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Twelve "Any Time, Any Place" Survival Tips
By David Sunfellow

Revised Version, September 2001
Original From NHNE News Brief 5
Friday, January 27, 1995


So, you live on Planet Earth and are wondering what you can do to insure a graceful passage through whatever changes may come your way. And, what's more, you want some advice that you can use any time, any place, even when you aren't faced with the kind of near-apocalyptic changes that seem to be knocking on our global door. Here are a few practical suggestions:


1. Spend time everyday praying and meditating.

One of the most important things any of us can do to live a graceful life on this planet is to establish and maintain a direct relationship with God/Jesus/Spirit. Spending time daily with God helps loosen the powerful grip this world has on us. It helps us remember that we are more than flesh and blood and that there is more to life than we can see with our eyes. It helps us heal faster. Find answers and solve problems more quickly. Make changes more gracefully. Feel guided, protected and looked after by forces greater than ourselves. Sense the larger, grander scheme of things which helps put the drama of daily life into its proper (not as real, dire, or all-important as it seems) perspective. In short, spending time with God on a daily basis provides us with a rock-solid foundation upon which to stand and face whatever experiences may come our way.


2. Learn how to receive guidance directly from God.

Holy Books, friends, spiritual teachers, counselors, advisors and gurus can be very helpful, but in the end they are no substitute for God. Anyone who seriously wants to find their way through the incredibly complicated jungles of this world is going to need a direct pipeline to the Creator. We all have it, of course. But few of us know how to use it. And no wonder. The business of receiving inner guidance -- through dreams, visions, intuitions, inner voices, or what have you -- is full of perilous dangers. Our personalities, inner blocks, karmic patterns, biases, belief systems, practically everything about us pollutes the wells of inspiration that continuously bubble up from within. Be that as it may be, in the end, if we really want to safely find our way through times of change (especially through the kind of changes our world is presently facing), we've all got to learn how to receive guidance direct from the Source. **


3. Strengthen our belief that God regularly intercedes in the affairs of ordinary men and women (especially in times of great need).

There have always been stories of God miraculously interceding in the affairs of mankind. And now, more than ever, God, Jesus, Mother Mary, angels, various kinds of spiritual forces seem to be on the move in the world today. The growing presence of these spiritual forces bares witness to the fact that we are not alone. The more we can open our hearts and minds to this truth, the more we will be able to ask for and receive help from above. Granted, it may not always come in the form of angels or unseen hands pulling us off dangerous street corners. But if we sincerely ask for help, and truly need it, help, in some form, will come.


4. Make as many good friends as we can.

It may be possible to survive completely on our own for short amounts of time, but not forever -- and who would want to? Human beings, in other words, need other human beings. Because we need other people to love and be loved by, and because we need other people for the help and resources they can bring into our lives, establishing and maintaining relationships with other human beings should be one of our highest priorities. We should invest in human relationships as if our lives depend on it (because they do).


5. Help others.

All of us need to feel our lives are worthwhile. If we don't, we lose the desire to live. So do something to help others, to be useful, to make a contribution to life. It doesn't have to be something big. It doesn't have to change the world. It can be small, simple, perhaps even invisible. The important thing is that it comes from our hearts and helps us feel that our lives have meaning; that we are doing our part to make the world a better place.


6. Deal with our fears about death and dying.

For most of us, the fear of death is a major source of pain, stress, and worry. Although this fear may not occupy our day-to-day thoughts very much, in times of change, in particular in times of change that include the death of ourselves, someone we love, or even strangers, the fear of death can be paralyzing. One concrete way we can deal with this fear, is to become familiar with both death itself (what happens to physical bodies when they die) as well as what may happen to us when we pass over to the other side. Studying near-death experiences, tapping into our own eternal natures and internalizing philosophies that promote a view that life is eternal are all practical ways we can take the sting out of death. And once the sting has been taken out of death, it will be much easier to deal with WHEN (not if) it pays us a visit.

Philosophies that teach us that pain and suffering are not a natural, normal part of life, or that such experiences are only signs that one's life has gone askew, do not serve us well during times of painful change. Whether we have, in fact, created a painful experience in our life or whether a painful experience has come to us because it happens to be a part of the particular change we are going through, we need to be able to accept these experiences. Instead of feeling guilty and condemning ourselves, we can relax, take a deep breath, and acknowledge that pain is sometimes part of the program down here. It's all right. We're all right. We'll learn our lesson (we'll figure out whatever we did to cause ourselves the pain we are experiencing) or we'll just let the pain flow through us (we'll accept it as a part of the natural process we are passing through). Pain comes and pain goes, if we let it. If, on the other hand, we resist it, it tends to hang around and grow stronger, making everything more difficult than it needs to be.


7. Remember that change is what life is all about -- and relax.

Along similar lines, it's important to remember that "change" is the nature of life (both on Earth and, apparently, everywhere else). Because of this, the only kind of posture we can realistically adopt is a posture that is always ready to change. We need to expect change and learn to be comfortable with it. Those of us that cling to old ways are eventually ripped loose, often traumatically. While those of us that gracefully surrender and go with the flow are able to adapt to whatever comes our way much easier.


8. Study the changes that other times, places and people have passed through -- and our reactions to those changes.

Another practical way to prepare ourselves for times of change is to become familiar with what other people on our planet have experienced. What was it like to live in Nazi Germany prior to, during and after World War II? What was it like to live during the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, or other times of great change? What can we learn from people who survived various man-made and natural disasters? How do these events make us feel? What kind of fears are triggered in us? How would we deal with similar situations?

Even though we, ourselves, may never experience the same kind of events we study, if we encounter something that upsets us in these events, then we at least have the opportunity to work on areas of ourselves that are undone. Refusing to expose ourselves to things that may trigger our fears doesn't protect us from them. Nor does it prevent them from manifesting. Quite the contrary. The more undone and unfinished forces there are roaming around within us that we don't know about and/or refuse to acknowledge and deal with, the more likely these forces are to eventually project themselves onto the canvass of our outer life. Beginning a fearless inventory of ourselves, and then dealing directly with whatever fears we find buried deep inside, may well save us from having to externalize these unresolved issues. And if such experiences still come our way, we will be better able to cope with them.


9. Keep open, inquisitive minds, stay informed and don't allow new things to send us off the deep end.

The more open and informed we are, the least likely we will be to be caught by something unexpected. Similarly, the more careful we are at making snap judgments, the more likely we will be to make wise, well-balanced decisions.

When Europeans first came to the Americas, many Native Americans were completely dumbfounded and stunned by the inventions they brought with them. Because the Native Peoples were so dazzled by the white man's "talking leafs" (books) "smoking sticks" (guns) and "iron horse" (train), many Native People's were cast adrift. They no longer knew how valid their culture, beliefs and practices were. In the end, many Native Americans prematurely concluded that the white man's ways were superior to their own. Some, of course, were. While others weren't. Since I'm convinced that we are going to be dazzled by more and more incredible events in the days ahead, one practical survival tip is to stay open-minded, well-informed and level-headed. More likely than not, most of us will be called to incorporate new discoveries into old ones, rather than abandoning old discoveries altogether.


10. Enjoy life and live each day as if it were our last.

Our lives on this planet -- both individually and collectively -- will be over sooner than we think. So while we're here, immersed in a universe of marvelous experiences, let's spend as much time smelling flowers, playing with kids, and enjoying the ride as we do trying to understand and cope with it. Let's not waste a single second. And let's check in, daily, to be sure we're aren't.

If we died today, what would we feel undone or unfinished about? What regrets would we have? And what would we feel good about? What fulfilling things would we wish we had done more often? If a disaster of some kind laid waste to our lives today, we wouldn't want to be carrying around the additional burden of feeling we had lived our life poorly. As much as possible, we should, therefore, live life to the fullest. We should keep everything up-to-date. Settle arguments. Resolve conflicts. Maintain healthy relationships. Show and tell those we love how we really feel about them. Keep our lives in order. Then, if our lives are changed in the twinkling of an eye, we can spend our time adapting to the new circumstances rather than feeling guilty about all the things we left undone in our past.


11. Keep our bodies strong and healthy.

Strong and healthy bodies makes life easier. In times of great change, strong and healthy bodies may do more than make life easier. They may make the difference between graceful passages or painful ones. Also, since dentists, doctors, and normal medical care may not be available, we should try to take care of whatever physical needs we have as they arise. Putting them off may mean they are never taken care of, or at least not taken care of before they cause us more trouble than they should have.


12. Be physically prepared.

There is no safe place on planet Earth. Some places are, however, more dangerous than others and we should act accordingly.

Do we live in an area prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami inundations, fires, floods, and other natural disasters? Are we located near military bases, nuclear reactors, chemical plants, or other manmade danger zones? If we are, we should do what we can to prepare for potential disturbances.

If our power goes out, or water stops flowing, or food runs out for a week, what will we do? If the system we rely on everyday to meet our basic needs has been temporarily knocked out, how prepared are we to "wing it"?

Here are three good questions to ask ourselves:

- Do we have the resources we need -- water, food, clothing, blankets, matches, flashlights, candles, radios, first aid kits -- to survive short-term emergencies?

- Are we personally knowledgeable and resourceful enough to take care of ourselves, and our loved ones during times of change?

- How many friends do we have that we can turn to and rely upon during times of change? What kind of resources can we share and pool? What kind of resources and expertise can we offer one another? How prepared, how reliable, how resourceful are our friends? Have we discussed such things with them?



Life is unpredictable -- and short. We can make the most of it by staying connected to our inmost center, surrounding ourselves with good friends, helping others, enjoying the ride, keeping an open mind (and heart), and being as physically prepared as possible, without going overboard, for the unexpected events that are bound to come knocking on our door.

Life is also not what it appears to be. Remember that. It's like a movie that has been masterfully designed to scare, thrill, captivate, teach, jostle, cajole, and inspire human audiences. Enjoy it, but don't get too carried away. Keep one eye on the screen, enjoying the drama of it all, and one eye closed, looking behind the scenes for what's really going on...


**For those of you who may be interested in learning more about seeking guidance from God, you might want to check out David Sunfellow's web-book, "Dreams & VisionQuests."




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