I’m happy to welcome therapists and authors Kimberly Alexander and Dale Curd. Today, Kimberly and Dale share their new release, Living Lightly.
Living Lightly is a daily devotional that offers a year’s worth of opportunities to commune, in the deepest and most beautiful sense of that word, with your self and your life. Partners and therapists, Dale and Kim Curd step through the universal doorways of life and offer us a nudge to slow down and experiences to help return us to our selves. Their personal reflections invoke gentle introspection, and come from their own healing journeys and from being active therapists. Living Lightly invites you to explore how your mind works, understand and express your feelings and be reminded that you are much, much stronger than you realize. Living Lightly is a great way to start or end the day.
Excerpt From July 14, Living Lightly
When we wrote this piece, we imagined all of our self in a beautiful bubble ~ our hopes, needs, feelings, wounds and energy ~ in the bubble, all the time. And others having their bubbles too. Today, imagine feeling safe and wondrous interacting with other bubbles. With love, Kim and Dale.
Withholding or oversharing information can reveal our problem with boundary setting. Healthy boundaries give our sense of ease and peace in life a quantum boost, and in our interactions we learn to focus our energy on managing our own state, rather than trying (impossibly) to manage others’.
In thinking about boundaries, I realize how little I share during times of crisis, when I am focused on the critical decisions and actions that need to be taken. People who are directly able to assist are involved with me very intimately, yet it may take several days, or even longer, before I share what is happening with my friends and family. Because of this I find myself sharing and recounting and reliving the episode after the fact. And others are left to experience, process and resolve the shock, the ups and downs and the resolution of the story in one telling. The whole process feels draining to me—both because I don’t enjoy reliving the experience and because I have to answer questions so that others can fill in the gaps in their knowledge.
My withholding the information in real time has blocked loved ones from sharing in my life and being connected to me. When I’m in crisis mode, I withhold information by default, to control my environment as well as other people. This tendency is rooted in my childhood—adults would pin their emotional needs onto me and I felt unprotected and unable to separate myself from the other. Without healthy boundaries, I am blocked as an adult from experiencing the support and love of others; I am simultaneously on the defensive while I go on offence, patrolling for non-confirming ideas or behaviours. It is exhausting and draining for me and for the people around me. While my withholding behaviour is most evident when I’m in crisis, I always behave this way.
At the other end of the scale are people who overshare, speaking compulsively and repetitively to relieve or soothe themselves without showing any awareness of the other. They shift their state by using the energy of someone who allows their energy to be drawn.
The way through is to practise setting healthy boundaries. For the most part, withholding and oversharing are done unconsciously. By making ourselves aware of our state, we can intentionally empower and enhance ourselves, our relationships and our interactions.
For me, healthy boundaries start with being aware of my own feeling state and being self-responsible for my needs, energy and actions—and seeing all of these create a bubble around me. When I meet another person, they have their own bubble. Healthy boundaries allow us to be together with our own bubbles intact. We can connect and interact, each of us having our unique experience in life, in parallel, free to choose for ourselves. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?
Yet not everyone we meet in life is self-aware or self-responsible. Some people open their bubbles and their energy and emotions spill out, looking to flow into another. Or they pull energy away from another to fill themselves up. We can’t manage or control such behav- iours, but we can monitor, care for, advocate for and trust ourselves. In a moment of crisis I can be aware that I am feeling sad or fearful, that my emotions are heightened and that I am tense from lack of sleep and an adrenaline rush, so I can be responsible for my actions. I can let people know this is the state I am in. Ultimately, it is my responsibility, not theirs, to steer myself back towards a healthy, positive state.
Sleeping, eating, resting, getting support, taking breaks, asking for help, surrounding myself with helpful, positive people—these are all ways I use to get myself back. I shift my own bubble.
Mastering our own bubbles is a wonderful way to live. Awareness is the key factor. Instead of assessing others to make ourselves safe, let us first assess our own states and see to our own needs. That way we will be able to be with others, maintaining our energy. Acceptance, empathy, community, forgiveness, peace all become possible when our emotional safety no longer depends upon the other.
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Kim and Dale have created a much-needed “self-help” guide filled with powerful starting points for each day of the year. I immediately connected with their objective in writing this devotional: “We can remember a time long ago when we felt like we were floating, and we want to feel light again.” The authors start each snippet by identifying an issue and then offering anecdotes, quotations, poetry, and practical strategies. While I read the entire book in two sittings, I plan to revisit many of the reflections throughout 2020 and beyond.
About the Authors
Kim Alexander spent twenty years in the tech start-up world, has travelled extensively and considers travel one of her greatest pleasures. In 2014 she completed her training as a therapist, merging her worlds of technology and therapy, by offering clients online video counselling. Kim is a lifelong learner, always engaged in activities and ventures that expand her self-awareness, from writing, raising animals, to listening to horses and trees.
Dale Curd is a mental health professional, the host of CBC TV’s Hello Goodbye and a co-host of Life Story Project on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The creator of an acclaimed Empathetic Listening Method, Dale leads specialized workshops for law enforcement, hospitals and corporations across North America.
Dale and Kim founded The Child Therapy List and The Men’s List, two global, online mental wellness professional directories, to help normalize therapy and end mental health stigma. They created LivingLightlyToday.com as an online community to acknowledge and connect with readers and inspire people to share in their passion for beauty. In 2015 Dale and Kim left city life to live on a historic farm in Muskoka.
http://www.livinglightlytoday.com is a growing online community of souls committed to living fully, exploring new experiences, making new discoveries in our inner and outer landscapes. Dale and Kim are so excited for your images and stories, of beauty and connection. Come join the journey—we are waiting for you!
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