Losing innocence…and where did healthy fear go?
I woke up today and thought, wouldn’t this be a great “date” for a wedding? 1/7/17 - random occurrences, sequences…I’ve always loved numbers and the number seven has held some special place for me, perhaps from my German classes in high school, where we learned how to make a special European 7…such innocent thoughts...romantic love, weddings, futures…
We come into the world so innocent. Full of hope, expectation, joy, laughter…babies have the best laughs. As human beings, we slowly lose some of that innocence, a few of us faster than others. Could the early loss of innocence be influenced from parenting that doesn’t protect? That sounds preposterous – what parent doesn’t want to protect…Is our culture producing naïve, unprepared parents…people who didn’t learn from their own families. Parents who want to be friends or are afraid or unsure of setting boundaries…or do we come in contact with people who do not know how to respect that which harms and we lose our radar. Somewhere along the way, I wonder if some of us don’t learn about healthy fear. Intuition that is built into us, healthy fear that can protect us from danger.
In this last year, I have come in contact too many times with a malicious source of death. Death caused by HEROIN – the “Opiod Epidemic”. Death as a consequence of NO FEAR. When I was a kid, heroin was considered DEADLY. For the most part, in my young cloistered Fairview Park mind, unsavory people in scary dark places like ghettos – hidden away from the masses – those are the people who did heroin - died with ugly tourniquets still on their precious arms. Or outside of the poorest areas, the outrageous celebrity rock star, overwhelmed by new privilege, living on the edge, riding life hard.
Today, you can find this evil everywhere – affluent suburbs, middle class homes, rural communities, and low income neighborhoods… And for me, in surprising places, like the lives of my friends, acquaintances, the lives of my students past and present. Masquerading as some escape....flirting with death...The evil drug that seemed so out of reach, completely untouchable, is now easily accessed and without healthy fear. And it has killed beautiful souls whom I have known or who have been loved by my loved ones.
In the last two months, perhaps God, the universe, whatever we call the force that brings purpose to our door has thrust me into this crisis. I did not go looking, frankly I enjoy peace, harmony, and looking for the light...but the cause found me. Through a “fitness industry” acquaintance, I was asked to join the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization working to counter this scourge on our youth and families. And a darling former student contacted me, troubled and forever changed by two deaths – that of her sister back in 2012, and followed a few days ago by the death of a friend. So today, I just sit with my thoughts…wondering how on earth I can help. And wondering what healthy fear has to do with addiction. I can see the need for me to learn more about why people are turning to this risk, why fear isn’t stopping them, why seeing others die isn’t a red flag? Why do human beings think the red flag isn’t for them? Why are some of us at funerals on 1/7/17 instead of engaging in life and love?
I can only trust that my path, with experience in education and with yoga, will guide me to be used to influence at least one…can mindfulness and self awareness tune us into our intuition - our inner voice that tells us the truth, often uncomfortable truths?
Gail Lynn Johnson
I am a seeker of health and happiness; sharing whatever speaks to me as potentially inspiring to you. Be blessed.