Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.
My goal with this series is to:
Show you learning paths that empower you to feel secure and safe in who you are so that you can go out in the world, be your authentic selves, and achieve your goals without feeling the need to hide or be held back by your past experiences.
What is a Safe Space? Is it the same as a Safe Place?
A safe space is any environment where you or I or anyone feels physically, emotionally, spiritually safe. Ideally we’d feel safe in all 3 areas. Personally, I am for 2 out of 3 at any given time.
Safe spaces integrate and utilize the coping strategies and techniques from the other types of self protection discussed in this series to create a safe, protected environment. aka safe space
Safe Places tend to be physical environments and can be safe spaces. BUT not all Safe Spaces are safe places.
- Some safe spaces are physical spaces like houses, bedrooms, “home”, libraries, movie theaters, work, holy places, religious or spiritual buildings, hospitals.
- Some safe spaces are visualizations that people can reach through dreams (day dreaming, sleep dreaming, meditation, dissociation, hypnosis)
- Some safe spaces are a combination of physical and sensory areas that help people connect with a higher power, nature, or (your noun here)
- Some safe spaces are sensory grounding objects people wear or carry with them as they go about their lives.
You (and I) never know what your safe space will be until you experiment and create one.
How many safe spaces can I have/make/use?
As many as you feel comfortable having
As many as your imagination can come up with
As many as you need or want
How many do you have/use?
I have a lot. One for each alter personality. At least one (maybe two) general spaces we all use together. Three for spiritual work. And five physical spaces not counting parks and green spaces where I live.
So 88 + 2 + 3 + 5 = 98 safe spaces approximately.
Most of those safe spaces are not physical. But they can become physical with help from physical protection techniques, i.e. touch stones & sensory grounding tools. I build my environmental protection using a combination of sensory grounding tools, emotional protection shields and spiritual invisible armor.
My favorite kinds of environmental self protection are the safe spaces limited only by my imagination because I can take them with me wherever I go.
Please be mindful of meeting your basic needs while creating safe spaces. All of this is part of self care and can be used no matter your budget or lifestyle.
Please do not limit yourself to only self protection coping strategies when you create your environmental self protection. Use whatever feels right to you.
What do Safe Spaces look like?
So I am being vulnerable with this collage. Two of the images are from my current apartment. One image is from a vacation I took many years ago before my name change and move. It’s the same place where I found the banner photo for this blog. The final image is a stock photo that represents one of my visualization safe spaces – a location in my mind where all parts of me can get together and “hang out” so to speak. It’s much sharper than the faded memory of visiting Niagara Falls back in high school.
As you can tell, my apartment is colorful using many shades of earth tones to feel safe, calm and soothing.
Water: the smell, sound, look and (sometimes feel) always brings a smile to my face and peace to my mind. A bath cleanses my physical and energetic/emotoinal self by washing away dirt and negative energy. Flavored water (infusions) nourish my body, look pretty, smell and taste delicious.
Earth: Plants at home. Plants and parks all around my neighborhood and throughout the city. They remind me of joy, life, rebirth and laughter. All my plants are budding or having babies. It’s wonderful to watch and be part of the growing cycle. Or mourn when a plant ends its struggle to thrive and moves on to the next adventure (i.e. dies).
Either way, I’m connected to other living beings in a way that feels safe to me.
Fire: Sunlight in my apartment. Candles. Aromatherapy diffusers heating water to spread scents through the air in my apartment. Cooking food for nourishment. Cleaning and laundry. Fire reminds me to take care of my basic needs, so I can thrive and help others too.
Air/Wind: Wind reminds me to bend and be flexible. Nothing is ever exactly what it appears to be through my physical senses. Pause, reflect, use intuition and logic to make choices instead of reacting without thinking. Change the smell of my environment to remove triggers or bring me back to the present moment when I feel triggered.
Pulling it all together
Environmental self protection is all about creating safe spaces wherever we happen to be.
Safe spaces, like all the other coping strategies and techniques I discuss, are multi-dimensional and unique to each individual.
I can give guidelines like in this post and others, but no one can create your safe space except you. And once you create it, no one can take it away from you unless you let them take it away.
That is a lesson I learned the hard way. And am still learning today. Kind of like the concept of “home” and “perfect living spaces”. Because, in spite of making my apartment as comfy and safe feeling as possible, I still (in the very back of my mind, buried in the subconscious) live in that childhood cage. The more internal stress I feel, the more my apartment looks like a mess and a reflection of that cage.
And when I worked in an office, my desk used to reflect the cage too. It got me into trouble (i.e. a target for harassment and backstabbing comments) from people who didn’t like me at work. They never talked to me directly, but they would point, whisper, stare, and talk to people who cared about me. Then those people would say something to me out of real concern. But still triggering and painful.
It wasn’t until I learned how to combine these different aspects of self care and self protection that I learned how to cope with experiences like that in more positive ways. Music, diffusers, crystal grids, other kinds of sound healing, and feng shui helped me create physical safe spaces and apply similar concepts in creating “magic bags” of sensory grounding tools to take with me wherever I go.
Maybe these ideas will help you create your own version of environmental self protection. Maybe it won’t. But I hope they inspire you to play and have fun with coping strategies and self care.
Thanks for reading.