When we struggle with the ever changing demands of life, we all need a “safe place” to retreat to- either physically or in our mind’s eye. This refuge can be seen as an escape, although it does not have to be viewed as avoiding what needs to be done. It can be more like this quote from the poet Rumi, “Do you make regular visits to yourself?”
Begin by saying to yourself or out loud, “ I take refuge in…..”. If you have trouble deciding, search for a memory when you felt safe, or cared for in a way that lifted your mood or inspired you.
Once you have a source of refuge and balance, take a few minutes and try to feel what it’s like to be in this safe place. Where in your body do you feel this safety? Is the sensation one of warmth, expansion, light, or some other physical sense? Take some time to breathe into the sensation noticing how your body moves into and away from the feeling. Keep opening yourself to sink into this sense of refuge. Stay with this long enough to nourish you emotionally.
Once you have practiced this, you can recognize when these moments of refuge occur in your life. It may be that you feel refuge in nature, in a religious or spiritual environment, interacting with those you love, or when you are quiet and alone. Make a commitment to creating these moments of refuge for yourself on a daily basis.
Consider taking a few minutes each morning to find this sanctuary of safety inside of you. It will set the tone for the day as you move forward and encounter the challenges of your life.
Finding a place of refuge inside you will not keep the stressors of life from happening. However, when you develop the ability to bring inner strength and calm to yourself, you can better manage stress physically as well as step back and be less reactive to the winds of change.
The next time you are aware of being challenged and unsure of yourself, take a few deep breaths. Feel that place of calm solid center inside and within you. Having this tool allows your physical brain and body to respond with more calm and less agitation. Did you know that the word NIRVANA literally means” to cool or to extinguish”? Not that we can achieve NIRVANA so easily, but why not move in that direction? When the stress button gets stuck, we lose our empathy and compassion for ourselves as well as others. Shifting the fight or flight gear to one of tend and befriend begins with your own need for love and refuge. This is the first step on the road to healing.
Will you create your own daily ritual to find refuge and sanctuary?