I was sitting in the jury room of all places, wondering what I would do with my time, how long this would take, and when I would be free of this obligation. I hadn’t had this experience before, sitting in a room wondering when or if I would be called. Sitting with time on my hands, a book at my side, a computer to write stories with if I so chose. And then it reminded me of boundaries, of creating space, of the need for such in our lives. I could sit and read, and I know it would be enjoyable for me, and here I had the time and space to do so. If I wasn’t within these bounds, I’d probably distract myself with a hundred other things, and the book wouldn’t be read. I’ve been wanting to write for some time, but again, I never seem to get to it. Today I have the space within these boundaries to do so.
We talk boundaries often in my line of work. Boundaries to create lives with less havoc, boundaries to keep life at home peaceful, boundaries to avoid hurt. But what I often realize, is that we forget to use boundaries to our advantage for all sorts of other purposes. If I make a date with my wife, and stick to the that, I have created a boundary and space to enjoy our companionship, to talk and connect, to nurture our relationship. If I go into my son’s room, close the door, and play games and such for an hour, I offer he and I wonderful opportunities to connect, relate, and truly honor our unique relationship. But to do so, I need to create a boundary. I choose to be in this room, at this time, fully present, rather than popping in and out, checking the cell phone, thinking about other things. I create a boundary that will allow me to reach my goal, which in this moment is to bond, relate, and share.
Boundaries, not only used to avoid the challenges of life, but used to create all that is good in life, are really wonderful and powerful tools. I can choose to create a boundary in my home, one that says it’s important to be respectful to each person. As an individual, I can work to stick to that. As a father, I can work to ensure that my children stick to it as well. If I keep my eye on this boundary, and the merits of its prize, life at home will be happier, healthier, and more loving. I can choose to create a boundary in my life, to create a space to ensure lifelong stories with my son, and in so doing I will set aside time to play. In sticking with this, he will have stories to share with his child, and perhaps he will create space to share with his child in much the same way.
I can use a boundary to accomplish what I have so long wished to accomplish. I can create time and space, schedule that in to my week, not allow it to be impinged on, and in so doing, perhaps one of the books will finally be written.
I can work with a child, a family, and individual each week. In utilizing the boundaries within the walls of my office, within the confidentiality and space of the relationship, within the structure of consistently meeting, we can work towards their goals. For the child and family struggling with behavioral issues, we can create structure and boundaries around some of the behaviors, create scorecards and plans to reinforce movement towards improved behaviors and away from negative ones. For the individual struggling with one of life’s many hardships, the boundary that provides for our regular talks and the one that ensures the privacy, together these allow for a healing space to develop. A place for one to grow, share, and talk in new ways. A place for someone to move through their lives in new ways, hopefully more meaningful, with more enjoyment.
Boundaries are wonderful. They are giving. They are healthy. They are essential. Boundaries provide room to grow. They provide opportunities for connection, relationship, and sharing.
The new year is approaching. It’s a time to reflect, and a time to look ahead. How will we use boundaries in the year ahead? Will we use them to move away from negativity and hurt? Will we use them to create space for love and nurturance? Will we use them to accomplish things, or will we overlook their importance and get caught up in all of those things that distract? Pay attention to how you use boundaries in your life. They can be a pretty incredible resource.
May your new year be one of promise, growth, and health. May you find good amongst the bad, love amongst the hurt, peace amongst the stress. May you create stories, nurture your relationships, and share with those you love. May you get the most out of life…………..
Happy and a healthy new year…..
Dr. Randy 12/31/2009