Practice Feeling Safe

One of the things I learned in 2018 was to bring my attention to the feeling of safety. This idea had been floating around my consciousness but came into focus when I read an interview with John Makransky in Tricyle about Buddhism and anger, Aren’t We Right to Be Angry?

“In many Buddhist traditions practitioners learn to experience themselves as the object of the unconditional love and compassion of the buddhas.”

Photo credit:  Milan Popovic

Photo credit: Milan Popovic

When I know I’m safe, my hands feel warm. This is important for me because my hands are usually cold due to poor circulation. I believe my poor circulation is caused partially by having grown up in a fearful environment - chronic stress limits circulation as part of a flight reaction.

So, every time I realize I’m safe, I pause and really feel it. I say to myself, “I am safe right now. Nothing can eat me. My life is not in danger.” I feel my Body relax, I feel the cortisol and adrenaline lessen, and I smile when my hands warm up.

This feeling of being held by the present moment, completely safe and alive, has gradually replaced my usual default state of feeling anxious. Now, when I think of scary things like losing my job or having to move, I remind myself that I wouldn’t literally die right when those things happened, and that helps out a lot.

From this grounded feeling of safety, it’s easier stop thinking about the scary things that probably won’t happen. But when I do think about them, I tend to see the opportunities that lie inside, and that actually makes me feel excited and in the flow of life.

My favorite ways to feel calm and safe are:

  • regular meditation

  • trauma release exercises

  • belly dancing

  • stretching to lift up my solar plexus

  • squatting almost to the ground to focus on my pelvic floor

  • deep breathing from the belly up and out sideways to the lungs

  • knitting

I hope you find ways that bring you back to the present, too.