On these slow grey mornings in Oakland, I like to take the time to really contemplate ideas and concepts of happiness and wellbeing with a warm cup of coffee and my little brown dog. Welcome to the first installment of The Coffee Contemplations!
This morning, I set out with this intended reflection on my boundaries. I tell myself I have bad habits. Habits of working on my days off by answering emails and making changes to things when I should be enjoying personal time. As I sit typing this, an email notification came in from the studio and I’m feeling on the verge. As though I need to check it or I will explode. That somehow, it can’t wait until later.
It can. I’m closing my email. Hold please.
Ok. Sitting with this anxiety and other sensations brought up by establishing this boundary, the challenge I’m up against (and ANYONE who is setting new and true boundaries really is) is to not let you get in the way of having boundaries. Boundaries are sometimes conceived to keep other people from going too far into your [insert heart, day, mind, spirit, time off, bed, thoughts, bank account…] but they are all boundaries for the self. To keep a boundary is your responsibility, not those you allow into your life.
Hold on.. back up. Because this still isn’t making sense to me..
As I think more deeply on this concept, I wonder – WHY do I need boundaries? We all think ‘yes it’s important to protect ourselves and keep a balance’ – but WHY? What are we protecting? What is the balance we need? And what is the outcome when we achieve it? This is different for EVERYONE. We all feel, think, express, and process the world around us in a very unique way. But just as you establish anything in your life, you have to ask these fundamental questions to get to the heart of it. Why we establish boundaries and what their intended impact has to be five times more important than the boundary in and of itself. Without the why, they just won’t stick. Just like hopping on a yoga mat or starting a blog or organizing your closet won’t become habit until you identify, understand and relate to the intended outcome of the action with all your being. You must know WHY you are setting up a protective barrier around your life. WHO or WHAT is on the outside of that boundary. WHAT is the intended outcome of that boundary. If are you willing to change it if it stops serving it’s purpose. And lastly, can YOU maintain it?
Approaching anything – especially new boundaries – this way will ensure they’re effective and sustainable. You can then say – ‘ok this is my roadmap to establishing a healthy and balanced life for myself within a self loving and supportive environment.’
Example: I hear this all the time from friends and students alike.
“I should meditate more…”
Great.. but often that’s just a passive thought created by Facebook or being in the presence of a yoga teacher… Though it is true in so many ways, it’s completely untethered and ungrounded. I always ask people why when they say that. It’s only then that we start to understand what we really need.
So next time you think that.. truly take time to assess why you ought to meditate more. Do you have a hard time focusing? Are you depressed? Can’t sleep? Heartbroken? Overworked? Establish meditation as a tool for healing those pains or as a path to more joy. Just like saying “This flashlight has dead batteries and I need it to see in the basement, so I will go get batteries to make sure I can use it.” Then do it. THEN comes the boundary. Offer yourself a few moments a day to meditate by creating a boundary around that meditation time. Claim the 5 -15 minutes, protect them by affirming that no one – not even you – can take them away.
I’m sure this isn’t a new concept, nothing is really. But having to identify it yourself and evaluate your intentions allows your fresh ideas that remain true for you.
Not sure where to start? I invite you to write down your answers and in small batches, start making changes. Start with one change and boundary at a time. Do it until it sticks, then add another.
You are really important and so are healthy boundaries. But just like everything in life, know why you need something and move from the center.
I love you.