JOYFUL GRATITUDE #152
Today want to express gratitude to the Universe for kindly giving me plenty of opportunities lately to practice setting my boundaries. I often wish it was a one time thing, that you just set your boundaries once and for all, and then they were there, stable and protective forever.
However it is not so, and I keep realising that I have to figure out my boundaries anew. Which makes sense of course, because I am constantly learning and evolving, what I may once have accepted no longer feels OK or that the ‘should’ that pressured me in the past is clearly not my monkey to take.
Setting boundaries is hard for me as a people pleaser. Speaking up about what doesn’t work for me is a weak set of muscles that need to be trained, over and over again. I would love to say that with all this practice I’ve got it figured out, but I keep on struggling to hear the truth my intuition whispers to me, amongst the noise of ‘I should’ and ‘might be cool’. Actually, I don’t want ‘cool’ and if I find that I’m trying to convince myself to do something, I realise I’m pushing my boundaries and I am the only person who can respect them for me.
When I set my boundaries it is far from elegant, I find it scary to put my needs out there, not knowing how people will react. But regardless of the way my message is delivered, it does feel empowering when I identify my boundaries and stick up for myself. I have to keep reminding myself the short-term effort is worth it for my future self.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #146
Last Saturday I attended a talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert with the School of Life. The ticket was a birthday present to myself, bought back in the summer and I was so excited when the big day finally came along. It’s the second time I attend one of her talks and WOW, that woman can speak! She shares her wisdom in a very accessible way (with an amazing sense of humour and without shying away from swear words) and most importantly gets her points across with incredible story-telling, the kind where you find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat, entirely focussed, waiting to hear what comes next, the type of story that sticks with you and makes you examine your life with a new lens.
She shared openly and humbly what she’s learnt in this incredible life path of writing, love, loss and dreams, and what it takes to try and be a relaxed woman in this world. The fact that she is so down-to-earth about it somehow makes my own struggle feel more acceptable. Since the talk, I’ve been paying particular attention to my priorities and boundaries, and how it really takes lots of intentional decisions (big and small) to be as aligned as possible with what I truly want and spend my energy on that, saying ‘I don’t care’ about the rest. It takes constant readjustment and I am going to do my best in the next weeks and months to practise this mindfully.
The end of the year has arrived, bringing with it some quiet days. I’ve been reviewing this whole year and taking a step back to journal and reflect on the 12 last months, as well as look at what is coming next. For me 2018 was both incredibly tough and very healing. It’s always the same, we have to go through the dark woods to feel better on the other side. Despite the difficult times, I’m grateful for the learning that 2018 brought me.
Like the teeny tiny spiderweb threads, intertwined in the ‘fingers’ of this plant, everything is linked: maintaining boundaries, slowing down, experimenting, generosity, being true to our authentic self, mindfulness and acceptance, letting go of perfectionism and busy-ness, cultivating creative practices, self-compassion… I’m still not out of the dark woods, but I know that giving attention to one aspect opens space and possibility for another as they build on each other step by step.
I’m looking forward to what 2019 will bring. I hope that I can apply the lessons learnt in 2018 for more smooth sailing and I trust that there are exciting times up ahead:) I wish you all a wonderful new year!!!
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #54
This week via work I got to participate in a lovely full-day workshop about resilience outside the office (think cosy yoga studio with mats, blankets and cushions…:) I am very grateful for the opportunity to step away from the daily grind to think about resilience and getting some tips on how to recognise stress and cultivate resilience in our fast-paced and ever-changing world.
The workshop was very interactive and it was wonderful to get to know my colleagues better and particularly interesting to see that we share many similar struggles, regardless of our backgrounds.
Setting boundaries is a big challenge for me so I’ve decided to focus on improving how I identify my boundaries and how I communicate them. I see these steps as the key to being kind to myself and I’m curious to see where this awareness will lead me.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #51
When I think of patterns I usually think of lovely shapes carved repeatedly into a wooden bench or gorgeous detailed drawings replicated over and over on a strip of wall-paper.
Unfortunately patterns are also insidious repeating behaviours that undermine daily happiness and make life unnecessarily complicated and difficult. I’m grateful for the people around me who are helping me become aware of unhealthy patterns in my life.
While this is a good first step, I also realise that now that I see these patterns, the hard work is actually in front of me. In the next weeks and months I want to create new patterns for myself, more adapted to the way I want to experience life, specifically around the topic of setting boundaries. I am looking forward to experimenting…