Not necessarily in the physical sense but in that deep emotional way where the thoughts and feelings of the psyche and soul flow uninterrupted and connect to the spirit and that deep sense of peace and well-being is settled in the body.
But let's talk about the physical first.
When we are not physically safe our senses tell us, often times quite quickly. It is what has kept us alive to thrive another day. That sense that something is amiss, that we need to seek cover, seek companionship, seek higher ground. It appears as tingling on our arms or the base of our neck, or a butterfly in our gut, or a not quite right taste in our mouth. These signals that we physically feel - these signs that something is wrong - they are so ingrained in us and we are able to recognize them as catalysts to move. And then we know. Head to safety and do it now.
And when something is not right in our emotional world - when there is turmoil of the mind and of the heart - we experience these same physical manifestations even when we may be quite physically safe.
This is a great thing. Because we are so aware of what these feelings mean, we know to respond as if in physical danger.
We know to act.
Unfortunately, we often times don't. Not right away anyway. Perhaps it's because our society can easily recognize physical ailments and traumas or battle wounds but damage to the heart and spirit - because it can't readily be seen - are not as easily validated. And so we second guess the signals, question our intuition, challenge our feelings.
And we often times stay in a place that hurts our heart much longer than we should.
But finally we see it. Feel it in that deeper way and are unable to ignore the truth that sits in our core. And then we make the move away from whatever it is that is unsettling us, hurting us, taking the "safe" away.
But because, unlike a physical danger that passes once we are removed from the element of harm - the lion that is chasing us while we were out hunting for the deer, the storm that is brewing and we fear until we are under cover again, the deserted street that is a memory now that we are safely in our car and on the road home - the unsafe feeling that hits against our hearts and minds, our soul and our spirit, this feeling is harder to shed. It comes with us when we move away.
And so we need a safe place.
That place - whether it really exists or we create in our minds - where the things we love surround us and the air is still and soft. Where we can linger without worry that our tears will be judged or our worries will appear. Where we don't need to self talk that all will be ok because it is always ok in this safe place we have.
I have always had two safe places.
One was my car. Being in it offered great peace even when I didn't necessarily need that. And so, when I was tasked - by my wise therapist I was blessed to work with many years ago - to create a safe place in my mind, I immediately saw my car filled with boxes of my favorite shoes and all my pets and a huge, never emptying hot and creamy coffee. And when I was worried or anxious or nervous or fragile and I could not settle with deep breath or mindful thought, I would visualize my packed up car welcoming me in.
I chose my car because it moves and part of the appeal was that I could move, too. Get in this shoe closet on wheels and get myself away from the danger that nestled under my skin in much the same way we escape from the the storm or the danger on the street.
My second safe place is my closet. Pretty much my car packed with shoes without the movement. In the real life version that actually exists in the world and not just it my mind's eye, it is lovingly decorated with sconces to hold jewelry and a kitchen witch that never cooked and beautiful clothes that hang orderly on fabric hangers in a soft muslim or pink satin.
It's my sacred sanctuary and I sit on the floor often. Whether to sew a pair of pants into a changed shape and fit, or read a book newly borrowed from the library or transpose this weekly writing from my mind and through the computer onto my blog site, my closet holds my space and grounds me in. Often my cat and my perfect Doberman dog join me in the small space. We all fit well and I am happy.
And so, when I am out and about and suddenly off my game, this space that is real and created by my hand and for my heart, I can bring it forth into wherever I am and can settle into the rug in my mind and picture my back against the white and mother of pearl chest of draws. I can feel, inside my head, my beautiful clothes hanging above me.
And I can imagine the sound of my sweet dog's breath.