Mine is Whidbey Island. I can see it clearly – the sun shining on Useless Bay with the Olympic Mountains in the distance. I can smell the salt air and feel the warm sand as it sifts through my fingers. It’s the place I go when I need to calm myself; I breathe slowly, taking it all in, and the stress begins to ease.
Of course, I can’t actually drive nearly 400 miles and run to the beach on a day when the frenzy of life is making me feel crazy. But I can go to my room, close the door, sit in Russ’ chair, and imagine that I’m there.
When we began EMDR therapy in Nebraska, Deb and Cathy worked with Dimples on finding her own “safe place.” They helped her think through the details of what a safe place would be for her, and then she drew a picture of it. It didn’t need to be a real place, or a place she had ever been, it just needed to be a place she could imagine.
The “safe place” has continued to be part of therapy, and Dimples’ current therapist has encouraged her to think about her “safe place” each morning before even getting out of bed. She can “go to” her “safe place” any time she needs to calm herself, and can use it to help her fall asleep at night. I’ve been impressed that Dimples seems to really understand this and it is a useful tool for her.
The “safe place” is a simple tool to use, and even a young child can do it. Combined with deep breathing and prayer we can use it to regulate ourselves and our children.
In family news, Hannah arrived from Minneapolis late Saturday night, and Isaiah drove from Seattle yesterday afternoon. We sat up late last night talking – and laughing. It is so good to have them both home for the week. We’re going to do (at least) one Christmas activity each day and enjoy the time as much as possible. Hannah will not have any holidays off this year, being a lowly first-year resident, so we need to enjoy Advent and Christmas while she is home.
Speaking of Advent, we did our first family Advent readings this weekend and it was wonderful. We all loved singing O Come, O Come Emmanuel and watching Hannah light the first candle. Then I read from our new Advent book, Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room, and the children had fun looking up the Bible verses. It was a great start to the season.
It’s a brand new week, friends, and I hope yours holds many wonderful moments.