Saturday, January 29, 2005

Visualizing a safe place

Through the stress and loss of the last few months I've had some trouble sleeping. I'm thankful for the various experiences of Twelve-stepping, journaling, counseling, painting, photographing, talking, and sharing that helped me build coping skills. Over fifteen years ago some self-help book or group suggested choosing a place where I felt very safe, creative, calm, and energized to use in centering exercises.

I hadn't thought about the Martin Park Nature Center in years. It's in Oklahoma City west of Edmond where we lived in the late Eighties. I shared the park with my family and with Cub Scouts, but I also spent time there alone when my small children went to Mother's Day Out. I drew and painted, hiked, and just sat quietly on cold stones watching fall leaves float by in the creek. I ate my sandwich and watched a heron catch lunch. My paintings show the anxiety I felt in those years, but I remember a calm awareness of one particular bend in the creek with softshell turtles on the red clay banks. When I went Googling I didn't find a photo of this particular place in the park. Perhaps it is my Brigadoon. When I needed the memory of a safe place this week the memory resurfaced thanks to the practice of a different time.

I hope you have a special safe place to visualize when the time arises.

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