Day Four: What are your limits?
Today we have a big class on a HUGE topic!
If you've taken the Emotional Permaculture course, some of this will be review, but we will go in deeper now.
Self love is all about boundaries, and so is design
It took me about forty-two years of being alive before I realized that loving myself just means having good boundaries. Who knew? I wish I had. My whole life would have been different.
Truly, when we become adept at setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, all the rest of that stuff falls into place. The burnout lessens. The depression skulks away. And the happiness and creativity begins to rise.
What are the boundaries of your daily practice?
A huge part of establishing our daily practice is figuring out what the boundaries of that are. What are our physical boundaries, how much time do we have, what do we hope to achieve, how often are we going to let other people interrupt, how much money are we going to spend, how far are we going to take this thing?
I'll use my own boundaries as an example here:
I choose yoga, writing, gardening, walking, and smoothies to commit to at least TRYING to do every day. And the dogs. It's important to me to set time aside for the dogs. That's it. Those are my boundaries, for my daily practice. I could go on to establish amounts of money I want to make, or add in specific time management, but right now I am comfortable letting those details unfold organically.
Your own boundaries could be way more detailed than this, or way less. It's up to you.
Now it’s your turn:
Spend some time freewriting on these questions before continuing today's class.
GOBRADIME is a permaculture design process, and boundaries are such an essential part of any kind of design! I use these exercises with clients, students, and myself, all the time.
Zones and Sectors:
The boundaries that you set, either intentionally or unintentionally, define the shape and trajectory of your relationships with the people and elements who cross, or come into contact with those boundaries. This is equally true for physical/land-based boundaries (think fences and waterways) as it is for emotional ones.
When permaculture folks design a landscape, we use zones and sectors analysis to assess where the boundaries are, how they need to shift, and how to place elements in healthy relationship to each other.
Day three of my Emotional Permaculture workshop is devoted to exploring your personal, emotional, and time boundaries. If you’ve already done that course, feel free to skip to the next section. Or, work through your boundaries again, specifically with your daily practice in mind. The image here is about using ecological principles to manage our emotions and relationships, and if you haven't done that course, please watch this video before moving on.
How to define your boundaries
Use this worksheet to help you figure it out.
There are no right or wrong answers, but try to choose boundaries that are in line with all of this good work you've been doing. Remember that this is just an exercise, and you can come back and change your boundaries and refine them any time you want.
Start with your physical body. What are your boundaries around being touched? Are you comfortable hugging strangers? It's ok if you aren't. Do you prefer to shake hands? That's perfectly fine. It's your body and you get to decide every single boundary about it.
Think about your sexuality, your physical space, your personal zone, and for sure, your diet.
For the physical contact you want, make notes in the YES column. And for what you don't want, make notes on the NO side.
What are your personal zones and sectors?
This is an important question in any design. Think of your personal boundaries as the zones and sectors of your emotional landscape. You can create a diagram like the one Jane created, here, thinking through different types of boundaries:
Repeat this process for the following sets of boundaries:
Emotional. This includes time you'll spend worrying about money, politics, work, family. It includes emotional labor for other people, and definitely includes those intense conversations on Social Media! CHOOSE your boundaries around all of these things, and write them down.
Material. This is about your stuff. How much will you keep, what will you share and with whom, and how will you spend your money? Which material possessions will matter to you, and which will not?
Time. How will you spend your time? Yes, all of these categories overlap each other and this one is especially connected to the emotional boundaries. Your time is your life, and when you give it away carelessly because of fuzzy or nonexistent boundaries, you will never get it back. So again, choose.
Boundaries zip up technique!
Try this when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It works!
Today's assignment: claim, clear, and commit to a dedicated space for your daily practice
Now that you’ve made clear your personal boundaries around your daily practice, it’s time to demonstrate your commitment to them by carving out a clear, physical boundary for your daily practice, in the form of a studio space where you can write, move, think, and do your thing!
A room of your own. If you are to create, to think, to write, to make art, you need a space of your very own. Not shared with your kids, your partner, your housemate.
Your. Own. Space.
If you're sitting there thinking, “yeah, I WISH,” then I reaffirm my statement even more! You can have this! Pick a closet, a corner of the basement, a spot in the shed. Curtain off a section of the porch or rearrange some furniture in the living room to make a nook. Make a blanket fort if you have to!
Yes, I am aware that many people in the world live with their whole family in a single room and, for them, this is an impossible request. But none of my students at this time are in that unfortunate situation, so just do this!
And if you already have a studio, spend today cleaning it, reorganizing it, and setting it up to embrace your new daily practice.
Setting up a studio can be overwhelming.
But it doesn’t have to be. Try breaking it down into three steps:
Creating your studio is as much about setting the intention to be creative, daily, as it is about clearing physical space in your house. When you have a dedicated work zone, even if it's just a single table top in a corner where nobody else is allowed to leave stuff, it designates to you, your family, and your subconscious: there is room for art and writing in my life.
Clean, rearrange, organize, and clear out old energy from the space before you set up your studio stuff. Think of this as part of claiming the space, and re-setting it for your new embodied practice. You might need to purge! I would be honored to be the catalyst, cheerleader, and provocateur for you to finally get rid of all of that old crap you know you don’t even want! Be ruthless! Life is too short to skip out on writing your masterpiece because you’ve got too much junk in your house. Just sayin.
Once you’ve done all the labor, emotional and otherwise, to create your space, then you’d darnwell better use it! Daily! Think of it as your shrine, your sacred zone that is all for you and nobody else! Fiercely protect it, and fiercely protect the practice that you created it to contain. Yes, of course you can invite people to share it with you. But don't forget to send them back out again. This space is yours. You earned it.
Here’s a tiny bit more about setting up your studio space. (This video was extracted from an old course but the ideas apply here as well)
The Feng Shui Kua number calculator is a good place to start, and this website has a ton of feng shui info, but here's the “lucky directions” chart, in case you got lost in the labyrinth and couldn't find it! As I mentioned in the video, I'm not an expert or a True Believer but I definitely see that I have been about a thousand percent more prolific since I followed the basic steps to learn my “kua” number and place my desk so that I face the direction for “success.” AND my partner, Kramer, did his Kua number, set up his studio accordingly, and is also experiencing a major creative influx. So there ya go.
Tomorrow is step four in the GOBRADIME design process, and Day 5 of our course, and we’ll assess the resources you have and need for your practice. I’ll tell you why I think your body is such an important resource, and we’ll explore some ways to integrate movement into your day.