I read something interesting about bullfighting the other day that I want to share with you. There is a place in the bullring where every bull feels safe. If the bull reaches this spot, he stops running and rests.
It might seem like the bull has given up or injured himself when he enters this place, but this is not the case at all. Rather, this break from the action enables him to gather up his full strength again so he can continue fighting.
This safe place is called the “querencia.” This spot is different for every bull. It is the job of the matador to figure out the location of the querenciais for the bull and then prevent the bull from entering this sanctuary.
What is the “querencia” in your life? It doesn’t have to be a physical place, although it can be. It can also be a state of mind or a particular memory or mental picture that makes you feel safe and whole. It can also be as simple as a photograph or other object that, when you look at it, makes you feel at home and secure.
When you find it difficult to complete your goals or to temporarily get off the treadmill of your life, enter your “querencia,” even if just a few minutes.
If you don’t yet have a querencia, make it a top priority to find or create one.
You probably have many matadors out there preventing you from entering your “querencia.” These matadors take many forms: illness, the needs of your family, demands of your work, all the distractions in any given day.
Unlike a matador in a bullfighting ring, your matadors usually aren’t deliberately trying to prevent you from entering your querencia and their demands are often legitimate and not at all hostile. But remember that you do have power over all your matadors. Give yourself permission to say no to your matadors, even the benign ones. And don’t forget that only you know where your querencia is — your matadors never will.
When a cabinetmaker works with wood, he works with the grain, not against it. Regularly visiting your querencia will help prevent you from going against your grain and taking on tasks and responsibilities that go against your personality. You have the right to say no to anything that would diminish your sense of identity and peace.
Finally, the purpose of entering your “querencia” isn’t to hide from the world, but to emerge again with strength and energy to achieve all your goals and set new ones and find the right opportunities to say yes to.

In her book Kitchen Table Wisdom, Rachel Naomi Remen talks about bullfighting, of all things.

You see, there is a place in the bullring where every bull feels safe. If the bull reaches this spot, he stops running and rests.

It might seem like the bull has given up or injured himself when he enters this place, but this is not the case at all.

Rather, this break from the action enables him to gather up his full strength again so he can continue fighting.

This safe place is called the “querencia.”

This spot is different for every bull. It is the job of the matador to figure out the location of the querenciais for the bull and then prevent the bull from entering this sanctuary.

This morning my 7 year old daughter reminded me how stories can be a “querencia.”

She said she was afraid last night and couldn’t fall asleep. So her 14 year old sister, who shares a room with her, told her stories about when she was little.

The 7 year old was so thrilled to hear stories about her big sister. Even more enthralling than if she had merely read a book to her, I’m sure.

What is your querencia?

What/who are your matadors?

As Dr. Remen says, the purpose of discovering and regularly entering your “querencia” isn’t to hide from the world, but to emerge again with strength and energy to achieve all your goals and set new ones and find the right opportunities to say yes to.

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Filed under: Kitchen Table Wisdom (the book)Parenting

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