“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out…” from “MENDING WALL” by Robert Frost
Boundaries are comfortable. They keep us secure in our space. However, they also isolate and cause division. In the past few years, I’ve worked to expand my boundaries, striving for new experiences and stepping outside of my comfort zone, since that’s where the magic tends to happen. Lots of things can change when you push your boundaries, and I’m still sifting through the continued effects of this stretching. Because of my gentle pushing, I’ve now become a huge fan of splurging on a massage whenever I can justify the expense, and I’ve embraced the power of sacred self-care. I didn’t always feel that way, however; the first time I made an appointment for bodywork, I was positively terrified.
I know many women who have regular massages, and I had often wondered how they do it. Other than my husband, no on touches my bare skin or sees my curves. But because a little voice told me to try a new experience, to indulge in something that would have never have seemed like an indulgence to me, I showed up at the small spa, unsure of what to expect.
The masseuse was skilled and kind, and although I couldn’t turn off the chatter in my mind, I was able to ignore the voice that kept reminding me I am somewhere between Willendorf and the Renaissance; a Venus without precedent. As the woman slowly worked lotion into my tired muscles, a voice deep inside me whispered, “She is your sister.”
With that sudden knowledge, my reservations melted away with the tension in my shoulders, and I silenced my inner critic. Who cares if my thighs aren’t svelte? I wasn’t lying on that massage table to impress anyone: I was there to connect to my deeper self, and in doing so, I felt the thread of energy that binds us each to each other active and strong, reminding me of the common bond I share with all women.
An hour and a half later when I stood groggily from the massage table, the masseuse smiled at me, an expression of joy and warmth. I drove home in a bubble of bliss and made a decision: this was not my last massage, and if my sister was willing to use her skill to bring me joy, I would try to follow her example and attempt to spread joy through my work and day to day existence (and I’d get another massage as soon as I could afford it!)
I have found that the best way to spread joy is to be joyous, keeping in mind the deep connection that binds us to each other and the earth. We are all made up of the same beautiful energy: we just don’t always recognize this. Cultivate ways to make yourself joyful, and challenge yourself to stretch your boundaries from time to time; you might be astonished at what happens!
How can you stretch your boundaries this month?
photo courtesy of shutterstock.com