Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Outfitting Your Backpack: "Snake Bite Protection"

If you have decided to go on this adventure to “awe,” you need to outfit your backpack.

And, remember this is an adventure for a lifetime.

So you must be prepared for all kinds of eventualities, including outsized emergency conditions.

Climbing the "Mountain of Awe," solo or with others, is very much like climbing any other big mountain. You’ve got be solidly geared up. You know you’re going to need rain gear, if you are hiking beyond a sunny day. And, of course, you will need food and water.

If you’ve any experience at all with the great outdoors, you will readily come up with your own list of staples. Your fun stuff too; cameras and books and a candy bar or more. Then there will be the emergency provisions. Just in case.

At the top of the list of emergency preparedness for the adventure to awe – which is synonymous with building small “zones of peace,” everywhere you go -- be prepared for snake bites.

These hills we will be climbing, such as the ones where I live, are home to the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake and the Copperhead.

Dangerous snakes!

When you make a climb here, no matter how idealistic you are, you must keep your eyes open for these guys. Some can bite pretty bad!

Sue, my spirit sister on this adventure, likes to speak to the snakes. She thinks that suffices.

Me, I have my own strategies. Mostly I try to be observant and cautious where I walk. In fact, truth be told, I don’t actually physically hike these mountains where I live – solo. I’m just not adept enough at stepping over live snakes on my own.

Maybe the years have taught me to be observant with – what I consider to be a healthy dose of vigilance – not overly so – but responsibly.

And to travel in pairs, at least in risky territory -- though I really do enjoy my solitude.

I am great as part of a team in risky situations. I have much skill on my own. Yet, I know when I am best off walking in tandem with others.

Maneuvering around snakes is definitely one of those times for me.

When I am aware that I might be coming up on a snake, the reptilian kind or the “snakes” that are embodied in the “dark side” of humans, I generally ask for input from others who are wise so we can manage the challenge adroitly. I know we are after skillful management here. More than is ordinary.

Some snakes are actually quite harmless. Yet it is prudent to be conscious that a snake is not a butterfly, for example.

You, too, might need to develop this kind of adeptness, if you are going to excel as a peace-builder.

You might put the skill under the heading of “diplomacy.” Or, simply call it “snake bite protection." Murat might call it “doing love.”

We will explore this point at a later time; how being mindful that snakes do bite can be the same, or similar, to "doing love." The subject is quite complex.

Nonetheless, along the way on our climb, it will be important to develop skill in being observant of difficult or challenging people, places and things ("snake bite protection"). And, learn how to handle such critters or circumstances competently.

This challenge may, truly, bring out the best in you.

Perhaps it will be among your greatest lessons in climbing the Mountain of Awe.

And, watch out to not be a biting “snake” yourself, camouflaged as a “Compassionate Warrior.”

“Compassionate Warrior” is the name I give to the true to the down-to-the-core, good guy peace-builders.

However, we are not needing to be perfect.

For our adventure to “awe,” it is, totally, okay for you – or anyone else to have -- whatever degree of “good guy peace-builder” or “dark side” warrior you have in you, at this time.

We need only be mindful of our needing to learn the lessons that transform one to the other.

(Take the Where Is Your Compassionate Warrior Hiding? quiz. See how you rate.)

Exploring what this all means is also complex.

We will take it up -- in bits and pieces -- at a later time.

For starters, just be certain that you – and – those with whom you are traveling have the three essentials I laid out for you as my requirements for the adventure that I am guiding.
  1. A commitment to the adventure;
  2. A willingness to remove their masks;
  3. A willingness to accept you (and others) free of their masks
Meeting these requirements among fellow journeyers will get you through hard times in your efforts to build small "zones of peace," except where bullets, bombs and terrorists are concerned.

Remember, there are many serious problems, local as well as global, to be solved that may lie beyond the scope of the majority of any small "zones of peace" model.

Technologies and experts beyond what we might have are needed. Peace is not, only, your assignment or mine. Don't try to be a hero and fly solo.

If you think I am fussing about nothing, please know that I decided to forewarn you of all of this ("snake bite protection" and so forth) because so many people I speak to these days, especially those of high school and college age – and – young twenties -- are voicing their deepest heartfelt yearnings for peace, almost begging for the secret formula, as if there were a simple one.

As if they could just know that formula, the obstacles to peace could readily be overcome. If "awe" can be synonomous with peace, unity and harmony (which is how I am using it), we must be mindful of the demanding climb it takes to get there. Awe is a long-range plan.

No immediate gratification though sometimes a moment of "awe" will arise and keep you inspired. We must, also, remember that what is required to attain peace may not be, directly, in our hands.

It will truly "take a village" of mighty Compassionate Warriors, fighting with head and heart, over time.

So, be aware when embarking on this adventure to climb the "Mountain of Awe," that you know, also, when, where and how to call the park ranger.

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