To grow what we need requires a sanctuary of time and attention, a patch of ground secured by some clear, recognizable boundary that can shield us from the endless demands, choices, and responsibilities eroding our day, so we can listen, uncover what is ultimately important, remember what is quietly sacred. Setting boundaries around what is most valuable, precious, and necessary for us to thrive actually creates a space of freedom and abundance. Without these self-imposed restrictions on ourselves and others, we my never be truly free to plant, grow, or harvest what we yearn to harvest from the garden of our lives.
Wayne Muller, A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough
I'm re-posting this beautiful paragraph from One Rich Life
(with humble thanks to Joan for sharing it) because it seemed to me these words should be spread among us like rich, dark soil is spread over the garden. Spread, and cultivated, and worked into the ground with our fingers.
At the beginning of this month, I wrote that one of my goals for 2011 was to "just be happy." As I plod through these long, dark, cold days of winter, I feel about as far from happiness as I've ever felt. Reading Muller's words, I realize what I need to do is "set boundaries around what is most valuable, precious, and necessary" for me to thrive.
But what does that mean in practical terms? While part of me longs to "drop out" of the rat race of modern, everyday life, and head for a tiny cottage in the hills, I know that's neither realistic nor emotionally sustainable. I also know that I allow the outside world to impose itself on me far too much and far too deeply. Part of setting boundaries for me will always mean learning to shake off the traces of the world's demands to the extent that it's practical, and live contentedly within the sanctuary of my own life and the things that are ultimately important to me.
Mostly I feel like I should have this all figured out by now. That I should know how to create the kind of balance between work and responsibility and life which will allow me to flourish. That I'll know how and when to let go of the things that bother me, and stop giving them so much prominence in the garden of my life.
I think, though, that we're all seekers - that the world today makes it harder and harder to find just the right spot in which to put down roots and grow.
How about you? Are you still seeking the perfect balance for the garden of your life? Have you been able to create the boundaries you need in order to thrive and grow? What's the secret?