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Boundaries and The Push-Pull Battle Within! 

Our typical understanding of boundaries is that they exist between people or things.  They are critical to determining the health of a relationship.  Good boundaries contribute to healthy, satisfying relationships; poor boundaries contribute to unhealthy, draining relationships.  Well, boundaries also exist within us.  We struggle with boundaries in our own lives on a daily basis and it happens without us even interacting with another person.  Let me give you an example from my life. 

I was sitting at my desk an hour ago staring at this computer screen telling my brain, “You HAVE TO come up with something to write.  Time is wasting away.  WHAT is wrong with you?”  My brain replied, “I’m tired.  I can’t think.  It’s foggy up here.  Do I HAVE TO do this right now?”  I struggled in the midst of this dialogue for what seemed like eternity until something conveniently distracted me and I walked downstairs.  While downstairs I ate a snack and lay down on the couch and fell asleep.  As I was drifting off to sleep the inner dialogue continued.  “This is unbelievable!  You have a deadline to meet.  You are being lazy.  GET UP!”  “Go ahead get up, but I’m still not functioning.  Push all you want.  I’m not going anywhere.”

As I awoke images of many experiences with horses were running through my mind – particularly images of horses standing still and people pushing them to do something they would not.  Aha!  The article had come to me!  I heard my mind say, “I told you I needed some rest.  That’s all I was asking for – now go and write.” 

So here’s the point.  The horses I saw in my mind were all standing still.  The people on or around them were in various states of frustrated, frenzied, and fruitless motion trying to move the horse(s).  I have often been one of those people.  As an observer or in hindsight it is so easy to see that trying to move a creature weighing around a ton - without its cooperation - is virtually impossible.  You may be saying, “Well, I don’t ever have to move a horse.  So how does this matter to me?”
I’ll answer that question with a few questions.  What 2-ton “creatures” do you have in your life?  What or who are trying to move? Change?  Control?  Do you the “creature’s” permission?  Cooperation? 

I realized that just a couple of hours ago my brain was my 2-ton “creature,” and it wasn’t going anywhere - at least not until I listened and responded to what it had to say.  Remember – it was tired and foggy, and it worked just fine after it got food and rest. 

How does this relate to boundaries?  Well, my brain has limits (as do all brains).  Limits are boundaries.  They mark the end of one thing and the beginning of another.  We can ignore or deny them but we’ll experience consequences for doing so.  “Consequences?” you ask.  Think about it.  

Written by Dr. Mary J. Malek
Dr. Mary J. Malek is our newest addition to our equine development staff and has become a valuable asset to our young adult program "Choices", women's workshop "Boundaries", our various Leadership workshops, and in one-on-one therapy for special needs. 

Mary is a psychologist licensed in the state of Ohio.  She has extensive experience in helping individuals and families cope with life’s struggles as well as chronic illnesses, traumatic experiences, and relationship challenges.  Mary has worked throughout her career with adolescents and adults across a wide range of individual and family issues.  She is a member of the Ohio Psychological Association and is an instructor at the Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine (NEOUCOM).  Mary is an advisor in Portage County 4-H and committed to helping youth and underserved people find opportunities in the county. 

Mary has owned and worked with horses since childhood and has a passion for facilitating human growth using clinical expertise combined with the power of horses.  She is married and has an amazing Bouvier named Colby.  

Please join me in welcoming Mary to our staff!  We look forward to seeing you at one of our workshops or for an Equicoaching session! 

September 2008  ISSUE

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"Boundaries" Workshop for Women
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