The Definitive Emotional Preparedness Thread

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suziegruber's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 3 2008
Posts: 222
The Definitive Emotional Preparedness Thread

Hi everyone,

As a result of Chris’ recent post on his own personal transformation called Getting In Shape: The New Me and Chris’ recent interview with Carolyn Baker called Carolyn Baker: Emotional Resilience Is Essential In Turbulent Times, I feel inspired to start this thread on emotional preparedness. In Chris’ interview with Carolyn, they talk about how important it is for us to follow our passions as we embrace this period of intense change. Emotional preparation for this journey remains my primary personal and professional passion, so I want us to have a place in the community where we can really talk about what it means to prepare emotionally for the monumental changes underway. I really believe that WTSHTF, all we can count on for sure is our own inner preparedness because it is independent of where we find ourselves when a crisis hits. While this statement may sound individualist, I believe that if we prepare emotionally, when the crisis really begins to affect us, we will have the capacity to respond rather than to react to what is happening and be a strong resource for our families and our community.

Many people turn to spirituality and religion under stress, and I count myself among those with a spiritual practice. Having said that, I define emotional resilience as the ability to be in the here and now and respond to outside stress from that place. What we are facing right now invites us to project into the future a series of what ifs to which there is no definitive answer. Can we hold that uncertainty and make good choices right now while giving ourselves the space to feel our entire range of feelings in response? That’s the question I am most interested in.

I offer a few questions to start us off and catalyze the conversation:

Are you actively preparing emotionally for this change?

  • If yes, what are you doing? How’s it going? What resources have you found most helpful?
  • If not, why not?
  • What other resources do you need to keep your emotional preparation moving along?
  • Are you able to feel emotions in response to what’s happening and what’s likely to happen in the future? Do you do this alone and/or in community?

I have been a member of this community since 2008 and I deeply appreciate how this community has grown so that we are a strong resource for each other and consequently our local communities. Let’s expand our dialogue on emotional preparation and see where it leads us.

In gratitude,


SagerXX's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2252
Just a quickie

I don't have the time to do the subject justice at the moment, but just in terms of a few quick thoughts:

1. We should all be thinking on how to prepare for loss, psychologically/emotionally. As a corollary, and perhaps more importantly (assuming that if we're here at CM we have on some level at least begun to come to terms with the losses we face), we should be ruminating on how to help other folks, the ones that haven't prepared and/or don't see any of this coming, cope psychologically/emotionally with the gut-wrenching changes we will face.

2. I personally am working every day on the psychological jiu-jitsu involved in framing things in a non-negative light. As I've posted elsewhere, my wife and I are losing our house (short sale). Instead of spending my precious time and energy bemoaning our reduced state, I'm focusing on the lower level of stress I will be under once we're out from under the unserviceable debt our mortgage represents. (Dr. Chris touched on this subject in part 2 of today's Trouble Is Brewing post.).

3. Community is a stupendous resource vis-a-vis coping with the emotional/psychological fallout this crisis is dishing up.

4. I don't so much care what a person's spiritual practice or persuasion is, as long as they have something that connects them to the Infinite Eternal/Alpha-Omega. (It doesn't even have to be "spiritual" per se... I've known some atheist scientist types that still had a healthy connection to All What It Is even if "God" wasn't that All.). I know my own practice grounds me, strengthens me, and bestows a healthy perspective.

5. By the same token, I am wary of those that spend too much time (IMO) processing their emotions or feelings. Yes, let's talk it out. Then let's hug it out (I am a world-class hugger ). Now, let's move along to action. Frankly, this is a source of friction in my marriage, but my wife has come so far in the last two years I am not complaining. It may just be a male-female thing.

Okay, so much for the quick drive-by post.... Viva -- Sager

herewego's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 11 2010
Posts: 156
The inside story!

I'm very glad to see this thread launched in the CM community.  I've been curious from the beginning of my 3-E journey about how all the writers, posters, documentary makers, preppers and so on are dealing with the emotional/spiritual impact of what we are learning about and preparing for.  To answer your questions, Suzie:

Yes, I am preparing emotionally.  It has been the inside story of every prep I've made, every new understanding and implication.  Outrage, fury, shock and grief have surfaced many times and more emotions will come along as the world I took for granted shows itself to be different than expected. 

How?  By making time for emotions, being curious, willing to actually feel them and willing to learn from them. I have a practice and belong to a community that sets aside time to safely recognize and feel the emotions, no holds barred, then with a calm mind do the necessary thinking and decision making.  Doing this lets me think with my heart and spirit online, not just my freaked out emotions and thoughts. 

Like Sager, in the previous post, I think learning to handle loss expertly is key.  By that I mean being aware of losses (head out of sand) and able to find sufficient community to withstand the physiological and psychological tasks of heavy grieving through to the return of our natural boyancy.  I'm discovering that pacing is necessary.  Unprocessed grief makes me numb and paralyzed so I don't go some places until the inner strength is there.  Community can be other people who know how to hold steady while I grieve, or the Earth - an expert at holding steady! - or myself, if I remember to anchor well into reality before facing the pain.

Another How? is by intentionally noticing, as deeply as I can, how much of life I've appreciated.  Tears of grief happen.  So do tears of joy, if I make time.  They cleanse the soul and leave me connected to my planet, my self and my people, ready to sing (work, make decisions etc.).

What other resources do I need?  More people who are BOTH emotionally savvy (big skillset!) AND 3-E aware.  I only have 4 people with both. There aren't that many preppers in my ken, and most of them just don't care to slow down, connect with that inner world and face what's in there.  As for the people with great counselling skills, they start to look uncomfortable if I try to get traction with collapse fears or some such, and I know I've lost them.  I feel hungry for a whole group that knows the issues AND knows how to help each other with emotions.

Another point - When I am in an emotionally clear state, it's so obvious that there are deeper levels also wanting attention.  They are hard to articulate but have to do with love, meaning, power, purpose, and the astonishment of finding myself with a lifetime on an exquisite blue planet.  Those levels, though often untended and chaotic, are my power source. 

Last thing - There's a persistent sense that our emotional/spiritual competence is vitally important in its own right - as important as physical survival - and a deep desire to grow ourselves up quickly and well into the love, power, intelligence and connection that seem so latent in our species, so close to becoming more real than all the idiocy that's taking us down now....

I'm very eager to hear what the rest of you have to share on this!


 PS Fear of upcoming upheaval is tougher for me than grief.  Most of the time I'm unaware of it, but when I'm vulnerable (sick, exhausted, half-asleep), I feel it down there and it's BIG.  Any tips out there on how to manage/heal fear?

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
managing fear

For me, managing fear is an important topic.

I have a little experience with this since I have had a rather "interesting" life, for values of interesting that had to do with childhood abuse, PTSD, threats from the Mafia when a relative got involved with a loan shark, abandonment by a spouse, losing our home to foreclosure and living in an unsafe neighborhood with small children.

That I have not only come through all this in one piece but succeeded and thrived is more a testimony to the coping tools I was given than to any inner strength.

Let me share  those coping tools here. I think they have relevance to the current situation. More relevance than you can possibly guess.

12-Step Programs. Whether it's AA, Al-Anon, NA, Narc-Anon, Families Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous,  or some other step-child of the original Twelve Steps, it's a useful framework. I've adapted it to prepping. Note that it is spiritual without being pushy about what to believe. I will expand on how these help you cope with fear below each step.

The 12 Steps for Preppers


  • Step 1 - We admit we are powerless over people, places or things - and that by trying to control that which we could not control our lives have become unmanageable. This is the KEY to dealing with all fears. If you are expending energy on things you cannot change you will have not energy for the things you CAN change, and nothing dissapates fear like action (see The Serenity Prayer, below). In program they like to say that what you can control ends at the tip of your nose. You can only control YOU, not the non-prepper spouse or friends and relatives who will not accept the existence of the "red pill," let alone take it. You also cannot control governements, the overall destruction of the environment, overpopulation, peak resources, or world finances. By all means vote, recycle, and live responsibly - but accept the fact that it may not matter and nothing you can do will save the situation. I mean, really accept it at a gut level. It is what it is. You cannot change it. All you can change is you.
  • Step 2 - We've come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Paralysing fear is not healthy. Trust me and the others on this thread who suggest that some sort of spiritual grounding will help. A lot.
  • Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God. This step is also crucial. For those of you who do not believe in a personal God I undestand it's kind of like aligning yourself with the universe, or using the Force instead of fighting it.
  • Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.  We've all done a prepper inventory, and list of things we need never seems to end, but what of a moral inventory? A moral inventories, like a list of what we DO have, can be a list of positives, of your good qualities not just your faults. As to those faults, dealing with them as your responsibilitiy instead of blaming others is the first step to becoming a better person. Do you fear you're not up to the challenge? This will help.
  • Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.  Dealing with the things you can change becomes very real when you start talking about your faults in an honest manner. Sometimes it is the first step in being honest with yourself. And a fear of the discovery of your wrongdoings flies in the face confession to another person. Fear of people finding out who you really are loses its power over you.
  • Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. This is rather self-explanitory. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it.
  • Step 7 - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings. This is also rather self-explanitory. Again, don't knock it if you haven't tried it.
  • Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. The whole step is just to make a list (we preppers are great at lists!) of things that bug our conscience and to become willing to deal with these items.
  • Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. The caveat here is to not try to make ammends if it will actually make the situation worse. But otherwise, go for it. The black rain-cloud of dread and self-recrimination will stop following you around, and you'll have less fear and more joy. It clears the air.
  • Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. Again, self-explanitory. But living with a clear conscience is a prerequisite for dealing with fear. It keeps the air clear.
  • Step 11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out. Checking in with the universe or Whoever is a nice way to decide how to prioritze the things you CAN change instead of being paralysed with indecision and fear that you are not doing the right things, or in the right order.
  • Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other preppers, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. Yes, if this works for you pass it on.

Twelve Steppers also have some really cool slogans. A few of my favorites (as adapted tp prepping):

  • Easy does it.
  • First things first.
  • Gratitude cahnges your attitude.
  • Live and let live.
  • One day at time.
  • Let go and let God.
  • K.I.S.S.—Keep It Simple Stupid.
  • This, too, shall pass.
  • Expect miracles.
  • I can’t, He can, I think I’ll let Him (Steps 1,2,3).
  • If it works, don’t fix it.
  • Prepping is a journey, not a destination.
  • Turn it over (to your Higher Power) - this is espcially great for things you can't change: they are His problem.
  • Nothing is so bad that worry won’t make it worse.
  • Be part of the solution, not the problem.
  • I can’t handle it God; you take over.
  • Just for today.
  • Before you say I can’t, say I’ll try.
  • Have a good day, unless of course you have made other plans.
  • Decisions aren’t forever.
  • You can do anything for one day
  • Count your blessings.
  • Share your happiness.
  • Share your pain.
  • Share your gratitude.

The Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Further resources:

recommended reading:

Reality Therapy: A New Approach to Psychiatry - this book is being used with great sucess to help war verterans. It's exceptional for dealing with fear.

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

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