Late summer I wandered into a part of the garden that overlooks the study window. It is an area I have not visited since buying the house. It is the outdoor spa area. Due to safety regulations, it has a childproof fence. It is also independent to the rest of the property. It has some semblance of tropical garden and lost in the potential of making it an oasis, I ignored the gate that shut behind me. Minutes later as I tried to leave the area I found due to infrequent use, it had jammed shut. On one side, neighbours were away overseas, the neighbours on the other side were too far away to hear my call, the builder was having three days off, the young adults were away in the South-West and the temperature was close to 37 deg C. Panic set in slowly as the reality of my situation became more evident. I had no water, no phone and the neighbour’s fence and my front wall, potential escape routes, were too high to climb over. The only way out, I reasoned, was the way I came in. So I jiggled, coaxed and pulled at the latch and finally, several long minutes later, with my arms weakening, was able to undo it. I was free! Now when I spend time in that area, I am cautious with the gate. Therein lies the difference.
People often do not understand the difference between caution and fear. They are quick in judgement.
Fear will often prevent one from living life fully. Fear comes from a place that has no vocabulary. It has feeling. It has emotion. We work through it by giving it thought. ‘Mind over matter’, if you like. But that kind of thinking cannot, and should not, be applied to all situations. People who do not fully grasp the complexities of human behaviour find this difficult to comprehend. For example, years ago, when working in high risk environments, some of the training came from law enforcement. The message was always clear. “If it does not feel right, leave immediately”. We were trained to respond to the emotion of the moment. It was one of the key work skills we looked at in staff every week. Yes, every week! Becoming complacent of danger in the work environment was never an option. Caution, on the other hand, allows you to do things you have done before, that you know to be potentially unsafe. Skydiving, is one of them. Underground mining, is another. It is action … with Plan B to support it.
There are things in life that hold one captive in silken skeins.
Fear can be one of them. My profession gives me tools to protect myself from fears others try to generate in me. This year has been a productive one. My thinking is solid. I practice what I preach. I’ve learned, fear may be a space that is susceptible to the flash flood of “what-ifs”, but then, so is the luminous space from where freedom beckons.
Captive in my own backyard required ME to do something about the situation and pushed me to my limits. Ironically, the only way out was working through what emprisoned me. It was the difference between being held captive and being free.
I am still fearful of things in life. A non-swimmer, water is one of them. It comes from knowing or not knowing one’s capacity. Both are valid states of being. This type of critical thinking is essential and underpins the ethics of my profession.
Personally I am able to avoid silken skeins most times. And, if caught in the snare, I can brush it off vigorously. I am able to walk away.
The “what ifs” have become liberating.
So the adventure continues …
Until next time,
a dawn bird