I was already working on this boundary prior to the pandemic. Since I experienced a mental health crisis in 2019 I began centering my life around supporting my mental health. I figured if I didn’t want to live anymore I needed to figure out how to make my life worth living.

I started centering the needs of my body and pausing to ask her what she wants. “What does my body want” is one of the best questions I can ask myself for clarity.

When I consider if I want to do something I look for a full body YES. Not a regular yes. A FULL BODY yes.

Lots of stuff sounds fun, interesting, I can even logic them into being beneficial. But unless my body is in agreement, it’s a no. Just because you’re adaptable doesn’t mean what you’re doing isn’t a people pleasing mask getting in the way of your true calling.

I’m still masking inside 100% except with my quarantine pod (my mom and her spouse Pat). And when they take risks I don’t want to absorb I quarantine from them.

How does this fit into the current pandemic? It has everything to do with it!

Emotionally strong people take calculated risks. Since connecting with people in person could literally risk your life, someone else’s life, the quality of your life going forward (it should be a bigger deal that up to 30% of folks who had Covid lose two of their five main senses, much higher risk of heart disease etc…), or just miss paid days of work–I think it deserves a FULL BODY YES if you’re gonna take that risk.

Here’s the boundary I use:

I’m being cautious.

That’s it! “Do you want to hang out with me inside?”

“Sorry, outdoor only for me–I’m being cautious.”

“Why are you wearing a mask?”

“I’m being cautious.”

“Why are you turning around we drove all this way to go to this outdoor festival. Who cares if it’s crowded?”

“I’m being cautious.”

“Everyone else is flying commercial! If you loved us you would!”

“I’m being cautious.”

“Your favorite artist is on tour and I got you VIP tickets to an indoor arena show!”

“Unless this comes with several at home tests, a state of the art mask with filters, social distancing and a place to plug in an air purifier it’s a no–I’m being cautious.”

Anyone who tries to fight you about your boundaries probably doesn’t care that much about your health and wants to justify their own reckless behavior.

I mean, looking at best intentions they probably want to spend time with you because you are rad but you can spend time on Zoom and have a nice safe cup of tea. I’ve had a Zoom catch up with hundreds of friends over the past two years. It’s been really nice!

Remember, also, NO is a complete sentence. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.

“I’m being cautious.”

I love this line because it is simply true. It’s a benevolent place of reflection to folks who believe they are being cautious. Almost everyone believes they are being “safe” in this pandemic and I believe most of those people are not being safe. I’ll post another piece about all of the protocols I’ve adopted to stay out of the current of covid.

I’ve taken a significant financial hit to make that choice but I’m soooo grateful I can pay my living expenses with the income from my Patreon membership. That’s why I can update this blog!

I wish the below were true for more folks:

“How’s minimum wage while putting your life and health at risk?”

“I’m being cautious.”

(I know not everyone has the privilege of making that choice but I think they SHOULD get that choice. Really disappointed in the way the US government has treated this pandemic. Instead funding $700 billion towards the war machine. When I dwell too long on how unfair it is that folks have to work in the stream of disease while folks privileged to work from home choose to then go to concerts and travel to spread the disease… My blood pressure rises. I can’t let myself and I have to redirect my thoughts.)

This article in Forbes talks about the latest surge in Europe and Las Vegas that seems pretty likely to land all over the US. Sure hope all of you out there who are choosing to be cautious are given grace and understanding.

Here’s a high five for community care from me for making those hard choices. We are all in this together to actually end this pandemic.

Remember: boundaries are hot! And without a no there can be no yes! Respect people’s No!

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