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Safe Spaces

Today I’m happy to share ‘Safe Spaces’ – an extract from Just As You Are: Buddhism for Foolish Beings.

Satya Robyn is a Buddhist Priest & runs a Pureland temple in Malvern in the UK with her husband Kaspa. She’s also a novelist & psychotherapist. Find out more about Satya on her website – and about the temple here.


My first connection with Satya and Kaspa was via their lovely website : Writing Our Way Home – Engage The World Through Mindful Writing. When they announced that they would be moving on to set up a Buddhist Temple I was intrigued.

Then recently an update from them spoke of their new book, ‘Just As You Are: Buddhism for Foolish Beings’.  I wrote to Satya asking to feature the book here. She very kindly allowed me to share an extract of the book with  you.

Book Description

Just As You Are: Buddhism for Foolish Beings  is for anyone who wants to live a good life but is tired of endlessly trying to perfect themselves.

Pureland Buddhism takes a realistic view of our foolish natures as human beings, and offers us an alternative to the ‘do it yourself’ self-help movement. With anecdotes of temple life and instructions for simple Pureland practices, the authors introduce us to this ancient and unique tradition of Buddhism and show us how it can make a powerful difference to our everyday lives.

Covering topics such as trust, overcoming suffering, grace, being kind and self-care, the book also contains the voices of different Pureland Buddhists speaking of their own diverse experiences. This book shows us how we are all lovable just as we are, and that understanding this is the key to deep and lasting change.
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Safe Spaces by Satyavani

Last night I sat in a circle with four people I’m close to and lied to them.

Every Sunday evening in the temple we sit in a circle and pass a stone, taking turns to speak and be listened to.

These kinds of spaces are incredibly rare. I’m always amazed at how the stone produces a kind of magic. The words we speak (whatever they are) take on a preciousness as the others all listen quietly. The words of others become tender and wise. The space between us fills up with empathy – we can really begin to understand what it’s like for others at the circle to live their lives. (Much like it is for us to live ours.)

I usually come away from the circle feeling warm and fuzzy. Last night I came away feeling resentful and tired. When I had the stone I talked lightly about my week and what I was doing tomorrow.

My lies were lies of omission. What I should have said was: I really didn’t want to come along to the Listening Circle tonight. I’m tired of people. I’m grumpy. I don’t want to listen to anyone. Now leave me alone.

I don’t know what would have happened next if I’d started with that. I might have felt more angry. I might have cried. I might have realised what the grumpiness was about. But I think it probably would have brought me closer to the people I was sitting with, rather than distancing me further.

“Our society is so fragmented, our family lives so sundered by physical and emotional distance, our friendships so sporadic, our intimacies so ‘in-between’ things and often so utilitarian, that there are few places where we can feel truly safe.” Henri J M Nouwen

Safe spaces are scarce for most of us. Even when we find them, it’s not easy to make use of them. It’s not always appropriate to share what’s in our heart, and often we are too afraid to show others what’s really going on. I didn’t share more honestly because I was scared – of being rejected, of hurting others. That’s okay – that’s how it was last night.

But if you can look again and find somewhere safe, you will find the magic. I can feel it now. The magic that arises in the circle is a warm and accepting tenderness.

Where are your safe spaces? How can you find more of them?


  1. Option B - Everyday Gyaan Option B - Everyday Gyaan September 17, 2017

    […] ones feel even more isolated after loss or hardship. The book offers simple ways to speak with empathy and honesty when our friends are […]

  2. Laurie Laurie December 1, 2015

    This is true for all of us. We all hide our deep feelings. Although I think its harder for women to admit they’re angry. And its harder for men to admit they’re scared. But these feelings make us human. Interesting post. Thank you.
    Laurie recently posted..A Neurotic’s Survival GuideMy Profile

  3. Darla M Sands Darla M Sands December 1, 2015

    I’m guilty of isolating myself, honestly. Yesterday I made myself go to the house of a gal I consider friend, whom I’ve known for over a year now and have met many times. We wrote, which was wonderful (I even won the National Novel Writing Month challenge while there!). But then we went to lunch at a nearby restaurant. I thought it would be lovely and we might share some goings on in our lives. I could not have been more wrong. She pulled out her smart phone and started interacting with players of some silly game. Ironically, during a rare lull between murmurs and curses (!) she told me she likes that it gets her out and meeting new people. Meanwhile, I felt so awkwardly ignored that I nearly aspirated a piece of fruit. As I sat there, starting to panic, eyes beginning to bulge, she didn’t even notice.

    I’ll still maintain contact. This wonderful post reminds me how I wish I’d been honest with her like some of the more blunt folks in my life. But no. I’m too polite. I think I need this book. 🙂 I don’t expect to turn into Joan Rivers or the like but it would probably help put this mildly painful event into better perspective.
    Darla M Sands recently posted..Extortion Scam Alert – Beware!My Profile

  4. nabanita nabanita November 30, 2015

    You know it happens all the time…Last few days have been very emotional for me..It’s a big change and while I love the little Munchkin, I’m scared too about how I’m going to manage everything. I want to cry at times and when I’m unable to satiate her I feel grumpy and cranky, just like a failure…But I put on a brave face, a face of someone in control infront of all those around me…To think of it I should be sharing all this with my family but I’m not and it is a lie of omission….Inspite of being in my safe space I’m not showing my vulnerability, so I can understand what she means here
    nabanita recently posted..Pregnancy For A Working WomanMy Profile

  5. Pixie Pixie November 30, 2015

    I can so relate to this!
    I am buying the book immediately.
    Thank you Corinne for the share 🙂

  6. Haralee Haralee November 29, 2015

    It is so very interesting to me how some people are at ease sharing their feelings while for others it is very difficult. Also how some can easily make comments or suggestions, not just criticisms while others labor over even a slight recommendation. It is to me what makes people so interesting! Thanks for sharing this that made me think this morning!
    Haralee recently posted..5 Fashion Changes for Climate ChangeMy Profile

  7. Eli Eli November 29, 2015

    Good read, Corinne. This made me think two things: that I am grateful I have some friends I can totally be myself with and: that I am grateful for having a safe-space, that many use as a term when treating people who have been through severe traumas… Then it’s important to have somewhere, in your mind, or for real you can “find shelter” in, to breath deeply, feel a smile spreading and feel peaceful… and safe…
    Eli recently posted..A candle for joyMy Profile

  8. maliny maliny November 29, 2015

    My opinion is that each one of us, somehow or the other, must have sought a safe space one time or the other in their lives. It becomes a necessity when in misery. At least it is like that for me and I know that if I could utilise it effectively, I could have my few hours of peace, detached from the hard phase.
    I am intrigued by Buddhism. I will surely jot down the name of the book, now that I have got a sneak peak 🙂

  9. Ajay Pai Ajay Pai November 29, 2015

    This post has left me confused. I guess, even i would have twisted my thoughts a lil bit while coming out. I guess may be as the time passes one will be more open to such concepts ..
    Ajay Pai recently my Dad – with LoveMy Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | November 29, 2015

      Hmmm…. Satya is not condoning the fact that she couldn’t be truthful in this group – rather, she’s saying how hard it is to find a group in which we can share without any inhibitions.
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Transforming Common Days Into ThanksgivingMy Profile

  10. Vishal Bheeroo Vishal Bheeroo November 29, 2015

    Hey, Corinne, thanks for sharing safe spaces with us. One can easily relate to it and gives a sense of peace to, removing those things that we are scared of. Great reflection by Satyavani:)

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