Boundaries allow Balance

March 2015 162

Boundaries give freedom, choice, respect, authenticity and safety.

For me balance is a continuous fine tuning, that goes on to allow me to feel happy, comfortable, and have a clear sense of efficacy, good self esteem and self respect.  Boundaries enable me to have the capacity to love myself , my family and others,  and  joyfully support  the other people with whom  I work .  Without clear boundaries  I could not have balance!

It has taken me a long time to make this a conscious choice:  to take total responsibility for myself.  I often found it easier to transfer blame to other people for taking away my choices, happiness and independence!  You may feel trapped in certain situations but even where that’s the case there is the possibility of change for everyone.  We sometimes find ourselves caught up in relationships/jobs that sap our energy, involve endless stress and we feel pushed into a corner of despair.  This desperation creates a loss of hope and possible illness, but it can eventually, also push us into making dramatic changes to our situation which then gives back our sense of control and hope.  If things are bad enough you will get out of it however difficult this may feel.   I had to make extremely hard choices, many times in my life which sometimes involved things becoming much worse before I could expect or achieve a tangible improvement, but regaining your freedom of choice is very empowering.  To do the right thing for yourself can be really challenging and calls for determination and courage!

I now know I am the only person who can really look after myself – no one else is ultimately responsible.  Sounds so simple but expecting other people to make you happy causes so much heartache!

Many of my clients are pivotal in their family’s lives, work extremely hard, run businesses and care for their loved ones.  For many coming here for a retreat is the first time they have chosen to come away by themselves.  A retreat is an escape, from practical responsibilities and pressure.  One of the main things we focus on at our Retreats  is balance:  in what we eat, how we feel, what we do etc.  I find balance and boundaries go together very comfortably.

Once I set boundaries for myself life ran more smoothly.  To have lodgers or guests in your home requires boundaries for sure.  A family home changing into a retreat just wouldn’t happen without them.  Clarity goes hand in hand with boundaries as does flexibility!  Nothing too rigid, but it really helps if you think through what you do, and where there is a little discomfort, where you feel impinged on or  your life is somehow compromised too often.  Ensuring intimate familyspace time and open house is all about balance.

Being all things to all people isn’t feasible.   Delegation is a helpful way forward, as is saying No!  Hard at first but with practice it gets easier.  It enables you to say Yes to the events/people that you really are chosing to have in your life!

We all need space to be by ourselves.  Space to recharge our batteries; review our lives and decisions we have made.  Time to be empty,  to let go.  Make space for space.   At first space can be a little scary as you have time to really feel any pain in your life rather than avoid it being busy.  But sitting with the painful feelings will help you observe and make better decisions. This then allows you to be engaged in life in a healthy, balanced way.  Space helps you decide on your priorities for the year, month or week and ensure they are honoured.

This helps decision making:

  • What is it that you really want and need?
  • What do you love to have in your life?
  • What brings joy to you?
  • What makes you smile and feel worthwhile?
  • How can you change your life to ensure this is a priority?

It may need some tweeking.  Little by little is fine, no need to go all or nothing.  This allows leeway for mistakes, indulgences or sudden unavoidable events that happen to all of us.  This allows us to be human and not perfect.  Balance encompasses all of this; perfectionism does not and causes unhealthy levels of stress!

Helping others to help you is really important too.  Many people never like to ask for help but prefer to give it, and feel very uncomfortable receiving.  Lots of people in their lives would love to help but don’t realise the help is wanted or needed.  People can’t mind- read so if you feel overwhelmed or cross, let others know.  Share the problem out don’t just shoulder it and feel disgruntled.  Far better to be honest in a kind and loving way.  It is not a failure to ask for assistance!

Key Tips for finding balance in your life:

  • Set realistic boundaries on your availability, time and energy expenditure
  • Express your needs as they are equally important as other peoples needs
  • Define what is most important in your life by looking at what you love and must have in your life
  • Clarify what you do not want in your life
  • Recognise that every decision you make is a choice
  • Your happiness is your responsibility, find ways to ensure you are happy


‘Insight from Experience’ revisited!

FullSizeRenderWelcome back to my blog: Insight from Experience! It has been a long time since I wrote a blog and today is a special day and it feels especially right for me to restart again today.

24 years ago on 18th August my dear Mum died when I was 31 – only 10 months after my father died so a double whammy in a short space of time.   It was probably the worst day of my life and I was devastated for a long time. It felt like the world just stopped on that day and nothing was real for quite some time. Lots of other challenges were going on for me at that time in my life and I felt completely lost. Now this doesn’t sound very happy or inspiring but that does come rest assured!

I let go, quit my job (that I actually hated) and stopped everything apart from being a Mum. I bought a very old, knackered piano and played sad tunes endlessly, crying and wailing along. Somehow I needed to release the pain via the piano and I lost myself in this process for 2 weeks. Gradually I resurfaced into reality. The funeral was difficult but was a celebration of my mother; she was such a feisty, practical, emotional, exuberant, moody, beautiful and funny Mum! I can see her now giggling in her own adversity! Olwen Sarah Bicknell was very special. She gave birth to me at 42 which was unusual in 1960! She loved to dance, cook, go shopping and walk in nature she was a farmer’s daughter – hence the practicality and was a natural listener and the village counsellor! So many ladies would come and bear their souls to my Mum! She had a stroke aged 55 and experienced depression and frustration for many years but with my Dad her best friend and carer at her side, in the end made the best of a difficult situation.

I began a complete transformation of my life from then on! I found a new job working for a Mental Health charity which led eventually to me training as an Occupational Therapist! This gave me a wonderful job that I loved, an income and independence and freedom – more of that later! Sometimes we need to stop and start fresh, step into the unknown and trust! Most of all believe we can do it!

Hence the ‘Insight from Experience’ title of this blog. We all have experiences that colour our lives and help us learn lessons, mine were empathy and compassion at that time. So today I recognise how influential my Mum was to me. How inspiring she was in surviving a stroke, carrying on and being supportive to me for many years. I loved her dearly and hope to also offer some of the support, empathy and inspiration to others in the future! She would love my life purpose, because this is how it feels to me! Helping others become healthier and happier through healthy eating, juicing, life coaching and offering a lovely warm environment with therapies and lots of nurture to either improve or prevent long term illnesses such as strokes. I want to be around for a good length of time, to be healthy, happy and fulfilled and I want that for all my guests and clients! So today we offer our new website and look forward to meeting or hearing from all you lovely people who also have your stories and experiences to share!