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Creating Safe Space For Yourself and Others

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How do you make a safe space for you and for others around you?

With Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo and Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com.

Cathy: Do you create safe space for yourself?

Reid: It’s fucked out of me.

Cathy: This is Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com.

Reid: Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com. I swore I’m right in the beginning of the video. Fuck! Alright, how do you create safe space?

Cathy: Actually, you were the one who shared in the last video that you create space ahead of time. So, I’m actually curious how you create safe space. I create differently than you do.

Reid: Yes. So, I would recommend that people go to a cuddle party. So, http://www.cuddleparty.com/ and check out Cookie Awesome workshop that I was part of creating many, many years ago. The techniques for creating a safe space are pretty much woven in cuddle party because the idea of cuddle party is it’s a communication workshop around non-sexual touch and affection but the communication and intimacy part is about how you use communicating which is hard for some people to get a hang of coz we live in a society where we are not allowed to speak up about things. But when you’re surrounded by people who, for the most part, don’t speak up about things and you know how to speak up about things, you’re basically in the land of the blind, you’re the one-eyed king or queen. So, the interesting thing is as you start to be able to use your words and have clarity about what your needs are which is different from being needy, you can voice things in a way where a lot of people are just looking for clarity and context. So, when you create clarity and context for people and giving them permission to say yes or no, they feel safer when they’re around you. But it is my opinion. The reason that they feel safe is you’re using a particular technique to create your own sense of safety and then you invite people in to step into that. It doesn’t guarantee that everybody will follow the rules but the people that won’t follow the rules are either just evil and they are actually very few actually evil people like intentionally they know the rules, they are gaming the system because if you really do the math, being decent actually has a better pay off than being evil in a world now where very transparent because of internet and [inaudible 00:02:26]. But in some people who are just clunky at following rules that you create which often means if you like them they will get better quickly at being clunky. And, it’s also okay for you to disinvite people from the safety you’ve created. This is all [inaudible 00:02:43] I’m 230 pound 6’1 white guy who has a couple of black belts so how the world occurs to me is very different and a lot of other people’s life experiences but these tools seem to work really well for people and there’ve been tens of thousands of people who’ve gotten these tools from cuddle party over the years.

Cathy: I ran cuddle parties and I was really nervous at first and most of the time if you explain really clearly that’s the whole point is you’re defining the space and the rules. I’ve had one person I had to ask to leave and it wasn’t anything scary I was just [inaudible 00:03:21] understand that no, ma’am no. Somebody had to say, okay you can’t come anymore. But when I’m walking around in the world, it’s different, for me, when I’m in a group of people and I have my caddies and some people I know, and we all agree on these rules versus when I’m walking around the outside world and people aren’t necessarily looking to follow my agreements like I’m not leading that perse they have an [inaudible 00:39:48] and there are people that are so, it’s not so much the evil people I’m worried about, the people that are so hungry or so frustrated that they’re lashing that out of that pain.

Reid: You used to be a lifeguard when you were younger. How do you deal with people who lash out as a lifeguard?

Cathy: Well, you don’t put yourself in danger for so long. The first rule of lifeguarding or any rescue is don’t act as a body count. So, you try to rescue them without getting in the water first. You have the hook, you have the towel and try to lure them to the side and then if you can’t, you get in the water and then you try to, again, rescue them without putting yourself at risk coz they will climb over you and drown you if they can. And then you have skills to get out if they do that.

Reid: Having that permission to not have to save somebody because you don’t want to act as a body count, did that make, being a lifeguard, feel safer?

Cathy: Yeah. Whereas if I’m sharing vulnerability and I’m risking, I’m getting close to someone.. Coz we’re talking about sharing vulnerability or when to share stuff. So, for me, I’m going to test people a little bit first before I open up the very big things.

Reid: Yeah, that’s fine.

Cathy: Before I get close enough and they can grab me and pull me under.

Reid: The other question around sharing vulnerability since we’re having a conversation about emotional safety. They’re not necessarily physical safety. The things you’re sharing, what’s the fear that you have of them misusing you? What would that look like? Without respecting vulnerability.

Cathy: So, again, some of this may not be likely to happen but I have a fear of it because I have been assaulted. There’s one I actually did have a date that got so angry of me I was afraid he’s going to hurt me. So like the extreme is someone who’s triggered enough that they’re emotionally triggered enough they’re going to be physically violent but on the emotional side if I share something vulnerably hopefully people are taking it in the kind context, but things taken out of context like “wow she’s in that case or she’s just a basket case and she’s all these issues” or telling people things out of context could be very hurtful.

Reid: Okay so if you create context…

Cathy: Right, I want to know that my friends who hear that context are going to have the compassion to understand it and hopefully not repeat what I shared privately but we don’t always have control over that. and I want to trust the person to share compassionately should they speak out of confidence like I you know I’d prefer people weren’t going around and taking a little bits of something and sharing it in a new way so that’s I mean I tend to

Reid: That sounds like betting how you assess them that people. And then and have you found a way to do that in a way that makes you feel safe.

Cathy: I mean I openly share a lot of things we share a lot of these videos and I’m like that with my friends but I do have

Reid: Real furniture

Cathy: Yeah we uh oh I tend to there’s certain things that are still either sore or just private and I tend to share them more slowly with people and I’ll share something small kind of take a baby step and see how they react.

Reid: that’s great yeah so what do you think and how do you create safety for yourself or on vulnerability or physical safety with people. Leave comment

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