My Safe Place

So. After years and years of therapists telling me that I need to create a safe place to go in my head, I finally get it. I finally understand what safety means (sort of). And it’s very convenient having a little niche carved out in my head where I can go to get it.

Figuring out what that safe place actually looked like has been something of a challenge. I put stuff in an amorphous blob of a spot in my head, so much so that the walls were that landlord off-white color. For an oil painter this is a rather offensive shade. What I ended up with was a cluttered collection of stuff that really didn’t have much meaning. Just taking up space.

I did add some cool stuff in my safe blob. I created a lime-green couch, the kind you sink in and can’t get out of. Very comfy. Also my step-grandfather’s old leather recliner that smelled of sweetish pipe tobacco. For some reason I also added a church pew which was odd because my primary church growing up was a Buddhist temple–no pews just pillows.

Anyway, while I felt I could retreat here the physical attributes of my safe blob weren’t so much turning me on.

I was talking about this in therapy (bien sur) and I heard myself say well the only places I’ve ever felt safe from Norman were in Maine. Especially my family place on the rocky mid-coast.

Bing! And so we’ve moved. It’s so great to have a real, existing physical location to go to that has so many positive attachments. I own it and go there every summer. So when I need to visualize it I can get the smell of the ocean and the forest. It’s on 17 acres of virgin forest, far off the easternmost road in the country. I can see the water off the front porch, sitting in my favorite adirondack chair that some ancestor made a hundred years ago. Our actual beach is abit under a mile from end to end. You can be at my house for a month and never come across a stranger. I can see the moon dancing off the water and know every detail of the islands that dot the view. John Travolta is a neighbor.

Our beachfront and property are federally protected land in some fashion only my lawyer understands. He tells me it’s kind of official recognition that my house and land is a
National treasure.

I can close my eyes and feel the cold Atlantic. I takes away your breath when you first go in but if you stick it out, as all good Northern Yankees will do, you get used to it. I can walk down the lane to The Road and stop in my mind to watch the deer and the moose and the foxes that share my forest with me. I can pick berries (it’s Maine, always some kind of berry getting ripe) and apples and Indian Paintbrushes. I can venture into the woods to visit the sight of Monte’s grave and the headstones for the three other horses buried there by my nutty Aunt Deb in the 1910’s. Endless, endless adventure.

Or I can do my favorite thing in my mind. Take a couple of thick warm blankets and a book out to one of the hammocks and snuggle into a cocoon where nobody can find me. It’s heaven. Or my second favorite thing, get the fire roaring and watch the flames dance about. It’s Maine. Not so much on the warm thing.

I can see and smell and feel and hear my house in my mind because it’s in my bones. Going to the barn to look at the huge piles of magazines from the 1900s.

I have three very incredible women in my house with me. I ask nothing of them, they are free to come and go. I don’t even talk to them really. They’re kind of like an emergency kit for my mind. It’s a very rural area I’d guess the nearest health practitioner to be maybe 60 miles away. I don’t need help from them and am actually not really sure why I chose to invite them all. Safe. They all just add to the safety.

So that’s my safe place. The lime couch and Pete’s old leather recliner are there because in reality they are there.

When I moved I didn’t bring the church pew.



  1. Sharon S said,

    April 1, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    How fabulous! You described your place so well that I could feel it too…

    • April 1, 2010 at 8:21 pm

      And the porch to the water is huge. Tiny little yard cliff ocean. Excellent πŸ˜‰

  2. April 2, 2010 at 3:33 am

    Brilliant. I want a place like that as well!

    • April 2, 2010 at 7:24 am

      Thank you dear. If you ever need a place to run away too, my ancient doors are open. It’s never locked, bit there’s a key under the rock in the sideyard by the barn. πŸ˜‰

  3. April 2, 2010 at 9:03 am

    I want to come visit! This place sounds fabulous! If I have one addiction, it is the ocean.. so healing. I grew up visiting the coast of Maine on summer holidays. Love it there.
    This place sound like the best safe house ever and congratulations on your upgrade!
    Hugs, Darlene

    • April 2, 2010 at 9:18 am

      Thanks. Creating it in my mind can cut the panic/depression in half in 5 minutes. Lots to do and nothing to do πŸ˜‰

  4. April 8, 2010 at 9:56 am

    For me, my safe place is actually my home, the house we bought 11 years ago and live in today. I asked God to help me find a physical place that I would feel safe in. Safety to me means having a place with no landlord who can come in whenever they want and tell me to leave. That must come from my childhood of moving from one place to another every few years. I wanted and now have a place with roots, a place I can call my own.

    When I first started meditating about 1997, I found a terrified little girl waiting for me in my mind. She was hysterical. When I could finally calm her down, I discovered that when the incest was happening to me as a young child, I went into my mind and hid rather than leaving my body like some survivors do. Meeting this little girl part of me and gaining her trust was necessary before I could learn to meditate and quiet my mind.

    • April 8, 2010 at 10:30 am

      Yes know what you mean about littles who just went inside. They’re like little invisible land mines ;). The teenagers as well are very hide-y, too. Still trying to figure out who is where, etc. Great to have a location that is so safe and so beautiful at the se time. Honored you would stop by. Truly. Namaste.

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