On the personal side, I was last divorced (yes, there was more than one) 21 years ago. For many years, I dated with several longer relationships along the way. An abusive childhood left me with an impaired ability to make intelligent choices in partners. Spiritually, I have grown significantly over the years and achieved some healing; however, I'm aware of missing the opportunity to communicate within a relationship to resolve issues. This would not have been possible with the individuals I chose for partners.
How do I remain open and free of the build up of sludge that life can sometimes throw at me while encouraging open communication in the spirit of love toward even those who may not like me? As I move forward toward a new venture, I want to learn how to communicate with others without carrying past hurts or even the dents from slings and arrows. I loved my mother dearly but do not want to be like her at the end and sense my expectations of others may be too high. Is there a way to achieve this?
You say you have high expectations of others. I sense that this attitude comes from your mother. You are becoming increasingly bitter as you grow older. Your mother was also similar. You need to break this aping and shadowing of your mother and develop more healthy mental habits.
Your suffering the slings and arrows of life, as you put it, may be due to a reluctance to forgive others for things they said and did. Realize and accept that the world is often ill mannered and at times cruel and focus on transforming yourself rather than blaming others and holding grudges.
Forgiveness is much easier if you refrain from having any expectations of others. I encourage you to look for and see only the good in others and the faults in yourself. That way you will find it easy to forgive others and transform yourself. Adopting this approach is the essential first step in personal development. You can only control your own transformation. As you grow in maturity your influence and example will extend outwards and others will seek out your advice and support. In this way you will eventually become a healing force for good.
By focusing your efforts at transformation inward, you will begin to listen more clearly to your conscience and other aspects of inner guidance to direct your life.
As far as practicing relationships are concerned, you may not have a romantic partner at present but life itself offers many opportunities to practice relationship skills. If you are intending to start a non profit organization you will be given lots of opportunity to develop relationship skills and to resolve issues.
Therefore I suggest you focus on three main areas...