Some favorite expressions of small children:
"It's not my fault. . . They made me do it. . . I forgot."
Some favorite expressions of adults:
"It's not my job. . . No one told me. . . It couldn't be helped."
True freedom begins and ends with personal accountability."
Last weekend, I woke up to a beautiful sunny morning. Over my coffee, I read a friend's blog and in it the link to a video, showing in clear and graphic detail the enormity of the global economic crisis. My heart sank. My stomach felt leaden. Could this news item ruin my day?
Do you ever feel like this - overwhelmed and darkened by the news?
I chose to close up the computer and go out for a walk in the fresh air. My mood changed. I felt better. I got on with the day and enjoyed it.
Had I not made the move, I could well have spiraled down into apportioning blame and finding fault with those who seem responsible for the financial mess - politicians, business leaders, bankers - making myself more miserable in the process. There are things outside of myself over which I have no control. What choices do I have?
1. We are not accountable for what happens beyond our control. We can choose how we respond to it.
"I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself."
So what is this gift of life that we have? In the chapter Exercising Freedom of my last book, SuperYou: Be The Best You Can Become, I was exploring the fears that drive addictions, compulsions, obsessions and aversions. On the final edit, it came to me that the greatest fear we have is that of getting in touch with our deepest feelings of love. We are each of us richly endowed with a gift of love that sustains us throughout our lives.
2. Loving ourselves is the basis for personal accountability.
I believe that many of us are more powerful than we dare to imagine. In Russell Bishop's article on accountability, he invites us to consider the possibility that we create, promote or allow everything that happens to us.
If that were so, how can we learn from our mistakes of the past? With love, we would not punish ourselves. We would treat ourselves kindly, with compassion, as we would a dearly loved child, then make wiser choices for the future. Learning comes more easily with love.
The past is over. There is nothing you can do to change the past. With love, you can forgive the past - and be free not to repeat old mistakes.
We were born with eyes in the front of our heads. If we were meant to live in the past, with blame and fault-finding, we might have eyes in the back of our heads. We are designed to move forwards. Our bodies are articulated better for forward movement. We can create the future we truly want. Yes, we can.
3. We can create a better life - for ourselves and others.
"Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities - always see them for they're always there."
Norman Vincent Peale
Yesterday afternoon, after several hours slaving over a hot computer, I went out for a walk along the sea front. A sunny afternoon. School half term. Kids on roller blades, skate boards, bicycles, tricycles, scooters, some of them moving at considerable speed. Walking along was quite hazardous. Then I got to thinking: what an amazing and life changing invention - the wheel.
Further along on my walk, I came to where a software group is holding a congress. Huge posters everywhere announcing: Virtually Anything Is Possible. Amazing how life can echo our thoughts.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. What are some ideas you have for changing and improving things around you?
In my last week's post, Pupadup4oBama commented: My husband and I are both currently unemployed...but I feel like I have so many ideas about what I want and can do. It's exciting and scary, but that's what makes it exciting. Here speaks a Possibilitarian.
One of my Possible Dreams is to communicate, through speaking and writing, my vision for a happier, healthier, wealthier world. One of the steps I am taking is writing these posts.
This is a great time for magnificent Dreams - what are yours? I would love to learn about visions you have, and how you are making them happen in your life.
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely..." Ralph Waldo Emerson