These are my musings and observations on my daily life, loves and the laughter that are all a part of my experience of living now in the shires of England.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Take responsibility for your life

I’ve been on several journeys in the past nine months; this has been my period of gestation. I’ve now given birth to my dream, again. I am living my dream.

Some of these journeys that I’ve been on have been emotional and mental, and others have been physical. Let me share with you some of the things I’ve learnt on my travels.

The first thing I acknowledge is that change is good. Change always happens.
All my recent journeys have included change in my life. The fear of the change has been worse than the actual reality of the change. So, I’m glad that I passed the fear stage and started on the action phase.

It’s been a marvellous time.
A time of growth. A time I’d never have missed for anything.

One event can re-route you from your journey. It can be an unexpected pleasure like a touch of love; a hint of care, a moment of attention from a stranger, and, if you are fully alert in that moment, your whole life is changed. Immediately you want more, different outcomes from life.
It could be an unexpected meeting that fills the gap, chases the shadows away and releases the vacuum: so that you are free at last. Free to follow your dream.
What happens in those special moments is that you realize that up until that point you are not living fully. You realize that the existence you are in is shallow.

For me there were a series of small incidents in my long journey. These built up and turned into the catalyst that made me see that where I was going at that time was not where I really wanted to be going. But one event stands out amongst them all. It was like the final ignition of the flame.

The occasion was a group holiday. Following an unexplained strained day I was suddenly, after the evening meal, verbally attacked by a member of the group. Being sensitive to mood changes I had, earlier in the day, guessed something was amiss, but the venom of the attack caught me off guard and I reeled emotionally. I had not expected any attack much less a full frontal attack. The damage to my emotions left me open and wounded.
I reacted in the way I used to do when confronted with conflict. I tried to laugh it off, then, registering the seriousness of the assailant, I retreated into a state of shock that was accompanied by copious tears. Anger followed swiftly. Anger at the person whose actions had elicited my response. Most of all I was angry at myself for not being prepared and exposing my emotional self so blatantly for all to see. I was used to keeping all emotions in severe check.

Now I see that this event was a good thing as unexpected people supported me through that time in unexpected ways and I have learnt about a strength and resolve that I had forgotten existed within me
But back then I didn’t know what to do.
I tried reasoning with the person, but they wouldn’t listen to me. Others also tried but the person was fixed in their views of righteous indignation at the perceived wrong that I had inflicted on them and could not be moved. This was a time when there would be no resolution. It hurt me. My role as peacemaker and pacifier was rejected: I was the accused and the mantle did not sit well with me.

Despite my best efforts I knew after a while that nothing was going to alter. My anger grew. I felt impotent. I wanted to be away from there. From all of those people. But my sense of responsibility to others held me there. When I was placated slightly by a kind relative, things started to calm down as I accepted the impossible situation.
Although I was still wired with expectations, they were never met. Then, in the midst of all my high tension and frustrations, I was literally touched; it was like electricity – right through my body. I jumped initially when I felt fingers on my shoulder because I became completely undone. The touch extended to somewhere that had been dormant for too long. I felt awakened in that moment, then I had another struggle on my hands: I wanted to get to the source of that feeling. Instantly I knew what I wanted.
I was, however, scared, because it felt so, so good. I asked the person to stop touching me. I wanted them to continue, but I needed to ask them to stop or I would lose my control right there and then. I could easily have just packed up and driven away right then because that was what I felt was the right thing for me. And I knew I was free to do what was right for me. Right there.
The almost empty restaurant now seems the strangest of locations to release my inner desire, but it was the right place.

I knew what I needed to feel free. It was almost as if I was being told that ‘it’s alright that they don’t like you, they are wrong about you, and that’s alright. You don’t need to change their minds, you just need to change your attitude’.
Then, strangely, I also remembered that other important dream that had been locked away. I recalled in extreme clarity the purpose of my existence here.
Right then I did not have a long term worked out plan. I just had the desire to do what my whole being ached for.
I decided to take responsibility for my life. I took back the control that I had let slip away from me.

You may already be in full control of your destiny, and I applaud you. Let others learn from you. If, however, you are starting your journey, take this fact with you: it is possible to get control of your life and it will be an amazing trip. Take the first step. It’s a bit like looking at an elephant and thinking how on earth are you going to eat a whole elephant. The answer is: one bit at a time. No matter how big the obstacle is you can manage it just one bit at a time.

Take responsibility for your life, it’s up to you, no one else. It’s your life. Why leave it to chance or to the input of somebody else to have the power or the responsibility to decide what you do? Being free to choose is part of being human. It’s a gift; it’s a real gift. Don’t waste it; use this time. Now. Take responsibility. You have no right to complain if you don’t. It’s your choice not to take responsibility, too. Do it or don’t.
It’s your life.

Just remember this, whatever you choose to do: making other people happy when you lack happiness can become a habit and is cowardly behaviour, and a poor excuse to stop you finding out your own dream of what makes you happy.

Start the next moment that is given to you with a renewed plan to teach your heart to smile as you live your dream.

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