Boundaries

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No matter how much open space is provided for our horses to roam, they sometimes feel the need to test the boundaries…. they must have them, not only for our sakes, but for their own safety. Day in and day out they graze in the same area, come in to be fed at the same time every day, and know our voices when called. Then there are the “other” days.. when they are sure the grass is greener somewhere else, just beyond the place they are supposed to be. They are well-behaved animals for the most part, and usually don’t cause too much trouble. They know their boundaries, but sometimes they are just a little too tempted to venture out of their safety zone. They are curious about what lies beyond this space and can’t resist the taste of the undisturbed green pasture.

How many times do we wander just the same? A new space, a new friend, a new place to visit for a while. There is so much to explore not only for these lovely creatures, but for us as a curious people. So we venture out, beyond what is routine, put ourselves out there, hoping to graze in a fresh open space. For the most part? we gain something… something new that breaks the day in day out ritual. So we test the boundaries, grasping the good stuff along the way and making the most of a new adventure.

I have found this to be true so many times in relationships.. I have some really great ones, an awesome circle of friends and family. They have been constant, a safe zone – no need to set boundaries, I know and trust this circle. It is where I am most comfortable in any season of my life. These are my treasures, my fields of fresh grass, and I have no need for flagging them off with orange ribbons.

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These friends corral around me regardless of the sunny skies or storms that occur. If one is out-of-place? I am pretty sure I am aware of it. Sometimes, they wander a little close to the outside fence, doing their own thing but never feeling the need to totally leave my space. They are all different in personalities, quirks and issues, yet they choose to stay. Good friends and family that know me, but love me anyway! They notice when I linger to close to the outside fence… they see when I am needing to be led back safely for my own good. That’s what you do for those you love.. you keep them safe, and you encourage them when they need it most and remind them why the boundaries are important.

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Boundaries are healthy, but they are a lot of work. It would have been so much easier to just let the fence go, tend to it another day, but I’m sure it would have cost something more in the long run. I am learning to appreciate boundaries so much more these days. I am hard pressed to set them at times, but sometimes they are necessary. I would rather impose fences than walls, since walls are often too permanent. So, I set boundaries, place my flags accordingly and respect the reasons they are there.

boundaries4Not everyone is capable of setting boundaries, fence boundaries are much more compassionate than stringing barbed wire – that’s something entirely different – painful with the intention of causing harm. What kind of boundary would you prefer?  Choose wisely my friends, that kind of boundary is a double-edged hurt – you are sure to be on the giving and receiving end of it.

“Good fences make good neighbors”

– Robert Frost

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