by Shannon Haly
Your mind is a mirrored garden
that reflects the truth you seek
it’s based of words you’re thinking
or the words you choose to speak.
Each thought is a new plantation,
to live your truth
to build the finest garden -
that doesn’t build by fluke.
But the mirror can reflect a darkness
a weed-filled, mossy place
where thoughts that you are thinking
lack dignity, lack grace.
thoughts are magic potions
like a grand big
that manifest your journey
by Shenae Waller
Today, I saw the little girl I was,
amongst the gum trees and fallen leaves,
with dirt under her fingernails,
and sun on her cheeks.
She took it all in.
The fresh sweet scent of damp grass,
and the voices of the birds singing in her ears.
I saw the little girl I was.
Unafraid to dream, to imagine,
to explore and seek.
Unafraid to be herself.
Unafraid to be seen alone.
unafraid to love.
Happily tangled in Earth.
Making homes for ants that crawl
along her toes,
speaking the language of the trees,
wrapping her twig arms around the trunks,
gathering weeds, rocks, and snapped bark;
creating something magical with her mind.
I saw the little girl I was,
happily lost in uncertainty,
but on an adventure nonetheless.
She was here, in a series of past nows,
making friends with caterpillars,
telling them to 'be patient in the process to flourish.'
She let her fantasy become her reality,
before the sun set under the horizon,
and homemade soup
warmed her tummy.
I saw the little girl I was,
and she told me that I had never truly lost her.
She was here all along,
telling me its okay to dream,
to let go of expectations and live here,
in this moment.
Because you'll never get one quite like it.
Take it all in, she said,
with eyes twinkling.
Smell the flowers,
spread seeds of joy,
talk to the moon,
and maybe with a bit of magic,
everything will fall into place.
She held her small hands in mine,
softening her voice,
'Life is a mighty adventure. A gift.
Take it all in,
and enjoy the thrill, the wisdom and magic of
by Emily Whyman
You are in a bee’s nest of your own construction. But you are queen, drone, and worker — you produce honey, royal jelly, wax, and propolis all on your own and call yourself successful in your exhaustion. You all do. These hundreds upon hundreds of solo hives, these vacant rattling things in which you buzz all the fasterlouderquicker to fill its echoing emptiness.
Talk fills the silence. For a little while. But your hive — all yours, just like you wanted — grows and shrinks with your hopelessness that you carry like a ghost over your shoulder.
But look. The tree drops shadows like leaves in the mid-morning sun. See her sway, see her dance, these grey mirrors of she that grows. Can you feel it? Flow into the ravine of this life. Take the time to rest your soul within the heartbeat of a moment. There is space inside all this noise. The tree grows for your soul, your hand’s work feeds her dance and sway.
Put it down, throw it away. There’s no peace in blue-lit trenches, these black mirrors, no matter how deep you fall and tap and allow time to slip past like so many missed sunlit minutes.
But the breath and eyes that are me cannot take a photo and hold up the Space to show the gasp and blindness that is you. You grasping, tragic thing, who can look at the sun and see nothing but just another day.
So I let the white wash of your world grip and roar, safe here in the space inside all your noise. That’s how I know the pebbles of your problems are mere grains on the shore. The real boulder is the one you every shackle to your bruised, bloody, and broken ankle before climbing higher up a sheer cliff because you can’t see the mountain for its gentle slopes.
About the author
"My name is Emily Whyman, I am Australian writer of fiction and non-fiction, although storytelling through fiction is my true calling. I live closely with nature, on a farm in the sub-tropics, and get my ideas and inspiration by waiting for the land to whisper them to me."
by Emily Rose
by Auguste Kreimer
There were people who wouldn’t recognise her as a Goddess,
Who wouldn’t see her light and her powers.
And even sometimes
She herself wouldn’t embrace her flaws
And that this is what her empowers.
Even when all seemed dark
She could unconsciously
Vibrate pure love through her veins in this human suit.
Here whole being was like a light spark
She is Love
Some people saw it in the way her eyes smile
To someone she never met before,
Or how she leads by being an example
Of speaking her truth and embracing her inner child.
She might have made mistakes,
But without them she wouldn’t be where she is now.
Through learning her mistakes she could help people,
And, oh God, she loved what she was doing on Earth.
Even if she wouldn’t see it in herself,
She would spread the Love and Light all the time.
Even to those who tried to tame themselves from her.
They could feel it.
It was connection with oneself.
Unleashed inner powers
That we all have within ourselves.
by Emma Lundstedt
I thought I wouldn’t be able to do this you know,
I thought the world would never look the same without you.
Without your poetic words always lingering at the top of your tongue,
without the endless thoughts and stories that never failed to amaze me.
I thought I would stop being me you know,
I thought I would never be the same without you.
Without your voice sounding like my favorite melody,
without your gaze that made my cheeks turn pink.
Pink like the lilac sky when we watched our first sunset.
But today I woke up,
and the sun was shining brighter than ever,
and as I felt the warmth on my face,
I realized that it was not only the sun that was shining.
It was my soul that had finally peeked a hole in the darkness for a stream of light to shine through.
The blueberries I ate were sweeter today, and bluer.
And my smile was bigger today,
and I cried a lot.
But it was not the usual tears of sadness.
It was freedom. That’s the word I’m looking for.
by Aiden Nettavong
Taoists believe in duality within the Universe - opposing creative forces which, when acting against each other, create all there is. This is depicted in the yin yang symbol; a wholeness created by the two opposites, each containing within itself the seed of the other.
Most people see this and understand it as if one was a "good" force and the other a "bad" one in opposition one to another. But this is not entirely true. While good and bad can be represented within this, it is not the entirety of its meaning. While "good" can be represented by the yang and "bad" can be represented by the yin, these are but human terms; their meanings derived individually by each person whose understanding is rooted in their culture and education.
A more accurate view of these oposing forces can be seen as yin representing dark and yang representing light, yin representing dusk and yang representing dawn, or yin representing the side of a hill cast in shadows and yang representing the side bathed in sunlight. These all represent another key-belief for the taoists: that wherever one aspect of the creative forces which create existance is present - the other is containted within it. One cannot know darkness if they do not know light, dusk cannot occur without the preceeding dawn, and there cannot be shade on one side of the hill without sunlight on the other.
This illustrates that, while these are opposing forces, they come together in a unity which taoists call the Tao (the way); one cannot exist without the other, both constantly playing off one another (yet both needing each other) in a cosmic dance of energy spanning all of time. This dance plays out throughout existance on all levels, even within ourselves.
The psychologist Carl Jung touches on this with his idea of the Shadow Self. The idea holds that in order to reach self-actualization (being who you truly are/your true-self) one must balance their Shadow Self with their outward personality. This is a problem for most as the Shadow Self represents all the pieces of one’s personality which they do not like or are ashamed of and thus repress.
When taoist thought is applied to this it can be seen as an imbalance of yin and yang within a person; a denial of the darker portions of their personality (their internal yin) while over-emphasizing their lighter qualities (their internal yang). Doing this creates an imbalance and thus the person will lose their way (their Tao). This imbalance leads to unhappiness as the overemphasis of one’s yang puts strain on it, exhausting and weakening it over time. All the while the supression of one´s yin causes it to push harder and harder to exert itself, to a point where it explodes through the exhausted yang in a burst of anger or violence. While many believe it to be important to supress what they see to be "bad" personality traits, qualities, and impules in favor of more socially acceptable ones, if in doing this one is denying their natural impulse to a situation (their way/Tao) then it is not actually beneficial to anyone. After all, good and bad are relative terms invented by man and as such nothing is intrinsically either.
It is only through the balance of all aspects of one;s nature, the acceptance of all that one is that one can truly follow their path. By accepting that these "bad" traits are part of one´s being, one is not only better able to control and utilize them for good purposes, but also begins to be able to find the root of why one manifests these traits. In doing this one can firstly identify why they believe these traits are "bad," evaluate whether or not these traits could actually be used positively, and if not learn how to uproot them rather than supress them.
Good and bad exist within us all, but it is not through hiding one’s darker aspects that one will achieve virtue; it is only through the acceptance of all that one is and following who their heart knows them to be that this can be achieved.
by Dimitri Solakofski
by Ana Coffey
What are Boundaries?
I consider boundaries to be a set of rules that we create that dictate how we interact with ourselves and others. They are the lines that we draw in the sand concerning what we believe is acceptable and unacceptable in our lives. By setting boundaries, we actively choose to step into our power by choosing to take care of ourselves and prioritize our own well-being.
Boundaries are based on love! Love for yourself and love for other people.
Boundaries are NEVER based in fear!
Boundaries are based on love and truth. They are created with the purpose of loving yourself so that you can maximize your ability to genuinely extend love to others.
Even so, many people find boundary setting difficult because you simply cannot set effective boundaries if you are afraid or if you feel unworthy of setting boundaries for yourself or if you feel like you do not deserve the loving kind treatment from yourself or others.
How do you set boundaries?
Step 1: Commit to Loving Yourself!
Self-love is the foundation for all personal growth and setting boundaries is no exception. I am not saying that you have to be a full-blown self-love master right now, far from it! What I am saying is that you have to be willing to work on making self-love top priority in your life. The desire to learn to love yourself MUST be there because…
There will be times when you will have to fight to stand by and protect your boundaries and human beings do not fight for what they do not love!
Step 2: Determine how you want to feel and who you want to be!
This step is all about establishing WHY you are setting boundaries in the first place. How do boundaries further your goals around who you want to be and how you want to feel from now on?
For this step you need to set aside fear for a moment and use your imagination. Pretend that you live in a world where only positivity exists. There are no negative consequences for how you want to feel or who you want to be (you cannot hurt anyone’s feelings, you cannot lose your job, etc). If you lived in this magical world, how would you like to feel and what would need to happen in your life to allow you to feel this way? This includes all changes to your internal environment (how you think about and treat yourself) and your external environment (everything else).
To give you an example, below are the answers that I came up with when I did this exercise. I love a good outline, so I outlined my answer with how I want to feel first and then the actions I can take in bullet points underneath. You can organize however you would like, whether it’s an outline or a free write or a vision board or any other way you can think of that resonates with you!
How do I want to be treated? How do I want to feel?
I feel like this is an exercise I could repeat over and over again. I find myself wanting to change things from my list and add new things. So feel free to do this periodically (I am thinking about revisiting this monthly).
Step 3: Start small: Practice setting boundaries with yourself!
Believe me I get it, setting boundaries can be super scary. If this is the case for you, it is likely that prioritizing yourself and creating healthy boundaries goes against a whole lifetime, if not generations, of social / emotional conditioning.
For me, the scariest part of setting boundaries was the idea of having to confront other people. I hated the idea of disappointing someone or making someone upset (and we will get to that later). However, I felt like I could make internal changes without rocking the boat too much. I could change the way I thought about myself and the way I scheduled my free time.
Take a look at the results of the last exercise, what are the actions that you can take right now that do not involve confronting anyone else just yet? I bet that there are quite a few. If not, think again. What can you do right now to commit to prioritizing your well-being? Maybe it is getting up 15 minutes earlier so that you are not rushing in the morning. Or maybe it is actually committing to that dietary change or that exercise regime or your meditation practice, etc. I promise that there are things you can do that do not involve giant confrontations, scary conversations or pivotal life choices.
These changes are super important in and of themselves, but they also teach you to develop a base level of discipline and integrity. Through these personal changes, you are challenged to stick to it and DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU ARE GOING TO DO. This will make it easier to commit to setting boundaries in other areas of your life later.
Step 4: Change your perception of how your boundaries affect other people.
This is where things got really tricky for me. I wanted to set boundaries, but I thought that setting boundaries meant making things more difficult for other people so that I could be more at ease. It took a lot of meditation and contemplation and journaling before I realized that this limited and shortsighted mindset could not be further from the truth. Here are a couple of concepts that helped me shift my perception of how boundaries affect others.
1. People should not be expected to read your mind or automatically know the exact details about how you want to be treated. You need to communicate your needs and desires. You need to teach others how to treat you.
If you do not communicate your boundaries, desires and needs to other people, then you are forcing other people to make decisions about how to treat you based on extremely limited information. The best case scenario is that they are able to put themselves in your shoes and GUESS how you might like to be treated. But not everyone can tap into empathy easily so, worst case scenario they treat you based on how they were treated growing up, and do you really want to take that chance?
2. Communicating your personal boundaries is a GIFT to other people!
How many times have you stressed over conversations before they even happened? How many times have you thought to yourself, “I wish they would just tell me how they feel?” or “Why won’t they just tell me what they want?” Trying to guess how other people are going to react to a situation or conversation and then trying to adjust to accommodate them based on that guesswork can be really stressful because you are trying to take on responsibility for other people’s well-being in addition to the responsibility of your own happiness.
When you clearly communicate your boundaries, desires and needs, you are now taking responsibility for yourself and for your own needs in each situation and providing helpful information to the other people you are interacting with. This can eliminate a lot of potential stress and guesswork for the other person and pave the way for a much more enjoyable interaction.
In addition to this, when you stand firmly by your commitment to your boundaries you are showing other people how to set boundaries through your example. There are a great many people who want to set boundaries and don’t know how! When you set boundaries and keep them, you are demonstrating that setting boundaries is not only possible, but it is extremely helpful.
You are also freely offering information to other people about who you are and what your priorities are. When we freely offer up our truth to other people, instead of keeping ourselves closed off, we are giving them the freedom to share their truth with us. This freedom is a great gift!
3. You have no power or control over the way other people feel, think or behave.
You do have the power to choose how you allow other people to affect you. Setting and maintaining boundaries is made exponentially easier when you can release your attachment or fear around how other people think or feel about you.
This is something I am still working on, every single day. If the reason you are afraid of voicing your opinion or instructing people on how to better treat you is because you are afraid of how they will react, you need to work on releasing this fear because it is hindering your growth! (I can go on and on and on about this topic and I probably will in another blog post)
A great example of this is recently, I had to ask my employers to cut my hours on the farm from 6 days a week to 5 days a week. My body couldn’t handle that many hours of physical labor, I was in pain all the time and exhausted. I had committed to priotizing my health, but I will absolutely admit that setting boundaries is still somewhat new to me and I STRESSED out about asking for what I needed. I thought about how cutting my hours back would force them to pick up my slack and about how inconvenient that would be for them and about how they would probably hate and resent me forever more, blaa blaa blaa. BUT, I did it! I built up the courage to set that boundary, it ended up being no big deal at all.
Turns out that what my employers actually cared about was that I enjoyed working there and that I was able to stay healthy enough to continue working there sustainably for the whole summer without burning out. On top of that, because I was working less, I had more energy to give to them when I was there. This led to them giving me two separate raises and promoting me to farm manager within two months!
Hopefully this helps demonstrate that good things come when you set boundaries and prioritize your health and happiness! You benefit and so does everyone else! When I look back on all the times that I set firm boundaries for myself, I cannot remember one single time that it did not change my life for the better.
I will freely admit that I am still growing in this area. Even though everything always works out and people are never as upset as I think they are going to be, I still have to build up courage to confront people and ask for my needs and desires to be respected. I will say, however, that it is getting easier. Every time I set a boundary I get more practice and the next boundary is easier. The other super awesome thing is….
4. The more you practice setting personal boundaries, the more easily you can identify and appreciate when other people are setting boundaries.
When you begin to recognize people’s attempts at boundary setting, you stop taking things personally and start congratulating them on their personal growth success. This is just another way that setting boundaries eases communication and makes way for more peace and compassion in your life.
I hope that this post inspires you to take out that journal and brainstorm about who you want to be, how you want to feel and what boundaries you need to set in order to achieve your goals. As always, feedback is appreciated! Feel free to share with friends, family or anyone who might be having some trouble setting and keeping healthy boundaries.
All my love to you!
by Sarah Maria Lili
And if I’d have to explain my love for him to you,
I’d describe it as a massive ocean,
flooding all my valleys and mountains of sorrows and fears…
Washing them away,
perhaps several floods needed,
but washing out their wounds even more each time.
Sometimes the salty water hurts,
but it’s good at the same time,
cleansing me from all the gunk I’ve been polluted with
for a very long time.
So, he doesn’t even realize,
but is actually healing my emotional landscape
slowly but surely,
but more surely than I’d ever thought it’d be possible.
And the most beautiful part about it is,
that he only inspired me to do so.
In the end,
I do heal my own by my own doing,
And therefore, I am so damn grateful for you.
For your love
and the love you make me feel.
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