‘Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t – you’re right.’ (Henry Ford). The ability to achieve, succeed, live a life of significance or a life of failure and mediocrity is set either by self imposed boundaries or the boundaries set by those in authority over us.
There is no doubt as to the importance of boundaries, as they pertain to mutual human respect. However, boundaries that deny the rights of the individual within the framework of civilization are detrimental to growth and development, learning and living.
Such physical boundaries were set up by the authorities to keep indigenous people ‘out’. For those of you unfamiliar to Brisbane there is a Boundary Street which marked the limits of Brisbane Town. It sought to exclude Aboriginal people from the ‘civilized area’ within that boundary. These people had been able to move freely around settlements prior to 1855 after which ‘Blacks were prohibited from venturing inside Boundary Street after 4pm everyday and on weekends’. (Ray Kerkow, quoting H. C. Perry, Memoirs of the Hon. Sir Robert Philp, 1923). This restriction was to prevent night raids on homes by Aboriginal people and keep their ceremonial activity out of the view of settlers. The curfew administered by the police prevented indigenous people from enacting their rights – living in the ways of their ancestors on land that was historically theirs. This enforced boundary was ‘…the line, the limit, where the dark-skinned were told – DO NOT CROSS, a fence raised to protect the colonial domiciles of angels and gadflies…, a boundary denying the junkyard dingo the treasures of the city. (Samuel Wagan Watson, ‘Smoke Encrypted Whispers’, 2004)
It is all different today, but the name remains as a constant reminder of authority imposed boundaries – and also as a warning for those of us who set self limiting boundaries and live within them, tolerating that which we are not prepared to change. Remaining within these self imposed boundaries, confined to a life destined to dwell at the crash site of adversity rather than the freedom of victory.
‘Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasures.’ (Ed Cole, 1922 – 2002, Preacher)