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This morning I’m taking responsibility. I do it every morning and whilst I can’t say I enjoy the process, the necessity of it outweighs any short-term minor discomfort. ( All will be revealed later I promise).

Responsibility – do you shy away from it or embrace it?

It’s often a word that, for many of us, comes with a heavy load of emotional baggage. If, when you were a child, responsibility was a word that was directed at you as a command or had a sense of blame or condemnation – “Take some responsibility!” “Be responsible!” “Why can’t you act more responsibly?” – then you possibly still react to the concept. As we grow older, the responsibilities of adulthood can weigh us down – the mortgage, job, kids etc. and a sense that all this responsibility is somehow a burden imposed upon us can lead to mental stress with associated psychological and possibly psychosomatic symptoms.

It appears to me that some of the unwanted behaviour, that my clients come to me with, can be partly as a result of this feeling of being imposed upon by outward forces and the behaviour is used as an outlet for momentary escape. The smokers often have a rebellious teenager attitude – “Nobody’s going to tell me what to do.” The overeaters often crave escape from perceived pressures and say – “I won’t be able to cope without my treats.”

In an attempt to correct these behaviours I sometimes hear clients say, “I know I should take more responsibility and control myself.” However, this is just more of the same type of thinking that may have got them in the position they are in and as Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

The responsibility that I was referring to, at the beginning of this post, is of a nurturing type that stems from internal needs. My particular responsibility to myself, which I commented on in the opening paragraph, is daily meditation and, as the words of Goethe above suggest, I find within the practice not an attempt to correct failings but an encouragement towards learning and growth. I am not suggesting that everyone should meditate and all will be well. What I am proposing is the development of an attitude in which a person can ask themselves, “What responsibility do I need to take for myself for my heart to open, my soul to blossom or my spirit to soar?”

The physicist and founder of The Feldenkrais Method, Moshe Feldenkrais, once said, “A healthy individual is one who realises their most hidden dreams.” I feel that our individual and collective responsibility, towards ourselves and in support of others, is to create an environment, internally and externally, in which those hidden dreams can be discovered and nurtured.

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