Over the last few months or year even I have found myself reconsidering how I feel about boundaries. It’s taken me a while to come to any conclusion because it is actually quite a complex area to navigate. I felt a much greater sense of ease when I was reacquainted with Tara Brach’s writing in particular The boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom. She calls us to go to a place of radical self-acceptance.
How does radical self-acceptance show up?
Think about the last time you had an argument with someone you loved. What did you notice when you took the time to pause and sit with it?
Often when we are triggered we come from a place of fear-based reaction. The conditioned self thinks there is something wrong. If you feel hurt because there were cross words said in the heat of the moment, it can be hard to forgive.
And if you react from that place of pain you may push the person further away because it feels safer than allowing yourself to be hurt again. The fear of rejection underpins so many of the reactions we witness in ourselves and others because we have been conditioned into a sense of deficiency. Ingrained within consultancy is the practice of diagnosing what’s deficient within a system!
What if rather than striving for perfection you could see the journey of life as an opportunity to become whole?
Rather than transcending or vanquishing the difficult energies we consider wrong—the fear, shame, jealousy, anger— since this only creates more shadow and increases our sense of inadequacy, the invitation is to embrace life in all its messiness. To do this we need to bring compassion to the parts of our being we have habitually ignored, pushed away, or condemned.
This kind of open acceptance and attention is radical because it goes against the more usual pattern that what’s happening is wrong. As you breathe into what is present when in pain, Tara Brach suggests that you ask the question What wants attention or acceptance in this moment?
As you start to explore in this way you may well come to the realisation that in this fast-paced modern world you never fully relax. You may notice that you tend to spend your days on autopilot, half asleep and your nights half awake because you are in that limbo land, the grey zone of half anxiety.
The triggers we experience are often extremely painful, and at the same time, they are a gift because they offer us a portal to profound transformation. We see where we are still imprisoned by our ego and so a little bit more can be released and dissolve into nothingness.
The funny thing is that there are so many traps we can fall into. As soon as we label anything that happens to us then all that we have done is create another assessment of self. Over time and with practice, the very sense of a separate self becomes increasingly porous and transparent, and we begin to rest more and more in the light-filled space of awareness that regards ourselves and all beings with appreciation and love. It is this shift in identity that expresses our true healing and growing freedom.
And if we consider all this in the quest for boundaries, can you see how meaningless it is to your beingness – your shiny, awesome, noble isness? Whenever you try to put boundaries around something that’s a very human response which when you dig deeper can reveal a need to retain control. When I first shared these thoughts with my inner community it caused someone who had been one of my biggest fans to unsubscribe from my newsletter. These ideas can cause extreme reactions so please be gentle with yourself. And I would love to know what comes up for you so if you feel called do comment below or drop me a line.