The word ‘safe’ has been in the forefront of my experience and mind a lot recently. Both national and world events have given me time for pause and personal reflection. I am also immersed in a month long training with SAFE Alliance, an organization in Austin, TX, that is committed to bringing an end to violence and abuse through prevention, intervention and advocacy for social change.
The training has been profoundly eye opening on many levels, and I am still in the midst of learning and processing. My heart has opened to the unimaginable ways in which felt safety can be broken and humanity undermined, and this has also inspired me to engage in a meaningful way.
The name stands true to their mission, which in great part is to create safe spaces, relationships, and support for those that have been oppressed, victimized and abused. The underlying message they have consistently conveyed throughout the training is to meet the individual where they are, to hear their story, and to be a compassionate presence. Over and over again it comes back to this simple, yet profound act.
If you can remember someone doing this for you in a time of distress, you know that it can feel incredibly safe and healing. There is space for your experience and your humanity to be seen and heard, without agenda and judgement. So much can happen by way of compassionate presence and listening. Individuals can slowly begin to reclaim their experience, worth, and strength. When a friend or an advocate can be with us without needing to fix or immediately advise, they gift us the opportunity to experience that which never needed to be fixed, has always been complete and whole no matter the circumstance. The depth and breadth of the work that SAFE does goes far beyond what I can convey here, but their training has been incredibly enriching in ways that I could not have anticipated.
For many of us, we might be meeting challenges of a different nature, perhaps less extreme than what I am describing above. When we take time for refuge and rest, we nourish ourselves so that we can ultimately meet life’s challenges and thrive in the face of them. We can remember our wholeness in the face of circumstances that may feel broken. And when we are not consumed only by the shadows of our experience, we become available to the unending depths of wisdom and light within.
The reason why it is important to practice opening to ease and safety regularly is because without it, it is very hard to touch into felt safety in a time of distress or difficulty. While the idea of this may seem too simplistic, I have personally found that the simple things seem to have the most profound impact on my life. Perhaps your doorway into safety is regular walks in nature, time with a pet or a friend. It might be periods of solitude or play, music or art. Explore how you can bring safe spaces and periods into your day and notice how it makes you feel in your body. More so, notice how it begins to impact your life.
If you would like to explore a guided practice, the following is a 21 minute guided meditation I offered many months ago.