Last night I went to see Marianne Williamson speak. I have followed her online for a number of years and while I haven’t done the Course in Miracles, I have read Return to Love. It was one of the first books that I was introduced to by my yoga teacher in Sydney over ten years ago.
And the night couldn’t have come at a better time. Over recent weeks I have found myself feeling fragmented. My energy has been pulled in all directions and instead of having one clear focus I have been racing from class to class, from one idea to the next with little clarity, from workshop to retreat without conscious choice as to why I am doing what I am doing. It became apparent on my Easter retreat, when after a wonderful weekend with an amazing group of people, I felt exhausted. At first I couldn’t understand why, I had taught two retreats over the New Year and not felt this way so why this retreat and why now?
I had stepped out of the practices my teacher in India had gifted me. I wasn’t meditating. I wasn’t saying my mantra as I had committed to. I wasn’t taking the time to do my own yoga practice. I wasn’t refueling my spirit each day. I allowed the little things that normally wash over me to overwhelm me and instead of taking a step back I kept pushing through.
“IT STOPS NOW”
Three little words that Marianne said with utter conviction to the group last night. I believed her. I wanted to stand up in the room and say, “I am with you. IT STOPS NOW.” She meant what she said and it hit me right at my heart and connected to my spirit. IT STOPS NOW. To listen to her words last night it struck me that she lives and breathes her work. It’s in her body, it’s in her energy, it’s in how she listens, and it’s in the words she speaks. She is 100% committed and convicted to her path and her message in this world. She embodies her work. And, wow, what a powerful place to be.
And she does it with boundaries. She gently moves people along as they get a little lost in their sharing. She challenges people compassionately. She listens and knows when to respond. She takes her time. Nothing is a rush. She speaks with fluency and intent. And it’s part of those three words. IT STOPS NOW.
Boundaries have been on my mind since seeing Brené Brown’s recent interview with The Work of the People. In the piece she states; “Generosity cannot exist without boundaries… Nothing is sustainable without boundaries… We care more about what people think, we want people to like us and so creating boundaries doesn’t sit well with us.”
Boundaries are defined as: “a line which marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.”
For us personally it’s about how we define our limits. What is our dividing line? It’s also important to recognize when we set boundaries we are not creating separation. We are simply saying this is what is okay for me and this is what is not.
In our culture of blame, the need to be right, the need to be liked and to please, setting boundaries is challenging. It can bring up fear and I understand that. I feel fear when I create a boundary or draw that dividing line. The questions; Will this person still like me? Will I offend them? Am I jeopardizing my work with them by being clear about my limits? These questions are real fears for me. However I also recognize that I need boundaries to be the best I can be, to be compassionate, to be empathetic and to allow vulnerability with my clients, my students, the people I work for, my family and my friends.
It is about learning how to set boundaries with unconditional love. When we come from an aggressive space it triggers people and this is where the division occurs. When we come from love, we allow for growth, for our relationships to evolve and we allow ourselves to come from a place of wholeness.
In feeling fragmented over the last month, I have witnessed myself say yes to things that don’t really serve or excite me. I have not been in a place to hear what is being asked and to take a moment to connect inwards and simply allow spirit to lead the way, to trust my needs will be met, to say no to the things that don’t feel right and to say a resounding yes to the things that make my heart sing. My confusion and sense of overwhelm takes over so I end up agreeing to everything, committing to nothing. I come to a place where I feel burnt out. I keep searching outside of myself for the answers. My mind takes over and I am in rescue mode. I end up thinking too much and telling myself that if I go see a coach or get a massage or maybe head home to Mam and Dad’s for some r&r, this is what will fix it. These are all great things to do but they are not the answer. I need to connect to me. I need to connect to my centre. I need to go back to my meditation, my mantra practice and I need to get back on my mat and feel my way through. I need to press the reset button.
IT STOPS NOW.
“Empathy minus boundaries is not empathy. Compassion minus boundaries is not genuine. Vulnerability without boundaries is not vulnerability... Boundaries are frickin important and they are not fake walls. They’re not separation. Boundaries are not division. They are respect. They are saying here’s what’s okay for me and here’s what’s not.”
It's time to start over and set some boundaries. If not now, when? If not you, who? We are the only ones that can set our boundaries so today I invite you to press the reset button and begin again.