I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how much I have to do, how much I want to do, and whether I can make those two points match up. New Age-ish philosophy would suggest that there are no limits, that limits to oneself are entirely invented by the mind and thus can be transcended simply be believing that There Are No Limits.
But what if your limits reflect something good and healthy? What if your “limits” are really your boundaries? I have limits, for sure. I have boundaries, physical, social, and behavioural boundaries that I don’t generally cross or allow others to cross. These things keep me safe, maintain my integrity.
Boundaries are a body experience. When you feel yourself sitting on the chair, or feel your feet pushing into the floor, you have an increased awareness of your body in space. As you push those feet down, you can feel your muscles become activated, feel the blood flow more vigorously, feel your inner space. You know, without even having words for it, where you begin and where the floor ends. And you also know that the floor can and will support you without invading you or making you conform or hurting you in some way.
However, if that floor was made of Jell-O, or was covered with nails sticking point up, you would have a different experience. You would still have your boundary….where my body is….where the floor is….but your boundary would tell you that you cannot trust the floor to hold you, or to hold you without impinging on you.
Your BODY tells you that, when you explore the boundary between your body and the floor. Limits are a good thing, I tell you!
I have social limits as well. I don’t let people touch me without permission. I don’t say “yes, I’d be happy to do that” if I really am not happy to do that. I do not invite people to my home whom I don’t want to see. Those limits are also good for me.
In other places, I want to test my limits, and maybe even shift the boundaries a bit. Getting older has actually, much as I hate to admit it, meant that my joints are stiffer and less flexible. When I practice yoga, for example, I try to ease my body gently past some of these physical limits, or boundaries. When I run, I notice that I can shift the limits….training has that effect. But those are active choices I get to make. I am happy to know what my limits are, and grateful that when I want to move past them, I can sometimes do that. But more grateful that I have them firmly in place for my own safety. Boundaries help us know where and what we are, and help us in relating to other people. More on that part…later….