Limits & Limitlessness: The Ampersand Series


{This piece is part of a brand new suite of posts called The Ampersand Series...an exploration of two sides of the same coin. See my why in the footer of this post.}

Limits

Limits offer parameters. They create order and safety and understanding. Limits can be helpful structures that, at their best, serve to cordon off danger, clearly delineating where something ceases to be safe. Knowing where the line lives can be quite empowering.

Speed limits. Alcohol limits. Bandwidth.

“I mean, most parents would be proud of a kid like that - good-lookin' and smart and everything, but they gave in to him all the time. He kept trying to make someone say 'No' and they never did. They never did. That was what he wanted. For somebody to tell him 'No.' To have somebody lay down the law, set the limits, give him something solid to stand on. That's what we all want, really.”  - S. E. Hinton

Yeah. We can stand solidly in a limit. And FOR a limit.

Enough is a powerful proclamation.

The trouble with limits

Most limits are rooted in ancient cultural traditions, maths and sciences. They often represent our best guesses at the time that they were decreed. And still, they are mostly human constructs…and we know how fallible humans can be.

By definition, limits create scarcity. Within the container of limits, there’s only so much space, creativity, money, opportunity, room at the top to go around.

And when we buy into the structure of scarcity…well, you know how well that tends to work.

"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours." - Richard Bach

&

Limitlessness

What’s not to love about limitlessness? It means that everything is possible. Imagine that. REALLY imagine that. You can create anything, ANYTHING you want. From here. With exactly what you have. An infinite array of choices and options and chances and outcomes are yours if you just make up your mind and set course.

Just like that.

(Did that paragraph set your heart ablaze, or have you wanting to hide under your duvet? Either response is perfectly sane.)

The trouble with limitlessness

“For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” - Carl Sagan

The reality is that the very notion of limitlessness often creates a sense of agoraphobia. Untethered existence and uncharted territory CAN feel very isolating. For some. Which is why we created limits in the first place. We can’t wrap our heads around this magnitude of possibility, so we create structures to contain things. Rules and constructs. Glass ceilings. Social stratification. Beliefs. Whether we realize it or not.

And here’s the funny thing about limitlessness…we may feel like we’re operating from there...until we hit an edge. We may not even be entirely aware that we’ve hit an edge.

Sometimes we feel literally stopped and blocked and can get the help we need to see our way up, over, or around it. But sometimes it’s more insidious…and we can only sense it when we catch ourselves saying can’t, shouldn’t, always, never or some other action-stopper. But when we realize it? Oh, how that stings. The pain of being here again. Knowing that a choice needs to be made. Rest here or break on through to the other side.

If you’ve hit a limit

  • Don’t panic. As above, limits aren’t in and of themselves a bad thing. Nor are they, contrary to how it may feel, a decree from the heavens that you are on the wrong path. They may indeed be a construct of our belief system about our capacity, and they might also be a signal from your being that you have done enough. For now. Either way…
  • Pause. Take a breath. (Or 10.)
  • Get curious about the limit…why’s it here? What’s it holding back? What’s it keeping you from?
  • What’s beyond the limit? (This may not be entirely clear. And that’s okay…still proceed to the next prompt:: Expanding into the grace beyond the limits of what you can see is an act of courage.)
  • Does the idea of busting through that limit fill you with excitement or dread?

NB:: They can feel like the same thing (the way extreme cold can feel like extreme heat) but with one massive difference:: excitement fills your being whereas dread depletes it.

Once you have that clear, you’ll know what to do. Either::

  • Assemble the resources you need to nourish you and bolster you and sustain you as you do the work of breaking through the limit;  OR,
  • Rest.

Your being knows even when your mind isn’t entirely certain.

Between limits and limitlessness lies discernment that is yours to explore.   twitter-bird-tiny-blue

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the-ampersand-series-option-1Why The Ampersand Series?As a Libran Life Coach, I’m pre-programmed to see both sides…of everything. This can be an annoying trait to my nearest and dearest who just want to vent to me, but it can be a massive service to my clients. Blessing & Curse. (Which, by the way, I can see in everything). So much of my writing touches on polarity. This & That.

Enter The Ampersand Series. Blog posts that shine a light on both sides:: Effort & Surrender. Limits & Limitlessness. Easy & Hard. An invocation to find our own places of discernment between the extremes. To love our ampersands. If this speaks to you, sign up to receive my posts. So much more to come.

 

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