Don’t fear your fear, it is nothing but a long evolved chemical reaction. You don’t have to kneejerk to it or stay in it, just see it for what it is – a true warning sign or just a miss-ping on the radar. If you are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve then you will easily ken the proverb ‘once bitten twice shy’ – not just the problem of the fruit but the snakes in the grass. Ever since, they say, man and woman’s prime preoccupation has been ‘looking out for danger’.
Sure, in the concrete jungle we may scan for cyclists before we cross the road as much as for crocodiles before we wade into the river. And a dark alleyway may ping the same chemistry as a newly found cave. Danger ever lurks – at least in the human brain, if not in reality. We humans have evolved to be risk assessors – the risk takers predominately got edited out of the gene pool; so much so that risk taking or sensation seeking are now hallmarks of psychosis.
Fear of the unknown is natural. But we evolved art and storytelling to pass the wisdom, to dispel the fear or least guide the cautions. We made maps and later even zebra crossings. Fear can be managed – of course it can also be confronted.
Not every seed will germinate, pests and diseases will come, frost will harm and sun may damage. The garden may not teach us to be fearless, but it can teach us to get over setbacks, to take it all in our stride, to keep going, to fear less.
We who garden, cultivate perseverance – the second oldest preoccupation and the antidote to sour grapes and bad apples. Yes we can fear less, yes we can persist more.