©2009 Joan M. Newcomb
Responsibility is the ability to respond. We've distorted it to 'taking responsibility', which usually means for something outside ourselves. Taking responsibility feels really heavy, usually, because it involves taking on energy that isn't our own.
Some people take so much responsibilty for the world around them that they neglect taking care of themselves. And other people resist taking responsibility so much that they neglect taking care of themselves, as well. Funny how that happens.
Imagine what it would be like if all you had to do is respond. Respond to whatever is in front of you right now. Respond to what is.
Not react - reacting is bouncing off someone else's actions or emotions. Reacting usually is an unconscious response. Most of us go through life reacting. We feel like things are happening to us.
When you're in responsive mode, you're at choice. Something occurs, and you can choose how to respond to it. Someone behaves a certain way in front of you, and you can respond. Or not.
When you practice respond-ability, it starts to become very clear what is your stuff and what isn't. Hmm. Am I doing something for someone else that they could do for themselves? That's taking responsibility outside yourself. It drains your energy and disempowers the other person.
Byron Katie has an audio about 'all that's required of me' - 'all that's required of me is to sit in this chair right now'. She says 'my job is to sit comfortably now'... that's a perfect example of being in responsive mode.
Doing the next indicated thing is also a great example of practicing respond-ability. All you need to do is the next indicated thing, all you need to do is take the next step in front of you.
Suddenly you're in the present moment. The burdens of the past have dropped away, the fears of the future are gone. Things become very clear and very simple.
Your main responsibility is to take care of yourself. The reason the airlines tell you to put the oxygen masks on yourself first is so that you can be breathing and awake enough to put them on others that need it. That's something I think about when even now my knee jerk reaction would be to pass out trying to put them on my kids. And my kids are 18 and 22.
When you're focus is pulled back into your own reality, your energy is within your own space. It's amazing when that happens - things you've been trying to manifest for years start to happen. Mainly because you're "home" to receive them. Other people benefit from you're taking responsibilty for yourself. Either they no longer have to take responsibility for you, so they have energy for themselves. Or, because you no longer are, they start taking responsiblity for themselves! It allows everyone to grow up, no matter how old they are!
So I invite you to play with this for the next week - think in terms of responding to, rather than reacting. And notice what happens when you do!