I remember when 9/11 happened, like everyone else, I was glued to the TV. At some point, I turned off the TV and said I would watch no more. All that was necessary then to know was that it had happened. The rest was endless speculation for which served no purpose for me. Rather than fearfully stay inside my home, I went in my car and took to the beach. It felt very brave as we all feared more terrorist activity was forthcoming, but I simply could not let that fear stop me from living. And I stand by that today.
I hike a lot. Sometimes I hike with people and sometimes alone. People warn that it is not safe to hike alone, but often I have no hiking partners but I hike anyway. However, I do hike in areas and times of the day when I know others are out hiking as well. That's the best safety measure I can make. I must hike. I can't sit at home in fear of hiking alone. The mountains call me just as the sea did that day after 9/11.
Fear is useful. Fear warns us of impending danger. I have no problem with fear. If there is danger outside, we should stay in. If there's a known mountain lion on a trail, perhaps it's best to take another one. However, fear has a way of incrementally imprisoning us if we do not watch out. There has to come a point when we draw the line in the sand with fear and say, "No, you will not take this opportunity away from me," just as I did when I went to the beach. Each time I draw that line, I feel freer and stronger. I grow just a bit. It's a form of self-mastery, being my own master rather than letting it be fear.
I want to bring more beauty to Pacific Palisades, and some of it will be in physical forms. Vandalism is prevalent here, and there are those who wish to destroy beautiful things. As I propose what I want to do I will very likely get the fearful excuse that it should not happen because of vandalism. My response to that is, "Why not? Why allow vandals to stop me?" Yes--I take a risk, but maybe the risk is worth taking. We have no control of the outcome of anything we do. There can be vandals, fires, floods. Should any of that stop us? What would our world be like if we stopped bringing beauty in the world because of what might happen?
I think in situations like this we should take our lessons from nature. When wildfires hit our mountains, beautiful life is destroyed: trees, animals, wildflowers, etc. However, nature never gives up. Within a short time new sprouts come up, and nature tries again. What if nature gave up? There would be no reforesting, and our mountains would be lifeless.
When something we love that we create is destroyed, the lesson ought not to be never to create again--but rather learn to be less attached to our creations. After we pass through the grief, see it as an opportunity to yet create again. Fear and destruction don't stop nature from continuously creating; why must they stop us?