Check out the shag wig I rocked last week at my friend’s birthday party; we pedaled through Portland on a truly classy expedition: the Brewcycle. It combines beer, a pedal-powered trolley, and being public spectacles– VERY Portland!
Tell you what, it wasn’t hard to maintain our own personal space when we were singing Red Hot Chili Peppers at the top of our lungs as we sailed down the street.
But the following suggestions may be a tiny bit easier to implement.
Real quick, a heads-up: doors are open for Practical Magic for Secret Mystics ! This is my autumn program for loving, sensitive souls who want to strengthen their energy so that they can be loving, sensitive BADASSES.
We’re heading into a busy, social time of the year, and this can be tough for those of us who feel a tiny responsibility to take of the feelings of– oh, well, pretty much everybody. So here are my favorite ways to preserve social harmony and still take good care of that tender soul of yours.
Because that soul of yours? It’s precious. It’s your birthright. It’s your first responsibility.
Five Bodacious Boundary Begetters:
1. Use the bathroom. Use it like you’re pregnant. Seriously, any time you feel yourself getting jerked around, hot under the collar, or tempted to throw a green smoothie at someone, simply excuse yourself, lock the door, and breathe. If that means you’re disappearing every ten minutes, so what? Maybe you’ll start a juicy rumor or two that’ll take the focus off of politics and the boss’s new facelift.
2. Offer to take dogs, clients, kids, hamsters, or houseplants on a walk. Offer to feed the parking meter. Offer to deliver the brief yourself. Offer to run to the store for that special brand of cinnamon they only stock in Michigan. Do anything that will take you outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes. If you’re brave, simply say, “I’m going for some fresh air.” (I know that can be hard to do– it’s my personal theory that this is why people smoke. It’s not the nicotine, it’s the socially sanctioned excuse to stand outside alone for a few minutes!)
3. Imagine a membrane around yourself, made of anything that feels loving and utterly strong. It can be white light, or green leaves, or your favorite color, or fairy metal. Extra points if it makes you smile. If you’ve tried this before and it hasn’t helped, try experimenting with a tougher substance: imagine yourself at the center of an enormous redwood tree, or inside a ring of holy fire that doesn’t hurt anyone but is utterly impermeable and flickers beautifully on the manic faces gathered round it.
4. Send your attention and your breath to your heart. While you carry on conversations, refill wine glasses, or hand out soccer snacks, let a small part of your awareness stay on your heart. Send a small, steady trickle of affection to yourself, acknowledging the heartbeat of your body’s most loyal rhythm, thanking this sturdy engine that sustains you through all things. You can place your hand on your heart without attracting much attention, and it’s very grounding. If you find that your heart is racing, it’s time to excuse yourself for a few minutes.
5. Most importantly, declare dominion over your space. You don’t have to laugh at stupid jokes, kiss anyone, go out with the guys, listen to tales of woe, take advice on your parenting, hold anyone’s baby, sit on a lap, eat more, watch football, talk about your reproductive choices, accept a drink, take phone calls, respond to idiotic comments, or really do anything else you don’t want to do. It is perfectly possible to be perfectly polite and perfectly clear. Think Oprah. Think Michelle Obama. Think Kate the princess. Think your favorite feline. You can blink, smile, and change the subject. You can walk away, pick up a book, or step outdoors. You can do any of those things with love and grace.
And when you set beautiful, bodacious, bad-ass boundaries, guess what happens? Your potent inner energies stay blissfully filled up so that you can pour them out where they really matter.
Wishing you a beautiful autumn crackling with magic–
bare branches against the moon, reeds singing songs of far away, gourds bulging with smug fertility, crimson maple leaves drifting down to say hello.
But mostly I wish you your own true magic. It’s all you really need.