The Mindset of the Solitary Survivalist
(As of late, more and more people are feeling alone, are alone, and not knowing how to handle the feelings it generates. Even with 7,000,000,000 people on the planet, solitude has become an epidemic. Though we may not be in the mode of true survival, we can glean a few ideas of how others cope in like situations. Below is an exert from my manual Women's Survival Weekend [Patton, 2010].)
I am going to guess that the majority of those attending this weekend are re-enactors of various eras. For those re-enacting before 1900, we are used to arriving at our events, setting up our tents, cooking out over the fires and then going home to the 21st century three days later. I would like you to imagine that you will be living in this style, in this surrounding for the next year….alone. You have no help because you ARE the help.
Every day will begin the same way – in a mode of survival. What will you need in order to get through this each day? Assuming you already have shelter, you will need fire, water, and food and thus begins your daily chores. Learning to study the weather patterns for your weather predictions will allow you to plan accordingly when it comes to how much water will you bring in, how much wood you’ll collect and where you will store it.
There is a library of books on the market on how to camp, survive, and all the skills you will need to accomplish this but what I have not found is how to mentally maintain the art of survival over an extended period. So often the skilled books speak of doing this as a couple or a family unit but rarely do they address the solitary survivor. And we all know that we can become solitary even within a group.
Though the survival lifestyle is full of exercise and chores neither will mentally carry you for a long period of time. And during the winter, it will become that much more important to have a sense of purpose and periods of pleasure to get you through until spring. In the following paragraphs, I will address some of the attributes that help when enduring a long period of survival. They are not in order of value or importance.
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. (Anne Frank)
We all come from different belief systems, and if we started discussing the variations on Friday night and ended Sunday afternoon, we still would not agree on the same types of beliefs. But what we can believe in is a universal force that is the perfect source of love. It is not so important what you name this source, but in order to survive alone, it is important that you give a name to this power. When working with solitary survival, the Divine of this world can become your closest ally and most of the time will be your only friend. It is the one thing that will offer you a sense of purpose.
Survival living comes about through two avenues – life or choice. Even when the decision is choice, stress can be a major challenge to overcome. Stress brings about fatigue, depression and at its worst, hopelessness. Without the aid and interaction of others, stress can set in quite quickly. It will become important to remain focused on why you are mastering this new life style. Perhaps it is a permanent life change or perhaps it is a temporary life style. Either way, you will emerge with a new perspective on the world around you and if you have not discovered your life purpose at this point, it will certainly lead you down the path towards it.
A journal can also become your best friend and your therapist. You can share laughter, humor, every day events – you can scream and holler at it and tomorrow it will still be there like your best friend. On rainy, snowy and cold days, your journal can be a god-send. And at the end of your journey, you will learn a wealth of knowledge about yourself.
If you can only afford to choose one book, choose wisely and that book will be different for each person. What I would personally suggest is a non-fiction book that makes you think. It will become important that you have time to reflect and keep your mind active, especially during times of confinement (winter, evenings, illness, etc.).
But I have all those chores to do all day! Believe me, living off the land will strip pounds and build muscle! You will notice within a few short months a difference in your body structure. However, the exercise that I write about is something that you do for yourself. Yes, chores are for yourself, but these exercises are directed at making you feel good about yourself. A few of these may include: walking in nature to relieve stress, enjoying a beautiful sunset from on top of a hill, walking barefoot in a creek, transplanting a tiny tree to your property, running with dogs, and 1,000,000 more. (Patton, 2010)