To feel safe

Stay safe. One of the most cruel wishes ever invented for the human soul.

Stay safe. Don’t go there, don’t do that, don’t say that, don’t wear that, don’t touch that, don’t have sex, don’t eat that. Don’t live. Just don’t. Stay safe.

Safe from what?

From change! From the unpleasant possibilities! The inconveniences of illness, heartbreak, misunderstanding, judgement, pain or death. The threat of all living beings, and life itself.

Stay safe.

Be safe from death itself. And even if you have made peace with your inevitable demise, think about the others! Who wants the hassle of dealing with your death? Who wants the grief, the debt, the emptiness you may leave when you go? No, just stay safe. Please.

Safety has become the goal for anyone trying to run away from all the hurt in this world. It’s the carrot at the end of most sticks. The North Star. There seems to be no end to what people are willing to do to reach that paradise of life-in-a-sanitized-box, complete with tripwires and two-factor authentication.

We’re selling our very lives for safety. Spending our precious time and energy fitting more-or-less neatly into the moulds of social acceptance. Pleasing the boss, the teacher, the parent or the spouse.

How does that make you feel?
I’m a little nauseous even writing this.

When we get lost in the dark forest of flight, flight or freeze, we begin wars of separation and segregation. We limit, cut, curb and kill off millions of dangerous ‘others’ at the price of our own souls.

That insatiable desire for safety makes us all into control-freaks, prostitutes and psychopaths.

And there is never enough of that separated safety, for the war with the world is never out there, but within our own soul that’s not feeling safe in the prison of our own making.

Safety is…

Dr. Gabor Mate, renowned for his compassionate work in developmental trauma, said something on the Integral European Conference that blew my mind.

‘For children, safety is not an absence of threat. Safety is the presence of connection.’

Facepalm. Of course! I wrote about that when I was afraid. Connection is the opposite of fear.

Safety is the presence of connection. Whenever we feel separate, lacking in trust and connection with others and with life, we feel threatened, unsafe. Then we go to war with the very things that we want to connect with.

Wanting to feel safe is not wanting to feel fearful and lacking. It’s wanting to feel juicy and flowy and creative, being held safe within the life of this world. Wanting safety is a beautiful goal, but the safety we really seek is in acceptance, in communion, in belonging, in participating, in being met and being loved.

I wish I had known that sooner.

I’ve also stayed in a bad job for too long. Also made myself smaller or invisible to not be noticed too much. Also kept myself away from people I find attractive or interesting, smartly avoiding the pain I might feel when they might leave or reject me.

So often I’ve been running away from life instead of embracing it. Mostly because I haven’t known how to feel good enough for this life. As long as I’m vulnerable and imperfect, the others will judge and hurt me, right?

Or could change that narrative inside?
Can I just…relax?

…the presence of connection.

Isn’t it odd how we, as species, have a choice not to love?

The earth, the wind and the water – the very building blocks of our bodies – don’t have that choice. They love. The sun cannot choose when to shine or not. It keeps on burning for all. Yet somehow we can choose whether to open or close to what is. 

All that free will. Isn’t it fascinating?

When we are born, we don’t know how to make that choice, for love is what birthed us in the first place. We are open and connected with life in order to notice how this world works. We could not judge our parents or guardians right of wrong for their actions. We simply experienced and copied their version of love and connection.

And thus our version of (dis)connection and safety was drawn out of a severed, war-ridden, fearful world that our parents and grandparents grew up in. From the depths of the scarred society – we inherited the sense of being insignificant, limited, lacking and alone. 

Not safe.

Choose…

Whenever we choose to act from a place lack, limitation, fear or separation, we invent suffering. 

The desire for safety comes from the desire avoid suffering.

In efforts to avoid suffering, we end up choosing more intricate forms of suffering, clinging to all those artificial forms that should make us feel safe. Yet for the enormous price we pay, the safety solutions we employ are but a band-aid for our inner loneliness.

Still, being connected is a natural part of being human on this Earth. We are not separate from this planet and we are not its master. We can only live, learn, surf, enjoy its bounty.

To truly feel safe, it requires a degree of humility in the face of reality. We’re all in this together.

As adults, we have a choice to heal our own pain and that of our parents. We can open up again. We can connect again. We can love and welcome life again. We can choose to participate and belong. To feel safe within life itself.

We can. I can. You can.

…to feel safe and connected.

Donning my self-help mantle, I will share three things I would try to stop this cycle of sad suffering for safety, moving from the pain of separation towards joy, freedom and connection.

First, we need to embrace the concept of death and its sweet certainty.

Accepting death will invoke the thirst for life and give us the energetic boost to kill off everything that stops us from living, especially that which seemingly bestow us with a false sense of security. Do we want to accept half-a-live, neatly boxed up, or do we want it all?

To really enjoy it all, we need to stop the inner critic. There is nothing we can do or be that is wrong in this life. No move we can make that is inherently wrong. This includes embracing all those separating safety features, ironically… they were just the tools handed to us.

In the grand picture, we have the time we have and we make the best of it, suffer or not. No judgement.

Lastly, we can allow love right now. I mean the Love of Right Now, not some future possible love one may aspire to, once we have secured our own fragility.

What would we need to feel spacious, loved and relaxed right here and now?

Nothing else except for what we already have. Earth underneath our feet or bums. A healthy dose of air in our lungs, water in our cells and fire in our hearts. The very things that don’t choose to love or not for they are Love.

We can be in communion, in connection with all of it. Not be the master, not the king or queen of this or that. Be the humble participant of the dance of being alive.

This is my pledge and my path for now. Making peace with the critic, focusing on the Love of Right Now and feeling it all, as much as I can.

Perhaps one day I too will not be afraid anymore.
Wouldn’t that be nice.

***

After finishing this draft, I woke up in the middle of the night, in a state of pleasure I’ve never felt before. Not the erotic kind, quietly nudging for a release. No, this was a full-on-multi-layered-all-body-pleasure that could possibly last for days without end.

It felt as if I was a painting, a symphony and a dance, all in one moment. My being was made of layers and patches of different colours, each vibrating in a separate sense of bliss, all together melding into an indescribable harmonious miracle that was the sensation of having this ‘physical’ body.

Heaven yes, I must be doing something right.

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