How would you define responsibility? As adults, it means paying our bills, educating our children, behaving properly, and fulfilling the duties that society requires from us. But there is so much more to being responsible than this.
If you’ve come here before, you’ll know that I’m passionate about trying to make sense of the unseen, emotional baggage that we so often carry unconsciously, like a burden that makes our days heavier than what they need to be. Making sense of what we can’t see but that is all around us, what sometimes makes us feel uncomfortable because we can’t put words on it, or because we aren’t used to talking about it openly: feelings, emotions, intuition. That’s how I want to think about responsibility today. What does being responsible mean on an emotional level?
Let me tell you a bit more about my own story. After living in Portugal for almost 3 years, I moved back to France quite suddenly. After a rough breakup, I had decided I’d do like everyone else, settle down, find a safe job, be with a safe boyfriend, buy a house, try to have kids, and that would be it. That’s how I defined safety and responsibility. And the worst was that just after 2 months of being back, I was already halfway there. It’s crazy how once you make a decision things simply just happen. But I remember a strange pull from within, a sort of anxiety, a soft ache that made me feel like I was splitting into two halves, me pushing one way, and something else pulling me in another direction. I couldn’t define it at the time, all I knew was that something just didn’t feel right. I chose to live in denial. I chose to ignore it. I hoped that by ignoring it, it would just fade away. Haha. Nice try.
Then I started to have back pain. First, it came like it usually does when I move houses, after carrying too many boxes. Except that this time it became something else. Suddenly another, new pain arrived. The positions that used to relieve me became ones that were hurting me. But again, I chose to live in denial. I ignored the pain. I started taking ibuprofen before going surfing, because I was committed to the choice I had made, I wasn’t going to let anything change that, and certainly not myself (#self-sabotage). The pain got worse so for a little while I behaved, I stopped surfing, hoping it would disappear. It calmed down, but it didn’t go away, and I lost patience. One cold early morning, I took a shorter board, and I went surfing bigger waves, waves I wouldn’t even normally go into.
And there it happened. The wake-up call. I had my wave, I made my drop, and two seconds later the wave closed out. It’s no big deal if you’re in shape, you get washed and get back on. But not in my condition. The wash was high, and I fell backward in a position that made the nerves and muscles of my back panic and react. Like an explosion, a painful momentary paralysis in all of my back. It hurt like hell. After that, I couldn’t even sit back on my board so I had to leave the water, and it took me over half an hour to get changed. I could barely drive home, I had to stop 3 times on the way, changing gears and pushing on the brakes was making that same explosion happen again. I was in total survival mode. And I was ashamed. I didn’t want to call anyone, I didn’t want to have to tell them what I did or how stupid I felt. But today I’m writing this here because that’s what happened. And because I own it.
Having made it back to my safe place at home, I looked at myself in the mirror and I finally opened my eyes. I saw this girl in tears, I looked at her, and I asked her: Why? Why do you have to hurt yourself so much? Is the emotional pain not enough that you also have to physically hurt yourself too? Why did you even go out today? What are you so desperately running away from? Look at what you are doing to yourself. No one else is responsible for this but You. Is this really how you want to live your life? Is this really what you want for yourself?
There was just no more escape available. I was stuck at home, unable to move. So I had to face the truth. That day was the first day I realised what responsibility truly meant. Being responsible for yourself, for your choices, your actions, your thoughts, your emotions (e-motion, energy in motion). Not acting like the victim, not rejecting the blame on another person, or a situation.
That day I realised I had been running away from myself all this time.
That day I realised that my body could no longer carry me, because for years I had stopped caring for myself.
That day I realised that I was the only one capable to make the change towards a better life.
That day I realised that I was the only one who could heal my own wounds.
That day I realised that I was in fact capable of loving myself. I had always been capable, the love was always there.
That day, the darkness I had been walking on for years opened a path towards the light again.
That day, my inner self reminded me what it feels like to love.
That day, I understood that I was capable of choosing. And I made that choice.
I told myself I would never hurt myself or let myself be hurt like that again.
I told myself I was worth better, I was worth living in peace, I was worth being happy.
That day became the day I stopped running away.
That day became the first day of my self-healing journey.
No one, no thing, no situation will be able to take away the responsibility of our own choices, of the way we choose to live our life. We aren’t victims, we just aren’t listening. We forgot what it is to see, to hear, to observe, to listen. We get so caught up in stories of who we want to become in the eyes of others, that we forgot long ago who we always were. We forgot that our body and our senses are channels that guide us inwards, they are what we need to trust in order to live in love and at peace with ourselves. We think it is too simple, that the answer just cannot be simply here inside of us, but it is. It always has been within.
Taking responsibility for who we are today and where we are at is the first step towards healing. Willing to observe how we feel, without judgment. Accepting that the past has only led us to this very moment, this moment of consciousness, in the present, where we get the chance to choose again.
I’m writing this today because life is not all dark or light, but a mix of both. It does happen that we go sideways, that we fall off the path, but there is always a way back. The moment you stop and notice what your body, your inner voice, your heart is trying to tell you, that very moment you decide to listen and trust your own voice, is the moment you get a new chance at life again. It is the moment you become one again with yourself, the moment you re-align with the Sky and the Earth, the moment you reunite with this ball of light energy that you are, a part of the Universe, a wonderful being here on this planet.
Choose again, no matter how many times you’ve let yourself down. Choose again. Observe, listen, everything is just here, inside of you.
PS. the featured images are what spark the post, something I feel or start to think about when I go on walks on my own. The place I am blessed to call Home charged in healing energy, but so is Nature in its wilderness.