Creating a Safe Haven in the Mind When Trouble Arises

My therapist mentioned this week about the importance of creating a safe haven in the mind. This can be a place you have been or have imagined, but it’s a place that you can go to mentally in times of trial to bring your awareness back to a peaceful home, back to the moment. It’s like a grounding agent, an imaginative sensory experience exercise, and a warm center for you to bask in to separate yourself from the frantic thought patterns that can plague us throughout the day.

            My therapist encouraged me to really take the time to create this place, to give it life, color, and detail. This intrigued me because in a way its like building a home for your soul to wander into whenever you feel isolated, trapped, stressed out, and overwhelmed. I have a tendency to get lost in my own erratic thoughts so creating a “safe space” in my mind sounded wonderful, especially given the fact that I can go to it whenever I wanted. We each can do this. And the best part is it is deeply personal, it is our own custom domicile, and it is always there for us.

            And it’s important to remember that this is not purely for escapism, this is a mechanism to bring your awareness away from triggering thoughts and back to center, back to a mental, emotional, and spiritual home. From there, you can calm the waters of your mind, regroup, process, and move forward with the reassurance that this is your life and your world to create. It’s about taking the power back and mastering your own mind with whatever may come your way.

This is something each of us can do. What place do you think of when you think of home, peace, serenity, and love? Where do you go in your mind when you want to both escape and yet feel connected? Where does your spiritual home lie? This exercise of creating a place in your mind can be quite fun. There are no limits or restrictions to your creativity and imagination. You are an artist who can paint a most beautiful world full of your own personal wonder.

I thought for a moment about where my own personal place resided. I grew up in Southeastern Tennessee. There are several camping spots from my childhood memories in the mountains on the Tennessee-North Carolina border, but there is one spot that stood out in my memory. North River near Tellico was a camping destination we always went back to, year after year. Isolated and tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains, I remember walking through the enchanted campsites and the little community of cabins and campers near the lush, mountain stream that flowed through it all.

I still recall the smells of the crisp, mountain air that permeated this sacred place, only to be layered by the aroma of campfires and delicious meals being prepared. This place was enjoyed by my family going back several generations. For me, this place seemed timeless and cut off from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world. All your troubles, worries, and doubts were left on the gravel road that started up the mountain. The stars at night were incredible and there was always a serenity in my heart wandering through the woods, playing in the creek, and sharing stories around the campfire at night with family and friends. Oh, the laughter and the quiet wonder we shared reposing and forming inseverable bonds in this quiet, mountain womb.

So, in deciding on my mental refuge, it took little thought to base it off of this place. I wanted to create an ideal scenario in my mind. I wanted a place where I can feel the most tranquil, the most loved, and the most connected. For me, I picture a dense, thick forest at night, somewhere in the mountains of my memory. I think nighttime for me carries a simplicity to it. The day is done, there are no more obligations or worries so I can more easily sink into the moment in my mind. The darkness also seems to enhance my other senses allowing me to bathe in the surrounding sounds, smells, and feelings.

I picture a night in the summer, low 70s with an occasional cool breeze to caress the skin on my neck and arms. I can hear a million insects squeaking, chirping, and singing, punctuated by the call of a roaming owl out on their morning stroll. I can see a sea of stars enveloping the night, twinkling and glistening, almost seeming to dance to some cosmic beat. Dots of light piercing through an endless dark void, echoing out into the night as if to slowly tease at a heavenly realm above. The connection with this gleaming blanket of light above doesn’t feel distant, but rather an echoing of the light within each of us, within everything. There is an unspoken connection in this place within and between everything.

I picture a humble, river-side community. It’s a string of cabins and cottages dotted alongside the clear, flowing water, separated enough by the trees for individual privacy but connected by a dirt path alongside the water. To guide the wanderer at night, the trees along the path have been wrapped in Christmas lights. Dancing, patterned, and varied colors of lights to remind the traveler of the warmth, harmony, and sense of family that Christmas can bring (even though its summer). Christmas lights always reminds me of these things so adding them into the world seemed lovely. The lights are not overbearing, just enough to illuminate the path.

I picture walking down this path, hand in hand with the love of my life. I picture the occasional glance at her semi-illuminated face, just enough to see a warm smile and a gentle sigh, as we are both in tune and engulfed in the simplicity and bliss of the moment. We pass cabin after cabin with intimate greetings from family and friends sitting on their back porches winding down the day with song, food, drink, and mirth. Soft music permeates the night, adding to the tranquil sound of the flowing stream.

In this moment, in this world, my heart feels totally full. I can feel love in its purest form and a sense of all things in harmony. It’s a musical symphony, a dance of cosmic energy, and a feeling of home, so innocent and pure. To me, this place is pure magic, mystical and ethereal. I can feel love all around me, within me, through me. And I give it away, freely and willingly, to everything. I want this moment. For eternity.

This place is with me always. This is the light burning inside of me that I try to smother so much of the time. This is my home. My spirit. And it serves as a reminder that I am the creator of worlds. This is our world to create and this is our world to enjoy. Create your home. Take back your power. And bask in the wonderous rarity of being in this body, in this place, in this moment, in this time. You are not your job, your stress, your failures, your accomplishments, your current situation, nor your erratic thoughts. You are this universe, and you are creating it. Now go create the life for yourself that you want and deserve. ❤

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