Ep. 211: Navigating Our Edges

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Have you ever been asked something like, “What’s your edge?” and wondered, “WTF does that even mean?” 


In a general sense, “edges” represent the threshold between our familiar, comfortable existence and the unknown territory beyond, where we have the opportunity to grow, awaken, and connect with the deeper truths of our existence. 


Edges are often where we find within ourselves a wider perspective than we had before. 


One time I had a client describe an encounter with their edge – and it’s an edge that many people experience in altered states, so I think it’s a good example to share here. 


It was the edge of surrender. 


I can’t even tell you how many people tell me, “Oh, I can’t try that entheogen or breathwork or [plug in altered states here]…I’m too much of a control freak.” 


So surrendering is a big edge. After all, it seems most of us have spent the majority of our lives up until this point creating increasingly effective strategies for not surrendering.  


We are trying to master protecting, not surrendering (and the vulnerability that accompanies it). 


But as you might know – or at least have read – an important part of any altered states experience is the willingness to surrender and be open to whatever arises.  


This is exactly what my client experienced. She reached a choice point while in a place of fear and anxiety due to a past difficult experience, but she had done adequate preparation and resourcing ahead of time so that despite those challenging feelings, she chose to surrender. 


I tell the story in more detail on the podcast, but the short version is she was rewarded with more joy and freedom than she could have ever imagined up to that point. She also gained deep insights that continue to guide her to this day, even years, later. 


By staying with our edges and not numbing out or dissociating from them, we can experience a profound transformation.  


So instead of seeing edges as some kind of obstacle to be overcome, they can actually be gateways to our liberation. Edges open us up to new possibilities and ways of being in the world. 


Approaching our edge often gives us a wider perspective than we had before, like when you’re walking away from a bright light towards the edge of the light, towards the darkness. As you get to the edge of that circle of light, your eyes adjust, and you’re able to see more beyond the light than you were at the center, when you were closer to the light. 


Other ways our edges show up are in moments of vulnerability, when we’re feeling exposed and uncertain. These moments can arise during times of deep suffering, change, loss, or having to face some difficult truths about ourselves. 


Another edge that we might experience every day is slowing down. I see this when I take people on Forest Therapy walks, or on mindfulness meditation retreats. When we’re more focused on BEING instead of DOING, we might feel anxious to get to the “next thing,” not realizing that what we are doing in each moment IS the thing. 


So how do we navigate these edges whenever we come across them? I talk about a lot of practices in the full episode, but here are a few of my faves: 


First, we can embrace discomfort and confront our fear instead of running away from it or buffering it away. When we stay present with discomfort, we learn more about ourselves and develop ziji, too. As we do this, we can also practice staying with these feelings and observing them without judgment. 


Another important practice is cultivating compassion. We can be so hard on ourselves when we feel big emotions at our edge, like anger, fear, or sadness. When we cultivate compassion for ourselves – and others, we’re better able to stay and harvest the gifts waiting for us beyond our edges. 


As you can imagine, mindfulness is also essential at our edges because being fully present 

helps us to perceive reality more accurately instead of the crazy story we might be making up in our head. We have more clarity, more equanimity to make decisions, gain insight, and learn. 


Sometimes it does help – or even requires, in some cases – to have guidance and support. This can come from mentors, spiritual teachers, guides, or supportive communities who understand the processes of this kind of soul work. 


At the end of it all, when it comes to the practice of working our edges by living with openness and curiosity, the harvest is sweet, and we are better able to foster deep personal growth and transformation. 


You will learn: 


// What an “edge” is and the places in our lives it could show up 

// Why it’s important to lean into the discomfort of edges instead of buffering or numbing 

// How to change our perspective of edges to allow for more freedom and growth 

// Tools to navigate our edges when we come across them – and the discomfort that’s usually there 



// Episode 12: How to Expand Your Comfort Zone 


// Episode 199: What is Liminality? The Space Between Transitions 


// When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön 


// I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a review on the Rebel Buddhist Podcast on iTunes by clicking here   


// If you want to dive deeper into this Soul-level work and create a life of more freedom, adventure and purpose, head over to JoinFreedomSchool.com. It’s got everything you need in one place to build a foundation for a lifetime of self-exploration and freedom.  


// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist private group, and tune in every Wednesday as I go live with new inspiration and topics.