I am currently reading a book by Laurence Gonzales titled “Deep Survival”. It tries to explain what happens to people in a survival situation and why certain people live and certain people die. I suspect the friend who sent me the book assumes I am in a survival situation (prison) and that I could use some survival skills. I do not view prison as a survival situation. I view it as an existence situation as opposed to a living situation. To exist and emerge a better person, I suspect some of the skills highlighted in “Deep Survival” are clearly applicable.
The book discusses people who get lost at sea or in the wilderness. The book states that being lost is not a location, but it is a transformation of the mind. It can happen in the woods or it can happen in everyday life. I can relate to this conclusion because I believe I got lost which allowed me to make poor choices and end up here. Getting lost in the woods or in life consists of 5 stages.

1. DENIAL- When things get off track, you deny things have gone amiss.

2. URGENCY- When you accept you are off track and acknowledge the danger and become frantic. You are now making poor decisions and acting frantically.

3. EXHAUSTION- you expend your chemicals of emotion and try to make your situation fit into your past experiences but you cannot do so.

4. DETERIORATION- You deteriorate both physically and emotionally as you cannot find a solution for your situation.

5. ACCEPTANCE- You run out of options and energy and accept your plight.

The actions that led me here followed the 5 stages listed above. Better survival skills and life experiences could have led me to make different choices. In my next blog I will discuss the attributes that we can learn to help us avoid getting lost in life (and the woods).

Ken Flaska

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