I attended a shamanic workshop recently where the instructor spoke a lot about personal boundaries – physical, mental and emotional – in the context of unconditional love. He discussed how it was important to establish boundaries when relating with others, but to also blanket each other with unconditional love.
For example, one of the students in the class asked a question that was based on her beliefs about how she should work with her clients. The instructor had a different set of beliefs, and he and the student went through a sort of verbal tug-of-war (not in a negative sense) until they dropped the symbolic cord between them and embraced in a verbal hug. The instructor was trying to show that even when in a situation of differing opinions, beliefs or values, the best strategy is to wrap one another in an embrace of love, to connect with each other at the heart and to understand where each other is coming from. This reminded me of the chapter “Personal Boundaries” in my book Zesty Womanhood at 40 and Beyond. Although the book was written for women, the role that boundaries play in our lives isn’t gender-specific.
So how does one set boundaries in a loving way, so that it benefits both sides involved? As I have written in my book, it seems like a “Divine Dichotomy where two apparently contradictory truths exist simultaneously in the same space.” On one hand, we must set boundaries to establish our own personal space, physically, emotionally and mentally. Perhaps we can create walls around us, inserting windows we can close when we wish to inform others that we aren’t available, and doors through which others can enter only if we choose to invite them in for a visit…Perhaps we need to tell the world that we have limits.
On the other hand, we want to embrace others as if in a ‘Mother Earth state,’ where we nurture one another as we would our children, providing love and psychological nourishment, infusing in them the inner dignity that helps them seek out who they are, to experience their own essence in relationship to the world around them. As we nurture others, we must be able to also replenish ourselves with the same love and nurturing. To do so, we need to engage our boundaries so that we can then find time for ourselves, to bring us back to our center if we have veered off track.
It’s sort of like the ‘circle of life’…remember the Lion King? By establishing boundaries, you find a balance between your outer world responsibilities and your inner soul responsibilities. It’s truly a beautiful thing to give of oneself, but it’s also a wondrous experience to receive…for when you receive, you are giving someone else the opportunity to give and what better joy is there in life but to give of your heart and soul?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Erica Tucci had a full life as a corporate manager of a Fortune 500 company, a healing arts business owner and an author. It all came to a screeching halt in June 2011 when she had a stroke. She has since gained much wisdom about what’s really important in life and she realized her true passion was her writing. Her hope now is that the messages of her books will be an inspiration for others, young and old. Her books include Moms and Their Young Spirited Boys (1998), Anything is Possible, a novel based on a true love story (2011), Zesty Womanhood at 40 and Beyond (2011), Radiant Survivor: How to Shine and Thrive through Recovery from Stroke, Cancer, Abuse, Addiction and Other Life-Altering Experiences (2013), and Sarah’s Gift series for 7-12 year olds (2016). For more information or to order one of her books, visit www.ericatucci.com, www.sarahsgiftseries.com and www.radiantsurvivor.com.