What are the boundaries of the endless ocean? As I breathed and asked of my tree last week, “What are my boundaries?” she sang this to me over and over. I walked around my yard feeling as part of the ocean as she sang to me. I looked up at her branches, and she paused in song. I responded to her “I don’t know.” She said “Exactly.” “Boundaries come in the moment from strength, strength in the heart, and love.
Part of my practice is to breathe with my tree every day and ask a question. This past month, the question I’ve been asking as assigned by my teacher is “What are my boundaries?” Through this exploration, a pattern or habit around judgment has been revealed. I find it fascinating how on the spiral path of life, I bump into my patterns over and over again until I am ready to see and work with them. This most recent one is a real kicker. It appears in my ability or lack thereof to make choices and shows up in my deepest relating.
I worked with my teacher around an experience I had over the holidays. In this experience, I expressed something I perceived and shared my feelings and boundaries in a way that was not fully vulnerable, however more offensive. In learning that I offended the other person, I hit a blind spot where I couldn’t see and I felt tired, sad, and confused about setting healthy boundaries for myself. I experienced fear from the exchange and that I don’t know what to do to step further into the relational space. I shared with her that I have no judgment of the other person in the exchange. My teacher is a shaman. She sees in the dark. She tells me that I do have judgment, and to accept it. Allow it, notice and look at it, be curious about it, be honest about it. Be vulnerable with the other person telling them about my fears. Wow. I never even considered that. I was too busy covering up my judgment with “I’m not being judgmental”. When I see that I am judgmental, I judge myself for it! That is funny! It is deeply not funny also – I feel pain and embarrassment in it, shame.
By allowing myself to be judgmental, and owning it, how is my ability to relate with others affected? I try it out. Perhaps the space opens up, rather than closes. I experience there may be a connection between authentically sharing of my judgment and setting healthy boundaries for myself. In communicating my judgment, I can communicate about and set boundaries that feel right in the moment. I had the perception that my behavior of not fully stepping into the relational space to share my authentic feelings and experiences when I perceived them as judgmental, not valuable, or not positive in some other way, preserved the relational space. I’m experiencing now that in not allowing the full spectrum of experience, I limited the relational space and my ability to grow. I want to grow!
How else is judgment showing up in my life? I’m struggling with deciding if I will march in the Women’s March on Washington DC this coming Saturday, January 21, 2017. I deeply want to support solidarity, nourishment, and connection amongst all people with all life. I am fascinated to see that I have had judgment of the march that it’s creating divisiveness, and so I separate myself from the march and those going, even as my calling is to connection. I so deeply long to experience and facilitate connection of all life. My teacher helped me to see that all women are coming together for the march. All opinions. It’s very good. We don’t have to agree in order to support one another and relate. She encouraged me to do something in support of the march. So I’m writing this blog in honor of all people – human, plant, tree, animal, rock – all beings, all of life. May we all be nourished! May we all experience love and connection! May we each know and share our specific, precious gifts, and also experience how we are just the same as all other beings. Perhaps not in person on the mall in Washington DC on January 21, 2017, however I march in solidarity with all women, and all of life!
As I share with a friend around this, we talk about how we long to grow and be ALIVE rather than avoid pain, and I feel so ALIVE! We also share about discernment. What is discernment, and how is it different than judgment? Discernment comes from within myself around what I want to be doing. I realize as I write this blog that the question that I am asking my tree each day now is “What is life-giving?” I welcome this exploration and growth. How beautiful it is to be alive, and to experience yin and yang and life and death in each moment, so dynamic and inseparable.