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Traumatized by a long dead bug

Every time something beyond my sight touches my skin  — whether it is a strand of hair, a computer wire, or a strong gust of wind — I assume a bug is crawling on me.

I shutter. I swat. I slap.

Often times, a bug is indeed crawling on me. After all, I live in Israel, a country that is still in many ways upper third world — at best, lower first world.

But many times, there is no bug.

And yet, I jump.

This is both a true story and a metaphor for the biggest roadblock in my life — the unnecessary fears that overwhelm me.

Apparently, I am not alone.

Studies now show that not only are we still hard-wired like cavemen — reacting with adrenaline to potential (but, in reality non-existent) predators — but we also perceive as threats and react to situations that are not actually happening to us, but to our friends or friends of friends.

We are exhausting ourselves, apparently, in our efforts to eliminate a long dead bug or kill an imaginary tiger. Worse yet, we are sinking into depressions fretting over a stranger’s illness or worrying about a tragedy in a community we’ve never visited populated by people we don’t know in real life.

How do we balance our compassion; our desire to fix ourselves and our world; with our very real need to

REMAIN CALM?

How do we recognize and respond to danger without perceiving every minor concern as a potential life threat?

And how do we move from day to day in a world that seems to continually spiral out of control without feeling as if everything is about to collapse?

(Particularly when all news sources suggest that it is?)

I do not know the answers.

Yet, I continue to seek them, and from time to time laugh as I gently urge my rapidly beating heart to recognize the shadow on the wall for what it is.

A memory passed on from generation to generation.

A defect in an ever-evolving brain.

A reason to …yet again …breathe.

 

 

 

 

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