I recently received anesthesia for a small medical procedure. While in the recovery bed enjoying the post-op buzzy afterglow, I experienced a profound feeling: I Felt Safe.
Not until Biden was announced the winner of the election did I realize how deeply unsafe I have felt these last four years. The unpredictability, chaos and cruelty of Trump’s presidency had taken more of a daily toll than I had realized. And I’m a privileged white person.
In the hospital, safety came from the voices of the nurses I heard around me. They were caring, professional, and in control of the situation.
For those of us who grew up feeling a bit unsafe in our childhood environments, we compensate by trying to maintain control at all times. Imagine how healing, then, to find people who protect us, offer physical & emotional safety, and who can reliably take control of the reins.
When do you feel safe? Who helps you feel safe?
Is it possible that you are over-achieving because maybe you don’t feel safe? And that staying super-high-functioning actually helps you feel in control and safe?
Here is a practice you can do at home to start to build that inner feeling of safety and really absorb it into your subconscious.
First, let’s come up with someone or thing that helps you feel safe. This is a little different than something that helps you feel calm. A bath may be relaxing, but it doesn’t really *protect* you.
For this exercise, I want you to feel Protected. If this person - or animal - is around, you will not get fucked with. They WILL NOT let that happen. You can completely let your guard down because this person will stop at nothing to protect you. You will not get hurt.
I mentioned how Joe Biden is bringing me a deep sense of safety. I know we’re not in a perfect place politically, but he’s doing something good for me.
Blockbuster action-hero movies also bring me some kind of nostalgic, sentimental feeling of protection.
So I’ve been using this video of Biden & The Superhero Democrats (The Obamas! Stacey Abrams!) as my Protective Figures.
We talked about thinking of someone who 100% protects you and would throw down if anyone even thought of fucking with you. This could be a real person you know, a famous or fictional person, a badass animal, an all-powerful spiritual figure.
Close your eyes and bring this figure to mind. Let yourself feel their strong, protective qualities. How they guard you and protect you, how they keep danger away, and make sure you are safe.
If you’ve never experienced this in real life, just let yourself imagine it. You can let go of control. Absolutely no harm will come to you when this figure is here.
Close your eyes. What are you seeing? Hearing? What emotions are there? What are you feeling in your body? Let your senses come alive. Deep breath.
Now cross your arms in front of your chest and alternately tap each shoulder. Right-left, right-left. Tap 6 to 12 times, then stop and check in with yourself. If it feels good and the image is strengthening, you can tap some more.
Tap as long as it feels positive. Begin to tap at a slow, rhythmic pace, and then find the pace that feels best to you. While you tap, focus on the whole feeling this is bringing to you, allowing the feeling to increase. Start with short rounds, pausing in between, to make sure it’s feeling good.
If a distressing memory arises, stop tapping and take a break. Bring yourself to a calm, safe place within by taking deep breaths and imagining yourself in a place you love. Maybe put the memory aside, in a safe container, where you can come back to it another time. For now, just focus on calming and bringing yourself back to a comfortable place.
I hope you enjoy this practice 🖤 Let me know how it goes!