Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I'm not a very courageous person physically. I'm afraid of heights, I don't ski, I can't imagine myself camping or hiking alone, I get nervous even thinking about rollerskating or god forbid bungee jumping. :^)

But I do think I have emotional courage. I rail at injustice and speak my mind when something seems unfair. I've given speeches in front of hundreds of people and I've made presentations even with my knees knocking. I can sit with and help people who are in pain and who have experienced tremendous loss. I usually let people I care about know if I'm upset or concerned about something and I don't use email when I know a face to face talk is needed.

I welcome adventure and change even when I don't want it.

But, In the last several years, I learned that there is a line where adventure can become recklessness. I'm still trying to figure out some of my decisions, ones where I gambled most of my emotional poker chips and perhaps risked too much.

Have you made choices that bordered on reckless and if so why did you? I'd like to know I'm not alone and I'm fascinated by what makes a person step out and go for broke without a safety net.

And while we're on this subject, if you have the interest or time, more from my new novel:

It had been a little slice of danger from the start. Whatever is exhilarating is also risky, kind of like riding a roller coaster with your hands above your head and your feet so casually placed they won’t help you brace, especially during that first long wild dip, when your hair flies behind you at lightening speed and you can barely hear your own screams because they are folded into the thrill of the collective scream, all the way down, until you level out waiting for the next rapid rise and fall.

True, there is a steel bar across your lap that holds you to the seat, makes sure gravity will not pick you up and throw you into mid air and sudden death, but let’s face it: you want to ride that roller coaster that way—reckless and reflectively—and you hand over a piece of yourself without knowing the ropes, the same as if you choose a back country trail without provisions or a map, You do it that way and you’re taking your chances that you’ll know what to do when the danger rush comes flying at you, when there’s no time to think and certainly no time to plan.

You know in general, it makes more sense to size things up, take your time and venture slowly, get familiar with what you know and what you don’t. You know it’s better to not be surprised when you are not prepared, to keep the rope tight, to drop Hansel and Gretel corn kernels behind you so the path stays familiar, but then again when you know your way, you’re not surprised, and when you’re not surprised, you’re not deep in the thrill and when that happens the rush of the ride that’s lost to you is not exactly small.


  1. Lovin' how the words from your novel coincide with the words in your post.Also the quote at the top.

    This post really has me thinking; going inside.

    I could tell you of many times I jumped without looking,,,worked without a net.Those were all in times past, and for the very most part I've had no regrets.Mostly I'm glad for the experiences,the roller coaster thrill, even though some were a little crazy.
    I have been dropping bread crumbs, corn kernals,and road maps all over my journey for many years now.Somehow being a Mom made me begin to question decisions I otherwise probably wouldn't have.
    It's been a good trip,and one I hope still has a few little wacky moments left in it. Just to keep it interesting, ya know?
    The most physically challenging adventures of my life were horses and cartwheels. I last rode at 50, and performed my last cartwheel at 60.I still miss both of those very much, but especially the cartwheels, as I was very good at them! (Seemingly, such a small thing, but not to me)
    I fear broken bones more.

  2. We have so many similarities KJ.
    You'd be surprised. Not only are we in very similar "careers"; but I too have been afraid of my shadow from a very early age, do not participate in any sport that takes me off the round, would never ski, or bungee jump or hand glide either.

    But I have a propensity to dive into things in a split second often with out thinking; like this Paint Out I am preparing myself who has painted so few paintings I can count them on two hands (but all of a sudden am pushing one out nearly on a daily basis) to push myself past my fear of doing this Plein Aire event with REAL ARTISTS who have been painting for years...I almost made myself sick with worry about it too, but somehow have gotten my grip and with continued practicing feel I will be ready in three weeks time to do IT.

    Never mind I won't be one of the top artists there, not even close, a mere beginner, but I feel brave (or is it crazy, carefree, to dare such a thing?)...either way I'm doing it. Instead of bread crumbs I bought a GPS to get me to this new site and home again...

    So I say leap, go for it, jump in, (just not high off the ground) as taking a chance is the only way of finding out if you can do it. Life is short. I want to have all the adventures I can create in the time I have left.

  3. Lived recklessly. As in walking into a burning building to put out a fire or find an injured person?
    Yeah, I guess I have lived recklessly a few times. More than a few, I think. All in the "line of duty."

  4. What a great post, KJ! And I love the words from your novel. So poignant with your post!

    Jumping in - I'm not known for it. I'm a cautious person, always have been. However, when something feels right in my gut (and I'm very in touch with my gut feelings) then I jump in.

    We've moved across country without a safety net simply because it felt "right" and it was always the best decision. I moved to a different continent without thinking twice and have never looked back.

    On the other hand, when something doesn't feel good I won't do it no matter how much logic tells me I should.

    Taking art classes now at a "real" art school with "real" art students (young ones!!) is incredibly courageous for me. Putting my art out there for all to see is courageous.

    Physically, I'm getting more anxious as I get older (I grew up riding horses and downhill skiing - both fairly dangerous for this timid girl), but still I do things that take me out of my comfort zone a little, like kayaking.

    My deciding factor these days has become: If it feels good in my gut it probably is. If it doesn't feel good, time to reassess before leaping.

    Much love, Silke

  5. I have done some things others would consider reckless but at the time in my wn mind (the only one that counted) it was just the right thing to do. As i have come to the point of looking at 60...not so much reckless but still fearless,

  6. Lovely writing Kj, I am not afraid of much, doctors and mice and that's about it, and I believe in risks of all kinds,I have moved to strange new places with no saftey net and I have lived without one for all of my life, but I once took a risk that I do regret, it was a stupid one and I even knew it at the time, if a risk is stupid and does not have a good pay off don't do it, but otherwise your wings will grow if you jump off that cliff :-). xoxo

  7. was it reckless to run around nyc in the pouring rain searching for an empty taxi while getting drenched and hee hee heeing all the way? i think it delightfully was!

    such gorgeous writing kj, i reread this three times (and still can't come up with a response to dignify it) like all the other thoughtful comments here that are truly lovely.

  8. what makes a person step out and go for broke without a safety net.

    Necessity. When not doing so will be the death of all you are. For me that's what it took. It was the last push to the surface...the last kick before I blacked out from lungs full of water. I was going to die anyway. It felt like that. So what the hell did a safety net matter. I reached out and ripped the rug out of my universe. I should be sorry. I am contrite. But I'm not sorry I did it. Things are so much better now. I am living.


  9. Well you know this has resonance for me, as does your little 'thought' in your header. Yes I've been reckless, it was brief and exhilarating but how it hurts the heart. Still, better than blandly tripping through life without taking a plunge.

  10. Most of my risk taking was in my younger days. I lived on the edge ever since graduating from college and taking the train to San Francisco hippiedom rather than to grad school to be a librarian.

    i have risked in love many times and it brought me my son, but as far as permanent paramour goes, nothing.

    I can risk in creative projects, in the past writing and more recently craft/arts.

    i am not a risk taker just like you are not in physical things. i walk and i practice yoga. that's it.

    thanks for the bit from your novel. so well written and insightful. i like the flow of the prose, it feels different from some of yr earlier snapshots.

  11. Well darlin I need to be led a tiny bit more by my sometimes jump in without weighing up the consequences...I'm too much the other way...
    I remember reading in that book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, that there are no wrong decisions...if we find ourselves going in a direction that we no longer feel comfortable with we can change's never too late...

  12. babs ♥ are you really afraid of doing a cartwheel? on a mat maybe? i know you have your reasons but i want to encourage you. of course, it's best to listen to yourself, not me :^) thanks for a great comment, babs

    lynn, i have seen your paintings and while i understand the risk and your fear, girl, you have nothing to worry about. what i have seen is wonderful! i'm up for adventures too, lynn. But i hope no more broken heart for me. i let myelf love someone even knowing it would hurt.

    rob-bear, does this mean you are or have been a fireman? that's got to insist on courage, walking into smoke and flames.

    thanks silke. you are a leo the lion and i know for you that means you have courage. and you, like me, trust your intuition more than many people do. pursuing your art may require your courage for sure, but i can just about hear you giggling with delight.

  13. For the record, Bear was a volunteer fire fighter for ten years.
    Not a job for the faint of heart.

  14. mark, i know you are fearless. don't you just love being able to trust yourself like that?

    annie, hahhaha doctors and mice. what a sweet comment. and of course you have it right :^)

    lori, i don't know about the reckless part but i vouch 1000% for the delightful. i'll never forget our nyc fun and our all our fun. lots of fun! yay us!

    ww, "I should be sorry. I am contrite. But I'm not sorry I did it." my feelings exactly, although in my case some currency of sadness was required and maybe will remain that way. but i understand your words very well. some would choose to numb out. let us be glad we didn't do that.

    ah hells. damn. xoxo

    thank you, suki. i think sometimes we have no choice but to risk. wine and words said it quite well.

    chrisy, i wish i believed it's never too late but i think sometimes decisions are behind us when we want to believe they are ahead. i have few regrets, but i do have a couple. xo

  15. i think it is a wonderful thing to do... It's all in the decision to do a thing in the first place, then the rest is just sheer heart racing Trust, that all that will be, will be X;-)

  16. I followed my heart once when it surprised me with it's wanting. I didn't think of the consequences at the time because my thinking was impaired. Needless to say it ended badly and the repercussions are with me still.

    I say needless to say but in actuality I hoped there was a way of having everything I wanted without causing pain or hurt to anyone. Somehow the reality ... the incredible unlikeliness of that ever being possible completely eluded me because I so wanted what I wanted. I wonder how I ever thought that might be possible. The niavety that sits in the core of me still astonishes me sometimes.

    Even so I cannot completely regret my "jump without a net" because in some ways it was the catalyst that started a process of real growth and change in my life.

    Ultimately I'm not so sure that you need Hansel and Gretel kernels ... I think your heart knows the way home.

    KJ can you let Emily know that frozen avocados are deffo the next big thing. She is bang on the money as ever. I look forward to reviewing the business plan. xx Jos

  17. I have risked and lost it all and then I tell myself that there is no replay button in life, it is all or nothing. No do overs.
    That is not always the truth either.
    Pain provides fear and fear of being
    hurt again.
    Maybe that tempers the wildness of jumping without a net.
    Are we risking less or learning that pain is not always the best thing in the world?
    Looking for joy and choosing that seems the course to follow for me lately.
    I am learning to trust my intuition on that too.
    Like the saying it is better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all.(or something to that effect)
    Your writing, my dear, is like a comfy, favorite blanket keeping me warm.
    Have a great week.
    Oh and that sweet grandson of yours, are arranged marriages out of the question now days??
    May my Madi find a sweet one like that. May life keep him like that.

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  19. Is there ever realy an emotional safty net? Even the hardest of people(excluding sociopaths) have cracks in there emotional resolve! You have asked if any have ever done this; the better question probably would be have any not? Humans as a species abhore stasis, that includes emotional stasis. How would I find that fullfillment from the company of of another with emotional attatchments withought at some time putting all my chips in play. I've gone bust, and had my chips stolen more times than I care to remember, but the few times in my life I've doubled up the returns have been more than I could ever lose in my lifetime! I'm enjoying your blog, please excuse my mispelling.