Fortunately, perhaps a hundred million people or more on the planet, according to Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson, authors of The Cultural Creatives, are on the upward slope of the return to stability. However few they may be in number, they’re growing in numbers quickly, they are strong, they have a vision of the promised land, and most important of all, they have hope because they survived hitting bottom. They went off the cliff and bounced. They have uncovered their deepest feelings and released them.
To me, this is the real meaning of the word responsibility, the combination of two words, “response” and “ability.” We all have this ability to respond to change, to adapt, to grow, and it is in this ability that we find our most human qualities. When we forgive ourselves for being unable to respond, we discover we can respond. The word “responsibility” is often used in the phrase “taking responsibility” or “assuming responsibility,” with the meaning of accepting blame and the heroic duty to repair whatever is wrong. This way of thinking can cause us to take on overwhelming problems and feel totally stuck.
On the other hand, if we think of ourselves as “giving response-ability”from our innate talents and abilities, then a whole new range of options open up for us, and we can flow into solutions that were otherwise impossible. When we move out of the despair within ourselves, we end the cycle of addictive behaviors. When I change my inner world, my external behavior shifts to match, and I become a creative source of systemic change.