Breathing through fear

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This morning I woke up at 5am from the most awful, awful dream about a terrorist attack in my town.  I won’t give all the gory details but let’s just say it paralleled with the recent London Bridge attack.  In the dream I was with Vince and Spike and other locals trying to hide and protect ourselves.  As a mother it was gut wrenching to have to be protecting our sweet child from the horror.  When I woke up I went into the bathroom to try to shake the dream but I couldn’t and for the first time in over 20 years I felt the first flurries of a panic attack.  The root of the fear that was trying to take hold was the realisation that, unlike nightmares I’ve had in the past where Vince has left me for Juliet Binoche, when I woke this time I didn’t have that comforting realisation that it wasn’t true, that it was just a silly dream, that all was well in the world.

The truth is that my nightmare has been many people’s reality and, sad to say, will be likely be a reality for others in the future.  This was where I started to panic. My bad dream was to some extent true.  The bogey man does exist. I knew I needed to somehow put my existential dread back in it’s place, and I did.   I was able to stop the attack from taking hold by yoga breathing and repeating the mantra: ‘There are so many good people in the world, there are so many good people in the world‘ and as I did this I could literally feel my heartbeat slowing down, the swirl of fear in my brain subside and a level of calm descend.

It’s an awful feeling to know I have no direct control over preventing awful things from happening to me or worst of all my family; and the responsibility I feel for bringing a sweet life into this world weighs oh so heavy on my heart.  The future, as it’s ever been, is uncertain but I believe we will always be able to count on the fact that there will more good people in the world than bad, legions more, and what we can do on an individual level (short of joining MI5) is live good lives, actively seek positive connection with others, create communities even on a small scale and live as fearlessly as we can.

The well used meme has it that television’s children host Mr. Rogers said his mother responded to scary news by telling him ‘look for the helpers’ which is a beautiful idea, but let’s not wait for the disasters before we look for the helpers, let’s actively look for the goodness in our every day.  Let’s draw it in and beam it out, all the good people of the world breathing our way through the fear as one.


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2 thoughts on “Breathing through fear

  1. Janet Newman June 28, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    Lovely. Very relevant as I’m sure lots of people feel awful and worried at the moment. From a mum with grown up kids who are out and about – they are getting on with their lives and living despite the fear and that’s good. For all I’ve been brought in my life I’m glad I was born and I’m sure your little one is/would be too. You have brought him into a beautiful world and I will remember your words. Because we are powerless over nasty people but we can depend on the good ones and tell ourselves worrying won’t help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michaela Murphy June 29, 2017 / 7:34 am

      Thanks Janet. Lovely to hear your perspective as the mother of grown up children. I’ve been consciously encouraging Little Chap to make human connections ie approaching police officers, fire fighters, shop assistants, even an acrobat the other weekend and talking to them. Obviously it helps when you’re 3ft tall and cute but people respond with so much warmth and I want those positive connections to become part of his neurology. That way, hopefully, he’ll see the world as essentially good (and obviously he’ll pick up some street smarts along the way too) xx


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