I went to the movies recently with my family… “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” or as many of you know… #3 in the Sequel. Now I am not writing this to tell you my lessons from the movie, even though I had some (and cried). I am writing this because I had a whole day where I seldom reacted.
And I generated lots of reasons to react… mostly little inconveniences like lines in every store I went into, a freezing cold theater, being on a cleanse and not eating popcorn. Nothing big.
And I noticed how much more peaceful I was most of the day.
I began thinking about RESPONSIBILITY VS. REACTION. The two “REs”!
You probably find it so easy to see how reactive our culture is as we look at our political landscape. Each party, each side is reacting to the other. In fact, I believe we are currently in some of the most reactive energy I remember in a very long time. And in my heart I feel it is hurting us as a nation and as a planet.
Reaction is rooted in resistance. We react because we don’t like whatever we are reacting to; it shouldn’t be this way, its wrong! We judge it, fight it, hate it, resist it, resent it, lash out at it, deny it. And when you are in reaction, there is often an energic upset you feel, whether its tightness, anger, sadness, or frustration.
Responsibility at a bare minimum is our “ability to respond.” Responsibility is the opportunity to choose how we relate to everything! It is our choice in how we relate and interact with our circumstances, relationships, conditions, obstacles, victories, successes, and failures.
Most of you reading this have participated in personal development work where “personal accountability” is a pillar and foundation. And even if you haven’t done that kind of work, I imagine if you ended up on this blog, you believe in personal accountability and responsibility.
You may be saying… ok, Lisa, we know this, so what…
The so what for me was more like wake up! I realized recently even though I have participated, trained and coached transformation for 32 years, I REACT ALL THE TIME! If its not all the time it’s A LOT!
I don’t react nearly as much when I am working… when I am training, when I am coaching, I am much more in “response” to what is in front of me, creating my intention.
Not perfect, however, much more in responsible and cause.
I react a lot when I am in the other times of my life. For example, I am impatient in traffic. I am not surrendered; and usually upset that I can’t get there more quickly and often times doubting whichever GPS I am using while I am comparing other routes.
I react when I “think” whatever I am doing should take less time than it takes… name it: running an errand, handling something on my computer, on hold with a robot.
I react when I don’t do something as well as I would have liked… I go into self-judgement, frustration or justification.
And I react with my kids (I do know it comes with parenting…) when they aren’t doing something I want them to do (in any kind of timely manner); are creating havoc with each other or the dogs… in other words… when they are being kids.
Why am I writing about this? I am writing about this because once I began noticing how often I react, and began working on it, I began to see how powerful being responsible and accepting is in my life.
In being present in the moment, and accepting the current moment (traffic, slow service, etc…) you can then choose your response. You can actually shift your experience immediately.
How: #1, be fully present and accepting in this moment, you can’t change it. #2, being with what is in the moment then gives you an elevation to choose. You aren’t “had “by the upset or frustration, so even though your feelings may momentarily feel reactive, you can actually be with the reaction and then choose a more empowering way to feel.
My challenge to you is to begin to notice how often you are in reaction. Be careful not to react to your reaction! And then practice the steps above. Once I began to notice my reactions and why I was reacting and didn’t resist it, my reactions became less frequent. Surrendering is a big opportunity for me, it may be for you as well.
Once you simply begin to notice your reactions, you can actually shift your perspective to one of responsibility. You have the ability to respond and generate an experience that is empowering or at a minimum, peaceful.
Important reminder: Being accepting and surrendered in the present moment does not mean that you are giving up. It does not mean that you aren’t taking action in the next moment to fulfill your commitment or goal. It simply means that you aren’t resisting the current moment or condition SO THAT you can act responsibly and powerfully in the next moment.
The two “REs”… responsibility and reaction. Which do you choose? I challenge us all not to buy into the reactivity of our current times, choose responsibility and REclaim our personal and cultural REspect.