I have read a couple of books lately about a concept called “sheltering” or “settling” in place. To some extent it is like building a 1950s bomb shelter, but not exactly. It presupposes a major meltdown of the economy or natural disaster that will require people to be self-sufficient, but also be prepared to reach out and assist those who are without resources, for the survival of all.
In those circumstances, it is assumed that petroleum products may be scarce and that communications may have taken a hit. Transportation could be curtailed, and much of the infrastructure that we have come to count on could be useless.
The basic concepts of “Sheltering in Place” are:
Stockpile resources that you may need.
Clothing, food, seeds for gardens
Obtain access to new resources:
Hardware: solar panels, wood stoves, tools
Software: skills like sewing, spinning, weaving
Prepare to support and assist family and neighbors without these resources in an emergency
Make your space amenable to people staying with you.
Let people know that you will help
Because I am by nature an optimist it is hard for me to take the possible threat too seriously, although I will admit to taking up gardening, canning, spinning, weaving, knitting, beekeeping and chicken parenting since I moved to the mountains. Still, I consider those activities as hobbies and don’t really expect to have to live by my limited skills and wit.
It started me thinking about another kind of sheltering in place. Sheltering our rights, values and beliefs against what seems to be a daily onslaught from the powers that be.
I am more concerned about the damage being done to our collective, and my personal, psyche.
To protect ourselves I suggest that we may need to mentally “shelter in place.”
Stockpile resources you may need
Uplifting books, some of which may even contain “real” facts, soothing or inspiring music, movies and TV programs that teach us something wonderful about our world and the amazing people who populate it.
Obtain access to new resources:
Hardware: Paints, journals, musical instruments (dust off that old piano and learn to play the music from “Hamilton”)
Software: take some time for your spirituality, whether it is through your church or yoga classes. Centering yourself in the storm is important; try something new that excites you, your spirit needs a lift.
Prepare to support and assist family and neighbors without these resources
Make your home a place you are happy to be in and where you can invite people to share your peace. There is a totally insane book going around that might appeal to some people (I will not be one). It is called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Go for it, if it appeals.
Don’t close yourself off from people because you don’t agree with their politics (make your home a “politics free zone” and have some coffee klatches with neighbors, play Bunko, do movie or game nights), and, finally…
Draw that line in the sand that defines you and what you believe in.
Calmly choose your issues.
Allocate your limited resources (money, energy, time, emotion) to the things that truly speak to you and that you want/need to express.
These may not be the same for you and your spouse, or your kids, or your neighbors, or your friends. Let them choose their battles (there are plenty to go around).
I had been struggling with this post for several days when a friend posted on Facebook and helped me clarify what I want to say.
Thank you, Virginia C. Older, for sharing these thoughts.
“It takes courage to stay calm in the middle of what appears to be chaos. Sort through the cacophony and choose your battle.
Our Constitution has not been re-written. Our Bill of Rights is still in force. The Law is working as intended.
To understand what is going on, follow the money. That trite statement from so many crime dramas is accurate to understand what is happening here and worldwide. Understanding is knowledge, knowledge is power. You don’t need all the details, just the basic understanding.
Choose how you want to become involved and stay the course. 60,000,000 people are finding their voices and how they can participate. Writing postcards, contributing to favored causes, supporting people in Congress we agree with, being discriminating in what we choose to believe or share on social media, discerning facts from “alternative facts”, taking steps to be a public voice in government, or going to the streets to peacefully voice our protest. And vote our conscious with every election. Any and everything is part of the pattern of the tapestry of change.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.“