A Place of Resort
Beginning with “Getting to the Heart of the Matter”, this upcoming blog series is aimed on building strategies that help us reset after our minds/bodies have been sabotaged by trauma memories or other overwhelming, powerful thought storms. By way of introduction to today’s blog post, I want to highlight a scriptural account of an ancient people caught in a massive war. The war spanned years, which, like many of our battles, may have no easy resolutions but do have many amazing solutions to manage and overcome. The leader of the people was inspired, a man of God, and so most of his war strategies were revolutionary and cutting edge, from introducing armor and battle equipment during a time when such things had never before existed, to creating “places of resort”, highly fortified cities and towns that, when well maintained, were impenetrable by the enemy (see link here for full account).
With this picture in mind, these “places of resort”, I want to discuss a second strategy, also found described in greater detail in Susan Anderson’s “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing”, chapter 4. It is one of my favorite places of resort. Used for those times when our hearts and minds have been hijacked by ruminating and cycling thoughts, this exercise gives our brains something hopeful and empowering to focus on instead. Using our brain’s natural ruminating urge to “fix” unfixable losses, this exercise begins with the details.
Following along with Anderson….Imagine life two years down the road (or some other number that would place you close but also out of the thick of the current trauma or loss). You are at peace here, life has resumed a flow that is manageable, safe, happy and even hopeful. And you have limitless financial means. To begin, you choose a location for your safe haven. Do you love the ocean? The mountains? A bustling city or a quiet piece of land? Be as detailed as possible in this location, and in every element of this exercise. Next, what kind of structure are you calling home? A treehouse cabin? A spacious mansion? A cozy cottage, cutting edge penthouse, or a newly built suburban home? Take the time to choose the colors, textures, materials and essence of this structure, really let your mind take flight. And don’t forget outside, is there a garden? A woodshop? Ceramic studio? Do you have growing things or desert landscaping or nature carpeting everywhere? As your safe place begins to really take shape, your mind will naturally keep up the details with time, with you adding and changing as desired.
Once everything is built and ready, who do you want to join you here? Unlike our lives, we get to choose those who bring light, joy, peace and healing. And they can be friends, family members, guides, spiritual and religious leaders, counselors and heroes. They can also be helpful, do you have a chef who prepares amazing, soul feeding meals? Do you have a crew of support that keeps your organized, your space clean, and your daily chores in check?
Like the journal exercise mentioned before, and meditation too, this exercise can connect us with Divinity. We can received wisdom, comfort and support as we create a place of resort for our minds. When I first found this exercise, it was a relief giving exercise, having something “tangible” for my brain to go to once hijacked by trauma memories or future fears. My brain was busy ruminating anyway, at least now what it was creating was providing a biophysiological impact that transferred my whole physical state form one of stress to peace and therefore, proactivity.
Much different than a simple day dream, who and what and where I chose to have in my safe space spoke volumes about myself, my desires and therefore my goals and trajectory. I was beginning to form a picture of where I was headed rather than keeping my focus on what had been done to me or stolen from me. And joyfully, over the years, I have witnessed various themes and elements from those early exercises begin to take shape and form in my current life. May your place of resort, too, bring an added measure of autonomy and joy into an otherwise challenge-rugged landscape.