When: you can practice your boundary setting as a formal practice – for example once a week, just to stay in boundary shape 😉 Or you can lean on these practices when you feel you need them in daily life, for example before a meeting, an important conversation, in the midst of conflict or a time that you really need to assert yourself. Really, you can ask yourself: “Which boundary do I most need to strengthen and presence right now?” or “Which boundary needs my attention?” – and you will know which one you need most.
Why: Our energetic boundary is mapped on our brain maps as a real structure that lets what is good and nourishing in, and keeps what is harmful out. This goes for situations and physical threats (such as feeling that a car is coming near and choosing not to cross the street) and relational threats (such as someone trying to take advantage of you, gaslighting you, or being harmful in some way). It also goes for situations that are beneficial and nourishing – can I go towards the place or the person who is helpful now and let them in? When there is a nourishment barrier (we cannot let good stuff in), boundaries become very rigid and only keep stuff out. A healthy boundary allows the unhelpful stuff to stay out and what we need and desire to come in and be taken in as the goodness that it is.
Practice: Explore your boundary and feel yourself before and after each exploration.
Through movement: You can use a scarf or string on the floor to represent your boundary. Use the arms and legs to feel the space around you, literally touch it and make it felt in your body.
Notice how you feel after you have pushed and moved in your boundary, after you have touched its inside. Take some notes:
Through image: Imagine the color, shape, thickness of your boundary. Do you want to add something to it so it feels right? Maybe it needs a sticker? What would that sticker say?
Through voice: State your boundary: declare “This is my space and no one may enter unless I invite them.” or “No one may enter without my permission”. Take some notes about how it feels inside:
Sense how movement, image and voice make you feel in your body – what do you sense after you touch your boundary, after you picture it, after you declare it?
Audio energetic boundary:
We become aware of the skin boundary through gentle touch. You can touch a part of your body, like your forearm, or your face, and feel the texture, thickness, the sense of whether it wants to let touch in or it mostly wants to keep things out.
You can name your boundary with: “This is my skin. Everything inside my skin is me, and everyone outside of my skin is not me.”
In the shower, take the water through different parts of your body. Feel the pressure, temperature, even tingling or buzzing under the water. Are there any areas that feel numb? Separate? You can feel them and touch them with the water and tell them: “I welcome you back into my body”.
THE GUT BOUNDARY
The gut is the place that houses our fire, our willpower, our intuition, our instincts. We can feel drawn to something intuitively, and feel our gut say YES or have a gut punch reaction when someone attacks us. A person can literally make us feel sick or excitement can feel like butterflies in the stomach. The gut, when our boundaries are weak or violated, can become leaky. Think of leaky gut as over permeability or not being able to discern between pure and impure.
Practice: Place your hands on your belly and take some time to connect to your gut. In your mind just imagine you can touch the outside of your delicate digestive system – say hello. Then wait a little to feel your belly respond. Maybe it will soften, or you will hear a sound. Now say out loud: “my gut knows. It can say Yes and No.” Add also any other statement you would like to affirm about your gut.
THE PERICARDIUM / HEART BOUNDARY
The heart is the fireplace of love – its ruby glow allows us to open, give and receive. When we are hurt, the protector (pericardium) can get tight and not allow any further pain or damage to be done. This way our heart can feel like a glass dome, where things just slide off – and we cannot receive and take in goodness.
Practice: Place your hand on your heart and breathe gently. Feel your heart under your hand – is it warm and soft or hard and guarded. Sense into the front, middle and back of the heart – remind yourself “My heart is open to give and receive.” You can also play with your own affirmation here. “My heart is learning to receive”, or “My heart is opening to receive…”
SENSING ALL FOUR BOUNDARIES
Sensing the energetic, skin, gut, and heart boundary all at once is incredibly powerful, as it helps you map and know your inner and outer space and support your safety.
Practice: get grounded in your feet and pelvis. Can you picture each boundary, perhaps in a different color or even luminescent quality, texture, shape, thickness? You can even sit down and draw all four of them and see how it helps you relate. Sit in that mental image for a while. Notice how it feels.
If thoughts come up, for example: this feels too protected, remember that your boundaries are flexible and ever changing – they are able to let so much in if you choose to – and allow so much to come out – if you allow to.
Sometimes I imagine that there is a part of me that all it does is take care of my boundaries – and I ask that part to make the boundaries as open or solid as is best for the situation. I thank that part for always knowing what I need for my boundaries to be in connection and be protected at the same time.