I realized recently, within the last few years, that I have not been very good at boundaries in my everyday life. There is some part of me that on some level wants outside approval, to be liked, loved, wanted, even needed, to feel I belong….with a friend, a group and sometimes, as a part of my family.
I noticed this issue of boundaries in almost every area of my life, and I realized a couple of things:
1. No boundaries means taking on too much responsibility by not saying "No".
I noticed I had almost no boundaries in all my relationships (personally and professionally). I would live out patterns where I took on too much responsibility. I very rarely said “No” to things I did not want/need to do. I was almost always “out of rhythm” with myself and my own needs.
2. No boundaries means living your life on someone else's terms.
I was almost always living out my life on someone else's or society’s terms when it came to Being, Living my life. I didn’t really know what I desired, needed, or wanted. I realized I didn’t know what my “rhythm” was, except that I needed to follow others’ to feel that I “fit” in.
I decided to change some habit patterns and my first change was to say “No”, simply and completely, without needing to give a reason at all for that ‘No’. I could see that saying ‘No’ was…very freeing, and created a “drama-free" life, where I felt empowered and powerful within myself and my life.
The second pattern I shifted was in choosing to feel better or choose thoughts, feelings, actions in my life that simply “feel good” to me in this moment – moment-to-moment, that bring in appreciation and gratitude, and that give me more “feel good” moments, resulting in me feeling…happy inside me!
So, choosing to honor boundaries with myself and in my life is and continues to be a way for me to continue allowing myself to Be, Living and walking Me in my life!
Being Alone as a Solo Traveler
I never intended to become a Solo Traveler/Adventurer. It was born out of necessity when my partner died from brain cancer. I left San Antonio, Texas, and drove back to San Diego, California--a journey that took me five weeks to complete. Over the following year, I decided I wanted to know what it was like to travel solo, and decided I wanted to experience traveling to new areas as well as those I hadn’t seen in at least ten years.
I learned some amazing things about being alone as a Solo Traveler!
1. I LOVE the freedom to see what I want, when I want, for as long as I want!
One of the things I learned about travel is I LOVE it! The freedom to see what I want, when I want, how long I want…or not, is powerful, empowering and freeing in itself! I discovered that it was important to pick spots I REALLY felt excited and inspired by. I learned that being in my own flow, my own rhythm, generated deeper self-trust, and increased my self-confidence and self-reliance. On a road trip from Southern California to Mt. Shasta, California, a 650 mile one-way solo trek could have taken one whole day; I decided to do it in three days – wanted to experience ease in getting there in good time, without the stress of having to get there on time.
2. Fear comes up A LOT, and I just deep breathe through it!
I decided to attend a Bette Midler concert last year and when I got seated on the ground floor and was waiting an hour or so, I was nervous: nervous that I would be judged, being by myself – what would people think -- and decided in that moment – to keep deep breathing -- that I was there to enjoy Bette’s performance and that we all had one thing in common: we all came to enjoy Bette! As it came time for the concert to begin, I found that my fears had dissipated and I really enjoyed myself!
3. I am my own "cheerleader"!
In traveling solo, I discovered that I became my own “cheerleader” -- cheering myself on with “I did it! I did it! I did it!”, with my “did it” dance! Recently, I decided to go to a 70s/80s dance at the last minute and drove to a location I’d never been before. On my way there, I did lots of deep breathing, along with giving myself options that if I didn’t enjoy it, I could always go home. During this trip, I found myself wanting to turn my car back and go home, and I kept telling myself I’d be okay and could go home whenever I felt like it. I got there, paid my admission, and after a half an hour, found that the people and dancing were “dead” – no one was dancing, no one seemed to be having any fun, and most of all, there was no 70s/80s music playing! I decided waiting another hour was not fun for me, and that being at home with myself would be much more enjoyable than being in this space. So, as I walked back to my car and drove home, I was feeling great. I was so happy that I had taken the chance and followed through, that I did the “I did it, I did it, I did it” dance in my car to my favorite kind of music – just for me!
You will find that being alone as a Solo Traveler is about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. You can be your own cheerleader, whatever that is for you. You can experience more self-confidence and self-reliance by not allowing fear to dictate your decisions, and this can lead to you doing many more things in your life!
The Gift of Now
As I look out my windows, I realize that the ONLY moment is right here, right now. There are no problems to solve, no issues or concerns – it is in my perception that there are “problems” only when I am in some past or future event in my mind. It takes being present and available to allow myself permission to Be and feel gratitude that makes me happy and joyful in this moment!
In my experience in the Now, I find that there are three understandings that can bring inner peace:
1. The Present moment is All we have.
It is the Gift of Life itself, when we allow ourselves permission to Be, with nothing here, except to take in our breath, and the beauty that surrounds us all day long, in every moment. As I was sitting here in front of my windows, looking out, I realized I had no issues, no “problems” to solve, no worries – that they were either in from the past or some future thought/event, I needed to “take care of”. What I learned is I am inner peace, balance and harmony in my Self and my life, because I simply allow it to flow through me as a choice!
2. Worry, stress and any feeling/thought is a choice and an illusion!
Choosing to be in the Now in every moment of our everyday lives is what is self-empowering and feeling good with ourselves. As I sit here, I feel a deeper sense of happiness, joy and gratitude for my life…in this moment, I feel Love for my Self, expansion for Life!
3. This Moment is the space where Happiness resides – Always!
Happiness lies not in a past or future thought or event; it is a choice to choose my thought/feeling perception in EVERY moment and I realize I am Powerful and Empowered in my life All the time! It takes commitment, courage, strength and faith in Self-trust to be in the Moment, allowing my Self to be here in this space!
In order to Be and stay in the Now, you will find that the Present Moment is a Gift itself, that worry, stress or “problems” are from past or future thoughts/feelings, events, and that one's happiness with oneself is always in the Now – right here, right now, when we Allow ourselves permission to Be and Receive this Moment of Love…and Life!
In my journey through loneliness, I have reached three conclusions that have and continue to help me through those moments when I feel lonely and/or alone:
Conclusion 1: We are never alone…because we have our Self.
Two years ago, my partner died from brain cancer. He passed away four months after diagnosis. Two years ago, I decided to live “off grid”. I left San Antonio, Texas, with all my belongings that would fit in my car, and drove back to California, choosing San Diego as my destination. I had never driven by myself before. I did not know where I was going to be when I got to San Diego. I took five weeks to get there...
All I knew before I left was a yellow marker line I made on an atlas map, leaving San Antonio, going to Dallas (I ended up staying with a friend for two weeks to recover), Weatherford for three days, then leaving for Armarillo. I was FINALLY experiencing life on my own on this trip!
Looking back now, I did not have a “plan” to stay out five weeks – I followed my Heart in what I wanted to experience and had such incredible moments on my journey. I realized that I am NEVER alone--that I am and have my Self in choosing, deciding what I want to do….or not….the personal Freedom to pick what brings me joy in the moment to experience…or not…and to go with what inspires me from inside out, in making each choice on my journey!
I went with what felt good in the moment to experience and when the time came, allowed myself to experience the grief in the loss of my partner…and met lovely people along the way!
Conclusion 2: Loneliness gives us space to deal with feelings as they come up.
Since the death of my partner, I've chosen to live alone. In choosing to live alone, I’ve found my feelings come up from time to time – usually from remembering a past event. I had a moment recently, where I thought of my former passed partner and got VERY emotional. I allowed myself to cry, not caring how long, how deep, how painful it was – I decided to just cry – to embrace the totality of my grief, emotional pain, giving it space to be expressed – for all the times I couldn’t do that…then. I ended up taking out our “Love Story” writings to each other before we met and boy, I cried, emoted, wept for a LONG time. I had forgotten some of the things we shared – our created poetry, our lives and through it all, was the love through our writing to each another that had us choose to come together in our lives.
I found that being alone and allowing space for my emotions and grief to be expressed was healing at the core of my being!
Conclusion 3: Loneliness gives space for Beingness….filling us up from the inside out.
This year I moved closer to the beach, and found after the third day of being here, how quiet it was. In this space, I felt and knew that I was Home…in my Self. I experienced this feeling and intrinsic understanding that allowing solitude and silence fills me up on the inside! Being in this space is a “living mediation” in letting all thoughts go, focusing on my breathing, embracing my Self on all levels to knowing and experiencing that I am NEVER alone – that I have…Me as my best partner, my best friend and my best…Love! And, I am finding my “rhythm” of what works for me throughout my day, and I am following that moment to moment in partnering with my Heart…Speaking intuition!
So, I want you to know that loneliness can give ourselves space to Be, to fill ourselves from inside out, and give us space to deal with feelings/emotions as they come up. And the result of these experiences will be knowing that we are NEVER alone, because we have our Self!