When triggers arise, if you’re anything like me, your first instinct is to either bolt or shut down. That’s not always easy or practical but, to take yourself off to a safe place in your mind is doable. If you’re with others, excuse yourself and go outside or to the bathroom or some other quiet place for a five-minute break.
If you’re not in a physical place that you can retreat to, just take a few calming breaths and picture your own safe haven. It will be different for all of us. Bring into that place, the glow from a soft candle, your favourite scent, perhaps a loved book or favourite piece of music and one of your meaningful trinkets. Bring more if you like, then take a comfortable seat, real or virtual, in your chosen spot and know that nobody or anything can enter this sacred space. Your boundaries are firmly set.
Try and clear your mind of all fearful people, thoughts and situations. Nobody can or will interfere with you here; this is your private utopia. Gradually, bring yourself to the present time and place, ignoring all intruders, real or remembered from a distant, painful time. Ground yourself in the present, the past is gone and the future isn’t here yet. Remind yourself that you are safe. Feel the rhythm of your breathing, knowing every breath is life-giving for your soul. Be aware that your heart-beat is settling into a steady, regular pattern of beats. Also, remember to tell yourself that you are worthy and entitled to be here. You share the planet with others and in any “normal” circumstance, each of us, including you, is entitled to follow dreams, to achieve goals and to walk your own paths, side by side with your fellow sojourners, without interference from another. You, and each of us are unique; the essence of our differences is rich and beautiful and together, we form the mosaic of our planet. Don’t be put down or pushed aside by anyone. Savour your thoughts and plans and wipe away your fears. Stay in your sacred place until you know the time is comfortable for you to return to The Now. Know always that this place is emotionally available to you, 100% of the time. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself the luxury of taking some precious time for you.
One last note, if you have been able to create a physical, sacred place in your home or at work, remember to let others know that they are not permitted to cross those boundaries unless you invite them to do so. Let them also know that any interruptions, bar life-saving situations, are not acceptable. Make sure small children and animals are safe before and let them know you’ll be back after e.g. fifteen minutes.