So what do people say when you ask what makes them feel safe? I asked that question here Tuesday and the answers were great:
A person named Joan spoke of walking briskly by the seawall on a foggy morning and hearing the foghorn. Also the sound of rain beating on the windows at night. Times like these she says she feels “safe and at one with nature.”
She wrote this the second time she posted a comment about that post.
The first time she spoke of morning coffee and gazing at the flowers in the garden window. That and brushing her dog Angel, and “that ridiculous fluff of a tail.” (I love that last part.)
Another person named Michael called up the memory of seeing Isaac Asimov being interviewed long ago on The Tonight Show. To Carson’s question about his personal vision of the future, Asimov replied: “I see the immediate future, the short term, as very dark indeed. But long term, I think the future of humanity is glorious. Unimaginably glorious. Provided we can survive the next century or so.” Consequently, Michael goes on, he now feels he doesn’t have to contend with the same uncertainty that the madness around us stirs up. ‘It’s not that I don’t feel fear or sadness or anger, just that I don’t have that underlying ‘what the Hell is happening?’ anxiety to compound it.” What a gift to have such faith! (You can see more of Michael’ s comment on this page.)
And a third person named Morgan, writing her reply in an email to me, spoke about the second go-round of a course on Mindfulness that she is taking. She said that for her the absence of anxiety was enough to make her feel safe.
I sure get that. When I first wake up in the morning anxiety floods all through my body, I think because I began forming a habit of overwork the summer I was 14 I have still not been entirely able to put down, even all these years later.
But lately I have begun the practice of lying on my back with my head hanging off the edge of my bed, as per my chiropractor’s orders. In this wonderful batlike pose I can look out the window at what the rising sun is doing to the trees across the street. I can see the clouds. I can watch the planes coming in to land at Logan Airport eight miles to the east. And best of all, I can see the birds.
These birds rise and swoop, rise and swoop and they lift anxiety from me every time I see them do it. ‘It’s a new day,’ I tell myself then, ‘and I’m waking in a world whose sun rose with no help from me at all.’
Then I begin to feel calm. Calm and safe too, in a world not of my making.
I often wish I had a dog with a big fluffy tail like the sweet drooly Golden we had as children but until I can get one, or walk again along a beach, or hear rain on a roof, while I await that unimaginably glorious future Mr. Asimov saw so clearly, this will have been enough. This will have been more than enough.