WORDS OF EMPOWERMENT - Kathy Bourquin
- Category: WORDS OF EMPOWERMENT
- Published on Wednesday, 31 August 2011 04:00
RESPONSIBILITY........groan. This is a word we often recoil at hearing. It implies to us we have something that we must do. It moves us into a place where we have to live up to an expectation, take the lead, work at something. It often feels heavy because doing the right thing falls on our shoulders. Whatever the words are to explain the reaction, most of us feel our shoulders weigh down a bit when we hear from someone else or from within that we are responsible for a task or outcome.
Let me introduce the idea that we do not really understand the meaning of responsibility. Or at least, I suggest we have room to understand it in a much more enlightened and deeper way. Responsibility defined in it’s highest meaning is our "ability to respond." More than the act of something we have to DO, it is a way of BEING in response to a life circumstance. Responding at the highest of our ability is true responsibility. Sometimes it may mean we, indeed, DO something. But even more accurately, it refers to our inner response to whatever is happening. It is from of our inner thoughts and feelings that we choose our actions. So the catalyst for all action is really our thought and feeling about whatever is presented to us. Therefore, our first and foremost RESPONSIBILITY is to consciously choose our inner response. This then results in our outer response.
Response and reaction are very different things. Reactions are unconscious or subconscious. They are the inner and/or outer immediate display of thought, feeling or action - without awareness or conscious choice. When someone steps off a curb into the flow of traffic, our reaction is to be afraid and possibly scream a warning or run to grab them back. When someone loudly disagrees with you, your reaction may be hurt or anger. If you react rather than respond, you may cry or raise your voice. The first description I gave of a reaction can have a very positive outcome. The second is usually a prescription for increased conflict. Reactions are not necessarily always a lower choice than responding. . In an emergency, we react. As a result, we often avert disaster or catastrophe. But most situations in life have a better outcome when we thoughtfully respond . It is normal to have our most primal initial reaction to everything. It is evolved to then move into conscious and thoughtful response. The opportunity for the best possible outcome in any situation is much greater when we respond at the highest level of our ability...... when we accept our responsibility.
Real, spiritually enlightened understanding of responsibility is to know that we are always responsible for ourselves. We can not be truly responsible for anything unless we understand this Truth. When we are responsible for ourselves, we speak the Truth. We act in ways that empower us, allowing others to learn their responsibility and be personally empowered as a result. When we respond to life situations at the highest of our ability, we create an atmosphere where everyone involved has the freedom to choose to do the same. The idea of taking responsibility for someone else is actually an illusion. Responsibility is totally personal. The ability to respond is personal. YOU can not take on my ability to respond. YOU can not respond to the highest of MY ability. YOU can get in the way of my taking responsibility, but YOU can not truly take on my responsibility. And if you try to take away my opportunity to respond at my highest ability, you get in the way of my learning, growing and being all that I am created to be.
Spiritually Speaking - there is one primary thing for which we are truly responsible. If we respond to our highest ability on this subject, then everything else falls into place. If we pause, become aware, set the intention to take on this one responsibility in every situation and every moment, we are then responsible to the very highest level we are capable. This responsibility can heal all conflict, build all bridges and create immense inner peace and happiness: TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENERGY THAT WE ARE CREATING AND PUTTING FORTH INTO EVERY MOMENT.
The energy of responding at the highest of our ability is always one of peace. It is an energy where solutions can be born, where harmony can be realized - where love prevails. It doesn’t only apply to the energy we are putting out with others, but ALSO and equally important, the energy we are creating within us. The energy of anger, frustration, negativity - even in our own minds when we are alone - is damaging.
What I share with you here in this article, is a recent personal revelation. It’s not exactly new information, but I have become more aware of it’s Truth. I have decided to very intently ask myself in every moment, "What energy am I putting forth into this moment?" I know that my highest ability to respond means using my compassion, my patience, my intelligence, my love. I can justify feelings of anger at times. I can justify my feelings of hurt, neediness and other negative impact emotions. BUT I do not have to respond from these places.
One of my favorite Spiritual Teachers, Marianne Williamson, asks this question, "Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?" Does putting forth temper, self-pity, stubbornness ever really make us happy? Even if it’s justified or understandable, does it solve the problem? No. I can choose to be compassionate and understanding of my emotion, but respond from a higher place. And if it takes me awhile to be willing to respond from a higher place, I can choose to be still until I am ready.
I ask and suggest that everyone who reads this contemplates making the decision to take on our truest responsibility. "What is the energy I am creating or putting forth in this moment?"
Is it representative of my highest ability? Does it make me happy? Does it contribute to the good of myself or anybody else? Merely deciding to become aware of the answer to this question will bring God’s/Life’s greatest ability to respond to you. And that response is always one of Peace and Love.
- Kathy Bourquin
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