Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Voice of Blame

I had the honor and the gift of being mentored by a wonderful minister when I was in my early 20's. He taught me as much about how to live my life as anyone ever has. Reverend Stevens was an angel sent to me at a time when I needed someone to give me a playbook for how to live my life. One of the most important things he ever said to me was "for every finger I pointed at someone else, there were three fingers pointing back to me."

Jim Rohn said "You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself." Taking 100% responsibility for our life can be challenging and complex. It does mean giving up the idea of being a victim and taking responsibility for how we respond to any given moment or event. The outside world can be chaotic and uncertain. But taking 100% responsibility for ourselves can root and ground us. It gives us an inner strength to weather the uncertain, even the unexpected tragedies. Accepting this creed pushed me to hard questions, like "...did I ever cast blame on someone else for my behavior or reaction to any given event or in any given moment?" The truthful answer was "of course I did."

Blame is a crutch I used to lean upon. Sometimes it was used against me, other times I used it against others. It was easy to recognize once I paid attention because it felt awful. My gut churned and twisted, like I had eaten a bad meal. My inner voice sounded something like, "If you would just (stop doing ..., being  ...., acting .... snoring) then I would not (be jealous, get angry) or I would  (listen, show up) or...the most egregious of all, "I would be happy."  I soon began to realize that 1) I do not have to be the excuse for someone's inability to take 100% responsibility for their life; 2) that I did not have the power to make anyone do anything and 3) no one was to blame for my choices, regardless of the landscape! That would include positive and negative ones. All I can do is be 100% responsible and in that Divine space, be an example of how I wish people to treat me.

If you can, pull all your fingers back into your palm. Perhaps fold them in a prayer request, asking for guidance. And then listen to the whisper. Your gut will lead you into your own mastery.

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