By Danka Gula
“As we go through life, we can begin to create our personal representations, personal association, places where we can go to in our mind that will create that calming” - Stuart Shanker.
It has been many years since I left the place where I lived with my parents for 22 years. Since then, I have created my own home, with my husband and two delightful children - far away from my childhood place, where I left a piece of my heart forever.
I get to visit my “birthplace” only once every two years, so it can be understandable that I hold on to those precious childhood memories tightly. After the first several hours of heartwarming welcome from my parents, when I am finally able to slow my heart rate and breathing, I feel…safe. It is that “feeling of safe” that as a child I was always looking for when I was worried; that “feeling of safe” that I received with a cuddle when I was sick.
The time usually goes fast when I am there, meeting with cousins, nephews, aunts and old neighbours, exploring the city that has changed quite a bit since the time I was hopping through its streets holding my parents’ hands. However, I always make sure I find a moment to be alone. I want to soak in the atmosphere of the place that taught me, all those many years ago, what calm means: I remember playing for hours with my two dearest dolls under my small desk which I was able to turn into a cute little apartment that any Barbie would envy today. I remember sitting at that same desk rolling clay between my palms until I was satisfied with my unique clay jewelry. I also remember laying across a comfy chocolate-brown sofa the way only children (and puppies) can do, staring at one of several paintings on the wall in our living room - letting my imagination go wild and far. (“Does that moon in the painting really speak to me?”) Those many years ago I did not know what a gift my parents were giving me. Today, because of Shanker Self-Reg, I am certain it was one of the biggest gifts I received. My parents gave me the gift of time, space and understanding to allow me to find what I needed the most – the ways to restore. There were many storms in my heart and soul as I went through those first 22 years of my life, but I always found a way to “protect myself” and get stronger by restoring energy lost in a battle with life events.
Those life events continue to happen as I live my adult life on the other side of the ocean. I have found new ways – strategies to restore my lost energy, to rejuvenate after my hard “adult” work. One of them is to simply close my eyes, imagine THAT PLACE and create THAT CALMING wherever I am.
Shanker Self-Reg made me realize that I, too, have one big gift to give to my children. The gift of time, space and understanding so that they, too, can discover their own ways to be calm and restore their energy, simply because it FEELS GOOD.