Oh no! Not those!
How often are we confronted with the practice—or lack thereof—of boundaries?
The very word alone can stir up all kinds of emotions, thoughts, fears and regrets: moments missed because our boundaries were too limiting or too lax.
What if we were to treat an ordinary boundary as something that isn’t fixed or set in stone, but rather something that is quite breathable and pliable?
Let’s default to the standard boundary. Note I say standard. I’m not taking about extreme life threatening moments. Often our concept of a boundary is a structure of some kind that either keeps something inside or something outside of it. That only gives us two options, yes? In or out —pretty limiting, if you ask me.
Also, this solid concept is just that—solid. It’s not very giving or forgiving, for that matter. Adjusting where / how you are in relationship to it often involves scaling it, leaping over it, digging under it, dismantling it, shoring it up, adding height or extra layers, hunkering down hoping for its "protection" to be enough—perhaps even adding some kind of deterrent like barbed wire???
Feels like a lot of work to me to tend that kind of boundary.
What if we looked at a boundary as something quite different?—not this solid piece that contains or repels something, but rather a much more organic framework that can be adjusted from moment to moment.
One of the best ways to reframe a boundary is to consider a tree—anything from a sapling to a centuries old oak. Trees survive and thrive by being able to adjust to whatever their environment is. Though they anchor themselves with deep, branching roots, they bend in the wind, they shed what they don’t need, they go within and regroup in order to come back strong and vital.
There is a fluidity to this—a practice of adjusting from breeze to whirlwind. They “read” the moment, reset to what’s needed and press on. Often, it just takes a micro adjustment, barring the extremes of weather and climate.
And now we’re back to extremes—and the limiting nature of a too solid boundary. The more we can be fluid in our boundary practice, the less we need to seesaw between extremes. And make no mistake, just because a boundary is fluid, it does not mean that it’s porous.
The next time you find Your Self in a boundary quandary:
Take a moment and determine if your boundary is too fixed.
If so, what can you do to soften it a bit?
If you’re not ready to soften it — just be present with it. Let the moment teach You.
When we’re willing to practice boundaries in a softer way, the rough edges of encounters and emotions can lose their charged hold over us. It may feel daunting to adjust boundaries in this way at first, yet over time, it can become quite a rewarding practice. I promise.
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