March 8 – Responsibility – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
“I felt angry toward my friend. I told my wrath. My wrath did end. I felt angry toward my foe. I told him not. My wrath did grow.” William Blake
True inner responsibility centers on our willingness to give voice to whatever is happening to us in the midst of a relationship. This is important both for you and the person you are relating to. If you are not present, there is nothing to respond to. And love only becomes real in the world through our ability to respond. Bringing who you are to relationship – being your True Self – gives others the opportunity to transcend their limitations by acting on their love. It gives the other person a chance to show up.
If you remain voiceless, then I can unconsciously keep living out whatever inequity or imbalance I am involved in with you. But once you show your hurt or frustration or confusion or question, then I have the chance to stop my unconscious participation in the pattern of our relationship. The key to whether I respond to you or not often has to do with love, the one thing that can break the inertia of old behaviour.
We can be driving along the endless summer highway locked in some pattern that has become suffocating to you. But until you are moved by some sudden wind that shows the willow’s trunk as we speed by, until you are moved to say “I can’t go on like this,” I can’t have the chance to say, “I don’t want to be like this either.” Until you break your silence, I can’t have the chance to say “What can we do to change all this?”
Often, we spend so much time waiting for the other to catch on and see our pain, getting more and more frustrated and wounded the longer they don’t. But this is the definition of a limitation; not being able to see what is obvious.
So, while we dread voicing our fears and hurts to one another, love has no way of being acted on without something truthful to respond to.