It’s a little easier than we may think to be coasting through life and suddenly come to the realization that we are not aware of where we are. I don’t mean physically, our location; I am referring to the state we can find ourselves in after a season of hardship or difficulty. Pain has a way of numbing us to what is happening around us, or even where we are in relation to our surroundings.
While reading a book by Henry Cloud, “The Power of the Other,” I was struck by something he mentioned concerning Marine Special Forces. They ask themselves three important questions when being dropped into potentially dangerous situations:
1. Where are you?
2. Where is the enemy?
3. Where is your buddy?
There is much to be gained from military tactics. Life, as we know it, can seem like a series of battles. Whether it be health, relationships, finances or fill in the blank. When I read this information about the Marines, I measured these questions in my own life. They made sense. Great things to occasionally challenge myself with.
Where am I?
But, seriously, where are you? If we are not aware of where we are internally, we can find ourselves in precarious situations without any alarm bells or red flags alerting us to potential hazards. First responders actually have a term for accessing where a person is at: AAOx__. Awake and Alert, Oriented x 0, 1, 2, 3, 4. Zero level meaning the person is unconscious, all the way up to four, meaning the person is aware of themselves, place, time and situation.
I have felt AAOx zero before, even while still being conscious. Just kind of deadened to all that is going on around me. Not responding to my surroundings. Call it burned out, tuned out, done. It’s not a healthy place to stay. It kind of leaves us as a target for incoming fire. I think we’ve all been there. It can be a pretty scary place.
Where is the enemy?
I think the enemy is going to look different in each of our lives. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Note where the fire is coming from, and be awake and alert to its presence and your position, but don’t give it an undue amount of your energy.
Where is my buddy?
When Marines ask themselves this question, it’s not “Where’s my drinking buddy?” It’s “Where is the friend that I would go into war with?” “Where’s the person I trust my life with?”The one that would take a bullet for me. Not leave me behind in the heat of conflict. That buddy.
Desmond Doss was this kind of person in the movie, “Hacksaw Ridge.” He didn’t look like your typical military fighting comrade, and he wouldn’t even carry a gun. He was everyone’s last choice to go into war with. But he ended up being the right kind of friend when the battle was the fiercest. He saved 75 people by himself, walking through a barrage of bullets and carrying bodies down a steep, rock ledge to safety.
This might be one of the most clarifying questions we periodically ask ourselves. There are all different levels and seasons of friendship. They each play a role in our lives. But we need the ones, the friends that are with us through the most trying times. It’s also healthy to check if we are this buddy for others.
The best way to live well, is to live fully, with our whole selves. That means AAOx4, and I’m going after it with everything I’ve got. Come join me!
Blessings & love,