L E T T E R from Jac – Finding Our Safe Place – The Broad Place
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L E T T E R from Jac – Finding Our Safe Place

Rachel Naomi Remen tells of a story; ‘In bullfighting, there is a place in the ring where the bull feels safe. If he can reach this place, he stops running and can gather his full strength. He is no longer afraid. It is the job of the matador to know where this sanctuary lies, to be sure the bull does not have time to occupy his place of wholeness. This safe place for a bull is called the querencia. For humans, the querencia is the safe place in our inner world. When a person finds their querencia, in full view of the matador, they are calm and peaceful. Wise. They have gathered their strength around them.

I read this whilst sitting under a huge tree in the garden at the Buddhist hermitage, it had been storming all morning and was now still raining, but the tree was so huge that I was dry underneath. A sort of querencia from the storm. This idea of finding our inner sanctuary stayed with me. I felt like I was growing my inner safe place of calm whilst I was away, meditating, studying, being in nature and being completely silent and utterly still, to go back out and face my own storm in London; with all the regular responsibilities of being an adult, all the life admin, parenting – all the real-life things we all have to deal with. And I am convinced that an inner reserve that we can tap into is so necessary.

Cultivating our querencia is of the utmost importance, as when we have nothing left in the tank, it’s almost impossible to cope with the increasing demands of our high octane lives. Now going away for 10 days of silence is not something even I, as a teacher that is fully committed to my practice, can even manage with ease. But cultivating space within each week, time just for ourselves is equally valid. I could feel the sky darkening around my querencia once I returned home about day three. Apparently day three is a challenging day after 10 nights of silence as the reality of real-life really kicks in and the brightness you had whilst away, the serenity, fades, and it feels dramatic. So I just took myself off to Hyde Park, alone with my book and a blanket and a packet of truffle potato crisps, and lay under a tree (in the cold wrapped in a giant puffer coat) and found that quiet again. It’s always available to us, we just need to tap in. Admittedly, I find it harder to tap into it in the middle of Soho, so my work is to be able to access it deeply anywhere at anytime. This is what meditation gifts us, access to this reserve every day. And instead of the reserve being a little pond, we find it is as unbounded as the oceans. Layer in space to be alone, even if for an hour once a week, and our querencia grows.

Written with love,

Jac x

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