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Deep Survival: Holiday Issue

The holidays are approaching like a runaway train (where did November even go? did we skip it this year?) and my inbox is bursting with special offers, including some from companies I didn’t know were still kicking, like Black’s Photography whose stores are all closed.  🙁

But the real reason I’m writing is I wanted to share a book with you that I’m devouring (I’ve been having trouble sleeping so a lot of the devouring has been happening between 3-5 am…) It’s called Deep Survival – Who Lives, Who Dies and Why and is written by Laurence Gonzales. I wish I could remember who recommended it so that I could thank them. If it was you, then gracias!

{We pause here for a Toronto Public Library plug: I pulled my usual trick of reserving the book online – and then last Saturday it magically arrived by library bus on the island where I live. Oh how I love the TPL. If you love them too you can make a donation here.}

Back to the book.

Gonzales is a fabulous storyteller, interweaving tales of both wilderness and everyday survival with science and wonderful narrative. It opens with a harrowing and vivid description of standing on the landing deck of an aircraft carrier (in “the asphalt night”) and itemizing all that has to go right for those planes to land safely. And what goes wrong when it goes wrong.

He writes about how we assess risk and danger, and how we work against ourselves in certain circumstances. The book also makes me think of a UK study in 2008 that looked at how important taking risks is in child development. Children who have been protected from all harm never develop the skill of assessing risk and tend to make much bigger mistakes later in life, especially in dangerous circumstances, such as driving a car.

It didn’t occur to me when I started writing this to recommend this book as a gift, but actually it would be a great one for anyone who enjoys a good non-fiction read. (Dad, I hope you’re not reading this.)

Now, to loop back to the title of this message, this year I’ve got some survival strategies in mind to make the holidays fulfilling but not exhausting. I will be surviving this holiday season by enjoying rather than consuming, by not over-scheduling, and by taking many quiet walks on the island. {Shameless plug: I’m looking forward to offering some of that island quiet to clients in the New Year with Coaching in the Wild – the outdoor, one-on-one coaching sessions I’m offering on the island. They’re perfect for anyone on the cusp of something who wants to refocus, re-energize and renew.}

Now, over to you. What will you be doing to make this a memorable holiday? Feel free to share, or to comment over on the website.

Happy holidays and may you “survive” them in style!
xo
Allyson

ps Gonzales wrote a follow up called Surviving Survival – The Art and Science of Resilience which is sitting beside my bed, also brought by the magic library bus! Stay tuned …

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