by Renee Bedard
Walking along the hiking trails of New England, you can find so many beautiful treasures. The winding paths through the woods will lead you into forgotten places and mysterious locations. You can often find cellar holes, old foundations, and defunct mill sites. Each enchanting place can stir something within you if you allow it. One of my favorite New England hidden gems are the old stone walls. Only a few feet tall, the mossy stone border lines weave their way through the woods and overgrown fields. Echoing back to a time when they marked important boundaries, these stoic sentinels stand steadfast to this day as they hold their ground, maintaining property lines from long ago. Allowing my mind to wander, I begin to reflect inward. Where are my boundary lines? How to I maintain a healthy foundation? Are my inner and outer landscapes reflecting my needs? Am I honoring myself by maintaining a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle?
There are so many connections and clues around us. Each are asking us to check in with ourselves. As we develop a healthy and sustainable self-care practice, we breathe deeply into our bodies, learning to listen to the quiet and steady voice within. It helps us to understand who we are and what we need to continue our path that we choose to design. Remembering the important role of the old stone walls, they did not quickly come together and form their lines for the farmers. No. The stones were dug out of those fields. The farmers cleared and cared for the land. With the rocky soil now cleared and ready to be fertilized, they painstakingly built the walls, piecing them together one by one. This action took time and a lot of effort. You can even say that the task was a labor of love in order to provide for themselves and loved ones. Like the farmers, we too, can remove and detangle what does not belong to us and cultivate healthy and necessary boundaries we need in our lives as well.
It is true that it can be difficult to create healthy boundaries, especially when we may find ourselves always putting others first. We can fall into a routine, get consumed by our schedules, and end up getting swept away until it is time for us to plop into bed, hoping tomorrow will be different. The thing is, nothing will change until we decide to create that change for ourselves. The key to healthy boundaries is to create beneficial patterns that promote and foster what you need. Another key? Begin to really dig in and get to know yourself. What makes you happy? What makes you sad or angry? The stresses that bubble up to the surface, why are they there and what are they trying to say?
As we begin to remove old patterns of behavior that no longer serve us, we will need to plant the seeds for new beneficial patterns. The task can seem daunting, I know. Yet, the most important and helpful habits take time to foster and grow. Patience, persistence, and a good sense of humor can all help as we learn to live in a new way. But where do we begin?
- Meditation and journaling are great places to start. The more we understand who we are, we can see our patterns and why we have created them. Once we see and understand the pattern, we can begin to undo the habit and replace it with something helpful.
- Start in small ways – little actions go a long way and will create the confidence needed to make the bigger changes later. We can hold a lot of anxiety with our cell phones that are on all the time. Texts, calls, emails, and social media are always going and are always at our fingertips. Healthy boundaries can begin when we shut off thew phone. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, do you really need to reply to the text or email right away? If not, leave it. You can continue doing what you are doing at the time or meditate, reflect, or just breathe. The point is, you are the one in charge of your life.
- Learn to ask for help when you need it. This can be very difficult for a lot of people. You are certainly not alone. Asking for help and telling others what you need is not a sign of weakness. It is an act of kindness that you can offer to yourself. You do not need to do everything all of the time. Ask for help. It is something you can do to help to elevate some of the weight you carry. Maybe you can even ask yourself if you are taking on too much responsibility for the time you have allotted to you. Again, you do not need to do all the things all of the time for everyone. If you spread yourself too thin, you will not have the energy for yourself or anyone else.
- Learn to say no. This is one of the hardest things to do for so many people. By saying no, we can begin to do the things that we need to do for ourselves. We have many choices in our lifetime. What does your life look like when you have the power and control over it? When we say no, we are advocating for ourselves. We are saying that we are valuable and all that is within our lives is valuable too. No is a word that can help us foster what is important to us because we are being the gate keepers of our life. Another thing to remember is that ‘No’, is a full sentence. It is healthy to say no.
- Leave your options open. Of course, by saying no right in the moment, depending what the issue is, it doesn’t mean that it is forever. Things can change. Our schedule may free up, granting us a little time where we can experience something that we want to do.
- Be honest in your words and deeds. When we are honest with ourselves and others, we build a healthy line of communication. This is a wonderful gift that you can give to yourself and to those around you. Speaking what is in your heart can sting sometimes, but if you are gentle in your communication, understanding can be had on both sides of the conversation. Is there an outcome that you can settle on?
As we begin to untangle the pieces within us, we can start to cultivate our field, our inner landscape. With what we discover inside ourselves, we can prepare for healthy and prosperous growth. By doing so, we are laying down the foundation for our necessary and healthy boundaries. Our new personal boundaries can feel strange or difficult at first. We can even lose our hold on those boundaries from time to time. That is normal. The important thing to remember is that you can always pick up where you left off. Please remember that you are beginning to change some patterns that you held for a very long time. It will be difficult and may take some time. There will be times when you fall back into the old routines. Please remember to offer yourself forgiveness, examine where the break in the boundary was, and simply try again. These new healthy patterns are there for you to continue to grow, develop, heal, and evolve. How do your important boundary lines expand through your landscape?
Renee Bedard is a psychic intuitive and a Reiki Master Teacher. She is currently a Witchcraft 3 student and a Virgo Ministry volunteer.