Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fear: I’ll have none of it, thanks.

Fear: I’ll have none of it, thanks.

Written somewhat as a letter to the boy.  I am proud of him.

As you go through life, you will come to situations that may seem insurmountable.  How many have you turned away from?  When you were six years old did you shy away from things that, at ten you faced with a smile?  Let me try and empower you with some of my theories.

I do realize that after a certain age, sometime before puberty, if you haven’t been exposed to doing some things (No dirty minds for a second, please!), you will find them difficult later on. 

Let’s start with language.  If you expose a child to many different languages very early on, they are able to accept the syntax, diction, and vocabulary far easier than someone ten years their senior.  And to go further, this child will be able to accept and process other different languages later in life.  states; Exposure to speech during childhood alters neural organization such that individuals,

born capable of learning any language, develop perceptual and cognitive processes

that are specialized for their own native language. The changes in neural organization

are particularly evident when an individual tries to learn a second language as an

adult. The second-language speech can be difficult to segment into words and

phonemes, different phonemes in the second language can sound as if they are the

same, and the motor articulations of the second language can be difficult to reproduce.”          I have seen a News Program in Japan (I forget the name), that stated that the actual synapses of the brain that “comprehended” the sounds “R” and “L” closed and were difficult to (if not impossible) re-attach.  This is brought close to home, as many of you know that my wife, who is Japanese and has only recently begun to learn English, and my Son, who has grown up bilingual with English and Japanese.  His accent in either language is imperceptible; while hers is, and always will be, apparent. 

What does this have to do with fear?... I’ll get there!  Patience, young one!

If language is easily learned by the young, then I put to you that anything is learned easier when young.  Anything that can be learned young that is.  You can’t teach advanced Calculus to a 3 year old.  Things like that require a vocabulary.  However things like a fear of animals: snakes, mice, spiders and the like are taught to us at a young age.  Many of these “Safety” fears are unfounded and have been iconized by generations of parents who have had the same things taught to them.  This is unfortunate, and the inherit cause of many of the wars and hatred that has evolved throughout the world.  We have been taught to fear our neighbours, fear their dog.  Be afraid of cats walking across our path, the number 13.  Be afraid of death.

Ahh, death.  This is perhaps the first and foremost fear that holds us back from doing many things. 

OK… Stop the press!  Self-preservation is something that you should NOT try to remove from your 10-year-old!  Nor should you walk out into traffic for shits and giggles, just to prove that it won’t be painful.  I do not condone thrill-seeking behaviour for the mere experience.  I’m trying to expand your minds to accept the possibilities. 

About 20-odd years ago I read a few books, and got into druidism, Wicca and the like.  WHERE ARE YOU GOING!?  COME BACK!  Please be patient!  One of the main credos that Wiccan-ism has goes something like: Do what you will, lest ye harm none.  Very poetic, non?  What it means is simply, “Do what you want, unless it hurts someone else”.  A selfish version of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  But the rule, combined with a firm belief in reincarnation, as I have, has allowed me to accept all new experiences with wonder.  I Live this rule daily.  I don’t fear anything.  Period.  I will not put my body into harm’s way purposely, unless it would be to protect my family. 

But I am not talking about large fears like these.  We aren’t all James Bond, or Lara Croft.  I mean fears that stop us from making life-changing decisions; Buying that house, Getting married, stretching yourself thin by taking on two jobs.  The fear of budgeting.  Not being afraid to ask for directions.  Being able to say no to Tele-marketters.  Daily tasks that may sound simple to you, but for some, may be next to impossible. 

I will admit.  I have been lucky.  Having grown up doing many things as a boy on the farm, I started life grabbing many skills.  I regularly moved herds of Highland Cattle between fields alone when I was a teen.  I helped replace engines (some on my own in motorbikes) in large farm-trucks.  Re-wired the barn.  Canoed along the banks of Pitt Lake and through the Allouette rivers.  Rode horse all day for 20 some-odd miles up in the mountains.  Ridden my motorbike to Edmonton from Maple Ridge in 24 hours when I was 16 and stupid.  Played Saxophone professionally: opened for BB King once.  Cooked professionally for more than half my life… “Yeah, Bullshit!”, you might say, but it’s true.  And more. 

I have been lucky as I said. 

This is all to help you understand “lack of fear”.  I believe that I can do anything that I put my mind too.  I believe this is possible for anyone.  Keep a positive outlook, don’t quit.  Take the time to learn as much as you can before you begin anything, but don’t stop until you are sure that the task has been complete.  Don’t fear what others may think.  Most critics are simply voicing their jealousies.  Pay little attention to them, and trust yourself.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, however.  Basically… Don’t be afraid.

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