Everyone Can't Be In The Front Row

A reoccurring theme in my work as a mentor is relationships and the need to set boundaries with others who are unhealthy. I came across this and thought it offered a useful guide for determining which relationships need boundaries:

Everyone Can’t Be In The Front Row

Life is a theater. Invite your audience carefully. Not everyone is healthy enough to have a front row seat in our lives. There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you let go, or at least minimize, your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships/friendships.

Observe the relationships around you. Pay attention.

Which ones lift and which ones lean?
Which ones encourage and which ones discourage?
Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill?
When you leave certain people, do you feel better or feel worse?
Which ones always have drama, or don’t understand, know or appreciate you?

The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the front row and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.

You cannot change the people around you but you can change the people you are around.


Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www,acimmentor.com.


Christine said…
This is very clear and concise, thank you Liz. Question: what about someone who has passed on but is front row in your mind? And it may be hard to get him or her (who is not living anymore)to get him or her to one of the back rows in your "theater"? Removing that person from one's own mind could be even more difficult. Is this where forgiving (definition of the Course's) kicks in also?
Not speaking about myself, anymore on this subject, just a general question. Thanks.
will said…
Just speaking for myself, moving the folks in the front row to the back row or balcony can be really difficult. With me, the ego waits patiently, waiting for an opening. One minute you're long term strong and the next you're on the phone again... When it comes to the front row folks my personal mind just ain't cuttin' it.
will said…
After years and years of addiction and living with an undisciplined mind, the personal mind knows what to say, which buttons to push. I want, I want, I want. Its mantra. It never wanted a drink or the girl (or whatever) it wants my attention so that it seems real. This is a job for the Holy Spirit. I can't use the personal mind to fix itself. Moving people around in the theater is spiritual work (which of course makes the "I want" all the louder and more real).
Unknown said…
Than you Liz...you are an inspiration to us all...many thanks for it all...Christina Beeshey Kelly x
nicci said…
in order to maintain a healthy environment in the world of form, i can choose to place a sister or brother in the balcony. then i am more free to turn inward and ask for help from the Inner Guide in forgiving what could never be real ~ the false projection that i and my sister or brother could ever be separate from God.

this is how i am understanding this lesson his morning . . .

endless L, n

ACIM Mentor said…
Christine, forgiveness as ACIM describes it (recognizing that only the Truth is true and nothing else is true) must be applied to every situation to be true forgiveness.
Anonymous said…
When identifying as a personal self, special relationships confounded me and I had to do a lot of boundary setting without and within while learning to discern and look with purpose. Some relationships I let go for the obvious and “others” I love at a distance. In retrospect, each and everyone contributed in some way to advancing my path to peace, helping this mind look at guilt, the wrong minded beliefs, patterns of behavior, and to see that “others” are just ideas in this mind to be forgiven.

As this mind grows it's awareness of Truth, and thus heal the sense of lack, many special relationships have naturally fallen away and recognition of incompatibility has become more evident and judgment less. Those relationships, being no longer encouraged, are let go within, with loving release. Special relationships are next to none with the exception of “family for life” whom are mostly loved from a distance now. The only special relationships that are constant are with my three dogs.

So how do I feel about this? Contemplating this question and checking within, there is no sense of needing others, no judgment of good or bad, just neutrality (at this moment). Deb
will said…
Excellent Deb
While reading this week's blog I could feel my ego come roaring in with it's judgments.

No thank you to this exercise. The preferred state of being in this body/mind is Peace. The only recognition of "others" held here would be of "innocence."

Using NOW for thinking about people and shuffling them around in the mind is just an invitation for the ego to step in.

If there needs to be any looking at RELATIONSHIPS it would come from a realization, as Deb commented above, that:

"...each and everyone contributed in some way to advancing my path to peace, helping this mind look at guilt, the wrong minded beliefs, patterns of behavior, and to see that “others” are just ideas in this mind to be forgiven."

Anonymous said…
Oh com'on Liz!...This anonymously written article entitled: "Everyone Can't be in the Front Row" is an "of the world" or "societal" belief that smacks of the thought system A Course of Miracles sets out to dispel. Separating people out in our lives just perpetuates the illusion of separation.

The article ends with:

"You cannot change the people around you but you can change the people you are around."

This is merely pop psychology at best. This is not what ACIM is about. Please comment.

nicci said…
i can only share what my experience has been with this issue in my life. after taking special relationships to the Inner Teacher and asking for help, i have in some instances been guided to step away at the level of form, to break the unhealthy pattern that had set in and free the lower mind to come into the inner recognition - with HIs Help - of the holiness and innocence that we share. this has resulted on occasion to a return of active involvement (first row), and also to continuing to move on and forgive, forgive, forgive, the illusion of guilt and unworthiness. and so flood my heart with gratitude for the presence in this dream of everyone. . .

though shifts have occurred at the level of form, this has been all an inside journey.

endless L, n
will said…
It's an analogy.
will said…
I think we have to realistically look at where we are on the spiritual path. As Caim said, the preferred state is peace and our recognition of others would be innocence. That's true but who has that going on? This is a long road maybe 20 years before true change. I have to look at things like peace and innocence as a goal I am moving towards not something that is taking place on a regular basis. People need help 'now' while moving towards their goals.
Anonymous said…
Liz has taught this mind to see, but truly see that setting boundaries and kindly letting go of unhealthy relationships, (moving the ideas to the balcony of the mind) teaches this mind the Truth of it's inherent worthiness.

Recalling a special relationship that was let go; in it's first appearance it seemed spiritually healthy but after some time, it started to become bothersome. So with true looking, this mind had to look at what the shadow was reflecting back. The mind's interpretation was “you are not worthy of my time anymore, I took what I needed and so you are no longer needed, you are dismissed.” Dismissed, whoa, what a blow! But with further analysis “getting to the root”, the shadow was this mind's belief it was unworthy of Love and by letting it go, it was teaching itself it does have value, it is valuable as the Self.

The letting go however wasn't easy. Anger would rise up and then be projected onto this other as the cause. Then the anger would soften and temptation would rise up to call, text or email. Still the same message was being received, “you are not worthy of my time, my life is more important and too busy for the likes of you.” This script played out maybe a few more times until this mind was really ready to let it go and accept the Truth of It's Being since it could hear the ego shouting from the balcony, “you can't handle the truth” and then my Scooby mind . . .“rut row” remembering, only the Truth is True.

So how does this mind know it truly let go? It was no longer being consumed with those shadow thoughts and thus was no longer tempted to call and with a neutral feeling learned that this other is moving away. With true forgiveness, true seeing with Love's Vision, there is an inner knowing that the script is over and as mind, watching it's end with renewed recognition that only Love is True, welcomes it with gratitude and applause. Deb
nicci said…
i have only my experience with this path to share. the peace felt and innocence glimpsed occurs in relation to the degree to which this mind applies consistent effort and uncompromising commitment to watching the mind and applying choice for Truth. the consistency and commitment with which this happens parallels the quality of the experience of peace and innocence, at times fleeting but more and more a gradual strengthening. so peace and innocence and the experience of them is at this time unfolding not as a goal, but as the ongoing result of my practice with the path.

endless L, n
ACIM Mentor said…
Anonymous (one of them, anyway), my approach to spirituality is practical rather than merely theoretical. As I pointed out in the article, setting boundaries in relationships is a reoccurring theme with my clients. This gets to the heart, in practical terms, of what ACIM teaches about guilt. Lack of boundaries is a sign of guilt. When one has undone their belief in guilt in their mind, then healthy boundaries are natural. But many clients cannot wait until they have totally undone their belief in guilt and need to make a conscious effort to build boundaries. The process usually also involves looking at their own belief in guilt (their feelings of unworthiness, etc.) that lead to their inability to set healthy boundaries.

It's important to also point out that when in ACIM it says "your brother" it was speaking to Helen and Bill in their very rare Holy Relationship. (Originally, the term was "each other"). Helen and Bill were learning the exact same lessons at the exact same time. Most students do not have the experience of the Holy Relationship. So they need boundaries with unhealthy others. In other words, just because you know that the Truth is in every mind does not mean that others know this. (We are One in Truth, not as people). Love does not mean being a doormat. Love means recognizing for others their potential to be mature and healthy (the effect of the awareness of Truth in their minds). You do not serve others well by allowing them to use you, abuse you, or to continue in their negative attitudes. Your boundaries give them an opportunity to learn and to grow. But whether or not they take that opportunity is up to them.
jerryo said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
jerryo said…
I recognized I was assuming the identity of others projecting all this spiritual stuff on them .
Apparently thinking as ego thinks , namely ...
I am you
will said…
Jerryo, the first sentence I got but I'm not sure about the last two. Could you expand?
jerryo said…
Hi Will , its a reference to the perspective of ' looking out through the ego '

" I am You " is a quote from a psychologist at the end of the movie Revolver

I had a hard time going about my daily activities projecting spiritual ideas upon
others , like some of the line in acim might suggest.

In many cases it became torture essentially trying to like , what i didn't naturally like.

Many many video clips on you tube detailing the dynamic of the ego , the movie is
practically a cult classic

Hope that helps
jerryo said…
PS: Forgot to say

If you have the inverted ego dynamic where your mind lives by the idea " I am you"
you will attach to most everyone you meet and struggle to 'fix' them in your head
throughout the day. Its an OCD type thing.
will said…
Thanks jerryo
will said…
I mentioned a few weeks ago I was using Liz's book "Practicing A Course in Miracles A translation of the Workbook in plain language with mentor's notes" as a meditation guide. I can't overstate the value of going through this book. I'm at 11 years doing the course and 'reading' it is something I have to do in bits and pieces. Bite off a piece and then go back for more. Just a heads up.
Christine said…
That's exactly what I'm doing - Will!
Milo Anderson said…
Yes, Everybody is afraid of death. If we do good deeds then we will fear less. We should do good so that we will have good at the end of the day, Judgement day.
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