This scene on the lake, it has as much energy and socializing as I am willing or open to engaging.
I promised a friend that I would write this second vignette sooner rather than later, so here it is. Though admittedly a little uninspired, as my energy is placed primarily in completing the incense(d) heart, meditation, and exercise. Daily, by 9pm, my body is shutting down, readying for bed, and up again naturally somewhere between 630 and 7am.
Here’s what I can share, that may be of interest to some – but for an extremely few people, I have lost all interest in socializing, both in-person and virtually. My time and care are here for only a very very few whom I love to see over walks and calls when our time permits. While small-talk has never been welcome, I now simply don’t. Some months ago, I figured out that my maximum socializing time was 2 hours; truly, it was 90 minutes, but I could push myself to 120 under certain circumstances.
I have also nearly fully stepped out of the social media realm. I am no longer in any-but-family chat groups, and I do not engage anyone but family after somewhere between 4 and 6pm, depending on the day’s events. Though it took me a little while to find this resting place, these are now hard lines for me. Additionally, my Twitter account is deactivated, and the stories of my Instagram have very slowly practically become no more; as all things are temporary, I understand that this will evolve down the line, but for now, I have found a much-missing and needed peace in these new, more silent and reflective spaces.
Quite severe for a woman who previously never shut off notifications, and who had as extension the body part: a mobile telephone. Also, and truth told, someone who would have anxiety if a notification was pending, and to which she had not yet responded. My closest friends know how severely I paid attention 24/7. Here, I write in the third person, because I am no longer her. This, a thing for which I can thank the global circumstances of 2020, and 2021.
Over the course of the pandemic, I realized how much energy I placed into things, situations, and people who did little to fill my heart, and everything to deplete it. All have been cut, and though that brought me great anxiety at the start (‘please welcome the only child of divorce, ever the people-pleaser before her self-care!’), I have finally gained the sense of balance necessary to take care of me before taking care of all situations who would not do the same.
It’s important to here acknowledge that boundaries setting is not easy; and, it is a marathon, rather than a sprint. Where I am today had been building for some years. Equally, it’s important to nod to the realities that not having anyone ill in my immediate family, not being married, and not having children are circumstances which facilitate the easiest of boundaries setting such as the shutting off of a telephone.
Finally, and setting aside those who we may have cut out entirely (and who would give very little bit of a shit, anyway), it’s important to note that the biggest challenge of setting boundaries is posed to those who no longer have access to us in the way that they had once been accustomed. On this, two points, one outward facing to our beloveds, and one internal reassurance for your hearts from my own experiences: the first, it is an acknowledgment and a hug to them who grumbled quietly and talked about the new boundaries they were coming up against with friends other than ourselves (those of us setting boundaries), in an effort to understand, rather than fight us; you, who gave us the space we needed to take care of ourselves. You, who eventually accepted the boundaries we set. You, who continue to love us enough that you gave us the room to do what we needed, without centering yourself (even if I must add:”…without centering yourself eventually”). We see you. We thank you. We adore you.
Second, is a promise which I can make to you, anyone presently learning to set boundaries, or setting them in challenge – those who love us, and with whom we remain in love, will shift right alongside us. Because to love someone is to love and support everything they need to be as healthy as possible; it is to acknowledge that though the thing is not for you, you will be there for them, helping them in this very thing, foreign to your own needs. (Of course, I am not here talking about things which lend themselves to your beloved’s, or to your own self-mutilation.)
You know what’s happened since all above began to take real form?
The space in my heart once full of smoke and ash placed there by the above mentioned things has cleared. It is now lighter, and drawing into it the kind of care it needs. Because this is the Law of Attraction, which is the Muslim root that God is Abundant and He “will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Surat Ar-Ra`d, Verse 11)
Or, if you prefer a more distilled version of this, just turn to our lovely Rumi who continues to remind us that “what you seek is seeking you.”
Please tell me, how is it that you are taking care of your hearts?