Slow-drip of Fear
I posted another post about fear a while back ago– but this is different.
I recently went to Alaska to visit my friend Kit. While there we stayed on Admiralty Island, which is the biggest population of brown bears in the world. (Fun fact: Grizzly bears and brown bears are the same thing- kinda like bison and buffalo. They just differ on where they live).
We get off the boat, haul our stuff (using a mine cart! #awesome) and I promptly slip in a big pile of bear shit. Welcome to Admiralty!
Juneau is super rainy, so the whole weekend was 45 (7C) degrees and rainy. We decide (after a few beers/cheese) to go hiking/exploring a little bit. There were 5 of us dressed in wellies and rain-gear welding 3 cans of bear spray and a shot-gun. No problem, right?!
At one point, while trekking through the swamps of sadness, my friend Dana got stuck in knee-high mud. It took 3 of us to get her out- while Michael stood watching with the gun. We were, literally, sitting ducks for bears. It was amazingly thrilling (for me) and scary (for others).
The whole weekend was filled with awesome, though. Disconnecting electricity/electronics does this: It forces people to talk and get to know others! (Imagine that!) After we get back to Kit’s house, she releases this gem which has stuck with me ever since:
“The reason I like living in Alaska is because there’s this slow-drip of fear. Or resepct- whatever you want to call it. We have to acknowledge things like bears. Things that can actually harm your life. In Seattle and other cities, you don’t have this “slow-drip of fear”- and then it manifests into something else… like anxiety and depression.”
I began thinking of this- and it’s true! When we were out on that island, the biggest worry wasn’t my deadline that I was going to miss. It wasn’t checking my email. It wasn’t “I wonder what my bigger purpose in life is”… It was simply “to survive”. This is something that a lot of people don’t get now. And we take it for granted.
Brene Brown did a Ted Talk about vulnerability. In it, (around 14:00) she mentions that Americans “numb vulnerability”. Americans are the most obese, most in-debt, most addicted and most medicated. (I think we’re also the most unhappy… but that’s just my observation/opinion).
Working theory: Humans need a slow-drip of fear. That fear can come in many forms: opening up/becoming vulnerable, or something more tangible like bears or guns/bombs. If we don’t slow-drip fear, we become anxious, depressed, full of badness. (Basically, we become miserable). If we have too much fear, we become the same thing.
What is the right amount? Or- maybe I should take a step back and ask: “Is this true?”