Boundaries and Blackbirds: Our greatest challenge is to break away from the herd

What do boundaries and blackbirds have in common?
What do Boundaries and Blackbirds have in common?

Carl Jung said that as humans our greatest challenge is to break away from the herd

Boundaries.  Those lines we draw around ourselves to maintain balance and to protect our psyche from invasion.  Yes, or maybe ‘intrusion’ is a gentler word.

The push of energy that comes from the behavior and the demands of others requires a boundary.  That boundary keeps us from being used or manipulated by others and within that boundary we can express our true nature.  Personal boundaries allow us to be in the driver’s seat of our own lives.

Without healthy boundaries we sometimes give up a part of our self to be available or accommodating in a way that enables others and causes a loss of self-respect.

We can  become so entangled with another person and their needs (co-dependent behavior) that we lose your own identity. This undermines our integrity and leads to a loss of self-respect — and the respect of others around you.

Respecting boundaries. I asked my self today if I honor other people’s boundaries.  Do I push myself on others?  When I get a hint that a person does not wish to socialize with me, do I continue to insist that they do so?  And  do I solicit others in passive-aggressive ways to elicit sympathy from others using them to assist me to push boundaries even further?

Sounds like a little bit like the animal–the bull, doesn’t it.  But you know how some people keep on antagonizing the other, right?   I have a visual.   Someone who is like a bull and charges upon others.   Wave that red flag in my face one more time and I may, do like the bull, and charge!  🙂

Do people have a fundamental right to set limits and expectations in their life without incurring the judgment of others?  I think they do.  You know that saying,  “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.“–??

Can people consider the wishes of others yet still make choices regarding personal boundaries?

People are the way they are.  Can we accept that without judging them, trying to manipulate or change them?

I operate from my own truth.  You do too.  And when we respect other people’s truths,  we expect our own truths to be respected in return.

Manipulative people do not understand boundaries.  They force themselves into the space of other people’s lives.

Where’s the compassion?  Fear is the root of it all, you know?  The boundary pushing person has a fear of not being loved, not being good enough, deserving enough.  Okay, that’s understood.  So then what? Do we let the person keep pushing or what?

Compassion for the boundary pusher and for the one with the boundaries ( both ) is what’s needed here.  There is the defensiveness from the one with the boundaries who says, “See what I see, hear what I hear, feel what I feel and then maybe you will understand.”  And the other one, in the meanwhile,  of course still pushes– the habit of fear being the driving motivation.

“You couldn’t handle half of what I’ve dealt with and don’t understand that there’s a reason that I do what I do”, says the one who has been willing to accept responsibility for their own life and who has developed the self-respect which created the boundary.  Victim talk?

Personal boundaries are more than OK–and it doesn’t mean that you are selfish or unkind if you push back when someone pushes yours.  Boundaries mean that you have a clear picture of who you are and how you want to live.

In a family dynamic it is always more difficult or better said–complex.  Sometimes we have to endure a person for the sake of keeping the relatives happy, right?  Or do we?  Do we enable dysfunctional behaviors in family members? Or don’t we?

The “herd mystique” and it’s allure

There is a quote from Carl Jung about this being one of the human’s greatest challenges.  Fitting in with the group, the herd, the clan–“You are family so you HAVE TO be around me!”  Where is that written?  Genetic connection or NOT;  do we vote with our presence indicating that dysfunctional behavior is acceptable?

On another note, is it our responsibility to straighten other people out in ways that we believe they should ‘act’ according to our own standards of behavior?  Whoa! Now  that’s one huge judgment if we believe that.  Where’s THAT truth?  Speak it.  Does that sound right if you say it aloud?  Best not to push your truth onto others or become a evangelist — that’s a karma creator if there ever was one.

By placing a boundary and living within it, you are living your own truth and being compassionate to yourself and to the other as well.  You are also teaching people in your life what self-respect looks like through example.

We have to trust what we know and what we have learned from the work that we have done in our own life via self-analysis, theology, philosophy and spirituality. 

This is especially true if we speak about times when our boundaries are pushed and disrespected, especially in a family situation.  Those are the most charged with the opportunity for growth and for teaching through example.

People who push boundaries are giving you the opportunity to develop or to teach self-respect.  Pushing back is a delicate art.  Knowing how to push back against pushy people takes stamina and skill. (Personally, some days I feel too old for it quite honestly.)

Anyway, push-back involves maintaining your own autonomy and self-esteem when you are being invaded.  You know that you need to step back and protect yourself, while minimizing any hostility or confrontation.  Not easy.  People are going to be offended.  Sometimes I think pushy people know that and it makes them push all the more–or they enjoy the drama.

People who push boundaries are acting out of fear and desperately trying to fulfill their own needs.  Social self-reliance is not really their forte’, their strong suit yet; they’re working on it.  We’re all a work in progress.

Self-care means recognizing the importance of your feelings and honoring them and when you set boundaries, this is what you are doing.  It’s important.

But we’re “All One”–right?

We’re all one and connected and while this is true, and while we can be compassionate and understanding as we see the ‘bigger picture’ with self and others, we still have to be able to function here and in order to do so we must stay emotionally healthy while maintaining boundaries… all the while doing the relationship dance.  Being human isn’t easy.

Being human isn’t easy and being the best human you can be… well, it’s tricky sometimes.

I think the best thing we can do is get out of the judgment with the whole business with boundaries and relationships and being social.  I think Jung was right about the “herd mystique”– our greatest challenge being to break away from the herd.

To fully “individuate” is to be able to stop trying to “fit in” and  to be comfortable living in your own truth.  Separating one’s self from those to whom one does not feel an authentic connection takes courage.  The wrath of the clan falls upon you sometimes; that comes along with the territory of being your own person.

There is perceived safety in numbers which is an illusion just as much as any other erroneous belief we hold about living in this dimension.  Some people, and maybe I’m one, feel more authentic outside of the herd.  Strong boundaries are needed and when threatened, need re-enforcing.  Should that be a surprise?

What about karma?

Karma.  It’s our intention that creates it.  I think that needs to be said as well.  To have a boundary does not carry ill intent.

No man is an island onto himself, it is said.  We are one; yet, it is ego that separates us or gives a unique history of experiences and thus identity.

Judgment also separates us– i.e. “…you are different” or “… you should behave toward me in one way or another”.  It all gets us to work on our human growth and evolution both individually and collectively.

blackbirdBut in the meanwhile, as we do all of that, I like the blackbird way of interacting with their fellow birds. If a bird lands on a nearby branch and is not the mate of that blackbird they do a little nod (a bow) and fly away. Blackbirds are pretty solitary.  They are known to establish their territory, fiercely defending it (boundaries) by driving off any of their kind that get close to their vicinity.  Boundaries and blackbirds seem to go together.

What’s the bottom line? The ending conclusion? The final thought?  The summary? The point? The meaning?  I don’t know.   I just do hope something here helps someone out in cyber-world as I worked through some thoughts about boundaries today.

Here’s an article about emotional manipulation that I came across shortly after writing the blog above.  Some may find this helpful:


Modesty and Self-Reliance with Fame and Fortune and the spaces in between ~ I-ching Kua 15 Modesty

I’ve got to say it right off the bat, right at the start here—the universe has a great sense of humor! HA! Modesty, humility, self-respect, sincerity, respectability—boy O boy haven’t I been dealing with that tonight?

I share myself, my issues, my worries and challenges here and work through them risking  looking much less-than-perfect, sometimes embarrassingly vulnerable and most times way too human.  Oh, sure, the part of me that opens the channel when you call for a reading watches this and smiles and helps and there are fabulous personal moments of integration in my private life and I write about those too both here and in my weekly newsletter.  Yet in the end, I am on earth like every body else and have to deal with that L word, Life.

With no cable TV anymore (my choice), I’m filling my evening with doing some computer tasks that I’ve been putting off.  One task has to do with figuring out how to put a donate button on my blog and newsletter—which, by the way, I told myself I’d never do.

And part of the reason why not relates to the oracle’s I-ching message which I received right after I finally nailed down how to install the silly button!

Kua 15 was the result of the toss–this one is entitled “modesty” and covers self-respect and humility as well.  It also has to do with simplicity.  Can we actually use self-respect and humility in the same sentence about a donate button without setting off a few emotional alarms?  I’m working on that one tonight.

I never thought I’d have ads on my website or blog page, but there they are–although I find them tasteful for the most part and providing a service to visitors.  After all, we’re talking about Hay House, Shamballa Publications and Sounds True  –I think of them as high-class advertisers for spiritual and inspirational material.  If you buy from them by clicking from my page, their accountants toss a few pennies my way.  But if you are looking for inspirational material, it’s all there.  Anyway…

The thing is that I just want to be a sage and work quietly and then go hide on the mountain top again when I’m not needed … no muss, no fuss and all that. But it is I who need you!

I am reminded time and again that I need you—and cannot be on the earth alone and survive without at least some help from others.  My beautiful clients and students have helped me fulfill my physical needs (thank you so gratefully).  And talk about modest… basic survival stuff like the electric bill, phone bill, rent, groceries, auto insurance and gas for the tank as well as firewood for winter.  Yes, I know that represents grand abundance in some people’s eyes (mine when I look at my life through the eyes of some others).  And even through my own eyes, if my needs are met, I do feel wealthy.

Sometimes, I don’t want to need anyone and become very upset that I do. 

I am supposed to be self-reliant in this lifetime (North Node of the Moon is in Taurus in my natal chart). In fact this morning I tweeted this quote from Emerson:  “Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one’s self?”  I think that quote is pretty much about self-reliance and I like it; but the truth is that we need one another.  It seems like almost every time I try to go it alone or think of myself as living in my own vacuum of energy, the Universe shows me that.

The message of this Kua 15 is about being content with being ordinary—not seeking fame and fortune or trying to “keep up with the Jones”.  Moderation is about keeping things simple and living a simple life.  Simplicity can create spaciousness; sometimes the less we have, the less we have to try to manage.

In my work, I have the good fortune to speak to people all around the world.  I have noticed that folks I talk to who are from previously under-privileged (and I use that last term loosely) countries and who are modernized to the tune where they are making money are very hungry to do so.  Many seem to worry a good deal about creating fortunes.  As Ma Deva Padma says,

“We live in a world that reveres extraordinariness. Sooner or later nearly everyone fantasizes about being admired for their brilliance, and the guarantee of happiness from gaining fame, fortune, and adoration because of it. Rarely do we come across anyone who is content to be simply ordinary. Craving anything new, exciting, or glamorous, we imagine how our lives could be different; worrying about how the world sees us or wondering whether the grass might be greener in the other fellow’s garden keeps us discontented and preoccupied to the point of distraction.”

The message for this time (whatever time you happen to read this) is to keep things simple. Meditation will help to create spaciousness from concerns that connect with fame and fortune and locks you into your intuition which will enable you to be in each moment comfortably as it unfolds.

As for me, I am throwing pride out the window and adding the paypal donation buttons to this blog and my newsletter in a total lack of pretension while I attempt to retain my respectability.  Others, who I greatly respect, have buttons on their blogs… well, anyway, I believe that I shall be contemplating this Kua 15 of modesty in my meditation later this evening.

Sincerely wishing you many confidently peaceful days ahead …