On my first Mother's Day as a mama of 2, I turned my phone off, deactivated social media, and turned inward to reflect. It was amazing. Life has been pretty busy for me lately. It's also been kind of hard, emotionally. I've been longing for a new sense of community but struggling with not knowing how to find it as a work-from-home mother. Last Saturday, I had an emotionally charged day. Things just got heavy for me. I felt like I was carrying the world with no help, no inspiration, and no support. I know myself well enough to understand that when things feel like they're overflowing and outpouring, it's because I am not centered, taking care of myself, or slowing down to pause. I hadn't picked up my journal in weeks, my meditation wasn't happening as consistently as I needed it, and my mind felt overwhelmed with the daily tasks of being a mom, wife, entrepreneur, and everything else in between. With all of that said, it felt good to disengage.
In my efforts to unwind, I knew I needed to move my body. It'd been rainy and dreary all day, but I was able to go for a long walk with my littlest babe, which was helpful. I made time to have my cup of coffee, do some journaling, and enjoy being entirely in the moment. No checking the time or rushing, no checking social media, emails, or texts. Just sitting outside and being present with the moment at hand and breathing deeply.
In the thick of my rough day, I reached out my spiritual teacher saying: I am having a meltdown. I need to get myself together. I don't feel supported, and I don't know what I need to feel supported. The not knowing is the part that makes me feel even more uneasy and displaced. She responded calmly by saying, I don't think you need to get yourself together, you're very together. I suspect you need a moment (or moments) to fall apart a bit.
Reading her reply gave me anxiety! Fall apart? What? No. Why would I need to do that? That is not allowed (cue emotional barrier here). I cannot. I've done too good a job at building my emotional boundaries to just fall apart. But after I let my emotions settle down, I knew she was right. I knew that I needed to make space for myself to crumble without shame.
Something else essential that came to surface: I also need to be mindful of not allowing my healthy boundaries to turn into unhealthy barriers.
Many of us have done the (hard) work to make sure we are protected emotionally. And if you are like me, you want to honor that sacred work and make sure you are mindful of your boundaries. However, what has been coming up for me in my meditations and reflections is this:
Boundaries and barriers are not synonymous. Boundaries leave room for growth, adjusting, shifting, and learning. Barriers prevent, keep out, insinuate indestructibility, and aren't easy to move through.
I've been guilty of confusing the two over the years. I'm growing to understand that with boundaries I am still able to soften and move freely through my emotional and physical spaces. Barriers, on the other hand, leave me without the flexibility to unfold, modify, and explore.
As I've started to unpack and organize the two, I noticed that there was a block right in the middle of how I showed up for myself. I wasn't allowed around it, there was no space for crumbling or missteps. Keeping it together was the only option. That isn't healthy for anyone. I am regularly discovering how to move through life in a way that is free. Free of debilitating fear, unhealthy attachments, shame, anger, and judgment of myself and others. Navigating the (uncomfortable) realm of giving myself space and permission to need a moment to completely fall apart will be a work in progress, always.
What has come to fruition over the past week is this:
to honestly get and be free, I have to make peace with the following
what scares me
what I am clinging to
what makes me uncomfortable
what makes me angry, uncertain, and closed off
I also have to learn how to notice and address when a boundary has morphed into a barrier.
The lesson: Be intentional. Make it a point to approach, honor, and feel it all. Adjust and re-adjust your boundaries. Dismantle your barriers. Today, I give myself permission to do that, and I want you to do the same. The work is never done even when we think we’ve tackled it. With that truth at the forefront, find and grow in self-freedom by doing the work even when it feels repetitive.