1 : possibility of loss or injury : Peril
2 : someone or something that creates or suggests a hazard
3: a person or thing that is a specified hazard to an insurer
4: the chance that an investment (as a stock or commodity) will lose value
Risk (n.): 1660s, risqué, from French, from Italian risco, riscio (modern rischio), from riscare “run into danger,” of uncertain origin. The anglicized spelling first recorded in 1728.
“Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is.”
Will Rogers (1879-1935, American cowboy, vaudeville performer, humorist, newspaper columnist, social commentator, and stage and motion picture actor)
“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.”
Helen Keller (American author, political activist, and lecturer; the first deafblind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree)
“Never was anything great achieved without danger.”
Niccoló Machiavelli (1469-1527, Italian Renaissance historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer; often called the founder of modern political science; best known for writing The Prince, a handbook for unscrupulous politicians that inspired the term “Machiavellian;” and also wrote several poems and plays.)
“Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others ... Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself.
Face the truth."
Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923, prominent New Zealand modernist short story writer)
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
William Faulkner (1897-1962, American writer and Nobel Prize laureate; Faulkner wrote novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays, and screenplays.)
“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”
Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005, American journalist, activist, and author; best known for writing 1971’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and for creating the gonzo journalism movement, a highly personal style of reporting where writers become central figures in their pieces.)
“There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve.”
William S. Burroughs (1914-1997, American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer)
“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.”
Erica Jong (b. 1942, American author and teacher best known for her fiction and poetry, and her 1973 novel Fear of Flying)
How do risk without being too reckless or too timid? How do we use wisdom to balance safety and risk?
When we were children and our physical safety wasn’t much of a question, because we didn’t know any better. It was about the adventures and storing up as many experiences as possible. Risk and anticipation were part of the thrill. It was about plunging into the waters of unknown in whatever realms we felt most comfortable.
If we were fortunate, we had good parents, grandparents, and guardians who could sense danger ahead and set the limits to protect us. Their guardianship and their living examples taught us, for good or bad, how to protect and care for ourselves.
But, if we were to face life on our own, we had to experiment and quickly construct our own safety nets.
As we got a little older, depending on our life experiences, our confidence in our abilities to balance safety and risk fluctuated. When we got burnt we leaned towards safety and predictability, and it was no longer a balancing act. That is not until the Universe decides to shake us up.
In my case, that started after 911, when got a divorce, sold my home, and moved me 1,000 miles away to start a new life. But, before I did I had a huge tumble down a flight of stairs and got hurt very badly. Medical doctors could do very little to eliminate my physical suffering. I was banged up pretty badly and couldn’t work for months. So, I chose to invest in physical therapy, alternative medicine, and nutrition to heal. It was a huge risk, but after a year it all paid off, and I was mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually ready to forge a new frontier.
As we persevere in being more and more of whom we are and expanding our worlds, we will need to use wisdom and discernment to navigate new waters.
Carolyn Myss wrote of Wisdom, as one of the seven graces: “Wisdom assumes that no action is intended by the Divine to harm us; yet all actions must include the active ingredients of human consciousness in constant balancing of the yin and yang, the positive and the negative.”
Our most important endeavor is to awaken, be more conscious and inspired, and to show up and do the work, joyously and creatively. Let’s enjoy these new days for new and exciting adventures.
Peace and Joy be with you always, my friends.
With Love, Tonya