This whole “have good boundaries” thing can just stuff it. I don’t even know what that means, I don’t know how to do it and I’m sick of hearing it go off in my head. And I’ll tell you what else. I don’t know that if I ever did decide that I know what this boundary business is really about, that my healthy boundaries would look like anyone else’s.
In some ways, my “boundaries” have manifested in the unhealthy manner of lock-down. In an attempt to be boundaried, I have actually just sequestered some aspects of myself off in a secret place somewhere in there. These “boundaries” don’t create a safety within which I get to be more myself. Whatever this is that I have going on just leaves me compartmentalized. Thanks a lot. These dysfunctional “boundaries”can keep me from opening and softening in a relationship. The ones that look like me protecting myself from I don’t even know what. This is the boundary that might look like a really tall cinderblock wall. I’m thinking about The Secret Garden here. Remember that garden that was only for one guy and his wife to go visit but then his wife died and he locked it up tight and it was only rediscovered when an orphan child came to live on the widower’s depressing estate by forcing herself through some tiny secret door? Those boundaries need to be broken down by the innocent, endearing, loving and blameless orphan-type character. Gook luck with that.
I also want boundaries to suck it because sometimes, other people have really clear ideas about what a good boundary is and where I need to find some, but I don’t actually feel it. I’d be faking it if I agreed or tried to impose someone else’s ideas of boundaries in my life. Like this blog, for example. I’ve had a few people cringe at how and what I talk about here and in one recent conversation, I had that nervous and insecure thing strike. It’s that thing that happens when you are a kid and you didn’t know about a rule but you broke it and if you had thought it through it would have been so obvious but now you are stuck with the consequences. “I can’t believe you can do that! You are really brave. And that is supposed to be your professional website. wow, and you write like that… “ and I thought, “did I totally ruin my chances of having a good life?” Insecurity sucks.
In all fairness, I do have some healthy expressions of boundaries. I manage my time well and rarely over-commit to stuff. I’m also pretty good at setting boundaries for my girls. .
Leslie Kaminoff did a great job at bringing up this topic of boundaries in his presentation this week. I was feeling like maybe I could revisit this in my life, but I don’t feel that so much in this moment. I just feel hostile. But I’ll still walk you through my interpretation of his ideas on this. He defines breathing as shape change an the two places where we do the most shape changing is in the ribcage and abdomen. He explains that our ribcage is like an accordian, changing volume as we breathe air and below that, the abdomen, in relation to the breath, behaves like a “water balloon” that can change shape but does not change volume. If we squeeze it in one part, it bulges out somewhere else. He also talks about the directional energy that we have going on in our systems: prana and apana. With regard to the breath, prana moves in through the nostrils and down and apana moves up from the lowest part of the belly and out.
This is relevant because at the center of these two moving forces, is a fire… it’s agni. This is where we burn shit, the kind of stuff that has to move with the force of cleansing ritual, both sacred and powerful. It sits under the diaphragm, between the forces of prana and the apana. This is an important place because we feel a whole lot of stuff right here. There’s even a book about all the information that comes from here called, The Second Brain. Our digestion happens there. That’s very important. Did you know that in our abdominal viscera, we have more of the neurotransmitter, seratonin, than we have in our brains? A lot more. So we are communicating a LOT with our nervous system through this agni-space. What about this: we have an organ in there that is called the greater omentum? Mr. Kaminoff described it as this apron that can hangs down from the bottom edge of the stomach and the transverse colon (top of abdomen) and body-studiers don’t really know what it does. It seems to have some immune function, it is highly vascular AND it has the ability to move around inside the abdomen. MOVE AROUND! Sometimes when people go in for abdominal surgeries, that omentum is hugging up on some organ that needs some omentum love. Isn’t that crazy? Body-studiers also don’t know how or why it moves around, but it has these myofibrils that could make the tissue motile. MOTILE! Crazy right?!!! That right there was worth all those benjamins I dropped for the training… and I just gave it to you for FREE! LK rocks…Perhaps that was a digression.
Point is, this lower diphragm area is the seat of great emotional sensation. When the sensation is difficult, or traumatic, many of us cope by shutting this space down. Mr. Kaminoff argues quite convincingly that this area of our body gets bound up, sometimes in the form of a brahma granthi (the creator knot which creates all other knots or blocks in the system)and then we can’t breathe into the space. The shape of this part of our body can’t change shape to receive the breath it is locked into the shape that keeps us from feeling the stuff we don’t want to feel. Our breath is affected because we can’t find space and movement there. In order to be able to be spacious and for the apana to come right on up to that sacred fire and get burned so it can move on, we have to be able to feel. Feel and move. If the breath can go there and snuggle on up with the omentum and the agni and the seratonin and the emotion, and we can stay with it all without shutting down the sensation, then that’s something.
Boundaries need to be in place so that it is safe to go there. Healthy boundaries with the people that make us what to shut and lock the door are probably a good idea. Knowing how much, when, why and with whom to go in there is related to this whole discussion, too. How do you figure any of it out? Mr. Kaminoff, and yoga itself, says that it’s through the process of svadyaya or continual self-reflection and tapas, the practice and discipline needed to make space and change, that we begin moving the body in order to figure out where the space is and where it isn’t.
But I don’t want to talk about it. So shut up already.