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Dear Spirit Coach, featured as part of SpiritSite.com's "Coaching Corner" column, is Copyright © 2001 by Dr. Kathi Ann Middendorf. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"If each person in the world chooses to come from a positive point of view, the world can not help but be a happier, healthier place in which to live."


  Dr. Kathi Ann Middendorf, Dear Spirit Coach

On Being Positive

Dear Spirit Coach: I am tired of hearing about how we have to be positive. With all of the horrible things going on in the world, that would mean being a Pollyanna and just pretending that everything is wonderful when it isn’t. It would just be lying to myself and wouldn’t change anything that has happened. How can being positive make anything better. - Jane

Dear Jane,

There are three basic benefits for you in having a positive outlook: 

1) A lot of philosophers and spiritual teachers over time have taught that "as you think, so it will be." There is common knowledge that looking at the glass as half empty or half full will change our perception of what is going on. In fact, it actually differentially filters the stimuli that come into our system. We are subject to about sixty billion stimuli a day. Without a filter system we would be so over-loaded that we would not be able to function. Our beliefs form our filter systems. A filter system that allows in the more positive stimuli will ultimately be more helpful to your body, mind and spirit.

2) Researchers have said that we have about 45,000 thoughts a day, and 90% of these thoughts are repetitions of prior thoughts. About 7000 of these thoughts are self-referent. Can you conceive of the power of these thoughts to inform our lives? Psychoneuroimmunology is showing that our thoughts have the ability to affect our immune system… that negative thoughts depress it and positive thoughts increase its level of function. So, again, positive thoughts our beneficial to our well-being.

3) And, finally, you attract to you people and situations that mirror where you are in consciousness. With a dark, negative outlook you will attract dark, negative people and situations. And, with positive, loving thoughts you attract positive, loving people and situations.

Will it change the world? It can!

We will change the world by changing ourselves, one by one. The only thing we ultimately have power over is our own self. If each person in the world chooses to come from a positive point of view, the world can not help but be a happier, healthier place in which to live.

On Family Boundaries

Dear Spirit Coach: You have said that it is important that we define our boundaries and communicate them to others. I have several instances where I have severed relationships because someone wouldn’t honor my boundaries, so I know I can do it. The problem I am having is with my family…I can’t seem to enforce my boundaries with my family. - Sharon

Dear Sharon,

There are many things in life that are easier with strangers and friends than with family.

Inside us lives that dependent little child still hoping that we will find safety and unconditional love within our family. So just thinking about defining boundaries with parents brings up all the old fears about being alone, abandoned and a motherless child. Most people can’t get past these fears to speak of boundaries.

It is much more difficult to become "unattached" to wanting a specific outcome when we are dealing with family. When we realize that the final stage in enforcing a boundary may be that we have to permanently leave a relationship, most people are not willing to consider doing that with family. Instead, they will maintain the status quo and hope that next time things will be different (all the while being energetically locked into old patterns).

We see our family as a reflection of who we are. Would you have qualms about your friends meeting your family? If your answer is yes, and your family’s standards and behaviors do not match what you have become, instead of considering them a reflection of you…think about your family being reflected in a beveled mirror…and your part of the reflection is in the bevel and is of finer stuff.

Taking all of the above together, we often tolerate much more from our family than we would from anyone else because of fear of loss; wanting our family to behave in a certain way; and seeing ourselves in them and them in ourselves.

With family, then, we have three options:

1) Speak our boundaries and be willing to give up relationship with them if they will not honor the boundaries

2) Maintain the status quo and "suffer" each encounter with them

3) Change our own expectations of their behavior and become able to view their actions with detachment about how they "should" be and what they "should and shouldn’t" do. At that point we can look on their behavior as we would when observing a toddler…understanding that they are doing the best they know how for their level of development, and that the only cause of dis-ease we may experience is from our being attached to their behaving differently.

Dr. Kathi Ann Middendorf is a Spiritually based Personal and Professional Coach. She works with individuals and teams who are ready to embrace positive changes and move to a higher level of effectiveness and satisfaction in their personal and work lives. A major strength is helping clients find and live their life purpose. She is the immediate past president of the North Carolina Association of Personal and Business Coaches, and is the present chairperson of Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship of the Triangle. You can visit Kathi’s web site at coachyourspirit.com (site will open in a new window).

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