Saturday, August 06, 2011

"How to be safe"

The wonderful Jen Lemen posted a piece on being safe that really resonated with me, so I thought I'd share it with you. She talks about being safe in regards to leaving others feeling respected and loved, and that really hit the nail on the head. As parents, Tom and I try very hard to be the safe harbor for our kids, but also each other and any friend or family member in need. While raising kids is in part pushing them out so they can explore on their own, we do so while letting them know that they can always come to us for comfort and love. So, Jen's list is perfect for us.

How To Be Safe
1. Listen. Take everything in the whole way.

2. Don’t judge. Consider whatever you receive as real and true for its own reasons. Remember the truest stories are most often secrets. Treat them as unexpected, hidden treasures.

3. Be gentle. No sudden movements. Announce great departures in logic, reason or values.

4. Be present. Let the whole of you stay for the whole story–your body, your mind, your spirit.

5. Press through resistance with the kindest truth you can find. Do so, knowing you are in the most tender territory.

6. Insist on the highest ideals available at the moment. Do so with innocence. Don’t worry if you sound naive or dumb. Everyone understands eventually that the only place worth running to for cover is Love. Yes, love can destroy, but it also heals everything in its wake.

7. Be really clear. Speak as plainly as you can imagine, and then bring it down to the ground some more. This is not easy, but you can learn how to do it. (Or so I’ve been told!)

8. Weather storms. Be unflappable in crisis. Come back when you should run away. Say words like “I can’t let you go” if only silently to yourself.

9. Set a limit. There’s no refuge where there are no boundaries. You can be a wall as well as a fortress. People may squirm but they’ll also be relieved.

10. Make your body a sanctuary. Be the kind of person who someone can come home to. Open your arms, lean in, lend your body as comfort, sustenance or kindness. You can be safe harbor. To be so only for a moment, is more than enough.

Thanks, Jen, for putting into words what we've been striving towards for so long now.

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