I had the privilege of interviewing award-winning author and Wholistic Sexuality teacher Sheri Winston on the Beyond Bitchy Podcast last week. The topic was Yes, No & Maybe: Sexual Boundaries for Women. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the episode, you can tune in here.
Sheri and I discovered after we connected several months ago that each of us—independently of one another—had created a multi-step process for boundary setting. What are the chances? As one of my clients put it, “the two of you are boundaries nerds!”
Sheri’s Beautiful Boundaries process is a body-centered, spiritual practice with four key steps.
According to Sheri, ideal boundaries are:
- Elastic (Flexible & Stretchable)
- Grow as we do
The principles of boundaries include our right and responsibility to protect ourself, being accountable for our behavior, and understanding that learning about boundaries is on ongoing process.
The skills of Beautiful Boundaries include:
- Authentic Communication
Here is an overview of the 4 steps of The Sacred Boundaries Process:
Be Your Goddess/God—Know Yourself Divinely
To know yourself divinely, Sheri suggests that when you need more information about your boundaries you check in with your 7 energy centers (sometimes referred to as chakras), starting from the base of your spine and going all the way to the top of your head.
Each energy center listed includes a brief description of what type information you can expect when you check in with that particular center:
- Root: Survival and security
- Sex: Survival of the species
- Solar Plexus: Personal power
- Heart: Love
- Throat: Communication and authentic expression
- Third Eye: Intellect
- Crown: Spiritual connection with Divine energy
Be a Teacher
Being a teacher means that your “job is to communicate your beautiful boundaries, clearly, honestly, congruently, and responsibly.”
In order to do this, you have to know yourself (Step 1), and if you’re not clear, Sheri suggests you go back to Step 1 and check in with each of your 7 energy centers.
I love that in Step 2 Sheri emphasizes the fact that when you share your boundaries with someone who respects you, they want to know and respect your boundaries. When the other person honors your boundaries, it builds trust between the two of you.
On the other hand, when someone is not interested in, or doesn’t respect your boundaries, that is very good information to have in order to determine how you may need to protect yourself or how/whether you want to proceed with the other person emotionally, physically, or sexually.
Be Your Guardian/Gatekeeper
The metaphor Sheri uses to describe your Guardian or your Gatekeeper, is a temple door.
Imagine that when you are setting boundaries with another person, they are standing at the door of your temple. If you are in your Guardian—the part of you who protects and says “no”—you are able to clearly say “no” when you need and want to, without apologizing or explaining yourself to the other.
The Gatekeeper is the part of you who is clear about her “yes.” She opens the temple door and says, “Welcome!”
Be Your Warrior or Your Lover
Similar to the Guardian, the Warrior protects you. Sheri describes the Warrior this way:
When someone trespasses in your sacred garden, tramples your temple, and would defile your sacredness, the warrior kicks their ass!!!
We all need the Warrior from time to time.
On the other hand, the Lover welcomes the other person into her temple “as the manifestation of the Divine.”
When we have Beautiful Boundaries
we have infinite freedom to play and explore within them!
Find out more about Sheri and her work on her website here and download the complete Beautiful Boundaries process here. (Excerpts from Sheri Winston’s Beautiful Boundaries reprinted here with permission by the author.)
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© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2018)