I’m writing today to share a little bit about my journey with boundaries and energy, and how I handle sharing these lessons with my sacred clan and my little people.
Boundaries are a substantial issue for me. I grew up the daughter of an alcoholic where invasive family dynamics left me feeling extremely open and vulnerable to other energies. With addiction in the family (there’s always at least one in the lineage, which means a good many travelers are showing up to relationship in codependence carrying secondary addictions even if we didn’t have a direct experience), knowing what belongs to who and where “I end and others begin” can be a long road to healing.
One of the ways I think of energy is that it ripples out around the Earth, my Mother, whom I love and care about so deeply, including her people and creatures.
Everything we do sends out a ripple. Sometimes a person’s energy can be big, negative, destructive, frustrating, or angry. Sometimes my energy can be like this because I had to get fighty to survive amidst the chaos of dysfunction as a kid. What I’ve learned by working with the animals, Mountain Lion in particular, is that as a functional adult I get to claim territory over my own energy. So I love teaching about her and sharing ways in which we can take responsibility for our waves, empowering and directing them in a way that honors who we are.
Mountain Lion, who lives inside of me, keeps my babies and the innocent safe from what was given to me as a child, which likes to rear up when I’m feeling backed into a corner or really anxious. She can also be fierce when she truly needs to be.
Boundaries work like this
We have an external boundary which keeps us protected when we’re confronted by a physical presence that is unwanted. An example of this might be when someone in line in front of you isn’t paying attention and steps back into you: you reflexively step back to avoid them colliding into you. Another example of an external boundary is not tolerating someone’s physical or verbal attack (think of strangers) on you, by fighting back, or moving away to keep safe.
Internal boundaries are a little bit trickier. One of them keeps us safe from others, as in the case of someone who harasses you online, by text or by phone whom you block or get a restraining order for. There are things which come at us which are not true, which our healthy ego will not tolerate. Strong internal boundaries are like a muscle, you know when something coming at you isn’t about you and so you step aside, aikido-like, and let that information move past you without allowing it to stick-without taking it on, without taking it “personally”. When this muscle gets regular exercise, relationships are less intense and dramatic, making more room for real intimacy.
The second part of internal boundaries is about protecting others from our energy. There’s a fine line between expressing ourselves and taking liberties with someone. In the spirit of fierce respect, it’s important to think before one speaks and acts, and ask oneself if the person on the receiving end is really who should be receiving what you’re about to put out there. Perhaps this energy needs to be directed back at it’s true source or into the Earth for composting.
This is the “wave” I speak of to my children when they’re scapegoating one another, when they’re stomping around beyond a reasonable amount of self-expression. We also talk about it when they are hit by someone else’s waves. Miles and Ivy are getting pretty good at distinguishing what kinds of waves they’re creating and investigating what needs to be expressed and what can be . They notice when they, me, or someone else is making a wave they’re unaware of.
To test what kind of waves you’re making, walk out in nature and practice stealth. What kind of “noise” are you making? Indigenous people practice invisibility, which helps them hunt and remain unseen among the wild ones. Gently working with sensitive animals, such as horses and working dogs, it’s easy to see what kind of waves we make. They show us when we’re overreacting or overcorrecting, dramatizing or carrying fear. Our unconscious energy can have a jarring effect on the highly perceptive, and on the Mother. Teachers such as these call upon us to soften, to express oneself consciously- to lessen that ripple, that wave, which is traveling all the way around the Mother and back to you.
What do you want to send out there? What do you want coming back to you?
As my daughter said to me yesterday when I overreacted to my own mistake, “Mama. I have to tell you something. You’re making big waves. Think about your choice.”