Tag Archives: Barnes Boffey

Going Beyond Our Beliefs

by Barnes Boffey, Ed.;  Director of Training, Aloha Foundation… www.alohafoundation.org

My whole life I have been limited by my own imagination. I mistakenly believed that what I could imagine was as good as it could get. I was convinced that my mind was showing me a future which was reality, not aware at all that it was my personal fantasy often based years of limited thinking and fear-based projection.

Not really understanding that has hindered me continually. When I think about a change in my life or aspiring to be more honest or thoughtful or loving, I need to realize that what I envision may have very little to do with the actual possibility of who I might become. If I let go of my own expectations and both trust the process and seek the advice of people who have what I want, I am much more likely to go beyond my expectations than if I assume they are real and finite.

This has played itself out in what I consider to be my personal mantra:  “ Show Up, Pay Attention, Tell the Truth and Release the Outcome.” Releasing the outcome is crucial in the process of personal change or we get to a place where we don’t see what is “there,” we only see what we expect to be “there.”

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A friend of mine has been in AA for years, and as we talked about this idea, he related the story of a member he respected who always said, “If you keep coming to AA, your life will be more beautiful than you can imagine. And if you don’t believe that, please believe that I believe that.” He told me that speaker gave him something to think about, and allowed him to piggy-back on that member’s faith in ways he was not yet able to do himself. He went on to say that he had listened to speakers who talked about their connection with a higher power in ways he never could have imagined. They helped him break out of his rigid “religion-based” view of a higher power and break open a new “spiritual” view that he was able to work with and today is the foundation of his life.

I continue to look for people who can help me dream beyond my own dreams.  At some level, I need to remember that “If you want to be a man you need to see a man,” or “If I want to be loving, I need to see loving.” There are so many people who don’t realize that their greatest gift to the world is just showing up and being themselves; just showing up and being willing to live life in their own unique way. By seeing lives that surpass our own in areas in which we want to excel emotionally , we are all able to forge new awarenesses of the people we might become.

Thanks you to those of you who showed me the kind of courage I never thought existed; to those of you who showed me the faith I never believed attainable; and to those of you who showed me the kind of honesty I didn’t think was possible in the real world. When I see these things, I can no longer pretend they are simply ideals with no foundation. I see they are real and I am challenged and drawn toward those aspirations myself.

My AA friend said it his own way: “I have become someone I never thought I could because I saw people in real life who were sober the way I want to be sober. “It’s simple, he said. “If you want to be sober, you have to see sober.”

 

 

Feeling, Emotion and Intuition – Part II

By Dr. Barnes Boffey

Why would it be important to understand the difference between feelings, emotions and intuition? Let’s see:

man2I had a difficult face-to-face discussion with my ex-wife last night and this morning when I woke up I felt a tightness in my stomach and a sense of general uneasiness. I was having definite feelings about the previous night. My feelings, as they always do, told me that there is something that needs to be dealt with- something out of balance, something that I have become or continue to be aware of.

I sat with the feelings for a minute and realized that I was sad, and disappointed and angry – I was creating emotions in an effort to deal with the feelings I was having. As I tried to sort it out, I realized I was disappointed because my story was “I had really hoped it would be different this time. I had hoped to walk away having a wonderful conversation that helped us reconnect as former partners.” I was creating my anger (angering) with my thoughts “Shit, can’t she ever just make things easy. This is just too hard. I hate feeling this way.” Sadness was accompanying my thoughts that, ”I really do love her and it’s just too bad we can’t work this out. I wish life were just easier sometimes.”

Knowing I have some control over my emotions, I began to ask, “What emotions would I like to be creating?” Sadness was fine with me, and even the disappointment, but I do not like being angry very long. Realizing that an emotion is tied to a story, I began to tell myself the story of forgiveness to replace the story of anger.  (‘We are both doing the best we can. Life is hard and she is hurting and feeling scared. I don’t need to answer anger with anger.”) Knowing what emotions I was creating helped me see how I was dealing with the situation what my other choices were.

Finally, since I was out of balance, I used my intuition to make contact with the universal energy which felt large and safe and supportive of my efforts at forgiveness. I was able to be in the presence of the goodness of the universe, a truly loving energy. Like being held by a loved one, or sitting quietly with an old dear friend; I felt calmer and more at peace. Balance was returning.

That’s why!

Feeling, Emotion and Intuition – Part I

By Dr. Barnes Boffey

In trying to be someone who lives a genuinely happy and fulfilling life, I have found some help in understanding the differences between feelings, emotions and intuition. They are not all the same. I have more control over some and less control over others. Part of the difficulty in maintaining our mental health in this society is the way these words are used interchangeably and often inaccurately.

Feelings are impulses – sensations of energy and indicators of our system’s awareness of a perceived reality as we become aware of it. A feeling is almost indescribable except in terms of intensity; once we begin to name it we are into the area of emotions. Feelings are like electrical impulses that accompany awareness.

Let’s use an example. I come home after work looking forward to seeing my new puppy who I left in the cage when I left.  I open the door and see a torn up pillow on the floor. Seeing that pillow, I experience a feeling that something is wrong. It can be like being punched in the gut or just having a wave of sensation run through me, but the feeling accompanies the fact that I am now aware that something is wrong.

After we have a feeling, we begin to try to explain, describe or understand the phenomenon we are now aware of and we “tell ourselves a story” about what we perceive. The story we tell ourselves is what will determine our emotion. Our emotions are our own creations, dependent on the way we explain and perceive the phenomenon about which we are having feelings. As people, we generally have little control over our feelings and a great deal of control over our emotions.

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In the case of the puppy, our emotion will depend on our “story.”  “That damn puppy..”- anger; or  “Looks like I got away easy, just a pillow”- gratitude; or “Great.. finally a good excuse to get a new couch” – happy.  The likelihood is that we will tell
a mix of stories and experience a mix of emotions, but we can always track an emotion back to a story. We create the story- we thereby create an accompanying emotion.

Intuition is the complex series of sensations we experience which indicate our connection to/relationship with/and awareness of a indefinable power in the universe. This universal power has an energy which can guide, instruct, support and assist each of us. A big determinant of our ability to access that energy and power is our ability to connect with it. Intuition is the channel through which we make that connection. The more we open up to the events and experiences that are part of the universal energy, the greater becomes our intuition.

This topic is obviously bigger than one blog’s worth, but beginning to understand what we are experiencing and why can help us make better and more accurate choices.

Giving Ourselves Away

By Dr. Barnes Boffey

Going too far in trying to avoid situations in which our loved ones feel upset can come back to bite us. Too often those of us who want to keep the peace at all costs pay the cost of doing that out of our own well-being. We “give in” or “give up” to ease the discomfort the other person is feeling and in doing so begin to trade away bits of our personhood. Pretty soon there is a big hole inside us where “we” are supposed to be.

Over the long haul we may trade way our ability to ask for what we want, or our ability to tell the truth, or our lightness of being – all in an effort to make sure our loved one is not upset. If we want a healthy relationship we need to be able to accept and face the upset

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without running away or giving in. A healthy friend of mine once said about his wife: ‘We had hard time at the beginning because when she got upset in her family growing up, it somehow meant that everyone had to stop and make sure she got over her upset. When she gets upset with me, all it means is that she is upset.”

There are people who adjust their relationship to the truth, and there are people who adjust the truth to their relationship. The first is difficult in the short run; the second is disastrous in the long run. Speaking the truth in a relationship is the key to intimacy, strength and mutual happiness. We need to remember that it is not our job to adjust the truth of what we know and believe to the other person’s satisfaction.

I hope you’re not mad at me for saying that……. 🙂