Boundaries: An Important Complement to Healing

As part of our ongoing discussion of healing our own ailments, it’s time to consider the ways we invest in our well-being. As the old adage say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I believe it. Whether it’s PTSD, a physical injury or an emotional trigger point, the more an element of pain is activated in our bodies, minds or psyches, the more we are primed for recurring illness. That’s the law of the land. In a sense, our pain receptors, physical nerves, emotional buttons and hyper vigilance to trauma get atrophied in the “on” position.

In the same way that we cannot heal a sprained ankle by running on it, we cannot cure ourselves if we continually reactivate our pain receptors. Unfortunately, by design, our pain receptors are more easily activated than our joy and happiness and positivity receptors owing to our wiring that enables our auto-responsive defense mechanisms. In other words, we are built to feel pain quickly and easily so we can get out of the fire fast, with the least amount of damage. This generally works great most of the time. But, many of us unconsciously keep the fire burning when we don’t need it, and constantly insert a hand in it to see if it’s still hot. You may laugh even if you’ve done it yourself.

Maintaining a strong physical, mental or emotional boundary is akin to dousing the fire that threatens to consume everything in your path. So why are so many of conditioned to believe we have no right to personal boundaries? This is a rather important question to explore with a mental health practitioner if possible. And, even if counseling is not possible for you in this moment, I give you full permission to put up health barriers that protect and insulate your emotional, physical and mental health from any and all forms of disease, harm and dangers, including all of the following.

Learn to create, protect and enforce Your Personal Boundaries in all these areas:

  • Toxic people: relatives, family, friends, coworkers and strangers
  • Physical threats: aggression, micro aggression, trauma, violence, sexual assault and abuse from people or animals or other entities
  • Predation: energy vampires, financial drains, sabotage, time waste and unreciprocated/one-way investments that deplete your resources and ability to thrive
  • Personal harm: activities, foods, sounds, media, relationships or areas that trigger negative sensations, fatigue or the release of stress hormones
  • Learn to understand what are Healthy Boundaries with this worksheet

Of course, there are many ways to enforce our personal space to protect our loved ones from injury. Mindfulness, awareness and contemplation are important tools for discerning where the fires are, so that we can give them our loving attention. Just as you wouldn’t allow a child to run in front of a car, you get to erect a beautiful boundary around yourself that reduces any future harm and pain, so you can concentrate on healing past situations. Once you you are able to protect your boundaries as part of your routine self-care, you can look to remedies like tea, medication, therapy or Reiki to bring your equilibrium into a normal range.

Reiki Master Edissa is working to heal from 49 years of life as a Black Woman.

Photo by Ashton Huntsman for Living Artist Project

On the Path to Healing: The Practice of Intimacy

I have been thinking about whether we humans can heal themelves for some 35 years now. In truth I’ve been healing myself all my life and continue to deepen my understanding of healing and myself. There are so many things that I’d like to know, heal and accept in myself. Suddenly COVID-19 is giving me an accelerator in which to look at and heal myself. So let’s begin with a question: Can we heal ourselves?

I believe that we can. It’s not easy, but it is possible. Healing is a radical, positive change on a physical, mental, metaphysical or spiritual level. The problem is that we humans naturally fear change so we have built up resistance to it. Only a few powerful masters can probably heal something like a infectious disease, but most of us may be able to manage chronic conditions with which we live. This Coronavirus outbreak is making space for personal intimacy, which a wise massage therapist named Gordana once explained to me thus: “Intimacy really means: “In-To-Me-See”. Essentially, intimacy is the actual seeing deeply into the beloved. Who, then, could possibly be more beloved than the self? What kind of love exists in the absence of self-love?

In fact, we cannot love another if we cannot truly see them–(and I definitely don’t mean with our weak eyes). Seeing here, is the embracing, accepting and understanding of the beloved. By using this time of isolation to look at areas within ourselves that need healing, we can resolve situations in our lives in ways that bring radical change to an area using our consciousness–our applied awareness.

We can then use the ability to see into ourselves, the practice of intimacy, to study and learn from the situation as it manifests in us and apply new behavior or mental conditions to alter an area through meditation, touch and or visualization. Using this technique, I plan to look at two areas of my body: in the middle and inner ear and the feet in order to transform pain in the latter, and chronic illness in the other.

Please join me on the journey inward into ourselves. You can do all of this at home. Get comfy; we’ll be here for while. Email me your questions or respond directly to the post. Here is what you will need:

  • An anatomy book to help you understand the basics (How the Body Works: A Comprehensive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Anatomy edited by Dr. Peter Abrahams is excellent.)
    • Also you can use a massage or Reiki book using Chakras, meridians or acupuncture points
  • A journal or writing paper with which to document
  • A quiet comfortable area for study, meditation and practice
  • An open, curious and willing mind as more sources and recommendation are forthcoming
    • Please note: We will NOT work with emotional trauma, as I believe working with trauma requires a loving human presence with appropriate training.

 

The Business of Business: A “How-To” for Novice Entrepreneurs: Avoiding Pitfalls (Part 2)

Homemade soap is a hard business to make a profit in. People need only so much of it, and it’s generally not very expensive. There’s plenty of wonderful competition for sudsy stuff, too. So why do it? The reason I like to make soap is that it is such a creative, sensual craft. I like the way the scent of essential oils lingers in the air hours after I’m done making it; designing labels, working on a website and making a brochure are very rewarding as well, which are all good things since I’ve got to do everything myself. Reflecting on my journey, I can see where I’ve missed the mark. If your business can’t cover expenses, it won’t be able to pay your rent, either. It’s really important for creatives like me to put both feet on the ground for intervals of time, especially when it comes to running a business.

Far more elusive than the pleasures of crafting artisanal soap is the economic independence one wants from a business. Sure, most businesses take a few years before they generate profits, but for the foreseeable future, it’s not at all clear that five years of this is truly sustainable for me. So the biggest lesson here is, do your research before you launch a business.

I’m impulsive; I have always been impulsive, but this time, I’m not sure there’s a payoff. Apparently, some of business requires careful planning and consideration. To my credit, I was motivated to get my business off the ground quickly because a venue opened up that I thought was perfect for my product. While it lasted, it was great. Unfortunately, the market was canceled shortly after it started, leaving me with plenty of supplies, unsold product and big bills. I had invested heavily in naming, licensing, branding, a website, booth supplies, including a table and canopy tent, and the biggest hit—liability insurance, which is nothing to sneeze at! After the second market I was painfully aware that I wouldn’t recoup the costs for those things for some time. Other markets had fees so high they were punitive and restrictive. On the other hand, all the items I acquired for market are durable goods, which won’t perish and can be potentially reused or even sold. Since they’ll keep, I’m not completely disadvantaged. I was also happy that I procured high-quality, attractive and easy to store and handle equipment: I don’t need to rent a truck and hire a crew to go to a street fair.

Please don’t be discouraged! I’m not trying to sour anyone on kick-starting a dream. After all, one has to be willing to fail in order to experience success. I’m sure this will not be my last time starting something special. It’s in my blood now. Definitely, follow your dreams, but keep both feet firmly planted.

Here are some more really simple tips for entrepreneurs just starting out:

  • I know I’ve said this already, but it’s totally worth repeating: Do lots of research before you get your license. There are quite a few steps involved, and you’ve got to be ready for fees associated with the paperwork before you even qualify.
  • Budget first. This is easily the most difficult aspect of running a business. Obviously some bookkeeping or accounting skills would be useful. Consider taking a class before getting started.
  • Recruit help! I definitely could not afford to pay anyone to work for me. (Payroll is an entirely different monster to contend with.) If you don’t have a loan to help with start-up costs, you’ll need friends and family or a business partner to donate their time. They can help with product testing, distribution and sales. If not, you might find yourself trying to do everything by yourself. I was fortunate to have a great crew of friends who helped me on market days and beyond.
  • Think about venue/retail Do you want to sell door-to-door, open a storefront or have an Internet business? Would you prefer to sell one at a time or sell by the dozen? I never asked myself these questions until I was already committed. The answers to these questions may lead to different strategies for marketing, product labels and profits.
  • Don’t forget to have fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re in the wrong business.

Maybe I need an MBA. In retrospect, I might have taken the hard way around. But the way I see it, life’s an adventure! Here’s me on market day in San Francisco last year:

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http://majesticgardensoap.com/

The Business of Business: A “How-To” for Novice Entrepreneurs (Part 1)

 

 

This year I started my own business. I had some time on my hands and a hobby, from which I derived a great deal of joy. The journey has been both rewarding and incredibly challenging. Even a humble business requires enormous amounts of capital, mental and physical energy and time. Still, I wouldn’t go back. It’s a powerful creative outlet, and I absolutely love it when people tell me that the soap is wonderful. Here’s a picture of one of my newest soaps:

IMG_5766

I’m so pleased, in fact, that I want to share lessons learned and insights gained with readers. Because a small business is usually about a desire to be self-reliant and independent, it’s critical to know what’s on the other side before you set out. We all want to thrive. Why should financial independence be the exception?

 

Here are some really simple tips for entrepreneurs just starting out:

  • Do lots of research before you get your license. Once you get started, it’s difficult to slow down, and you may not be financially or mentally ready to start, even if you do have a great idea.
  • Find a mentor. If you know people in your field of interest, make a connection. If you’re totally new to the industry, make time to attend some workshops. Be creative: Mentoring can be as simple as investing in some books written by a respected and experienced person in your field.
  • Save Money! There are probably more hidden costs than you can imagine. You might need supplies you’ve overlooked, or even a canopy tent for sales. You might buy packaging that simply doesn’t work or need liability insurance. It’s shocking, but little expenses add up. Having a cushion, or even regular income until your product takes off, is a must if you want to see your venture to the end.
  • Lastly, find and follow your passion. This may seem simple, and it is true, but often overlooked. Chances are, if you’re not excited, it’s going be very difficult to get other people excited. Plus, passion will help you get through setbacks, tedious paperwork and the profit-less periods, which are, unfortunately, inevitable. The best prescription here is heart.

 

I’ll be sharing more about other business-related topics, such as business blogging, using social media and getting a domain. These are just some of the things I’m learning by running a small business. In the meantime, you’re invited to my business blog to see just what I’ve got going on at Majestic Garden!

 

http://majesticgardensoap.com/

 

Don’t forget to let me know what you think!