Background: The thing with Shiva Nata: it makes/strengthens neural connections which let you see your patterns, and all the different ways they can be taken apart and put together.

When you do it right (by doing it wrong), you can end up in that cop show detective moment where all the pieces start swirling together. The matrix keeps re-forming, so you see the patterns *and* their possibilities.

The first realization: I’ve been here before.

This situation with the woman whose office is next door to the Playground.

This is not new.

This is my internal narrative about how there’s always a petty tyrant in my life.

So what’s going to be different this time?

The second realization: it’s the Encroachers.

The people who just expand and expand into your space.

It doesn’t matter if it’s physical space, energy space, emotional space, mental space, spiritual space.

Like my boss with the “long arms”, as we used to say.

Like those guys on the bus who sit with their legs wide apart.

Or the other bartender who used to just show up for my shifts and then take them.

It didn’t matter whether I argued or cajoled. Whether I was calm or furious. She’d just look at me like I was crazy and then start working.

Like my roommate in Berlin who took over the entire living room and the entire kitchen and filled the entire hallway with boxes until my space got smaller and smaller.

Until I didn’t even feel safe coming in the door.

Like the people who think they own my life and therefore can ask for things that no one should ever ask for.

The third realization: I actually know a lot about the Encroachers.

That’s because I’ve lived with them for most of my life. Here’s what they have in common:

They’re incredibly insecure.

They often have OCD or compulsive tendencies.

So they encroach into more and more space because that’s where they can establish control.

They challenge my space because that’s where their own challenge is.

They need to control and dominate space because it’s the only thing that gives them safety.

And they are incapable of noticing that this is encroachment because they’re viewing it as protection. As far as they’re concerned, they’re just taking care of what’s theirs so no one else can encroach on them.

So they become expansionists. With their own personal brand of Manifest Destiny. They spread.

The fourth realization: I’ve been looking at boundaries all wrong.

When I say “ohmygod she has no boundaries”, I usually mean someone who will do totally inappropriate things.

But the truth is: I am the one with no boundaries.

I am the one with no way to say stop. I am the one who doesn’t know how to be strong and flexible enough to keep them out.

The fifth realization: boundaries are my job, not theirs.

So yes, they are expansionists.

But they have expanded and expanded into my space and my time and my energy because there wasn’t anything there to stop them.

It’s my job to establish boundaries that tell them where they can’t go.

And not through resentment but through love for myself and my space.

It’s my turn to know where my walls are. To establish my own force fields. To not be impressed by the Encroachers. To let them run into the place where their space stops and mine begins.

My mission is to learn about my boundaries and fill up my internal spaces.

To fill them up with me.

And to do this instead of being mad about how other people walk through boundaries they cannot see.

The sixth realization: It isn’t really about them though, is it?

Of course. I’ve learned this one before.

The pattern isn’t the piece of information. It’s your relationship to that piece of information.

In other words, the pattern at play is not “look at all the encroachers in my life”, though that’s certainly interesting.

The real pattern I’m learning about here is the one about how I connect to my sovereignty and my own power in relation to situations where these get challenged.

The seventh realization: I have options.

In fact, there are all sorts of things I already know how to do that can help me in this situation of not getting along with someone.

Option! I can play with the shadow.

Like Carolyn and I did with the hackers.

I can ask:

Is there some part of me that also encroaches? Do I share any characteristics at all with someone who has this need for expansion as a way to protect their boundaries.


Is there anything useful about being an encroacher? Is there something in this that I need that is missing from my life?

Another option. I can do the alignment exercise.

And find out what ten things I have in common with this woman.

Where are the meeting points? Where is the common, neutral ground? How are we connected?

More options. I can separate too.

Making separations between my stuff and her stuff, using the basics of destuckification.

I can separate between my pain and her pain, my stories and her stories, my experience and her experience.

Create some room to breathe.

A really good option! I can implement what I’ve learned from Hiro

About boundaries.

And establishing them.

And this brilliant bit of wisdom that she gave me:

The more you fill yourself with you and really take up your own space, the less work you have to do to “enforce” your boundaries.

Because those boundaries are just there. And they know how to do their job.

(If you’re curious about how to do this, I highly recommend that you sign up for Hiro’s Sovereignty Kindergarten course which is all about that.)

The eighth realization: this is about everything I’m already working on.

It’s about sovereignty and being the queen of my life.

It’s about trust and destuckifying and learning how to be patient.

It’s about bringing more of the pirate queen into daily interaction.

And it’s about detangling patterns.

So I really just need to stick with what I’m already doing.

To do five minutes of Dance of Shiva to find out what the next piece is. To write a Very Personal Ad and do some Old Turkish Lady yoga. To breathe and write and ask questions.

Everything else will show up when it needs to. And if it doesn’t, I can go back to the patterns and ask for help.

And comment zen for today.

Interacting with patterns can be really challenging. Stressful. And that sucks. I’m sorry.

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. People vary.

If me-working-through-my-stuff accidentally stepped on any of your stuff, that definitely wasn’t intentional.

My wish for you: to have as much space and safety as you need so you can take care of yourself in whatever way works for you.

The Fluent Self