On the spectrum of risk taking I lean very much toward carefulness. Generally, risks I’ve taken have been considered and calculated. I’ve pushed myself close to the edge many times .. even in life risking ways .. but I’m rarely impetuous.
So, in a moment of insanity last weekend I swung the pendulum the other way a bit when after looking at the stretch of mountain bike track before me, aptly labelled ‘rollercoaster 1’, having initially halted to declare “Joey, I can’t do this!”, followed by him saying “I’ll go”, and racing off down the rollercoaster and up the other side, I considered the likelihood that perhaps I could fly over all the bumps and simply focus on staying upright, took a breath, and dived down this crazy mountain bike track on my over 20 year old, unmaintained and non-mountain bike. In retrospect it was an accident waiting to happen and I half wonder if I didn’t do it on purpose at some level .. since my now very sore left shoulder that has put my left arm out of action has opened up the time I needed to focus on some things I’ve had to neglect with all that has been filling up my time lately .. and incidentally, mostly very physical stuff that requires the use of both arms. In some ways, the accident has been a godsend. I suspect I might have been hurt much more badly had I not had the body awareness and fitness I have, and the accident could have been much worse. So I feel quite grateful
So .. what point am I getting at?
I think I’m looking to see where I now stand on the subject of risk. I know I have spent my life being overly cautious and it has held me back from ‘life’ quite a lot. But I also think my carefulness has allowed me to do much riskier things by taking special care .. it has allowed me to go closer to the edge so to speak. And I have wondered at times whether I need that intense feeling of presence that comes from being close to the edge, as a way to simply feel.
But this past year or so of stepping outside of my comfort zone to where I don’t have that sense of control that comes from careful consideration has also brought me back to life and to the awareness of feelings and emotions – even if that means nursing a hurt shoulder.
Since I have a dream of creating large organic sculptural forms that people can move through or climb over and explore in all different sorts of ways, the issue of risk is very pertinent. I have a desire for people to be able to explore spaces in new ways, and to be able to experience challenge or adventure in their own way, to push boundaries .. but at the same time, there cannot be any seriously dangerous scenarios. I think some perceived danger, like views out from high places that don’t have threat of physical danger, is how I will intend it. I’m still in the process of fine-tuning the design of Cloudscape through the 1:20 model, but that has all come to a standstill at the moment with too many other projects on the go. But I will return to it soon and the risk aspect of it will always be present. Looking up the etymology of risk which it seem is a bit uncertain, the origins of the word may come from ‘riscare’ or ‘running into danger’. So it is around diving in rather than standing on the edge. And I’ve mostly just stood on the edge, watching, working out what dangers could be present, but not acting. Thinking rather than acting. Rarely, if ever, ‘out of control’.
Like most things, I think there needs to be a balance.
Risking versus Control
I guess we all gain control of our environments in different ways and for different reasons. But I’m seeing that for me, as a details person and consequently perhaps a control freak of a sort. I think that I’ve needed to feel in control because I’m constantly sorting through so much minutiae in how I look at the world .. and needing to hold all those threads together and feel like I know what will happen next, and to have a sense of certainty over what will happen – not be tossed to the whim of the Universe or somebody else’s agenda. And I’ve had a determined mission to do things my way so that implies a fair need to control things and have them the way I like them. And to me it makes sense because it is what allows me to be in the world living toward my potential rather than sucked dry by external demands and expectations.
This is also an old blueprint that I am currently unravelling and exploring. Looking to see what serves me and what no longer serves me so I’m not carrying baggage that is holding me back. And being a collector, I’m bound to have a bit of baggage.
As part of my constant search for clarity and simplicity, I have not sought risk that brings chaos and drama to my life. I think I have used risk to feel life, but for me risking has mostly been : solo, close to the edge, of my own choosing, interesting in some way, exploring in some sort of extreme / unconventional way, conscious.
Enough rambling here. Off now to complete my current module on ‘facilitate the empowerment of people with disability’. I feel more aware of the limitations of disability even just from my shoulder injury. It has been helpful in many different ways.
Say Yes! to the universe
‘Say Yes! to the Universe’ is a concept that really speaks to me. It fits my view of seeing life as a huge lesson and each thing that happens, say Yes! and trust that it is leading you to where you need to go. And in writing this I just saw a place where I’ve been saying No! .. and so I see it’s time to turn that around. It has been around a determined refusal to shift my thinking and clinging to what is familiar and comfortable.
Is there anybody out there?
If you’ve read this and would like to respond with your own views or experiences of risk, please do.