Thought Cookie: Edition 12, Vol. 2
267 words of this and that
It occurred to me recently that the pandemic has forced us to get better at boundaries. Whether we were good at boundaries or bad at them before, the onset of COVID-19 required us to establish new boundaries and -- for once -- the world encouraged us to hold on to them. Now, as the boundary-driven safety precautions become less necessary, it’s time for us to take stock of our boundaries to discover what we want to hold on to, and what we want to release. As my therapist once taught me (thus rocking my world in the moment), boundaries are for you first. A chronic giver, I had thought boundaries were designed to keep other people away. The idea that boundaries could be created to serve me changed everything about how I thought about them, set them and held to them. While there were moments in the last year I felt perfectly fine not going anywhere again or seeing anyone, I have come to the conclusion that I am a very social person who needs and thrives with meaningful human interaction. I am no longer ashamed to admit I need to be with people, feel their energy and allow the spirited, animated and vibrant woman I am to fully be seen. This has been hard for me to admit because I was conditioned in my early life to quiet down, to dim to an acceptable subtle brightness. I was taught that being too outgoing could be dangerous, unseemly or could make others feel uncomfortable. God forbid. The last year has deepened my relationship with myself, and through that, it has taught me the importance of accepting and asking for what I need. That’s a boundary I want to continue to hold.
Reminder from the soul of truth: Boundaries are for you first. What boundaries did you set during the pandemic? How did they serve you? How didn’t they serve you?
Takeaway: What part of yourself do you need to tend to with a boundary? What boundaries will you release?
I was recently sorting through a few things my mother left behind when she passed away a decade ago. It was a heart-rending delight to hold in my hands the things she cherished: clips from magazines, cards, notes to herself and jotted prayers for others. Among her things was this poem, which reminded me of her spirit of life, her desire to live and her swelling, expansive heart.
From my bookshelves
I have always loved poetry. My library of books contains books of poetry by individual authors and collections as well. Dogeared, chewed at the corners by this dog or that, I never feel I own enough volumes of poetry. Recently, my youngest daughter came into my office announcing she needed to bring a poem to school, and asked me, “Mom, do you have any good poems?” The sky parted, the birds sang and I knew I had been preparing for this moment all my life. I buried her with books of poetry until she found one that spoke to her soul. I do the same from time to time, although the assignment comes not from a teacher, but from my spirit in need of soothing. Recently, I re-discovered the 20th-century poet Denise Leverton from this collection. Her work in the 1960s creating poetry about the experience of being a woman touched me deeply, including this excerpt from Stepping Westward.
Thought Cookie will be back on June 8 when I will share another freshly-baked batch. In the meantime, if this struck a chord with you, think of someone you love and share it with them. Or share one of my pieces of art on your social platforms and tag me. I would be honored. If you’d like to ingest more of my writing, visit my full website.