To be prepared, ask a better question

I’ve been wrestling with the task of getting a 72 hour emergency preparedness kit together for years now.

And still have made no real progress on that grab and go bag.

On Thursday, as kids headed off back to school, the provincial health officer, Dr Bonnie Henry warned that the fall could be really challenging, saying: “We must now prepare for whatever may lie ahead this fall and winter.”

South of the border, Dr Fauci has the same warning: “We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter, because it’s not going to be easy.”

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That said, in Australia, which is coming towards the end of winter, social distancing and a big uptake in flu vaccines, has led to the lightest influenza season experienced in memory (literally 107 cases down from 61,000 last year.)

So, get prepared for what could be really terrible, or what could be really fine – there’s no way to know and hence, how do you prepare for that?

This is what has stalled me out from that 72 hour emergency preparedness kit (am I outfitting myself for an earthquake? a fire? a power outage? zombies? do i need chocolate, a water purifier or an arsenal of weaponry?), and it’s what was swirling through my brain for a lot of May and June… but then the sun came out. And it felt nice to just go outside, and relax.

And now, this thought is coming back, this great moment of clarity I had… “how can I be prepared for the fall/winter?” is not the best question. It leads to a hunker down in the bunker mentality, an immediate need to stockpile and hoard, because preparedness feels like fortifying things… BUT if the shit doesn’t hit the fan, it will feel like a waste, an overreaction, almost an embarrassment. So, it feels as if I have to buy in to the actual likelihood of terrible things happening, in order to make preparations to survive them…

The question that opened up a more generative response was when I wondered, “what can I do to resource myself?”

Resourcing myself feels like an interesting inquiry, a wondering, it feels generous and creative and fun, because it

1. involves taking a moment to ask what do I love? what brings me joy? what makes me feel well? and

2. it doesn’t feel like wasted effort if the worst possibilities don’t transpire. I’m not suddenly sitting on a stockpile of inedible army surplus MREs. I have some nice jigsaw puzzles to do, and a lovely selection of teas.

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Being well-resourced, to me, means having some trusted friends I can reach out to when I need it, means having some go-to responses when I feel a little overwhelmed, means having plenty to read and some trees to go hug. (It also means having farmer friends who give me gardening advice when I text – thanks Anna!) So, part of resourcing myself for an unknown fall/winter has meant dealing with my phone-phobia, and connecting with a handful of people who I really enjoy talking with, but can’t simply assume I’ll run into. It has meant getting sober-curious, and seeing if teas, tisanes and tinctures at the end of the day can become part of my ritual to replace a glass or two of vino. It has meant investing in books and cookbooks. And carving a little path in the grass of a regular route around my yard, where I stand with a few trees. I’ve also been pickling and preserving and seed-saving – not in any fashion that is going to save my life – but just enough to feel deeply immersed in the season, to develop a felt sense of abundance (nothing does this more than tickling the dried seeds off a herb or flower and realizing you now have more than you will possibly ever need), and growing a little bit of know-how.

I don’t think we can be “prepared” given the curveballs life throws our way… and because I don’t want to squander my imaginative energy trying to conjure all the possibly scenarios. But this unfolding experimenting in being better-resourced, as a human, has been enjoyable. I recommend it. 🙂

And tell me, do, what makes you feel well-resourced?

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