Friday, March 6, 2009

Setting Personal Boundaries

Laura (name changed) has mastered the art of setting and living with personal boundaries. In doing so she no longer needs blood pressure medication or her inhaler. I've known Laura for about four years and am inspired by her ability to use the lessons of yoga to change her life for the better on a daily basis. Following are three short anecdotes demonstrating her personal power. Hopefully, these stories will inspire more of us to realize the value of honoring thyself.

Laura's children are grown and have kids of their own. Her grandkids are quite young--below the age of five, I think. One set of grandkids lives on the west coast and the other on the east; whereas Laura resides in the midwest. Every year Laura and her husband would fly out to both coasts for Thanksgiving and Christmas. You may imagine the expense financially and time-wise of doing this. Finally this past year, Laura began to honor her own limits and spent Thanksgiving on one coast and Christmas on the other. Initially, the grandkids were upset at the change, but Laura stuck to her decision and used skype (or some such video abilities) to "be" with the kids on each coast. Already her life was simpler and, well, more sane.

Laura's high pressure job demands much of her time with last minute meetings and requests cropping up on a continuous basis. It also demands a lot of travel. Her blood pressure and breathing patterns reflected this stressful life. Over the past several months, she began to actually say, "No," to her boss. When told that "she had to fly out early for a meeting" the morning after returning from a trip, Laura simply told her boss that was not good for her body, but she would be happy to hold the meeting over the phone. Her boss was flustered, but ended up agreeing that the phone made more sense.

One final story about personal power and how one woman utilizes it in her daily life. Laura used to spend the majority of her weekends with her blind and single mother helping out with chores, reading to her, and just being together. When Laura stepped back and looked at her life and considered why it felt so off-balance and stressful, she realized that part of that was from spending so much of her out-of-work time caring for her mom. Now she spends about three hours most Sundays with her mom. Initially, her mom was upset by this shorter schedule and (from my view) tried to guilt-trip my friend into sticking with the old way. But Laura stuck to her guns, told her mother she loved her, and kept the new time limits. Within a few weeks, her mom had met other people and even began dating.

What I find so inspiring about this dear woman, is her ability to exhibit personal boundaries and power in all facets of her life. Just as importantly, she does it with a loving and compassionate heart. Never once did I sense her resisting a situation--not since she began working with her yoga breathing and mindset. Instead of fighting and struggling with potentially challenging situations, she thinks creatively and with love and calm in her heart. I believe that because her intentions are pure and honest, in the end everyone benefits.

May you release guilt,
honor yourself,
experience the personal freedom of setting boundaries,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

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