April 25, 2012

Prince Charming and the Gift of Fear

Recently Nick and I had a brush with death. It was a bright, stark and quick striking force into our reality. I used to be a fan of certain psychology-focused crime dramas. I have a very difficult time watching them anymore. 'Creepy' actors and daunting music aside, I'm finding that the settings and surroundings are much too familiar now. Television has those down cold.

For us it was a dark section of road in the mountains. Oh, so cliche, I know. But I would give anything, and I mean anything, to take that night back. It was a narrow miss. I count it as a pivotal point in our lives. A pure and very clear... miracle.

And as we feebly made our way home, through my shaking and sobs and cold cold shivers of terror, the lessons we learned in The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence came unfolding, unrolling, endlessly before us. Snippet after snippet of his words, of his warnings and of his examples... one by one they came spinning at us. But this time each snippet helped place each piece of the memory puzzle. Click. Snap. Together they came.

And as we pulled up to our home, the whole picture lay before us. And we couldn't get out of the car. We were terrified to step outside its protective shield and into a now-new and terrifyingly unsafe world.

I won't lie. Sleepless nights and harrowing processing followed. But I remember very clearly thinking one thing over and over: I must tell my readers. Because anyone in my family would have been gone. They wouldn't have made it out of the canyon alive. The trap was too well planned, too believable... and in our family we were taught to be selfless... to be so "nice," especially to those others knew to avoid. And it was almost our undoing. 

How is that even possible? Nick and I are pretty well-traveled. I mean, we've traveled almost every highway in the entire United States. We've taken a million backroads. We've seen much. We've seen more than most. We've been in crazy scary situations before, but the only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing that helped us at all in this situation was this book.

I don't care if you get the audio version. That's what Nick and I used to go through it, during all of our travels. Or get the e-book, or get the paperback on Amazon.com. I don't care. You need to get it. No matter where you live. Violence does not discriminate against color, nationality or region. 

In short, it's written by a man who developed the leading method of threat assessment (threats of violence against members of congress, our president, supreme court judges, etc) for the FBI, CIA as well as other agencies and companies. Even Oprah hails him as one to heed. 

Thankfully, he wrote a book for the rest of us, helping us to understand the signs that may save our lives. We'd heard of it, but never bothered with it until two people gave it to us as a gift... on the same weekend. Thank God.

Now, here is the part that you can apply to dancing.  This is the lesson from the book that impacted our lives immediately- we use it all the time. And considering our community and where it's at, this lesson will probably help you quite a bit too. What is it? Stated simply:

Charm is not an adjective. 
Charm is a verb.

A verb. That's right. Someone "charms" you. It is done intentionally. It is done with purpose. It is done to you. And, as he says in the book, it is done to get something from you. 

Think about it. Who do you know that's selflessly charming to everyone, all the time without expecting anything in return... You wouldn't exactly call them 'charming,' right? For example, I've been called bright, energetic, joyful, happy and by three separate people in the last month... "a real firecracker."

But I've never been called charming

But boy do we ever have a lot of charmers out there, don't we? Haven't you noticed? Hear the names racing off in your head? Yes.

Charm is a verb.

And it's used to get what the charmer wants... not what you want.

What a great lesson. 

On that dark horrid little section of road in the Santa Monica mountains, it was the "charmer" who trapped us. He was so convincing... heck, he even had a little puppy with him... the memory makes me ill. Because it was all too easy. We, world travelers and unfearing truth seekers, were used to so much more charm in our community, that we almost fell for this one.

Please, please do yourself a favor. Read, listen or "Kindle" the Gift of Fear.
Don't let Prince Charming fool you.

Charm is
and will always be
a verb.

With my deepest love,

Click here to order your own copy or version of Gift of Fear.
I am not affiliated with Gift of Fear in any way.