I finally stole a moment for my practice today amidst the chaotic situation I currently and uncharacteristically inhabit. I was alone in the house for 30 blessed minutes. Music played. I danced. And I thought about safety. I had stolen time, yes, but the room was not entirely safe. My antennae pricked up for the return of a car. I didn’t want to drop too far in and be abruptly disrupted or, like a molting snake, be discovered in a soft open condition. Intrusion. Interruption—these are very treacherous for me.
We all need to really consider what helps us feel safe. And what doesn’t. For me, ‘safe’ is a place with no judgement. That is why privacy is important. I can rely on not being judged by anyone else if no one else is around. I then only have to contend with my internal critic. Even though over time my critic has lost a lot of energy, it can still be riled up; private time for my practice is a must.
Interruption is an Enemy
Interruption is another difficulty. It shakes me. It unnerves me. The phone pierces a deepening inner quiet. Of course I don’t have to answer, but the ring brings the outside world in through my ears. Responsibilities and demands rear up. Things in buildings miles away suddenly plant themselves along the edge of the room and whisper their business, and my body’s feeling curls back into itself. Yet again, my inner world turns away and shelves itself. Later, later…It has said later for years and years.
Of course I can flow in and out of my work. The adult part of me is very steady. It will carry on. It will reassure my inner part. But my inner part is delicate. If difficult feelings are welling up—sadness or vulnerability or shame—and need to unwind as I move, interruption confirms the dangerous, injurious nature of the world. Interruption sustains the damage.
It is interesting to me how over the years, discovering the nature of my damage is less important than creating a soft, steady, continuity of safety in which my damaged self can heal. It is less important to know what has been wrong, than to know that I have a safe, trustworthy world now. The only way to create safety and trustworthiness is to be able to come again and again to a safe, trustworthy situation. My practice has become that world, and I guard against the phone call, the intruder, the blunt blast of anything that can shake me.
Smell & Touch
Also ‘safe’ for me is a floor that is not too soft, not too hard. I like the solid ground. But I don’t like when wood bruises me or has no give. Yet a soft surface is treacherous. Like quicksand.
I like clean.
The way things smell is important. I don’t like perfume which masks the message of the room’s condition. Smelling the room when my eyes are closed actually orients me to the season, the air quality, the weather, to what has happened recently or what is happening now just outside the room or in the room.
What helps you feel safe?
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