boundaries, Buddha and bats

Apr 13, 2017 | 0 comments

Boundaries. A word I didn’t learn the meaning of until I was 29 and I certainly didn’t have any until then either. I am an empath, someone who is exceptionally empathetic, who feels incredibly deeply and who has an innate ability to feel and understand what others have been through even if it isn’t something I have gone through myself. There have been times when I have been able to feel someone else’s feelings even before they themselves have felt them. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand this gift until I was 31. I realized how severely this had affected every aspect of my life. I constantly took on other’s problems and feelings without even knowing. I so desperately wanted to fix them so I could find relief for myself. It caused me anxiety, stress, anger, confusion, and frustration. As a result, I always wanted to blame everyone and everything else for my problems because the problems never felt like mine and a lot of them probably weren’t, but I couldn’t tell the difference. Eventually, I think that would have been what killed me. Setting boundaries is a healthy way to protect yourself while giving yourself a way to move forward. However, sometimes you need to have something taken from you so you can learn how to get it back and next time, not allow it to be taken. There is a fine line between the uncomfortableness of learning a difficult lesson and remaining in that discomfort to be transformed and staying somewhere that is detrimental to your well being because you are comfortable there. The goal is to figure out the difference.

“Often it’s the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self.” -Karen Salmansohn

If you find love and happiness within yourself, no one can ever take that from you. If you try to find love and happiness externally, it can all be taken away in an instant. Source provides us with an endless tap where we can constantly derive more energy, love, and happiness. If you set a boundary and someone crosses it, depleting you of energy, enthusiasm, and light, fear not. Your source of love and light is limitless, you just need to know where to look for it. I’ll give you a hint. I was practicing meditation with a monk, Kusala Thero, and he gave us this example. He said “When you meditate, it is putting your focus on only meditating. It is giving the brain a break. We think all day, we clutter our brain with worry, doubt, fear, questions, and other things. Meditation allows us to create space and clear our minds so the mind can rest, repair and heal itself and the rest of us. If you drive a car, that’s meditating. You are putting all of your focus into that one thing.” Going within is where it all begins. Once you quiet the mind and create the space, the answers will come. Clear out all the junk that is wasting your energy, and no longer serving you, and make room for what serves your very inner being. This is the ultimate connection.

Every night in Balipitiaya, Sri Lanka, as soon as the sun sets to the west, the bats begin their journey. I don’t know exactly where they are going and I suppose it doesn’t matter. What does matter is what it all means to me. Each night they fill the sky and I can count on them without fail. Because it happens every night and it is a regular occurrence. It became a part of the daily routine and soon I no longer noticed them. One particular evening, just before sunset, I felt a draw to go to the rooftop, lay on my back, and stare at the sky. For a few moments it was a blank canvas of pinks and purples and in the next instant, it was splattered with the silent wings of the bats. I had forgotten about them and realized I was drawn to the roof for the purpose of catching their flight. I laid there for longer than I even realized and when I returned back to myself I knew I had to look up the symbolic meaning of bats. As a Native American animal symbol, the Bat is a guide through the darkness. Bat medicine releases us from our old self and opens the doors for something new and healing. There it was. The clarity and understanding I had needed. Another clue, another answer, another confirmation that I was still moving in the right direction and what I was going through was exactly what I needed to continue to move forward.

The past couple of months for me have been nothing short of extreme. Three months ago I could have never anticipated what lay ahead of me. I knew I had begun a divine mission and I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be but I had no idea why. After three months of being taken to the deep and dark places within myself that I never expected I would visit, I have been guided to move on. I have let go of so much of my past that I was holding on to so tightly. I have been humbled to my knees, my eyes full of tears, by the impact I have had on those who showed up on my journey so far. I had no clue I could ever give to people what they have told me I have given them. This place has stirred old behavior patterns and negative emotions, some that run very deep, and has brought them to the surface in a pretty intense way physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. My greatest gifts have been gaining back my power and learning how not to lose it again, learning how to stay centered amidst chaos, no matter the circumstances and learning how to show love and compassion towards a person even when it is they who are stealing your light and causing your pain. At this point, the gifts I was meant to give and receive have been exchanged. It is time for me to move on. I left Sri Lanka on April 8th and I flew to the Maldives for 11 days. A well needed (and deserved) respite. I have no agenda, just a feeling of perseverance.

I have decided to leave Sri Lanka because my reasons to stay were the same as they always were when I was fearful of leaving: worries about money and I am comfortable. I knew I had to leave in spite of my fear because if I didn’t I would be repeating the same old patterns. I’ve realized I tend to find comfort in my pain, it’s what I know. For me the fear is moving out of it, the fear for me is the peace. Sounds weird, right? But that’s for another time…

Until we meet again,

Nikki

*PHOTOS: I was unable to upload all the photos because of slow wifi. I will add on when I have better wifi.

The German volunteers I taught yoga to pitched in and bought a ton of fresh vegetables, coconut milk, and FETA CHEESE to make me a going away lunch. I was so touched and had the most amazing afternoon with them listening to music, eating coconut cookies, laughing and cooking. Sri Lankan New Year is the 13th and 14th of April and the celebrations in the schools start early. The children dress in traditional clothing, perform cute little dances and eat #allthesweets. The photos with all the mountains and tea plantations are from our tour of central and northern Sri Lanka. We climbed Sigiriya, a 660-foot tall ancient rock formation. We had steps to climb but back in those days, there were no steps and the people had to carry the king up and down once a month! There is a picture of a tall tree and it is full of bats, napping before the night’s activities.

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