Following my most recent book, Resilience From The Heart: The Power To thrive In Life’s Extremes (Hay House 2015) much of the media focus has been on chapters of the book that address personal resilience—our emotional and spiritual ability to embrace big change in a healthy way in everyday life, and in emergency preparedness.
While personal resilience is clearly an important first step to embrace change in our lives, it’s just that—a first step toward thinking and living in a way that reflects the extremes of our transforming world.
Our resilience when it comes to the physical necessities of everyday life is just as important. And that’s why I’m writing to you today.
The Principle Of Spare Capacity
The key to successful resilience is to create it, before you need it. Thinking ahead when it comes to life’s necessities is so important, that experts in resilience theory list it as the first of five key principles for creating resilience—the Principle of Spare Capacity. Spare Capacity gives us a “cushion” of safety when it comes to our daily lives.
Our Time of Extremes
Resilience is especially important now, because we’re living a time of extremes.
From the burden of global debt on our jobs, savings, retirement income and the banking industry, to extreme weather emergencies and growing social tensions in some of the worlds largest cities, it’s clear that the limits of our “safe zone” for daily living are being stretched to capacity.
It’s also clear that if a breakdown in daily routines can happen in one place, that it’s possible for the same thing to happen again, in other places. We’re all vulnerable to a world in transition, and it makes sense to expect the unexpected. This includes temporary disruptions in everyday services, such as the grocery stores, fresh water sources, local markets, gas stations, banks, ATM machines, medical care and electrical power that we easily take for granted. It’s also important to remember that any disruptions of daily services are only a problem if we’re not prepared for them!
Emergency Preparedness with Spare Capacity
It Just Makes Sense
The principle of Spare Capacity applies to our physical necessities in daily life, as well as our emotional and spiritual necessities and wellbeing. It’s often easy to overlook Spare Capacity, especially when everything is running smoothly and it’s the last thing on our mind. In reality, this is the perfect time to think ahead, when you have the luxury of doing so—before an emergency hits.
For example, when we leave our home in the morning, we take what we need to support us throughout our day. If we need to change clothes for a jog after work; if we need our books for an evening class; if we need money to meet a friend for dinner; we routinely prepare for whatever our day will bring and we do so before we begin our day.
And this is the point.
We don’t do so from a place of fear. We prepare for the day because it just makes sense to do so. It’s this simple idea that forms the crux of this message today. And this is where our resilience comes in.
Create Your “Cushion” of Spare Capacity Now, Before You Need It
When an emergency actually happens, our need for Spare Capacity quickly moves front and center when it comes to life priorities. So why wait? Why not create a “cushion” of security for yourself and your family and build your Spare Capacity now, before you need it?
Whether you’re creating Spare Capacity with your family, friends or community, making the time to be prepared for the unexpected is powerfully bonding for adults, and it can be fun for young people, as well.
Working together to create a Plan “B” for daily necessities can be a welcome break from the routine of endless news cycles, video games, Facebook, and election-year tensions.
10 Steps for Your Emergency Preparedness
Giving Yourself a Cushion with Spare Capacity
- If you have not done so already, begin by taking an inventory of your daily needs.
- Sit with your family and create a list of the things that would be “show stoppers” if supplies were somehow disrupted in an emergency situation and these items were not available in the way that they typically are.
- Begin by asking yourself if you have:
- reliable and secure access to healthy, non-perishable food items for a minimum of 2 weeks? (During an extended power outage, it can be difficult to preserve dairy products, meat and frozen foods)
- a 2-week back-up supply of any prescription medications, supplements and hygiene items that you depend upon? (When grocery shelves cannot be stocked on a daily basis, they quickly become bare. Common items such as soaps, shampoos, feminine hygiene and vital medications such as insulin, antibiotics and daily vitamins can be especially hard to find)
- reliable access to drinking water, or filters to create clean water, for yourself, your family and pets in the event public supplies are contaminated or unavailable?
- a supply of pet food and pet medications for a minimum of 2 weeks?
- access to the finances / cash you would need for 2 weeks if ATM machines were not available and banks were closed?
- a minimum of candles and battery-operated lanterns and flash lights for brief power outages? Or better yet…
- a source of back-up power for your home and necessities? (Household wind, solar and /or propane generators are now abundant, and reasonably priced, at online sources such as www.amazon.com and www.earthtech.com, for example.)
- For guidelines on how to create family and community resilience, please see Resilient Living, Chapter Three of the book: Resilience From the Heart: The Power to Thrive in Life’s Extremes (Hay House 2016)
Our resilience in life begins with being honest with ourselves. When we honestly acknowledge that we’re living a temporary time of volatility and extremes, when emergencies can happen at any time, it makes sense to think in a way that reflects the facts. As we do, we find the strength and confidence to embrace life’s extremes in a healthy way rather than responding from fear and uncertainty. When the facts are clear, our choices become obvious.
Please let me know how you feel about this topic, and this blog.