08 July 2006

Viewpoint: Boundaries

Text artist, Jenny Holzer, is known for her list of Truisms.

They include:There is also a place where the Truisms can be altered. Edits are made by use of the link, "Please change beliefs."

One of my favorite modified Truisms reads: "If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space."

In my last month of urban camping, I'm wondering about the nature of boundaries.

I'm wondering where the edges are. How much space do we take?

Conceptually, a nomad does not use the same boundaries as other members of the planet.

"Good fences make good neighbors," says the guy next door in Robert Frost's poem Mending Wall.

Frost's reply is, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall" and
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out
Even if I can accurately separate things into two piles labeled things to keep in and things to keep out, how do I allow for change or evolution?

Where is the spot of equilibrium between setting boundaries and testing limits?

How do I view boundaries?

How much are they about structure and order, a division of space and time?

How much are they about protection and care, a management of our natural resources?

Soon my life will have a new structure. Do I want a place for everything and everything in its place?

What kind of time/space - protection/care system cultivates happy accidents?

One of my all-time favorite passages is at the beginning of Nathalie Goldberg's Wild Mind book.

She notices people who strive to order the flowers in their garden. But, the same people love to go to the forest, where they experience peace, even though everything is growing chaotically there.

In my year of wondering and wandering, I've come to believe that we need chaos in our lives just as much as we need care ... and that too much care is just as destructive as too much chaos.

Maybe, for me, a boundary is the wall between chaos and care. On one side is our garden and on the other side is the forest.

Perhaps we develop a sense of timing for when we need to switch from one side to the other.

Could it be the switching that gives our life momentum?

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Blogger Jennifer Metz said...

A friend recently gave me the following poem called "The Guest House" by Rumi:

This being human is a guest-house,
every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you
out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Wednesday, 25 October, 2006  

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