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(First posted March 2017) I have received a multitude of gifts, in many realms, over the past five months [Oct 2016 through the following Feb … and counting] while on this particular being-of-service sabbatical in Baltimore.

The most recurring gift has been the recognition, contemplation, and implementation (or re-implementation) of Boundaries. The examples are numerous. {Often at this point, people tend to say “…to numerous to mention” … yet for those who know me … I plan on mentioning many of them !}

One of the intriguing aspects I have encountered while being ‘away’ has been re-implementation of guidelines and parameters of my personally-defined Boundaries. It is a curious component of living one’s life in a certain manner, in a certain locale, with certain like-minded individuals, to then find oneself in a very different locale and surrounded by many “different-minded” folks ~ and to have the habitual way-of-living altered in such a manner as to necessitate  the need to pull ‘old’ {though tried-and-true} tools from the knapsack. {Now where did I put that freakin’ knapsack ??!}

Several dear friends speak of having ‘Buddhas’ show up occasionally on their journey to reflect issues as yet unresolved … or not resolved ‘enough’ so that there are smoother travels on the path. These Buddhas are teachers. They are mirrors reflecting back. They are the one-more-time’s, lets-get-this-worked-through opportunity to … well … one more time work through a deeper level of (blank).

When I remember to remember Gratitude, I go there, thanking those teachers {at least mentally} for affording me the opportunity to gain deeper insight and thus greater growth. {Of course, there are more often times [sigh] that I do simply find myself grousing and ain’t-it-awfulling the situation/ person/ place/ event.  Hmmm … progress not perfection !}

Because I applaud myself {applause, applause} for knowing what my out-of-balance barometer feels like, when the yuk-in-the-gut twist happens strong enough, I recognize (sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly) that I am turning my power over to those events or people outside of myself. I am harboring resentments, judgments, self-victimization, and (usually) other shaming thoughts. Whoa Nellie ! At those times I’ve crossed or violated my own Boundaries. So, if I allow me to do that to me … is it any wonder I have then given permission for others to do the same? To treat me in a like-manner? Well of course not. They are simply following my lead !!  Bummer !

Therefore, the next number of posts will focus on Boundaries. Mental, physical, and emotional Boundaries.  Geographic, spatial, visual Boundaries.  Historical, Recovery, and spiritual Boundaries.

There are no accidents / no coincidences. Deep moments over the past five months have imprinted in a manner that, I believe, will be carried Consciously with me, and within me, through the rest of my days.

The word ‘Boundaries’ is either embraced or ‘snarked at.’ {Guess it depends on whose boundary it is … or on which side of the particular boundary in question one is !}  In its simplicity ~ a Boundary is the ending of a particular space and the beginning of something else. The pen I am using to write these words leaves a mark on the page;  where the ink stops and the unmarked, empty page picks up is a boundary. Where the pre-printed lines on the paper are spaced creates boundaries. {And heaven knows … we ‘shouldn’t’ write or color outside those lines!}

Everything has a Boundary. Earth and sky. Sea and shore. Life and death. Beginnings and endings ~ each demarcating “is” from “is” ~ and sometimes “is” from “is not” (depending on one’s definition and perspective).  In a world usually viewed through the lense of duality, there is separation, delineation, definition of this, that, and the other.

  • A Boundary can span: the bridge over a river.
  • A Boundary can enclose: the framework of a skyscraper.
  • A Boundary can protect: the guard-gate at the top of the stairs so baby doesn’t topple down.
  • A Boundary can limit: barbed wire fencing over a once-open prairie.

{This visual was brought home to me when re-watching the film Seabiscuit recently. GREAT story about Boundaries ~implied, self-imposed, and real.}

There are cultural Boundaries and societal Boundaries. Familial Boundaries and legal Boundaries. (Taboos are some of the strictest Boundaries, and are often found world-wide in most cultures.)  Boundaries are punished or praised, ignored or enforced. In a sense, Boundaries form one’s perception of their world.

So, before going further, I issue you this challenge. Take some time right now and LOOK around you. Look wide and far, then, up close and personal. Look at the in-between places too.  SEE where the tree trunk stops and ‘space’ begins. See where the sidewalk meanders ~ and where it ends. {Thank you Shel Silverstein.}  See where the nail bed starts at the tip of your finger or toe.  See where the coffee cup rests on the coaster ~ which rests on the table ~ which rests on the floor.  Start becoming intimately aware of the Boundaries which surround you. The beginnings and endings. When there is a heightened awareness of these and a billion more Boundaries then “we” can begin to change those negative aspects of ourselves, and move even further forward into changing each personal pocket of the world into a more honoring, loving, respectful, and empowering place in which to live and breathe.

Ya gotta know where you are, and ultimately who you are! Discover what matters to you and why, before making demands ~ and setting Boundaries ~ with, to, and on others ~ not to mention your Self.

Thus ends {….ah-ha !  A Boundary !!} this first step into looking at and evaluating Boundaries.  I’m eager to hearing about your discoveries, ah-ha’s and insights. Hope you share !!

Namaste’  Lin