“You need to set energetic boundaries so you don’t take in other people’s negativity,” I was told last week. A part of me thought, “Yes, that is absolutely right.” And another part of me clenched up, the way I am accustomed to resisting anytime someone starts talking about energy, auras, or higher frequencies. That’s too crazy, I don’t want to be that woo-woo.
It surprises me that these judgments enter my mind, given that I was brought up in a family environment of meditation, yoga, and mantras. And now, in my own way, I continue to make mind-body-spirit practices a part of my daily life. Yet I still find myself avoiding things that seem, well, weird.
As I contemplated the idea of setting energetic boundaries, my mind jumped back to a cartoon character I watched countless times as a child. She was an aura-obsessed, meditating valley-girl. After a little internet digging, I found out her name is Shirley the Loon from the early 90’s series Tiny Toon Adventures. As a child, I did not know that a Loon is a type of bird, similar to a duck. I only took on the double meaning of her name: Shirley the Crazy. Her blue eye-shadowed lids would close as she floated in the air during meditation, repeating the mantra: “Oh, what a loon I am.”
This is a real live loon taking flight. Shirley the Loon is less copyright friendly. Photo credit:https://flic.kr/p/ZRbGRm.
I never wanted to be like Shirley the Loon. I wished I could be like Babs Bunny, a popular, pink bunny modeled after the classic Bugs Bunny character. Everyone loved Babs. Everyone laughed at her jokes. My eight-year-old self soaked up all the messages about what I should hide and what I should show to the world.
In fact, these cartoon characters were just two of the countless messages I absorbed growing up about what would make me popular, beautiful, and likable. I spent years trying desperately to achieve the ever-elusive feeling of being “normal.”
Thankfully, I learned all about the harmful effects of media messages in a communications class in college. At the same time, I started getting to know myself: my own personality, passions and dreams. I decided that “fitting in” as a life goal was never going to make me happy.
Gradually I have shifted my internal compass toward activities, practices and people that bring me fulfillment and joy. Before trying something new, I ask myself, “does this serve my highest good?” Last week, when I began to explore how to set energetic boundaries, I asked that same question. I felt my energy gathering in my heart center with the answer: “Yes! This will help me grow in beautiful ways!”
If that puts me in the same category as Shirley the Loon, count me in.