The Soul Mate Delusion Part Two: The Fullness of Boundaries

boundary6

I find it to be inevitable that one’s personal journey into the question of “Who am I?” leads to an expanded sense of one’s self. The cycles of life and death remind us that we have to let go of everything we consider to be ‘me’ at some point. We practice with our toys as children, discovering the pain of a broken expression of play. We experience it as youth, saying goodbye to a friend, pet, or parent that we have known to be there with us our whole lives. We crack open the heart through the vulnerable intimacy and heartbreak with a lover. We watch the shedding of identity as the work that once defined our existence (our job) is not needed anymore or our bodies will not allow us to do it. All practice for the ultimate letting go moment we call death.

boundary3To experience the sense of one’s self, to know what we are, requires a sense of what we are not – a knowing of the other as it relates to one’s self. The ebbs and flows of the shifting external environment (the people, places, things, situations, etc.) give us the feedback to understand the relationship between self and other better.

We grow to experience an expanded sense of self through love. Children receive so much joy from toys they can call their own; they are a part of their world and sense of ‘me’. Family is viewed as an extension of self (in varying degrees from culture to culture) bonded through love. Intimate partnerships are the expansion of “I” to “We” within the safe container of love beyond blood. As the identity through work shifts unexpectedly we are put in a place to then reflect on another essential question: “What am I here to do?”. It is through the cycling expansion and eventual breakdown of our sense of self that invites us into deeper exploration of life’s critical questions.

Life’s Flavours

Now before I reach your boundary of “time to devote to reading this before deciding if it is interesting enough to continue”, I am getting to the topic of personal boundaries in relationship. The two questions explored above relate to what I would call part of one’s spiritual journey in life; the path to receiving the rich, full flavour from life. These questions are very personal, meaning simply that they are questions each of us must answer within ourselves. We most certainly learn from each other, but no one can tell you who you are or why you are here. It’s your very own quest. You decide how far you take the adventure; how much you want to grow, shift, and expand; how deep into the rabbit hole you want to go. You decide how you want to live and how rich of an experience you want to receive.

Creating Your Bubble

Imagine a bubble around you. It’s a safe, protective bubble that will only allow in that which you want and will repel that which you do not. You feel free inside the bubble. You are afraid of nothing within it. But everything you see outside the bubble causes emotional turmoil. There are unknown elements you are afraid of; an element of risk and potentially dangerous chance. You are comfortable within the zone of this bubble boundary, but the fears outside are changing. Something exciting is inviting you out. Do you expand your bubble with trust?

boundary1

So, what do personal boundaries have to do?

Boundaries are required to navigate through life and survive here on the Earth. We have a personal boundary as to how close to the edge of that rock cliff we will walk before we stop and avoid falling. We have personal boundaries related to types of behaviours we will and will not accept from others. We have boundaries around the types of food we eat and the forms of activity we choose. On the most tangible level, we experience physical boundaries between our body and the world around us through our senses. These boundaries are often also referred to as a comfort zone or fears.

These boundaries create a safe space, a container if you will, to play within. They are as real as we choose to make them. We are comfortable within our boundaries. We feel safe to create at home within the walls of our house. We can release our emotional build-up around family within the container of unconditional love. We find the courage to be vulnerable with a lover through the relationship boundary of monogamy.

Boundaries are not bad things. Your fears do not need to be conquered. Your comfort zone is not an enemy. They are necessary to life as we know it. They protect you and keep you safe to play. At the same time, they can limit you if you do not expand them when excitement calls you beyond or when you have outgrown them. It is through this lens that I wish to explore the dance of intimate partnerships; a type of relationship full of varying boundaries.

Healing the Intimate Wounds

If you are like me, the relationship with a boundary5lover/partner/bf/gf/whatever is one in which I have experienced the deepest knowing of myself in another. If you are like me, you have been burned before in this kind of relationship and if you are like me, you are feeling a little more cautious (you might call yourself clever for this type of rational approach to love). You know you want to love and be loved. You need to feel safe to be vulnerable and open up again. These are where boundaries come in. They are different for everyone. For many, the monogamous boundary (only one sexual partner) is required to really open their hearts. And that is okay!

I wrote of a few of the underlying assumptions and their resulting effects in both monogamy and polyamory in my previous blog. Relating and condensing it into this current one, it would be to avoid associating a “full experience of life” to “more, bigger, better”. Approaching polyamory as a breaking down of all sexual boundaries is not necessarily the ultimate goal. Enlightenment is not a state of undifferentiated oneness. A full experience of life can be lived within a boundary of simplicity. In fact, all of life is experienced within a boundary. I am tempted to say that life itself is the physical manifestation of boundary. {In part three I will explore the emerging breakdown of the physical boundaries of our reality through relationship and how we are all polyamorous.}

It is upon the foundation of trust, communication, and honesty that we are able to create the space to expand our boundaries and grow into a love that is more inclusive, fluid, and reflective of honouring where we are at presently as an individual (as in, what we need from a relationship).

boundary4

Giving Expression to Your Boundaries

An obvious part of communication is actually communicating. Unexpressed boundaries can create distrust, confusion, and suspicion, both within one’s self and towards others. This also goes for any weakly established boundaries (as in, do you mean what you say?). Telling your partner you are afraid they are going to have sex with someone else is a moment of truth that leads to a deeper understanding. Witnessing an attraction and love for a friend’s partner and acknowledging the boundary (a.k.a. I am fond of your partner and I will not have sex with them) creates a moment of mutual trust, respect and leads to a deeper bond. What you choose to do after these moments of truth will be unique in each relationship. We might deny the need for giving voice to our boundaries and fears, but when it comes to attraction and intimacy, this simple act can be quite liberating. Practice with this helps us to become clearer with what we want and need while gaining an appreciation and respect for others as aspects of our Selves.

Giving voice to a personal boundary is also quite empowering. You learn to trust yourself by saying what you mean. You learn to respect others by honouring their boundaries. You communicate (as much as possible) ahead of time where your boundary is and then feel free to express within the space of trust. This isn’t to say boundaries will never be overstepped and feelings hurt; that is part of learning in life too. Perhaps the breaking of trust is an invitation into forgiveness. Rather than make boundaries into “rules of the mind” (there is always grey areas and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with specifics), practice turning them into “guidance of the heart” (how do you feel about it?).

boundary7When the expansion of a boundary feels good, my life regains a particular fullness to it. I honour and respect myself just as much as others. This is fairly common when I choose to share something I have that another person needs. When the breakdown of a boundary feels painful, I dive into the source of the wound and ask myself what I need to have peace with it and move forward. A partner cheating on you would be one of the more painful examples many of us can relate to. Both expansion and breakdown are useful tools of feedback that help us discover who we are not so that we may remember who we are. Like the child breaking a toy, the youth breaking a heart, or the adult breaking their identity, the breakdown is just as necessary as the expansion. Just don’t let the past breakdowns cause you to condense instead of expand!

Back to the Bubble

The safe bubble that surrounds you, where is it? What is inside of it? What is outside of it? Perhaps you are in your house and the bubble goes to the walls around you. Maybe your bubble is only to the walls of your room or perhaps the safe bubble only surrounds your body. Wherever the edge of your bubble is, have you noticed it shift over your life? Are there certain people who would be inside of your bubble with you? Allow the edge of your bubble to grow and shift. Recognize when your fears are keeping you safe and acknowledge when they are limiting you. Allow for more trust and receive the fullness that life has to offer you in every moment.

boundary2

This is part Two of a Four part series exploring the concepts of soul mates, intimate partnership, and the spectrum along the monogamous/polyamorous continuum. 

Click to Read Part One – Why I Can’t Be Your Superman

Click to Read Part Three – The Love Seeds of Genie’s Wisdom

Click to Read Part Four – Why We Are All Polyamorous (Coming soon)

5 thoughts on “The Soul Mate Delusion Part Two: The Fullness of Boundaries

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *