Boundaries and Power
I had an insight that I wanted to share with you. It’s about power.
I’ve been working with a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner these last few months.
Somatic Experiencing is a particular branch of work that comes out of the bodymind connection. It’s not entirely talking therapy and not entirely manual (touch) therapy. It’s a bit of both.
As someone who is devoted to the body and it’s mind I find it fascinating and enriching for my practice to try new bodymind experiences.
As a human being I find I have no shortage of grist for the mill.
I wonder if you’ve had a feeling now and again of connecting with a huge well of power? I’d had this happen at random a few times over the years. It’s unmistakable from other feelings. The sensation is of being completely there in the present moment, being larger than usual and being invincible. The emotions that accompany it are a sense of clarity and exaltation mixed with an awareness of and gratitude for everything.
I also had the sense that I existed on multiple levels of spacetime, but I know not everybody grooves on talking about spacetime…
If you don’t relate to that, then I can also say that we touch that vital power when we’re angry or during the sexual experience. (It’s interesting that connecting with either of those has been traditionally prohibited to women.) Power can feel a lot like anger. I think it’s not hard to confuse the two.
That distinct feeling of power, and how it makes us take up space (that feeling of becoming bigger) and how it’s like we’re emanating an invincible force field, is one side of the coin.
The other side is how we can meticulously construct our force field and, by doing so, preserve our power, so that it’s available to us.
That deliberate construction of the bubble that encloses our personal space, is the clarification of our boundaries.
If you’re not familiar with boundaries, it’s the idea that for all things there is a line that, if they cross it, they have become too close. When something is too close it’s agitating. We all have boundaries that are personal to us and that don’t have to conform to any standard. When things are on the other side of the line, they’re fine. When they cross the line, they’re not fine anymore.
Boundaries can be for physical things, and they can also be for non-physical things.
As an example of physical boundaries and how they flex, consider two scenarios. In one you’re sitting in an empty bus, then someone gets on and they sit in the seat next to you so that their shoulder is practically touching yours. All the other seats on the bus are empty. This feels creepy and like the person is too close.
In another you’re in a crowded elevator, the doors open and two more people want to get in, so everyone shoves together a bit and they make room. Now people are touching you and this doesn’t feel creepy, it might be a little claustrophobic, but it feels fine.
Non-physical boundaries are for ideas that keep you up at night, or tasks and obligations that don’t let you settle into what you’re doing. They can also be for other people’s words or how they treat you. Someone doesn’t have to get physically too close to cross a boundary. They could say something that crosses a boundary.
Having robust boundaries gives us a sense of peace, calm, rootedness, strength…and power. It means we can acknowledge that a thing has crossed the line, and tell it to back off.
What happens when we acknowledge that line and act on it?
We feel powerful.
Likewise, if we touch the vital power at the heart of life and in our own hearts…we feel invincible.
That invincibility–among other things–gives us a feeling like having a force field around us that emanates from us. And guess what? That force field is our firm boundaries.
This invincible shield comes out of us when we touch our power. And our power is nurtured when we acknowledge and respect our boundaries.
Being clear on our boundaries makes us more powerful, and feeling ourselves as powerful makes it easier to see where our boundaries are. It’s like a view from the inside, or a view from the outside, of the same thing. Two sides of the same coin.