here's the thing: i am a nerd at heart. like, total dork. like, come home and make my own manual and short cuts for the manual i just got, dork. geeking out over color coded post-it tabs and making handouts, dork. talking non-stop to strangers and loved ones alike about every single thing i learned, dork. i am a nerd at heart for sure. especially for something i think is awesome and useful and cutting edge and makes me more competent and all that jazz.
and this was all that, plus a bag of chips! but this post is not really about that....
in the training, we learned about installing what they call 'a calm/safe place' with your client. not an original therapy concept, at all, but we spent some time talking about how to do it and then actually doing it in practicum hours. the gist of it (if you couldn't guess by the title), is to create a calm and safe place in your mind- somewhere you have been or can visualize, and bring it alive with all your senses and make it real.
and because i got to be clinician and client this weekend, i had to create my own calm and safe place. for the sake of the exercise, i just went with my gut idea- the beach in hawaii- and used that. but because i am such a cognitive realist (ie cynic at heart), the exercise made me think all weekend long of what my REAL calm, safe places, in my everyday life would and could be. places or instances where i can just be me, no strings attached, no pressure, no shame or vulnerability, nothing. just me.
yesterday as i was driving to my office on the highway, after dropping the boys off, i was listening to the radio and a FANTASTIC song came on. you know, the kind where you feel like it just dials straight into your soul and hits every mood your feeling and it's so catchy you can't help but car dance the s#!t out of it and you're singing at the top of your lungs even when you don't know the words and you just don't care who is watching? yeah, that song.
so it came on- and the traffic was light- and i was on time- and i was going to work after being all jazzed and excited about my job over the weekend- and the sun was shining- and my boys were safe- and my husband was at work- and all was just right with the world, for that moment.
and it dawned on me: THIS is a real happy, calm, safe place.
yes, the hawaiian beach is AHHHHH-mazing, and i would go there every day all day if life allowed- who wouldn't? but in real life, i want a place or an experience that i can re-create and LIVE, not just in my head but with my heart and soul and body. this is a place i can recreate almost any day of the week with little effort, money or notice. it doesn't always have to be upbeat- sometimes crying my heart out is just what i need, or being sad and morose is what my soul feels- but i can get in my car by myself, drive a little down the road to the open highway, and blast that song as high as my speakers can go and just lose myself there.
can you feel it? can you hear it? can you do it?
while i believe creating a visualized safe, calm place is amazing and useful, especially in therapy, i think it's so important we have something we can create in vivo, in real life, that we can actually experience here and there. the beach is great, really, but it's just not close to my home. like, at all. i can't just go there and get that actual feeling. and while my memory of it is good, and i even have pictures, i sometimes need to have an actual experience of being refreshed, rejuvenated, and set FREE.
do you have a safe, happy place in your real life? i dare you to find one. you'll love it.
(and maybe your loved ones will too, because i came home and played my happy song for husband and did an AMAZING, all-out super dance for him while i sang out loud. i mean, he basically was treated to a live, justin timberlake music video, that lucky guy. i am sure that was his happy place.)
(or maybe not).
*for those of you that think a fun song would be up your alley, my suggestions are as follows, in my favorite order:
(PS: NO NO NO judging my musical taste here, people. these are upbeat, feel good songs, not necessarily mature and artistic. give me a break, i'm a mom now. i don't have time to branch out).
Justin Timberlake, Can't Stop the Feeling
Taylor Swift, Shake it Off
Jason Derulo, Want to Want Me and Get Ugly
New Politics, Harlem