Sustaining our energy by creating healthy boundaries.
“Knowing oneself comes from attending with compassionate curiosity to what is happening within. Methods for gaining self-knowledge and self-mastery through conscious awareness strengthen the mind’s capacity to act as its own impartial observer. Among the simplest and most skilful of the meditative techniques taught in many spiritual traditions is the disciplined practice of what Buddhists call ‘bare attention’. Nietzsche called Buddha ‘that profound physiologist’ and his teachings less a religion than a ‘kind of hygiene’...’
Gabor Mate, “ In the realm of hungry ghosts”
Our bodies can be great wisdom keepers and teachers. When it comes to boundaries, they can teach us a great deal. Each cell in our body has its own boundary, or cell membrane, which keeps unwanted substances out, and allows nutrients in. The cell says “ yes’ to what’s good for it, and “ no” to what it doesn’t need.
When it comes to modern life, it can be full of demands which can lead us to stepping beyond our own boundaries and overstretching. I notice in myself, when I get quite busy, my sleep can sometimes be affected; I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, my brain working away at an issue, trying to find a solution at maybe 4 a.m in the morning! I imagine that this might be familiar to many of you. Again, our culture has taught us that the way to solve a problem is to think about it and do more.. But when this happens compulsively, it can undermine our well-being rather than lead us to sweet relief.
Sometimes I have to admit that I know what’s good for me, but forget to do it! Feeling that life is too busy to be doing self-care, yet, in the striving and overdriving, there can be burn out and collapse at the end of it all. It’s just not sustainable. Sustaining our energy takes self care, can mean setting clear boundaries with others, and prioritising our health and well-being as much as possible. This begins with having an awareness of our inner world and outer interactions and how these weave together.
I’ve found that what brings relief is to go beneath the thoughts, to the nervous system activation (stress) which is fuelling them. Calming my body, calms the mind. I find that I can then let go of the thinking until an appropriate time, and also direct my thoughts away from what feels activating and compulsive. This is about creating inner boundaries- a gentle “ no” to what feels activating, and instead, dropping into your body, and finding what feels calming instead.
Do you find yourself in compulsive overdrive, or sometimes collapse?
“Boundaries are a part of self-care. They are healthy, normal, and necessary.”
With love, Aisling