Here’s a wonderful release that flowed onto the page one night last week. The symbols emerged some hours after work.  I’d felt an intense reaction inside myself during a meeting.

I didn’t enjoy feeling my face flush, my eyes sting, my brow burn and my blood boil. But I celebrated finding an inner place of safety.

My first instinct when I felt the strong feelings come up was to walk out or let thoughts pile up into tears.

This time – remembering Pema Chodron talking about unconditional friendliness with oneself and staying with discomfort – I watched thoughts cross my mind and symptoms travel across my body. This is aliveness!

I celebrate progress: the awareness of some choice where I once felt none, a growing capacity to observe my moments of pain with gentle curiousity, the tenderness of remembering that chasing a storyline (sexism! arrogance!) would only compound my own suffering.

I celebrate the power of knowing I am an adult, not the powerless child who depended so agonisingly on ‘big’ people for respect and reassurance and safety.

I am in choice, I have a safe place to be, always. I have an ever present place where I am able to sit and watch the storms inside and out, warm with presence.

I will not abandon myself when I am frightened or hurt or ashamed or confused or flooded with adrenalin and filled with the pounding of my heart. I am with me. Always. Stay. Stay. I stayed with me.

Awareness anchored me, safety enveloped me. I didn’t pretend to be anything but what I was in that moment. Silently processing my own reaction, choosing what might reduce my suffering.

I don’t need the most powerful person in the room to like, praise, understand or agree with me.

There is a warm fire in me where I matter to myself, I belong and I am deeply and utterly safe.

The uplifted hands of the figure in orange arrived in this painting as a response to Amy Cuddy’s research on power poses. I’d done that pose in the bathroom that morning. Hey, looks like it might have helped.

(Now, that sounds like a fun theme for the next series of bathroom stickers: power poses … Or posies?  A little secret code behind the door of the women’s bathrooms at work, to inspire anyone who’s open to it to use those few minutes of privacy get those hands up in the air or on our hips. To let our bodies know we have power and choice and we matter.)

Ahhh, from Pema’s mindfulness to Amy’s Ted Talk. What resourceful beings we can be, soaking up learning, trying this and that, seeing what helps for our particular way of being right now.

This painting uplifted me. Reassured. Calmed. No one else has answers for me. Nor do I have theirs. I don’t need to correct their misunderstandings or defend myself. I am safe to be. I am Simply alive and utterly me.

I choose when to speak and when to silent. I choose when to stay and when to move on. I choose where I direct my attention and energy and love.

I choose whether I will offer anyone the gifts of my heart.

Safe to be gentle with all my feelings, whenever they arrive, wherever I am.