Fearless as a Child

I’d only popped out of the room for a minute.  I returned to find my one and a half year old had climbed all the way up the full size adult ladder, and like a little mini-marvel, was crouched low to avoid the ceiling on top of my son’s cupboard, at the very edge, delightedly messing with his most highly prized belongings!

Now I’m not one of those parents who hysterically screams “Come down Harry, you’ll hurt yourself!!!!!” every time one of my children dares to climb a tree or something – I do like to let them find their feet and push their boundaries.  Even so, I caught my breath and had to bite my tongue while I strode over there.  I quickly climbed up behind her, and complemented her on her climbing skills.  Little monkey!

So I moved the ladder, this time leaning it at the middle on an old cot full of teddies.  I figured that if she did go up, she’d hopefully get off at teddy level.  I was wrong.  You couldn’t keep her away from the thing.  Under my watchful, OK slightly proud eye, she quickly got herself to the top again and this time stood on the second to top rung, leaning on the top rung, hands free, completely chilled out, and surveying the toys on top of the nearby shelves to see what she could reach.  When she actually reached out and the ladder slid a fraction of a centimeter to the right that was enough for me.  I captured my little monkey, put her safely back on terra firma, and put the ladder lying down on the floor till it could be put away … you should have heard the shrieks of protest!

It was a beautiful example of fearlessness (more on her part than mine).  Fear is bred into us.  If you watch small children they are completely fearless.  They have to be.  Think about it, you come into this world, totally reliant on others for your very survival, with the world around you making very little sense.  With the exception of the feel, smell, sound of your mother everything else is foreign and your senses aren’t even fully developed yet.  Once your brain receives information it has very basic compartments to put things in, probably labelled something like ‘me’ and ‘not me’.  So we learn about the world around us at the same time as actually developing our mind’s capacity to understand that world.  Can you imagine if we approached such a job with fear?  We’d be too scared to function.

So where does all this fear come from?  Why as adults are so many of us afraid of so much?  People say that we need to have a degree of fear in order to keep us away from doing stupid things, like walking off cliffs or sticking our hands in a fire.  I don’t agree.  We don’t need fear, we need awareness.  If you understand that a fire is hot and will damage you if you put your hand in it, then its common sense that dictates you don’t do it, not fear.

I think fear is overrated and overused.  I also think it’s a big fat slug of a thing that might take humanity a while or at least a concentrated effort to shake off.  It is so bred into us to use fear as a motivator both with ourselves and others.  Don’t climb the ladder or you’ll fall off, don’t try something new or you’ll fail and everybody will laugh, don’t try to drive that truck, you’ll probably crash it.

Dontcha get the feeling that humanity is on the verge of something big right now?  This is a bit of a soap box topic for me, and I’ll probably blog about it sometime.  Personally I believe we’re on the verge of some evolutionary leap in the way we think.  There are things we need to grasp such as the idea that there is more than enough for everybody, and that you attract to you the things you feel strongest about.  There are also cobwebs we need to clear.  Fighting and anger don’t solve problems, they postpone or even create them.  You aren’t a successful human being just because you have the most stuff, or because you’re the most outrageous thing on TV. And fear is something that might happen to you if you’re in mortal danger but it shouldn’t make an everyday appearance on the horizon of your mind, every time you’re in touch with the unexpected or the new.

Let’s instead choose acceptance.  Let’s choose curiosity and let’s choose a sense of adventure.  Babies at their most vulnerable are also at their bravest … by and large they survive into adulthood, so they must be doing something right.

This week if you find yourself putting the frighteners on somebody when you could just help them be aware, then experiment with awareness instead. And if you find yourself afraid of something, examine it closely, get to know it deeply and see how well you can approach it differently.

Onward, fellow adventurers!




“There are always two voices sounding in our ear: the voice of fear, and the voice of confidence. One is the clamor of the senses, the other is the whispering of the higher self.”  Charles B. Newcomb


Posted on November 23, 2011, in Inspiration and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. What a fantastic blog, Rivka! Absolutely agree on your view of fear. We have it conditioned into us. Your blog reminds me of an incident when I was newly on the path of awareness and was staying with my teacher in Canada and I walked into the room to see her 3-4 yr old boy standing on the dining table waving a large kitchen knife around (my teacher was nearby in the kitchen). My immediate instinct was fear – to grab the knife, scream at child, etc. her much wiser response was like yours – allow the exploration, he will only hurt himself if you shock him out of his natural way of being with the energetic interruption of your fear. Lesson learnt! Thanks again for the reminder, it is so easy to forget.

    I am also in agreement with you about the fact that we are on the brink – a whole new way of being could occur overnight – yeeha! Looking forward to further exchanges with you.



    • Hi There Millie,

      Well Done WordPress for sending me yet another kindred spirit! Thank you for sharing the story about your teacher’s son. My attitude to these things hugely changed when I read The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff – http://www.continuum-concept.org/. Here is a short piece copied from her page:

      Jean Liedloff, an American writer, spent two and a half years deep in the South American jungle with Stone Age Indians. The experience demolished her Western preconceptions of how we should live and led her to a radically different view of what human nature really is. She offers a new understanding of how we have lost much of our natural well-being and shows us practical ways to regain it for our children and for ourselves.

      Well worth a read in my opinion.

      Regarding what some are calling ‘The Shift of the Ages’, I’d had a sense that humanity was on the brink of something for a while. Reading books like ‘The Mystery of 2012’ by Gregg Braden and ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle, have convinced me that it’s more than just a hunch!

      Out of curiosity, I’d love to know more about your studies in awareness.

      Great to meet you!


  2. Stunning as always, thank you Rivka for capturing the essence of some powerful life lessons with your wonderful style of writing – you bring these concepts to life with magnificent imagery and humour.

    Another fab read!!! X

  3. Love this. My youngest is also fearless. She often tells us “don’t worry!”. Also feel the same about evolving. My passion is revolutionising education for the 21c for that very reason. L x

    • Hi There Lisa!

      Take a look at the reply I just wrote to Millie re evolving … I really think something is afoot, and getting stronger and stronger. Anyone who is sensitive to these things is picking up on it. And you’re quite right, whilst comprehending the change that is occurring is very powerful in itself, I feel we are also duty bound to do something to help usher in and support that change in consciousness. I think you’re spot on to focus on education. Re-educating adult minds is a lot tougher than just allowing kids to get it right in the first place. Supportive constructive and ‘aware’ education is everything. Tell us more about how you are revolutionizing education –

      Wishing you much success in this endeavor,


  4. Rivka! This is such a lovely post! I love picturing your daughter climbing climbing fearlessly scaling the built-ins! Sounds like your little monkey might love gymnastics! (This comes from the girl who used to flip over the furniture!) 😉

    I am a pretty fearless person. Most people will tell you this is something they admire in me.

    And while I can deliver speeches to hundreds of people, walk around in the dark in an unfamiliar neighborhood, go to a dance club alone because I just wanted to dance, I become completely unglued by the very idea of one head louse. 😉

  5. Renee 🙂 … Let’s go for a hike under the stars in the middle of nowhere sometime! How do you feel about spiders? I love them, as long as there aren’t swarming millions …. in which case I’d be joining you in the unglued corner 😉 xR

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