Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Wisdom of Forgiveness

We forgive, if we are wise, not for the other person, but for ourselves. We forgive, not to erase a wrong, but to relieve the residue of the wrong that is alive within us. We forgive because it is less painful than holding on to resentment. We forgive because without it we condemn ourselves to repeating endlessly the very trauma or situation that hurt us. We forgive because ultimately it is the smartest action to take on our own behalf. We forgive because it restores us to a sense of inner balance.

I have the wisdom to forgive for my own peace of mind.

Boundaries in Intimate Relationships

What do we mean when we say we need to set boundaries in a relationship?

Boundaries are like putting a fence around our house. They define what’s ours. Boundaries provide a sense of self, safety/protection, help us understand expectations, and maintain our own identity. Boundaries are setting limits, determining rules we’re both willing to abide by and acknowledging our differences.

Love involves an extension of one’s limits/boundaries. The closer we get to someone, the more blurred the distinction is between us.

We all have the need to belong, so we sometimes let our boundaries slip before we’re ready to in order to feel that connectedness to another.

But we must possess something before we can give it up – so we must set boundaries for self-identity before we can open ourselves up to an intimate relationship. But we need to maintain that sense of our own individuality throughout the relationship! The concept the media often presents of “you complete me” is not healthy. A healthy relationship is when two whole people come together because they WANT to be there, not because they need the other to feel whole.

I like to think of our boundaries as a clear shield with a zipper. When we feel safe and respected we can unzip it some to allow the other to come a little closer. When we don’t feel safe, we can zip it to protect ourselves.

Sometimes someone else ignores or even crosses our boundaries. That’s abuse. It means they’re taking control – but that can only happen if we allow it. We can be in control of our own safety and identity by being aware of the situations and relationships we enter.

So the moral of this story is: Protect yourself. Be in charge of your own zipper! 🙂

Allow the Goodness

Whatever you allow to hold you back will hold you back. Whatever you allow to push you forward will push you forward.

There are many factors, circumstances and influences that will flow through your life. Whether each one is a liability or an asset is, for the most part, up to you.

Great disappointments and tragedies can arise out of seemingly perfect situations. And magnificent achievements can come from desperate, seemingly hopeless conditions.

What matters most is not the nature of your situation. What matters most is what you take from it and what you do with it.

Even in places and pursuits where others may have failed, you have the opportunity to succeed. Even those factors that may have held others back can be your motivation to move forward.

Many things may seem inevitable, and yet most things are really not. No matter what life may send your way, choose to use it in a positive, productive and valuable manner.

Allow the goodness, the abundance, the joy, and they will be.

-Ralph Marston

Faith

While I am not a Christian Counselor, I do enjoy helping those clients who wish to explore their belief system around their sense of spirituality when they wish to do so. I study all perspectives on faith and belief, and it fascinates me that when you get past all the rules and doctrines, they all say pretty much the same thing.

Here are a few excerpts from Marrianne WIlliamson’s book THE AGE OF MIRACLES where she discusses the need for faith as we age. Just one perspective to consider:

Unless you have contact with a Higher Power, the lower ones can really do you in. And once you’ve gotten old enough, you’re not too proud to ask for help.

I’m amused when I hear someone say that faith is just a crutch. I figure if your leg is broken, then it would be nice to have that crutch. And you only use it until you’re ready to get back on your own two feet.

Relying on God doesn’t mean you’re relying on something outside yourself. It means that you’re relying on the truth of all things – a Higher Power, whose throne is not “out there somewhere”, but inside your heart. You’re relying on the power of compassion and non-judgment. You’re relying on objective, discernible laws of the Universe. Faith that love produces miracles is no different from the faith that gravity makes things fall.
. . . .
My soul has been thrown against so many rocky cliffs. And I finally realized I was the wind. Who else but God could calm the tempest in my soul. And I have a feeling, having been calm for certain moments, and certain hours, and certain days, that what happens when I achieve that state is not just useful to me, but to him as well.

-Marianne Williamson in The Age of Miracles

Healing Society

Today, I will light one candle, and that candle is myself. I will keep my own flame burning. I turn my sight to light and love and goodness. For today, there is no need to be discouraged. So what if I see and identify all the ills of society and diagnose it as sick — what good will that do me or anyone else? I heal society by healing myself. Just as life is lived one day at a time, the world will heal one person at a time. Each time I think a positive, loving thought, it goes into the ether and vibrates. This is nothing particularly mystical; I have but to sit near someone and look at her face to feel how her thoughts affect me. I take ownership of my own inner workings and their effect on myself and others.

I do my part to heal the world.