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Monday, September 11, 2006

Threading the needle of risk.

(Artwork by Steve Nootenboom)


We all come and go in the great tally of life. Our lives seem to pass by in a flash and many are left with a safe life and nothing to tally. We all dream of leaving our very own stitch in the fabric of time. But we compromise our time away and are left with a needle safely put away. We all are given an opportunity to dare or not to dare. A choice that many conclude is better left till tomorrow, until their tomorrows are gone. We all struggle in the battle between safety and risk. The battle, which wages quietly in our day to day lives, beckons us to break the mundane cycles of boredom and embrace the stimulation of danger or stay safely at home risking only the failure of nothing invested. Housewives, business men and adventures all seek the great and grand adventure of self fulfillment. There is a time and place for the commitment to safety. Humans, like many other animals desire a safe nest, a secure nest that we can raise our children in and rest our weary heads. However, the nest was not meant to stay in forever nor were we meant to maintain a risk free life. So why then have our leaders, political and religious, made such an effort to remove so much risk from our lives? Is not faith a risk based proposition? A risk that involves a commitment to a belief that wagers our eternal souls. The very words “have faith” echoes with risk and daring. Can there ever be a completely risk free civilization? A safe civilization; where cures don’t kill, and solutions do not create greater restraints to the freedom of responsible choice. Can the endeavor of risk avoidance become more dangerous to our very being than embracing risk and cherishing that moment of feeling “completely alive”? Can our leaders foresee the changing tides of tomorrow? What was safe yesterday is dangerous today. In the 60s sex was safe and climbing was dangerous. Today climbing is safe and sex is dangerous. The experts have switched what is safe and what is risky so many times in my life time I can not keep it all straight. I think I am supposed to drink red wine and coffee and consume chocolate like it was going out of style.I do know that when I am high up on a mountain with the cool mountain air blowing on my sun drenched face, my body trembling from fatigue, my finger tips sweating and my heart pounding I feel alive and the chaos of urban life seems to slip into some sort of cosmic order that I can understand. I am free! Free to choose my own level of safety or danger. I am accountable only to those who risk with me and the fairest judge of natural harmony, Mother Nature herself.

I think that most of us will not really find fulfillment in the “safety” of a city. Fulfillment is a treasure to be discovered on the wings of risk. Risk, which takes us to a place deep inside ourselves and reveals the most ancient of riddles; who am I and to what purpose am I called? In the end we will have to answer to ourselves, did I risk enough to make my life worthy of a stitch in the fabric of time?

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