Sometimes I need a place to retreat to, to calm my mind and emotions and regain a sense of peace and quiet. When bad memories start to plague me, or if I am struggling with anxiety I try to remember to go to my safe place. This was a tool that my first T gave me to work with towards the beginning of my seeing her. Many reading this probably know what I am referring to but for those who don't know what I am talking about here is a brief explanation. It is a mental exercise where you imagine a place where you feel safe. It can be a real place or something you just imagine. You close your eyes and try to visualize it and work your way through the five senses. For my safe place I chose my grandparents' farm. I would spend time there during the summer and it was a quiet place out in the country, a welcome change from living in the city.
I close my eyes and start to go through the list of what my senses would experience on the farm. I see a bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds drifting by. I see the many flowers that my grandmother had growing in her flowerbeds. I see the butterflies flitting around. I see a humming bird and hear the rapid beating of it's wings. I hear the chug of the engine of my grandpa's tractor. I hear the song of a red winged blackbird and the wind blowing through the trees. I feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and the breeze on my face. I feel the rough rope of the swing in the tree and the motion of swinging back and forth. I feel the grass beneath my bare feet and the soft fur of the cat that I pet. I feel the roughness of the bark of the tree I am leaning against. I can smell the freshly cut grass and the scent of the honeysuckle. I can smell the baling twine and the fumes from the tractor. I can taste the sweetness of a freshly picked strawberry and the sourness of a gooseberry plucked from the vine. I take a deep breath and open my eyes. I am back in the present but still retain the sense of calm that I had while visiting my safe place.
Another way I try to regain some calm is by meditating on a Bible verse or two. Recently I spent a lot of time thinking about Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God;.." The word "still" in this verse means to sink, relax, sink down, giving me the image of when floating in water or nestling down into something comfy and just relaxing. It also means to let go, something that can be hard to do at times. This is not just a letting go, but giving whatever is stressing me over to God. There are so many things right now that I need to just let go and relax about. I am so tense. I wake up in the morning and my jaw is clenched and the muscles throughout my body are so tight. I take a deep breath and try to consciously relax and it works for a minute. Until I let out my breath and then everything tenses up again.
Time to be still and spend a few moments in my safe place and let go, turning my problems over to God.