The Safety of Being Transformed
To me, safety is a feeling followed by a state of being. Safety is, at first, a feeling of security that allows our physical bodies, especially our nervous systems, to be at ease and our minds calm and non-reactive. Within the physical, mental, and emotional levels of our being, safety is a state of consciousness.
Throughout our lives, some of our experiences may promote a sense of confidence, security, and wellness, while others may foster unease, fear, or anxiety. Fear can arise in diverse experiences - we may feel unsafe speaking our truth, feeling our feelings, standing in our power, or leaving our comfort zone. Some form of fear may accompany the whole gamut of life experiences - as much as we might not feel safe acknowledging our shadows, we might feel hesitant to access our talents and capabilities.
My deepest compassion goes to people I have met who simultaneously have expressed a fear of dying and a fear of living. For example, through their illness, a client noticed the development of a community of people who tended to their needs. They expressed a fear of dying that was influenced by a sense of abandoning their young children, while their fear of living was prompted by a belief that surviving their illness would mean that their community would abandon them. This man's journey entailed another kind of ‘death’ - a ‘death’ within our life’s journey in the 3rd-dimensional reality, such as the death that manifests when letting go of old habits, beliefs, and ways of being that are restricted.
In another article, I write about how several clients have mentioned that patterns that bring any degree of ‘death’ are dying off: “I feel like I am going through a death process of ways of being that were slowly killing me." "It used to be easy to swallow my truth, but now I feel the impact. It is soul-crushing. How have I not felt the weight of this all along?” What kept us safe as children has the potential to become a type of internal prison in adulthood. Suppose it was not safe to speak as a child. In that case, we might have established a hidden belief that followed us into adulthood that speaking freely and honestly, especially during conversations that may be perceived as difficult, is dangerous and needs to be avoided. What protected us in the past (e.g., silence) can limit us in the present, keeping us from being the full expression of ourselves. There can come a time when patterns that we could not only endure but barely notice start to feel like a suffocating weight impacting our well-being.
It is important to recognize that even when one is ready for a cognitive-emotional-behavioral pattern to end, deeply rooted fears of who we are without the pattern may exist – a holding on while needing to let go. Dismantling or letting go of old patterns is not always easy and may take enormous courage. We may even wonder: who would I be without these patterns and ways of being? Will people leave me as I grow and change?
Whether it is our physical death we are facing or the ‘death’ of patterns, how we establish safety in our transitions, threshold crossings, and transformations can be an essential question to ponder. Safety in dying is often connected to an innate knowing that we will be safe living on the other side of the threshold. Therefore, establishing a relationship with death, built upon trust or an ability to be at peace within the space of uncertainty, can be the medicine that is needed to embed safety into any transition - trusting that death is safe and that life on the other side of death will be filled with its own experiences.
For me, I have found comfort in the principle of conservation of energy: the notion that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted from one form of energy to another. This principle expresses a continuum of life – to be able to live many lives in a lifetime as old habits and ways of being get transformed into new ones, where limiting beliefs get transmuted into liberating viewpoints. I trust that I will be safe through the deconstruction of my old self, followed by a way of being that might initially feel so foreign to me.
Trusting myself is firmly believing that I have the ability and strength to be reliable in caring for myself. I trust that I will be there for myself as I learn and grow, as I make mistakes, and as I transform. I trust that my self-love will only deepen. The safety of deconstruction and reconstruction, of dying from old confining ways and being born into new unrestrictive practices, is embedded in my ability to reliably be there for myself. I also trust that if I need support, I will call upon loved ones.
‘Safety’ Through Self-betrayal
Fear connected to survival instincts can keep us safe - if we fear falling off high cliffs, this fear prevents us from walking off the edge and, therefore, keeps us physically safe. There is another kind of fear that provides a sense of safety but maybe, simultaneously, to our detriment. For example, if we are afraid to speak out of fear of retaliation, staying quiet and not speaking can prevent retaliation. Through such fear, we may keep ourselves ‘safe’ yet sometimes at a cost. We may hold onto things that make us feel safe, including our insecurities – if we feel too insecure to speak, then we can play it 'safe' by avoiding any potential risk in speaking.
In many of my moments of not speaking my truth, I felt a mixture of keeping myself safe from (perceived or potentially real) consequences as well as a sense of self-betrayal. Since self-betrayal creates an unsafe inner environment, in such moments of not speaking my truth, I kept myself ‘safe’ from others' criticisms or disappointments by making my inner environment unsafe. In essence, I avoided external conflicts by creating internal conflicts and struggles.
The aforementioned pattern worked for me for some time - the inner sense of unsafe felt easier to manage than the external perceived threats. Then, there came a time when the cost of the internal conflict from self-betrayal was too unbearable, too painful. I could no longer act out of fear of rejection for who I am, keeping myself hidden within a perceived sense of safety. I realized that being safe is not about playing small but aligning with my truth and personal power.
My need for acceptance and approval and the corresponding sense of safety and security from belonging diminished as my sense of self increased. I stopped fearing that people would leave me because I broke the habit of abandoning myself so others would not abandon me. Breaking the pattern of trying to create a sense of ‘safety’ through self-betrayal emerged through surrendering to the safety of being transformed - allowing the old part of me to transmute into a healthier way of existing.
Mind Loops, Safety, and Emotional Intelligence
The human mind may search for safety in a world that cannot guarantee security. The mind might conjure up the worst-case scenario in nanoseconds and then play the scenario over and over to practice the perfect response to ensure our safety. When fear repeatedly plays a tape in our heads, we may feel prepared to defend ourselves because we know exactly how we want to respond. Yet, we are not necessarily creating a sense of internal safety, especially if our nervous systems are responding to our minds playing out scenarios.
It might feel unsafe to stop thinking about a scary experience we have encountered due to anticipating a possible repetition and the need to be proactive. This is understandable. Yet, it is also vital to recognize how thoughts can dysregulate our nervous system, only adding to the feeling of fear. A number of the clients I have worked with who have thought loops seem to have them, in part, as a trauma response where they are trying to keep themselves safe. I always ask, "Is this true safety?" I understand that our brains will wire for survival, but if we are not cautious, our brain's wiring can keep us alive while preventing us from really living.
In an article about the dynamics between an empath and someone with Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD), I explain how feeling into the thought loops can sometimes help dissolve them. By this, I mean look directly at the repetitive thought, and rather than repeating it, ask yourself, what is the feeling associated with the thoughts? For example, say someone with NPD slandered an empath, and in the empath's mind, they have the lies spread about them repeating in their thoughts. If they ask what the feeling is under the thoughts, they may uncover a fear that has arisen after the slander. They might be afraid that people will believe the lies the person with NPD has spread about them. Going deeper, the person might realize that the fear is related to a fear of abandonment, being judged, and, ultimately, being disowned and unloved. Sometimes, the act of getting into the heart and accessing the heart of the matter diffuses the mind activity. If one works on resolving their fear, the thoughts often have less fuel.
It has been my experience that emotional intelligence (the ability to identify and manage emotions) helps us access the intelligence of emotions / the intelligence of the heart. Feeling safe to feel our emotions is central to accessing the intelligence of our emotions, including fear. Sometimes, there is much wisdom in fear, like in the example above, or when our intuition communicates through our emotions to do or not do something. For me, sometimes fear is the heads up that I am not standing in my power, connected to myself, or anchored into my heart as I prepare to do something outside my comfort zone. In other words, fear can alert us, and our emotional intelligence can help us journey through the experience.
To me, emotional intelligence is not only identifying the feeling but accessing any underlying beliefs associated with the feeling. For example, there are countless reasons why we might not speak our truth or state our needs. We might do this to avoid conflict because we feel unsafe in conflict. Or we might swallow our truth in order to present ourselves as a nice person. When we tune into the emotion, we might find an underlying belief that if we are not nice, other people might not feel we are loveable people and, therefore, abandon us.
For me, it has been helpful to uncover the underlying beliefs related to any fear-based behavior. I have found that when I name the fear, I can create safety for myself. For example, if I acknowledge that I am worried about negative comments, I hold a boundary from people who are mean in their commentary. Fortifying myself with self-love, I decide what words from others enter my heart. This is a significant change for me as I used to be greatly impacted by the slightest rude comment. Surrendering to the safety of being transformed allowed me to emerge as a person with more discernment of what I receive as feedback and what I disregard.
"The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe." ~ Albert Einstein
For me, to make up my mind that we live in a friendly universe is to make a conscious choice to uncover unconscious and subconscious beliefs related to fear and safety. It is a decision to establish a feeling of safety in my heart and physical form as well as to connect to my Spirit.
While our Spirits are intrepid travelers of diverse experiences, our minds might not experience that degree of gallantry within earthly adventures. Our Spirits might not experience fear; yet, to our subconscious minds programmed with limiting beliefs, the Earthly plane might feel anything but safe. Our minds might fear that something ‘bad’ might happen to the parts of us that can experience injury (e.g., our bodies hurt, our minds disturbed, our hearts broken, or our souls fractured). At the same time, from our Spirit's perspective, there may be no positive/negative, good/bad experiences.
As a brief aside, I think of our souls as more connected to our bodies and our earthly experience, while our spirits are connected to the divine. Our souls are vulnerable to harm (they can be fragmented, and a person may require a soul retrieval), while our spirits are invulnerable to harm. Thus, the Spirit does not need healing. It is the source of healing for a mind that may be conditioned with harmful and unhealthy cognitive-emotional patterns.
Our higher level of consciousness, Spirit, is everlasting, an aspect of us that can never be destroyed. This part always remains indestructible. This permanent, unbreakable part of us can witness aspects of us get broken down and rebuilt; it witnesses our human selves go through the wringer and countless cycles of transformation. Our souls, the glue that connects the physical and non-physical, will likely experience a magnitude of experiences: forgetfulness generated by human conditions that confine our connection to Spirit and magnificence of remembrance encouraged by Spirit. The soul can be considered a “driver” – a presence preserving the body alive. The spirit can be viewed as the ultimate source of connection with the Great Universal Mystery.
A statement is written in the credits of some movies: "No animals were harmed in the making of this film." From my higher self's perspective, I can imagine hearing, "No spirit was hurt in their experience of 3rd-dimensional reality on Earth. It is safe to explore diverse experiences."
One way to establish safety within the spectrum of consciousness that our souls are willing to experience is to connect with our spirits. We can know we are safe and experience safety – not through our minds knowing we have an everlasting Spirit, but from our hearts experiencing this indestructible aspect of us. A Sacred Safety emanates from our Spirits, the part of us that lives a fearless existence.
Aligning with the safety of our spirits can feel nurturing to our hearts. Our Spirits can offer our hearts a knowing that it is safe to experience the 3rd dimension, that beyond the dimension we perceive with ease, is an ever-present loving consciousness supporting us. Our hearts have the capacity to hold the truth we are safe.
Accessing a knowing that we are safe to explore diverse levels of consciousness here on Earth is not to deny or bypass the human experience. I recently had a friend have her life threatened, and in response, she said, “This happened for me, not to me.” I agree with this statement when not misused. In this 3rd dimension, we can experience being victimized, which may need to be processed and not spiritually bypassed. Fear of feeling and processing challenging emotions may be at the root of spiritual bypassing.
Spiritual aphorisms, like “pain is an illusion” or “there is no such thing as a victim,” can be both helpful and harmful, true and false, liberating and entrapping. Such sayings can be accurate in the higher dimensions (pain is an illusion) but not true in the 3rd dimension (there is actual physical pain from being shot with a bullet; real emotional pain from losing a loved one or having our lives threatened, etc.). On a higher plane, there may be no victims; yet, here on Earth, in the 3rd dimension, there are experiences of being victimized.
Through prayer and meditation, I access a knowing I am safe, not to bypass but to call upon that indestructible part of myself, Spirit, to help me navigate and fully embrace my earthly incarnation. My soul may have incarnated countless times, yet most likely not with this human identity. I may be Kerry only once. I want to fearlessly (as much as possible) explore this life while being uniquely Kerry – not only uniquely Kerry within this world but unique within my soul incarnations. I may never be this person again, so I call upon my Spirit, which has seen countless versions of my soul being expressed in form, to help me be this version to the fullest.