Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Reunion & the Answer to Conflict



Classmates who passed away since our graduation... Reminding us that life is precious & fleeting...



Saturday was off the hook w/social events:

My Morning - Bar Mitzvah
My Afternoon - Wedding
My Evening - Class Reunion

Oh my!

It was a whirl wind of cool craziness and a bunch of mini road-trips gallivanting around West Michigan! 

It was a great day of re-connecting and celebrating w/friends...



The ONE THING I Learned from My Reunion that Could Instantly Change the World!


One thing happened at my class reunion that really stuck with me...

Something SO POWERFUL that all cliche's aside...

COULD CHANGE THE WORLD!

A group of people who are decades removed from our K-12 experience reunite for an evening...

We've all lived long enough to have Life kick us around a bit...

After some time here on this planet, it's difficult to avoid having things happen to us that we have absolutely no control over...

And I'm not talking about the good stuff...

I'm talking about the challenges, disappointments, heartaches, problems, issues, sickness, death, suffering, failure, ups, downs, mundane middles that Life brings us, whether we ask for it or not...

Things we can't avoid... run from, persuade, buy or lie ourselves out of...

You either learn resilience or become disillusioned, callous or bitter...

You can either grow wise or just get old...

Your choice...


The 'Shadow Side'


The 'shadow side' of youth can have negative effects. Selfishness, Competitiveness, judgement, shortsightedness & even cruelty, can often play a large role in our young world...

If you've ever been to a class reunion or something of its likeness, you already know that it comes with its share of anticipation and excitement to reconnect with old friends...

You also know that it comes with a healthy dose of hesitation, uncertainty, and unease...

Vulnerability...

We can tend to focus on our own flaws, the chinks in our armor.

When we go to gatherings like this, there is a part of us that is hoping we will be seen in a way that is pleasing...

Hoping that we'll be accepted and embraced for who we are...

For those who we shared our youth with to overlook our flaws of today and yesterday.

To remember the good things about us. To see the positive side of us now.

Possibly can (re)visit that what once was or what we wished it to be...

Or maybe to just recapture that feeling of wonder... discovery... That clean slate of experience that only youth can provide. Even for an evening...


What I Saw Was Astounding!


What I saw change at this reunion (our 30th) and our 20th that was different from our school experience and the experience even reaching as far as our 15th reunion...

Acceptance. Camaraderie. Humility (Well most of us anyway!=). Connection.

We saw ourselves as One Tribe...

Left behind were the clicks. The competitiveness. The ill will. The cruelty, that can sometimes accompany our youth and (of course) adulthood.

I saw a group of people come together who genuinely embraced each other. Who were grateful. Who were willing to look beyond the differences, imperfections, shortcomings, scars and wounds to connect with that deeper part inside of us as human beings.

That night there were no clicks, no casts, no popular, geeks, jocks, in or outs... We became One Tribe... Only people coming together who seemed truly grateful for those who were there.

It was astounding and humbling to be a part of...

Then I thought...


That's IT!


Yes, yes, I DO realize I am having a bit of a moment here...

But, as simple and idealistic as this is, it IS what holds the answer to many of the problems and conflicts we face in the world...

NO, it won't solve all of our issues (not by a long shot...) and NO not everyone will have this same viewpoint and even w/the ones that do, there will still be problems to contend with...

HOWEVER...

When we can see beyond all of our relative differences to that which is the same... We are humans and the Life we are stewarding has intrinsic value, beyond the differences we sometimes find so important.

If we can see ourselves as...


One Tribe


We can not only better deal with the conflicts that are unavoidable during this human experience we are having...

We will have a much better chance at dealing with those conflicts with much more clarity, less mistakes & suffering.

We will find it much easier to do Most Good / Least Harm for everyone!

So, can you see beyond someone's shortcomings, their faults, their relative values, their beliefs and behaviors to see them as a person and show THAT part of them respect, when you are appropriately managing their behavior?! (Even if you have to do things that are difficult and unpleasant?)

(I know, I know you've heard this story from me before... Well, at least I'm consistent! =)

Ok... Granola Rant OVER! =)



Keep Going,
~Craig


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Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Space to Live





Just got back from New Jersey; a weekend of training (and a bit of teaching too). It was great hanging out w/old friends, meeting some new ones and getting some good training in.

As I unpacked my gear, I was reminded of a discussion that Jack Hoban's teacher Maasaki Hatsumi had regarding space.

He took out a piece of calligraphy parchment and painted the character of LIFE on one side of it, let it dry as he explained his thoughts of space, distance, timing and what we in the 'tactical' world would call the 'Reactionary Gap.'

When the paint was sufficiently dried, Hatsumi then flipped the parchment over and painted DEATH on the other side...

He then looked at us and said "In battle, the difference between Life & Death are often only the width of a paper apart!"

I thought it was an eloquent example


The Space to Live...

When fractions of seconds count... Distance often equates to time.

The way you move, the position you take, the distance you are at, all factor into the equation of your ability to take the advantage of a situation (even if only to survive it).

People often only think about the physical space, when it comes to reaction time. However there are many more spaces that greatly influence ones reaction time during an engagement. 

Let me point out just two of these other 'Spaces':

~ Emotional Space
~ Psychological Space

If you are emotionally or psychologically overwhelmed, distracted, confused, disengaged or maybe just slow, it affects the time it takes you to respond. That lag may be the difference of being successful or not...

In minor situations it may cause you to lose that debate, the interview, a sale, negotiation or argument...

However...

In extreme situations it can be the difference between surviving or not!

I don't have a lot of time to chat today, so I'm going to keep things short. I just wanted to open this up that when you think about 'Space', you consider more than only 'Physical' Space.



Build Good Habits

Building good habits to reduce your exposure to the 'reactionary gap' doesn't only revolve around physical training (but you should be doing that as well!).

Yes, spend time physically training, but don't neglect being emotionally and psychologically sharp (Foundational & Tactical Grounding), or even at the right 'distance' you can find yourself in the same vulnerable situation of not having enough time because you didn't have the 'Space' to respond to what was happening.

Sorry...

I know there's a lot there I could go into WAY more depth on...

But, no time today...

Don't feel bad though, watch tactical shooting instructor Larry McDonald's MasterClass where we discuss & train it in the context of retaining and drawing your pistol:


If that's STILL not enough, don't fret, we'll talk about it more later!

In the meantime...


Keep Going,
~Craig

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Gift of Anger?!





Where Fear Meets Anger...

Gavin DeBecker's book "The Gift of Fear" make some really good points about that gut feeling you get that will keep you safe.

Most people are pretty clear about why we feel fear

However...

Less people know what to do with Anger, let alone how to USE it as a tactical advantage!

When we can throw off all of our current stigmas that coincide with anger, namely, loss of control, guilt, shame, bullying, victimizing... etc.

You can see anger for what it truly is and what it can be used for.

ACTION!

Anger Equals Action!

Yep, When you're Angry, sh*t gets done!

Now I don't mean unbridled rage, temper tantrums or anything to that extreme. I'm talking about feeling the emotion of anger, harnessing it and using it to your advantage!

If you can accomplish that, you can use the energy that anger gives you to good use.

However...

In this age of "being a victim" is power, the only thing we seem to use anger to fuel is blaming, resentment and passive aggression that can lead to greater acts of violence and sometimes tragic consequences including suicide, 'lone wolf' attacks and terrorist activities.

We have become a society where we learn (and are expected) to suppress a lot of anger, rather than being taught to understand how to use it properly.



Barbarism?!

Today anger is often seen as a rude, unnecessary, loss of control and barbarism that which isn't tolerated by our 'civilized' society. It appears that we would much rather deal with things (initially) in a more passive, politically correct way (faux respect), than meet things head on appropriately, but more assertively.

So we've mastered a wide array of passive (and not so passive, but one might say cowardly) aggression that seem to be more accepted.

Trolling, cyber bullying, ghosting, blaming, playing the victim, (to a lessor or greater degree) entitlement, complaining or protesting w/o lifting a finger to actually help, are just some of the examples of what is transpiring.

It's easy to light up your (or someone else's) social media page w/your words (and memes) of violent protest, or even put up a sign in the lawn about your convictions. Some may even go to the extent of picketing or putting on a demonstration...

All fine! It's great living in a country where we not only can do these things, but have the right to do so...

However...

It's like being in a meeting with people who all have such good idea's about how it 'should be' done (typically something that they don't have to deal with directly themselves)...

Then...

When it comes time for someone to step forward to actually do something about it, no one has anything but excuses as to why it 'should' be different, but they are too busy or otherwise indisposed to dig in and actually help implement the change they are suggesting. And/or the change is so idealistically unrealistic at this time it doesn't leave room of how things happen in real time.

It's easy to be an 'arm chair quarter back!'

But don't miss read me, I'm not advocating that voicing your protest is wrong, nor that violence as the ultimate way to manage conflict. I'm just saying that it's easier to complain than actually DO something and it appears that the pendulum has swung in that direction (some might say quite a bit).


Use It... Don't Lose It!

Use the intensity your anger gives you for (appropriate) action. Don't just 'lose it' and wast all that raw energy on being impulsive!

If you are taught to use your emotions they are your ally...

Unfortunately today we are taught to suppress many emotions that we find 'unsavory', we lack the mentoring necessary to teach others how to use that energy correctly to gain the advantages they were meant to give.

Another reason for good training!

Good training will help you to not only navigate those emotions, but use them to your distinct advantage.

If you suppress them they are not only useless, they are a detriment in the moment and will cause serious psychological/emotional problems in your life.


An Observation...

I'm no sociologist but I believe that part of what we are experiencing today, which is across the board a DECREASE in 'standard' forms of social violence, but an INCREASE in more extremes like suicide, active shooting events and terrorism (each of these categories have risen extensively in the past 20 years), is due to this trend of teaching (a.d.a. socializing) people to be more passive beyond the point of comfort and what we would naturally, instinctively do on our own (or possibly it is the transition or social 'evolution' that we are experiencing with such resistance?).

So, most people in the the mainstream comply and are, more or less minimally negatively affected emotionally or psychologically. However at the extremes, the people on the fringe have a greater reaction to the suppression, thus losing their 'release' valve so to speak, which results in the increase of the more extreme forms of violence...

This coupled with the 'establishment' (which could be our government, school, place of work, etc... basically our society as a whole) has become less tolerant of lessor forms of violence and more idealistic as to outcomes of how situations should be handled. Not to mention making claims that are not and cannot always be backed up...

Namely, 'we' don't trust you to protect yourself. 'We' will protect you. But when that doesn't happen it leaves most people in a social/emotional gridlock of confusion, doubt, frustration, fear and anger.

We are (often) taught that standing up for ourselves is wrong or that the margin for error or misjudgment is so fine and the consequence for stepping out of line so great, that the infraction of not following the establishments rules supersedes that of the violator infringement of the victim.

WOW!

We are taught that we don't have the expertise necessary to do a good enough job and we need someone of authority to do it on our behalf.

We begin to believe that we are not 'authorized' to protect ourselves. So, we begin to do it less. Relying on the authorities more...

And for the most part that works, because we DO live in an overall less violent society.

But for some, when they've been taught that they will be taken care of, but then the establishment doesn't protect them...

The feeling of resentment is multiplied by feeling betrayed because they've been taught that going against the establishment holds a greater consequence than someone victimizing them.

At  a deep level they want to do as their society expects, however they are sick and tired of feeling victimized, marginalized and disrespected (imagined or real)...

So they begin to feel resentment, becoming more conflicted, confused and angry.

In they're head they create a bigger enemy...

And that, in extreme cases can motivate some to:

Implode - Suicide
Explode - Active shooter, 'lone wolf' attacks, active assailant, joining extremist groups and act terrorism, etc.

Now I realize that I have not dug my heels in to do a full researched study... and probably won't, but that is my view of it at this point in time with the research I have done, what I see happening and the experiences I have had.
 

So, How Do YOU Turn Your Anger Into An Advantage?!
.
And What Does Israel Have to Do With It?!

I'll tell you in the next post!

In the meantime...

Have a Great Day!


All the best,
~Craig


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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

9/11... Do You Wish You Were There?


Picture Courtesy of Tom Collins


Fall came in fast...

Today I am in a bit of a reflective mood about the shock and tragedy that happened 17 years ago. It could just as well have been yesterday for me... It's still that clear in my memory... Where I was... What I was doing... How I was feeling... The phone calls... Watching events unfold... But I was one of the millions of people who weren't actually there...

But I have friends who were... Police, firefighters, friends.

Not everyone made it...

But, we all remember...

And that reminds me of Israel and what an Israeli friend of mine said about the attitude of many in that culture...


I Wish I Was There...


When a terrorist attack occurs many people think "I'm so lucky I wasn't there."

And don't get me wrong I would say that would be a pretty rational and intuitive thing to think...

However...

Some of my friends and colleagues from Israel have a different perspective. When something happens, when a tragedy occurs these people think...

If only I were there I could have helped in some way!

The cop may think...

If only I were there l could have helped and maybe I could have stopped the terrorist...

The firefighter may think...

If only I were there I could have helped and maybe I could have rescued more people...

The medic may think...

If only I were there I could have helped, maybe I could have helped save more people...

The citizen may think...

If only I were there I could have done SOMETHING, ANYTHING to help, maybe I could have made a difference...


Lifestyle vs. a Technique


This is why I train.

This is why I teach.

This is why I created this Community & Resource...

To help people recognize the importance of... and develop the skills to Build a Protectors LIFESTYLE!

Yes, learn good techniques. But, more importantly, develop a BETTER Lifestyle. A Protector's Lifestyle.

All cliche's and BS aside...

I want more people to become PeaceWalkers. To walk in peace. To know how to handle conflict w/o creating more of it.  To be clear about what they are protecting and to do most good / least harm.

To LIVE, PROTECT & INSPIRE!

In order to do that you have to surround yourself by healthy people who are on the same path. You have to train in the right way. STOP just thinking so much about technique and start thinking about HOW YOU LIVE! You have to LIVE the right way and develop a Lifestyle of a Protector!
.

Why Do You Train?!


If you train to defend yourself, you're thinking Too Small! If you train to defend your family, as noble as that may be, you're still thinking Too Small! 

Train so you can be clear, train so you CAN Protect yourself, your family, your friends, your colleagues and yes, train so you can protect that person you don't even know... Train so that You don't become part of the problem!  Train so that...

Everyone Is a Little Bit Safer Because You Are There!

Train that you are so Clear about what you are really protecting. That way, if you don't have the direct skills, you have a better chance of figuring out the details.

Train so you won't compromise your ethic.

Do not train to learn techniques...

TRAIN For LIFE!

...and

Keep Going!

  
All the best,
~Craig



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Monday, September 10, 2018

Fearless is BS





I feel good today, not fearless, but courageous...

Why... Well, let me first say this,

Fearless is Bulls#*t!

Yep, I said it!

...and I meant it!

Don't confuse fearless with Courageousness!

Being courageous is feeling fear and moving forward anyway!

Move Forward Despite Your Fear.
.
There are times when I am fearless. I'm not saying that it's never happened, but it's rare.

Yes, I've had some:

"Dude hold my drink and watch THIS," moments, where I was truly fearless (and careless). Those don't always go well for most folks.

Anyway, all joking aside, most of our biggest gains in life are when we are FAR FROM FEARLESS.

Rather we are full of fear, but we don't let that fear paralyze us from moving forward in a positive direction.
How Does This Apply to Conflict Management?

It's easy to get caught up in the fear, anxiety and drama of our inner voice. It is more likely to happen to you when you are under stress and (obviously) during conflict.

When we come from a place of fear we tend to be reactionary. We either over react, under react, react inappropriately for the situation, or don't respond at all when we should.

To make matters worse, when there is a lot of reinforcement to be "fearless," some begin to believe that we shouldn't feel it so when we do we need to:

(A) Hide it.
(B) Suppress it.
(C) Feel guilty for feeling it.

All of these can be detrimental in the moment of managing the situation, afterward in your relationships and also for your own personal health.

Fear is natural. It is there for a reason. But, don't let it control you or persuade you to make bad choices (...and we ALL know how persuasive fear can be!).

Reacting vs. Responding

So, how can we train to Respond vs. React during conflict.

Let's get one thing straight, I'm talking conflict Physically, Verbally, Emotionally, Psychologically, Socially, etc!

Well, in order to Respond rather than React during a stressful situation, you have to practice staying what we PeaceWalkers call...
...BASELINE

Baseline is made up of three key components:

Attitude
Awareness
Appropriate Action

*We actually have an entire training section in the PeaceWalker Conflict Management Course available on the PeaceWalker Membership Site, of what baseline is, why its so important and HOW TO REMAIN in it during conflict. Check it out SOON!

Having the proper Attitude, Awareness and Ability to Act Appropriately during the situation is key to overcoming the reactionary state caused by fear.

This is a bigger subject than we have time for in today's (almost) daily email. How about we cover each individually.

But, before we get into that...

Let's cover one of the key components that precludes this and will help you BIG TIME! When it comes to gaining and maintaining Baseline...

Tactical Grounding...

WTH?! Is "Tactical Grounding?"

I'm glad you asked...

It is a simple method for quickly gaining your composure so that you can gain and maintain baseline during moments of stress and conflict.

It's a simple three step process...

(1) Take a Deep Breath and Stand Up Straight.
(2) Change Your Mindset to Positive Things Like, "I got this!"
(3) Put Your "Game Face" On.

Oh, what is your "game face?"

This is your facial expression the suits the situation.

If you need to appear empathetic. Look the part.  If you need to look stern. Look the part.

Don't appear silly if the situation calls for you to be serious. Don't look mad if the situation requires you to look kind.

You have to be a bit of an actor and remember to...

Breathe Damn It! BREATHE!

I use this a lot when I'm driving!


Keep going,
~Craig


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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

PeaceWalker Case Study: Rob Barrett


Part 1

Hear how Rob Barrett uses the PeaceWalker perspective in his life & career as a high school teacher.

See Part 2 Here!


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