There were many times in my life when I didn’t feel safe, and barrage of feelings would surface that I couldn’t identify or control. I felt internally overwhelmed. My physical body would react in ways that had no clear connection between what I was feeling in my body and my behaviors in response to that. I was clearly disconnected and consumed with unrealized fear. Feeling unsafe can be overwhelming, on many levels, and the propensity to protect oneself becomes essential. However, if we’re always on “unconscious alert,” are we ever really safe? Learning about personal safety has become something I want to understand better and my pursuit of this knowledge, came full-circle for me in a dream.
In my dream, I'm standing in a kitchen behind a table and chairs with a tennis racket in my hand. I sensed something was coming up the stairs and I needed to protect myself. I felt physical response to a sense of danger rising in my dream-body. My nerves shook, and I was full of fear, preparing myself to fight. I didn’t know what was coming for me, but I could feel the anticipation of it. It was coming up the stairs. I knew it would turn the corner into the kitchen and I would be face-to-face with it. I squeezed the handle of the tennis racket and got ready to strike. My heart was pounding. It turned the corner and I saw a T-Rex coming toward me. I whacked him several times in the snout. It backed up and then came at me again. I continued to smack it repeatedly. This time, the racket strings broke, and now, my only form of protection had a big, gaping hole in it. I was alone and I didn’t want to fight it anymore. So, I turned around and walked away, an option I never thought or even knew I had. Even in my feelings of fear, I made a conscious decision to remove myself from the danger. I left the kitchen and went downstairs, passing through a walkway. I found a room in the back with a steel door. The door was equipped with an extremely secure locking system. I shut the door and engaged the lock. When I started to open my eyes, I heard, “You need to be safe, to feel safe."
We all have a right to feel safe, all the time. Let’s understand that the feeling of fear that comes with traumatic experiences can get trapped in the body, creating physical reactions that cause a sense of urgency to act or react. When feeling unsafe, it’s not about being a victim. It’s about being human. Having the capacity to feel is a natural part of our built-in, navigation system and how we survive. However, the survival response, without a state of consciousness, can play on repeat, and eliminate the element of safety all together.
Let’s look at the difference between “being safe” and “feeling safe.” (This became clear in the statement I heard coming out of my dream.) Being safe, is when we are not at risk of harm or danger. Feeling safe, is when we don’t anticipate that feeling of harm or danger on any level.
It’s important to understand the differences and integrate the value of safety in a conscious state and full-body awareness. It’s also important to realize that feeling safe, in every circumstance, is an impossibility because fear is a part of an experience and a texture in the full capacity to feel. The feeling of fear tells us we need to create safety on some level.You need to be safe, to feel safe. In this way, you shift re-action to conscious action and regain a sense of inner stability. This gives us active choice. Create safety so you can feel safe. It’s worthwhile to build on that inner relationship and make friends with how your body responds to a sense of fear. This will lead you into a process of deeper connection and self-love.
Jennifer Circosta is our AFSI Blogger, Public Relations Assistant and Emotional Wellness Coach. She is the Owner of GENTLE TOUCH HEALING 💜 Healing through Compassion. She can be reached at: www.jennifersmusing.com