The idea of “safe space” makes you think of being sheltered from dangerous animals, threatening people, being indoors out of the cold and having some sort of protection from the unpredictable nature of the world we live in. When we bring the idea of “safe space” into the every moment-ness of our interactions in a care setting, we start to create a more harmonious healing and working environment.
Safe space is a representation of our ability to live in harmony with our environment. Using our bodies efficiently, communicating clearly, recognizing when quiet moments are supportive.
How do we create safe space?
You’re with a client, they are prepped for a bed bath with a sheet over their body, your soapy towels, pan of water and clean clothes are ready to go. As you begin the washing process, you make direct eye contact with your client at the same time offer an open ended comment. You pepper these comments throughout the bed bath, washing as you go, making eye contact throughout the process. Your client feels connected to the world around them without the pressure to communicate to it. They are wrapped in the safe space you have created because you have made them feel as though washing their naked body is second nature to you. Your client is now a little bit more free. In safe space, the single-pointed focus of tending to a basic bodily need becomes extraordinary, dynamic and above all, safe.
I was inspired to explore the possibilities of safe space while I was working with one of my quadriplegic clients. I was toward the end of my menstrual cycle and I was in a state of energy conservation on a night where I was getting him through a lengthy evening regimen. Standing at the stove cooking my black rice and lentil dahl with the window open so the breeze could drift the smells of indian spices throughout the kitchen. My client was reading posts from his social media feed, his laughs were loud, forceful and filled the room with vibrations that regularly drew my attention in his direction. I was struggling to keep myself present with the words that were coming out of his mouth. The pains in my lower body region were intensified by the amount of mental energy I was spending to keep up with the demand for interaction.
I wanted him to feel what it was like to hear the breeze against the boiling water, and even if he couldn’t hear it, to feel the sounds that I was experiencing because the stillness in his being would facilitate that to happen. I was in deep need of silence. What I needed in those moments was safe space.
Consciously creating safe space in the dynamic environment of care giving can come naturally when we can cultivate genuine curiosity, a willingness to listen during silent moments and a sincere desire to experience peace and contentment.
To learn more about creating safe space and how to fiercely take care of yourself, download my free ebook, 5 Day Clean Eating Challenge.