Beyond Present Boundaries: Opening New Territory
Since birth each of us has opened up a great deal of territory by meeting and connecting with others. By this time in our lives, we have developed familiar patterns in the way we relate to others. Much of what we say and do seems so natural that we don't notice the lines we have drawn between ourselves and others. Yet in every relationship, whether we are aware of it or not, we establish set boundaries through the way we speak and act.
Some boundaries keep us safe, and establish our identity, but in certain situations they hold us back from sharing the best of who we are. In an intimate relationship, for example, a man may establish what he hopes is a safe boundary by limiting how much of himself he is willing to share. But by insulating himself from possible rejection, he is also keeping the relationship from opening up and expanding. Even when we think we are being open, we may set limits in a subtle way. For example, if a woman is always generous with her time and energy, this pattern of generosity can become a boundary that closes her in, and prevents her from transferring her consciousness to the greater light and understanding within her own being.
In connecting with people, the boundaries are set not by surveyors, but solely by you. Any time you feel dissatisfied with a relationship, it is a signal that you are ready to open new territory--in the way you speak and listen and the way you perceive yourself when you are with others. It may be a signal that you are ready to understand other people in a new way. Rather than disregarding vague disappointments, try thinking of these as a tap on the shoulder to awaken you to new possibilities.
Imagine that you are entering a forest with the freedom to explore connecting in any direction you desire. Before you lie various paths--paths of joy and ocompassion, of wisdom and harmony. Slow your steps and consciously choose a path. Be guided by your sincere desire to bridge separation within and without. As you walk, surrounded by every possible color, notice moments when your spirit lifts, as if you are innately connected with the flowers, the trees, and the sun. These moments are your assurance that you are on the path of deeply fulfilling connections.
Connecting deeply with yourself and with others is your birthright. You have only to claim it. So long as you walk with deliberate and free choice toward compassionate connections, you will never get lost. If you get distracted, pause until you regain an inner sense of your path. Turn in that direction and begin again. As you consciously choose the path of joyful, energizing, and mutually fulfilling relationships, you will find that interacting with others is more satisfying, and that your time alone becomes profoundly rewarding.
1. Think of a specific relationship you have now. Imagine how it might be richer by moving into some new territory. Imagine allowing yourself to step past old patterns of interactions and experiment with a new way to be together. Spend a few minutes imagining ways to share more of who you are and enliven this connection.
2. Begin a journal of your connections by describing what you intend to add to each relationship. Does it have a name (e.g., "Openness, Delight, Creative?
3. Describe your own insights when you are with this person.