Whether you're a stay at home mom, working part-time or a full time working mother, you've probably forgotten long ago that you have within access a piece of chalk that you can use anytime. To draw a little circle within which you can nourish your inner being. To create a warm and loving atmoshphere for your soul to thrive. To acknowledge and honour your self from within.
But you don't pick it up. You've hidden it somewhere you can't spot it easily. You've even forgotten over the course of the years that it existed!
Let me give you a little example:
In Sophie's Choice by William Styron, the heroine, Sophie is a prisoner in a Nazi extermination camp. She stands before the Nazi commandant with her two children in her arms. The commander forces her to choose which child will live and which child will die. He tells her that if she doesn't make a choice then they both will be killed.
Now if you were standing in her shoes to make that choice would be totally unthinkable. But this is the exact choice that women have been making for eons. Having to harm one's soul in order to live by the culture's boundaries is like making that choice. Having to choose between being accepted by one's loved ones (family and community) or protecting their creative child (art).
A few weeks ago I realized that there is a significant difference between the way I look at my child's issues vs. how my partner perceives it. Now looking back at these situations makes me realize that in both cases I went far ahead of my boundaries either killing my soul's voice or compromising deeply on my own needs.
My perception - 1:
She's not enjoying going to school off late and we have been convincing her to go anyway. I don't want to be forcing her - it may cause long term emotional impact. My husband's traveling and I am going to have limtied support. But I can't take time out for myself and my work at her cost....so I am going to just keep her home. Then I will work on resolving the underlying issue.
My partner's perception: She's not going to school but it's just a matter of getting a little more 'used to' the idea. I am traveling this week so she must continue to go to school.
My perception - 2 :
I have been reading and learning that she should have a beautiful physical environment around her that encourages creativity. She will imitate what the adults around her do so I need to stay home often and do meaningful things that she can learn and imitate. If that means changing my normal routine of stepping out 2-3 times a week for work that's fine.
My partner's perception:
She's going to benefit from having a nourishing physical environment and engaged adults around her. Good to know!
The big reason our perceptions are so starkly different is because my partner works full time (his work hours and office are his frame of reference) while I run a coaching/writing business from home that is completely flexible (flexible frame of reference = non existent). The unfortunate truth about this then is that flexibility with work gets translated to an insignificant or non-existent boundary.
But when I look at the bigger picture I realize that my lack of boundaries - my inability to see the full picture each time and say no where needed caused me to really go above and beyond myself!
And the result - doesn't make for a pretty picture. I am angry, resentful and low on energy.
The strangest thing is that I almost always forget that I exist beyond my roles - of motherhood, of caretaker and of home keeper. Even of artist, writer or coach. The chalk that helps me to draw a little self nourishment circle around me is long forgotten.
So today I want to ask you - are you drawing boundaries for yourself to be contained and nourished? Are you picking up that piece of chalk and acknowledging your soul?