Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
The may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
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Most of us have known the feeling of being safe on the lap of a loved one when we were children. Feel-good places and the feelings that accompany them may become imprinted on our hearts and in our memories. Sometimes the memories fade but the feeling remains and then, sometimes those feelings are betrayed by life circumstances as we grow up. Disappointments, being bullied, divorce, unrequited love, death, and even leaving the “safety” of small town America for the big city can have a negative effect on our sense of safety. And of course, the irony is that we may have felt very safe and coddled by the very person we are caring for today. Yes, even the best of the many soft places on which we learned to fall can become danger zones when we have not learned or been taught to value or develop our own emotional safety. That is especially true for family caregivers Emotional safety comes from within us. It is the “knowing” of what we’re feeling; the ability to be able to identify our feelings and then take the ultimate risk of feeling them. Granted, in the presence of war, childhood neglect, trauma, and abuse of all kinds, we may never have known the feeling of being safe at all. It may be absolutely foreign to us. And so we may believe that safety is a dream that will never come true. Sometimes people react very differently to the same circumstances. Have you ever heard siblings speak of their home life and wonder how they could have grown up in the same house? Some of us shut down, trust no one and live in the illusion that self-reliance is safety personified. Actually, this defense mechanism may be necessary for survival in certain cases. For some there are times when, a false comfort zone is better than none. No doubt each and every caregiver can relate to this notion.