11 May, 2016

Stillness and Being Okay

The past few days, I have been feeling less than energetic. My body has a way of slowing down and pausing.

Working with these cyclical pauses is a process.

For so long we are told to push and be productive. What happens when we pause? Are we still productive, are we still viable in that moment? Or are we overcome with laziness and boredom? What internal voices go off in your head when you are not performing and productive?

To be still within is a true gift. It is not a sign of laziness. It is a sign of quiet reflection and being in the moment. There are incubation periods, found in nature, when growth happens. If we don't allow our body this critical time, we rob ourselves of valuable treasures. Treasures only recovered after pause and stillness. To be at peace in the moment, whatever the moment may be, is a gift.

So the stillness has served me well, as I needed to reflect on what was swirling around me. The business of the day, the week, the month, the chaos of our relationships... all of it pushes us beyond our current capacity at times. The time to recharge the batteries and reflect is as precious as the time spent pushing and pulling our dreams into existence.

Be well with your rhythms, for they reflect the natural flow of life.

08 January, 2016

Traditions and Truth

Goodness can you feel it?  The weight of 2015 has lifted!  As a collective we have embarked on a new journey, a new energy, and a new year.  Before we get too caught up in making plans and setting our sites on renewal, it might be wise to clear the desk- so to speak, before you go piling on more stuff for 2016.

Clearing is also a good practice for emotional baggage and clutter.  We just celebrated a New Year, and most of us a winter holiday.  Holidays usually are spent with family and close friends, you know people who make you want to celebrate and enjoy yourself.  But what happens when spending time with family becomes more of a chore, a "should", a guilt trip?   All in the name of "tradition" we are bound by some unspoken command to show up?  This is my emotional clutter that needs addressing.  I believe there are some of you reading now also struggling with this very topic.

Traditions and family are tricky combinations.  What happens when older generations pass on, family members move away, hardship befalls on someone, the family grows through marriage and birth, or work commitments interfere?  It is hard to maintain the fabric that was.  After time the threads become worn and loose.  I dare say that what my family considers traditional, is not what our ancestors were doing 200 years ago or even 100 years ago.  There have been too many changes since, that have to be managed.  So how do we maintain honor our traditions in the face of such flux? 


What a great word!  Compromise helps us find a balance between opposition.  Throughout your ancestral lineage, there have been numerous compromises.  Change has a way to forcing us to move in different directions and we adapt.  Humans a flexible that way. 

This past Christmas, I along with my immediate family, were Facebook "shamed" for not attending the Christmas Eve "tradition" with our extended family.   This angered me greatly, as I read the comments and posts.  Mind you, I was lying on my back pumped up with pain meds, antibiotics and anti nausea pills dealing with a kidney stone too big to pass, irritated by a plastic stent inside my body to help alleviate pain while waiting for my New Year's Eve scheduled surgery.   First off, shaming a person in my condition was bad form.  Secondly?  What is a tradition anyway?

I find it helpful to review the definition when attempting to discuss something.  Merriam Webster so kindly helps us better understand what we are dealing with.   

Full Definition of tradition
  1. 1a :  an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)b :  a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
  2. 2 :  the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
  3. 3 :  cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
  4. 4 :  characteristic manner, method, or style tradition>
“At the holidays you want to create a feeling, an emotion, an atmosphere,” said Linda George, associate director of the Center for Study of Aging and Human Development at Duke University. “But it doesn’t mean you have to do things exactly the way they’ve been done in the past. It’s the feelings that are important, not the details that elicit those feelings.” 

Patterns, feelings, passed down ideas... I can deal with that.  

Growing up my family was able to maintain a traditional practice around the holidays, for a few simple reasons... there weren't many additions to the family for a decade, no one moved away, no one died, and my parents were willing to traipse their young family along while they ditched their own right to create a family tradition.  Instead they absorbed what was already in place and made us go along with it.  

Feast of the 7 Fish
Once other members got married and started having children, the family expanded and adjustments where made.  Over the years, I have seen the traditional menu change because someone didn't like what we made.  We changed the time on when we did things, due to cousins spouses demanding they leave earlier.  Witness to hijacking the festive mood and gift opening, because we couldn't locate a married spouse.  Experienced a no present Christmas due to the poor economy and bare resources.  Work and business commitments took precedent over family time and the schedule changed to accommodate a few people.    Silly things such as not being able to open presents until 2 am, because we had to wait for the procrastinators to wrap what they just bought at midnight.  I walked away from my father's family when I came face to face with childhood sexual abuse.  Family members moved out of state, so our celebrations were smaller.  Then I moved...Atltanta, Illinois, Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami... 

Change happens, there is literally nothing you can do about it.   What I learned through all of the experiences and moves... I was capable of sharing my traditions with my children and those around me.  I knew how to make the traditional meal items, I was certainly capable of passing on the stories and meaning behind it all.  For you see, not only did I grow up observant, but I took the idea of culture further than most in my family.  I have a double major in Italian culture and history from my undergrad, spent months studying in Italy, visited with my relatives still in Italy on more than one occasion and learned the language.  It takes more than a simple routine to embrace tradition, it takes a real desire to replicate the feeling involved.  

I believe we confuse routine with traditions often times.  Routine is the set time and day, schedule if you will.   My husband is a chef, he works most holidays and therefor we would move our Christmas celebration to a day and time when he was off.  Does this lesson our tradition or strengthen it as we found a way to carry on?  Tradition embodies so much more than a schedule.

And sometimes... the traditions we choose to follow are more out of necessity than anything cultural! There is a story, where a granddaughter asked her mother why they always cut off the bottom of the ham and not cook that part.   The mother tells her to ask grandma, she would know.  So the little girl asks her grandma why they cut off the bottom part and not cook it.  Grandmother defers once more to great grandma.  Finally the little girl asks her very old great grandmother why they always cut the bottom of the ham off before cooking the remaining part for their Christmas meal.  Great grandmother replied that she never had a pan big enough to fit the entire ham, so she made an adjustment due to the size of her pan.  Necessity will cause us to claim many things... not all of them are sacred traditions.   

In the end, I know I honor my cultural heritage quite well.  Passing on the meaning of traditions are important to me so my children are aware of why we do things.  Embracing my husband's Jewish traditions are as equally important.  However, I do not need to be tied to a certain day, or time table to make things happen, just because others are unwilling to be flexible.   

Lighting of the Menorah
As the oldest great grandchild of this family, and the only one for 6 years, I am quite aware of traditions and what they mean, how they play out and where they come from.  I also understand the value of everyone helping out and picking up where help is needed.  For the past 10 plus years I have witnessed older cousins not helping out with either food prep or clean up.  They come when dinner is ready, and don't leave their spot at the table.  Happily watching our grandmother lean over her sink while cleaning up for 20 plus people.  Now that my children are older, I have had them help clean up.  The idea that the generation today doesn't appreciate or help out dismays me.  This lack of gratitude and overall togetherness for who we are as a family has really hindered my ability to gather in the spirit of a joyful heart.  Certainly we gather out of obligation or some sort of Catholic guilt.  When these patterns emerged, my immediate family when into silent mode.  The mode you go to when family has lost its joy and you just deal with it for the sake of dealing with it.  God forbid we call someone out on their behavior and upset them.   

Silence is the result of ignoring bad family choices.  It is what happens when we do things out of shaming or guilt.  We don't want to cause a scene, so we just be quiet for the sake of... the older generation?  Pretty sure silence is a hindrance for truth and honesty.   

As I was lying flat dealing with the pain of my kidney stone too big to pass, it occurred to me, that maybe this wasn't a coincidence.  Stones are a by product of toxins growing because you are unable to release its flow.  Hmmmm... did this emotional clutter add to the growing stone inside my body?   

What I have come to learn is that being authentic is important to me.  Living a life according to "shoulds", is not one I am willing to live.   I will not be shamed, or made to feel guilty for creating a life that is authentic.  

Tradition is a feeling.  A feeling of togetherness and celebration for the moment at hand.  The hows and why are really up to you to fill in.  I am committed to do what I do with a warm heart and a clear head.  This is my truth, it may not be popular, but it is something I am able to preserve.


17 September, 2015

Finding Center...

10 years ago, the blogging world had caught my attention.  There were such brave people opening the hearts and homes through their sharing.  Some blogs admittedly were better to read than others and soon I had a large blog roll to read on a daily basis.  After a while I jumped in and started my own blog.  I was a momma, maker and muse meandering my way through life.

The blog tackled all sorts of topics, from my mid 30 yr old perspective.  It was fun, engaging and cathartic for me to find a new way to journal which was brave.  It allowed me to vent, share and explore themes.  It was fun.  Then came Facebook.

Facebook was a necessary evil at first.  It provided an easy way to connect with like minded people far flung across the globe.  I started to get sucked in, private groups opened up to me, pages to follow, people to interact with.. what a rush!   The excitement rose when you were able to meet these new people face to face.  Then the shadows came...

Some of these people where rather perplexing.  They were not all what you saw online, but there was more they kept hidden from the FB newfeed.  You started to see your behavior in the eyes of others opinions.  There were secrets revealed that left you thinking... what on earth have I gotten myself into?

My FB reform started when it all became too much.  I unliked pages that were just too harsh for my morning newsfeed...  you know the ones that were angry all the time, the ones that conjured up negative or angry feelings in me.  I unfriended people who never commented or interacted online with me.  What did I owe them anyway?  If I wasn't sure of the person, I would unfollow them but not unfriend.  This way I was being polite but not seeing their angry or distasteful posts that were not in alignment with my growth and sensitivities.  I even carved out a safe space with a select few to share a private group for topics of exploring our spiritual growth and support.

It was working!   Woohoo!   I found a place where facebook was now my good news network. It was the place I was able to come and read up on meaningful meme's and share tidbits of wisdom.  I thought I found a new way of enjoying the social media scene.  (Of course Pinterest was a newbie of such beautiful distraction... but let's save that for another day, shall we)?

Spiritual Growth... what an ominous topic.  What does it mean?  For you, it may mean calming a destructive habit, increasing prayer or meditation.   It may be the more walks in the woods, more kind deeds, more donations, more centering the self more... or less.

Finding Center....
For me it equals less of what takes me away from spirit and more of what connects me to spirit.  Facebook was more of connecting me to spirit at a time.  Now it is more of what takes me away from spirit.  It is a distraction, a tempting candy coated distraction.  It alludes to real friendships and real connection.  It pretends to offer a feeling of being needed.  You know what?  I had real friendships before FB.  I was needed and I never suffered from self love, doubt or confidence.  I was a pretty strong person grounded.  Why was this FB challenging me so?  Self discipline.

Striking a balance between what is necessary, needed, wanted, desired, and loved.  This is my new path.  BALANCE.   I am a person who likes to dive deep, I am not a surface swimmer.  So if I am able to connect deeply, I am there.  I dive in, connect and then rise to breath... before diving deep again.  I am not afraid of what is on the bottom.  I like the darkness.  What I don't care for is the frivolous splashing around on the surface.  I am finding FB to be a lot of splashing around.  Lighthearted playtime with random connections.

Maybe it is the weather here in the Northern Hemisphere, but I am feeling a need to go within.  There is sense of harvest and gathering.  I am calling myself home.  Time to claim those pieces of myself that where given too freely.

This is not just directed at the FB platform, but to all aspects of my life.  I am calling in my debts, I am calling in my energy with family, friends, coworkers.  It is time to come home and sit by the hearth.  I need to know that I am whole.  The lending library for my attention and energy is in need of cleaning and restoration.  It is time.

You are more than welcome to comment or share.  But just being here to witness me on this path is blessing enough. 

24 June, 2013

Act of Complaining

ARGH! We all have been there right? We complain about the weather, the time wasted on customer service calls, the myriad of reasons why we weren't able to do something... or how something was done to us! Complaining, why do we do it, what purpose does it serve, how are we caught in the complaining cycle and how do we get out?
Today, I was reading from another author how he was tired of listening to perputual complainers, those who complain about everything.  I thought for a minute or two, about how I complain and what purpose it served in my life.  What I discovered is that I have gone through periods of high complaining tapering off to minimal complaining.  
Certainly, when we are challenged and tested, the environment is ripe to be on "high complaint mode".  There are things that may not work out as we had planned, people who seem to frustrate the process further, outside circumstances which force us to rethink, start over etc.  When our expecatations are high, these set backs have a way of derailing our focus.  The "high complaint mode" is ready to kick in, it seems.  At least for me, I know this is true.  Our ego looks for excuses and others to blame so it feels better about not having met the expectation. 
However, there is another instance when the "high complaint mode" is primed up for expression.   Think about the people you surround yourself with or follow.  (With social media today, we participate in  many agendas with a simple 'share' or 'like' contributing to the overall proliferation of the message).   Ask yourself these questions, do the people you engage with complain frequently, do they support your complaining with affirmations of further negativity?  Are you a supporter of another perpetual complainer, by way to agreeing, offering more acknowledgment and adding to a spiral of energy set forth?
I admit freely here, that I have been a perpetual complainer for years.  In hindsight, I see these were periods of time I was in a very negative rut.  Either I was in a depression or I surrounded myself with people who supported this "everyone is out to get me attitude".  It is hard to even realize you are in this pattern when those around you are doing the very same thing!
There is a popular saying insinuating the idea that you need to be careful of the people you surround yourself with, as they will affect your reputation etc.  (I believe the saying has something to do with stepping in shit and smelling like it  icon of steaming turd ).  For me, this idea has proven itself many times.  The periods of my life when I was more confident where the happier times and the people around me where also happy.  Those other periods where I was down in the depths of negativity, it seemed those around me were fewer and also ready to add fuel to an already out of control fire.  
Why do we do it?  It can "feel" good to release some steam.  We see other's doing it and want to belong and feel the pressure to chime in.  
What purpose does it serve?  The release valve, the moment of exhalation and sometimes just getting out the thoughts help.  If we turn the act of complaining into a way to see the problem in a different way, as a challenge, we might find the solution.  We just need to open up to a different viewpoint.  
How did I get out?  I moved.  Simple right?  Well the move itself was a bit stressful, but I moved miles away out of my patterns and out of my comfort zone.  This move helped me start over, I meet new people and found their happier attitudes lifted me up.  I started to incorporate ideas that I had stored away for later, when it was time to start living my life again.  I did the work; I bucked up and made healthier choices.  I scrutinized the books, the movie, the TV, the conversations, the people I allowed in... and if they were no longer helpful, I moved on.  I started to taste sweetness and I didn't want to let go of this new sensation.  
Of course there are many tenants of keeping balance and even allowing bitterness, saltiness, sour etc. into our taste profiles.  All in good measure and proper perspective these blend well and create a healthy balance.  It is the perpetual aspect of complaining and negativity that is not healthy, which I have focused on here.  
The next time you recognize a "high complainer" or see yourself slipping into a pattern, stop for a moment and see what opportunity has been placed before you.  There is always something to discover about ourselves in self reflection.   This is how we grow, learn and develop our authentic selves. 


25 April, 2013

Exit or Not?

The journey of life could be summed up as a long road trip.  There is the start, the path and the destination.  Along the way, we encounter pit stops; gas, toilet breaks, scenic views, grumbly bellies, rest etc.  We may even experience a delay because of traffic, construction or bad weather.   There are detours, the excursions we were not planning on which lead down a different road for a stretch of time.   Eventually we return to the path, resetting the course and are on our way.  

http://aroundtheplate.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/travel.jpgWhen you start the journey, you have an idea of where you would like to end up, as with all road trips.   Some people are very well planned out with ETA and AAA maps.   Others are more lax and allow the road to determine their destination.  Either way, there is a direction, a sense of exploration for the open road.  

How you choose to embark on this journey is all you.   The feelings of excitement, adventure, or dread and exhaustion.   I know I have experienced all of the above, to include the detours, bumps in the road, scenic views, weather delays and the necessary potty break!  
Now that we understand the idea of a road trip, let's talk about all those exits.  On your road trip, do you find it necessary to leave the highway at every exit?   I think the resounding answer would be, "No, why would I do that?"   Let's examine what an exit represents.  It represents a choice.  You have the choice to exit the highway at certain increments along the highway, or continue on your journey.   As we stated already, some choices are necessary, as in gas, food, rest etc.  The question is, how often are these choices needed and do you need to take part in every choice?  

If we stopped to consider some choices throughout our day, would you alter the choice in light of taking an exit, necessary or unnecessary?   Below is a list of choices,

Turn on the TV 
Watch the News
Engage in hurtful conversation
Pause and take a deep breath
Embrace a loved one
Exchange questionable jokes
Eat chemical laden foods
Speak Kindly
Allow the multitude of media outlets into your home
Watch negativity, either via the media, or in others
Plant wildflowers

My philosophy has changed over the years.  In the early 20's I engaged in it all, it would seem.  I was sorting out who I was and trying this and that.   Over time, I realized sharing an offensive joke perpetuated the energy of the joke and the hurt lingered.   If I kept quiet when the joke was being told... I still allowed the energy to continue.  It wasn't until I spoke out against the joke did I learn the energy stopped there for me.  I made a boundary, one based on what I felt inside was right for me.  (I was listening to my heart intelligence).

The same could be applied to any of the choices above.  Each choice constitutes an exit of where I was going to spend time.  I could exit and plant wildflowers to make the highway more alive for fellow passengers, or I could exit and allow the news outlets to suck up my time, before I continued my journey.   

Of course the choices are not always so clean cut and we tend to loose sight of the destination while watching others along their path.  I believe that term is called rubber necking, while driving.  There could be a line of cars piled up waiting to exit and the sense might be to exit a well, because we don't now what lies ahead.  Sometimes it is hard to determine what is right for your journey and what is not.  Which road or path will offer the best choices for you to consider?   

Pink-hearts_largeRecently, I have embarked on a love journey.  Sounds all flowery and pink hearts, now doesn't it?  Well it hasn't been.   What I thought would be easy, had proved more difficult on some days.  I have been challenged on this love journey and questioned as to why I wasn't taking certain exits.  How could I ignore the TV news, or other media outlets?  If I didn't allow the negative in, then how grounded was I?   

Truth is, I have never been one to watch or read the news.  Growing up, it wasn't a factor for my parents and I just didn't pick up the habit.   As an adult, I tried to be more "informed" and watch the news; stay "on top" of world events.   But this left me feeling hopeless and depressed, drained and tired.   Why was I taking this exit?   Just because the idea of being informed is one who is intelligent?   Just because others said I needed to, in order to be aware of current events?  Or how on earth would I know if the world was going to end?   (All questions that have been posed to me).

Honestly, I would rather not know the world was going to end.   I could think of a million other reasons to avoid the news of doom and gloom like playing a game with my children, reading a book, lounging on the deck, feeling the sun, tending to the garden, baking bread, knitting, talking with a friend, taking a bath, swimming, listening to music and the list goes on and on.  

This is not to say, I lack compassion for those who experience horrific things...  I have great compassion for the world's hurt, abused and ignored.  What I object to, is the proliferation of spreading certain negative messages.   I object to not giving the full story, inducing fear before providing facts.   Why are only certain stories put out and others completely ignored?   Is there a rating for tragedy... "wasn't harsh enough" or "too harsh" or "not the right people" being hurt?   Bad things happen every day, all over the world in far places and places close to home.  

There ARE other stories, those filled with hope, love, compassion, joy, and celebration.  I haven't found a media outlet which promotes these as much as I would like.  I certainly don't see enough of these images floating across our big screen TVs.  

Again, we have a choice - take this exit, that exit or keep driving.  My choice is clear, keep driving and appreciate the wildflowers another passenger has planted for me to see.  If I am going to exit, I will do so where I know a clean toilet will be waiting for me.   (Because goodness knows we have experienced the really nasty toilet, overflowing with filth and stench).   Having had to use such a facility, I vowed to always be more mindful of my exits and choose them wisely!  I also vowed to notice the beauty along the path, because as the destination is important, the journey is engaging and full of opportunities for growth and realization about my true nature.  

In the end, it is up to you to decide.  It might be good to seek council, from a fellow traveler who has already been on the stretch of road ahead, but always rely on what your heart intelligence is telling you.  Only you can decide.    Happy Travels Everyone! 

07 March, 2013



Time to reset, time to clean out, time to tune up. 

Have you ever been to the place where your body just starts to slow down?  It is as if you trying to push a car up a steep hill, with all your belongings inside.  This is where I am.

For weeks since the New Year, I have been on a strange roller coaster of activity.  There has been plans, events, weather conditions, people coming and going, "friends" falling away and friends coming closer.  I have started some new projects, maintained some old ones while contemplating effectiveness and sustainability along the way. 

But what has happened, is that I was slowly, giving into many comforts along the way.  Purging on TV shows recorded to the DVR, or gorging on entire series off of Netflix.  I was enjoying too many desserts along with my late night TV viewing.  Due to this purging and gorging, I had to compress much needed activities into small bursts of time just to keep up. 

The body I learned isn't very happy with this sort of tug and pull, slow and fast motion for a sustained period of time.  It prefers more of a gentle ebb and flow to create its rhythm.   One could guess how my clothes fit after all those desserts.... and my energy levels are a bit stretched out. 

I came across a book over a decade ago...If the Buddha Came to Dinner... it is about a cleansing program, which puts you in control of your food intake, supplements and activities aimed at cleaning up your life and resetting it for optimal output.  I have taken the cleanse seriously twice a year.  I feel the body becoming sluggish and realize I have induldged a little too much and almost always, my life has also become clogged. 

Cleansing isn't a diet, or new age gimmick aimed at losing weight... it is a long held practice aimed at returning to your body, returning to your life and finding the pure connections once more.  I come from a line of cleansers.  My great grandfather would literally fast for days at a time.  He would atone in his own way.  It was always spiritual, mental and physical.  

Today, I woke up; my body was screaming for attention, my mind was clogged with backed up tasks and my spirit was aching to fly.   It was time.  No more empty intentions to cleanse, time for action!

freshIf you wish to follow along, you are more than welcome to check out the book,  If the Buddha Came to Dinner.  I will be following a 3 week regime broken up into 1 week increments.   During the entire cleanse, there is no alcohol, dairy, caffeine or sweeteners.
Each day you ingest fiber morning and night along with a pro-biotic.  You drink 8 glasses of pure water, and 3 cups of an herbal tea with 30 drops of Dandelion Root Tincture in it. 

Week One, eat only fruits and vegetables keeping in mind to limit starchy veggies to once a day. 

Week Two add seeds, nuts and grains.  Again, never mixing grains with starchy veggies.

Week Three add lean proteins, fish, eggs, beans.  Keeping in mind to separate your grains and proteins. 

During the entire cleanse, you are asked to clean up your phyiscal surroundings, spring clean if you will.  This is an excellent time to start a journal, meditation practice, prayer circle, self help class, or take up a hobby that allows you some spiritual release time while creating and let your spirit shine. 

Today is day one for me.  The toughest part is the first week... here I go! 

11 January, 2013

Pruning, Time for New Growth

The phrase "Pruning your Social Garden" was presented to me this past week.  It struck me as such a clever way to allow plants to grow strong and be shaped as you see them.  That is the idea of pruning, now isn't it?

Apply the act of pruning to that of discernment, setting boundaries, intentions and good judgment.   You could even liken it to weeding a garden.  When you set about to grow tomatoes, as that is your intention, when a non fruit baring green thing comes in the garden bed, do you pull it? Why?  In this moment you have passed judgment. This green thing is not a tomato plant and will take vital nutrients out of the soil deprivening the tomato plant.  It may even choke out the tomato plant itself.   

How do we apply this lesson to our social lives?  When someone is choking you out, or sucking up the life force out of you, do you allow it?  Are you passive when it comes to your social life, because you fear being mean, judgmental or just don't have the energy to do something about it?  By allowing this element or behavior to cloud your inner space, you run the risk of manifesting more of the same.. that which is not conducive to your growth and development.

Having the courage to stand up for your needs is the inner journey, now isn't it?   Judgments and discernments about what is or isn't healthful to our lives isn't a bad thing.  It is quite healthy, it is called setting a boundary in many therapy circles and practices.  It isn't about labeling the other person, or name calling or blaming... it is about standing up for what is in your best and highest good for optimum health.  Simply put, you are identifying  an energy pattern which does not support your personal growth.

Recently, I have been under attack for doing this very thing, setting boundaries.  It was insinuated, I was too judgmental and this sort of judgment was an offense equal to horrible sins.  Point of clarification is needed here, because I do not judge the person, I observe the action in question and discern if this is something I wish to have in my energy field.  Does this action support my growth, will it take me to a place that I have already healed from?  It is necessary for my growth and development to experience this sort of energy?

When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I took the time to write up a letter.  This letter contained our boundaries.  There were family members who had questionable behavior.  This letter outlined our position on racism, discrimination, drugs, alcohol, unsolicited parenting advice to gift giving.  We didn't say these people where horrible and should repent for their sins... we did state a boundary.  "If we are in your presence, please refrain from these activities.  You are free to do whatever on your own time and in your own space.  But when you are in our space, please respect these decisions".... or something very similar is what we wrote.  It was received well and honestly, it was one of the best choices we made as new parents.  We stood up for our beliefs and let everyone close to us know what we were willing to deal with and what we were not.

If one can respect a boundary of another, then there is much to share in the continued relationship.  But if respecting my boundaries are too much for another person, then we part ways.  This is also to say if I am unwilling to respect a boundary of another.. then maybe I am not in their best interest either.  What motivates another when boundaries are not respected?

Identifying healthy behaviors and discerning harmful actions is called boundary setting.  It is not judgment; this person is good this person is bad etc.  It is the simple act of acknowledging what makes sense in your life.  The only person to know what is acceptable for your life is you.  No one else could or should tell you what is right for you.

pruningBack to pruning?  Well if you do set the boundary and it is not respected or you are being told your discernment process for boundary setting is judgmental, then by all means time to prune.  For this sort of negativity is not about you, but something else beyond your control.   In this moment, the growth of your life is being shaped by something else... not you.  As the gardener, you are the one responsible for healthy plant growth.  When you prune you allow for new growth by cutting back the old growth.  Much like your life, you are responsible for the direction of your path, your health and how you continue to grow.  Who is in your life will impact this direction.  Who respects your path and who is a detour, taking you away from your life?  Who is respecting your boundaries?  Is it time to do some pruning?