I’ve been practicing setting healthy boundaries for over three years now. Initially, it used to feel scary, the thought of setting boundaries even with your loved ones or those you once loved but over time, I realised that it is okay to feel terrible about it and yet want to draw a line between yourself and anyone else.
It is important to protect your space; both internally and externally. That fear, that terrible feeling which sometimes feels like guilt is usually temporary and when you do in fact start seeing some positive shifts and change from learning to set healthy boundaries, that temporary feeling does disappear. Soon, you experience a very light, freeing feeling. I know this for sure.
I found peace in knowing that I’m doing what I’m doing for my the sake of my well-being and it always seemed worth it.
Setting healthy boundaries in your close and distant relationships is an integral part of self-care. It does not mean that you don’t tend to others. It means that you learn to tend to yourself first. Shifting your focus and attention towards what or who really matter frees up space and energy which can definitely be directed towards other greater things. There were many times in my life when events and situations around me made me feel helpless, as if there was no form of separation between me and others. I found that I was running low on energy for myself and that it was affecting my entire being.
It took me years to learn to set healthy boundaries and say ‘no’, firmly and politely where necessary.
Sometimes I catch myself slipping off my practice as well but I’m quicker to find my space and bring myself to stand my ground. You are allowed to go to any extent to ensure that your peace, solitude and sanity are well taken care of.
Throwback to when I could still swim and position my arms a little more comfortably than right now. And now even though I end up walking in the pool or swimming with every move calculated and rehearsed thrice in my mind, I still find some peace being in the water. There’s something absolutely healing about water and I can’t find words to describe it. Leaving behind swimming 15-20 laps a day was hard because swimming was my escape or meditation (and it kept me physically fit enough) I thought, until I couldn’t escape anymore. Until I couldn’t run away from home, from a space I could barely breathe or be alone in, to really listen to my heart beat and know I was still alive. Until my body forced me to stay in bed and find a way to deal with reality, with love and compassion for myself first.
Again, it doesn’t hurt so much anymore so I can actually share these things with you. In fact, this is so freeing, realising that I’ve learnt to let go of things I tried holding on to for a very long time, almost hoping they’d come back and fit together into this picture-perfect life; things that I thought made me who I was. Perhaps the way it happened wasn’t the best but I’m grateful to have realised very early in my life what truly matters. What I was never wrong about was that I was constantly seeking peace and a reason to be happy and activities like dance and swimming kind of gave me a taste of both.
Today, I am thankful my experiences have taught me that true source of peace and happiness, the kind of peace and happiness that makes you really glow, is within us. I can be in bed and in pain and still be at peace, still be somewhat happy knowing what I now know for sure. Getting here took equal parts faith (in my body and something bigger) and conscious actions (because even when you think you don’t have control, you still have a choice to remain stuck or take the next best step), and maybe a dash of sparkles. ✨
It’s Ganesh Chaturthi today, the birth day of Lord Ganesh and basically …
I don’t know enough about it (but Google does!).
What I do know FOR SURE is this –
🔸This day always fills me up with excitement each time
🔸It’s an occasion that used to bring my entire family together and I’ve got some incredible memories of this festival
🔸I am aware of the basic rituals – a little prayer that you do, certain dishes you prepare (I’m not sure why you make each), general overview of the days you celebrate (5,7 or 11 days I think) it.
🔸It is a great opportunity to dress up
🔸I miss my brother
P.S. Whatever you’re reading right now is being typed as I get ready
I wouldn’t call myself particularly religious; definitely not like my parents or family. I think I am “religious” about things that work for me and I believe in them. I’ve always been given the freedom to have my own belief system and hence I am fine with everyone else choosing what works for them – whatever helps one feel happy and peaceful from deep within + helps him/her get through the hardships of life. You might have guessed by now that religion is really not one of my favourite topics.
Having said all of the above, here’s how I’m doing it –
I’ve set up my altar, with a beautiful statue of Lord Ganesha resting on coral beads. I haven’t specifically decorated my altar because my alter is rather personal and symbolic in itself. Every little thing on it is there for a reason. All I did was just cleaned it up, added some fresh flowers, lit some candles and rose incense sticks – that’s it.
I’ve invited a couple of really close friends over to my house. We’ll sing along one or two devotional songs (okay okay, I do know the lyrics of some. It happens when your family has been singing it for years you know?) and have a mini dinner, which we’ll probably call for. My dinner is going to look rather different from their’s as I’ve got a SIBO test on the very next day. More on that next time.
Oh, here’s an important bit. We’ve decided to dress up too because HEY!! We don’t get a chance otherwise! Who gets a chance to wear a nath these days anyway?! Nath, by the way, is a Maharashtrian style nose ring and I’ve been dyingggg to wear mine (I don’t get a chance to wear it these days anymore since I don’t perform much). I can’t wait for my friends to show up now!
As prashad, we’re having (my friends) some dark chocolate (instead of these sweet rice dumpling kind of a thing called ‘modak’) and I believe Ganesh ji is going to like my modern twist to his birthday celebration.
I also plan to FaceTime my family and my close friends later in the evening. Everyone’s all over the world this time so I’m freaking thankful for FaceTime. I’m beyond grateful for a small set of close friends I have today – they’ve done so much for me up till date. Sometimes they willingly become my extra pair of hands, helping me with things I simply have no physical ability to do. Other times, they patiently sit next to me (they get me dark chocolate quite often) while I just lay down in pain. I can’t thank the Universe enough for a bunch of loving people around me.
Let’s see… I think that’s it. That’s really it. That’s my version of a mini Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in my sweet little apartment. We’ve got Ganesh ji + positive vibes + food + friends + a grateful heart + good clothes + technology to keep in touch with the rest of the world – what else can anyone ask for?
By the way, in case you’re wondering,GBM stands for ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’, which supposedly means ‘Lord Ganesh Bless’. For me, it’s something you happily and enthusiastically yell out a number of times through the course of this festival.
Happy Lord Ganesha’s Birthday everyone! *Yell GBM now*