Friday, July 29, 2011

safe places

When I was a child, I saw a picture of the white-plastered homes in Greece overlooking the Mediterranean in a National Geographic. I was completely enraptured. I was so inspired I painted a watercolor of it.

Fast forward 20 years. In therapy I'm asked to visualize a safe place. I immediately think of a white village, by water, on a hill, full of brightly colored flowers in pots, full of grandmas and grandpas, beautiful strong mothers, kids, all calling to and laughing with each other. I'm at the top overlooking all of it. At one point, Nate came up behind me and put his arms around me. I'm wearing a beautiful dress, and it's sunset or sunrise - not sure. It's the most soothing, beautiful place in the world.

When my friend Sarah and I decided to go to Europe for our 30ths, she wanted Spain, and I said okay. She suggested a whitewashed village by the Mediterranean, and I said, Oh yes.

So I found myself in the actual manifestation of my safe place in May. I didn't know it would be in Spain and not Greece. There were the flowers in the pots, and even at night there were kids running everywhere safely - well-tended, not-street-tough kids, kids that looked like Spanish versions of my kids. I had been in the village 15 minutes, wandering and a little lost, when I stopped an elderly couple walking leisurely down the tiny streets. The man walked me four blocks to help me find what I was looking for, then welcomed me by kissing me on both cheeks.

(Sarah and I also found a mermaid cove, where there were a bunch of topless women swimming and jumping off cliffs. But I digress.)

I didn't know what to paint my house for a long time. I just couldn't land on a color that felt right to me. I've been going crazy this week refreshing everything, though, whitewashing the walls one chunk at a time with a trim brush to get that authentic human touch. Sewing curtains and printing out & framing photos of the trip and my loved ones, turning my home into my safe place.