Last night I had a dream that all my imaginary friends and all my real friends were at a party. Everyone was all congregated, so some of the sex-addict spouses were mingling with my super-slutty screw-anything-that-moves friends, and some of the recovering alcoholics were hanging out with the hard-core drinkers.
I was greeting everyone at the door, and trying to practice mindful awareness. In Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond Ajahn Brahm talks about present moment awareness, and used a simile of greeting guests at a party: one must acknowledge the guest (or the thought) and move on to the next one, not stop to engage in dialogue or one would miss the next guest/thought. In my dream-party I was trying to acknowledge and greet each guest, but also trying to practice that present-moment awareness and not lose track of the next guest. I had prepared ahead of the party, and had note-cards with expected boundaries for each person. As each guest came to the door, I would ask them to choose a boundary, such as "don't offer me a blowjob" or "don't make me a drink", and pin it to their shirts. This was my excellent plan for managing the relationships between my blog friends and my other friends. Unfortunately, my attempt at providing an easy way for my friends to create visual boundaries was working in direct conflict with my present moment awareness.
I had a long queue at the door, because some of my friends were taking rather a long time to choose their boundary-slips. Meanwhile, I was quite concerned about how guests were interacting and I left my post at the door to check on everyone. Things got out of hand rather fast, and a fight broke out over the boundary note cards because two people wanted the same boundary; some of my friends were engaging the others in triggering behaviours. Alcoholics were drinking, sex-addicts were having sex, and junkies were shooting up; co-dependents were peeking through cracks in doors, stomping their feet, and insisting they were fine. I felt responsible for everything going wrong, and was rushing from one group to the next reminding everyone about their boundary-slips and passing out note-cards for people to write their feelings on. Afterward, I was going to hold a circle in which we all discussed how our boundaries got broke, and how we felt about it.
Imagine my relief when I woke up this morning and realized it was just a dream. It was a good reminder to me not to take the burden of responsibility for other people's actions.