Learning to build healthy boundaries
Here at Tribe HQ, we’re often asked how we ended up making flower essences and being so passionate about energetic medicine. It’s a very, very long story, and one that’s been guided each step of the way by the shifts and insights we gained by working with the flower essences that now comprise the Tribe of the Tree range. And none of it would have been possible if I hadn’t learned how to develop and maintain healthy boundaries.
Presence and intention trumps knowledge and good intentions
I knew that I was going to work with plant medicines from the time I was a teenager. In fact, at the age of 16 or so, someone mentioned the word ‘herbalist’ to me for the first time, and before I’d even stopped to figure out what one was, I heard myself saying, ‘That’s what I’m going to be when I grow up’.
Quickly afterwards, I embarked on a voracious learning binge, starting by reading every book on natural health I could get my hands on, and culminating in enrolling in naturopathic college when I’d finished school and was old enough to do so.
I thought that if I just absorbed enough information, I’d be able to be of service to both my clients and the herbal medicines that resonated with me so deeply.
But as I moved through many years of college and into becoming a newly graduated practitioner, two things became increasingly clear to me.
The first was that regardless of which healing modalities I was working with, the energy, intentions and presence I brought to my interactions with others played a central role in the healing outcome.
The heavy burden of caregiving
Secondly, I realised that while being a healer is an enormous privilege, it sometimes comes with what feels like a heavy burden.
Unlike many other professions, it requires you to be physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically present for your clients, all at the same time.
That juggling act can sometimes take its toll on you - especially if you haven't yet learned how to manage your own energy or to prioritise self-care while also making yourself available for others.
As a result, during those early stages of my career I often felt knocked around by the energy of my clients, and as though my own physical, emotional and energetic wellbeing were completely out of my control.
Looking back, I can see that I was so keen to be of service that I would sometimes push my own needs aside, and act more like a servant!
Healthy boundaries are better for you and those you care for
It took me a long time (we’re talking decades!) to recognise that all this was driven by the misguided belief that it was in my client’s best interests to make myself available to them emotionally and energetically, with no boundaries whatsoever, at all hours of the day and night.
I knew the theories of boundary protection of course... columns of white light, smudge sticks, cutting of cords... you name it, I was doing it! And it all helped – a bit.
But it took the ritual of working with the plant energies of the Crepe Myrtle tree (secret ingredient in our Up, Up & Away flower essence and flower essence mist) to help me truly learn what it felt like to empower myself to take charge of my own boundaries.
And wonder of wonders! In finally learning how it felt to have healthy boundaries in place, I also felt more able to be present to the people I worked with and able to support them.
The effects on my own wellbeing were profound, and importantly, my clients and students benefited too – not least because the shift in my energy and intentions contributed to their empowerment by encouraging them to take ownership of their own issues rather than lean on me in an unhealthy way.
Can you relate? I think my experience is pretty much universal among healers, and is also incredibly common among caregivers of all kinds – including parents, teachers and people in service professions.
Caring for others is so much more joyful and life-affirming when we get to experience the uplifting aspects of the contributions we make, without being depleted by those we support.
It's a much more sustainable way of working too, and has ripple effects that benefit your business, your family relationships and your peace of mind.
Nourishing yourself with healthier boundaries - and Up, Up & Away
If you sometimes find yourself neglecting your self-care because you’re making yourself available for others, I encourage you to consider whether exercising healthier boundaries might have a positive impact not only your own wellbeing, but also on those you care for and their sense of self-responsibility and empowerment.
Start by taking just seven drops of flower essence twice daily (or more if you feel called too), and experiment with spritzing the mist either in your own personal space, home or workplace.
At the same time, set an intention of learning to look after yourself with deep, tender loving care, and recognise that exercising healthy boundaries is just another aspect of doing that - and that you are just as deserving of unconditional support as the people you look after!