Resilience through Awareness and Imagination—Safe Space as a Lived Meditation

By Francina Fantauzzo, MA, ATR-P

Yesterday I looked outside my window and noticed the minutest glimpse of purple peeking from blades of grass. I stood there in awe because for days my mind had been searching for a sense of peace and predictability, resembling my carefree days of childhood. Images of tiny toes touching wild violets and buttercups bathe my mind. My sister and I running and rolling down child-sized hills.

And I welcome these memories into my heart.

I peeled off my socks and stepped out into the light rain. Noticing cool, wet grass under my feet; the spray of mist on my face. Approaching, I greeted her, crouching down to behold her purple spray. Embracing, touching, feeling the softness. Examining every nuance of color and shade, shape, and form. Inhaling fragrance. A quick kiss. Weeping with delight, I knew these beauties showed up to welcome me into the hope and newness of Spring.

Creating a Safe Space to Return to Again and Again

After having done a safe space meditation–imagining that sweet mindful time as a child when the only thing in the world was the grass under my feet, smells of fresh air, and the chorus of backyard chickadees, I set up my art space to recreate my sweet childhood memories. Representing vibrant violets and buttercups, grassy hills, and blue skies with colored tissue paper hardly matches the imagination, but it doesn’t matter. The act of creating and expressing is what matters. The experience of it all. The process of making the allusive concrete.

I embrace these memories as I embrace the act of art making. No expectations, just enjoying the moments; feeling the softening, the experience of joy in my body, and I take that feeling of joy with me—even as I let it go. These memories are not to hold onto with gripped hands. They come into awareness and float away in the same way in which they came, allowing room for acceptance and liberation.

Noticing the peeking purple blooms, either serendipitously or providently sent to me in my tiny corner of the world–is a Gift in itself–that mindful awareness and appreciation of the little things, that are not so little after all.

Safe Space Meditation

  1. Three-part breath–From a seated easy pose or lying comfortably, observe your normal breath. Then inhale into your belly to expand and then exhale to draw your navel toward your heart. Repeat three times. Then broaden your inhale to include your belly and chest, exhale, repeat. And lastly broaden your inhale to include your belly, chest, and ribs, and repeat as above.
  2. Bring to mind a place, image, or words that give you a felt experience of well-being, calm, and safety.
  3. Notice this feeling in your body.
  4. Notice any words you associate with this feeling.
  5. Notice any images that go along with this feeling.
  6. Again, notice the feeling in your body.
  7. Now say to yourself, “I can return to this place and feeling anytime I want to. Here I am safe.”
  8. Return to the 3-part breath.
  9. Return to normal breath pattern as you continue to allow yourself to feel any positive feelings in your body.

Francina Fantauzzo, MA, ATR-P, is currently working as a Family-Based Therapist with Jewish Family Services. Francina, as an art therapist and yoga therapist, is informed by mindfulness and acceptance-based therapies, creative expression, movement, and attunement to self and others. To learn more about the Family-Based Therapy program at JFS, call 717-233-1681.