I believe that when we enter this world, we are whole, complete beings. We have a purpose to be here. To say it simply: our purpose is love. Life then gives us experiences that seem to break our hearts open, and we can find ourselves feeling the need to defend and shut down to survive as children in a world that doesn’t reflect our innate wholeness.
When I was a little girl, I created worlds with my imagination. Lush gardens. Valleys filled with wildflowers and rippling rivers. My dogs became wolves and I the wild jungle princess who knew all the plants that could heal. I did this for the sheer pleasure of imagining, because it was life-giving, as natural as breathing.
And then little by little I noticed that others were watching, judging, applauding, critiquing, telling me ways I could make these inner worlds better. As if my innermost creations were not good enough. Before I even knew what was happening, I shifted my motivation from creating for pleasure’s sake to creating to gain approval, placing others’ opinions and desires above my own heart’s desires and wisdom. I learned through experience that I needed the outer world to educate me in how to navigate my life: a priest, a mother, a father, a teacher, a marketer, a healer. Someone outside of me surely knows better than me about my needs, wants and desires.
My inner garden filled with the fruits of others’ hearts, the colors and shapes influenced and designed in ways that I could no longer distinguish “me” from “them.”
I began believing that my value stemmed from others’ validation–and more specifically from male validation. I blossomed in the attention and affection of others’ praise. I thought that if I created something–just for the joy of creating–it was without value, useless, sinful even. I believed that progress and production are to be valued above creativity, and if what I’m creating doesn’t have a utilitarian purpose, then what’s the point?
And then in moments of deep dreaming, or walking alone in the forest, I began hearing voices calling out to me…in the wind, in waves, in forms I cannot even identify or articulate. Gradually my heart began to stir, as I found and created spaces for it to breathe and explore the world. At first the voice felt a lot like anger, the anger of feeling like a doormat, of others “taking advantage” of my innocence and generosity. At least these were the voices in my head. Anger has a divine purpose, and can burn through illusion to help us see more clearly. But anger and resentment take a very heavy toll on one’s energy and cannot last for long without burning one into a heap of ash.
When I devoted time and space to dropping into my heart, I discovered that underneath the anger was this softer voice, encouraging me to stop hailing to others’ voices and shake off the tendrils of self-doubt. To carve out daily time and space to be still enough for long enough to get clear on what I want and need. To set boundaries. To wake up from the mental illusions and remember who I am inside my core. To discover for myself the true value of creating, imagining, and living from an awakened heart.
Just like you, I desire to be whole; to rememeber my inherent wholeness. Just like you, I desire to express myself with courage, compassion, confidence, while standing in my full power–with firm boundaries. In her book Rising Strong, author, speaker, and shame researcher Brené Brown describes what she calls “living BIG.” Brené encourages us to set Boundaries that are in Integrity with our needs and desires so that we can be Generous in assessing others’ motivations and intentions. She says that the people she knows who are the most courageous and open-hearted also have the clearest boundaries, and they are able to communicate their boundaries with kindness and firmness.
Recently I had an experience with a dear sister, with whom I had been very generous with my time and resources. Then at some point, she was still riding on my wave of generosity, and a gradual feeling of resentment started creeping into my awareness. Once I became aware of this, and because I love her and want to continue deepening our relationship, I knew I had to have a conversation about my boundaries and ask for clarity on her intentions, so that I can know what I’m agreeing to as we move forward. It took a great deal of courage to speak to her, but when I finally did, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I felt liberated from my own internal prison of fear and resentment.
Living from a courageous heart is an art, a practice that you get better at over time. I feel nervous and shaky every single time I have one of these conversations about boundaries and stating my needs. Somewhere deep inside of me I believe that if I set boundaries with others, then I’m not being friendly. And friendliness is a quality I value highly. But I’m learning that I can’t be truly friendly when I don’t set boundaries or speak my authentic truth. Then I’m just avoiding the person and hiding from myself. It is a moment-to-moment choice, to listen to inner knowing, and value my truth enough to speak, act and stand up for it.
Even as I’m writing, I’m aware of you reading my words, and I find myself fighting the desire to please, wondering whether you will like or agree with what I’m writing. So, when I notice this, I focus on my heart, what it wants to say, and allow the words to pour through me.
The world is calling each of us to drop out of our minds–that are constantly concerned about what others think about us–down into the wise knowing of our hearts, so that we can realize our place as leaders–in our families, communities, wherever we find ourselves. Our hearts are activating us to speak, act and stand on behalf of our needs, values, boundaries, and morals. The time is now. This is a place where your voice is valued. We are here to listen…and cheer you on. Please join us, sister.
So now it’s your turn to ask yourself some questions and share with us in the comments below:
- What is yours that you have set down, cut off, or given away?
- What is your heart is asking you to reclaim?
- What boundaries do you need to set to be in integrity with your heart?
With immense love,
The Global Sisterhood team
Written by Kat Lindsay