In the ongoing discussion and development of the coursework we desire, awareness of what is our reality, and what we want in our reality continue to point out the survival mechanics we employ. As we have seen with natural disasters, and many life changing events, we have many layers of survival that we operate with. I offer this writing to continue the conversation, and bring awareness to our shifting economic paradigms.

Many are acutely aware of the needs of survival, and we use these stages of survival in response to our defense, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental. Each stage of survival can be seen as a lesson plan tailored to each individuals path of growth. Some may decide to make survival a skill, some may decide to make it an occasion, and yet some may not yet have an awareness of how they use survival.

As I suggest here, survival can be seen as a skill, a tool to effectively manage the unknown experiences of life, and I would recommend that we see survival as steps upon a ladder of growth. In growth, we are thriving, we are alive, we are living our dreams. For myself, and many ones, we are defining our thrive, our bliss, and our joy so that we can grow into our potentials, and share this journey with every one on the path of growth.

Some experience the awareness, and employ the stages of survival in catastrophes, war, natural forces, financial burden, or illness. Some may feel the pressure of social, or cultural issues, some may choose to hone their skills of survival as a growth. Discussing the stages of survival allows our awareness to take an observers seat, and so now I will give a bit more definition,

I identify three stages of survival, perhaps there are more, perhaps you will add to this discussion, I see the three stages as acute, maintenance, and transition. I relate these stages to my own personal accounts of self and witnessed experiences. I will offer a journal question for your reflection, and I welcome answers or further questions as we build this course, Shifiting Economic Paradigms.

Survival Stage 1: Acute

In the acute stage of survival, ones basic needs are not met, and life hangs in the balances, as many are in need of immediate relief. Fortunately, there are good citizens, grants, and charitable organizations, that bring relief aid to those in need, yet this often does not reach all. In contrast, the U.S and other nations, attempt to meet the needs of the ones they govern, but require trees of information, and prolonged decisions. These inefficiencies are exasperating the situations of ones who are existing in the acute survival stage.  It is time to meet the needs of each one in our community, and the acute stage needs immediate attention.

A real life example of acute survival stage, I witnessed with a veteran named Rick, living on the streets of Missoula, getting a meal at the shelter, and holding a cardboard sign at the big box store. He’s given up on asking government assistance, he cannot maintain an address, and looks to the end of a bottle for lifes answers. I listen, and offer that he “might find his mission in life to be elsewhere, somewhere, not in a bottle”. Rick says, “oh, that’s not fair”, and I respond that “we must define what is fair for ourselves, and perhaps you need to find that fairness within.” Rick smiles, “you;re alright, I like that”.

Many are experiencing the Maintenance Survival Stage, and this appears to have become a social and cultural norm. Ones who experience this stage are faced with a wall of issues, challenges to ownership, and enslaving debt. These concerns have folks stressed, working overtime, and cutting corners everywhere. Competition compels many to stay on the treadmill, and is accepted as the way life is. Like a maze with a hidden exit, their running in the rat race of a concrete jungle. Some have celebrated the process, and call ownership of their title and deed paid for in sweat and blood.

An example of one experiencing the Maintenance Survival Stage. I met Sheree when I accepted a position, we worked with families in community service. Sheree had three kids, her husband separated, and would not support them. They were facing foreclosure of land and home, and bombarded with bills in the mail, and threatening phone calls from collection agencies. They kept a small heater in rooms,while the rest of the house was cold, they lost phone service, and soon they sold all possessions and moved away. We have seen too many hit this transition hard, dropping into the acute survival stage  Yet, there are some who find a way out, and they are on the way to the next stage.

The third stage is the transition stage of survival. In this transition, ones are waking up to the hard truth of these survival stages. Waking up to the roles played, and the experienced scenarios, and asking Why, How, Where, When, Who. Discovering each ones existence in the physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental living. Connecting with the real concerns of the community, and working toward solution. They are volunteering, assisting, and helping in Service to Others. At this transition stage, we can assist those who are in the earlier stages of survival, by hand and by voice.

I speak from experiences of these stages, with a knowing in heart that it is possible to transform any of these stage of survival with a response of thrival. If you have seen the movie, Thrive, you might get an idea where this is going. If you haven’t, go somewhere you can watch youtube for an 1.5 hours, and watch Thrive for free. If you can, get a viewing party happening in your living room. If you have a projector, setup an outdoor summer cinema in your neighborhood, now is the time to share the way to thrive, and so the act of thriving, is thrival.

Each one has an individual path, a custom journey of experiences, and each one has a contribution to the whole. We are like a large jigsaw puzzle, looking for matching pieces, missing pieces, and we won’t stop til the picture is complete.

Journal prompt: Identify an example of either acute, maintenance, or transition survival in your life or someone you know? Do you know of thriving solutions to the experiences?

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