A few years ago I saw a therapist to help me cope with some issues in life. One day we were discussing a particularly intense topic. I was scared – no, I was terrified. And the therapist said to me, “Barb, you need a safe place where you can’t be hurt. Where is a place where you can feel safe?”
I couldn’t think of anything. At that moment there was nowhere I could imagine being safe from the danger I was feeling. Where could I feel safe? Maybe in the arms of a big, protecting tree. You know, in that place where the trunk splits out into branches. The place where I could sit – hide – and be protected by the strong branch-arms, hidden by the blanket of leaves. In my mind I put myself in that tree…but it was not safe.
My panic grew. “There is no safe place!” I pleaded. “Nothing can keep me safe!”
As I struggled to calm myself an image came to me: A young child. Me. Sitting in my grandfather’s lap. Grampa lived with us from the time I was about 6 and we kids used to fight over who got to sit on his lap. When I sat in his lap – in his arms, it felt as if nothing in the world could ever be bad. My grandpa’s lap was the safest, warmest, most comforting place I knew.
Where is your safe place?