I’ve been thinking about vulnerability and protection lately. It came up in a funny way.
Recently, I went for a rather long health treatment – an infusion of trace minerals. I intuitively brought a sarong to cover my legs. I was wearing shorts, so I didn’t need to cover my legs. But I knew I would feel better with a light coverlet. More protected, less vulnerable. I honored my inner voice.
This is a subtle example, not a dramatic one. But it keenly raised my awareness of feeling slightly vulnerable and needing to provide myself with a sense of protection.
There are probably countless times in any given week when we feel vulnerable like this. And chances are the circumstances are more emotionally loaded – from an unkind remark to an irate boss to full on harassment.
Do you know when you feel vulnerable or overwhelmed? When you feel you need a sense of protection?
If you’re not sure, take a moment to think about it. What are the signs? What are some of the circumstances that typically feel uncomfortable to you?
When you do feel vulnerable or in need of protection, what steps do you take? Do they work for you? It’s not unusual to develop unhealthy patterns of protection from shrinking to aggression. Are you able to react in a healthy way?
There are many different ways to empower and protect yourself. They typically involve creating boundaries. For example, when we’re in a difficult situation, we can take a step backward, which clarifies our personal space and defines a boundary. Or we can politely decide to take a break to give ourselves some needed breathing room, some time to recenter ourselves.
It can be difficult to create a boundary if you’ve never had one, if your boundary has been violated through trauma, you’re a highly sensitive person, or you feel you don’t deserve one due to deceptive brain messages learned in early childhood.
Learning how to love yourself can be a first step to reclaiming a sense of personal space and defining your boundary. A strongly integrated sense of self is essential to health – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. This is a healthy sense of self, which differs from clinging to self or egocentricity.
Creating a Protective Sphere
One simple way to feel strong and more protected on a regular basis is to visualize a protect bubble around you. This is a simple exercise you can do each day.
In her book, Heal Yourself with Qigong, Suzanne B. Friedman, LAC shares these steps for creating an energy-bubble for protection:
- “Stand… or sit upright in a chair with the backs of your hands resting on your thighs (palms up).
- Close your eyes and slow your breathing. Feel your whole body relax.
- Visualize a bubble around your body in your mind’s eye. Take as much time as you need to mentally create a thick bubble enveloping you. Visualize and “see” the shape, color, and size of the bubble.
- Once you clearly see yourself surrounded by a bubble, draw up a memory of a time or an experience when you felt particularly powerful, calm, or in charge.
- Let that feeling emanate out of your body to fill the entire bubble. Take a minute or two to do this. Perhaps the feeling has a color or quality you can see that fills the bubble.
- After you have filled your bubble, take another moment to see and feel it around you.
- Take a few deep breaths after concluding the meditation.”
Your mucous membranes including those in your gastrointestinal tract and other internal organs are also part of your boundary against foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, and other micro-organism. If you wish, you can also imagine your mucous membranes as healthy, strong, and fully protective.
Your protective sphere many need an extra boost any time during the day when you are entering into or suddenly find yourself in an especially difficult or challenging situation. When that happens, take a moment to bring awareness to your bubble and refill it with your own sense of safety, power, strength, and calm.
You might get tripped up on step 4 if you’ve never had an experience of feeling powerful or protected. If that’s the case, you can draw upon an image of someone you admire who is grounded and strong. Someone who seemingly doesn’t have trouble with boundaries. Mysteriously, Xena, the Princess Warrior often pops up in my mind.
Like any new habit, creating and truly feeling the presence of a protective sphere takes time and diligence. It’s not hard nor time-consuming. It can be done in minutes. It’s simply a matter of taking time to create the visualization regularly each day until – eventually – the visualization becomes a part of you. The more often you practice creating your protective sphere, the more natural it will become and the stronger you will feel.
If you have trouble making this a regular habit – as I did for a very long time – the practice of loving kindness is a wonderful way to build your self-worth so that you feel deserving of self care and protection.
The Love Bubble
These days, I create my protective sphere as a natural extension of loving kindness practice, which is an antidote to fear and anger.
First, I envision the essence of love, compassion, and wisdom. In my case, that’s a Buddha. But it could be any spiritual figure or an image of light. Then I imaging all of her (or his) unconditional love pouring into my heart. I absorb it fully knowing that I am as worthy of love as any other being on this earth.
Next, I repeat the loving kindness phrases - first directing them towards myself - “May I be happy, May I be well, May I be safe.” All the while I focus on my heart center, imaging this unconditional love in the form of light growing stronger and stronger and radiating within my heart. Then I allow the light and love to surround me like a protective sphere. After awhile, I move on to repeating and direct the loving kindness phrases to others.
Whenever I feel unsure during the day, I return to my heart center and reconnect with this vibrant sense of love that resides within me. I also take a few moments to repeat the loving kindness phrases, directing them towards myself, towards a difficult emotion that has sprung to life, or towards other people who also need a dose of kindness and love.
There are many different ways to create a sense of strength in your life. This is just one, but I find it profoundly healing myself.
Do you have moments when you feel you need added protection in your life? What do you do to feel a sense of strength, protection, and power?
- Heal Yourself with Qigong, Gentle Practice to Increase Energy, Restore Health, and Relax the Mind, by Suzanne B. Friedman, LAC, DMG
- Healing Trauma, A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body, Peter A. Levine, Ph.D.
If this article inspired or helped you, please share the link with others. Thank you so much for reading. You can also connect with me on Google+ or the Always Well Within Facebook Page. With love, Sandra