Responsibility and the Bigger Picture

I was pondering on the wider implications of responsibility the other day, it being such a vast and never-ending narrative in our everyday life. To take responsibility, or not, is the question here. But the way responsibility is talked about can make it sound like a heavy burden and a threat or punishment even. Who would want a bar of it under these circumstances? On the other side, if we do take responsibility, why would we do it and what does it do, generally and for us?

I was also inspired by the blog Are We Taking Responsibility For Our Own Lives which opened an even wider scope in the responsibility arena and certainly highlighted some dark corners where irresponsibility can hang out, linger and hide.

The following day I discovered that responsibility starts young; I found myself talking to a nine-year-old boy who kept doing what he had been told not to do, repeatedly so. He was part of a group of children and young people on a holiday camp. There had been numerous admonishments from a couple of supervisors who were doing their best to keep everything and everyone in check, but to no avail.

The opportunity arose to take this boy aside and I found myself talking about responsibility to him. Responsibility helped me put his inappropriate and unwanted language and behaviour in a bigger context and all of a sudden, and much to my surprise, he was actually listening. I talked to him about his responsibility towards the younger children and explained that his behaviour had an impact on them; after all, they were aware of what was happening and some looked confused and didn’t know how to relate to him. Did they now think it was okay to swear and carry on, seeing an older boy was not only doing it but seemingly getting away with it?

He looked earnest and was listening and at the end he said “now I understand”. I was surprised how matter of fact he sounded; it was as though he had answered the question “Why would we take responsibility and what does it do?” for himself in that moment and nothing else was needed. There seemed to have been an understanding that taking responsibility unifies and makes us an equal and accountable part of something that is bigger than us.

He then walked away and joined the others who had set up a cricket pitch. He carried himself differently and it even looked like he had grown in stature. The other children readily accepted him into their game as someone they could now relate to and felt no longer alienated by. They obviously enjoyed the game and so did their recruit.

Mind you, the behaviour change didn’t last forever but it did last a while; my feeling was that talking about responsibility had given him a sense of being part of something bigger than himself and that he did get it. As with everything, it will just need more practice.

By Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, NSW Australia

Related Reading:
Gardening Leave? Meh.
Life and Love and My Responsibility in it
Re-claiming the Responsibility of Being a Parent

887 thoughts on “Responsibility and the Bigger Picture

  1. A great example of offering an understanding that being responsible for the natural love that you are deepens your relationship with others.

  2. Could it be appreciation of our divine-ness opens a different door as the responsibility of our unique expression unfolds and everyone benefits as this has an eternal effect on our evolution.

  3. I feel now responsibility to not be a drain or burden but an expansive expression. If I am in something that isn’t love, inquiring as to my responsibility in the situation I feel expanded.

  4. I feel children respond to the love we speak with, the equality we hold them in, and the fact we live what we share. Adults do the best they can, and kids can push the limits, but getting told what to do and not understanding why surely must feel imposing at times for kids.

  5. Responsibility catches us all irrespective of age and as we get older the realms we relate to keep on expanding as does our responsibilities so understanding this, and taking life to where we are prepared fully for passing-over, allows us to understand that we are holding everything we have lived as a responsibility into our next incarnation. Thus being responsible to our last breath adds to our next incarnation and enriches our life and it’s purpose as we are always learning to deepen our relationship with responsibility.

  6. When we understand a bigger picture that we are all a part of, responsibility is simply a matter of fact. When we are cocooned in our own little world, we would not think about the effects and the consequences of our actions and we are kept in the misery of blame and ‘Why me?’ dramas.

  7. To be loving of our responsibility, or not, is the question here? maybe? when connected to our Inner-most or Sacredness is a True responsibility to hold, as One’s Inner-sacredness is the responsibility for everything.

  8. For me a bigger picture is important because the bigger picture gives me a purpose so that taking responsibility is a natural thing to do. It was the same with this boy when he understood that it was not only about him but for the young children as well he could be more responsible.

  9. “Taking responsibility unifies and makes us an equal and accountable part of something that is bigger than us” – this feels very different from the familiar notion of ‘taking responsibility’ that somehow we have to take on more (more than we want to, more than others etc.).

    1. We tend to focus on the ‘more work’ and ‘more to do’ bit and allow that to scare us away; how would it be if it was in fact about being more, being more of what we already are and have always been? The latter creates space whereas the former squeezes us into the constraints of our misperception of time.

  10. Elizabeth this is such a wonderful point, as learning how something feels from our whole body is very different to living from the mind and giving our power away to the false meanings of words. Your comment has opened me up to the wonder of words and how they feel as a Livingness, something to joyfully explore!

  11. Widening the picture beyond ourselves to the all we are a part of is an awesome and humbling responsibility. When I am locked in my own stuff, I can tend to go off because the individuated self often feels quite separate from the all, the bigger picture. There is something quite beautiful and noble to connect to the all and to feel the greater purpose that we have and that our responsibility holds, greater than human life and physicality, and encompassing the universes.

    1. Irresponsibility perpetuates the ‘dog eats dog’ mentality and deepens the chasm between people, sets one against another and the world appear to be one cold and inhospitable place where systems carry more value and are deserving of more regard than people. In short, it is a bit like what we have already created, like it or not.

  12. There is a profound misunderstanding regarding responsibility. It is often seen as an added burden; something that makes our movements cumbersome. But, in truth it only adds to the (nonphysical) weight we carry with us. Our presence is and feels way much more solid because of what we say yes to.

    1. Presence and steadiness do indeed deepen and become more profound and solid with energetic responsibility; in other words, we are ready to be counted and move as such.

  13. This is a big one isn’t it… Asking our children to be responsible it’s like the old wise man in the tale says, when asked to tell someone’s child to give up sweets, to come back in three days… When asked why he said I have to give them up first… We have to be responsible, truly responsible.

  14. I love coming back to your blog Gabriele because it is such reminder that we can change our own way of being in a split second just by being willing to be responsible for our actions. To see how instantly the young boy changed in response to your conversation with him shows that speaking up when we can see something does not feel right is so worth it. This young boy now has a marker in life on what responsibility feels like, which he can choose to respond to or ignore either way the marker will always be there.

    1. Having a True reflection and aligning to it does give us a marker that we can always re-align to, as we always will feel the difference in those who live what they are sharing and thus understand what a person is like when they coming from a lived wisdom.

  15. It certainly feels like the seed of responsibility was planted that day and although it was temporary there is a great possibility that it will begin to sprout at some time in his life. I have found that being offered a very wise lesson, as the one you offered this boy, is one that stays with you throughout your life. And maybe in the future he will be passing the lesson on to another.

    1. There is much to appreciate in our moments of true expression with others, they are like little seeds planted to grow and blossom at any time.

  16. If we get a feeling of the impact of what our behaviour and actions can have on other people we start to understand what responsibility is. It is not something you do because someone tells you to do but instead responsibility comes from the inside out, because of you connecting with the whole and from understanding the importance of your contribution to it.

  17. We can at times have some problems with the word responsibility but the fact is that we love to have and take energetic responsibility for our contribution to the whole. It is only the bastardised materialised version of responsibility we have problems with, which we one day will dissolve when we all have returned to the understanding and acceptance that we are more energetic then physical, even if we live in a human body that for many we have made about the physical only.

  18. It does take practice Gabriele because responsibility is something that we have given away, just like our ability to see energy and because of this we have both hands tried behind our backs when it comes to understanding energy and our responsibility with it. Everything is energy therefore energy precedes everything we do so what energy are we choosing; this to me is responsibility number 1. If we can understand that there are only 2 energies to choose from this will determine how responsible we will be towards ourselves and others.

  19. An interesting experience to observe in a restaurant this week – `In a very large dining area, there was one half partially screened off at the far end of the room for a christening party celebration. There were about twelve children who began the day by running totally amok( in movement and volume) throughout the whole dining room area – running around other visitors tables and even attempting to get underneath the tables and between people’s feet. The parents were completely oblivious to what was going on for quite some and the staff went into oblivion mode rather than deal with it – at least until the frustration erupted from one of the general visitors to the restaurant. The parents were eventually made aware of the situation and began screaming (quite literally) at the children in a way that was worse than the original pandemonium created by the children!.
    How important it is for us as adults to be responsible role-models for children to learn from.

    1. Responsibility makes us feel uncomfortable and we’d often raher sit back and cross our arms but the consequences are manifold and the situation always escalates when, what should have been addressed, did not get addressed and attented to.

      1. My and how things can escalate – it brings a very real meaning to “nipping things in the bud”and “being on the front foot”

      2. Which part of us is made uncomfortable though? And is that part worth defending by remaining irresponsible?
        From my experience the answer has been no repeatedly.

  20. I think, in truth, we all don’t want to get away with unruly behaviour, despite how we appear from the outside. So when someone calls us on it, we might react at first but it is what is needed.

    1. Dogs display openly what goes on when they’ve done something ‘naughty’ – they squirm and a very ill at ease until the ‘deed’ has been discovered and the aftermath been dealt with. We might be better at hiding it, but the unease and suspense take their toll, nonetheless.

      1. That’s true Gabriele, sometimes I have been completely oblivious to something my dog has done but her posture and movements give it away as she feels remorseful! Growing up we also had a dog that was very human like, he sometimes would come into the lounge room to where the family was with a dramatic front paw limp. This happened a few times and we realised on each occasion he had done something he wasn’t supposed to and the limp was a put on to garner sympathy and soften any possibility of getting into trouble!

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