Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Be silent; for there is great danger that you will vomit up what you have not digested. - Epictetus

I have been reading a book called “Deep Survival.” It discusses why certain people live and others die. I did really not like the book until I passed the half way point. To be quite honest I considered shelving it for a week or so because it was freaking me out. The reason that it was getting me riled up is because the function of the brain and how it was broken down (backed by scientific research) is befuddling. I did not want to believe my brain worked that way. I am different, I am a survivor. I will make it. Bull. I am not. And that scared me.

A few years ago when I was in college our group took a trip to El Capitan Canyon Resort in Santa Barbara. Three of us set out on a quick out and back trail that was supposed to take 30 - 45 minutes. I had two packs of halls and combined we had two bottles of water. 4.5 hours later the darkness was setting in and we admitted defeat and turned around. Every hill was the hope of coming back to the resort, but every hill dragged us farther away. I struggled to stay positive and keep going, but after the last hill I bonked. I was dead tired and ready to give up. I just wanted to rest. My blood sugar dropped, I had a bloody nose and I was losing my will. If I had been by myself I would have become a statistic. I would have kept going because I would have rather fought the night than go back. I was very lucky to have level headed roommates. Had it not been for Berto and Eric seeing the situation as it was and making a good decision when we needed it I would have kept going hoping that my mental map would work itself into existence.

Later we found out we were on a horse trail that lead the opposite of where we needed to go. We looked for the employee who told us that was the right trail heading but he was gone. I learned a lot that day. But now, reading the science that goes on when people decide to survive or not too it made me more cognizant of how quickly things go well or poorly. I am reading that the mind will play tricks on us and that often times focusing on others makes us more aware and keen to our environment. I focused on my desire to complete the trail; I am hard headed like that. I don’t like quitting and failure scares me. Unfortunately, there is a thin line called recklessness that I often find myself walking, just ask any of my ex gf. I am not only lucky but I am more aware of how stupid I became in a short span of time. I am also thankful that I had that experience with people I could trust and whose minds triggered in a better way than mine. I am not going to share our conversations on that death march because those guys became my brothers. I feel it would be revealing privileged information and honestly, after a few halls cough drops the conversations are not PG-13 anymore. That day I gained a huge appreciation for them and like I said, they are like my brothers from different mothers. And I am glad we did not have to eat each other that would have sucked. I will review the book once I finish it in a few days.

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