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Intuition, Nature and Prepping

This morning, I thought of how many times I have used intuition and nature as part of how I prep.

Intuition can be considered the ability to understand or know something immediately, without conscious reasoning.

I was raised in a family of intuitive people, which made it difficult to get away with anything as a child. Their abilities went beyond parental instinct.

I was taught to pay attention to my intuition and use my instincts for the ability to do something about what my intuition noticed.

I thought everyone’s family was like my family and never considered it unusual, until as an adult outside my family unit, I acted upon my instincts. That was when other people noticed and I found out we didn’t quite follow the norm.

For example, I would get a sudden mental flash that a friend was in trouble and call them. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Are you okay?”

Friend: “No, I’m not…wait a minute, how did you know?”

The friend was particularly surprised because I had called her at 3 a.m.. I had awoken out of a dead sleep to respond. I was surprised also.

That was the point when I realized that not everyone paid attention to their intuition or used their instincts. This is not to say that I always got it right. It took some years for me to understand how to focus some of that intuition on protecting myself.

I was also taught to pay attention to nature and be mindful of the physical world around me by using all my senses.

It was the smell of snow, of the shift in the air when Spring had really arrived. It was about observing how animals behaved in different seasons. Were the squirrels out longer gathering food? How heavy was the moss on the trees that year? Were the horses suddenly running because a storm was coming or was it something else?

Nature has a way of telling us things if we pay attention.
There have been many times when I make decisions to do something prep related that can appear spontaneous, but are actually driven by intuition and nature combined.

For example, regardless of the weather forecast, I can decide to go immediately to do a grocery shop rather than wait for the planned for time and day.

This has happened in fall and spring stock up times. There have been many storms I have avoided by simply following that intuition and paying attention to what I sensed in nature and not the weather forecast.

When I lived in the city and could frequent thrift stores more easily, I did the same thing, a sudden decision to go because I had that flash of intuition that told me go now. Sure enough, I would find an item I had been searching for and needed for my preps.

Now in a rural area, it works the same way for online shopping. I can be in the middle of baking bread, stop cold and check online for an item I have been searching for and there it is, on sale.

I use intuition alone for dealing with safety and security issues. Again, I can awaken out of a sleep to check security cameras and there are people on the street or in the back lane.

I don’t think I’m the only one who does this. I have a theory that we all have the ability to be intuitive, but many people are not taught to pay attention to their intuition and nature as I was taught.

So, this morning my curiosity leads me to ask whether anyone else uses their intuition as part of how they prep, and if so, how?

I also wonder if anyone else understands what I mean about reading the signs in nature and if so, how does that affect how you prep?

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  • Comments (12)

    • 3

      No intuition here.  I just go thru life bumping into whatever comes my way.

      • 2

        Yeah, there was no getting around it in my family, including generations before me. I think they learned to do this from way back when life was very much concerned with building self-sufficiency.

        I don’t know. Maybe, it’s now a lost ability for society because people aren’t pioneers and don’t have to rely on their intuition and use their instincts the same way.

        My Dad was really adamant about teaching me, using lessons from his service in WWII. He used it a lot to get through those years.

        So, I do use it for prepping or helping others without being conscious I’m doing it. It’s not like side show abilities or psychic hotline stuff. It’s more like knowing how to ride a horse or a bike. I think of it as a skill I was taught.

        But, you don’t use the natural world and how it behaves/functions from year to year for how you garden? 

      • 3

        Well of course I know it is gonna warm in the spring, be hot in the summer & cold in the winter.  But I can’t “read” the signs to know if a storm is coming in a few days nor can I “feel” that a frost will hit next week.

        I don’t think nature likes what we are doing to the planet.  Weather is much less predictable now than when I was younger.

      • 2

        This is not about normal seasonal cycles. To me it is also not about some odd ability.

        It is a matter of paying attention to how nature and wildlife function. There are subtle changes that happen such as how the air smells when snow is coming.

        I can’t feel that a frost is going to hit next week, but I can watch the trees in the fall and notice if the leaves are turning early. I pay attention to bird migration.

        I just realized that the nature part is an environmental trait. Life in a cold climate might have been a factor why people developed these abilities. I know I’m not the only one who understands the signs in nature in this part of the world.

        Either way, it comes in handy, disaster or not.

    • 3

      From the business world; When the banker starts handing out free umbrellas, anticipate extensive storm damage to home requiring large bank loan for repairs.

      The metaphysical can depend on one’s “culture”. Older time Egyptians (It wasn’t really ancient on time line) developed an inituition that when spiders were moving higher from river bank, flooding enroute.

      In the US, intuitive to me is seeing a car in traffic with back seat having adult passengers (not kids or children in car seats). I automatically go on inherent alert.

      Had taken a combat course and an aspect of intuition was presented.  When on the ground hiding from an enemy soldier walking past, do not make eye contact even if you’re well hidden and camoflaged. Was told that the enemy soldier can sense your presence. 

      If I see hornets from a disturbed nest, my intuition automatically says something’s going on.

      A term I learned: phonetic – can’t spell it: = autavistic impulses =.  Goes back to pre-“civilization” where, for example, we overeat in anticipation that no food available in the future.

      • 3

        Bob,

        Good one about the umbrellas. You don’t want to know what’s coming when they hand out free toasters.

        I agree that the development of intuition is culturally and environmentally dependent.

        Your example of the alert you register in traffic is a perfect illustration for paying attention to your intuition. 

        You are aware and conscious of your environment and that is a skill that is required in times of crisis and disaster. In preparedness, if we don’t learn to pay attention and develop our intuition, then we have a vulnerability in our ability to survive.

        Your combat course example follows this point. The idea of not looking at the enemy while hiding is a skill you were taught. You have learned to develop intuitive skills or to intuit how the enemy can respond in a particular situation. Non-verbal communication is powerful and comprises 95% -96% of how we communicate (although online communication may change this number).

        The enemy could sense they were being watched which is common to many people from what I understand. Military training also teaches people to be aware of their environment and to use their senses. My intuition was further developed by life experience with violence, which if one thinks about it is civilian combat training.

        In a dead sleep I can sense when someone is in the bedroom. After my Mom moved in with me, she entered my bedroom to ask where the tea kettle was.

        It was the morning after she moved in, so I hadn’t had time to explain my quirky reactions.

        I was asleep. When I awoke and opened my eyes, I was lying on my right side, with my left leg raised and hovering in the dark. I was ready to execute a round house kick and so close to my target that I could feel the warmth of their skin.

        Then I realized it was my Mom reaching for my right foot to wake me, and horrified, I dropped my left leg. I can bend a heavy bag in half with my left side round house kick.

        That happened because I have senses trained to pay attention.

        Hornets disturbed in a nest and the fact that you paid attention to it, is an excellent example of how nature “speaks” to us. Birds singing and suddenly falling silent is one I pay very close attention to, also.

        Imagine if, during a crisis, a person didn’t understand this and had to forage in an unfamiliar area or deal with security issues.

        From Oxford Dictionary, one definition of Atavistic as adjective is: “relating to or characterized by reversion to something ancient or ancestral – “atavistic fears and instincts.””

        From Merriam Webster Dictionary, it can also refer to “recurrence in an organism of a trait or character typical of an ancestral form and usually due to genetic recombination.”

        It is possible that intuition is partially genetic and also a forgotten skill that can be learned and developed.

        When the dust settles or flood waters recede or whatever crisis is over, there will be people who prepared still standing and of those, some of us who relied on our intuition and understanding of the natural world. Having those skills and abilities might not make a difference to if we survive, but they might make it easier to survive. 

    • 4

      I think many people, myself included, are too busy and distracted to pay attention to nature and gain that valuable intuition. It’s a skill our ancestors used to survive, but is quickly being pushed out by technology and the rat race we live in.

      When I’m out jogging in the morning, do I do it quietly and enjoy all that nature has? No, I have to have my audiobook or some pump-me-up tunes. When I’m just sitting down to eat do I go sit out on the back patio and watch the vast world in front of me? No, I have to have some movie or YouTube video on with annoying ads telling me to buy more stuff. Do I sleep with my window open and feel the temperature, breeze, and listen to the crickets? No, I have my AC on and white noise machine drowning out the world.

      It’s hard to be in tune with what nature is trying to tell or warn us about when we do so many things to distance ourselves from it.

      And don’t get me started on how our society says that to be successful you need to be busy at all times, always making more and more money. You can’t stop and smell the flowers if you are running past them at top speed to get to the next meeting that is being held just for the sake of having a meeting and nothing will actually get accomplished. 

      • 1

        Hi Liz, 

        Your comments are spot on with how we unplug from our environment and miss so much.

        We have so many ways to save time, yet we spend our time detached from the natural world and our intuition.

        Intuition requires one to be present, with full attention to the situation at hand or the environment.

        It is like a muscle that needs to be worked to become stronger. There are simple ways to begin to develop your intuition.

        For example, when around people and you have a chance to stand back and observe quietly. Discreetly look at people and then register how you feel about them. What was the first feeling you had?

        You can also pay close attention to non-verbal cues to develop instuition. From a distance try observing people and think of what they are saying or feeling by their body language and demeanor.

        I really believe this is a good skill to have as a prepper. Anything that can help us navigate a crisis with more facility is worth it.

        Thank you Liz, your comments were so relevant to what is happening today. I believe that people reading them will give pause and think about being more present in their lives.

    • 4

      I have had two major surgeries from an old knee injury (stupid dog!) and also from my spinal cord injury (stupid motorcycle!). When I start just randomly feeling achy, sore, get a headache, and lose all motivation to do anything I know a storm is coming. I believe it is a change in the barometric pressure. And it has become a pretty accurate barometer, I go look outside and sure enough the clouds are all overcast and it will start raining or snowing in the next few hours. I guess this is a sense that I’ve gained early in life with the assistance of these surgeries for some reason, and older people will have their bones ache and feel similar things when a storm is coming. 

      George Lucas included this bone aching sense of the weather in Star Wars episode one. Here’s a quick clip of that. Turn the video off after 7 seconds though, it just gets dumb after that.

      Pretty neat gift/skill you’ve developed Ubique. I need to take more time in nature to listen and enjoy, hear what she has to say to me.

      • 2

        Hi Gideon, 

        Owch and Double Owch! I’m glad you survived the bike crash. I’ve had a few friends along the way who didn’t make it.

        Exactly about the barometric pressure and storms. I can go outside and feel them in the air. It make me feel wild like I want to run around like a horse running before a storm (not that I do that, but it feels like that)

        It was a trigger for migraines for me. Now arthritis pain gets worse.

        The George Lucas clip was a hoot! Thanks for adding the link.

        Like I mentioned to Liz, you can learn to develop your intuition by paying attention to your “interior landscape” and the way you react to people, places and situations.

        Observe people and get a sense of what your first instinct or feeling tells you about them.

        Nature is the exterior landscape and has much to teach us. Nature is about observation also. It is a place to use all our senses and register what each one is telling us about our experience in nature in that moment

        Keep a journal of what you feel will happen say in winter after observing the fall behaviour of the wildlife. If the squirrels are staying out longer to collect acorns past when they should be in hibernating, I note a longer or harder winter coming.

        It’s actually fun to experiment with this stuff. And the bonus is anything that can increase our intuition and connection to nature can help greatly in a time of disaster or crisis.

    • 5

      I use intuition and training to assess the state of mind and emotions of people I interact with. Some of it is simple human warmth and friendliness. Some of it is assessing where they fall on potential threat / potential ally / potential resource continuum.

      I observe / intuit emotional upset and cognitive decline pretty quickly and accurately. Lately I’ve been thinking about the effect of cognitive decline (e.g., early stage memory impairment, which may or may not develop into dementia) relative to preparedness. I notice mental health issues such as depression and anxiety in others (and in myself, if present).

      In a pinch, I am not likely to rely on someone with chronic or even intermittent emotional issues that might cloud their judgement, nor am I going to rely on someone with even mild cognitive impairment, if I have a choice. And yet . . . I am also in favor of reducing the stigma that often attaches to mental health problems and cognitive impairment. 

      I guess for me the key is to watch for changes over time and to be aware that even in a circle of family and friends, the “burden” / responsibility of watching out for the welfare of folks may actually fall on fewer adults than initially anticipated or desired.

      • 3

        Seasons4,

        The issue of cognitive decline has been prominent in my preparedness scenarios, particularly the last few years.

        It is something we fear as we age and watching a family member experience cognitive symptoms/personality changes further underscores that fear.

        I also watch for signs of it in myself. Years ago I began to actively work my brain with certain types of puzzles that challenged memory and word skills. I also researched diet issues related to cognitive decline.

        I know exactly what you mean about not relying on someone’s judgement if it can be clouded by emotional issues, intermittent or not, and even mild cognitive impairment. It is still impairment. 

        I walk that line with a family member every day and have advocated for his dignity and self-empowerment. A diagnosis or particular symptoms are not an invitation for disrespect or maltreatment.

        Children and other family and friends are no guarantee of becoming supports who will assist, and usually the person is abandoned to the wards.

        In my family culture we care for our loved ones at home until the end. One of my uncles had Parkinson’s Disease and my aunt, who was in advanced years looked after him until the end, including lifting him in and out of the bath tub.

        Another uncle had dementia and my aunt cared for him at home until he became violent to the point of bashing her into a wall. She was in her 80’s and had to make the call for the ambulance. He passed a week later. 

        Not everyone can do what they did.

        Even with watching for the changes, I have accepted that there are some things I can’t control. I do my best to mitigate risk factors.

        Better long term care philosophy, treatment, staff compliments and training are imperative if we are ever to properly care for persons living with dementia.

        When I took palliative care, we were taught to “go where they are” when caring for dementia patients.

        For example, our teacher spoke of a dementia patient who used to be on his hands and knees picking at the carpet. 

        The other nurses couldn’t understand why he was doing this over and over. So, they made some background inquiries and discovered that he had been an avid gardener during his life. The nurses purchased some simple gardening supplies and set up a way for him to garden. 

        Their actions are an example of empathic, compassionate care. The patient was much happier and the nurses felt gratified that they could do something concrete to enrich the time he had left to live.

        The worst dementia wards are where dementia patients are left to linger and treated as if they are already dead.

        I think that there some of the combative incidents happen because the patients are afraid. I can’t imagine what it is like for them when they have a disease of the brain that renders them unable to recognize people and situations. From their perspective, they are being handled by strangers and don’t know where they are or why they are there.

        This is good to know for anyone who preps because during crisis you may need to care for a family member who is ill. Case in point would be the people who removed their family members from long term care facilities to protect them during Covid-19.

        We were taught to be gentle and take our time with the patients and reassure them. Sometimes in busy and often understaffed wards, I think the care givers feel pressured to keep up with the demands of their duties and lose the ability to take the time required for proper care and that’s when everybody suffers.

        One of the best documentaries I have seen on this subject was aired on Prairie Public television in 2014. It is titled “The Green Houses Project.” It was a 12 year project. It was produced by Dale Bell, runs 57 minutes and I have their website in my notes as mediapolicycentre.org I highly recommend seeing it if you can. It is a wonderful example of what long term care can be.

        It featured the work of Bill Thomas, MD. Harvard grad, Hines Award Winner who is considered one of twelve most influential Americans (from my notes). He is the father of two daughters, both of whom require long term care.

        To quote Dr. Thomas, “traditional nursing homes are relics of the 19th century.”

        To paraphrase this next part, Dr. Thomas said that the only other groups institutionalized are criminals and we do this to our Elders…old age is treated as an illness for which there is no cure.

        There is also The Butterfly Project which began in England and the rights of which were purchased by The Salvation Army Australia. Their work is also in the same vein as Dr Thomas’ work.

        This is a somewhat grim aspect of preparedness, but it is also one, that we all face as a possible feature of our ageing or of the people we care about.

        As you so very well stated in your response, Seasons4, we need to think about these issues, watch for them in ourselves and others, and how it could affect issues of judgement and preparedness decisions.

        We can also take hope that there are new discoveries about dementia and that researchers are making progress. One day there will be a cure. In the meantime the above philosophies of care can provide better treatment of people who are living with dementia.

        Thank you for writing your reply. I know that there are people who prepare that can relate to this time of life and the concerns that accompany it. The people who are younger and prepping need to know about these issues.