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Building Boundaries

From Hustler to Healer


The way they see me is different from how I am now. I know that it is hard for my friends, family, and lovers to see me this way. They say that “this” is just a phase, and eventually, it will pass. But, they don’t realize that I have not changed…..I see things differently now!




Here’s the thing….The way that I hold myself, the way that I stand up for myself, the way that I demand my worth to be met, the way that I insist on being seen for the gifts that I hold, the way that I present myself, in my world, with my talents, and my contribution to society…..is not a phase and it’s not going to pass. It’s a state of being. I can feel it, heavy in my chest and tingling in the space between my eyebrows as I look out into my world. I am aware of it stirring in my throat. I watch, uncomfortable at first, as the words form like soap bubbles and then pop into the universe. I am soaked in the reflecting rainbow wetness that guides them to their destination. A series of events made something inside me switch on, and now here I stand. I am still me. The good person that I was raised to be. The helpful, the go out of her way, the pleaser, the fixer, the make things happen, the ‘make things happen for everyone else until they are happy and then I will figure out my life later’ person. I am still the person that you can call at 1 am because you are confused about your sexuality, or you quit your job and don’t know where to go from here, or you need someone to talk to. I am still the person that will help you figure out your life. I am good at being that person, but I see things differently now.


Bijas and Quantum Physics

Quantum physics’ main principle is that we all see the world differently. Our realities are uniquely constructed entirely by our own experiences from birth until now. I see a person’s face may not be the way you know a person’s face because something about that person triggers something in you. Your mind remembers something that reflects an image onto this person and in this situation. Whereas I did not have that same experience, so I see them differently. No matter how much you try to explain that situation to me, my mind will never let me know that person the way you do. So how do we recognize that we all have our realities, and within those realities, we perpetuate our past pain onto our new experiences, leaving us apprehensive, cautious, and ultimately not fully living in the present moment?

My moment of Quantum Physics in New York City in June.

I love New York City. I always have. It reminds me of my Father. I love the energy, the food, and the melting pot of cultures. I feel recharged when I visit. My cousin, on the other hand, hates it. She gets so wrapped up in previous stories that she hyperventilates as we enter the Holland Tunnel. We are walking down my favorite street in The Village. It’s dark, but the street lights shine a soft glow on our sidewalk path. This is my famous street in the city. It is lined with small shops and restaurants that sell the most unique and best food and wares. I am skipping down the sidewalk with elation. Inhaling wafting scents of green tea ice cream, freshly made pasta, ripe fruit, and sweet roses from the flower cart on the corner. Finally, we were back at the hotel, and my cousin was shaking. As I skipped into my reality, she shuttered at the sight of trash-littered streets, vagrants, and the unknown of the darkness in the loud city streets. We had walked the exact path and seen two completely different realities.

Bija, are Buddhist theory of karmic seeds. They are planted every day, into everyone, at any time. They can be delivered by a look or a word. They are then imprinted in you (and depending on your experiences around them), they can fester and grow. As seeds do, they can grow into a vast, knotted, hard oak, the reality of our lives. A tiny Bija seed can be the key that unlocks your Pandora’s box and sets free a storm of self-doubt, lack of worth, anger, jealousy, and more.


Samskaras

The Hindu word means “scar”. Imagine a scar being opened and then healed repeatedly. It becomes deep, challenging, and integrated into our realities. Samskaras can be our ego’s natural form of protection. Our minds eventually will create a story to divert us from having to experience that again. Our practice is to identify what is happening, gain the strength to face it, break it open and begin to heal it. The mind is a beautiful abyss of rationalizations, reasoning, and resiliency. It can run away on autopilot, collecting bija seeds, covering up samskaras, and clouding our views.

My deepest samskara is a fear of abandonment. It’s a trauma that happened to me as a child. I didn’t like being alone and so growing up, I made sure that didn’t happen. I made sure that I always had people “friends” around me. I pushed my way into relationships and became very “easy-going.” This resulted in years of unstable, unloving, and sometimes abusive relationships, both romantic and platonic. For almost twenty years, I watched myself purposefully calculate situations that would ensure that I always had a partner and always had friends around me. I surrounded myself with people that I allowed to take advantage of me. They used my gifts and absorbed my energy without the return I craved: acknowledgment, love, or compensation. I allowed them to take from me until there was nothing left. I allowed myself to believe that a one-sided relationship was better than being alone. My samskara allowed my mind to believe that this life was acceptable. It took me years until I realized that I was even more isolated and more drained, and as a result, my physical health was being ignored. I eventually got so sick and tired that I was forced to face my scar. I painfully ripped it open and started to repair it. This was when I began to see things differently.


Divorcing your “friends.”

I used to pride myself on having a booked calendar—lunches with this person, drinks with this person, meetups with this person. Sometimes I would find myself meeting up with people from morning to night. I would come home exhausted, drained, and out of money at the end of the day. My superpower is that random people will tell me their deepest and darkest secrets. This happens to me regularly. The checkout girl at the grocery store said to me that her son was a convicted arsonist. The man sitting beside me on the bus told me that his wife cheated on him, and he was devastated. Naturally, with this “superpower”, lunch conversations eventually turn into the one-sided conversations that I am so familiar with. Every interaction like this cuts into my samskara, creating a sickening feeling that maybe they don’t like me. They just want what I can solve for them.

When my health started to deteriorate over a decade ago, I was forced to find the problem and fix it. I was listening to a lot of inspirational speakers and teachers, and they all said the same thing, “The people around you will try to stop you from changing. It is not done in malice, but people don’t like change, so they want to keep you who you are. If you want to change you have to “break up” with those people.”

Tony Robbins told a story about his friend trying to write a book. Every time he would try to sit down to write, his friends would interrupt him with offers of a game, fishing on a boat, or even a trip to Hawaii. These friends were not consciously trying to distract him. They just wanted to hang out with the friend that used to do those things with them. They were not ready to accept and get to know the friend who would lock in his office, writing a book. Eventually, the man, trying to write the book, had to shut them down. He said I’ll be back after I finish this book. If you are still here, then we will celebrate.


Building Boundaries

Boundaries are new to me. I had not been taught them. I grew up in a lower-income large family. We pulled from each other whenever we needed, no questions asked on my journey to resolving the war between my heart and my head. I learned the beauty of boundaries. Instead of flapping in the wind, they make me feel safe and grounded, tangled up in “my stories” feeling. They help me enforce my strength and give people the chance to respect my talents. They allow me to step boldly into being a life coach that can make a living from doing what I am great at. It was hard to trade in the title of “great friend” for “professional coach.” I have learned to relish in the feeling that when I respect and honor the value of my talents and myself, others will too.

At first, my words were shaky, not knowing how people in my life would react, but then I realized that those were things that I could not control, so I had no other choice than to do it! I made the people in my life aware of when our conversations crossed the line into a coaching session. I would pull out my calendar and ask if they would like to continue this conversation over a session. Some took it well, not realizing what they were doing, and became clients to talk about the heavier things. Most don’t speak to me anymore. I don’t have as many “friends” as I used to, but I am okay with it. Many don’t know how to be around “this” person I am presenting. I am more alone now than ever before, but it’s okay. I think about the teachings of Pema Chodron, and now I have the space to sit with my daemons, have tea with them and get to know all the parts of myself. This is my most demanding practice.


We teach what we need to learn.

Psychologist Carl Jung created the term “The wounded Healer”. The idea originates from the Greek term ‘origins’. 73.9% of counselors, coaches, and psychotherapists have experienced one or more wounding experiences leading to their career choice.

A few years ago, I was sitting alone on the beaches of southern India, watching the waves crash against the soft sand. They constantly adjusted and shifted each time. Life will continue to crash into us frequently, but our sense of self, practices, and worldview will ease constant adjustment and ideas. As the sunset on the horizon, I felt tingles flutter up and down my spine. When they were gone, I was left with a sense of lightness, and my view of the world became brighter. It was at that moment that my path became clear. I have faced my traumas, done my work, learned the tools, and now I must share this liberation with others. I teach, write, share, and heal. I have not changed……I just see things differently now!




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