Americans are Fraidy Cats

Last night I called my mother.  Nothing special to say really, just checking in.  Let her know that her “baby boy” is still alive and kicking and I haven’t ticked off the wrong crowd yet and been fitted for cement overshoes and prepared for the French Broad.

During the conversation, I mentioned to her that I might be heading out to Peru in late February or early March to do a photo shoot for a friend of mine in Los Angeles.

She told me those words that mothers have been telling their children for eons: “Be careful”.

I guess she forgot that I’ve done several solo, unsupported trips by foot and bicycle across country.  I guess she forgot that I nearly drowned in Missouri a couple years ago.  I guess she’s just being a mom — but her comment got me to thinking.

Americans have become afraid of their own shadows.

We insulate ourselves behind burglar alarms, police lines, insurance companies, bankers, government agencies and other outfits.  These organizations don’t keep us safe…they just maintain the illusion that the world is a safe place.

And when something happens to momentarily shatter our self-imposed illusion/delusion, we cry out, “WON’T SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING”!

It’s been my experience that many if not most Americans are “bubbleheads”.  The live in bubbles.  They get up in the morning in the bubble called home; get into the bubble called a car; drive to where they willingly sacrifice 8 hours of their life in a bubble called work and at the end of the day stop by the bubble called a grocery store before heading back to the bubble called home.

If they step out of these self-imposed bubbles at all, it’s to go to church on the weekends and maybe a night out with other friends who also live in bubbles.

And when something happens to shatter the bubble in which we’ve placed ourselves, we yell out, “WON’T SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING”.

One of the most frequent questions I hear on my travels is, “Aren’t you afraid?”  When I give them my patented dumb look and ask exactly what it is I should be afraid of, I usually just get back a blank stare because they don’t really have any idea of what there is to be afraid of.  They’ve just allowed them to become “programmed” with the idea that the world is dangerous and any sane person would be afraid.

Let me repeat that.  People aren’t fearful and afraid because they’re stupid; they’ve allowed the media to pump them full of fearful things.

The truth is, yes, bad things happen.  Planes fall from the sky, children die, people’s bodies break down, cars wreck and people get robbed and killed.  And that’s what we hear each night on the news and read about in the paper.  An old newspaper editor said one time, “If it bleeds, it leads”.  Meaning that if it’s something terrible that happens, then it gets prime coverage in the paper.

And people read it.  And because they don’t read or know about the million good things that happen each day, they develop a false sense of fear and what’s it’s like in this world today.

My challenge to YOU right now is to dare to step out of the bubble in which you’ve placed yourself.  Push away the computer and start to get out in the world and see how it really operates.  Dare to walk away from the “safety and security” of the well-known and routine and step out of your box.

Dare to love the person that you’ve told yourself you’re not ready for.  Dare to take the chance and go sky diving, start a business, join a business, volunteer at the mission or do any of the 1001 other things that can help you learn that the world — while a scary place — is a fun place too.  Filled with love, laughter, joys and tears.  In other words filled with people who are enjoying this journey called life.

C’mon along for the ride — I DARE YOU!

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