For me, the ultimate healing moment came inside a Red Tent. The womb-like comforting yet sensual vibe of the surroundings felt incredibly safe for me. But clearly we can’t spend all our days inside a Red Tent. How can we carry this feeling inside our minds? We need to create a Red Tent-like mindset where we create a safe place inside ourselves. Visualizing an imaginary or real physical space, whether it’s a beautiful beach or lake side you have visited or your favorite reading nook in your current or former home, can help you create that inner safe, cozy place where no invader can come in. When you are imagining this space, make sure that all the soothing colors you love are in there. Images of nature help.
As with visualization techniques that Olympic athletes and others use, it is best if you incorporate as many senses as possible. Is it a warm spring day, or are you inside a cozy room at night? Do you smell anything that is appealing and soothing to you? Do you hear gentle music or the sound of birds or crickets in the background? Are your bare feet touching the sand, or are you surrounded by soft blankets and plush carpets? Whatever it is, start to visualize this image.
First you can do this visualization technique at home in a quiet spot and imagine yourself feeling, breathing, and seeing safety all around you. At first you may need to imagine that you are inside a bulletproof Wonder-Woman–like invisible airplane where no one can hurt you, where no one can see you, and you are free and safe. As you get used to visualizing this image at home in a state of quiet and calm, you can call upon this image when you out in the world driving or doing errands or at work. To help remind yourself of this image of safety, you can draw a small image of it and carry it with you in your purse, or print out a picture of a similar scene of nature from the Internet or screen save an image for your cell phone or desktop. These are tricks to remind yourself to stay in the conversation of how you can feel safe and strong. For more in-depth exercises that incorporate visualization and other techniques to help you feel safe, deal with lingering feelings of unworthiness or shame, and help you feel more resilient about handling life’s stresses, I have found the website of Linda Graham, a psychotherapist trained in mindfulness, to be an excellent resource for recorded exercises. I often like to use these guided visualizations as well as my own when in circle with other women.
This is excerpted from my upcoming book, The Way of The Warrior Mama.