Coffee and Boundaries for Codependents

Boundaries are very important and often we think of setting boundaries as protecting ourselves but knowing, sharing, and enforcing our boundaries, no matter how small, can actually help to create safe space and trust for others.

One of the things I like to know about my friends is how they take their coffee. Having coffee with another is an intimate experience of getting to know someone that I truly enjoy and it warms my heart space.

“I will build your coffee but I won’t sit and drink it with you,” he said.

I’ve known him for ten years and this finalizing statement at first triggered some fear in me. If he wouldn’t have coffee with me, how can we stay friends? What if he was telling me that the long phone conversations we sometimes shared were no longer a fit for him? How could I fix this? What could I do to make this different?

All these messages, these stories I had about what he said and what it means happened in an instance. Almost too quickly to identify in the moment but I felt it in my body; the freezing and the tension.

But in the midst of my tense response, I also heard, “He goes for a walk.”

Oh yes, he does. I might sit and sip my coffee while we talk and he goes for a walk. I can hear the scuff of his boots and the crunch of leaves. He’s done it for a long time now. I felt myself relax in a new way, it wasn’t just the physical tightening of my body in response to the stories I had, I realized I could relax more because I could trust him to take care of himself.

It wasn’t my role to fix, figure it out, or decide how to make things different. I realized that his not wanting to have coffee with me wasn’t about his not wanting to spend time with me, in fact, it meant he really valued our conversations enough to find a way for it to work for him. It meant more that he was willing to do that than if he had capitulated and done something that was wrong for him just because it was correct for me.

The automatic messages I had from my mind were a result of my own filters and conditioning. It had nothing to do with his needs or desires. Had I acted in response to them, it may very well have hurt our long-standing friendship as I tried to make things better, or control, the situation.

I’m so grateful I have learned the skills I need to navigate my own behaviors and have had the realization that the only person I can change is myself. I’ve learned I can allow others to have their experience and that rushing to take care of things doesn’t always get me the response I desire. I value that I can help my coaching clients heal in a way that they can learn to do the same thing.

When we trust those we care about to take care of themselves, even if it doesn’t work out, we give them the opportunity to find their own way; to overcome challenges, to shift, and to grow. They also have to stop relying on us so much, which means we are free too. Change yourself and you change the world.

Today I was making my own coffee and as I waited for it to settle into my cup that says Trust on it. I texted him, “I was thinking of you while making my coffee and I thought about your coffee boundaries. I think I would take a clue from Ford for mine. I’d love to hear about your coffee preferences and I’d gladly make it for you, just the way you like it, as long as it’s black.”

“That sounds about right,” he responded.

Being Seen

This is one of my favorite pictures of me. Yes, this one showing all my lumps and bumps and curves. All the things at times I have disliked and unwanted.

Pictured: Me and the amazing
photographer Lindsay Miller.

Traveling to Sedona was scary for me.

I’ve always been larger in size and finding a balance between acceptance of my body and making change with it has been an ongoing journey.

Sedona had several challenges. 

First, the airplane. When you are larger, there’s fear about flying not based on crashing or the dangers of air travel but on the size of the seats, comfort and what looks you might get when you board.

Next, the heat and elevation. I’m a sea-level gal and I learned in Sedona how my breathing is impacted by the change in elevation.

But the biggest challenge was yet to come.

You see I’d been working hard at accepting my body for it’s curves and really learning to enjoy the way I can move when I dance. At that time it wasn’t uncommon for people to ask if I had a dancing background when they saw me move; despite my shape and size.

But here I was in Sedona facing one of my biggest fears: a photographer.

An amazing one at that and I found a lot of internal messages about my unworthiness of being seen.

I really started to doubt my own value. My own right to take up space. The knowingness I had of my body and the capability it held. My very own sense of what was possible quickly became dark and doubtful.

And I did it anyway.

I love this picture of me.

This was one of the times when doing something despite how I was feeling in the moment opened me to more freedom and self-acceptance but forging your way through challenges doesn’t always end that way. Sometimes the end result is cementing the very thing you feared.

To make it a experience like this different, it requires a shift in mindset around doubt and it’s purpose. Understanding doubt from a different perspective can help you to discern when going forth can lead you to your greater gifts and when it’s notifying you to change course.

Curious to explore more about doubt? Let me know.

Embrace the Problem

I was talking with a friend the other day and I offhandedly said, “I’m not quite sure what to do.”

“What you need,“ he said with a sudden laugh in his voice, “Is to sign up for another program. Definitely a year long program.” I laughed with him.

It’s a pattern or a strategy, a long standing one, we had both encountered. I remember the year that he made me pinky swear I wouldn’t sign up for another program or class without talking to him first.

You see, I’ve really done so much. I’m a bodyworker, an energy worker, an intuitive reader, a somatic practitioner, and now a coach. That’s a lot of education. There is nothing wrong with taking a class, or engaging in a program. Education and exploration are of high value to me.

The problem was the motivation behind my constant need to skill build or to learn more.

It was my constant drive to find something outside myself to shift the inside message that my skills weren’t enough; that I wasn’t enough.

I had constant doubt, low confidence, and a belief that I was broken and in need of fixing.

What really, finally, gave me relief was the realization that turning toward a new experience meant I was also constantly turning away from the old one and the old experience was really where the gold was hiding. I wasn’t going to become enough by constantly running away, by trying to become something new. I was simply proving to myself that I was never going to be enough because there was always more to learn.

Therefore, I was only going to shift by viewing the problem differently and turning to embrace it instead of running away, or pushing it away. But none of the things I was signing up for were addressing this pattern. They were just selling a new technique or modality.

The fascinating part is how I now have all this freed up energy that I once spent on hiding and seeking to actually be able to learn the things I want to. The things that matter specifically to me. I’m getting more depth in the practices I already have. I’m using my gifts more and showing up in the world in a more authentic way.

And I want the same for you.

A Home for Words

Living a life I love, for me, involves writing.

So, writing will be a piece of my website. Some articles may be about my work I do with others but likely most will involve more of the life I am dreaming and manifesting and what I encounter along the way.

I imagine that by sharing, I might give insight, clues, or cautionary tales to those who follow along.

At the very least, it’s possible this could become bread trails showing where I have traveled through the dark forest and where I find the light filtering through the trees because every life is filled with both shadow and light and it is only through knowing one that we find the other.

Chances are there will be days I write a great deal, and those times when months go by. One of the dances I take in life is that of acceptance and this ebb and flow will be one of those. In other words, don’t expect a great deal of consistency but delight in what is offered as I see my words as offerings.