Set Boundaries and Declare Dominion: You Need to Read with Anna Kunnecke (Plus a Book Giveaway!)

Let’s start our conversation about how to set boundaries and declare dominion in the most logical place: with the dream I had the other night about owning a living, breathing miniature elephant.

(We’re going somewhere with this, I promise.)

I’d had the tiny elephant for a few days, and I’d thought that I was taking pretty good care of it. But then I placed a container of water down on the floor where the elephant lived, and the little guy went crazy.

set boundaries and declare dominion, elephants

Within seconds it was splashing and guzzling water, equal parts desperate with thirst and wild with joy.

That was when it dawned on me that while I had provided food, I had never given the elephant water. I just hadn’t realized it was necessary.

Aghast, I kept repeating, “I didn’t know.”

When I woke up, I realized that the elephant represented me and the water stood for sustenance, for the ability to take care of my own needs.

For so long, a small, vulnerable part of me had been so thirsty, and I hadn’t known enough to give it water.

Set Boundaries and Declare Dominion with Anna Kunnecke

Many of us long to set boundaries and declare dominion over our lives, but we don’t know how.

Fortunately, we are welcoming a wise teacher / elephant whisperer to the blog today. In this edition of our You Need to Read Video Series, writer and life coach Anna Kunnecke shows us a path forward to life-giving essentials.

Anna is a Martha Beck Certified Master life coach, speaker, and blogger at Declare Dominion. Anna is a self-proclaimed ex-Christian and a heathen mystic and she helps women to declare dominion over their gorgeous lives.

She’s also the author of Practical Magic for Secret Mystics, and we’re giving away a digital copy to one lucky reader! (There’s even a chapter called “Elephant Wisdom”. No kidding.)

Set Boundaries and Declare Dominion

Press play to watch the interview, or watch Set Boundaries and Declare Dominion on Youtube or download the standalone audio track.

Anna and I talked about …

  • What it means to declare dominion over your gorgeous life
  • A few common phrases to banish from your vocabulary (and why they are so powerful)
  • Why setting boundaries is such a struggle for women, and why we need to be selective about how we give
  • The tribal beliefs that prevent us from following our own guidance
  • Daily tools that help Anna with the process of discerning where to expend her own energy
  • What a secret mystic is, and why it’s so important to know if you are one
  • How to show up in relationships in a way that is kind to others while also protecting your own energy
  • The inside scoop on Anna’s memoir (and a sneak peek into my own book draft as well)!

Quotable Quotes from Anna’s Interview, Set Boundaries and Declare Dominion

“We’re taught, Be sweet, be nice, be kind, be a hard worker, get all the gold stars …. But there’s this really important piece missing – at least in my upbringing – which is that my life is my dominion. It is my realm. And it is my job, and my responsibility, to make with it what I will.”

“I think we get to choose whether we’re going to make our lives gorgeous or not. Whether you live in a big, traditionally gorgeous mansion or you live in a teeny tiny little studio, we still have choices. You can still choose to put flowers in that tiny studio, or you can choose to dress beautifully even if your budget is limited.”

“I was living in this constant state of victimhood … I lived in a land of shoulds, have to’s, wish I had, and can’ts … Those words made me feel really trapped and powerless. When I shifted my language, I shifted my story …. It was a radical reckoning with the fact that we all have an immense spectrum of choices in front of us all of the time.”

Set boundaries no more victimhood

“There are so many messages that come at us from the time we’re very young that tell us that we don’t know what’s really going on. Our judgments are incorrect. What feels true or right to us isn’t actually accurate …. It’s these hundreds and hundreds of subtle messages that we get.

‘What, you don’t like pizza? Oh no, honey, you love pizza!’ There’s no harm meant, most of the time …. [but] we are taught to override our sense of what is true and good for us. You have this inner guidance system, but you get taught to override it. And when you override it enough, you lose access to it.”

“It can feel really scandalous and terrible and horrifying when we start to say no. Most of us have been taught our whole lives that that’s not okay. It’s not safe. It’s not the right way for us to be in the world. When we start to say no, it can bring up all this primal terror.”

“When we start to say no, it can feel really terrifying, but we get all those pieces of us back. And then we get to choose what we’re going to do with all that energy. We have all this extra juice, and we can pour it into the things that do truly matter.”

Set Boundaries Gain Energy

Giveaway Alert!

Want to Set Boundaries and Declare Dominion over your life?

Win a free copy of Anna’s latest ebook, Practical Magic for Secret Mystics (a $299 value)!

“Hey dearheart, let me ask you a question– Can one angry person ruin your whole day? If so, I want you to know that there is a way to stay calm and powerful, even when the people around you are losing their shit…even if you’re super-sensitive to them.”

Here’s how to enter:

Step 1: Subscribe to A Wish Come Clear’s email list. If you’re already subscribed, move on to step 2.

Step 2: Leave a comment on this post. Social media shares are always appreciated, but not required. I’ll select a winner randomly on Tuesday, July 25th at noon Central Time. Good luck to all!

Update: the giveaway is now closed; congratulations to Brooke, our randomly-chosen winner this time around. Thanks to all who joined the conversation; I love reading your insightful comments!


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27 thoughts on “Set Boundaries and Declare Dominion: You Need to Read with Anna Kunnecke (Plus a Book Giveaway!)

  1. Terrea says:

    Your insights and encouragement are well-timed. I had to learn the hard way that saying “no” to boundary invaders was really saying “yes” to my well-being. It’s empowering, especially for women in our culture as well as other cultures, to learn how to say ‘yes’ to ourselves in a way that invites the highest good for all concerned. Thank you!

    • Terrea, thank you so much! I’m glad to hear that the post came at a good time for you, and I’m grateful to YOU for learning those lessons and helping to teach them to me and many others. 🙂

      The re-frame of saying yes to oneself is so powerful; as you pointed out, saying no doesn’t have to mean lacking in compassion. Rather, it can mean saying yes to honoring my own life, and thus contributing to the highest good of all.

      Sending love and gratitude your way today and always. <3

  2. Brooke says:

    I love your elephant whisperer dream, all of Anna’s quotes, and cannot WAIT to nourish my secret mystic with this video as soon as my little munchkin is in bed tonight! 🙂

    • 🙂 That brings me so much delight. Thank you, my dear friend. I hope that you enjoy the video!

      PS, I totally thought of you when I had that dream; as in, “I bet that Brooke would really like having a miniature elephant around!”

  3. Kathleen says:

    Instead of saying “I have to go to work today”, I say “I GET to go to work today!” and it puts a positive spin on my morning right then and there. What we say and think really does affect our outlook on daily life. I admit: I want to learn to say NO. At least once every few days. NO to attending social functions that I really don’t care to; NO to requests for my time.
    Become more focused on ME and MY space – make my life gorgeous!
    I want to win one of your books, pleez!!!!

    • What a great phrasing, Kathleen! I’m going to adapt that in my own life. Treating our commitments as a privilege rather than a burden is profound.

      And I’m cheering you on as you seek to say no to requests and events that don’t resonate with you. Is there a particular type of invitation that’s tough for you to turn down?

      Personally, I find it hard to say no to anything that involves a good cause, or any invitation from a good friend. That said, I’m learning to accept my own humanity and limits, and also to separate requests from relationships. (I.e., if I say no to a request, I can still say a wholehearted yes to the relationship itself.)

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  4. Andrea says:

    I have to admit that I was skeptical & had no idea how you were going to incorporate your dream into something fruitful! I’m glad I stayed tuned! This is everything me right now in my life as I approach turning 40 and am about to briar at the seams. No idea how to say no. No clue how to set boundaries. Not sure where to even begin in feeding myself my basic needs. Getting there though. Things have gotten so bad that I went into the hospital shortly after Mother’s Day and have been doing lots of therapy and will soon be entering an intensive outpatient therapy program. I swear I’m not crazy. Just spent. Thanks for the great post. ❤️

    • Thanks for hanging in there with me, Andrea! I know what you mean about the dream; there’s a great bit in an old Gilmore Girls episode in which Lorelai and Rory discuss how dreams are almost never of interest to anyone but the dreamer. 😉

      And while of course I’m sorry to hear that you’ve struggled in these areas and dealt with deep fatigue and energy drain, I applaud you for doing the work. You’re seeking help, allowing yourself to receive, and learning new patterns, and that is a lot. My hat is off to you and I am sending prayers your way for healing and recovery.

      It’s good to hear that the post came at an opportune time in your life. Anna’s work has helped me so much, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to share it with you. You’re welcome! <3

  5. Patricia says:

    It actually feels good to set boundaries. And it gets easier to stick to them as time goes on. I have finally caught on and I am so glad I did.

    • Patricia, that is so true: it really DOES feel good to set boundaries. (That is, after the initial fearful uncertainty wears off!)

      Often we don’t hear about the delight of setting boundaries, so I’m glad that you highlighted that aspect. Congratulations to you for making positive changes as you have; that’s encouraging!

      Was there a specific area in which it was more challenging to set boundaries? How did you overcome it? Would love to hear more if you want to share.

      In any case, carry on, warrior. 🙂

  6. I can really relate to this and it made me think about what I say. I need to use new phrases to try to feel less anxious and more in control of my life. Great interview!

  7. I had to add that what you just said “It’s not never, it’s just not now” is something I love. It really hit my heart and will definitely be one of my new mantras. Thanks Caroline.

  8. Donna says:

    I’m so happy to have found you as so much of what you say resonates loudly with me. I’ve found someone who not only shares, but also put words to what I have experienced throughout my life. I plan to pass this information along to my daughter.

    • Donna, I’m so happy that you’re here as well! Hope that you and your daughter can both enjoy the interview with Anna. If you want to share, I’d love to hear what parts particularly spoke out to you. Thank you again for reading and listening!

  9. Diane Emerling says:

    Setting boundaries is not easy for me. I used to not be this way…when I was much younger!
    I lost the ability somehow in the course of living and coping. I would like to get it back and stand strong but flexible in the storm. Your book and course intrigues me. Do you offer a partial package?

    • I hear you, Diane! And I like your image of standing strong yet flexible in a storm – like a well-rooted tree, perhaps. (Fittingly enough, Anna’s book Practical Magic for Secret Mystics contains a grounding meditation that uses that imagery.)

      Thank you for the compliment as well! Which book and course were you referring to in your comment? If it’s Anna’s Practical Magic for Secret Mystics, you’re entered to win a free copy just by virtue of being subscribed and leaving a comment on this post.

      If you’re referring to the course I’m co-leading, Protect Your Energy, enrollment is now closed, but we may open the doors again in the future. You can visit the course website and sign up for the email list to be notified ASAP if/when that happens.

      Hope that helps, and thank you for reading! 🙂

  10. Annabelle says:

    Caroline, thank you so much for this interview! I’ve been following Anna’s work for a few years now, and find that her advice always resonates.
    Your story about the jewels is brilliant, and shows the way we can use the power of our imaginations to carve better experiences in our lives.
    Funnily enough, I’m on the boarder between INFP and INFJ, so perhaps that’s why this interview speaks to me so strongly!
    I look forward to watching more of your interviews!

    • Annabelle, you’re most welcome – I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoyed it! Always good to connect with a fellow INFJ/P and EFBA too. 😉 Thank you for reading and listening; I’d love to know what other posts and interviews spoke out to you.

  11. I found, when I am strong and clear about what I like and need, or don’t, I give other people permission to be authentic about themselves and express their own desires because it has been modeled. I still have difficulty with some boundaries, but the more I learn about what creates radiance within me, the less I am willing to surrender or compromise that integrity.

    • Andrea, that’s a great point – when we are in our integrity it really IS an act of service to others. It feels so much better than trying to manipulate or hide, AND it helps free up others to do the same.

      I love your imagery of radiance, and am so glad that you are committed to protecting and honoring that inner light. Carry on, warrior!

  12. carlee says:

    I deeply appreciate the paradox of using “rituals,” “practices,” and “disciplines” (like Anna’s daily silence and compass or doing Morning Pages) to tap into greater freedom. Drawing boundaries and saying no do that, too: they sound like limits, they feel like they could be too stringent, but they actually do the opposite, helping me identify what I really want and — to use your very resonant phrase, Caroline! — protect my energy.

    • I love that, Carlee! I’m with you; there is so much freedom to be found within disciplines and limits. It’s paradoxical, yet it’s true to my experience as well. What are some of the limits you use to positive effect in your own life? If you’d like to share, I’m interested to hear.

      So glad to hear that this interview encouraged you and helped you to protect your energy too. 🙂

      • carlee says:

        I try to keep a brief space of silence for myself in the morning. Ideally, I journal or do Morning Pages, but even just lying in bed for a couple of minutes before I spring out of it (or roll out of it, depending on the day ) helps me feel like I’ve claimed something for myself before I start doing for others. Less a practice but perhaps more a habit, I also keep my phone out of my bedroom so I am not tempted to look at it last thing before sleep or first thing upon waking. In terms of protecting my social energy and making more room for intentional recharging time for my introverted nature, I’m toying with the idea of trying a “social quota” next month; that is, limiting myself to one social commitment each week. It will also offer (difficult!) practice saying no gently but firmly. I realize that something like a quota borders on gimmicky, but I like the idea of playing around with an artificial structure; thinking of it as play or an experiment keeps the stakes low and me open to discovery.

        • That’s super-helpful, Carlee, thank you for sharing! I’m with you on the space of silence in the morning; for me it’s at least 15 minutes of meditation, and ideally some free-form writing (i.e. Morning Pages) as well.

          I like your idea of tinkering with a “social quota” too. As a fellow introvert, I’m finding that I need a balance of alone time and togetherness time so as not to feel isolated or overwhelmed. Obviously this can change over time, but at present I’m finding that my maximum seems to be one to two substantive social interactions per day. So I might do one short client call and have one cup of tea with a friend, or do a single more extensive interaction, such as a longer client call or a speaking gig. Any more than that and I start to feel frayed and burnt out. It’s hard to believe that in my former life I’d schedule 4 or more meetings in one day without blinking.

          My close friend Brooke has a similar rule for herself: she doesn’t host or travel on consecutive weekends. So, if she has family in town for a weekend visit, she doesn’t travel or host the weekend before or after that.

          Thank you again for sharing from your experience; it helps to free me up to experiment in my own life. I look forward to learning more from you! 🙂

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