Your Comfort Zone…

Posted in Faith on January 17, 2014 by Echo Lima Bravo

This was posted on a forum I frequent by one of it’s members, by the name of Paul. The subject matter is very important, and it was so well written, I had to share it with you.

What Is the Comfort Zone?
Let’s explore this idea of a comfort zone to see if it is actually supporting you. What is it exactly?

  • It is not a real place. It is an idea created by you.
  • Its function is to keep you feeling safe.
  • It is what you know and are familiar with in all areas of your life—relationships, choices, how you spend your time—even thoughts patterns and feelings.
  • It excludes things you are afraid of or uncomfortable with.

If you have a comfort zone, you must also have a discomfort zone. And what’s out there in the discomfort zone? All those experiences you are afraid of. Consider these:

  • Emotions you have been avoiding;
  • Changes that seem risky;
  • Potential and possibility that you aren’t allowing yourself to see;
  • The unknown, outside of what you believe to be true;
  • Ease with whatever life brings you;
  • The freshness of life unfolding as it is.

Living in your comfort zone divides the whole of reality into areas that are acceptable and unacceptable. It is a mind-created, fear-based division that requires you to manage your life experience so you don’t stray into unfamiliar territory.

The comfort zone may be safe, but what does it deny? Enthusiasm, wonder, curiosity, and infinite possibility beyond the mind’s limits. Is it really that comfortable?

Out Beyond Comfort

If you want your experience to be different than it is, if you’re not happy, then you are being offered a golden invitation—to go outside your comfort zone and get to know discomfort. You don’t have to wait for an extreme life event. Connect with your heart and see what you really want. I doubt you’re truly comfortable playing it safe.

So what to do? Get comfortable with discomfort.

Realize that staying in the comfort zone takes effort and vigilance. It resists what is. It hides from what is true. It makes you believe you are fraction of who you really are.

Step away from playing it safe, and you enter the world of possibility. You stop basing your life on what is false and instead tell the truth.

-Paul Blackburn

Poem on How to Live…

Posted in Random Thoughts on January 15, 2014 by Echo Lima Bravo

Tecumseh

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion;respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

-Tecumseh

A few words from Rudyard…

Posted in Random Thoughts on January 14, 2014 by Echo Lima Bravo

8971-rudyard-kipling

My sons, this gentleman’s words will have been read to you many times by the age you will appreciate what they have to say. You will have cut your teeth on Just so Stories, from an early age, where we should all begin a study of Kipling, in my opinion. His words are pleasurable to read, and full of vim, vigor, and wisdom. You will enjoy him, and if you are anything like your old man (who found him later in life), he will become as an old friend…never far out of reach. Without further ado…Mr. Kipling’s venerable poem of manhood:

If-

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!”

-Rudyard Kipling

Perseverance…

Posted in Faith on January 14, 2014 by Echo Lima Bravo

mountain

Boys, as much as it pains me to tell you…your life is going to be ripe with disappointment. Failure is going to happen more often than you think, no matter how awesome you are. You will succumb to pressure on occasion. You will make terrible choices. You will lose. I am speaking from personal experience here. It’s all “happened” to me. Your dad has screwed up, failed, lost, given into pressure, and made terrible choices.

Guess what? I’m still here.

Still hoping and dreaming. Still working my butt off. Still striving. Still praying. Still trusting in God. Still filling my role for those I love.

Why? Because life doesn’t just go on, it gets better. Every time you face adversity, you learn. You grow stronger. You have an opportunity to shine and be honorable. You succeed.

Perseverance is one of those intangibles you will hear talked about in locker rooms, board rooms, dinner tables and pews for the rest of your life. It binds people together. It is the virtue that makes you more than you were yesterday, more than you think you are. It is faith. It is hope. It is the thing that picks you up when you get knocked flat. It tells you from the recesses of your soul that you are never out of the fight. It is a gift from God, and it must be nurtured and trained like so many other things we will discuss as you grow older.

The formula is simple; Get up. Heal up. Learn. Move forward.

It is the secret to a successful and meaningful life. It is the stuff of legends. The stuff of life. Anything is possible with Him who made you and the world. He is your strength.

remember-when-you-see-a-man-at-the-top-of-a-mountain-he-didn-t-fall-there.

Let perseverance be your story.

Never give up.

For whom I write…

Posted in Tribe on December 18, 2013 by Echo Lima Bravo

Ethan Lucas

My first born, on his way to manhood at 15. You have a great heart and a sharp mind.

Make everything count.

photo(1)

Jack McCarron

My wee one,  just past his first birthday with reckless abandon, in spite of a damaged little ticker. You all ready show a determination that adults envy.

Harness that, it will serve you well into your life.

photo(2)

Two gifts I do not deserve. I love you. I cherish you. I am in your corner always, now and forever.

“He has shown you, o’ man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6:8

Why I carry…Glocks.

Posted in Guns on December 17, 2013 by Echo Lima Bravo

This isn’t an advertisement, and I accept that there are plenty of firearms out there that are reliable, accurate, and awesome…in fact, I likely own a few of the ones you think are better. However I carry Glock.

This is meant to capture my reasons, and share some information that people may not know about them, especially those thinking of buying a gun for personal protection with the intent to use it as such above all else.

So, on to the venerable Tactical Tupperware by Gaston Glock.

Stupid Simple

OK, so the average gun owner might not really care about how many parts there are in a pistol, but trust me, less is more. Less to go wrong, and less to replace. Less to take apart, and less to clean. When you shoot as much as I do, you appreciate little things like that. Taking down a Glock to clean between training sessions is easier than getting dressed in the morning, and about a million times easier than a 1911 (which I love by the way).

It is also a simple gun to operate. Load magazine. Insert. Charge the action. Point. Shoot. No extra gadgets to worry about. This is particularly appealing to someone who has decided to carry a pistol, and is interested in developing some serious gun fighting skills. The simplicity of a Glock alleviates some training steps that must be mastered with some of its competition, the most notable being the ubiquitous external safety, or a de-cocking lever like those found on other superb fighting pistols like Sig Sauer (one of my other favorites). For those with hours in those platforms, it is likely second nature, but for new folks, its nice to have less to figure out and perfect. Remember, I am talking about gun fighting here, not target shooting or bullet golf (an affectionate term for gun games and competition shooting).

Under duress, moving quickly, and behind in the reactionary curve…not a time I want to be worried about flipping off a safety, having a perfect grip on the pistol, or wondering if I am in single or double action mode. This is a personal choice, but one based on logic. I do agree that one can train to overcome anything, but with my life on the line…why complicate it?

glock_cutaway

Value

Glocks are cheap, relatively speaking. That is to say, very few pistols with their versatility, reliability, simplicity, accuracy, and availability are available at less than $500.00 new. Even fewer will come with 3 magazines at that price, and they are needed for training. No, the self defense starter-kit offered in Gen 3 Glocks is nearly unmatched. The savings equals more ammo down range and dollars for training…and that is never a bad thing.

Reliability

I’m not going to beat this one to death. There are a ton of reliable guns out there, and like any man made machine, things do break or malfunction…Glocks included. It is however rare, and the reliability of a Glock is not as dependent on external factors like weather, mud, dirt, snow, ice, dropping (from airplanes even), etc. as some others out there. Lubrication is always a good idea, but a Glock will run without it, reliably for hundreds of rounds, and you can lube it with just about anything, and I mean anything…motor oil, Crisco, chapstick, olive oil, bacon fat, candle wax, on and on…trust me…its been done.

They will feed and fire anything too. I have seriously never found a design or manufacturer of ammunition my Glocks will not eat, and I have run over 30 different types through the action.

Its not just the pistol either. The magazines are top notch too. Dirty, muddy, nicked up etc. They will feed the throat, and aren’t subject to bending or crushing the same way their metal brethren are. Yep, great design.

Durability

Plastic…nature’s best aberration of petroleum. Not indestructible, but darn close. The resilience to temperature extremes, pressures, and corrosion is really remarkable. Its ability to flex and bend without breaking is also amazing, and incidentally makes its recoil dampening characteristics top notch too, almost by accident. No finishes to worry about, save some of the internals, but Glock uses metal treatments and finishes that are truly space aged. They wear very well, and will function longer with less maintenance than all metal guns.

Its Science!

Versatility

Three calibers out of the same gun…no problem. You will need some barrels, and to do it right, the proper magazines and ejectors, but if you don’t swap those they will work anyway. You can turn a .357 SIG into a .40 S&W or a 9mm in about 3 minutes. You can use the barrel of a midsized Glock in the subcompact of the same caliber if you are so inclined. But most notably, all the magazines within a given caliber will work in all the sizes below it (except for one…you G36 owners). A gun that fits in your pocket that holds 33 rounds, you say? Well, yes, but it wouldn’t fit your pocket anymore!

The aftermarket for Glocks is also quite impressive. Customization is only limited by your imagination, pocketbook, and tolerance for government paperwork if you want to do something really out there like turn it into a carbine or buy one in full auto. No shortage of holsters or carry options either…thousands of them.

You can modify the texture, length, and contours of a Glock frame for the perfect fit with hand tools or a dremmel kit. No gunsmith or metallurgist needed for that either…just self confidence and steady hands.

You can even mount a red dot scope on them…and do amazing things with it…like ring steel at 100 yards with boring regularity.

During the Fight

Glocks have no magazine disconnect safety, so if you are doing a proactive reload in a gun fight, and need to fire at a bad guy before you insert the new magazine, you can. It could save your life.

Glocks have no external hammer. Not that interesting until you have the muzzle pressed up against the bad guy in a scuffle. That may knock the pistol out of battery…click, no boom. Without the hammer there, simply push your hand vigorously into the back of the slide to force it into battery…BOOM, tap, rack, and keep on shooting. Could save your life.

They also have relatively small slide releases, which helps proper function with a high, thumbs forward grip. There is less chance of riding the lever, which is a good thing. The mag release is small too. This helps avoid those pesky mag drops at the wrong time…we have all done it…its embarrassing, and again…it could save your life.

See a theme developing? Now you know why. Please learn to fight with a gun. Please carry a gun. Please carry a Glock.

Reality Check Part II…Mindset.

Posted in Self Defense on November 7, 2013 by Echo Lima Bravo

brain

Mindset, an interesting word. I think one often over thought ironically enough. Very few times in our lovely language, so we get a word who’s definition is so succinct. Set your mind. Plug and play. Set it and forget it. Pretty straightforward. The work on mindset doesn’t happen any time but prior…to anything. It is the work you do before you venture out into the world. Your number one tool for survival, for living.

I think most people don’t realize that they all ready have one. It is a product of how you spend your time, who you associate with, what you accept, your morality, and your strengths and weaknesses. All decision making you will ever do in your life is based in your mindset. You have to decide who you are, what you value, and what you are willing to do to live those priorities. As it relates to self defense, you must start with what you value.

What has Value in My Life?

The answer to this will be different for all of us, but I will share my own answers for reference, to help you decide. I value three things above all else. My faith in the Trinity, my family, and my tribe. I live a comfortable life professionally, and financially, but those things are accessories to my life, not definitions, even though a lot of hard work and time is spent in nurturing and developing them. I do that for my real priorities, to provide an environment that my faith, family and friends are protected, propped up, and loved from a position of security. That is it. No chasing money, or stuff, just opportunity for things down the road…for all of us.

They are why I get up in the morning. This is what I live my life for. The love intertwined in my GFT.

God, Family, Tribe.

I have a very specific belief in my life that guides my mindset. Not everyone shares it, but it is essential to my mindset. My faith in God is the center of all I value, and that brings responsibility, commitment, and peace. To the best of my ability, I know who I am, and what is important. I work on my life and soul in earnest for the Kingdom of God. That preparation is important to my mindset.

I do not fear death. Big statement, with big implications. No one wants to die, we are programmed to avoid it. Similarly, I don’t want to leave my family and friends behind, nor do I want them to leave me. The difference is, I know it is going to happen at some point, because it does for all of us. I am prepared today. If my life is taken, what I value will not be taken away…it cannot. What I value is beyond temporal, and there is a huge peace and freedom in that. My life is not my own, it belongs to God, and through love, to those I love in return, and who love me.

I also know what God values in mankind. Love the Lord your God with all you are, and love your tribe as you love yourself the way God loves you (paraphrased of course). The meat and potatoes of the Gospel. Love, service, sacrifice.

I am prepared to take life, or give my own to do those things I just mentioned, and I know my actions will find favor with the Lord. It is that simple, and yet that profound. My faith, my family, and my tribe are worth protecting.

Preparation

I have spent a lot of time reading, studying, and training for the time the rubber meets the road. I am a deadly man. I have made myself this way out of love, and I will continue to better my self, and become more deadly. I have gotten over the stigma that comes from being a Christian and a Warrior, because it is one based in fear and ignorance of our purpose. Can you love yourself and allow an evil man to take your life? The life of your wife? Your children? Your Friend? An innocent person? I believe it would haunt you the rest of your days. It would me, so I train…I prepare myself.

The best thing about being deadly, is the removal of fear. My preparation has had the awesome benefit of enhancing my happiness and joy. I know I can handle myself against evil men, and that security has strengthened my resolve to enjoy my life.

I protect it to live it!

Aftermath

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The world has different standards than I do…fact of life. There is a chance that a jury of my “peers”, will not come to the same conclusion I did when protecting what I value. I’m OK with that too. I have an attorney who understands me and is prepared to help me should the need arise. Part of the package in our day and age. I’m not Rambo, or a super hero, or a police officer, so my interactions in life must pass the reasonable man test. I have a line in the sand that I have drawn, and it is very clear to me. If it is crossed, I will act without hesitation. The results of that will be the results, no matter how difficult they are to deal with. Love requires that resignation.

I will not be stricken with grief. I will not hate myself. I will not be afraid. I will simply be. I will not leave in fear of the repercussions of defending my life lest I lose it. “Better tobacco in prison, than flowers on the grave”, as the old saying goes.

Evil does not care about anything but serving itself. At the moment I must protect myself or anything else I value from Evil, I will be a deadly and skilled force of rage.

Because I love.

That is my mindset.

Recommended DVD

This video is one of the best on mindset for anyone who has taken up the mantle. It is geared towards firearms and carrying a pistol, but the concept is universal. I highly recommend it:

http://www.onesourcetactical.com/mindset-alectureonthethreephasesofthegunfight-dvdbygabrielsuarez.aspx#.Unu80VMeceE

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