“Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, ‘This is what I need.’ It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment–not discouragement–you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! this is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.” –Joseph Campbell
This seems hard, doesn’t it? This letting go and agreeing to say “This is what I need” to whatever comes your way. I’ve called it by a few different names, whether it’s what I refer to in The Courageous Living Guides as “embracing all that comes into the circle of your existence” or simply being willing to say thank you in the midst of crisis.
It seems hard, but whenever we step in this direction, we quickly discover that it’s not hard–that what was harder all along was the resistance.
I’ve been asking myself this question a lot, lately:
“Kate, in this moment are you taking responsibility for your life?”
I am asking this question because it seems to me that what is at the center of almost any unhappiness is a refusal to take radical responsibility for my life, my choices, and my responses to what I see coming into the circle of my resistance.
It’s like I’ve become hungry for it–to take this radical responsibility.
I call it “radical” because I’m talking about taking the kind of responsibility where, say, someone could get in my face and tell me that I’m a pathetic f*ckwad or some other series of names that “anyone” who is a “normal” human being would “naturally” respond to by “not taking it” and “stepping up to defend” themselves, and instead of all that, I want to…
…observe what comes up for me. Feel the anger rise in my body. Sense the despair that truly lies underneath. Accept all of it. Look at this person who is so mired in their Story about me and themselves and the world, and …take radical responsibility for my life by responding from the place of my highest self and the world that I want to create, rather than by meeting hatred with hatred.
I want to take radical responsibility for my life by noticing the places where I put myself in powerless positions, where I’m unwilling to speak my own truth in the face of someone else’s agenda, and then I want to make it about them and how they’re being so unfair with their demands.
I want to take radical responsibility for my life by noticing every single area where there is disconnection between me and myself, me and another, me and any thing that is in the world, and instead of bolstering more justifications for separation, I want to ferret them out and just figure out what I need in order to drop the separation.
What a Pollyanna. Lost Touch With Reality. A Little Too Purple Light Woo-Woo For My Tastes. Happy People Are So Annoying.
By the way, taking radical responsibility for my life would also mean a keen awareness, and acceptance of, the Stories that other people might run about who I am, or their capacity to connect with me, if I do any of this.
“If you bring love to that moment–not discouragement–you will find the strength is there.” — Joseph Campbell
There’s no need to wait for life’s disasters. We can start practicing with everything that is before us, including the bad drivers, testy cashiers, and long lines at the post office that life brings.
And once we-you-me-I start practicing, it becomes quickly evident that it took far more effort to keep putting up those fearful defenses against life, and that life is waiting for us with open arms, whenever we’re ready.