A lovely bright sunny morning brings us to the Island of the Cat…one of my favourite animals, being mother to two very funny, loving and affectionate cats although very different from each other. I think all animals are therapeutic in their own way but cats are especially so. also, they have got Mindfulness down to a fine art – they absolutely live in each moment perfectly (or is that purrrfectly). If they’re sleeping then they’re sleeping, if they’re stalking then that’s what they’re doing, if they’re eating they are thoroughly absorbed in that…cats are a really good example of mindfulness. anyway, what about today’s card? Here’s what the book says:
The rules of Otherworldly hospitality entail respect for people and property found therein. Because we may be in unusual situations does not mean we can act discourteously.
Caution is needed, respect, stasis, entrapment, restlessness and dissatisfaction, impulsiveness, theft, appropriation of other’s things or resources, honour, integrity.
Have you violated the rules of society by your actions? Your thoughtless actions affect others and sometimes hurt them. find out what the boundaries are in this situation and abide by them.
It’s so easy to step across the boundaries isn’t it, and I bet we all do it from time to time in an unconscious fashion. However, it is important for self-evolution to bring the unconscious to consciousness. I know that my thoughtless actions have affected others and still do at times. When I think, act and speak from an unconscious level I overstep the mark and blunder about stepping on toes and making a mess of things, which not only hurts me but hurts others too. That’s where Mindfulness comes in – mindfulness is not only about sitting in meditation but is about actively being mindful in every moment whatever we are doing. It’s about entering into each present moment with awareness. If we are truly mindful we will be aware of what we are thinking, speaking or doing. This does not mean we never get angry or frustrated or sad or any of the other normal human emotions but it means we are consciously aware of them. When we are consciously aware we do not need to step over the boundaries and we can manifest respect and integrity in any situation. It means we can express our emotions in an appropriate way rather than allow them to rule us. Of course mindfulness takes practise but it is one that is very well worth doing. It is the difference between getting on with those around us or living in a maelstrom of hurt feelings and anger. I know which I’d rather have.
Of course boundaries are really important for humans. Even in the natural world there are boundaries. We tend to think wild nature has no boundaries but it definitely has, which is why there is cohesion in nature. Each plant, animal and insect has it’s place within the Web of Life and acts accordingly. It only seems to be human beings that have trouble with boundaries and that’s really because of our egos. We tend to think of ourselves as having ‘rights’ when in fact most of the rights we think we deserve are just ego. If we don’t maintain healthy boundaries with the people we interact with then chaos reigns and we don’t know where we stand. We become selfish and self-righteous, angry and disrespectful. We may not believe the same things as each other and have different life-styles but we can still accord each other respect and hospitality and kindness.
How do we set healthy boundaries? Well I used to have a great problem with boundaries because I didn’t know what my boundaries were and nor did I know what the other person’s were either. If you don’t know what your own boundaries are then how can you know and respect another person’s? It starts with you as an individual. Another important aspect of setting and maintaining boundaries is communication. If we truly communicate and listen to the other then we begin to get an understanding of that person’s boundaries. I had to work really hard on my relationship with my daughter to set healthy boundaries, and so did she. As a result our relationship went from being one where the two of us tended to merge and we never knew where each of us stood, into one of mutual respect and healthy boundaries. For me it meant dealing with my ego and also working on my unhealthy ideas about who my daughter was and is (no, she is not my mother and neither am I her sister!). So now, our relationship has really moved into a much better place where there is mutual respect but also a lot of love and affection. I realise that when I make the Freudian slip of calling her ‘Mum’ it is because I’m coming from a needy place and I need to pay attention to my inner wounded child. Of course those Freudian slips are far less now thank goodness but they still happen from time to time but I’m working on it. The point is my daughter and I have managed this because we communicated honestly with each other, remained mindful while doing so, listened and also worked on ourselves as individuals. From the storm came something even better and far more healthy.
It is definitely possible to have respect and integrity, have healthy boundaries and live harmoniously with others – but it starts with us as individuals – it starts with YOU!