OK, see if you relate to any of this….
For most of my adult life, I have held a deep sense of personal responsibility for the things that are going on around me. I didn’t always feel that way. I was pretty self centered and carefree as a child and teenager.
Although I can’t point at an exact moment when this sense of responsibility arose, I can generally pin its origin around the time I first married, my wife became pregnant and our oldest child was born. Mentally I moved from carefree child to responsible adult.
All of a sudden, I had to make sure that I was a provider. Housing, food, medical expenses, toys, other personal needs….all of this was “on my shoulders” now. Dreams of the perfect and fun career gave way to the necessities of a steady income. More children came, five by the time I was 25 (including a set of triplets), and my role as provider was cemented.
Later in life, I discovered that I could point to how I was raised by my parents and what I had subconsciously accepted as the origin of my strong sense of responsibility. One of those beliefs was that the husband, the father, was the provider, the fixer, the one who had to maintain the stability.
My job became a career, fueled by the necessity to provide more and more income to meet the needed expenses of life. As I rose in the ranks of the organization, I moved into management and ultimately higher leadership. Although I did not realize it at the time, my success, both as a parent and an employee, was essential to my sense of personal worth. And that success only came by taking on the responsibility for ensuring that everything worked out well. When there were problems, I needed to fix them. If I didn’t, I was a failure, unworthy. That’s a lot of pressure. Not complaining, just stating a basic fact.
Time went by. My children grew up. Although there were some challenges, they became happy and successful. My marriage moved through a crisis. My sense of responsibility called me to fix it. I changed, I tried, I learned, I grew….but eventually I had to come to grips that it was time for it to end.
My life became one of personal examination. Why did this happen? Who was I really? Why did I believe what I believed about life? The blessing in going through this was the wisdom that came from looking at my life and my beliefs. In this, I held up to the light the feeling of personal responsibility I carried for everyone around me. I had to let it go. In many ways I did.
I watched as my children moved into adulthood and began their own careers, had their own children. In moments of need, I rushed in to help. In time, I learned to not jump into savior mode as my first response. I won’t say it was easy. I couldn’t fix every little thing anyway. Why did I think I could? It was more important for them to live their own lives, learn their own lessons.
And, I dated. I fell in love. I remarried. My new marriage benefited from the lessons learned from the old one. Now, I listened. I supported. I helped where I could. I did not try to fix things that were not really mine to fix. The relationship thrived and continues to.
Yet in spite of my awareness, there were still areas where I needed to grow, to learn, to accept that I could not change the world, I could not fix everything that I perceive needed to be fixed. For example, there is a part of this website, Conscious Bridge, that I recognize can be motivated by “fix it” energy.
I recognize that we, humanity, are evolving from an animalistic past to a spiritual future. That evolution, from one aspect of our nature to the other, is the “bridge” part of the title. Crossing the bridge involves our “conscious” awareness. In other words, our becoming conscious allows us to shift our lives and move up the spiral of life to where we are ultimately called on our journey.
I recognize that there is a part of me that wants readers here to “get it”, to get that awareness. However, I need to make sure that I have no attachment to the outcome. If I am attached to everyone shifting their consciousness towards creating the highest possible world, one that works for everyone, then I am setting myself up for disappointment. I know that I don’t have to save the world to be successful (and hence worthy). If I touch and shift any of the infinite number of pockets of consciousness out there towards a greater awareness, then great. However, my success and my worth is not tied to that occurring. I know that.
Saving the World?
Even though I cannot and need not “save the world”, that doesn’t mean that I should sit back and watch things unfold without getting involved where I am called to do so. One of my spiritual teachers (whom I have only “met” through his writings) is Ernest Holmes. On this topic he wrote the following:
“It is quite a burden lifted when we realize that we do not have to move the world—it is going to move anyway. This realization does not lessen our duty or our social obligation. It clarifies it. It enables us to do joyously, and free from morbidity, that which we should do in the social state.”
The beautiful perfection of the interplay of the world is going to move and grow and change naturally with or without me consciously attempting to be a social change agent. The world may take turns down paths that may not be my choice for our collective experience (such as fear and war and income inequality and racism and the like), but somehow I must let go and know that our travels through the “valley of the shadow of darkness” will ultimately be healing to our collective soul.
I can, as I am called, be a voice for goodness, truth and beauty where appropriate, but I must release attachments to the outcome. I will not dwell on that which appears negative (I will be free from morbidity). I will experience joy in my life no matter what is occurring “out there”.
I love my chocolate lab Harmony. She came into my life at the time of my divorce. She guided me and supported me through the time of dating. She led me to my loving wife, Mary. The three of us have become a close loving family and my life is filled with joy. I have been blessed by her presence.
Harmony is 14 and a half years old. Her spirits are good but her body is giving out on her. Much time is spent each day tending to her needs….helping her up, feeding her, giving her medicines, taking her outside and helping her try to find joy in an aging and failing body.
And, each day is filled with love. I hold her, pet her, talk to her….tell her how much she means to me and has meant to me. I know that on some level we will be together forever. I know on another level that her beautiful and loving soul will depart this plane and I will not be able to hold her and care for her.
As much as I want, I cannot fix her body.
Once again, life is providing me the deep message that I need to embody…..I am worthy just as I am….my worth is not defined by my success in fixing the world…..and I cannot hold on to that which is forever changing, shifting….I cannot live with a sense of attachment to a world that is going to change, to move, anyway.
Harmony has taught me many lessons through these past 14 plus years and she continues to teach me. May I learn these lessons completely.
I may not be able to save the world, but I know that I can bring joy and love….and harmony….to my little area of it.
If you liked this article, why don’t you check out my other writings? Here are all my 4 books available on Amazon. You might like the popular Becoming a Spiritual Change Agent and Our Spiritual Evolution (available in paperback and Kindle versions). Also, be sure to follow Conscious Bridge on Twitter and Facebook!
That’s a recent photo of Harmony.