A few years ago, a fellow student shared a very helpful metaphor during a Sunday morning A Course in Miracles study group. Because it was so helpful to me, I thought I would share this nugget of wisdom again this week. 

That morning, we were talking about the false but prevalent idea that to be happy, we need others to act a certain way. The ego tells us if only they would change, then we can be at peace. If only the world behaved as I think it should, then I could be happy. I don’t know about you, but this has never worked very well for me!

The insightful woman sitting next to me shared how her dog has been a wonderful teacher on this subject. On walks, her spirited little canine is not so interested in going where she wants her to go, especially when other dogs are present. She often finds herself struggling with the leash trying to control her dog. 

As she reflected on this, it dawned on her how many people in her life she also had “on a leash,” trying to make them do what she wanted them to do. With so many leashes pulling in different directions, it’s easy to get tangled. Her solution was simple. Drop the leashes! Let those people go their own way and live their lives. That’s how she gets untangled and returns to peace. I thought this was a brilliant analogy!

I know this is sometimes easier said than done, especially when someone we love is making choices we feel are unhealthy. I struggled with this most of my life as I watched my mother’s addiction wreak havoc in her life (and thus mine.) It took me many years to learn how to set healthy boundaries. I told her how much I loved her, and it was just too difficult for me to be around her when she was drinking. I also had to shift my perception that something needed “fixing.” Once I stopped trying to change her, our relationship improved, peace returned, and I was untangled!

If you are in a similar situation, I highly recommend Al-Anon Family Groups. They have a long history of providing help and hope for families and friends of alcoholics. Al-Anon groups were part of my healing journey, and I still use some of the tools I learned there. If you would like one-on-one assistance, I would be honored to help you with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can help you let go of those leashes and set strong, healthy boundaries. Book a session now on my website or send me an email for more information. I look forward to working with you!

As you release, so will you be released. Forget this not, or love will be unable to find you and comfort you.

A Course in Miracles – T-16:VI.2

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