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Coping with a world on fire

By Michal Spiegelman

My daughter and I a few years back.

The air raid sirens cut me off mid-sentence. I was on the phone with my daughter in Israel. We quickly hung up so she could take shelter. A few minutes later, my sister texted the family group chat that she had been driving when the same noises pierced the air. She pulled over, got out of her car, and waited for the attack to end. Soon, we got confirmation from all of our loved ones that they were okay.

Being 6,000 miles away from my daughter and the rest of my family while the Middle East is burning is not easy. A lot of memories have surfaced for me.

I am a young mother. My son is only a year and a half old. The siren starts at 2 am. We follow the instructions and place our son quickly in a small tent-like crib. Looking at his parents wearing their scary gas masks, he screams like crazy and vomits. It is not clear yet what kind of missiles were fired on Israel. I want to get him out and hug him, but I know that if I do, he might die.

Growing up in Israel, I lived through four wars. But the 1991 Gulf War was the most traumatic. I have never been so afraid. It was days before we learned that the weapons fired on us were conventional. Eventually, we got into a routine of running to the bomb shelter or hunkering down in a safe room in our apartment.

I remember struggling to make simple decisions: should I take a shower now or not? What if the siren starts when I have soap on my head? Should I put dinner in the oven? Will I remember to turn off the oven if the siren starts? Sleeping fully clothed, shoes right next to the bed, became normal. When the siren sounded in the middle of the night, we had to rush to the bomb shelter immediately.

I also remember how worried I was for my family and friends. We checked in with one another after each attack, holding our breath until we knew everyone was safe. My husband, son, and I lived close to Tel Aviv, which became a hot spot during the Gulf War. Eventually, I could no longer deal with the constant anxiety, so we moved in with my aunt and uncle, who lived further from the city. It only felt a little bit safer.

The trauma stayed with me for years. I’d jump in fear whenever I heard an ambulance siren or another loud noise. Praying for peace became part of my daily routine.

I’m so heartbroken seeing history repeat itself. I get so sad thinking about my daughter and the rest of my family bracing for the sirens and facing daily rocket attacks.

I cannot stop thinking about all the mothers, Arab and Israeli, who feel helpless and scared. NO MOTHER of any nationality, religion, race, or ethnicity should EVER have to fear that she cannot provide her child with security and safety. No mother should have to hold a crying baby or a traumatized toddler in her arms, knowing that these terrifying formative experiences will affect them forever. No human being should live in a world of hatred and violence.

This is not a political message.

It’s a message from a mother who is currently in trauma response. A mother who is devastated that her daughter and so many other people are in danger.

I adjusted to the reality I grew up with. But the wounds and the trauma lingered.

I hold my feelings of sadness and worry for all mothers living in war zones in the Middle East and other parts of the world. But I also hold a deep sense of gratitude for the tools I have now that I didn’t have years ago—tools I have used a lot in the last few days:

Allowing myself to feel exactly the way I feel.

Letting opposite emotions co-exist.

Releasing self-judgment and giving myself compassion and kindness, no matter what.

Listening to my body and addressing what I hear.

Treating myself with Reiki a few times every day so I can elevate myself energetically and invoke higher guidance.

Staying informed but limiting my consumption of news.

Plugging radical self-care into my day. Walks. Rest. Meditation. And more Reiki.

Getting centered before each mentoring session so I can be fully present for my clients.

Being real and vulnerable and sharing how I feel with people I can trust—and accepting support.

Teaching Reiki has truly nurtured me during this difficult time. To take a group of people through a deep healing journey is a sacred responsibility. As soon as I put on my “Reiki Teacher” hat, I automatically vibrate from a very high energy level. I fully connect with the master within me, regardless of the chaos around me. I’m at my best. Grounded. Present. Guided. Come learn with me.

This gift has helped me stay connected with my purpose, my calling, my mission to shine my light and serve as a beacon. Sharing this message with you is part of my mission.

What resources and tools help you thrive when you’re going through a difficult time? (No political comments, please).

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2 Comments

  1. Leanne Marshall

    I’m fascinated with resilience and what gets me through the rough times is a mixture of things. Family friends and remembering the good people out there. Watching comedies though the one I love at the moment (Superstore) is rather dark in its humour at times. Knowing that somehow there is going to be a brighter time at the end of it.

    When each one of us goes through pain we have to know that our pain cannot be compared with anyone else’s because we’re the ones who have to work through the living experience. However, through empathising with others is one of the ways to heal one’s own pain.

    Reply
  2. Joyce Crawford

    Dearest Michal.
    My heart is with you in your concern for your precious family. It is times such as these that tell us if our trust in our Higher Power is real or just ‘talking the talk.’ I know your faith is strong and real. More than toughness or forcefulness, spiritual strength is quiet fortitude, a rootedness in the inexhaustible wellspring of the Divine. Allow me to share the Prayer of Protection, by James Dillet Freeman, for you and your family.
    THE LIGHT OF GOD SURROUNDS THEM; THE LOVE OF GOD ENFOLDS THEM; THE POWER OF GOD PROTECTS THEM; THE PRESENCE OF GOD WATCHES OVER THEM. WHEREVER THEY ARE, GOD IS, AND ALL IS WELL!
    This is my affirmation for today: “I release all thought of weakness or impossibility. I feel the power of Divine strength flowing through me, invigorating my body, and bringing renewed clarity to my thoughts. The strength of God is my strength.”
    Ands o it IS, and so it shall BE!

    Reply

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