Practicing Awareness

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Awareness – noun – Dictionary.com

“The state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness.”

One of the topics often stressed in the self-defense community is having ‘situational awareness.’ As my friend Craig Douglas says: “You can’t DO a noun.” Therein lies the core of the problem; we don’t teach people how to do it, so talking about it is mostly lip service.

When you want to learn to do something, you have to practice it. Once again, the dictionary defines practice as something done repeatedly or habitually. So if we want to learn to be aware, we need to work at it repeatedly. There are a number of ways that I practice my awareness and I do them every day, sometimes repeatedly.

In terms of awareness, one of my friends describes it as “what is wrong in my right world?” That’s one way of looking at it. A variant of that is “what is different or out of place?” That can be from the perspective of either what was before or what should be.

When I wake up, one of the first things I do is look out my front window. Is there anything different outside my home? Are there different cars there? Does the neighbor across the street have the porch light on, as it usually is? Is there anything different in my driveway or front yard? If not, then on with the day. If so, does it bear further investigation or do I just file that bit of information away? The essence of what I’m doing is checking for surveillance or an ambush. Having dealt with stalkers and possible attackers, both for clients and personally, I consider that very important in my daily routine.

I take a brisk walk around the neighborhood on a four day on, one day off schedule. The route I follow is the same so I can track my time to various checkpoints I’ve established. I don’t wear headphones, although occasionally I will have my phone playing John 00 Fleming Global Trance Grooves at a low level.

As I’m walking, I check out the houses, cars, and yards. I know them fairly well because I’ve been doing this regimen for almost two years. Which houses have been put up for sale and which have been taken off the market are obvious things that I look for. And there a lot of other things that I try to notice, such as cars, people, animals, etc.

Next post, I will list some of the things I observed and cataloged on today’s walk.

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