Tag: boundaries

The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living

Are you tired of feeling misunderstood, taken advantage of, uncared for and want to learn and practise how to say yes or no in ways that feel right for you?

Do you struggle with setting boundaries that are kind yet firm?

Are you ready to let go of longstanding feelings of hurt and resentment and choose instead ‘inner happiness’?

As a highly sensitive person, do you find yourself picking up on other people’s emotional or energetic ‘stuff’?

Are you ready to exercise greater loving-kindness in your self care?

If you can relate to any of these questions, this workshop is for you!

“There is a very complicated and non-negotiable relationship between boundaries and (self) compassion”.  Brene Brown

goal-729571_640Join Shirley Lynn Martin for two full days of evaluation, imagining and insight. In the safe intimate setting of this workshop, you will have ample opportunities to discuss questions from your personal experience as well as the in-class exercises (ie “What if my husband/wife/partner does this __?” or “How do I respond when my mother/child/sibling does that?”). Out of this, you will be able to create an action plan that will guide you in your communications, your life and relationships beyond this experience.

For more information or to register, see The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living.

The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Healthy and Joyful Living

Friday & Saturday, September 29-30, 2017

9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Location: Private Home just minutes from (north) Waterloo, ON

(Super-delicious morning and afternoon snacks are provided. Please bring your own lunch or visit nearby eateries.) You are welcome to enjoy the property during break times.

Cost: $297 +HST

Listening to our Bodies: A Path to Relating Peacefully

Listen Up!

Recently Jennifer Bodenham,  a team development coach, and I sat down to create a 3-part podcast series about Boundaries. Throughout these podcasts, we explore why we need boundaries, what they are and even share a concrete exercise that will help you can get started towards living a life that is more kind and joyful.

The wonder and value of self-kindness, health and maintaining connection with others, even when it starts to get difficult are mutually possible. The second podcast In Conversation with Jen about Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living – Part Two is now available. And in case you missed the first one, In Conversation with Jen about Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living, listen to it first to catch the flow of our conversation. The final podcast will be available next week.

I hope you enjoy this series and feel free to share them with others.


Listening to our Bodies: A Path to Relating Peacefully

Recently I was involved in a conversation in which we found ourselves sharing what we had learned about listening more closely to the cues our bodies were telling us. We each had a story of a physical injury that occurred because we didn’t listen to our bodies when it essentially said ‘enough.’ …Sigh…

It compelled me to reflect back to a workshop with Dr. Gabor Maté, author of When the Body Says No,  where he identified key characteristics of the stress-prone personality including:

  1. Difficulty saying No;
  2. Automatic and compulsive regard for the needs of others without considering one’s own;
  3. Rigid and compulsive identification with duty, role, and responsibility rather than with the true self;
  4. Habitual suppression or repression of healthy anger and assertion.

As I read this list, a couple of things stand out for me. This list is about lies we tell ourselves and about compulsive behaviours to please others or to live within the status quo we assume others expect of us.  –And we wondered why we got sick or injured when we ignored our bodies’ cues?

What struck me even more as I began to examine my own life is how we find it acceptable to lie with casual regularity. We lie to others when we say yes to them, but we really want to say no. We lie to ourselves saying we aren’t worthy enough and so we push onward when our bodies need to relax. We lie about our real needs and who we really are, compulsively rushing to the needs (and perhaps drama) of others (or our own). We lie about feeling angry at the boundaries that have been trespassed and then stay silent and perhaps punishing our partner or child or friend because of all the feelings we have lied about inside.

Lies create stress and conflict, both internal and external. Conflict disrupts our peace and our health. When we lie to ourselves and disregard the messages our bodies send us, we inflict a hidden emotional stress on ourselves and our bodies.

Just as good relationships with others keep us healthy and can heal us, good relationships with our bodies keep us healthy and can heal us. Good relationships require healthy boundaries that support our sense of true self and protect us against what drains our essential vitality. Healthy boundaries are like a good immune system—protects against what takes life and sustains our essence so we can participate in our purpose and what is truly life-giving.

We are hard-wired to need closeness, to need connection and belonging with others. We are equally hard-wired to need to express ourselves, to know who we are and then to be seen and respected. In other words, we are hard-wired to be authentic. When these two needs are in conflict or when they are incongruent over time, we are at war with ourselves. This war leads to illness. As Dr. Maté writes, “illness is not random”.

If you are like me, listening to your body is a daily task I have to remind myself to do. What is it my body needs to eat? What kind of exercise does my body need today? What decision do I need to make in my work that is congruent with my life purpose so I can stay healthy? What anger must I be honest about and what must I speak up about in my intimate relationships to increase my own sense of inner peace?

If you struggle with finding the joy of the body you have and so you ignore it even more. If you find yourself suppressing your own needs to look after other’s needs making you depressed, injured or always living in chaos, consider my upcoming two-day workshop on February 24-25th, 2017 – Self Kindness Response: Healthy Boundaries for Joyful Living!

The following comment by a workshop participant last fall really speaks to the substance and richness of this workshop. Please consider it for yourself too!

Just taking the boundaries workshop was an act of kindness towards myself. I learned to tune into my body to get a sense of what is a healthy boundary for me. Instead of going into my head, I feel how my body feels about something. There’s no arguing with the body! Even if there is another way to assess a situation and respond, it doesn’t matter because my body is telling me MY truth, MY healthy boundary in that situation, and that’s all that counts. I love the sense of certainty this has given me because I know my body is trustworthy. I have gained a stronger sense of myself and a feeling of being on solid ground. It was also helpful to work with a partner afterwards to keep working on what we’d learned at the workshop. Such a beautiful workshop space, too!  T.H.

Peace & Namaste,
Shirley Lynn

In Conversation with Jen about Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living – Part Two

Listen in as Jennifer Bodenham,  a team development coach, and I continue our conversation about boundaries. In this second (of three) podcasts, we explore why we need boundaries, what they are and one specific exercise to help you learn how you can get started towards living a life that is more kind and joyful. The wonder and value of self-kindness, health and maintaining connection with others, even when it starts to get difficult are mutually possible with a little education and lots of commitment towards peaceful relating with all our relations (that means ourselves too).

This is just a sample of what you will experience by attending The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living workshop on February 24-25th, 2017.

In Conversation with Jen about Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living

Listen in as Jennifer Bodenham,  a team development coach, and I converse about boundaries. In this series of three podcasts, we explore why we need boundaries, what they are and one specific exercise to help you learn how you can get started towards living a life that is more kind and joyful. The wonder and value of self-kindness, health and maintaining connection with others, even when it starts to get difficult are mutually possible with a little education and lots of commitment towards peaceful relating with all our relations (that means ourselves too).

This is just a sample of what you will experience by attending The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living workshop on February 24-25th, 2017.

Wisdom’s Way to Peace: The Wonder of Self Kindness

HAPPY NEW YEAR! In this next year, my overarching theme at Feathers, Rainbows & Roses will be peaceful relating with all our relations. Peaceful relating, as a practice and an attitude, is choosing to communicate and engage – with ourselves and others – with love, with respect for the dignity of another, and to do so justly. My desire is to help you develop and enhance your skills and inner capacity to enjoy and practise peaceful relating with all your relations.

We live always in the wonder of relationship, regardless of the quality of those relationships. I believe that collectively, we are awakening to the truth that we need one another in socially and intimate ways for our well-being. We need love and inter-connection. We are social beings who thrive when we are loved and when we love. We are awakening to the reality that most of our deepest hurts and pain result in the wounds of human relating, in the absence of connection, of acceptance and of belonging.

Recently I was teaching a class where I was introducing a new routine to dog training students. I was excited about a section of the routine, knowing it required handling skills beyond what we have done before. I hadn’t worked out all the kinks and wasn’t sure how this section of the routine would yet flow. So, after the first run-through of the routine, I asked the class for input and suggestions about it. Without warning, one member took the opportunity to sabotage the class, resulting in confusion, frustration and resentment for most of those present. Suddenly, I was caught in a situation where I hadn’t planned on being.

In reflecting on this situation afterward, I thought about what peaceful relating looks like when boundaries, whether personal or group, are being trespassed. What could I have done differently to give an opportunity for people to voice their thoughts without my own boundaries being intruded upon? [Thankfully, I was able to debrief later with another trainer and come up with responses and strategies to manage the situation better should this behaviour occur again.]

I also contemplated on various elements of my upcoming workshop and their relevance in helping me to handle myself with grace, patience and professionalism. I was able to stay grounded, centered and responsive in a difficult and unexpected situation. Practise what you preach, they say!

Creating boundaries which promote kindness and health for ourselves while maintaining connection is an ever-evolving skill. Learn more about how to do this in my upcoming workshop – The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living on February 24-25th, 2017. Join me for two full days of developing and practising better skills at saying YES and NO to sustain our health and well-being (kindness toward ourselves). We will set ourselves up to be prepared for, rather than overwhelmed by, the daily stresses and demands of our lives.

In the coming weeks, I will be releasing a series of podcasts, this time with Jennifer Bodenham, a team development coach, in which we explore why we need boundaries, what they are and one specific exercise to help you learn how you can get started towards living a life that is more kind and joyful. The wonder and value of self-kindness, health and maintaining connection with others, even when it starts to get difficult are mutually possible with a little education and lots of commitment towards peaceful relating with all our relations (that means ourselves too). I invite you to listen in. Consider this a sampling of what you will gain from attending The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living on February 24-25th, 2017.

Namaste,

Shirley Lynn

Wisdom’s Way to Peace: The Self Kindness Response

Recently I had a conversation with someone who understood she needed ‘boundaries’, but struggled with creating the necessary boundaries in her relationships because she believed what she really wanted was connection. Wouldn’t boundaries destroy the connection she was seeking? And anyway, aren’t connection and kindness to others spiritual virtues? Won’t boundaries constrain our compassion and kindness to others?

These objections (and resistances) are quite common among those who really want to be compassionate to others and who are very sensitive to the energies and emotions around them. These questions and ones like these get to the heart of our inner objections in creating the kinder relationships and inner states of peacefulness that we yearn for.

In today’s blog, I would like to challenge this notion that boundaries exclude a sense of connection by exploring four different core operating beliefs that are commonly played out in our unconscious:

“I’m Not OK, You’re OK”

In this core belief, we enter into the land of dependency and exclude ourselves from the blessings of life, of love and life-giving relationships. Our sense of shame and unworthiness causes us to ‘do for others’ what we cannot do for ourselves. We will not be able to open to love, nor the blessing of another. If we do not perceive ourselves as being worthy of someone’s blessing, we will not be able to stand and look someone in the eye and tell them what we need.

Here, there is a lack of self-respect, a lack of boundaries and a whole lot of people-pleasing. In this land of dependency, we will find ourselves envious, resentful, exhausted and covet what we perceive others have or we give to them because we cannot give it to ourselves nor receive it from another. We lack kindness towards ourselves, remain disconnected with others and often fall into a state of passivity (-aggressiveness) about our lives.

“I’m OK, You’re Not OK”

In this core belief, we find ourselves in the land of arrogance and pride. Our acts of ‘charity’ are really ‘blessings’ imposed … and for the receiver, not really a blessing at all. In this state of arrogance or superiority, our helping another is often wrought with the assumption ‘I know better’.

Entire cultures and peoples have been destroyed in the blind assumption that ‘our way is better than your way’. Consider the disastrous results of the way we have mistreated, abused and fundamentally disregarded First Nations peoples and tribes. We destroyed connection, community and the life-giving spiritual knowing of our country and our Earth in this genocide. It’s often hard to fathom the depth of our failures toward First Nations people because of all we imposed. We failed to create boundaries of mutual respect and kindness, of common dignity for all people. The repercussions for these lack of boundaries and compassionate connection will be our burden for decades to come. What we did in this cultural example, we also do personally to ourselves and others when we come with an attitude of I know how to ‘fix’ you.

“I’m Not OK, You’re Not OK”

In this core operating belief, we find ourselves in the land of curses. Though we may find ourselves in a state of ‘likeness’ with each other, a state of common experience about what is ‘not okay’ around us or in our environment, our ‘joining together’ in this state is destructive, cynical and riddled with mutual contempt and despair.  Though we both may be ‘down in the dumps’, we injure each other to prevent ourselves from being more miserable than the other. All heart connection is lost, annihilated or in perpetual threat.

Again, we have no real healthy boundaries here. Rather, we put energy into creating emotional walls and barriers, leaving us locked away from connection and in the stalemate of our own inner hauntings.

“I’m OK, You’re OK”

Finally, this operating core belief sustains us in the land of blessing. This is the place of joining, of collaboration, of mutuality, equality, respect and appreciation. In this land, we can pray and chant the ‘Namaste’, the light in you is the light in me; the peace in you is the peace in me.

In this land, we can care for each other in dignity and respect for each other. It is not that we are needy of each other; rather, in appreciation for what another values and for what we value, we respect and validate and support the unique worth of ourselves and the other. In the land of blessing, we seek to compassionately appreciate and see the good in all things. Our boundaries here are flexible, clear, growing, strong, consistent and kind, sustaining the vitality of our own core essence. Because we respect and appreciate the goodness in ourselves and in the other, our connections are real, open, compassionate and trustworthy.

As we simplify the equations to see truly the essence of what matters in the heart of connection, we discover that boundaries are a way to sustain healthy and vital connection in “I’m OK, you’re OK.” For women who have been socialized and imprinted upon to care for others first (”you’re OK, I’m not OK”), self-kindness boundaries offer us the potential to choose self-love and joy (trumping self-improvement), to fill our own cup first and offer to others from our inner fullness, and to let our body lead us (rather than denying or denigrating our bodies).

goal-729571_640

It’s time for a shift in consciousness where self-love and strength, connection and unequivocal kindness in self-regard are the touchstones and daily practices in our relationships and in the joys of our lives. Recognizing and developing awareness and giving ourselves full and complete permission to have boundaries that sustain kindness and connection with ourselves and others is a first major healing of our hearts and psyche.

The next step is to learn HOW to create these kinds of boundaries which support our engagement in creating and living a joyful life, happy relationships and inner vitality. If you are ready to learn the ‘how’ of creating your personal, unique boundaries that fuel your body-mind-spirit connection, happiness and joy, join me at my upcoming The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Joyful Living workshop on October 28-29th, 2016.

If you wish to continue to nurture the boundaries you are already creating, please join us to support your self-kindness in love and strength. And if you already have been practising boundaries for self-empowerment, join us to expand the inner waves of self-kindness and joy in the boundaries you practice. In other words, no matter where you are on this continuum of creating and nurturing boundaries, there is more to do and this workshop will definitely offer the necessary tools to help you.

Namaste,
Shirley Lynn

(ps. Thanks to Rob Voyle and his work with the Appreciative Way in helping me to clarify my own understanding)