“Be Prepared…the meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise.” (Robert Baden-Powell)
This guiding principle sounds great for a camping trip, but let’s face it, life is pretty much a big mystery and it is full of surprises. An emergency is something that catches us off guard and takes us into uncharted territory. If we knew what to expect on our personal journey, we all would certainly stock up on supplies and provisions and not allow ourselves to be caught short. But life does not come with a handbook, so we try the best that we can and make adjustments along the way.
Being a former Girl Scout, I felt prompted to maintain a high level of preparedness, so I was inspired to create a personal toolbox to try and be ready for those “surprises”. But honestly, sometimes I have forgotten to bring it with me and I have floundered and experienced failure as a result. When my husband died I did not know if there was any tool that would “fix” my pain and I spent a long time seeking a remedy. Fortunately, at other times, my personal toolbox has helped me to recover more quickly and has prevented me from giving up.
My personal toolbox has four sections. One is marked “Head”, one is labeled “Heart”, one is for the “Body”, and one is dedicated to my “Soul”.
“Head”: This is where our thinking takes place and we need to try and keep our cerebral moments as rational as possible. So a level is a good tool for the job. “Leveled- headed” people tend to be more clear and precise thinkers, so from time to time I try to stop and monitor the equilibrium of my thinking. Am I dangerously tipping off in one direction or another? If so, I try and get back on course and check to see that the little bubble is floating right in the middle of the tiny window of this device.
“Heart”: From the moment we are born we are making emotional connections and reaching out with our love. At first we connect within our close family circle and then we extend our hearts over the miles to far-off relatives. And even when we can no longer physically hold on to our dearly departed loved ones, they are still in our hearts, wrapped in a precious layer of love. We cannot possibly measure this powerful emotion, but I keep a special measuring tape in my toolbox to remind myself how far the heart can stretch and how much love there is still available to share. Along with that I keep an ample supply of tacks in case I need to reattach my sense of hope when it has been dislodged.
“Body”: Oh my, I have noticed as the years have progressed that my need for tools to fix these accompanying problems has grown. It seems lately that there is more sagging or drooping and the joints are getting tighter and stiffer. A socket wrench set is a good starting point to make all of the necessary adjustments, but just in case, I also keep an extra large roll of duct tape, which stands ready to mend all of those unforeseen, potential disasters.
“Soul”: This is probably the area that we guard the most and only start to feel comfortable with it as we age. When the other three parts are working in concert, we can feel the strength of our soul. It contains our deepest feelings and thoughts and it is the only place where we can be truly honest, if we let ourselves. Sometimes we need a hammer and a chisel to chip away at the false protective outer layer that we create for protection. I find that a crowbar is ideal for me in order to pry deep within my soul to lift off its lid so that I can feel liberated. It is then that I can really appreciate myself and enjoy my existence.
Even if you have a well-stocked personal toolbox, life can throw a “wrench” into the works and everything can fall apart. The best laid plans crumble and the once still waters now send waves crashing over your head and you can lose sight of your horizon. So you might want to keep a big sledgehammer at the bottom of your toolbox for such an extreme emergency. On several occasions I have had to reach in and take mine out, hit myself over the head with a forceful “whack” to get back on track. I would caution you to use this device sparingly, but when you feel yourself spiraling down, a strong reality check can help to improve your vision and realign your priorities. It can assist you to clear away the toxic influences and pollution that can creep into your life and it forcefully reminds us that we are here to love and to be loved.
So, tell me, do you have a personal toolbox? What is in it? Are you “prepared” for life’s surprises?