Saturday, December 09, 2006

Learn to survive — and thrive — no matter what comes your way

I've seen people do all kinds of things to relieve anxiety. Some have a glass of wine at dinner. Others shop or eat. But these are troubling times — with hurricanes, tsunamis, war, and acts of terrorism — and if drinking, eating, or hitting the mall is your way offending off anxiety over the state of the world, you should know that the bill will eventually come due. And I don't mean just the credit card statement. Such coping methods do nothing to build your inner strength and resiliency. Fortunately, there are ways to nurture true inner peace when outer peace isn't an option.

A few months ago, a woman I'll call Nancy attended one of my seminars. Nancy had been through hard times: Three years earlier her house had burned down; then her husband's National Guard unit shipped out to Iraq, and when he returned he was angry, depressed, and traumatized. The couple got therapy yet grew further apart until, finally, her husband asked for a divorce. Nancy realized she had a choice: She could drown in self-pity or move forward. After seeing how the trauma of war had torn up her husband, she wanted to make a difference with her life. So, at 35, she enrolled in nursing school.

I think even Nancy was surprised by her resilience. But her leap into a life of greater meaning came from a simple change in outlook. She shifted her focus from her own problems to the difficulties of others. And that one change brought her clarity and peace.

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Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is sitting at home watching TV and drinking a beer when he hears a knock at the door. When he opens it, he is confronted by a ittle Japanese man, clutching a clip board and yelling,

"You Sign! You sign!"

Behind him is an enormous truck full of car exhausts. Nelson is standing there in complete amazement, when the Japanese man starts to yell louder,

"You Sign! You sign!"

Nelson says to him, "Look, you've obviously got the wrong man", and shuts the door in his face.

The next day he hears a knock at the door again.

When he opens it, the little Japanese man is back with a huge truck of brake pads. He thrusts his clipboard under Nelson's nose, yelling,

"You sign! You sign!"

Mr Mandela is getting a bit hacked off by now, so he pushes the little Japanese man back, shouting: "Look, go away! You've got the wrong man. I don't want them!"

Then he slams the door in his face again.

The following day, Nelson is resting, and late in the afternoon, he hears a knock on the door again. On opening the door, there is the same little Japanese man thrusting a clipboard under his nose, shouting,

"You sign! You sign!"

Behind him are TWO very large trucks full of car parts. This time Nelson loses his temper completely, he picks up the little man by his shirt front and yells at him: "Look, I don't want these! Do you understand?

You must have the wrong name! Who do you want to give these to?"

The little Japanese man looks very puzzled, consults his clipboard, and says:

(It's a beauty)...

(wait for it)...

(Get your best Japanese accent ready)......

"You not Nissan Main Deala?"


A winter adventure later weals the best ways to conserve body heat

When Andrew Matulionis gets cold, he speeds up. In February, Matulionis won the 320-mile Yukon Arctic Ultra in 5.5 days, shaving more than 12 hours off the record. Pulling a sled packed with survival gear, the 41-year-old pharmacist from Whitefish, MT, endured daily temperature swings from 40° to -25°F. Here, the Arctic racer explains how to stay warm on a trip of any length, from a short snowshoe hike to a multiday trek.

Transition faster "When you're fatigued or slightly damp, shivering can begin within seconds of stopping," Matulionis warns. "Shorten your breaks by having your gear accessible." Place snacks and essentials like lip balm, hat. and mittens in your jacket, and store clothes and hot drinks near the top of your pack.

Prevent icing Leave an inch of air inside your water bottle so the liquid can slosh around, and pack it upside down so the water doesn't start to freeze at the mouthpiece.

Dress down "You'll need less clothing than you think because the body generates incredible heat," advises Matulionis, who begins races shivering. The worst thing you can do is drench your down and fleece layers by overdressing at the trailhead.

Change clothes Immediately swap out wet clothes when you slop. "Shivering gobbles up calories," he says, "Before I do anything — even drink or eat — I strip off my wet top and put on a dry one, even at 20 below."

Get hooded When you pause for a break or crawl out of a tent, zip on a windbreaker, cinching down the hood to retain heat and repel wind. "It feels like a cocoon and gives you a real and psychological sense of protection," Matulionis says.

Source: Backpacker, Dec2006

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