Cedar posted a talk today Bryn Breene. What is her name? The gist of what she said was this: boundaries in life are absolutely essential. All a boundary is is what is OK and what is not. She said she used to be loving and generous to a fault. And then, resentful and hateful, and blaming. She says she felt others "upset her on purpose." She thought about it and came to the question, "What if people are doing the best they can? I will never know or not if people are doing the best they can. But my life is better by assuming they are trying their best." She summed up: "generosity is a gift to oneself." And generosity requires boundaries. Today she is less sweet, more compassionate. She believes that true compassion, an open heart, requires boundaries. She believes empathy can be taught. We bought this house because M knew I could not live with my son...or more to the point...he can't live with me. He saw over a period of years how sick I got around him. How my spirit was crushed, my health was sapped. But he saw how much it cost me to turn my back entirely. It was half of a life. Half of a self. For better or worse, my son is part of me; my story; maybe the best of it. My joy. So that house was a way to have him near, to continue to teach him, to keep me alive and whole. For me, for better or worse, I will not be alive and fully me, without my son in my life. I lived nearly a whole life separated from my parents and my sister. When my mother died, I almost did, with her. To live my life, I had denied myself a family. I did not know what it had cost me until it was over. I do not want to live the rest of what life I have left, in this same way, missing an arm, a leg, a heart. I will learn, as did Brene, how to have boundaries and a full heart too. She says empathy can be taught. Research has told her this. I will see how.