Review: The Survivor’s Club

Books, Music, Art, Movies

The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your LifeThe Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life by Ben Sherwood

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really liked the first few chapters. In fact, I couldn’t put it down. I spent all of yesterday reading this book. I have been drawn to stories of survival and have read a few books about people who have survived harrowing experiences (One of my favorites being “Dead Lucky” by Lincoln Hall).

However, I got to the chapter on faith and was completely turned off. According to the author and his research, faith in God is one of the determining factors on whether or not you survive something. His examples were very, very Christian-centric and that really bothered me. I decided halfway through this chapter that I didn’t want to finish the book. However, I did take his “survivor profile.” Ironically, I have the survivor personality of “Believer.” ha! And I suppose this is true. I do believe in something greater than ourselves and have drawn upon this my entire life. When I was younger I viewed this as God. Now that I’m older I have a more universal view of it. I lean more toward Zen Buddhism in my belief at this stage in my life and what I used to call “God” I now see as something bigger and more universal.

Regardless if my beliefs, The question that kept running through my mind as I read this was, “who cares?” Why should I spend my life worrying about whether I will survive a horrifying experience? Is it even important? I find it much more liberating to experience life as it comes and deal with situations as they arise than to spend time worrying about whether I will get impaled by a knitting needle, or attacked by a mountain lion. Or even getting in a car wreck, for that matter. My thought is that if it is my time to die than so be it. Death is a part of life. There is no shame in dying if it is your time.

My thoughts circle around to Doug and his death. He didn’t survive cancer. I read about and personally know cancer survivors and I think it’s really awesome and amazing that they are survivors of such a horrible disease. But thier stories also make me feel a little bit bad too. Doug died. He fought a good fight but it wasn’t enough. The doctors did the best they could but it wasn’t enough. I’ve come to realize that it’s o.k. It was his time to die and that is o.k.

Our culture puts so much emphasis on the survivors (maybe it isn’t just our culture. Maybe it’s just human nature). It’s like you are a better human being because you survive cancer, or a ship wreck, or a plane crash or whatever. There is something to be said for just accepting that death is also a part of living and there is some bravery in facing and accepting death.

I think Etty Hillesum is an excellent example of this kind of bravery. She died in the Holocaust and faced it with grace and courage. If you haven’t read, “An Interrupted Life” you should.

Goodbye, 2010


Why hello there! It’s New Years Eve, and time for me to take a look back at the past year.

The past couple of years on this day I have tended toward the negative. And, rightly so. There were some crazy-bad things that happened. 2010, though was pretty darn good. I honestly can’t think of a single thing that was bad about it.

  • I originally declared 2010 the year of the Banjo, but I ended up learning the Ukulele instead. One of my Summer Reading Performers, Cinda Tilgner, brought hers to the program and I fell in love with it. One thing led to another and I ended up buying one and performing in Cinda’s Uke Orchestra. It’s been lots of fun!
  • I was invited to a meditation group in April  and I  haven’t been the same since. In a good way. I’ve written lots about this experience this year, so no need to go into detail. But I’m very glad my friend had the instinct to invite me. I’ve made some fantastic friends through this group and am so happy that they are a part of my life. And I’m so happy to have finally developed a Zazen practice.
  • Raf became a Tattoo artist! If someone would have told me ten years ago that my husband would become a tattoo artist I would have told them they were crazy. But it was something that he wanted to do and he did it and I’m proud of him. And now I have my own personal tattoo artist in the house. I’ve always loved tattoos and have wanted to get more of them but I, generally, don’t like being touched by strangers. I hate the dentist, I don’t like getting my hair done, I don’t like doctors, and I especially dislike massages. So now that Raf has his tattoo license I can get tattoos and not feel uncomfortable. So I got a few of ’em this year.
  • I had a blast exploring the area. We went on a number of really fun hikes.

My favorite reads this year? I’m so glad you asked!

In short: 2010 was pretty killer.

Be safe tonight and I’ll see you tomorrow.