Updated: Jan 16
Where do we go when we need safety?
When I was growing up we had a group of neighbourhood kids that would play hide and seek all summer long throughout the back and front yards of the street we all lived on. One unlucky kid was voluntold to be the seeker, and we all ran down the street to hide. The only way to win was to be able to sneak around and get to home base (usually the big birch tree in our front yard) and yell as loud as possible "home free!" It was the sure fire way to not get caught or found. It was the ultimate safe space, where you could just watch the action as everyone else tried to make it home or was discovered one by one. The feeling of safety when you made it to home base was unlike any other... free... still in the game but untouchable, part of the world but not about to get pinned in any moment. Relaxed. Empowered.
I was thinking today that I often use the term "insecure" to refer to how I struggle with self doubt, or thoughts that I can't do it, or I'm not good enough or worries about whether I'm ok. These thoughts and feelings are a regular part of my day, sometimes joining me for a few minutes, making their presence known, waving as they pass by me in the hall of my own internal self. Other times these parts of me they stick around, grab the wheel of the car while I'm driving or insist that they are the "real" reality of who I am...not worthy...not ok and so on. These tend to take longer to navigate, and yes, I do negotiate with terrorists. We eventually tend to work it out, or they just agree to come back later. Usually at 1am. But that's another story (see my post on meditation). We sometimes have long talks into the night so we can agree on terms and heal old wounds while crying on each other's shoulders.
But today I was thinking in the shower (where all the best thoughts often happen) that the word "insecure" also means "unsafe". When something is secure it's positively attached, safely embedded or protected in some way. What if I start to approach my insecurities as parts of me that just simply don't feel safe yet, that need a bit more protection, or an assurance of connection. I certainly don't always have compassion or patience with my self doubt, I tend to try to ignore her or explain her away. But what if she just needs to get to home base?
Home base for me is that feeling I described, relaxed, still in the game but not afraid, engaged but also knowing that I am protected. It seems this is an inner place that we cultivate over time, like an internal Gan Eden that needs tending. Home base is a sense of self, described by so many theologies or philosophies or therapies in various ways, all of which point to a type of calm, curious, compassionate, listening state that allows for life to be visceral and deep but not overwhelming. Vulnerable and risky with the excitement of LIFE but with a knowing that we will be able to navigate whatever big waves or earthquakes might be around the corner, because those are always around the corner.
Whenever we love our feelings no matter how scary or uncool they are we create home base. Whenever we care for ourselves, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually we create home base. When we listen to what we want and need honestly in this moment, we create home base. When we have those hard discussions, trust our intuition, set healthy boundaries, love deeply and give generously we create a home base within us that we can return to when the world is chasing us and we are running for our lives. Running back to home base is our remembering to return. Sometimes we also have to sneak back, or walk calmly and remember the way home. Sometimes we just stick so close that it’s only one step, one thought, one look away. But sometimes we need to run home, towards the loving self that can hold us while we are struggling. Sometimes returning home is just that moment of remembering it’s there.
Tonight for Shabbat and Chanukah we are lighting lots of little lights. Lights can help guide us home in the darkness. When we light tonight I will be screaming "home free" with you all virtually and hoping that maybe these little flames can give us a little reminder for a moment of what home base feels like, so we can keep returning whenever we want and need to. Home is always there, inside, waiting for us to get free.