Sometimes it conjures up feelings of dread, resentment and fear, and other times we may crave it in circumstances where we are belittled and feel patronised.
The trouble is, many of us learned to take responsibility for the wrong things at a very young age. When we were unable to respond response-ably.
So we get this icky feeling that we have to make everything right, but we don’t know how or where to start and it’s just overwhelming. So we give up. Let someone else decide.
We give away our power because we never learned what it would feel like to take the reins appropriately and through choice, not coercion.
Some of us tried this out as toddlers or teens – standing up to the grown-ups and saying we’d do it ourselves. But either our audacity was beaten out of us or perhaps we failed to take into account the bigger picture (difficult when you’re still growing to full size), and we concluded that it wasn’t worth the hassle.
Another thing to consider is that we may have looked to people who were “responsible” for us (parents, teachers, police, doctors, etc) and been terrified of their powers. So we rejected power as dangerous, and vowed never to be like them. We would neither be responsible for others nor ourselves. Or some would desire this power, believing that to feel powerful, you need to be in control of others, and, missing the point of responsibility altogether, would don the uniform that they felt bestowed them with authority to bully people.
Very few make it to adulthood with a healthy sense of what is up to them to handle. These rare individuals tend to disappear off-grid to get away from the madness. So few are they, that they’re seen as the mad ones who couldn’t integrate into society.
What a terrible shame. With such shadows around our own sense of power and responsibility, we are making a bit of a mess of things.
For example, many people blindly trust their government. It doesn’t occur to them not to. I certainly used to, before I did the inner work. I would vote and believe I was contributing to order. You can’t just say that you don’t do politics though, because that’s a political statement in itself. You need to know why you’re abstaining. Not because you can’t decide between left and right, but because you know they’re both part of the same structure.
So who are we when we aren’t being governed? It’s not easy to answer when we have no experience of it. Maybe we can begin in small ways to test it out.
To me, the ideal place to start is by growing food. You need to know what you would actually eat, or could easily swap for something you’d like. You need to be the guardian of a piece of land, however small. Not to dominate it but to work with it to improve the yield. You must commit to daily observation and care. Giving your attention to something to help it grow. Protect it from frost and other hazards.
Instead, we are often taught not to care, not to notice, not to take ownership of our health, or guardianship of the land. Not to concern ourselves with excess or our neighbours or the seasons or anything that may remind us of a long lost dream of autonomy. However, there are many lessons in gentle power that we can learn from going back to basics. Raising generations of fruit and veg will teach us many things about who we really are. Nature provides abundantly and that scarcity we felt as children – for love, connection, security – such qualities are freely given by Mother Earth. We truly can learn to feed ourselves, in every sense.
Will you plant a seed today for your future?