A Whistle That Touches My Heart: Thomas B. Heath

September 7, 2017

Name: Thomas B. Heath

Home: Charleston, SC

Job: Life coach, playwright

Thomas’ Whistle: Boundaries

How I Know Thomas: As first cousins (our mothers are sisters), we’ve known each other our entire lives.

Whistle in Action: In the poem “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost mused about the value of walls separating land and people. Regardless of the inefficacy or necessity, Frost lamented, the fellow farmer stuck to his belief that “Good fences make good neighbors.” To me, walls–real or metaphorical–are all about respect, so I tend to agree with Frost’s neighbor. Over the past ten years in particular, cousin Thomas has helped me realize the power of well-defined and articulated boundaries when it comes to both personal and professional relationships. Boundaries aren’t about keeping people out, Thomas reminds me, they’re about letting them into our lives in constructive and respectful ways. Here’s his personal definition: “Boundaries are an indicator of what is, and what is not, acceptable to me in my life.” Thomas is a passionate, creative person, committed to lifelong learning and personal growth. Following years of work and reflection, he has harnessed the power of boundaries to foster peaceful, healthy, and productive environments and relationships. Our close friendship has enabled me to witness the fruits of his journey and importantly, to benefit from them. In keeping with his philosophy, when asked, Thomas readily gives candid, constructive suggestions (he says with a smile that he’s very careful about giving “advice.”) Many times, he’s helped me think through sticky personal and professional situations in ways that are logical and respectful, and when necessary, apply a dose of tough love. I am a healthier, happier person as a result.

(Find this and other stories in my new book Find Your Whistle: Simple Gifts Touch Hearts & Change Lives.)