Susie and I spent 5 days with old and new friends in our Vital Health Retreat in Spain. It went better than we had expected and will certainly be back next year. In the workshop process we spoke a lot about responsibility, or our ability to respond.
Our ability to respond is what connects us to life and it is well worth spending a little time investigating. Many of us shun the idea of taking too much responsibility, as it confronts our beliefs about ourselves, especially our limiting beliefs about the time and resources we have. So to take too much responsibility feels onerous and considering the level of our guilt from our past feels like a massive burden to many of us. As a consequence we avoid the idea of accepting too much responsibility and, if we have an addiction to being a victim, then mostly we accept no responsibility.
When we are unwilling to take responsibility then we live in reaction to what goes on around us. It is as if life is ‘doing’ us, we are not doing our lives. The dynamic is we either become over-emotional and unstable or we become control freaks moving from conflict to conflict. Either way we are on the back foot in life, always waiting for the next moment of drama.
In Spain we examined the idea that responsibility is simply our willingness to respond to people and situations around us. It is not that we have to do anything nor do we need to carry anyone, but we fully recognise that in every situation and in every moment we do have a choice about responding. If someone around us has a medical emergency we could respond by calling for help or helping directly ourselves depending on our skill set, or comforting or praying for him or her. Once we becoming willing to respond our mind opens and many alternatives start to show themselves and then we realise we can expand our field of responsibility in order to make more and more contact with our world.
However, in doing this we are confronted by our meanness, our beliefs in scarcity and all the places where we have shrunk ourselves mostly trying to live a “safe” life. To become good at responding we need to embrace our generosity, because by our willingness to be generous, we then expand and include and our consciousness does the same. It is this expansion of ourselves that transcends our smallness and becomes the process that grows our humanity.
By developing our willingness and ability to be responsible we build a pathway for our giving; we open a door to the universe and build ever-increasing relationships with everything we are willing to respond to. It is through our giving that we find ourselves, discover who we really are and the gifts we have. This gives our lives meaning and direction which gives us joy.
So how far does our responsibility extend? And how extensive is our ability to be in relationships? If you were to answer, “just me and mine” then that would be pretty limiting. But imagine your ability to extend your response to the outer limits of the cosmos. Then you could say you were unlimited, unlimited by anything or anyone and in that state of knowing yourself as unlimited you would dwell in a field of limitless possibilities. Now that is exciting! That would be a life worth living… and it all comes from our willingness to be responsible; to respond and be in relationship with everyone and everything we encounter.