This weekend, after finishing a book I’ve been reading, I slipped it into place on the shelf in my office and found myself lingering there, taking in all the titles and brightly colored spines.
Hard copy books are a must for me. I don’t like to read through a screen. A book becomes an intimate relationship for me during the time I’m reading it. It goes with me to the bath, sleeps beside my bed, hangs out with me in waiting rooms or long train rides. It gets dog eared and underlined and tattered. Lived in, lived with and loved.
I thought about the great thinkers on my shelf - the poets, theologians, novelists and teachers - and tried to distill the wisdom they hold in common. What would they all agree is the key to a meaningful life? This is what came to me:
A beautiful life or a miserable life comes down to the quality of your thoughts.
And YOU are responsible for your thoughts.
The first time I heard this kind of talk: You are responsible for your thoughts, you are responsible for your frequency, you are responsible for your mood, I moved away from it. It felt mean to me. I felt I was being misunderstood and blamed for what was not working in my life. It took me years and years to reckon with the directness and truth of these ideas.
I grew up the way so many of us did - in an environment that wasn’t emotionally safe. When we’re not emotionally or physically safe in our homes, we have to find ways to make things not our fault. Because if something is our fault we will get in big trouble for it.
So the way we feel is not our fault. The shitty decision we made is not our fault. The harm we caused is not our fault. The agreement we didn’t make good on is not our fault.
When we let ourselves off the hook by making something someone else’s fault we do so at the cost of our empowerment. We ingrain the habit of disempowering ourselves in order to guarantee our safety.
But at a certain point, we hit a threshold. We have to redefine what safety actually means to us. Is it safe to live as victims? Is it safe to feel powerless in the face of all we deeply want for ourselves? Is it safe to play small? To avoid the longing of our souls and the destinies they’re here to actualize?
As we take responsibility for the quality of our lives and our thinking, we heal. We transform. Life shifts from being a game of fault finding, blame laying and seeking out hiding places to being a teacher. And we start to see all the people in our lives as soul contracts. Here to show us what we need to learn. And to bring us closer to that illuminated version of who we truly are.
See if you can identify places in your life where you’re not taking full responsibility and know that your deeper healing and self empowerment are waiting for you on the other side of the brave choice to take ownership.
Your healing is my healing and my healing is your healing.
Rooting for you always! Mary