There's Liberation in Limitation

 

How do you define the concept of freedom?

I suppose most people would say that it is the license to do whatever you want without much restraint.  However, just because something is permissible, doesn't mean that it is advisable or even necessarily beneficial to your overall well-being.

When we think about limits, we tend to view them as this dark looming force acting as the arch enemy of free will, oppossing our sovereignty, oppressing our liberated spirits, and stifling our desire for self-determination. If you only knew that in some cases, this view point could actually be the reason why you haven't yet fully achieved your dreams.

What I've come to realize is that there can in fact be such a thing as positive limits. I'm growing into the understanding that to achieve a certain level of personal success, most of the time setting limits and restrictions on ourselves and our behaviors is key!  Trust me, this timely revelation has allowed me of late, to happily bask in the glory of true freedom.

In my quest to mine the depths of self-discovery, I've found that some of the limits I've placed on myself have not only turned out to be positive, but they've helped me to thrive.  I'm beginning to go beyond the limits I'd previously imposed on myself, able to now push back the boundaries of what I had once thought was possible.  While digging throughout my life for the pearl of self-realization, through self-regulation, I've found my authentic self!

Flashback

Looking back on my misspent youth, it's almost comical how I devoted swathes of time studying the components of shallow living instead of attempting to develop my genuine self.  It would seem that I mastered the art of maintaining and projecting an image of how I wanted to be seen in order to satisfy the standards of others - thus forgoing any attempt to explore the properties of my own authenticity or full potential.

It's humorous how I actually viewed myself as a rebel, who fashioned himself as a nonconformist.  What I actually was, was a guy who lived a rather self-indulgent lifestyle, testing the limits of my own hedonistic capacity, while being insubordinate to my own true nature.

I sought happiness through and unquenchable amount of pleasure seeking, but never finding any true satisfaction, because I sought comfort in frivolous, noxious, and unhealthy pursuits.  My life revolved around unfavorable behaviors and habits, spending many years languishing in the shadow of who and what I hoped to become.

It turns out that I was less of the rebel I espoused to be, and more of an unfocused, undisciplined and uninspired ne'er-do-well, with foggy goals in life.  But once this withered lifestyle became far too painful to bear, I willed myself to find something that would pry me out of my rut and use it as a springboard to go beyond happiness to outright joy.

Think Inside the Box

There are certain limits that are frankly uncool, and these are the restrictions in life that we do not choose!

They are the ones that come from some man-made authority that dictates certain "do's and don't's" that don't always align with our belief systems.  Whether they are mandated to us from some institution or we picked them up doing our public schooling, these are the limits we tend to reject.

The cool limits I'm talking about, are the conscious restrictions we place on ourselves after we begin to find out who we are and what we want - and we are ready to develop laser focus in order to someday arrive at the place we want to be.

The more constraints we place on ourselves, the more free we'll be, because the lack of constrains can be paralyzing.

Living a life within the margins WE select gives our lives structure, which allows us to channel our energies and creative pursuits, directing them toward the goals we are trying to achieve.

There is a big difference between the common, in-grained limitations we readily encounter that are experienced through the lens of indecision and fear versus the ones we consciously choose through certainty and love.

Once we un-learn and shed the false information that was thrust upon us, we'll awaken to the fact that limitations are a test of our consistency, self-discipline, and willpower.  If you plant the seeds of these attributes you will undoubtedly produce positive fruit!

The limits we place on ourselves are not hinderances to our success, they are the tools that will set us free.  So use limits to live your best life imaginable.

MB

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11 Thoughts and Bits of Information Gathered This Week

 

Hello Everyone,

A barrage is defined as a "vigorous or rapid outpouring or projection of many things at once" - as in, "the receptionist was hit with a barrage of phone calls; or "when she entered the studio, she was hit with a barrage of colors."

This week, I want to hit you with a barrage of 11 thoughts, and bits of informationI've pondered and picked up over the previous week.

1. Tax Holiday Weekend

This past weekend we took advantage of the tax free holiday here in Virginia, by taking the 50 minute ride to the Richmond area, and turned it into a weekend getaway by staying overnight.  Just another way we are attempting to make the most of the summer.

2.  Inappropriate Reading

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Marley, our oldest, is heading off to middle school next year, and the new school sent the parents a list of mandatory summer and fall readings.  One of the books on the list, (Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata) strikes me as inappropriate after reading much of it - especially for our child.  The book contains some mature language and adult themes that leads me to wonder...should some books be off limits to children? For me, the answer is yes! At least until the parent feels that the child is mature enough to deal with the subject matter.  It's not about banning books, it's about doing our jobs as parents to filter the information our children consume until they are mature enough to discern for themselves.  What do you think?

3.  You Don't Need Weights to Build Muscle

This weekend I was doing simple lateral arm raises in the mirror, and after struggling my way to a count of 35, it donned on me that you really don't need weights to stay toned.

4.  New Term - Neoliberalism

Being a Neoliberal, is a term I came across this week after reading a scathing article written by Dr. Cornel West accusing Ta-Nehisi Coates of being one. I wasn't familiar with this idea so I looked it up.  By definition, Neoliberalism, is "a modified form of liberalism that favors free market capitalism.  But this simple description only scratches the surface.  In this article posted on The Guardian, Stephen Metcalf says that neoliberalism strips away the things that make us human.

5.  Our new show - Anne with an E

Anne with an E, on Netflix, is a smart, stylish, and beautifully acted series that we all like to snuggle up and enjoy watching together.  Based on the novel, Anne of Green Gables, the show also sparks some rather interesting family discussions about living an authentic life.

6.  What I'm Reading

A Course in Miracles, is not your typical summertime pleasure read.  This book is about making a lifestyle shift.  I read a passage every morning, and it's changing my life for the better one paragraph at a time!

7.  Quote of the Week

Step into the fire of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you, it will only burn what you are not.”
― Mooji

8.  Upcoming Author Visit  on 8/12/2018

I will be making an author visit to Oak Union Baptist church.  I look forward to meeting and greeting as always!

marc boston.JPG

 

9.  Baltimore Museum of Art has an artist in their midst

Shout out to my sister Andrea Boston, who curates all things social media for the Baltimore Museum of Art.  Follow her (them) on Instagram.

10.  Go over to Youtube and check out our new channel full of love and shenanigans.

 

11.  Last But Not Least - It's Barnes and Noble time!

Type in this promo code - F3V9K7K and save up to 20% off your next order at Barnes & Noble

Weekend Pics

At Target enjoying the tax free holiday

At Target enjoying the tax free holiday

Yet another late night hotel wake up call

Yet another late night hotel wake up call

Can't go to Richmond without stopping at Carytown Cupcakes

Can't go to Richmond without stopping at Carytown Cupcakes

Whoops, one didn't make is in the pic...it sure was delicious though!

Whoops, one didn't make is in the pic...it sure was delicious though!

Just a bit of weekend fun!

Just a bit of weekend fun!

Get Your Copy

Just click the link to head over to www.marcboston.com, to get your copy!

These students are thrilled to receive their copies of our latest book.

These students are thrilled to receive their copies of our latest book.

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Not Fair to Compare


"Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everyone else." - Margaret Mead

One of the most remarkable revelations I've ever received, was discovering just how useless comparing myself to others is.  Unfortunately, I struggled with this misconception for more years that I care to admit. 

It started around high school when I slowly began unjustly judging myself on a great number of things.  Whether it was my athletic prowess in gym class, my popularity among the student body, or my academic performance, I would regularly measure myself against the talent, charisma, and intellect of others.

This tendency lamentably lingered on into my young adulthood, where I put away my childish judgement ruler and began scrutinizing my strengths and weaknesses using a much bigger, more adult yardstick.  

I graduated to comparing job titles, income, vehicle make and models, and other worldly possessions as my perceived basic standards of success.

Too Hard on Yourself

"Comparison is the thief of joy." - Franklin Roosevelt

My tendency to compare may have worked in my favor had I used it as a motivational tool for personal growth.  Instead it became a source of pain because I took the strengths of others and compared them to my weaknesses, so it seemed to me as if I was failing.

This sort of self-criticism obviously doesn't feel good!

Self-judgement is often at the root of our pain.  We judge ourselves harshly, we judge our past, present, and future experiences, and we even judge our feelings.

From my limited and shortsighted perspective, everyone seemed to be doing better than me, as I hadn’t yet learned how to:

  • Create my own standards for success

  • Choose my own path of fulfillment

  • Set goals that were authentic and not superficial

As a result, I felt as if I were constantly marinating in a stew of disappointment, frustration, discouragement, anger, and anxiety.

The Consequence is Low Self-Confidence

"Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle or your middle to someone else's end." - Tim Hiller

When we compare ourselves, our self-esteem takes a major hit - This could cause us to stop pursuing our goals and dreams before we even really get going.

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For example, when I first began writing picture books, I would often compare myself to other authors.  However, I made the mistake of measuring my efforts against writers who had been in the game for years - writers who had paid their dues behind the scenes and were justifiability being rewarded the fruits of their labor.  They were experiencing a level of success that took them sometimes years to gain, yet I wished to be decorated with those same accolades right out of the gate.

Was it fair to compare my beginning effort to someone else's middle effort?

Instead, of comparing, I learned to focus on my strengths - writing honest, substantive stories that have meaning for me; knowing that with some effort and patience, I would manifest what success looked like for me!

You Do You, I'll Do Me

"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

It's so cool that we have the ability to acknowledge the fact that so many people have a variety of talents - and when those people let their talent shine, we can all benefit from that.  However, we should try spending a little more time focusing on our own talents and strengths instead of the strengths of others.  We will be of greater service to ourselves and those whose lives we touch by developing a true awareness of our own value and self-worth.

How do we go about learning what our value is? Here's a link to The Seven Signs You Know Your Value.

Develop Resilience

"To love is to stop comparing." - Bernard Grasset

So how do we stop squandering our happiness and get out of the comparison trap?

Be aware.  We've been comparing ourselves to others for so long that it has become a bad habit.  Like other bad habits, we must first admit that we have a problem to become more conscious.  Becoming aware of the thoughts that are going through our minds helps us to identify who or what triggers our envious thoughts.  Be mindful of the fact that these thoughts add no value to our lives and STOP!

Pause.  Remember that these are real emotions that may show up every day, or even moment to moment.  Putting them in their proper place will take time and practice.  Don't beat yourself up! Acknowledge the thought and then shift focus.

Be grateful. Shift your focus back to yourself and what you’ve already been blessed with.  Count what you have and look forward to the things you plan to gain by focusing on following your unique path.

Have hope.  To compare as a source of motivation is one thing, but to "covet" is not cool! Do you admire these people, or do you want what they have?  Let's be real, you will never have exactly what they have.  It may look similar, but it will always be different.  Embrace that fact.  You can use people as motivation because they inspire you, but when you just want their "stuff" then you've entered into unhealthy territory.

The only person you should be better than, is who you were yesterday.

Remember that they are just people too, and if they can do great things, so can you.  

Don't fall for the okey-doke by allowing other people's successes to make you feel a sense of lack.  Flip the script and use comparisons as motivation to become a better person so that maybe you can use that energy to increase the joy in your own little corner of the world.

MB


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Give Yourself Permission to Shine


I know now that striving to live authentically is an evidently more joyful and a far more beneficial way of living, yet it wasn’t always so plain or natural for me at one time.  However, since I have been awakened to the path of self-discovery, I’m more consciously aware of how lackluster my inauthentic life actually was.

Authenticity is a quality I’d been missing for much of my adult life, and this missing component was detrimental to my overall well-being!

Sadly, for years I lived in a world of illusion translated by marketing executives. They paint a picture of what “enjoying life” looks like and many times I fell for it hook-line-and sinker.  I spent years hiding from my true self, deaf to my calling and blind to any genuine purpose.

I was ensnared in a system that reduced me to a cog in economic wheel.  Money, and how much or little I had of it, defined my self-worth as I was hopelessly devoted to an endless cycle of joyless labor and mindless consumption. I learned to believe that the person with the most toys wins!

The powers that be may have created and administered the game, but I still chose to be an active player on a mission seeking MVP status - in vain.  So, I must concede that they can’t possibly receive all the blame.  Society taught me and reinforced it.

Shine Bright Marc Boston

I’m liable for looking on with envious eyes at what others had and did, measuring myself against their achievements. I was haunted by past failures marked by an endless line of fits and starts punctuated by unrealistic desires and expectations. The choices I made were conceived through the lens of unfocused intention. I had dreams with no plan of how to realize them, and blindly pursued objectives that often led to blank walls.

“Vision without action is a daydream – Action without vision is a nightmare.” ~ Japanese Proverb

UNHAPPY IN MY OWN SKIN

I lived a significant part of my life seeking the approval of others, preoccupied by social peer pressure.  Ultimately, this led me to literally being something I was not, a person I was displeased with existing in a state of unhappiness.  But I wanted to be happy and I wanted to be comfortable living in my own skin.  The only way to do this was to muster the courage to practice being genuine.  But how?

What the heck does it mean to be authentic?

I think it has to do with:

1.  Having my actions and words match up with my beliefs and values.

2.  It’s about doing MY thing, being who I want to be.

3.  Following MY passions instead of being an imitation of what I think I should be or behaving in a way society suggests!

4.  Learning not to look outside of myself to find self-fulfillment, gratification, and approval.

5.  Not allowing myself to believe that anyone else is inherently smarter, more talented, and that I was somehow less than and could never measure up.

I now look at my inner worth and take the time to REMEMBER who I am, decide for myself what my values are and what I believe in.  I had to evaluate whether I wanted to continue to live that life as a cog in the machine, or if I wanted to live for myself pursuing my goals and purposes and not those of other people.

I had to come to grips with the undisputed truth – I AM ME! And this truth will set “me” free.

NEWLY EMPOWERED

It is an amazingly empowering feeling to take the time to sort through your basic belief systems to craft an inspired life.  To determine which of your judgements and assumptions are coming from a mature and healthy place, and which ones are coming from a childhood place of anxious insecurity.  

I feel so vibrantly alive and filled with purpose by expressing my natural gifts, connecting with others, and forming a habit of giving unconditionally.  It’s a beautiful thing to inventory one’s own likes and dislikes and realize that what works for others is fine for them, but it doesn’t have to fit for me.  It’s fantastic to realize that this is my life, my unique experience, and it’s not necessary to duplicate someone else’s.

I am giving myself permission to focus on the things that resonate for me and to pursue those things with confidence.

 

MB

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