Saturday, February 26, 2011


Photo from Flickr
The other morning while journaling and looking out my back window into the backyard I found myself thinking about my assignment from my photography class ... we are to capture 7 images playing around with aperture and it was to be a 'Collection' ... "be creative with your definition of collection" my teacher says. "It can be a concept, an idea, something physical, emotional. It could be the color blue. It could be love ...." So the other morning I noticed the chain-linked fence in my backyard. All week i've been pondering boundaries, my own boundaries, others' boundaries, and that morning the boundaries for my dogs. The fence is up supposedly to keep my dogs in my yard, and to keep other critters from coming into my yard. But I know that at any point any one of my 3 dogs could jump over the 4 ft fence very easily. In fact, my sweet Ahnung could not even be held back from an 8 ft fence when she was first rescued up at the Red Lake. So there are physical and there are internal boundaries. We put up boundaries for a reason.

As I went through some major changes this past year I put boundaries up. All the while I was asking myself "what feels right? why am I putting this boundary up?" I have also had those I love and care for put boundaries up. Some of these boundaries have been hard and even hurtful, yet in my heart, I know I need to respect and honor whatever boundary a person puts up, because there is a reason. One of my biggest learnings this past year for me is understanding that I have the right to put up, and also knock down whatever boundaries I have created. I've also learned that when a boundary is put up for me, by someone else, that I have a choice on whether or not to honor and respect that boundary. I love what a friend posted on my facebook wall when I posed the question on what are boundaries. Here is what she said "Boundaries can hold things in or keep them out. Boundaries can be fluid or rigid. They can feel restrictive or freeing. They can provide safety or a sense of being boxed in. They can be the right thing but the wrong fit. Boundaries can shelter or protect but they can also blind us to possibility. Timing in the life of boundaries makes all the difference ..." [thanks Merry!]. What I have learned is that I have a choice. I have lost people in my life as the result of the ending of my last relationship. Some of them have been hard. Some continue to still hurt as I struggle to understand why one must have to choose 'sides' when a relationship ends. Yet I know that it happens. Can we not still love, care for, and remain connected to both individuals who were once in a partnership?

I am moving on and I am discovering and re-discovering myself in this newfound  freedom. But yes, I still grieve and I still hurt for the many losses.  And I am learning that it's possible for me to safely hold in the palm of my hands both the grief and the hurt along with the joy and excitement of new possibilities. And as I move forward in my life's journey I know that there will be boundaries around me ... and the boundary can be physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual; it can be rigid or fluid; it can be made of concrete or of mesh; it can be one i've created or one created or put up by someone I love or care about. When will I choose to dance and swim around these boundaries and when will I choose to stand behind the boundary? How will I know when it's okay to raise, lower or even remove a boundary i've created? How do I find peace in a boundary created by someone I care about and had hoped to remained connected to?

For me I embrace a Rumi quote shared by a new friend "everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself." I feel more alive today than I have ever felt. I feel more joy, more hope, and more peace. I also feel more grief, more sadness, and more turmoil. How invigorating to feel so many emotions and not feel like I need to sweep them under a rug anymore. I wonder ... is this what it feels like to really be alive and to live in the moment? Is this how my beautiful dogs live each day?

As I work on my photography assignment this weekend it will be interesting what 7 images I choose to capture to represent the ever evolving role that boundaries have played, and continue to play, in my life.

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