Kiss the Walls: Simple Boundaries, Simple Gratitude (Episode 279)
We moved from "kissing the walls" to a big open space. Yes, quite literally. Yesterday we rolled in to our house in Venice, Florida, to slowly unpack the past three months of living in our RV down in the Florida Keys.
In "Luna", our wonderful 5th wheel, our little queen bed is in a slide - meaning it's wedged between two smaller walls. It's not uncommon for me to wake up with my face just millimeters from the wall!
As we moved back into our 1376 square foot home, we were once again walking around in awe and gratitude for the expansiveness and the little things we were grateful for.
And it got me thinking about "kissing the walls" and how it's such a great reflection of laying out clear boundaries for what we focus on, and adding awareness of those tiny things we overlook.
The Walls We Put Up
Oftentimes when we think of walls, we're thinking this is an unhealthy shutting out. Yet maybe that's where we get it wrong - if the wall shuts out what is unhealthy, it's a whole different purpose.
We put up a wall of protection. I have talked in the past about how, as a parent, we strive to build a bathtub of boundaries with an ocean of love. When a child is sitting in a bathtub with clear walls, they are free to play and explore without fear. When you throw a child in the middle of the ocean with no idea of the depth or distance from shore, that's a recipe for complete fear and helplessness.
We don't just set boundaries for our children. We all set boundaries around what we will tolerate. For example, no one in our family is required to tolerate a bully. It's a clear boundary that shuts the door on any relationship where bullying is the strategy.
We create these bubbles of worlds we live in that create the safety and security to allow us to recharge. When we "wall off" our homes as a sanctuary, instead of closing us in, it gives us the space to fully expand with the good from within our walls so we can make a better impact beyond it.
We started reducing our clutter and space back in 2016 as we prepared to launch on our RV adventures across the country. As we moved into less than 200 square feet to live in full-time as a family of five (plus pets), we had to be very intentional about what we brought in. Not just the clutter, but the energy. We got very clear on how we wanted to be treated to bring out the best in each other, and set clear boundaries around what we needed to recharge.
Our literal walls were close together. And yet, our world expanded to take in this whole country - all of the mainland 48 States, covered in our first two years of travel. As we got very clear on who we wanted to be in this world, we also got very selective on what allowed in.
You Are What You Reinforce
We looked at what we wanted to reinforce in our lives. Positivity, gratitude, awareness...and we set some parameters to bring those to the forefront.
We got selective on the "entertainment" we chose...and when we would watch. Was it helping us to tune into the latest news drama first thing in the morning? How about those violent movies people watch...for pleasure? Not in our perspective.
We paid attention to the relationships we built along our travels - were they truly uplifting and mutual, or is this more of an acquaintance that spends more time focused on what is wrong (and why they are a victim of it) vs. what they can do to make the world (and themselves) better?
We looked at what we allowed for ourselves - how could we find and create the "joy sparks" that recharged and revitalized us, and how we could get strong in saying no to those things that just stressed us out or distracted us from our family mission. Explore, respect, listen, connect, learn and love. This was - and is - our vision, mission and motto to live by.
We looked at what we put into our bodies - the food, the mindset, etc - and looked at whether it affirmed that mission.
We looked at how we interacted with the rest of the world - nature and people - and looked at how we could, again, affirm that mission.
Reinforcing Awareness and Gratitude
Last week as we reflected on Thanksgiving, I shared some perspective from the Native American way. I want to share this portion again here -
...The idea of giving thanks is central to Native heritage and culture, and in this way, Thanksgiving is simply a chance to appreciate the good things of life like family, community, and the riches of the land. Long before settlers arrived, Native tribes were celebrating the autumn harvest and the gift of Mother Earth’s abundance. Native American spirituality, both traditionally and today, emphasizes gratitude for creation, care for the environment, and recognition of the human need for communion with nature and others. *Taken from "What Does Thanksgiving Mean to Native Americans" on NativeHope.org
We want to focus on gratitude - and that takes awareness on what to be grateful for. Living in such a tiny space gave us plenty of opportunity to have things in our face. As I "kissed the wall" at night, I would lay with Nathan soaking in gratitude for that little RV that took us all over the country.
As we spent time traveling, we had so many opportunities to see things through our children's eyes - and to notice the little things we adults would often miss.
Spending the last three months volunteering at Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys allowed us to really get to know this park as our "backyard". No matter how many times we'd walk the same loop around the park, there was always something new to see. And, so often, the most incredible experiences and discoveries were often overlooked by others in the rush of "getting it all in" on vacation.
The Little Things
We found joy in the little things - like the miniscule baby crabs we discovered on our walk one day. Or the endangered Miami Blue Butterflies that laid eggs the size of a pinpoint on the nickerbean leaves.
And, when we got back to our house in Venice, the things voiced in gratitude was a reminder of how much we take for granted until it's in your face. How often have you thought about these?
I'm grateful for a solid floor that doesn't shake when we move!
I'm grateful for taking a shower without needing to walk to a bathhouse or wear flip flops!
It's so nice to be back on sewer (yes, three months of no sewer hookup, so lots of bathroom runs)!
Look at all the beautiful growth of our plants!
It's so amazing to be able to walk to the store and our favorite restaurants!
Notice What Is
Look at what is a reality around you. Can you identify some basic things you might have taken for granted that you're grateful for having in your life? Little luxuries, like not having the whole house heat up while you cook, or feeling everyone move around at night? Maybe it's actually having internet to be reading this blog post - I know my appreciation for a solid signal is much greater when I come back from our RV adventures due to bandwidth issues.
"Kiss the walls" this week, so to speak.
Pay attention to the walls you build around you - are they to shut people out in anger and pain...or are they to reinforce the person you want to be and the life you want to live?
Pay attention to what you get intimate with - "kiss" the world with your awareness and gratitude vs. snuggling up with the drama and toxicity.
As you explore how setting boundaries and noticing what is expands your world, make it a point to express gratitude for all that is going right in your life. The interactions that lift you up - acknowledge and show gratitude for them. The little things around you that make your day brighter and easier - pay attention and think about your gratefulness for them.
Our world is full of things outside our control. And we can be tossed around as a victim of circumstance, or we can look at the reality of what is and what we want to create. The more we know that within ourselves and reinforce it in our experiences with others, the more we can celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste.