Black, with red eyes and fluid edges, the face appeared in my dorm room, flashing in front of my computer screen. I knew she was trying to scare me into giving her my attention, but I had midterms to study for. She’d been pestering me all semester, making my roommate cold, knocking over every vase of flowers my roommate kept (I think I still owe her keyboard number four or five that was ruined from the water). I had no idea what to do, so I just kept ignoring her.
A sophomore in college, I’d known I was psychic for a little over five years. I’d done a lot of work as a medium, but I hadn’t had spirits aggressively seeking my attention, especially without clearly stating a purpose. This was my first lesson in boundaries.
Boundaries were a concept I had no experience with since my family wasn’t great with them. I especially didn’t know how to set them for myself. The only avenues I had learned for dealing with someone who wanted your attention was to ignore them or give them the attention they demanded.
I didn’t have time to give her attention. Ignoring her wasn’t helping. In a burst of frustration, I wheeled around to look at her by the door and demanded to know what she was doing in my room. Immediately, she stopped flashing her huge, scary black face and became a slim woman in a long, flowered dress. Her name was Rose, and she wanted to tell me she was jealous.
Jealous? This is why she’d been interrupting me every waking moment of the semester? To tell me she was jealous?
I let her tell me her story. The short version is that she had been psychic in her most recent life, but simply believed she was crazy. When her youngest son died and came back to see her, she told her husband, who locked her away in an asylum. She eventually hanged herself, and did not cross over to the other side. She was jealous that I knew I was psychic, that I had people in my life who believed me and supported me, and that my husband was accepting of it. (Husband? What husband? I had to wonder.)
When she was done, I told her I was sorry, but there was nothing I could do for her that I knew of, and I certainly couldn’t try when I was studying for midterms. She agreed to wait patiently until I was able to devote some time to talking to her and figuring out what I could do to help.
She did indeed wait patiently. She stopped freezing my roommate. She stopped knocking things over. And after midterms were over, I turned my attention back to her. We called her husband and older son, and I facilitated a conversation between them. (They had since realized their error. You get a lot smarter when you die.) Rose was able to make peace with her life and crossed over. She still comes to visit once in awhile.
Since then, I’ve learned that setting boundaries with spirits, ghosts, and other entities is important to maintaining balance in my life, balance between this world and the next, and my mental health. The easiest way to set boundaries is to have times of the day and spaces that are off limits. When I close my door at night, spirits who want to talk to me know they’ll have to wait till morning. Same with the workday. Beyond that, you set boundaries with them almost like you do with people. Acknowledge that they need to speak with you, ask them politely to wait, and promise to come back to them, with a specific time if necessary.
There are other ways to set boundaries with energy and spirits if you’re not able to see/hear them. Setting off limit spaces and times still works, even if you can’t hear/see spirits. Otherwise, sealing a space using reiki symbols works if you are a Reiki II practitioner. You can smudge a space with sage and set the intention that the only energy that that can enter is energy that you have invited in, and will work towards your greatest good. Finally, visualize a bright white bubble around you, and similarly set the intention that only positive energy may come to you.
Regardless of how you interact with the worlds around us, boundaries are an important piece of keeping a healthy balance, and keeping yourself safe and healthy.