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Posts tagged ‘SAFE’

An Unexpected Encounter.

I haven’t written for some time.  Writing happens when writing happens.

Today I was walking through my neighborhood Randall’s to get a few items.  I meandered through the aisles with my short list on repeat in my head so that I would not forget.  All of sudden, my eyes fell upon a lady.  She appeared to be in her late 50’s, though truly I don’t know.  More than just the eyes, my whole body was moved by her appearance; a nervous fluttering, and breathing that spontaneously felt heavy.  I walked past her calmly, though my body experienced the opposite.

The following description may be too graphic for some, though I will share it because it was what I saw. 

She had two black and blue eyes, a nose that was swollen and crusted with a significant amount of visible blood.  Her demeanor appeared fragile, though that might have been my own projection.  She was on the phone as I saw her.

I headed to the check out, though my heart felt as if it had stopped in the aisle with the lady.  My heart felt uncomfortably concerned.  Even while I was paying for my groceries, I kept glancing back to where I saw the lady.  Was she still there?  Should I just leave and go on about my evening?  Should I go back and ask her if she is ok or if she needed anything?  Would she tell me even if she needed help?  What would I do if she said yes?

As I grabbed my grocery bag, I turned my head back one more time.  She was still there on the phone.  My legs started walking toward her even while my head continued with its questions.  As I got closer, she was no longer on her phone.

I stood in front of her and looked gently into her eyes.  I asked, “Excuse me, I hope it is ok for me to ask this, are you ok?  Is there anything you need?”.  She looked at me and very quickly said, “Oh thank you, I am ok.  I just fell.  I broke my ribs”.  I had no idea of broken ribs from the surface of her appearance.  “I am just coming from the doctor’s office and he fixed my nose”.  There was a brief pause.  I said, “Ok, I saw you and felt concerned. I wanted to check if you were ok or needed help of any kind”.  Our eyes still meeting, we smiled gently at one another.  I walked out of Randall’s to my car and back home to my family.

Perhaps what she said was true and perhaps it was not.  I wondered, “Would a doctor really let her leave their office without a bandage of some kind?”.  I guess I won’t know for sure.  My gut still felt concerned for her.  

I went back to the safety of my home and my family.  My hope is that this lady is safe and heals.  I will have to be ok with at least letting her know that I saw her and that I offered concern and care, even if for a moment.

 

***  I don’t know that I would have had the courage to walk back to this lady had I not taken SAFE’s advocate training this past year.  I am deeply thankful for those that do this important work daily.

Thank you SAFE

After four weeks and forty hours of exploration, reflection and training with SAFE Alliance, I am in awe of the depth and the breadth of the work this organization does in an area that, lightly put, is difficult to navigate.  This training has enriched me in so many ways, and I am only just starting to integrate.  It has shed a much needed light on the broader history and social context of violence, abuse and oppression, and the systems that perpetuate them. In my own world, I am waking up to the norms, beliefs, and behaviors that support and normalize the aforementioned.  At the same time, I am becoming aware of the work being done in the way of prevention, intervention and advocacy.  In a world where I have at times felt helpless, I am beginning to see where I can become involved and engaged.

I have yet to see exactly where this path will take me, but I leave this training more informed and awake as a human being, a partner and especially as a parent of two incredible girls.  One of my greatest devotions is the work I do as a parent, the safety I can create in my home, and the way I can encourage my girls to see themselves and the world around them.  In my role as a teacher and a guide, I am ever more committed to creating and holding spaces that feel safe and grounded for those who come to explore meditation and self-inquiry.

This moment feels right and in harmony with where life has been leading me.

I am so grateful for the integrity, the heart and the devotion with which all of the staff and the presenters at SAFE led this training, and for all the people who choose to do this work … to stand up and speak for those who have been oppressed, abused and diminished.  I am inspired by their dedication to lifting these communities up, and seeing them as whole, unbroken and complete beings who have the great potential of finding and reclaiming their place in this world.

Most of all, thank you to my girls, my husband and my mom for their gracious support.  I know that this training would not have been possible without it.  ❤

 

SAFE

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.