Posts

Responsibility- how do you bear it?

How do you view responsibility?  A necessary evil?  Part of the blame game?  Something to avoid at all costs?  When you think of responsibility, do you get a sinking feeling in your stomach?  Or does it lighten you and bring a thrill of what is possible, excitement and potential?

Very often, responsibility gets a bad press.  It can be linked to blame, in that other people can point the finger if things go wrong or it doesn’t work.  Many think of it as a burden that comes with mortgages, job roles, parenthood, relationships.

Others avoid responsibility because they feel the weight of it crushes their creativity, freedom and sense of fun with life.  And there are those that see it as unavoidable, like shackles that hold them back and stop life being fun and exciting.

Embodying Archetypes to explore Responsibility

On a recent Embodiment Circle Online co-hosted by myself, Thea Allison and Catelijne Coopmans, we explored responsibility through the archetype of Sovereign.  We built on the theme that alignment of the body allows you to relax and bear weight more lightly.  And that alignment relates directly to the weight of responsibility and how that burden can be lightened when it is aligned to your values.  Here is the body-based meditation we ran in the Circle:

Responsibility and Personal Sovereignty

Sovereign is a powerful metaphor for your personal sovereignty.  To take responsibility for your own fulfilment, meaning and purpose.  To create the order, structure and stability for yourself and therefore for others so that they may thrive.

You must align with you values if you are to take on that responsibility willingly, openly and with commitment.  As a business leader, to see your colleagues thrive and develop in their jobs and contribute in a way that sees your industry and the economy at large prosper.  As a parent, to witness your children grow and find fulfilment in their own lives.  Or as a manager, to create teams that are motivated and inspired and instrumental in the success of the company.  And central to all that is honouring what is most important to you so that you flourish too.  You are Sovereign of your own life and no one can benefit from your skills, talents and qualities if you are not fulfilled and living life on purpose.

That takes responsibility, a commitment within yourself to stay true to what is most important to you, for your well-being and the well-being of those your life touches.  There is something about bearing the weight of responsibility as a gift that lightens you, inspires you, when you are aligned to your values, meaning and purpose.

Embodying Responsibility

An equivalent alignment in the body would be with the Head (mind), Heart (chest) and Hara (pelvis).  When these three centres align, the weight of the body is supported by the skeleton and the muscles can relax.  Without that alignment, the muscles remain tense and become tired.  Life becomes effortful, and increasingly so as the body tires, weakens and struggles more.

Responsibility aligned to Values

This relationship between alignment of the body and aligning your responsibility with values, meaning and purpose is essential if you are to bear the weight of responsibility without effort and with dignity and wisdom.  Wisdom comes from understanding that there is a great price to be paid if you take action that is out of alignment with your values, meaning and purpose.  Just like when you move your body when it is out of alignment and you damage a muscle or break a bone.  The price is too high for you and those around you.

Bearing Responsibility Lightly

The mantle or cloak, crown and insignia are the ceremonial garments Sovereign wears to represent this responsibility.  Together these garments are a weight that is best carried with good alignment of posture.  Aligning Head, Heart and Hara allows the muscles to relax.  Muscles free of tension allow the weight to drop into the floor.  And because every action has an equal and opposite reaction (Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion), the Earth pushes back against that weight, lightening the body.  No matter how great the weight, the force pushing back will always reciprocate, offering support and bearing the load.  It is universal law.

A person who lives aligned to their values walks with confidence, a lightness and ease in their step.  They walk tall, take up space and have a presence and power that are commanding.  They own their sovereignty and bear responsibility lightly.  Alignment of values shows itself through alignment of body.  An aligned body shows the strength of character to honour values through action.

Values-based Responsibility

In your own life, responsibility will include your relationships, career, finances, bringing up the kids, job responsibilities, upkeep of the home and bills, offering emotional support and helping others thrive.  You also maintain self-care, so that you can live life to the full as well as continue with this responsibility.  If you are to bear these responsibilities lightly, joyfully, with ease and dignity they must align with your values.  What responsibilities do you have that align with your values?  What is the feeling of that alignment?  Energising, invigorating, inspiring?

It is not enough to feel responsible for the finances of the family for example.  That responsibility will crush you if what you do to live up to that responsibility gives you no joy, fulfilment and a sense of purpose.  It is such a common situation for a person to work all hours so that they can provide for their family.  Yet, they are missing their children and spouse because they are working all the time.  They are out of alignment with their values.  The long hours would be more bearable if they had great relationships with their family.

But so often they do not.  They feel lonely and isolated and find themselves longing for the intimacy of family.  Meanwhile, the family misses their presence and they fall short of thriving as a result.  For your own sovereignty, it is important to get that alignment right and find the balance so that the weight of financial responsibility is lightened.

Aligning Responsibility to Values

If your responsibility does not align, can you find a way to do so?

I have a love/ hate relationship with the responsibility of keeping a clean and tidy home.  It gets in the way of my creativity and freedom if I do it too much.  And yet, if I let it slide too long, the mess and lack of calm inhibits the creative flow.  So, I balance the responsibility of cleaning and tidying with the values of creativity and being productive in my work.  What responsibilities do you have that you can align to your values that are currently not aligned?  How might you find a way to align them?  What is the feeling of finding that alignment having been out of whack?  Relief, coming home, relaxing, light, free?

If you cannot find that alignment, can you drop that responsibility?

When new opportunities come my way, I think carefully about whether they align to my values.  There is a factor of time of course.  And there is a question of alignment that gives me energy, vitality and enthusiasm for the work.  Is the opportunity aligned or not?  If not, it will drain me and allow less time and energy for what really matters to me.  So, I let it go.  If it is aligned, it will add to the momentum and energy of my life and so I willingly accept it.  And allow the responsibility of taking it on to lighten my soul through joy and fulfilment.

The bigger your life gets, the more important it is to stay aligned to your values.  That structure, support and order both internally (through Head, Heart and Hara) and externally (with values, purpose and responsibility) are vital for you to maintain your power and vitality.  Without them, your reach, impact and capacity become diminished.  Sovereign is about thriving and creating and maintaining order to do so.  Responsibility can help you thrive, or not.  It all depends on how your responsibilities align with what is most important to your head, heart and soul.

Over to You

What responsibilities do you have that help you thrive?  And what responsibilities drain and weaken you?  Are they aligned to your values? What can you do about those responsibilities that are not aligned?  How can you get more alignment?  I’d love to hear how you are doing with these enquiries.  Please post your discoveries in the comments box.  Alternatively, you can e-mail me if you’d rather keep things private or you’d prefer to discuss what is coming up for you.

Pass it on

If you have enjoyed this blog and found it useful, what in particular was beneficial to you?  Is there someone you know who would benefit from that too?  If so, please forward this blog to them.  They’d really appreciate the thoughtful gesture and it shows them how much you care.  Thank you.

Archetypes- Sovereign

When I speak to clients about fulfilment in their lives, I often hear them say that they fell into their careers, relationships and the places they live. The skill of making the best of what we have is an important one. We can create wonderful lives for ourselves this way.

Taking control

How about creating your life? How about taking control & being proactive?

Rather than always reacting to life, how about creating your life? How about taking control and being proactive in creating the career, life style, relationships and home etc. that you desire?

We all require self rule. To control our lives as we see fit and within the larger context of a global arena. In order to be Sovereign over your life, you want to take responsibility for your place in the world and the part you play in it.  To live confidently, with purpose, well- being and a sense of balance and harmony.  You also create and follow rules that allow your life and the lives of others to flourish.

If you do not do it, others will. Then, you become a pawn in the game of life. You may feel like a victim, disempowered when you see life’s events unfold against you. And when they are for you, you may feel no sense of power that you helped to create such fortune.

The Light Touch

To feel the weight of responsibility crushes some people and inspires others. Some thrive under the pressure of making sure people are cared for, that abundance flows in other people’s lives as well as their own. Standing in the Light of this role, they embrace the need to plan, strategise and take action decisively for the greater good. To own this responsibility is to take control of your life and plan for the future you dream for yourself and bring your friends, family, colleagues and partners along for the journey.

The Unsavoury side of Control

For those that do not embrace this role in Light, there is always the dark. Weak and manipulative, the Sovereign in Shadow is a tyrant. The school bully is a classic example, picking on the weak to demonstrate his strength.  This need comes from an inner weakness that leads to over bearing control, paranoia and cruelty.

As adults this can manifest as the dictator or the destructive leader who exploits others for his own gain. He takes the glory but never the blame. Modern rulers such as Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein are well known as tyrants. Anwar Sadat and Nelson Mandela might be considered leaders of benevolence.

Sphere of Influence

The archetype of Sovereign, the King or Queen, is a daily commitment to controlling the aspects of your life that are within your sphere of influence.  Consequently, understanding what is and is not in your control is the first step in leading with calm, confidence and effectiveness. To lead and give people autonomy comes from self assurance and humility. A great leader must have these qualities. He or she controls through freedom without fear of losing control.

The Sovereign applied

In coaching, it can be the Sovereign within the coach that guides the session towards empowering the client towards finding his or her own Sovereign.  As a result, the client has autonomy. This is how it should be. A client must feel totally independent to be fully empowered. Through this process inner transformation can be evoked. This is the true power of coaching.

Every week I see clients work at taking control of their careers, relationships, health and well- being, businesses, finances, education, personal development and more. And when life throws curve balls I see them working to create outcomes that serve them and the people in their lives.

One client for example was in a long career that he felt served him less and less. Through coaching he found a much more fulfilling career path in which he makes a huge positive difference to young people’s lives. That strength and resolve to take control and create a life of meaning, purpose and beauty is the Sovereign in action.

Over to You

Where does your Sovereign show up in your life? How can this be of benefit to your life? Can you see where your Sovereign might be over controlling or not controlling enough? If you’d like to take more control and create more of the life you want for yourself, why not get in touch and we can discuss your needs?

Pass it on

If you know someone who would benefit from this article, why not pass it on? People are just waiting for the right inspiration to take that next step forward in their lives. Perhaps this blog could be that inspiration for someone you care about?

Post Script

You are a complex combination of qualities, some of which are obvious to you and many others that are not.  The archetypes are a useful tool to explain and demonstrate how to bring these qualities forth and how they manifest in your life.  There are the qualities that are supportive of your best self (the Light side).  There are those that are detrimental to your best self (the Dark Side made infamous in the Star Wars series).  In my Mindful Movement Courses I work with the archetypes to bring forth the qualities that can be supportive to realising your best self.  There are many archetypes, too many to cover in a single course.  I have chosen six: Warrior, Lover, Rebel, Magician, Jester and of course Sovereign.  I hope by writing this series of blogs, I will be able to explain their power and usefulness to you in your life.