Two weeks ago I had a rush of energy and decided after work to clear the branches that were scratching my car along my driveway. You know how a five minute job stretches to over an hour? As I was clearing everything in sight I saw this large worm disappear into the ground and thought nothing of it. My housemate came back while I was in the middle of this job and I cleared as much as I could so that she could drive past. The next morning on my run though, I found the ‘large worm’ squashed and dead on my driveway so it must have gotten closer to me than I thought. And it was a 45cm snake, of some venomous description apparently.
So now when I run down my 100 metre driveway each morning, I get the heebeegeebees. I am not particularly afraid of snakes for some reason, or of anything that doesn’t sneak up on me, really and that’s good because there are lots of nasties here in Sydney. In fact a bull ant or leech on me will probably spike my adrenalin more than anything deadly because I’ve felt the effects. But now I am sensitive for no real reason and it’s affecting part of my morning exercise.
Give it a couple more weeks and I won’t even think about what lurks on my property any more, much less have a physical reaction. I was triggered by my snake encounter so I pay more attention to the rustling in the undergrowth now but after a while it won’t be a trigger anymore.
Similarly, a friend’s recent burglary shot a little fear into me for a while there and I was careful to hide my valuables. It passes and we get complacent. And typing up interviews about pedestrian deaths as a job a few years ago has made me more careful crossing the road, but only to a certain point now.
So how is our day to day life affected? What’s top of mind and how do we neutralise all those fears that come and go? There are a million things to stress about, if we want to go looking for them.
For me, some hazards, like the snake, come and find me but the rest I choose to avoid. It’s too easy to get trapped into thinking the world is a terrible place by following the news regularly. So I don’t.
I did read instead a lovely blog this week with a little story about how a mother told their child that when watching disaster stories on the news, to always look for the helpers in each situation, because there are always helpers. I’m sorry I forget which blog or post I found that in, but I am so grateful someone shared that and it surely will neutralise rather raise my fear level.
So now I am curious to look for both fear triggers in my life however small and consequently for the ‘helpers’ that alleviate the disquiet in whatever form they take – a quote, a blog, people, police presence, human kindness. And you can bet which one I will be focussing on. Are you aware of the ‘helpers’ in your life and do they outnumber the triggers?
In no time, if someone shouts ‘Snake’, this is the only kind I want to be be thinking of. 🙂