on boundaries

‘Finite players play within boundaries, infinite players play with boundaries.’*

The first boundaries to be played with are those of our own lives.  It’s likely, though, that we all stop short of exploring the extent to which these boundaries are malleable.

Brené Brown asks a question on boundaries when it comes to ours and those of others:

‘What boundaries need to be in place so that you can stay in your integrity and make generous assumptions about this person’s motivation, intentions, or behaviours?’**

We’re explorers of the generosity of our boundaries.

Only we can take responsibility for this.  Education tends not to teach on this, and it’s unlikely that our workplaces will help – even with the best of intentions, our teachers and employers are in a system that focuses on some but not on everyone.  Anne Lamott seems to see mercy as important to playing with boundaries, especially when we see boundaries through Brown’s question:

‘Pope Francis says the name of God is mercy.  Our name was mercy, too, until we put it away to become more productive, more admired, and less vulnerable.  We tend to forget it’s still there.’^

We don’t have to believe in a god to see Lamott’s suggestion that mercy adds an important element to the growing of our boundaries:

‘We startle awake.  This is part of the mystery, that the humane, humanity, human bodies, are where we experience transcendence and God, restoration, the inclination to serve those who are suffering.  We reach out as we are reached out to.’^

This plasticity of boundaries witnesses others reaching out to us as we reach out to others is provided with more beauty and wonder by John Ortberg when he writes:

‘Somebody said that what the world needs is not more geniuses but more genius makers, people who enhance and don’t diminish the gifts of those around them,’^^

Let’s go play with that.

(*From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(**From Brené Brown’s Rising Strong.)
(^From Anne Lamott’s Hallelujah Anyway.)
(^^From John Ortberg’s All the Places to Go.)

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