It feels bold to say “No, I can’t do that,” or to create a container to purposefully protect yourself from energies or people that may add an energetic wobbliness into your life.
I have had a long term resistance to the term “boundary” thinking “It feels too much like a box and I hate being put into boxes because that feels like a coffin and can’t y’all tell by now I am an airy free spirit with no space for limitations?”
Then I learned how boundaries may actually be functional guidelines for life. Instead of boxing me in, they serve as something to point to in saying “That is the way to be” to others. Things like my seemingly crazy growing up rule of no phone calls after 9 pm or before 9 am. That is a boundary that says “I need quiet for myself rather than the outside world for those twelve hours a day.”
I havve been reminded lately how healthy this is.
Earlier this year I started putting my phone on airplane mode once ten p.m. rolls around.
This one simple action helped me sleep more easily and lessened my anxiety markedly. I didn’t wait for calls or texts, I lowered my expectation for calls or texts and the simple choice to turn my phone onto airplane put me in control.
This morning I was supposed to meet my friend, Dan, for a walk at Mill Creek Park. We were to meet at 7:30, right after I dropped Emma at Bakersfield High school. Mill Creek park is on my way home so it is an easy choice to meet someone for a walk.
He texted me at 7:15 and said, “I’m just waking up, can’t be there…” so I responded that was fine, thanks for letting me know, and I would go about my day.
A half hour later, he texted and said, “I’m on my way to Mill Creek!” I texted back and said, “I’m home!” I took the conversation further, explaining how I organize my day and I had scheduled an hour for the Mill Creek walk and that was all I had to give in today’s schedule.
“I am an entrepreneurial artist,” I reminded him. “While I have flexibility, I also need to be mindful of my schedule.”
I created a boundary which Dan respected. I smile now, thinking about it, because that is a mark of someone with whom I can continue to build a friendship.
Boundaries are not a way of saying no, they are a way to boldly say yes to yourself. Yes to what you need to feel ok. Yes to creating from a space that empowers you and eventually, with all of those with whom you build your life.
Julie Jordan Scott is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming Fall and Winter, 2014 and beyond.
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This post is a part of the ongoing series for 31 Days challenge. I will be writing 31 blog stories about bold choices and using a bold voice...I started the challenge late so this is story 18 (rather than 21) out of 31. if you would like to read all my posts from the beginning of the challenge, simply visit here, at 31 Days of Bold Stories, Voices and Choces
The question is making sure to carve out the time and to document it all in a way you'll enjoy reading about bold choices in a most authentic, real-me voice.
I'm grateful you are reading.