Have you ever had the experience that you can’t actually believe that the particular experience you are having at the moment is real? You think it’s a bad prank, a joke, or an ironic play on life. You suspiciously scan the environment, waiting for a group of your closest friends to jump out at any time and yell “hahaha April Fool’s, we fooled you, you are so gullible!!
Instead, the situation continues, your chest is beginning to constrict and you feel your face is beginning to flush. This can’t be real, why is this happening? Is the universe playing some cruel joke on me? I’ve been a good person, I meditate, eat well, get lots of sleep, play nicely with others, spend time outdoors and donate to charity. WTF, are you serious?
If you believe it’s karmic payback I am going to ask you to “talk to the hand”. You see I may have discovered another threadlike theme running through our cultural and social structures. Instead of an intergalactic council of deeply wise entities that sit and advise and govern us like we might see our favourite genre of science fiction book or movie, we seem to be inundated with individuals in our social system that can hold a great deal of power without the prerequisite of having first acquired deep eternal wisdom.
Decisions are often being made that are life-altering, impactful and downright harmful by individuals that have set their internal compass to consume and acquire. Let’s be honest, in the beginning, it may not have started out like this for them. They may have had the best intentions of being positive, supportive and wanted to make a difference in the world and then something very insidious happened. The plate of responsibility became bigger, heavier and the ruts of life became deeper and more defined. Maybe there is a life partner that is on the crest of an addiction. Perhaps a child has a chronic illness or is in the throes of teenage angst. Heaped upon this overflowing plate of life is an aging parent that needs some financial support. Our social structure has allowed the pendulum to swing in the direction where we are spread too thin in our roles and responsibilities.
If you run yourself ragged should you expect those around you to follow in suit? What about those you parent, supervise, your partner, your friends? If you are in a position of power and you are overworking, over consuming and over expecting, you may be causing harm to those around you. It is not up to others to pick up the pieces of your poor boundaries, it’s up to you to understand and commit to developing the type of boundaries that allow you to preserve and replenish your daily energy resources. I am guilty of those poor boundaries at times. I have friends and family members that are juggling a huge amount of responsibility. Some perceive them as angelic in their roles and others perceive they are grinding themselves to a nub due to a lack of healthy boundaries.
I have come to believe the choice of boundary setting should be left to the individual and that my judgments of myself and others should be kept contained. Figuring boundaries in a sometimes day to day, minute to minute process is what happens because we are unsure of what is right.
According to Pema Chodron: “To set good boundaries takes a lot of courage. And you have to be going through this process of acknowledging your pain, and also what triggers you, and acknowledging how much you can handle and how much you can’t handle. There’s already a lot of courage that’s gone on in coming to the place of setting boundaries. But, the intention is to make communication clear.”
There are certain states of consciousness that will re-balance our personal power and recommit to acknowledging triggers and pain. The experiences and life journeys you are having are no less valuable than anyone else’s. In a group of individuals, there is always a little surplus of ego floating around. For some of us, it takes a lifetime of developing a practice to prevent getting hooked into the egoic consciousness. A definite risk factor for boundary-pushing and triggering is feeling tired, drained or overwhelmed. The essence of ego is lurking, waiting for an opportunity when our resources are low and WHAP, we have yanked into that space again. Ruminating, second-guessing and smouldering in the past and future of regret and bad decisions.
If you are empathic and are learning to navigate your gifts of an empath, you are essentially learning to navigate energy without a user’s manual. We may spend thousands of hour and dollars seeking other’s to navigate our frontiers. It is my experience that leaving the exploration of your frontier to another eventually leaves you feeling disempowered, disconnected and empty.
A practice tool for disconnection and disempowerment may be as simple as the following: rub your palms briskly together, call in your helping spirits, place your hands on your heart and your abdomen and visualize that you are pouring loving energy into yourself. If you are an empath then the abdomen is where you may feel an over-surplus of emotions you have been unable to transcend. Repeat the following: “I love you, you are enough”, over and over until you feel you are bursting with compassion and love for yourself. In addition, get your bare feet on the ground for 5-20 minutes sometime during the day to also ground yourself. Journal about how you felt prior during and after your experience. People often provide the feedback that they feel more connected, relaxed and grounded following the practice described. Deep self-compassion can be quite healing and balancing. You can do it anywhere, it is free and it does not harm anyone.