When was the last time you recharged your mental batteries? With all of the survival skills that people take pride in, how many folks ever give the mental aspect much thought? I’m asking this, because I am one of the guilty ones who never really give it helluva lot of consideration. Now granted, I’m not a survivalist like some, but in our own way, we are all trying to find some peace as we go about the business of surviving. Living and working on a ranch, I get to be out and about in God’s creation everyday. When it’s your job though, you tend to overlook the peaceful times. 20150816_085508_resized

A huge vice that is afflicting almost everyone in this great country of ours is technology. We all need it. Without it, modern life in a first-world country wouldn’t be possible. Who is guilty of letting it control too much of your lives though? Long before the internet, mothers used to kick kids out of the house in the summertime saying, “Too much tv was bad for our eyes”. Remember that? Now we have computers on our phones that are alot smaller than our tv used to be. Why are moms not saying such things anymore? Is it because she has her handheld ‘crack’ too? Remember Hide-N-Seek? What about Red Rover? Did anyone ever get a trip to the ER because of an impromptu football game with no pads? Mention this stuff to kids these days and they look at you like you’re an idiot. Don’t laugh though, when was the last time you turned off the technology, said goodbye to Facebook for a few days, and just got outside?

I’m writing this while avoiding the smoke of a campfire, somewhere in the middle of the Tetons. A few days ago, the Hostile Native and I had done a fairly good job of getting on each others last nerve, so I loaded up some camping gear and one hound and I headed for the mountains for a few days. When I left out I didn’t really have a destination in mind, I just knew I needed some time alone so I could regroup and find that inner peace again. I was just as guilty as everyone else and I would spend too much time staring into the technological screen of oblivion and despair. Every little thought or news tidbit ever known to man is readily available and after a while, that much information starts screwing with your inner balance.

Now I am sitting in a high valley up above 10,000 feet and my only complaint is that I didn’t give enough thought to my grocery list. For the most part, all I hear is the wind through the trees, the chattering of the pine squirrels and the creek that is about 40 yards from the tarp I’m using as shelter. A person can look around here and really see God’s handiwork. When I look at my surroundings here, I think it is safe to say that he most definitely did not design us to sit inside staring into a computer screen all day. One good thing about it all though, is it is not going anywhere. If we are smart enough to realize our needs, The Outside, Nature, God’s Gift To Us, is always here. It is up to us to get off our behind and get out there.

20150813_140201_resized_2Not only do we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our children. How will they ever know this free therapy session is there if we don’t show them? I went fishing on this high mountain lake yesterday and there was this dad there with his two little kids. I saw them when I first walked down to the water. They were on the side I had planned to fish first, but since I had the hound with me, I decided to go ahead and fish around to the other side. This is a fairly good sized lake, but with the air so clear, I could hear almost every question those little kids asked and each kind answer that dad had for them. I remember my Dad telling me to keep quiet when he took me fishing and oftentimes that took the fun out of it for me. Not this dad though, he was teaching his kids about a lot more than just fishing. He was teaching them about finding that peace and that coping mechanism we all need to get our mental game back into focus. Dolly, the hound, thought she was helping me by splashing into the lake after fish and I eventually had to tie her up if I were to have any hope of ever catching anything, but my main focus wasn’t about seeing how many I could catch. Sometimes it is good to go fishing, just for the peace and tranquility. You don’t always have to catch something in order to get a benefit from it.

With things being the way they are in the world, it is paramount that we each practice at keeping sharp on our mental game. Skills and survival or homesteading knowledge are all important, but if we don’t have a balanced mental game, all the skills in the world won’t save us. As an example, let’s look at the History Channel show, Alone. Some of those guys write on this site and I am sure that everyone of them will agree that the mental aspect was probably the most important. Everyone of the guys on that show had the skills to be there, otherwise they would have never made it past the screening portion of things. A huge obstacle affecting everyone and that had to be overcame lest you tap out was all mental. Being in the mountains, I haven’t watched the show in a few days and therefore don’t know who is still left, but I will say that Alan is the one who impressed the hell out of me when it comes to the mental aspect. Can anyone say, “Alan, party of one”? That guy faced those head demons and then threw a little party. If SH’sTF, we will all be just like the guys on that show, or we could be tapping out for real.

Sitting way up here in the ‘High Lonesome’, I can feel my mental batteries recharging a little more everyday. So far, I’ve been gone for a little over a week. Now I haven’t spent all of that time in the same place, but I have spent that time just finding a little peace and trying not to think about what all is going wrong in the world. I don’t think we were designed to have the coping capacity for all that is wrong in the world, yet we willingly invite all those problems into our lives everyday. QUIT THAT!!! Think about you and your health. Then think about the well being and health of your family. Teach yourself and then your family that you don’t have to be connected 24/7. Get outside. Learn some skills. Just enjoy the gifts and blessings that we have. Your sense of peace will increase and you will thank yourself.

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Tex McBride is a rancher and homesteader who lives somewhere in the windy part of Wyoming. He grew up never wanting to be anything but a cowboy with animals and livestock always playing a large role in his life. It would be incorrect to label him a survivalist using the traditional definition most folks think of, but he does take pride in trying to live a sustainable lifestyle. If one were to come up with a comical label, you might say he is a "comfortablist." Going to the woods and constantly honing bushcraft skills is not really his thing, but working around the ranch to make sure things run smoothly acts as a constant teacher for him. If you want to read more about Tex, check out his full bio on the team page.

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