The power of responsibility

“It’s been said that the line between childhood and adulthood is crossed when we move from saying ‘It got lost’ to ‘I lost it.’

Indeed, being accountable – and understanding and accepting the role our choices play in the things that happen – are crucial signs of emotional and moral maturity. That’s why responsibility is one of the main pillars of good character.

Many people have been seduced by the Peter Pan philosophy of refusing to grow up and avoiding the burdens implied in being accountable. Yes, responsibility sometimes requires us to do things that are unpleasant or even frightening. It asks us to carry our own weight, prepare and set goals, and exercise the discipline to reach our aspirations.

But the benefits of accepting responsibility far outweigh the short-lived advantages of refusing to do so. No one makes his or her life better by avoiding responsibility. In fact, irresponsibility is a form of self-imposed servitude – to circumstances and to other people.

Responsibility is about our ability to respond to circumstances and to choose the attitudes, actions, and reactions that shape our lives. It is a concept of power that puts us in the driver’s seat. The grand panorama of the potential of our lives can only be appreciated when we begin to be accountable and self-reliant.

Responsible people not only depend on themselves, but show others that they can be depended on. This breeds trust, and trust is a key that opens many doors.

If you want more control over your life and the pleasures, prerogatives, and power of freedom and independence, all you have to do is be responsible.”

~ Michael Josephson

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Maturity

“Maturity is the ability to live fully and equally in multiple contexts; most especially, the ability, despite our grief and losses, to courageously inhabit the past the present and the future all at once. The wisdom that comes from maturity is recognized through a disciplined refusal to choose between or isolate three powerful dynamics that form human identity: what has happened, what is happening now and what is about to occur.

Immaturity is shown by making false choices: living only in the past, or only in the present, or only in the future, or even, living only two out of the three.

Maturity is not a static arrived platform, where life is viewed from a calm, untouched oasis of wisdom, but a living elemental frontier between what has happened, what is happening now and the consequences of that past and present; first imagined and then lived into the waiting future.

Maturity calls us to risk ourselves as much as immaturity, but for a bigger picture, a larger horizon; for a powerfully generous outward incarnation of our inward qualities and not for gains that make us smaller, even in the winning.”

~ David Whyte

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Priorities

“So many things to do, I’m always rushing ’round
I wish that I had time to just sit still
I’ll get done all the things I need to do today
I promise then I’ll stop a while, I will

And so I start to tackle the list of chores I made
I’ll make this house look really spick and span
I’ll tidy up and wash the floor and vac and dust as well
Clean the bathrooms, clean the house – I know I can

A friend rings up. She’s feeling down. She wants to come around
She asks if I have time to talk a while
I stop to make a coffee and lend a listening ear
I have nothing to give except my smile

Then, when she’s feeling better and she knows that she’s been heard
She thanks me and then she goes on her way
I look around my house and continue with my chores
For I am going to get somewhere today

The telephone then rings. My son’s teacher’s on the phone
She wants me to come down and get him now
I go down to the school and I bring my sick child home
I’ll clean this house up later on somehow

And later when the kids are home; ‘Mum, I need to talk’
And so I stop to listen for a while
My daughter tells me how she feels, she opens up her heart
Then, when she knows I’ve heard her, she can smile

When the night has come, I wonder, ‘what did I achieve?’
And, then I look back on all I have done
The house is still not tidy and there’s still so much to do
Just like it was when I had first begun

But, then I stop and realize my priorities are right
For when someone’s in need then, I am there
I give to them the time they need and help them where I can
I let them know how much I really care

For when the years have passed and my kids have all moved out
They will feel the love and warmth I had to give
And I know that they’ll remember the lessons that they learned
In self-worth and in how they choose to live”

~ Michelle Tetley

Family

The path

“Some might ask whether the path is before us or within us. The answer is: Yes. We are both driven from within by our resident spirit and something outside calls forth the genius within us. The genius is what we aim to know and it is the force that drives us to awaken. What truly calls to us speaks to the personal myth and the innate purpose seeded in our soul from the beginning.”

~ Michael Meade, “The Genius Myth

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Not knowing

“Eventually we realize that not knowing what to do is just as real and just as useful as knowing what to do. Not knowing stops us from taking false directions. Not knowing what to do, we start to pay real attention. Just as people lost in the wilderness, on a cliff face or in a blizzard pay attention with a kind of acuity that they would not have if they thought they knew where they were. Why? Because for those who are really lost, their life depends on paying real attention. If you think you know where you are, you stop looking.”
~ David Whyte

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