Bones and Boundaries: Living Well in Tumultuous Times

This is me and a friend taking in “The Giant” at a recent workshop 

I am from the Washington, DC area where new toxic twitter feeds come out daily that rock people off their center. The world there feels very unsteady and tumultuous to most that I see on a daily basis.

How can we live in these times without feeling chronically depleted and hammered by the world around us? I have been holding this question for years and have doubled down on it since the election last fall.

When my work with presence, grounding and healthy boundaries began almost three decades ago the world was a very different place. The stress levels were different and the culture as a whole operated more slowly. We lived with the illusion of being able to live within our own bubble of existence. We were not hammered by news quite the way it operates today. Can any of you even remember those times now?

Today the call for the work I teach is much more urgent – the necessity of it in our daily lives more pressing.

I want to share two secrets that have kept me sane as the political and environmental temperatures rise.

Two words: bones and boundaries.

Your bones are the densest form of connective tissue within your body. Most of them exist deep inside of you. When you know how to actually embody here, feeling yourself quiet and steady within the inner sanctum of who you are, all of life gets clearer and more manageable. The traumas happening around you or to you become something you can engage with or not. You can take the time to let the mud settle so that the waters of your being are clear.

When you ask yourself, “Is this mine to do?” the answer is a wise one, not an auto-pilot, knee jerk reaction. And clarity about what is yours to do also comes more easily. Which brings me to my second word.

Boundaries – to be more specific, healthy boundaries.

In our world today most of us are inundated by input from all sides. The media is overwhelming. Television and the internet give us way more input than we actually need or want. Emotions are running high on all sides. So each of us must actively and carefully choose how we live our lives, or we can end up feeling battered by it .

What do you need in order to live out your soul’s purpose? What media is essential and what is not? You have probably already experienced the fact that if you take in too much it is toxic, confusing and down right crazy making at times.

Enter healthy boundaries. What media is necessary and what can you let go of? How quickly do you really need to respond to that text? What food and in what amounts truly nourishes you and keeps you healthy? Which forms of exercise feed your health and well being? And on and on. Healthy boundaries.

And how do you gauge all of this? By knowing how to sense what is right for you, from the inside out, from the core of who you are…your bones. When there is too much coming in, too fast, being able to gauge this gets dicey and confusing. So having healthy boundaries in all areas of your life is vital.

Periodically I take the time to get quiet inside, to slow down and discern whether my current boundaries need to shift in order for me to maintain my health and well being. I have gifts to share with the world and without boundaries I lose my capacity to share who I am fully due to over giving. This is true for many of us and yet we forget that simple instruction given to us everytime we board an airplane.

In other words …

“Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping those in need around you.”

And, enjoy!



7 thoughts on “Bones and Boundaries: Living Well in Tumultuous Times

  1. Thank you Suzanne. This is valuable information to so many thousands of people who have experienced trauma from hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, plus the politics of today that seems to lead to more division among people. I will personally send this e-mail and your book to friends in Florida and Texas.
    Blessings to you,
    Suzanne Ryan

  2. I’m so glad I found your website via The Shift Network. I’m to listen to the replay later today.

    As I’m new to your work, I’m still learning what it is all about. Your post here, even though it’s from August, is very poignant for me.

    I recently had a “breakdown”. I had slowly felt it coming on but I kept pushing past it with “will power”. It wasn’t until I almost took myself out that I realized how much I was ignorning my own body. I came quite close twice. The first time I broke something instead of taking it out on myself. The second time I put my iPod on and sang AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS songs that meant something deeply to me.

    The experience of singing for my life literally was so surreal. I had remembered not too long ago when music was so easy for me to connect to. Nevertheless, I pushed past the numbness of my body (and mind) and sang until I could feel a little bit of life coming back into me.

    When I found myself in a “safe” place inside, I prayed to find the best help for me at this juncture of my life. I’m 51 now. Up until about 46 years old, I was always a giver, care taker, doer, fixer, fighter for others, one of my parents’ “step-and-fetch-it” (my lazy brother’s nickname for me), and currently a wife of a veteran with PTSD all the while working through my own traumatic events ranging from rape and sexual assault to be held captive for 5 years in a religious cult.

    Now, back out here in society, I feel slammed daily with everything you share here in this post along with the extra added demands of what I should be doing to make society better, of what I should be doing to get my parents to get the care that they need but refuse, of what I should be doing to be a more productive citizen of the world, let alone of the society that I live in, and so much more.

    As I read your post, I came to wonder if I have ever really lived my life for myself. I really don’t know. What I do know though is that my body has definitely been trying to tell me so much but I’m so very deaf right now that I don’t know how to really connect with my body, let alone my soul. All I can hear are the demands of the world, family and friends, as well as my own (which have been greatly influenced by others.).

    I am in therapy, but after reading some of your posts, I’m wondering if I should try a different type of therapy like Somatic Experiencing. I really don’t know.

    Please keep me in your prayers.

    I look forward to listening to your Shift Network Presentation Replay. I won’t be able to do the 7-week course for both financial reasons, as well as my not being on any social media, but I look forward to it just the same.

    All the best,

  3. Dear DM,
    Thank you for your authenticity and honesty – as raw and scary as it may feel to you. Please do get a copy of “Reclaiming Your Body” and start working with the audio downloads that go with it. This is a really inexpensive way to support yourself and your journey. It took courage to write to me, so use that courage and continue your journey toward health and wholeness. Good luck!

    • Hello, Suzanne.

      Thank you so much for your reply. I hadn’t expected one as I know you are very busy, so this is very special to me.

      I actually ordered both of your books after posting here the other day. I am awaiting them from New World Library and cannot wait to read them. I will start with, “Reclaiming Your Body”, working with the audio downloads per your recommendation.

      I have also been sharing your work with others as I believe it will help them too.

      Thank you, again, and have a blessed holiday season.

      Warm regards,
      Dawn Marie

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