Because, Safety (physical, emotional, political, and more) has been on my mind a lot lately.
For so many of us, early life experiences that caused trauma, betrayal, abandonment may have resulted in an unconscious hyper-focus on safety as our default. This means organising an external life that is regimented, tightly bound, and allowing for little to slip through the gaps. A substantial focus on discipline, rigorous schedules/routines, overwhelming commitment to duty, rigidity around pleasure and enjoyment, and a high need to meet the exacting standards we hold on to tightly.
I’m reminded of what Peter Levine says, “Trauma occurs when we are intensely frightened and are either physically restrained or perceive that we are trapped. We freeze in paralysis and/or collapse in overwhelming helplessness.” If the energies we put into living life come from a place of fear and hyper vigilance, it could contribute to stifling our capacity to experience life in a joyful and free way.
“We die so we can live,” he says. Survival makes it hard to seek new experiences, make friends, lean into desires or respond to calls for pleasure, because our system may label them as unsafe, abnormal, or “bad”.
Additionally, much of our conditioning around seeking pleasure carries the weight of morality and promiscuity, causing us to self-censor, abstain and repress the force of life itself.
To then learn to approach life with an open heart will require understanding what experiences made us feel unsafe, how they shaped our need for safety. In holding those painful experiences tenderly, we may be able to rekindle a spark that can counter hyper-vigilance, deadness and stuckness.