Las Vegas Search and Rescue / Mountain Rescue and Me

This is a story about narcissism, love, and recognizing the hero that exists inside you.

Around mid 2009, I got very interested in survival.  (Thanks to Neil Strauss ‘Emergency.’)  I mainly became interested because of the shocking realization that most people have never been trained to survive, or at the very least considered the possibility that their life may be impacted to the point where their basic, taken for granted, needs are drastically changed.  Especially me.  And I’m not referring to Bear Grylls style survival – I’m referring to having water, food, supplies near you, and near your normal day-to-day environment.  (That’s a whole different post though.)  I wanted to be trained to out survive the ‘sheeple.’

So in learning Survival, Escape and Evasion and general bad-a$$ manly James Bond / Jason Bourne skills, I become more confident and narcissistic.  All the sheep around me had no idea that if something happened, I’d be okay and they’d be in a panic.  I win, they lose.  Muhu-to-the-hahaha.

You see, one of the main factors in my narcisstic survival outlook was that I was very shielded against others, and especially ‘loving’ anything.  Whether I didn’t know how, or simply chose never to let it happen – I didn’t like to let a lot of people in, and that was a great way to motivate myself in ‘out surviving.’  I’ve only ever loved a few people, and at the time didn’t have too many truly loving connections.  Growing up and moving a lot, I didn’t get a chance to really bond with my family, outside my parents and a grandmother.  (That’s changed as of late.  Hi, Cuz!)  There’s been one girlfriend that I’ve let in super close, a couple pets, a few friends, and that’s about it.

So what was the point of helping others?  It’s my life, and it’s all about me, period.  So far, so good… Right?

Happily, that has all changed.

I began to do a lot of work with Erin Pavlina, and although she doesn’t appear that dangerous – she’s a damn wrecking ball. I met her at a Toastmasters meeting, and she was very interested in my Survival, Escape and Evasion, background and even more into testing my Bond / Bourne skills – including kidnapping me (again, another story for another time).

As my shields lowered, and I evolved – I began feeling more drawn to helping others and less committed to only saving my own ass.  My quest led me to try out for, and somehow make the elite Las Vegas Metro PD Search and Rescue / Mountain Rescue team.  My weekends and days off are now going to be peppered with scaling vertical mountainsides, jumping in and out of helicopters, dangling below them at 4,000 feet above deck and performing CPR on short-haul carry patients.

Plenty of people have told me this is ‘cool,’ however many consider it crazy, dangerous and, after knowing me for years, find it out of character that I’d be willing to sacrifice myself at this level.

Don’t tell my mom, but in a strange way, I’m doing the Search and Rescue thing because I don’t have anything to lose.  Let me expand on that.  I’m not a depressed person with nothing going for me.  I happen to be the exact opposite.  I love my life.  I’m thankful and blessed that I’ve met the right people, and spotted the right opportunities to get me where I am today.  To illustrate this further and go with my initial narcissistic theme, I’m quite successful; I’m single, unmarried and no kids.  I make six figures a year, drive a gorgeous car,  have a very nice place and can pretty much do what I want, when I want.  I have awesome skills and talents, so why wouldn’t I want to save my ass?! /Narcisssism:OFF.

You’ll notice there’s not a ‘love’ in that last rant of ugly narcisssim – and that’s where I have nothing to lose.  It’s a terrible thing to say, but in terms of love and connections – I’m mediocre at best.

So, whats the best way to learn how to create more loving connections for a once shielded, self described bad a$$ narcissist?  Go out, and help people retain theirs – and in doing so, make your own.

If I can sacrifice myself, my time, and my skills to pull a new father off a mountain and give him another chance to see his baby girl make it to prom or one day walk her down the aisle, I must.  If I can safely get a son back to his mother so that she can hold his hand while he heals – I am.  If I can reunite a couple drowning in love for each other, simply to watch them melt in each other’s arms, I will.

It’s not meant to sound sappy, or meant to trigger tears – but that’s the brutally honest truth of why I’m putting myself into Search and Rescue.  To learn by doing, and to grow by providing.  I’m capable of doing this, I’m ready to do this, and in all honesty there’s going to be people in life or death situations that need me to do this.

Erin told me that in honoring my true self, a hero would be born.  Hero is such a vain word, but I think everyone has a hero inside them.

Have you accessed the hero inside of you?


ADDENDUM – I was released from Las Vegas Search and Rescue on November 9th, 2011 and no longer have any affiliation with the unit.