - where as I hated the cold pool.

I'm not sure I'm making a real point here, but I think I'm trying to tell people to live the way THEY want to live for as long as they are able.  Fight back when something negative approaches.  There is no need to make drastic life changes.  Getting solar panels, reducing debt, building community, storing some tools and food... These are not drastic life changes.  Throwing away your entire lifestyle for life in the woods IS a drastic change.

Be prepared to get thrown into the pool, but don’t jump in unless YOU want to swim.

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John Lemieux
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The Lucky Ones

Hi FAlly,

Well I went from having the "perfect" twentry acre passive solar homestead in a nearly ideal location In Ontario Canada that I purchased/ built when I was barely 30 years old, to being forced to sell it because of illness just two years before becoming fully aware of the "mess". But I have since learned to accept that things are not always within our ability to control. And just as significantly I have come to realise that what matters most is that we try to live our lives without being trapped by fear and regret. So I am thankful to have learned this life lesson and I have learned to grateful for what I have. And especially that I have regained my health.

It seems to me that whatever we do it is really about people and relationships. So I believe that the most important thing is to know who you are. But becoming a prepper is not who I am (but thanks to PP and other sources I have taken steps to protect what financial assets I do have) so I assume that when the SHTF I will likey be among the magority who will simply have to manage to do the best they can wherever they find themselves. But with the awareness that I do have I choose not to live in a large urban center and I will try to find some kind of community, and hopefully a way to make a positive contribution somewhere or somehow. But most importantly to try to live my life always with integrity and compassion for others. 

(Taken from Willie P Bennett, The Lucky Ones)

Oh, the lucky ones

who never stumble and fall

They don't know nothin at all

 

 

 

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westcoastjan
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great dialogue!

Nice thoughts from everyone, and extra kudos to Safewrite, who has eloquently described what I think is the state of affairs most of us are aspiring to achieve. Key to it all is living with integrity.

I have for the past few years been climbing to altitude, to borrow the analogy, and feel like I am close to cruising speed. What that means for me is simply a sense of contentment that I can go about my day to day life, confident of my abilitites and plans to weather various scenarios, whatever the world might throw at me. That enables me to live largely without stress. I am pilot of my plane. I have done the work, and I am just about ready to shift to maintaining altitude; I will keep staying in touch with reality, but not be all consumed by it; I will enjoy the simple life that I have developed.

As with all things in life, it is about balance. Too much of anything disrupts the balance - whether it is too much golf or drinking or gambling or doom and gloom preparations. It has to be kept in perspective. There is nothing wrong with hedging your bets and doing some preparation in case things go south - I wish more people would! But don't let it become the be all end all of your existence to the point that you burn out. After all, the point of life is to try to enjoy the journey as best as we can. And to do so with integrity, and responsibility for those generations who will follow us.

 

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RJE
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Truthfully and with all

Truthfully and with all sincerity my whole life has prepared me for these times, and what may or may not occur. My only fear is that I do not measure up to those who proceeded me or fail in protecting my Lady from harm. My Grandfather who came to this country with his brother as the rest of his family were murdered during the Turkish genocide on the Armenian people. My Grandmother escape the potato famine in Ireland to make a new life in America. My Father and Mother lived through the Great Depression and World War ll. They raised 13 children, and I am not going to fail honorably what may come.

I believe the human spirit is a seriously strong, DNA structured one. I do believe that we will figure this thing out, that it will be messy at times but will be managed. I look forward to every day of my life in good spirit, and am committed to understanding, researching and reading everything that I can. I love every minute of this, and am so thankful I have this in my life as I speak. It is great fun frankly.

I am a realist too, and understand all to well that there are bad people too, and have prepared to meet that head on as necessary. My hope is that I be left alone and live peaceably.

Goooo Tigers

BOB

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jump

hah - you just gave the perfect analogy for illustrating why people SHOULD change their lifestyles, because it is better to do so by choice rather that by force. 'at very least i wanted control'? - then you flipped!

...it was all very eloquent 

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phecksel
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I take more of a centrist

I take more of a centrist approach, i.e. live in today's world, plan for tomorrow's "reasonable" world.  Throughout the process, I have picked up new hobbies, eat much better quality food, and enjoy life more.  Unfortunately, I'm still way too urban in case of complete financial or govt meltdown, don't have a "gang", hell I don't even have any friends :), and still somewhat dependent on societal comforts such as electricity, water, and other convienences.  We'll survive fine through a short term disruption, but long term...  If the complete meltdown happens, then the real important question comes to play, is that a society that I want to participate in.  The Bosnian Blog was extremely eye opening and altogether frightening.  The survivors were required to do some pretty awful things just to survive.  While this was going on, the US and other countries were trying to help in their internal civil war.  Who will come to the US help?  Even more importantly, if the US is in trouble, the odds are highly likely the rest of the world will be in worse shape.

Cave dwelling, killing and/or eating neighbors, becoming more violent then someone else just to survive...  I hope it doesn't get to that point, but following potential paths as a result of Chris's teachings leads me to complete anarchy.

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Amanda Witman
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Reality is the moment I am in

Reality is the moment I am in right now, the past I have experienced, and the most logical trajectory that I can expect from the point where I stand.

Optimism is the inner knowing that I am capable of making good decisions and have an array of "tools" at the ready to fashion creative solutions to many possible or anticipated challenges.  It is also the belief that there is always something positive to find and focus on, even when a situation would otherwise seem hopeless, and that it is up to us to choose to look for the positive.

Throughout my life, I've found myself drawn to pushing the edge of my capabilities -- and, at the same time, craving a strong sense of security.  I like a good challenge AND I like a happy ending. 

I have also been led, for years, by the serenity prayer...the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can...

Whether or not the sky is falling is essentially irrelevant in my process.  I can't change the sky's trajectory, but I can change how I prepare for that and other possibilities affecting me...and I can choose how I respond if/when it does happen.

Regardless, I need to create a sense of security for myself (because I can't expect anyone else to do that for me), and for me that means a secure homestead with backup plans in case the current systems for getting our needs met fail.  I need to stay a step ahead of my kids' needs and my own, wherever possible.  And I need to cultivate skills and confidence and community, so if I am taken by surprise by an unforeseen need, I am capable of finding or creating a solution in that moment.  I'd like to be prepared in the ways I can be, and confident in my ability to cope if it turns out I am not prepared.

The sky might fall (in more ways than one).  My sky did fall, in a sense, nearly two years ago, when my marriage unexpectedly ended, leaving me as a single mom with four children.  It also fell four years ago when my then-husband was laid off and out of work for an extended period of time.  Other skies will fall, and undoubtedly some will be bigger than those.  Will it happen in the next year, five years, my lifetime, my grandchildrens' lifetimes?  I don't know.  Maybe yes to all of those.  So I am building a culture of prudency and preparedness within my family because it helps me feel secure, which is necessary to my personal emotional well-being, and it's something I can offer my children and future generations.  And now that I think about it, I also believe it's just as important for my children and grandchildren to know and truly believe that when the sky falls, things are eventually righted again -- maybe it's not the same as it was, maybe it's really shockingly different, but life still goes on, there is joy and growth, there is laughter and fulfillment and purpose.

As far as salt goes, what other people say will happen is only their best guess.  It's up to me to choose what or whom to believe and how I will react.  Honestly, I'm just too busy with life -- trying to keep the bills paid, the house warm, the pantry full, and the kids on a healthy path -- to freak out whenever someone says the sky might fall.  I take it as a given that it probably will at least once in what's left of my lifetime.  It's not news to me anymore; it's just a probable fact.  Sometimes it falls a lot, and sometimes it falls a little, and some times are harder than others, and we still go on and on making the most of what we have and keeping our focus on what good we can find in it.  I can't imagine doing that any differently.

But I've significantly opted out of mainstream media, so as to save the salt for other purposes...

FAlley wrote:

I'd like to offer a conversation on reality, moderation, and taking things with a grain of salt, whether they're said by the lamestream media or James Wesley Rawles.

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RNcarl
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All of those things and more

In trying to be profound, I could not.

In 1972 - The dollar was finally shaken loose from that pesky gold standard. I was too young to appreciate it. My brother who had recently married, couldn't fiind a job as an electrical engineer, so to feed his family, he took a job making concrete pipe. (U.S. Oil production had peaked)

In 1973 - I wanted to fly jets, with the first oil shock (in part caused by the item above) we were told commercial aviation would soon be a thing of the past - it wasn't.

In 1977 - Jimmy Carter carried his own luggage into the White House. He installed solar panels on his new home that were taken down by the next resident.

In the (early) 1980's - The S&L crisis decimated savings, interest rates doubled and we learned to spend and not save. We were taught how to buy houses on credit cards and flip them for profit.

In 1991 - We invaded Iraq. We were still still reeling from the housing collapse in the late '80's. (We secured the oil fields in Kuwait)

Then came the roaring '90's...

Life was good, we already learned to live on credit not savings, oil was cheap (our normalcy bias was in full function), and the internet was born.

We bought - everything!

I built a home and didn't incorporate the things I had learned in the late '70's about passive solar, thermal mass, or even super insulation. (After all, fuel oil was 66 cents a gallon)

With cheap transportation costs, we out-sourced everything. (After all, we didn't need to work, all we had to do was pick the right stock - Qualcomm anyone?)

Life was gooooood!

In 2001 - We suffered the greatest tactical loss on U.S. soil since the civil war. (That woke us and what a hang-over we had) 

In 2003 - We invaded Iraq (wait, didn't we already do that?)

In 2005 - We learned that any U.S. city could be reduced to third world status by mother nature. (we were still hung-over) Oh, gasoline prices spiked.

In 2008 - The hang-over was gone and we noticed that the emperor had no clothes, the casino was rigged, and the loan shark was calling for payment. (Oil prices had spiked and we couldn't pay the loan shark)

Since then, with our hang-over gone, we are left to wonder what happened.

That timeline of the last forty years shows just a glimpse of what has been happening around us. The events took forty years to unfold and the story still isn't over. During that time, I was educated, married, had children, went on lots of vacations, burnt a lot of fossil fuels, had three careers (good ones) and all the while was not too worried about TSHTF - Mad Max style. Mainly, I learned a lot of lessons.

It was about 2005 that I began to notice that what I was hearing from the MSM was not matching what I was seeing on the ground. We were fully engaged in a war of choice on two fronts with no real end in sight. Home prices didn't dip in 2003-4 the way that they had done in the past during the presidential election cycle and I was quickly seeing that there was no way that wages were keeping up with housing costs. I turned down a $300K offer for my house because I knew that it would take $400K or more to replace all that I had built into my home. Things just didn't make sense.

I had found the early works of Chris. In fact, I read each chapter of the Crash Course as they were posted by him on his first site. I had swallowed the red pill big time. It got to be too much so I coughed it up. Yet, there was that constant nagging that there was something wrong. Mad Max - while a very bad movie, was looking more plausible. (after all, we invaded Iraq twice didn't we?)

After the fist time oil hit $200/bbl I did a knee jerk and moved my family out of the frozen north and away from our support system. (bad move) I had forgotten to look back and see where I had been.

The reality is, the U.S. is a lot bigger than we all think. What we are experiencing has all happened before. I only went back to 1972 because that is my frame of reference. I think if you take that timeline, look at the events and not the dates, you can loosely fit it to the same periods in the past. But this time is different you say?

Yes, this time is different. This time we don't know how to "DO" things. We don't know how to garden. We don't know how to make or repair things. We don't know how to interact with others face to face. And, this time, we are on the right-hand side of Dr. Hubble's curve. There is also something happening with our planet. Have we polluted it? Yes. Have we reduced our fertile soil to the near point of ruin? Yes. Have we depleted our water supply to near exhaustion? Yes.

But, there is something else going on. I am not sure what it is. I think in man's hubris we think we are the cause. Maybe it has taken 150 years for us to finally "break" the planet. I don't know. What I do know is that something is different. Whether we caused it or not, something is changing.

Chris has said that the next twenty years would be unlike the last twenty years. He started saying that in 2006-08. Here we are almost 6 years later, and I can say that the last 6 years have not been like the last twenty. In the last twenty years we had the roaring '90's and the housing boom of the late '80's. I fear that we are well into our "lost decade" with one more to go.

So, what have I learned? I have learned to love, live, laugh and cry. What comes will come. My job is to weather it as best I can and protect my family and loved ones. I will not build a compound of things that can be taken from me by someone. I am building a compound of knowledge that I am passing forward for that time when I can no longer do it myself. Hopefully, I have taught and treated them well - that they may share with me when I can no longer give.

~ Peace

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Arthur Robey
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Sound Amanda.

Reality is the moment I am in

Your hemispheres have a healthy relationship, Amanda. It is the modern malady that the model-making Left hemisphere dominates. This site is knee deep in models of reality. Your brains have a healthy relationship.

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RJE
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RNcarl, nice, very nice. In

RNcarl, nice, very nice. In looking back would you not agree that you could actually live with so much less than what surrounds your living conditions today? I think it is very important to project for those that haven't lived the fullness of life that entertainment for example is no different if just 3 other people sit around a card table and play euchre than the entertainment value of flying off to some distant land and drinking cuervo's w/lime and staring at the ocean. That a cheese burger can taste awfully good made from home than a fillet made at some swank restaurant. I believe examples of alternatives can show that one is just as nice as the other but that it can equally be just as rewarding, and make the lessor wage stretch more and quality of life actually be elevated. Your thoughts or anyone's. Thank you.

Regards

Goooo Tigers

BOB

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macro2682
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Jump

I don't think you should change your lifestyle before you have to.  To use the pool analogy, you should be ready to get wet, but you dont need to jump in the pool.

I think people should have a sustainable home, stored supplies, space for gardening, etc... But I don't think they should pack a bag and head out into the woods.  

Pack a bag, but dont head out into the woods until you have to.

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treebeard
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Back to nature

A lot of nice posts.  I had the back to nature bug like most of the nation back in the late 60's early 70's.  It felt good back then, more progressive and forward thinking then now.  Perhaps it was the combination of the first wave of waking up and the oil economy still booming along.  Threre was a lot of optimism.

I was into living off the land, wild foraging, hiking, etc. like you FAlley.  Then it hit me after not to long a time, WE ARE ALL ALWAYS LIVING OFF THE LAND, THERE ISN'T ANY OTHER OPTION.  The psychopathic illusion of mordern western culture that humanity is somehow separate from nature is finally hitting the brick wall of reality.

Now with the consequence of too few people having woken up over the past 40 years we are reaping the seeds that were sown and it is not too pretty.  In spite of that it's not to late, I think that is never to late to start doing something, and that every little thing we do makes a big difference. You don't need to live in self sufficient armed compound making your own shoes with leather hand sown with animal bones.  You don't even need grown your own food.  That is not important, self sufficiency is not the golden ring.

What ever you love to do, however you make your living, do it with love, compassion and awareness.  When you spend your money, spend it on businesses that are doing the same.  It is better to belong to a CSA and support a local organic farmer in some ways than growing your own food.  We will still need specialization, and we will always need one another.

I hope that I don't come off as being to preachy, I have been passionate about this cause my whole life.  I often find myself having to bite my touge and not scream "I told you so", which does absolutely no good.  It has been lonely out here and in many ways it still is, but it is changing, web sites like this did not exist 40 years ago.  Thanks to you all and remember every little thing counts.

westcoastjan's picture
westcoastjan
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
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Posts: 561
Bob's comment re quality of life

Hey Bob!

Your post reminded me of the time when someone asked Paul Newman what the secret was to his long lived marriage while living in crazy Hollywood. His reply was "why go out for a hamburger when you have steak at home?" I think that is the point you are trying to make.

Quality of life is all about perception. What works for one does not necessarily work for another. The key is that one must have the strength of thier convicitions to continue to do what constitutes quality living for them (playing euchre with friends at home) in the face of the pressure from those who do not share those convictions, and would rather play the game down south on the sunny beach with cuervo in hand; and furthermore, look down their noses at those who do no subscribe to that philosophy.

Richness is purely a state of mind.

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RJE
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Posts: 1369
Yes, quality of life and

Yes, quality of life and happiness takes on so many forms. I absolutely DO NOT envy a soul in my life. I wish them well so long as they DO NOT intrude by taking something of mine to satisfy their greed for their sake. I'll gladly take the crumbs, and will work for them.

You (westcoastjan),Treebeard, and many here have expressed sound and similar thoughts as I have.

I value most what is free, a hug, kiss, hand holding, and just let my imagination create something from this freedom. For instance: A walk through the woods with my Lady and grandson's imagining deer will suddenly spook and run off. Then it happens, and great fun and wonderment happens for all of us. I could NEVER purchase this or provide this for these two boys but it is what they talk about with greater and greater happiness as the story is retold for a good long time. The walk also produces a bouquet of dandelions or summer flowers as the season moves along for their grandma Angel and Mother. It really is a passage through life and personal experiences that make life valuable.

I honestly believe that life will not be less as we all move forward. I truly believe that in our own ways we will be leaders in what is to come. Preparations are key, and community which is a painful concept on some level will absolutely be necessary for survival because as was mentioned, all of us have different skill sets, and collectively we can only be stronger as a group.

Goooo Tigers

BOB

littlefeatfan's picture
littlefeatfan
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Posts: 141
Climbing the Ladder of Awareness

http://carolynbaker.net/2012/10/20/climbing-the-ladder-of-awareness-by-paul-chefurka/ Can't explain it any better than this!

John Lemieux's picture
John Lemieux
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Posts: 228
Paul Chefurka

Littlefeatfan,

Thanks or posting that piece by Paul Cherfurka.

I started my search for better awareness of the three E- crises in about 2009 when I  discovered the books by James Lovelock. And after reading much more extensively I discovered Paul's site called Approaching The Limits To Growth. His site a treasure trove of articles unlike most others because I think that it provides a big picture awareness that is very unique compared to most other sources.

And I found out that he lived very close to me at that time andthat  he was doing free presentations to help raise awareness about peak oil. Often with only a few people attending. He is an Ecologist but he actually works as a civil servant for the Canadian Government in Ottawa. So I'm amazed that everything he is doing to raise awareness he is doing for free in his spare time. And he allows anyone to share his aricles as long as he is given credit by mentioning his name or website.

He calls his site a personal journal of his jouney towards awareness. And because he doing everything at his own expense I think his site is unique perhaps becuase he is free to share his views without concern about his image or livelyhood.

This article is a continuation of the one you posted and here is describes a sixth stage of growth beyond the familiar five stages descibed by Elizabeth Kuber Ross. J. 

http://www.paulchefurka.ca/FindingTheGift.html

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RNcarl
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Posts: 382
RJE wrote: RNcarl, nice, very
RJE wrote:

RNcarl, nice, very nice. In looking back would you not agree that you could actually live with so much less than what surrounds your living conditions today? I think it is very important to project for those that haven't lived the fullness of life that entertainment for example is no different if just 3 other people sit around a card table and play euchre than the entertainment value of flying off to some distant land and drinking cuervo's w/lime and staring at the ocean. That a cheese burger can taste awfully good made from home than a fillet made at some swank restaurant. I believe examples of alternatives can show that one is just as nice as the other but that it can equally be just as rewarding, and make the lessor wage stretch more and quality of life actually be elevated. Your thoughts or anyone's. Thank you.

Regards

Goooo Tigers

BOB

Bob,

To answer your question of, "could I live on less?" I will say this - could you live on less than a sweep of the Yankees by the Tigers? I will venture a guess of yes, but - a sweep feels much better. wink Personally as a Red Sox fan, any defeat of the Yankees is a "feel good" moment. blush And, yes, a sweep feels even better!

We need the cheeseburgers on the grill at home to make the filet at the restaurant feel special. And, we need that filet so we can understand how special that cheeseburger on the grill really is to us.

I submit that we need it all - in a balance.

bientum's picture
bientum
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Posts: 38
What you need

All you need is to realise what oil (petrol) has given us to appreciate the hamburger at home.  Sure they could have made hamburgers before 1930 but it meant baking the bread within the community, slaughtering the beast locally, etc.  Restaurants are a temporary gift given to us by cheap oil. 

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thatchmo
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Posts: 432
Sure gonna cherish those

Sure gonna cherish those memories of the A&W carhops on roller skates....Aloha, Steve.

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FAlley
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Posts: 90
Thank ya kindly

It's great to see all these stories. I'm convinced that stress, a response to change, is natural and right given where we are in history. I think what many of your stories highlight is whether we run away from what stresses us or face and address it. I hope we all can do just that as time goes on.

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
dose of reality

  As reallity  check I got this week .. I use to bag groceries at the commissary  in  the late 70's   $300  would fill three carts  . Last week $500  filled one cart .  Yes we make more than 5x what we did back then   but  it feels like we should be more financially secure .,    I grow my own  fruits , veggies ,and meats  but there are still things we go to Chinamart to buy . Thus we prep for finacial collapse to get out of control  .    Can  we survive  the collapse...it is not for us to know .  I will take one day at  a time  enjoy the sun rise, the sunset , the moon, and the stars .  I have to admit that there are still days  where I will  have a panic moment  of doubt .. have I done enough ?   How Long is this thing  going to take ?   And so  on but worrying adds not one day  to my life and I choose not to live in fear .

 Reality is...  in 2002  75 trains a day  came through here  carrying  things ...  everyone one  wanting things .  Today  48  trains went through ..   People still want things  but are not able to purchase  them .   Eventually most  people are going to figure out that things do not make their self worth and they will not make them  happy or more secure .    They will  learn that where their treasure is  that is where their heart is .    My heart is not in things that  just weigh me down .

 I  pray Thee are a   humble  and honorable cop that will not be corrupted . The world needs more  honest  ones .   And it is still ok to carry a  pair of extra undies in your back pack   to be prepared for such a crazy situation  you might find yourself in blush

 FM

Doug's picture
Doug
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Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3125
another dose of reality

This year I owed the IRS some money.  I sent a cashier's check from my credit union.  Two months later I got a letter from the IRS dunning me for the money.  I called the IRS who claimed they had not received the check.  Apparently I made the mistake of sending the money to the address from which I had received a letter informing me of the debt.  So, I went back to my credit union and had another check cut and mailed it to the correct address and tried to stop payment on the previous check.

I was informed at that point that I could not stop payment on the first check until 90 days after the check was cut.  I was astonished.  I had never heard of such a policy.  The clerk who handled it was full of sympathy, but said it was a state rule, not credit union policy.

This is one more sign that the financial and gov't institutions are going to do what they can to keep our money in their grubby little hands.

Doug

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Wendy S. Delmater
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Posts: 1982
Always nice to remember

Hi Full Moon - check in more often; we miss you.

You have a generation more memories than me, but I can still remember packaged macaroni and cheese mix on sale at 10 for a dollar in the 60s.  I recall apples at 25 cents a pound and hamburger at 79 cents a pound. 50 years later our currency is so debased as to defy description.

But a cozy fire of gathered/split wood costs as much as it ever did. So does an apple off your own tree or a bunch of wildflowers. And mending things still saves you the cost of replacing the item, so I guess mending keeps up with inflation.

Make it, do without, repair it, do with less. This is not a formula for poverty, it's a formula to get out of poverty and/or stay out of debt. Providing a service or product our neighbors need goes back even further than blacksmithing, all the way back to animal husbandry, hunting and farming. FAlley picked a basic, needed service - security for the community. It's not like he plans on running an RV dealership. I agree - I think he'll be fine. 

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Checking in

  Hello Safewrite ,   Helping all the Facebook homesteading groups  takes up a lot of time and bandwidth  but things are slowing down some I can check in here . I am excited to find more of my friends taking  some preps rather seriously . 

    My sticker shocks for this week were  Bleach ..  2 years ago I bought a few for $.99 per gallon and this week it was $2.74 !    I am just going to start buying the dry pool bleach and use it .  The second one was when we went out for birthday meal and two steak dinnerscame to  $43 ...  I am so glad to have  the steers looking at me over the fence and three freezers full !    OH  this is another .. for a long time it was right at $200 to get one butchered at the locker  and last year it jumped to $320  . So this year the Kids have talked me into  butchering here at home  that way we can afford to share more  and they remember how it is done

. Today it was my privalage to make a  meal to a new momma  home from the hospital of Roast ,potatoes ,carrots, stuffing  , apple crisp  and such .    Being a good neighbor and building a community heart.    I do not see much hope that  many Americans have turned  their hearts   so the  grandson  takes his job seriously to  walk around the place praying a hedge of protection so  we will be blessed .

   My young sons finished some  cold frames made  from  a bank brother tor down and some throw away windows  they work wonderful  and we have spinach , lettuce ,and beets coming up .   

My dad agreed that it will be very important to  not  appear as though  things are  going well and to especially  look less affluent  than the neighbors  but to make things look like someone ishome all the time .

Amanda Witman's picture
Amanda Witman
Status: Peak Prosperity Team (Offline)
Joined: Mar 17 2008
Posts: 409
I have been thinking about this lately
Full Moon wrote:

My dad agreed that it will be very important to  not  appear as though  things are  going well and to especially look less affluent  than the neighbors  but to make things look like someone is home all the time .

Now that we live in town...I want it to look like someone is home all the time.  And yet I'm also wanting to save on electricity by not leaving unnecessary lights on.  It's hard to adjust to keeping lights on! 

 

RNcarl's picture
RNcarl
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: May 13 2008
Posts: 382
Amanda Witman wrote: Full
Amanda Witman wrote:
Full Moon wrote:

My dad agreed that it will be very important to  not  appear as though  things are  going well and to especially look less affluent  than the neighbors  but to make things look like someone is home all the time .

Now that we live in town...I want it to look like someone is home all the time.  And yet I'm also wanting to save on electricity by not leaving unnecessary lights on.  It's hard to adjust to keeping lights on! 

Timers are your friend. Buy the cheap mechanical kind. It does not really matter if the light turn on and off at exactly the same time each night, in fact I think it is better if they do vary.

Another investment is a switch that has a timer on it for the front porch lights. NEVER leave home during the daylight and leave the porch lights on. That is as good as hanging a "NO ONE HOME" sign on the front door. Set the porch light timer for a few minutes before your expected arrival - up to an hour before just in case you get home earlier than you planned.

Sorry to mini-hijack the thread. Sometimes the conversation should sway.

~ Peace

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3125
Get a dog

A medium to large size dog will deter most potential burglars, even if the dog is totally harmless, like mine.  In fact, he would be overjoyed if someone came in.  I would suggest a Rottweiler.  They have to be trained to be mean, but look pretty imposing.

Put a timer on a light or two set to come on at various times.

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