Boundaries are one of the primary elements that enable life as we know it. Boundaries function first to build an inner world separate from the outer, and then to allow exchange between them, as in the cell membrane. They allow the exchange of nutrition, waste, and building and repair materials to move in and out of the cell as needed. They say “yes” and “no” to what goes in and out, but they do it in a very precise and managed way. They have a very clear structure, and a discriminative capacity as to what is life supporting and what is not. One could say, they “feel” their way, and their feeling is the result of their biochemistry, as it attracts and repels appropriate molecules.
Boundaries manage these exchanges by changing their permeability – they can be very porous and become rigid. They effectively change their form depending on the state of the inner and outer environment and their intentions.
In this framework, one could define limits as those extreme positions at which a boundary begins to lose its elastic capacity. It becomes under-formed or over-formed. These conditions can be seen in the cellular micro world or in the macro world of the whole body – physical and psychological. In moving beyond its limit, the organism runs the risk of damaging itself or evoking emergency responses.
These ideas will form the basis for this presentation, which will engage participants in a conceptual and experiential exploration of the functions and roles of boundaries, limits and frontiers. The course will use lecture, demonstration, and a variety of exercises and experiences to both personalize our experience and to find ways to apply this material in practice.