Friends are texting “I’m scared – afraid – terrified. J’ai peur.”

So-called ‘natural disasters’ (hurricanes, landslides, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, fires); cancer, COVID, other medical diagnoses; a second impeachment trial after the take-over of the Capitol Building in the United States which many fear will not only lead to further civil unrest, but civil war; the pandemic, the isolation, the new strains; the financial implications … the anxiety seems unrelenting – and rising. What to do in the midst of experiencing fear that “gut-wrenching … can’t explain … keep-me-awake” type of fear? 

I wish I had the definitive answer.

Sometimes … nothing we do seems to help.  The feelings of helplessness,  abandonment, lack of control overwhelm us.  Our breathing becomes shallow. Our heart races.  Our mind won’t stop thinking. 

Sometimes, admitting our fear to ourself … to another … helps.   

Sometimes, saying / thinking / whispering / praying the word ‘peace’ as we gently and slowly inhale
and saying / thinking / whispering / praying the word ‘fear,’ as we exhale, can help.   

Sometimes, creating something
… in the kitchen, garden, shop, studio, on the computer, in our Journal … can help. 

Sometimes, repeating Dame Julian of Norwich’s words:  “All shall be well.  All shall be well.  And all manner of thing shall be well” can help. (and using our breath to say them … inhale and say “all shall be well”; exhale “all shall be well”; inhale “and all manner of thing”; exhale “shall be well.” 

Knowing that somewhere in the world, someone is experiencing a spiritual oasis by meditating; inviting peace for others; sitting cross-legged and chanting; saying the Rosary; receiving Communion; reciting the Shema; praying the Daily Office; thinking / sending / praying / whispering good thoughts; holding those experiencing fear in their heart, mind and spirit … and I am comforted.   Because of our common humanity, regardless of our religious or spiritual belief, I know that am not alone.

To all in the path of fury of Mother Nature
the path of anger of human nature
the path of the pandemic
the path of politicians out of control
the path of terrifying medical diagnoses
the path of grief
may you be comforted.
You are not alone. 
It may feel like you are, but you are not because in some way, at some level, we are connected
… connected by the intangible essence of compassion, empathy, prayer, love. 
… connected by our humanity.

It’s okay to admit our fear in spoken and written word. 
It’s okay to acknowledge in our language
what our body, mind and spirit already know.

It’s not only okay to admit “I’m afraid,”
it can be healing for admitting our fear can help move the fear out of the darkness.

May we be bold and courageous in fearful situations to open the door,
be released from the power fear wields over us,
so that it is no longer as strong as it was
… even a moment before
when fear was boxed-up inside us.

May we never be too afraid to begin the journey of healing and say
“J’ai peur.”
I’m afraid.”


Photo and Text © June Maffin