What the plants can teach us about letting go of fear & boundaries

I’ve been thinking a lot about my own boundaries lately. My boundaries with clients, friends, lovers. Why are they there? How do they serve me?

For a long time, I’ve thought that I had to have them for my own safety. “I’m an introvert.” “I’m sensitive.” “I’m attractive.”

I’ve set up strict pathways by which people can, and are allowed to, interact with me.

elm tree at nybg

But at the same time, I always refer to myself as a giver, someone who serves, a people pleaser.

Can I actually be both? Can I call myself someone who serves but then sets up very specific criteria for how they approach?

To me, one seems to be based in love and the other in fear.

If I was standing completely in love and not gripped with certain fears, I can’t imagine any of my boundaries holding up.

Of course, that’s not to say that I can be generous all the time to all people. I can’t - I’m not a superhero and I don’t have limitless resources. Like the cactus, my body needs to hold on to what it needs to survive - but it can still give so much.

But I have the capacity to ask for what I want. And I have the capacity to let others know what I am able to give at that time.

The plants teach us this so well

While walking through the New York Botanical Garden, it struck me how well the plants teach us this lesson.

They show up in such magnificence that creatures large and small rush to them. We crave their beauty, their touch, their smells. And they actually invite us in to experience that!

nybg flowers

It is from that invitation that their beauty expands! By allowing everyone to touch, smell, taste, and see them they are able to spread out and grow in larger and larger quantities.

And even when we come to take those gifts from the plants; when we cut them down for our own use and lock them away in a house (or to use in actually building the house) - the plants allow it. They allow it with such love that they continue to share their gifts for days, weeks, or years.

The only conclusion I can come to is that the plants understand, much better than I, the power of this unselfish, unconditional love.

They have understood it long before I got here and they will carry it long after I leave.

So I keep asking myself…

What would it mean to me if I did this? If I stopped thinking that I had to protect the beautiful things about my body, my life, or my soul? If I let everyone enter to see would I also expand in the same way?

I’ve lived my life thinking that if I allowed too many to enter, I would be depleted. But what if I have it wrong? What if it is actually the opposite?

What if my expansion depends on letting go of my fears and boundaries?