I write tonight from a quaint apartment in Barcelona. The neighborhood in which it sits is at the edge of trendy and touristy and gritty and “for real”. I sit at a large round table at the back of the flat with my dear friend Candace, who is also writing. The terrace doors are open to the plant-covered community rooftop space. There is a slight breeze pulling from the open terrace doors at the front of the flat. With it come the sounds of the busy metropolitan street below. The incense we found and lit is subtle yet enrapturing. Beethoven plays on Spotify. It’s 9:00 p.m., though I’ve only been awake for six hours and only enjoyed one, deeply satisfying Spanish meal.Here I adhere to no schedule. I drink wine and café con leche and smoke foreign cigarettes. I walk with my close companion among beautiful architecture with no pressure to take a tour, nor a photo. I am a million miles from driving duties, dinner dishes and dirty laundry. I have time, and I have space, and I have deep conversations marbled with comfortable silences. I slow and I glow. I breathe.
I bask in the opportunity to pause and soak up all the learning and growing I’ve been doing over the past while. My lens widens, and I reflect leisurely and deeply. I do this alone and through unhurried conversation with Candace. We speak in terms of the body, of sensitivity and vulnerability. We speak of empathy. We discuss abstract concepts such as “voice” and “boundaries”, and we do so through concrete personal stories as we catch up on the many months since we last shared each other’s company. We celebrate understanding both these concepts just a little bit better and marvel at the relief of turning (and almost turning) 40.
At one point Candace shares her fear of damns and the potential power they hold. I become aware of how poignantly I am pulled to the concept of boundaries. They restrain energy. They serve to protect. They work to keep in and to keep out. They provide privacy and personal space. They separate but have the potential to connect. I see my last post through the lens of boundaries and I am pulled to respond.
I shared there my fear of blogging about my personal struggles and musings. This kind of intimacy makes my body feel like I’m doing something dangerous. I feel completely vulnerable. What happens (what will I feel?) if and when I am judged, rejected or dismissed? But, then again, what happens if I don’t? I miss the opportunity to create a community of truth and support and most importantly, connection. Many of you showed me this through your outpouring of support and encouragement. Thank you. I will keep writing. I will continue to practice lowering my boundaries through the written word.
I will also share with you my practice of maintaining and building new boundaries as I learn to be my biggest advocate and to practice the art of self-care. I will tell you that I reinforced a personal boundary on Friday when I told the kind and patient entrepreneur who wants to buy mindfulmama.com that I will keep it for myself. I will guard and protect what’s sacred and special for me even if someone else has a more practical, profitable way to use the name. I will burn the spreadsheet in my mind of pros and cons and data pertaining to what’s more advantageous for more people ,and I will follow the gut I’m so desperately trying to feel.
In this architecturally inspiring city I will continue to ponder the art of both construction and destruction. In Gaudi-like fashion I will play with my boundaries.