Boundaries

"GRAPH", 2004, 12" x 12", m/m

"GRAPH", 2004, 12" x 12", m/m

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My sister gave me dog training lessons for Christmas.

I’m telling you, it was THE best gift.

Turns out the training is 90% about the human.

What a surprise!

We think we are so damn smart but really we’ve rearranged our instinctual behavior to such an extent that confusion reigns.

Yes, I am fully aware of the life altering contributions human genius has allowed us; technology, medicine, the wheel, etc..

I’m talking here about TERRITORY.

My dog thinks she rules.

Not an uncommon situation in dog owners.

When the trainer came the other day, he spent 1/2 hour giving her corrections in a purposeful and directly in-the-moment manner.

He was certainly not without compassion because I was hyper-vigilant in my scrutiny.

At the end of the session, my previously ‘pseudo-aggressive’ chihuahua was nesting at his feet.

As he explained it, she was hankering after clear boundaries so she actually knew how to please me.

She wanted to know the right thing but I didn’t know how to tell her in her language.

I watched her hold her body proudly and her eyes got very bright.

(Stay with me here.. this isn’t all about dogs, I promise..)

The marked change in her sense of self made me think about how boundaries are used in our human world.

I have a strong boundary where people in my life know not to stop by my home unannounced as I get startled so easily.

I work with a physician who has many requirements for her patients regarding scented detergents, hair products etc. that may not be worn during an appointment due to her extreme sensitivity.

I notice I am often taken aback in situations in which I am required to alter my behavior and the request is delivered in a somewhat strident manner.

This is all ego-based stuff as we know but the fact is that confusion in our world reigns.

The microcosm of this is my world here, living with MS.

Confusion leaves the room replaced by sighs of relief when I ask for the help I need or make a clear request.

I grew up with non-existent boundaries.

It was a no-mans’-land of etheric galavanting.

I wanted SOMEONE TO SAY NO. I WANTED TO SAY NO!

But they never really did and neither did I so as an adult, here I am trying to put healthy boundaries in place.

Oh, it’s all a work in progress but aside from the discomfort of trying on new ‘behavioral clothes’, I see it as a gift to myself and others to be clear, timely and secure in expressing my expectations.

Who knows..I may even get what I need.

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