Cat From The Mat

Healthy Boundaries, Not Walls

There has recently been a lot of talk about walls.  Walls can be perceived as dividers, either to contain something in or to keep something out.  This vertical surface can be a structure to climb, a surrounding layer, or a strategy for emotional protection.  In any case, a separating wall is not often designed to be porous.  In an effort to encourage both global and local understanding, I would like to make a case for healthy boundaries instead of walls.

A cell is the smallest structural unit of life that can replicate itself.  It is surrounded by a permeable membrane that acts as a gatekeeper of what to let in and out, like the simple exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.  A cellular membrane is a boundary that has agency, acting on behalf of its cell, neighboring cells, and the cellular matrix at large.  The body’s innate intelligence can determine just how permeable this barrier needs to be for survival.

Emotional intelligence is the capacity of using the clever mind to make healthy choices. In my recent studies of relationships, I have been learning about ways in which we humans might put up psychological partitions, such as a wall of anger, of fear, of silence, or of words.   When excavating the common emotions of anger or fear, there might be feelings of sadness or self-alienation lurking below.  Too many unedited projected words can be harmful while too little can send a message of not caring. Although a person might feel safer within this chosen refuge, overtime this façade of security can become disconnecting and even imprisoning.  Walls are helpful in the short-term to pause and reorganize within, but they might not be sustainable in the long run.

When I have defined boundaries, I can be more self-honoring and compassionate by taking accountability for my two-way participation in interactions.  Just like a cell adjusting based on circumstances, I would like to become more self-regulating in how I interact concurrently with my inner and outer worlds.  I like to think that how I am anywhere, is how I am everywhere. 

I travel quite a bit to teach, so my outer terrain is in a constant state of flux.  If context impacts my behavior, then my challenge is to adapt and accommodate without losing my sense of “cellf.”  My hope is to be true and versatile, in relationship to any given situation.  This is my constant quest as a yogin.

Yoga is defined as “skill in action.”  It is a practice of being flexible (on physical, mental, and emotional levels) and adept in assuming many perspectives.  It’s the ongoing ancient conversation of how to live in the world. Becoming more of who I am while being a part of the bigger picture, takes discipline and trust over time.  This balance requires establishing supple boundaries that can be as impervious as concrete or as penetrable as a sponge. 

Why are we focusing on outer barriers when we might first need to tear them down inside?  As I break down any inner walls brick by brick, I can build discernable boundaries, breath by breath.  A more resilient enclosure provides a supportive environment in which to choose what and how to receive and thus offer back.  With self-care and self-connection, I am more curious about how to relate with another.  There’s a lot waiting on the other side of the wall! 

Happy “rechoicing” this Easter, Passover, and Springtime!

Cat From The Mat

April 2017