Maintaining Healthy Boundaries when being of Service

Submitted by Fiona Reilly on Wed, 02/08/2017 - 08:10

Being of service to others and the world can bring immense joy and is of amazing value - it's massively inspiring and fulfilling. When offering service, maintaining healthy boundaries is essential if we are to remain aligned and in balance. It's so easy to become exhausted, depleted or resentful through giving too much of ourselves. In this article we explore what it means to have healthy boundaries and how this enhances our lives and that of those around us...

What are boundaries?

A boundary can be defined as something that indicates bounds or limits and healthy boundaries are about knowing and understanding what our own limits are. Having personal boundaries means maintaining and expressing what feels right and what doesn't, stating what's okay and what's not okay. Boundaries are not necessarily fixed or static, sometimes they may be general guidelines we adhere to, other times they are a recognition of what is right in a particular situation. Each of us is unique and so our boundaries will vary depending on who we are, what our purpose is and what is being invited at a particular point in time. Boundaries can be about how we give of our time and energy, or they are can be around what is acceptable to us from others.

"Boundaries are not fake walls or separation, they are not division. They are respect."
Brene Brown

Maintaining healthy boundaries

Boundaries require respect and self-love. Setting boundaries and working to preserve them is not only a gift to ourselves, but to the world around us. This is by no means easy. In a world full of societal expectations and "shoulds" we can feel conflicted and find ourselves in roles and situations where we compromise. We end up doing things from a sense of obligation or because we think it is the most loving and kind thing to do. Most of us want to be liked and approved of by others and fear that expressing our boundaries or our own needs would cause upset to others. However in my experience the opposite is mostly true, if we clearly communicate our boundaries with sensitivity and compassion, others are very appreciative, understanding and respect our honest choices. Clear boundaries enhance relationships and mutual respect and help avoid unspoken expectations and misunderstandings.

"When you feel yourself becoming angry, resentful or exhausted, pay attention to where you haven't set a healthy boundary" Crystal Andrus

People pick up on any incongruence between our words or actions and our inner truth or feelings. Being clear and honest about the boundaries that are good for us is vitally important. If we ignore the boundaries that are being invited, resentments can build. Sometimes and especially with those we are closest to codependency and patterned ways of interacting can develop. It requires immense courage, self honesty and openness to recognise unhealthy patterns and to find and implement the appropriate boundaries. In such situations it can be invaluable to get to know ourselves and acknowledge our needs. It can be beneficial to explore and ask "What is being invited now?", to find what is right and come from that place.

At times saying "No" is the most compassionate thing we can do. It encourages and empowers the other to find their own way on their personal journey. At times our not assisting or fulfilling expectations may cause another to feel hurt or some other "unpleasant" emotion. Yet this may be exactly the experience that will help them to grow and evolve. For example, there have been times in my life when I have been needy and engaged in the drama of situations. I wanted and expected those close to me to act in a particular way and support me. When they didn't it caused me pain and suffering, until I realized that I have all that I need and that the Universe supports me in other perfect ways.

When I let go of expectations and become open, I always get exactly what I need and often in the most delightful of ways. I could not have received this insight if others hadn't remained true to their boundaries and for that I am grateful. Often by overly supporting others we disempower them. It is liberating and empowering to take responsibility for our own experiences, and express out to the world when something is not okay for us or alternatively step forward for something that is right for us. I really appreciate when people are clear and express their boundaries even if it something that I do not want to hear or it causes apparent inconvenience. When we change or live our own truth, those around us are inspired and change too. In the words of Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world”, whether that be in your relationships, your working life or other circumstances.

Being of Service

We can best serve the world by being true to who we are and finding what is right in each moment. When we find and express who we truly are, it is so fulfilling, perhaps that is our ultimate purpose in this precious life. Maintaining healthy boundaries supports us in this regard and as a result when we engage with the world we do so with more joy and enthusiasm. When we come from presence and trust in our own truth in any moment, we best serve the Whole. Tuning in and asking the question "Does x serve me?" or "What is being invited in this situation?" can be beneficial in discerning the most aligned way to engage. Living within healthy boundaries energises and fulfills us and helps us stay in balance.

Some helpful guidelines regarding boundaries

  • Remain aware so that you can feel what is right for you and where you may need to introduce boundaries. By tuning into what is right for you, you will discover what is most aligned for all life.
  • Ask "What is being invited now?"
  • If you notice your energy becoming low or depleted after certain engagements, question why this is so and if some boundaries need to be implemented?
  • Express your needs clearly to the relevant people.
  • Say "Yes" because you really want to, then you do so with joy and lightness in your heart.
  • Begin with small steps, establishing boundaries or saying no is not always easy, especially if we are accustomed to pleasing others or care about what others think.
  • Start with small things and you may be surprised by the positive responses you receive.
  • Seek support from others, if you are struggling to implement and communicate healthy boundaries in your life.

Insightful video

I love this video with Brene Brown where she talks about the value of boundaries and what she discovered through her research...

With love, respect and best wishes for living true to your rightness, Fiona

Fiona is an accredited Openhand Facilitator. She is also a reflexologist and experienced doula. She is passionate about living true to her heart and soul and empowering others to do the same. Her website is...

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Excellent article and thread... Thank you all. I would love to see Boundaries 101 taught to older children/young teens. Our culture overlooks the Self, capital "S", especially in public school. If parents are not tuned in and are not helping their children tune in, no one is tuned in! Healthy boundaries help everyone know where 'I' end and 'you' begin. Too weak boundaries make kids vulnerable, and disrespectful of others. Too strong boundaries make kids fearful and isolated, and bullies toward others. Boundaries are especially important with children and social media. Boundaries are an excellent beginning in teaching children about energy. There are many empathic, radiant, children that need acknowledgement and assistance with boundaries.


Hi Rich,

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!

It's very cold here in Bonny Scotland this week, so receiving your warm hug and sending it back to you *bye*

With love, Fiona


Hey Fiona,

Fabulous article.

Yes, boundaries are so important.
And demonstrate, as you say, respect, both for ourselves and for others.

The ability to employ the word 'No' effectively is a most valuable asset.


Sending love and a hug to you up there in Bonny Scotland.


Hi Open,

Thanks kindly for that. I get the sense that now I need to let go of the analysis and intellectualising within me, and just make some space to be with whatever wants to arise. As I realized this and asked the Universe to show me, I looked down and saw the label on my bag - "Go further"... time to dive in... :)

With love, Fiona


Hi Fiona - how deep is deep enough? It becomes a redundant question. When you're deep enough, you'll know. And if you don't know, you're not deep enough!

And it can also be a physical depth too. So can you tolerate whatever comes physically? I felt to add this - if the body at times is jolting, then there isn't the softness of penetration - of full infusion into it. It may jolt as integration happens - but that must then lead to softness in the body, a wave like feeling through it. Just a thought.

Open :-)


Dear Amy,

Thank you for the lovely feedback, I'm touched. I'm so pleased you found the article and ensuing thread helpful (f)

It feels like a deep process that you are in and great that you have taken time our to surrender into what is arising. You are an inspiration!

With love and a big etheric hug, Fiona


Hi Erica,

I love the distinction between helping and enabling. Through my role as a doula and other experiences in life, I have witnessed the immense value of empowering others to find their own way. I know of births with very similiar outcomes, for example a baby being born by ceaserean birth, where the feelings of the parents are very different depending on how they were supported through the process. When the parents were informed and given time to make decisions and have input, they can frequently feel quite positive about the birth. On the other hand, if they didn't feel listened to or felt railroaded in some way, it can essentailly be quite traumatic for them. Potentially the former could be seen as enabling and the later as helping.

It's so valuable to honour anothers path, even if it's something we would not choose for them or they are making a perceived mistake. Enabling them to find their own answers is so powerful. I witnessed that recently in a circle where others were suggesting solutions and possibilities for someone, none of which resonated with her, she clearly then understood that only she could find her own answer, it was a powerful ahha moment (though of course reflections from others can often be helpful). Your example with the pups is wonderful *good* There is so much joy in witnessing someone or an animal discovering their power and truth, what an awesome feeling! Or indeed the freedom in finding it within oneself! :dance:

Thanks for sharing your experiences regarding karmic triggers too (f)

Namaste, I see you Erica,

Love Fiona


Hi Open,

Thanks so much for your viewpoint on the "Tsunami", like Jen, I found these lines especially helpful...

"Then rather than retracting from them - which actually exacerbates and perpetuates the suffering - go right into the heart of them and work to bring stabilised higher vibe into them. Be authentic - in your truth. Essentially, it involves stepping right into the direction of your greatest fears."

I see that I was able to feel and be with the karma (related to birth experiences) to a point and then after a period of time it became too much. I suspect there is a blind spot for me around it all, something I'm not quite getting, I'm not getting the trigger point on a conscious level (or at least not in this example), I mainly feel it on a physical level, so perhaps I'm not going deep enough... something to keep working with...

Somewhat related to this another question has arisen in relation to working with others on a 1:1 or group basis and that question is "How deep is deep enough?". There probably isn't a straightforward answer as it will depend on the person and where they are at at that time and when I stay present and in authenticity the answer becomes clear in each situation. It's also quite a challenge to find this balance for myself when I am engaged in a process. Partially at least, it relates back to boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others or my own in relation to how deep is right at that particular time.

I came across this quote yesterday in a book I'm reading in relation to the stages of grief "Without denial to protect us, if we were to feel the full force of our losses in one go, rather than gradually, the shock might well be unendurable" I recall you saying something similar recently too with regard to processing our distortions and "stuff".

Jen, thanks for your comments, I love this line "With all things it seems the space grows and pressure releases with the willingness to drop right into the center of it all without resistance and the sooner the better!" Dropping into the centre of it all is resonating deeply with me just now.

With love and thanks, Fiona


You're welcome Jen - It's something I've witnessed frequently in empaths, where the energetic reaction is so strong, and rises so fast, it just seems all consuming very quickly. And with it being so strong, a sense of hopelessness can come with it too - how will you ever overcome such strong emotional reactions? The point is not to have to - to learn what the touch points are, and then catch them as they arise. I know it's not easy, but then neither is spiritual mastery!

Open *OK*


Insightful article Fiona, thank you, and what am amazing thread it has inspired. There is just so much here that I feel to re-read it all and take lots of notes! I'm semi hibernating at present to support myself through what is becoming a long process moving towards a greater soul sovereignty. There is still confusion and blurred lines, a continual exploration of my 4D field and plenty of karmic triggers to boot. I'm in it and have let go now of my impatience of wanting to get out the other side, though for a part of me it may be more of a giving up and surrendering than a letting go, the small i seems to have little choice these days, but I recognise that as a good thing and the resistance it feels is a clear sign to reconnect and get back in flow, which also makes the small i happy :) something I didn't quite expect ;) Feeling blessed with the soul connections here.


I just love this Erica...

    "As I become increasingly aware of my 4D field expanding and contracting there comes a point that field dissolves and I feel expansive interconnectedness I feel then the density or limitations of the body dissolve. It's through heightened consciousness it feels to occur."

See you in the space between the spaces my friend!

And Cathy...

    I quickly became aware of subtle feelings of judgment, guilt, and self-blame creeping in, so let those feelings go and breathed the light of my soul through all the densities, centering myself in a sea of tranquillity, feeling unconditional love. As you've said, Ascension is a constant choice in each and every moment.

Go for it soul sister!

Open *OK*


Jen, I relate to your comments about the difference between putting up barriers and establishing boundaries. Due to intense conditioning around shutting down my voice and feeling unsafe to express feelings, I have at times walked away and erected walls instead, feeling like the misunderstood outsider and misfit, especially when I sensed that confrontation would ensue if I spoke up, or if I was lost in self-righteous judgment and victimhood. I'm much more conscious of that pattern now so I more frequently interrupt those fixed neural pathways of reacting from my karmic wounds, attachments, and identities. It's a process that requires constant vigilance and practice. I'm progressing bit by bit. I'm finding it's hard for those who've known me for a long time to adjust to the changes in me when I do speak up about unkind, disrespectful behaviour or more subtle ways of encroaching on my soul's sovereignty. So I win some and I lose some. Thought I had lost an old friend recently after speaking up about some of his unreasonable demands, but he went away, licked his wounds, and returned. We now have a more aligned friendship. On the other hand, I over-accommodated another friend and jumped through hoops to facilitate the friendship for way too long, falling into a wishy-washy, anything-goes approach. When I asserted kindly but firmly that this pattern was no longer working for me, the friendship faded. I'm just coming out of grieving this loss. Despite my sadness, I feel in my heart and soul that it was the right, aligned thing to do. The sadness is dissipating.

This discussion thread has been very helpful. Thanks, Fiona, for your further comments and insights and the referenced article.

Open, I've been contemplating and feeling into your comments about becoming conscious of our own 4D energy field and our boundaries as separate from the energies of other souls -- and of 4D karmic trigger points. You make a powerful point that the solution to karmic separation from Source is the infusion of full soul sovereignty through ALL the densities from the 8th chakra through the crown and down to the base. I am fairly well practiced in your breakthrough breathing meditation, which takes me into Presence. I was speaking with a loved one this morning, feeling her anguish and pain in my own body and energy field. I quickly became aware of subtle feelings of judgment, guilt, and self-blame creeping in, so let those feelings go and breathed the light of my soul through all the densities, centering myself in a sea of tranquillity, feeling unconditional love. As you've said, Ascension is a constant choice in each and every moment. I can choose separation when I get tight, frazzled, and out-of-sorts, or I can choose to ride my soul back to Source.

x Cathy


Great explorations! This is definitely ongoing on every level in all experiences for me. One particular concept I've been feeling through for some time is the line between helping and enabling. My attention is to ease the way for another through sharing or lending a hand yet that hand becomes a set neural pathway for them when they encounter trials or tribulations hence it warps.

Thank you Fiona for bringing up karmic trigger points, this used to happen to me all the time from a small child into early adulthood where I would go unconscious. I could feel myself leaving my body until the body collapsed. Now, I feel to become even more aware and sensitive within those moments. I see now I was reacting to past karmic experiences that sent my system into overload.

It's comical to watch boundaries play out within my own household as I currently have seven dogs from a tiny Yorkie to a large Great Pyrenees. From 7 weeks old to 8 years old. It's fun to watch the innocence,the wisdom, the playfulness, the independence, the nurturing, the dominance, the submissiveness, all interact as they challenge boundaries. On a more primitive level it's starts out in 1D with them experimenting with the physical. Then after all the experimenting or invasion there becomes this refined "line" or boundary that they each create as a form of protection for what each behavior is allowed near them. Right now I'm observing the two 7 week puppies want water as they circle the big dog dish. I'm tempted to get them a smaller bowel yet as their thirst increases their behavior evolves. I can see them thinking as they circle the water. A short time later, the middle size dog gets a drink. The lil pups are again at the water bowl. They know what is in there and their desire to quench their thirst increases beyond the initial limitation or perceived obstacle that turned them away a few moments ago. There is more determination as the thirst increases. This time, one extends his head and laps up the water while the smaller one puts a paw on the edge to make himself taller to get some water. Wow! did they enjoy it, now the new neural pathway has formed and it will be easier next time. Had I gotten them a smaller bowl, it would have starved them from that experience. It would have been an injustice to their evolution unintentionally by my interference "to help".

This is where I see myself in every moment in 3D as I expand to 4D or beyond.

As I become increasingly aware of my 4D field expanding and contracting there comes a point that field dissolves and I feel expansive interconnectedness I feel then the density or limitations of the body dissolve. It's through heightened consciousness it feels to occur, there is an aliveness that is indescribable. It's like the light in every cell is shining then little feather feelers are dancing around each cell through the energy of every second. There is no set program to override the experience anymore.

Namaste soul family


Hi Fiona,

What you describe is classic for an empath. So there'll be some "karmic trigger" that sparks the experience off, infuses the emotional and physical bodies with toxic neuropeptides, creating an explosion of negative feeling, which then sends you out of body. Sometimes the polar separation caused, may be so prominent, you're then able to 'see' or intuit the lower aspect of yourself still caught in the drama (as you did).

    Here's the crucial point for all empaths to hoist on board: how ever challenging you find this world, even as you feel infused with poisonous energy and struggle to find centre, there will always be a karmic trigger point where you go slightly unconscious and the reactions then simply kick off.

    A karmic trigger point could be for example where your discernment of another's negative energy slips into judgment - which is easily done for an empath. This is a blind spot - a trigger point - where you go slightly unconscious, even for the briefest of moments.

    The other person may then react strongly, activating the empathic trigger point even more, causing an infusion of negative neruopeptides washing through them like a wave, greatly hightening the pain beyond what is endurable. It's like being hit by an internal Tsunami. This is the point the empath might slip out of body, and then be unable to cope with the situation.

    The key is to keep seeking out these trigger points, to prevent the Tsunami ever forming - what pushes your buttons? Then rather than retracting from them - which actually exacerbates and perpetuates the suffering - go right into the heart of them and work to bring stabilised higher vibe into them.

    Be authentic - in your truth. Essentially, it involves stepping right into the direction of your greatest fears - for example discomfort in confronting the truth with another, especially where they have strong energy and you think they might get angry. I know this is not easy. You have to quickly confront the triggering energy before it even gets a chance to build. Feel into the pain and normalise as quickly as you can in it.

Ultimately the karmic trigger point will dissolve and you'll find it easier and easier to stay centred in whatever energy. Most importantly, you stop getting washed through with the negative neuropeptide tsunamis.


Open :-)

In reply to by Open


Wow Open - thank you for sharing this perspective! I can relate to this experience so much.

You said....."The key is to keep seeking out these trigger points, to prevent the Tsunami ever forming - what pushes your buttons? Then rather than retracting from them - which actually exacerbates and perpetuates the suffering - go right into the heart of them and work to bring stabilised higher vibe into them."

The speed always seems to get me and there is an element of panic that happens when the adrenaline starts to start pumping because it already feels to late to get a handle on things...I can ride it out but relationally in the 3D it is awkward to say the least!

With all things it seems the space grows and pressure releases with the willingness to drop right into the center of it all without resistance and the sooner the better!

Thank you - this is so helpful!!
With love,


Hey Open,

"It's all about the energy" :good:

Thank you for the invaluable insights, this line particularly stood out for me "full soul sovereignty by full infusion of soul, through all the densities, that is the most effective solution."

I have a question sparked by what you shared - recently I regressed into an energetic probably karmic experience. At one point, it felt like I was going to pass out and my body slumped on the ground (I suspect I left my body at that point), shortly after which my body went into terror and panic. I was able to watch my body recoil into the corner of the space I was in. I'm not sure what my question is, perhaps a little insight into understanding the experience or how best to work with it? I feel that utilising the breathe, remaining in the body and feeling it would all be beneficial. As I'm writing I'm answering my own question, there is something about remaining present and in the body that feels key...

With love and much gratitude, Fiona


Hi lovely Jen,

I appreciate your sharing, thanks for highlighting the difference between barrier and boundary.

It can be easy to withdraw and not deal with something i.e. set up a barrier, rather than express a boundary around it. I wonder how often I have done this, it'll be something for me to contemplate further and watch our for. A beautiful reminder to keep attuning to the rightness and ask "What is being invited now?" rather than unconsciously turning towards the easy option, for example as you suggest walking away from challenging relationships, when expressing our boundaries in the situation may be what's being invited and most beneficial.

With lots of love, Fiona


Hi Maureen,

So lovely to hear from you. I'd delighted to hear that the article was timely for you - I love how the Universe does that!

With love, Fiona


Hi Cathy,

Thanks for your sharing. I love your definition regarding boundaries - "honouring my soul's sovereignty and doing what feels aligned and right with as much compassion and kindness as I can summon". Being soveirgn is so valuable.

I hear much of the empath experience in what you share - losing oneself in another rather than remaining soveirgn... Open's advice sounds spot on "empaths with lots of compassion and empathy need to set strong boundaries".

Thanks also for highlighting the importance of discerning which energies are benevolent and which are not. Mimicking energies can be pretty deceptive in my experience, so good to remain aware and curious.

It feels relevant to highlight this article - The challenges of being an Empath, where Open discusses how to maintain your boundaries - . It feels there are similarities between how you describe using the breath Cathy.

With much love and a big etheric hug to you, Fiona


Hi Rich,

Thanks for your sharing and for highlighting the balance required in family life. I agree that it is important to consider others and find the rightness in how much we give - a fine balance indeed.

I can appreciate what you mean when you speak of clutter. My ex partner would sometimes express something along the lines of "It feels really untidy in here and it is having an impact on me, I wonder if we could tidy up". On at least a couple of occasions we explored any issues that were present between us regarding this, which was really beneficial. This feels like a great example of respectfully expressing a boundary and I really appreciated his clarity. When we don't express stuff such as this, I find it can build into subtle anger or a "story", such as I always tidy up... etc

Best wishes for your boundary explorations :)

Much love, Fiona


Boundaries as opposed to Barriers - an important contemplation indeed :-)

Maybe it will help to look at the differences in terms of densities of vibration. I found the film really good in talking about the importance of setting behavioural boundaries - like for example it being the compassionate thing to do, to actually establish a boundary in the first place - yes, essential, brilliant! However, my sense of the energy of the sharing, was that it was mainly the lower three densities that were being dealt with: the physical, emotional and mental - I decide to do "this" or "that" in a physical, emotional practical sense in my relationships for example.

It's often at these layers where distortion will cause an empath to sense pain and then retract - in my experience in working with empaths, the classic response to the world is to (at least) partially withdraw from it - to go partially out-of-body. Which actually makes the person more susceptible to some kind of energetic invasion beyond what is manageable. In other words, here's where the problems for an empath truly begin - because all manner of energies will invade the 4D field which then filter down.

    I put it to you that it's full soul sovereignty by full infusion of soul, through all the densities, that is the most effective solution.

So getting really conscious of what's going on in the 4D field is going to be paramount to establishing effective boundaries. What happens for example when you go to sleep - are you still conscious? Or do you go unconscious - and thereby leave the body? In which case, all manner of energies will likely come into your system. You might meet someone during the day, have a brief chat, and there in the middle of the night, their soul comes to dance. Sometimes an etheric 'chat' might be welcome - but sometimes most definitely not!

So becoming ultra aware of your 4D field boundary is essential - because energies will cascade down from there into your 3D (mental), 2D (emotional) and 1D (physical) bodily vehicles.

    One of the things I get the facilitators to do early in their training, is to work in pairs, first to feel the extent of their own 4D energy boundary and to centre in it - what does it feel like?; then to intentionally expand this boundary out to embrace their partner - what do they notice changes - what can they feel now?; finally to withdraw their boundary again and taking full 4D sovereignty once more - now what does the change feel like?

So this can be done very effectively in pairs. You could try it with a friend or family member. Another way, is simply to feel your own 4D field with your hands - extend your arms out from the body fully; then turn the hands inwards at 90 degrees - work to intuit, feel, know, the extent of your 4D field by moving your hands in and out - closer and further. You might get the sense of waves as you cross the boundary of your 4D field.

Of course to develop this kind of deep sensitivity, means to have cleansed and infused the lower vehicles first - or else their density will diminish and dull full capability in the higher 4D density. The routemap 5GATEWAYS is there to help people progressively cleanse and integrate through all the densities. This means you become progressively able to take ownership in the very challenging karmic plane - the 4D. At this point, it's then about becoming fully conscious - all the time - of what's happening in your field. You engage with someone physically and emotionally, but it's you that decides what can and can't enter at the related 4D level. And the only way to do that, is consciously as it's happening.

Have fun - be safe!

Open *OK*


Awesome Fiona - so many powerful insights!!

Boundaries..if there is one thing I feel like I am constantly feeling for it's boundaries! Something that's been challenging for me to discern is the difference between barriers and boundaries. Perhaps because of the work I have needed to do (and continue to) with establishing healthy boundaries, I have at times built barriers within (needing to be hyper vigilant, armored) when I wasn't feeling capable of making clear boundaries. I also see how I have felt the need for external barriers because of this difficulty...for example ending challenging relationships, or limiting time with people. The ability to make clear boundaries is such a allows much deeper and authentic relating. This continues to be a big area of learning and growth for me!!

With love,


This is an awesome article! It's quite true really, a lot of people out there have no real conceptual idea what boundaries really even are.

"Clear boundaries enhance relationships and mutual respect and help avoid unspoken expectations and misunderstandings"

Amen to that!
There is never anything wrong with letting anyone know one's own truth regarding boundaries really, and it does help.
I started something ages ago with my husband, I told him - This sir is my Purple Space, do not enter lol. The idea / thought form of purple space even helped our children understand the respect one must value in and for another. Because each individual is so beautifully unique it's a pretty good idea to try and live a life where you want for others, what they want for themselves. In the most respectful and honest way of course.

In reply to by Wyndè


Hi Wynde,

Thanks for the feedback Wynde, much appreciated.

It's so valuable to have your own space and what a great example for your children too.

With love, Fiona


Thank you Fiona, Awesome article! Boundaries were on my mind today as I was feeling slightly resentful towards someone, then I realized I hadn't set an appropriate boundary for myself. I also experienced someone setting a boundary with me recently and at first I suffered, however once I realized what was happening and accepted what they were doing, then I did feel respect for their decision. Need to practice boundaries more in my life <3
Maureen X


Your article is chock full of helpful insights and inspiration, Fiona. Thank you. For me, setting 'healthy' and respectful boundaries drills down to honouring my soul's sovereignty and doing what feels aligned and right with as much compassion and kindness as I can summon. I've been over-energized and under-energized in doing that but then there are those glorious times when it feels just right. Smooth rather than awkward and clumsy. So I'm continuing to practice.

What's at the root of not setting clear boundaries for me has often been losing myself in another's pain, dissolving the sense of me, because I feel their suffering so intensely. For example, I can often feel another person's physical pain as my own. I actually feel physically sick at times when I feel it in my body. My son is a social worker who works with the physically disabled. He likes to talk to me about his work but sometimes I have to stop him because I feel completely overwhelmed by the suffering of his clients. I used to work in the social work field myself, so I'm thinking I disassociated a lot when working with my own clients. I can't seem to do this any longer. And so at times I seek ways to escape from the intense suffering I feel in others that are not always in my best interest. I'm not sure how to handle all of this when I tend to lose myself and merge into the experiences of others. Ultimately, I know I'm being invited to transcend beyond the suffering and become non-identified Presence in all things and experiences. So perhaps what I'm not doing during those times when it feels like I've merged into another's experience is to breathe into it, let it go, and come out the other side into the Light.

In discussing a dream with Open recently, he asked me to re-read Gateway 4 from his 5Gateways book, about releasing the sidecar passenger. I had shared with him a dream about getting lost when driving a motorbike after agreeing to give a passenger a lift home. Open suggested that those with lots of compassion and empathy need to set strong boundaries. In the chapter on Gateway 4, Open discusses how shadow identities creep into our consciousness ever so smoothy, mimicking aligned right action, but off the mark nonetheless. So, I'm feeling that I've identified right action as being overly compassionate, losing who I am, losing my authentic direction. And synchronistically, for awhile, I sent my children to a Catholic school called Canadian Martyrs. I've had tons of conditioning in my childhood about the nobility of being a martyr for Christ. That's an identity in itself.

I welcome insights into how I can better set clear boundaries and find and maintain my own 'vibe' in all experiences.

Thank you!

x Cathy


Hi Fiona.

Great article! Boundaries have been an ongoing exploration for me. I used to be very uncomfortable saying no to people and then got angry afterwards, until someone pointed it out to me, and I've been working on it ever since.

For me there is a great balance between boundaries and compromise. What is not ok for me might be very important to someone else and vise versa. SO it's like finding the boundary of your boundaries - which moves all the time. When is it not all ok and when do I feel to give up a little so that both parties may gain?

I have a question - I live in house of people who are not bothered by clutter, don't like to throw things away and are fine to leave things lying around. For me this is a difficult environment to live in, so I often find myself tidying up. It's a difficult scenario because don't feel ok in this environment - I'm somewhat of a minimalist, yet to make a boundary in this case would be to force others into doing something that they don't feel to do. Any other perspectives on this situation would be appreciated.

Much love,



Come on Openhanders where are you?

Great piece of work Fiona - lovely exploration. And I know stacks of you out there have boundary issues. So come on, share away. Don't be shy. Whenever, but whenever, you share your consciousness out there in the Universe - whenever you take a conscious step - the Universe always, but always comes to meet you.

Be bold, be brave!

Open :-)