Day 683: Safety first

Safety has been uppermost in my thoughts lately, for many reasons:

Last night, at the beginning of a therapy group,  I gave people a few minutes to mindfully focus on a real or imagined place that was safe for them. Since I never ask group members to do anything I am not willing to do, I also got a chance to take a little mind vacation. Usually, when I do that specific mindfulness exercise, I build, in my imagination, a location that includes:

  • the beach,
  • a tent that is open to a warm and soothing breeze,
  • colorful pillows, and
  • a cat, somewhere

… however, last night, in group,  I visited a real place, from my memory:


(Photo of Garden in the Woods found here).

When I went to Garden in the Woods last night in my mind, I found a bridge over a beautiful brook where, many years ago, I took some time to be mindfully present, in the moment, using all my senses.

If you were to take a few minutes, right now, and go to a safe place in your mind, where might it be?  What might you see, hear, smell, touch, feel, and experience there?

Last night, the people at the therapy group described real places, imagined places, lots of different places, as their “safe place.” Somebody also named “this group” as a safe place, which was wonderful for me to hear.

Here are some photos I took yesterday, on my way to and from work, with safety on my mind:

IMG_2129 IMG_2136 IMG_2139 IMG_2140 IMG_2141 IMG_2142 IMG_2144 IMG_2145IMG_2148 IMG_2153 IMG_2151 IMG_2154 IMG_2152 IMG_2155 IMG_2162 IMG_2169


Those are all real photos; none of them are imagined places or things. However, for that last picture, I did imagine a Cold-Gear Monster* eating the last of the tuna noodle casserole.


What music could safely fit today’s topic?  Here’s something:

If listening to “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats, found safely here on YouTube, isn’t safe enough for you, I have another musical suggestion. Last night, as I felt the first drops of precipitation on my walk back to my car:


… I heard this song by Pat Metheny (whom I’m seeing in Worcester, Massachusetts, which probably doesn’t have such great drivers either, in two days):

If it feels safe enough to go there now, you can find the YouTube video of  the Pat Metheny Group‘s “Spring Ain’t Here,” here.

And I agree with Pat. Spring ain’t here.

Thanks to everybody everywhere who is doing their best to stay safe enough, today (and I hope hope hope that includes you, too).

* “Cold-Gear Monster” is the best name I can come up with, in the moment, as I am trying to remember the name of that friggin’ thing (which I love, by the way) that goes around your neck to keep out the cold but which is NOT a scarf. Any ideas for a better name?

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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29 thoughts on “Day 683: Safety first

  1. Stay safe- keep safe- loved this post and your photos are wonderful! 🙂

  2. Cold-Gear Monster it is! Staying safe today and hope you will too.

  3. While I prefer — Cold-gear monster — I’ve heard it called a muffler, a scrunchie and a cowl… none of them as imaginative as your’s!

    I have a song for you today — it was playing while I was reading your post and it makes my heart sing and my soul dance — Alexi Murdoch — Something Beautiful –

    • “Cowl” is the word I was trying to think of this morning, Louise. Thank you, and thank you for the comment and the great music!

  4. I visited Boston many years ago and found the city to be beautiful. We spent one day just driving around Beverly admiring the landscaping of the yards of peoples homes. Another day we went whale watching and it was spectacular. A baby whale was breeching and the mother and baby followed the boat for the whole tour. We stayed at someones home and I remember at night looking out onto the harbour and seeing naval ships all lit up. It was a stunning display of beauty and power.

  5. Snow in Boston & bad drivers — that really is scary!

    My safe place? Anywhere — especially at the edge of the ocean — with all my kids and my husband. I feel safest when I know they are all safe, and happiest when we are together discussing some crazy thing. Likely, a math thing that is way beyond me, or a physics thing, but anything will do.

    Hope you have a good, safe day.

  6. Over the years, in my meditations, my safe place has changed a few times. I also have a haven in my back garden. As for Boston, my daughter was stationed there for a year or so when she was flying for TWA and loved it. One time that I visited her, we were in a stand-still, blinding snowstorm and on the last plane out for Miami where we flew to Nassau for a vacation.

  7. Remember to take good care of yourself Ann, others can’t do it for you. Beautiful post 😀

  8. Since the part of the subject was car driving in Boston, the Cold Weather Gear was, I think I must safely say — as Louise pointed out above — that in my “neck” of the woods, that Cold Weather Gear was called a Muffler.

    Be careful, Ann, maneuvering your way to Worcester in two days to see Mr. Metheny, because Spring Ain’t Here and the roads may be full of snow and that always leaves me short of breath, too.

  9. Great place. Lotta history. Did a lot of study on 1600’s Massachusetts Puritans.

  10. agwink1942

    Love the photos Ann. I have had so much safety training over the years I almost want to run outside when the tornado alarms go off, or at least run to the window to check for signs of the funnel clouds. I am a certified weather spotter, so one of my “jobs” is to watch for the clouds, or the hail the is a precursor of a possible tornado.

    Please take care yourself. I’m hibernating for the winter now, only going out for necessities, and then only when absolutely needed to prevent death. Chocolate is a necessity, milk not so much, unless it contains chocolate.

    One tip to pass along–be prepared for bad weather. Keep an emergency kit with flashlight, candles, extra meds, bandages, batteries, water, food you can eat cold, paper products, even more water, games and books that don’t require electricity to play or read. Just stop and think about the stuff you might need 100 years ago, and keep it on hand where you can get to it in a hurry if needed.

    • You are inspiring me to take even better care of myself, keeping all the necessities nearby, including chocolate and your lovely thoughts.

  11. A place that makes me feel safe – two actually – are in Central New York, our former home: Beaver Lake Nature Center and Onondaga Lake Park. We’ve walked both many times, including our visit this past summer.

    Ann, you have many fine suggestions. I didn’t feel “safe” with “Safety Dance” – frightening characters cavorting about. But Pat Metheny’s music always transports me to a beautiful place. Enjoy the concert … and be safe this winter and always. 😉

    • Thank you for this lovely comment, Judy, which definitely helped me feel safer. And I’m looking forward to the concert, now just one day away!

  12. Pingback: Day 684: Down time | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  13. That was a good exercise. I realise (not for the first time) how lucky I am. I feel safest here, in my own home and garden. I meditate at my desk and feel totally comfortable. I wish I could give this security to so many others who are not as lucky.

  14. Pingback: Day 686: Are you the artist? | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  15. Pingback: Day 1955: For Safety | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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