Is it time we found our safe space?

July 8, 2019 · Print This Article

I rarely get ill. But last week was an exception. I must have hit a wall of sorts because I lost the ability to function as a normal human being! That day, after work, I decided to self-prescribe the universal medicine that is, bedrest.

After some 20 hours, I woke to what was as surprising as it was worrying!

Now, I’m no Mr Popular, but looking down at my phone I did question the sustainability of my life when seeing seven missed calls, nine text messages, ten Whatsapp messages, and 11 emails.

Even thinking about having to reply made me noxious. Something wasn’t right, and I was starting to see why. Maybe it was time to find a safe space.

For me, the phrase ‘safe spaces’ conjures up cotton wool wrapped university students whose sensitivities are imposed on others as the new norm. I meet this kind of new age behaviour as a teacher. But this is not the kind of safe space I am referring to. The safe space we all need more of is one during each week where all the outside stuff cannot get in; a space where you can lay all your burdens down.

This soul searching is not an unfamiliar pursuit for us 21st century sojourners. You may have heard the reports of increasing numbers of young Jains, a religious community in India, who have begun renouncing the material world for their own ‘safe space’. In the case of the Jain’s, this ritual of renunciation means they will always walk barefoot and eat only what they receive in alms. They will never use a vehicle, never bathe, never sleep under a fan and never speak on a mobile phone.[1] The number of those taking the renunciation has gone from 10-15 a year, to 250, and is expected to top 400 this year. One reason for this increase is the disenchantment of the young with the pressures of modern life.

This same pressure from the woes of modernity was felt by Samantha Bell when she suffered a number of losses, whilst also having to deal with incurable cancer. She decided her safe space was going to be the dance studio. She would leave her phone at the door when she came to teach. The dance studio was the place she would let nothing in. It’s been a fruitful decision: her dancers are the first UK team to take part in the World Cup in Portugal later this month.

Maybe this is what I need? Maybe this is what you need? A safe space where we can leave life at the door and find solace, serenity, some precious seconds to restore a sound mind and balance. To meditate, to pray, to process, to search and recover who we are meant to be on this great journey called life.

I’m already keeping my phone on silent permanently. It’s a good step towards my own safe space.

Notes:

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-48879591

[Photo by Kornél Máhl on Unsplash]

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