When do you feel the most safe? Is it listening to the rhythmic sound of ocean waves with soft sand between your toes? Maybe it’s in the warm flickering glow of a bonfire. Maybe it’s when you are alone. Maybe it is when you are surrounded by the people you love.
Feeling safe is important for everyone. When we feel safe, we are less likely to act out of a state of internal vulnerability. We are less likely to act with impulse on fearful, angry, hurt, or insecure feelings. When we feel safe, our minds are clear to what is. We are present, calm, peaceful and it is easier to recognize others’ feelings and act out of true compassion and love. We are less likely to judge and more likely to help.
Helping children identify what helps them feel safe is so important. Ask a child which colors, animals, people, places, thoughts, etc help her feel safe. Ask if he feels safe when he is alone or with others. In a small space or open space.
Helping children create a safe space in their imaginations is a fantastic way to create a place of internal peace that they can carry with them. This can be done through guided imagery based mediations or art activities (asking child to paint a safe place or create one out of play dough or clay). Have her cut out and glue pictures from magazines and form a collage or decorate a safe space box (old shoebox).
You may be surprised by what helps children feel safe (a puzzle, a ritual bedtime story, a special fort on the top bunk, the color red, a brother, a dry erase board, a nightlight, a castle, dolphins, etc.). There is no right or wrong and simply helping children identify and explore what helps them feel safe can lead to a greater sense of internal peacefulness.
I like to think it is possible to create a world filled with more compassion and love. A world where people can have the opportunity to heal from life events that hurt them to find internal peace and break the cycles of violence and oppression.
And who knows, maybe something as simple as asking a child what helps him of her feel safe may be the first step.