Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there. - Rumi
About a year ago, at a workshop on love, consciousness and tantric philosophy, I was introduced to a personally revolutionary idea: That boundaries are about where we meet, not places we need to defend. This was big to me because I had been told I needed to establish better boundaries, hold my boundaries, etc. While that advice was helpful, the context of a place where we meet instead of a place to defend made boundaries a loving thing.
"Love can’t exist without boundaries, even with your children. It’s easy to understand external boundaries as your bottom line. Think of rules and principles you live by when you say what you will or won’t do or allow." - What are personal boundaries? Often, when I consider boundaries, it feels like something I should have done and didn't - so I am some how to blame. I have learned that my anger is triggered most often when my boundaries are not respected. So I feel like I need to know what my boundaries are so I can set relationships up for success. But how do you do that? It seems like a vicious circle: I know my boundaries when they are violated.
"Anger often is a signal that action is required. If you feel resentful or victimized and are blaming someone or something, it might mean that you haven’t been setting boundaries. If you feel anxious or guilty about setting boundaries, remember, your relationship suffers when you’re unhappy. Once you get practice setting boundaries, you feel empowered and suffer less anxiety, resentment, and guilt. Generally, you receive more respect from others and your relationships improve."-What are personal boundaries?
The simple reframe of where am I willing to meet others feels less like I am wrong, and more like I am acting from my space of awareness. I can think of ways in which that is true of me. For example, I know that each individual holds a different world view, and the places in which we share it, we will usually connect. I remember being in the elevator with a woman on pay day at work. For simple chit chat, she noted that pay day Fridays were good days. I agreed, and began thinking of how great having a regular pay check is, and how much gratitude I have to my financial freedom. When I turned towards the woman to make a comment about that, she spoke first and said, "Of course, it is all spent before I get it. There is never enough." I shut up, and felt a number of things. I felt bad for her. I felt guilty that I make enough money. I felt afraid that maybe I don't really make enough money and I am too poor a financial manager to know it.
When I look back, I see that this is about boundaries, and it is also about our personal story. I have done enough of Byron Katie's The Work that I can now unravel all those feelings that arose. They simply don't arise that way for me now. The way I view the boundary component is that I simply could not meet that woman from where she was at. I could see it. I can respect it as her story. But I cannot relate to her there. I cannot meet her there.
How many times have I let go of where I am at to meet another? How often have I based my relationship on how well I could meet another where he was at? The answer is I very rarely based a romantic relationship on meeting me where I was at. I also then put the condition on the other that since I had bent over so far to meet them in their world, they should therefore be grateful and be committed to me. I want to vomit when I lean in to the energy of that dynamic.
Every time I release a layer of ego, and can see it happening, I have an unparalleled joy arise in me. I see the divine movement, the loving consciousness gently shifting me towards living from love and joy all the time. And I am meeting Me there, too.