And now, my old dogs are dead, and I have more after them, my parents are gone, my family is scattered, my child is grown, my friends have run away or gone away, I let go of my battles and failures and mistakes and injuries and grievances.
I have abandoned argument for creative action.
The shoulders of the world are too vast and quivering for me to bear. Some wisdom and acceptance have been pummeled into me, and I am just stepping into my life, even as the end of it glides closer.
I take full responsibility for my life, and do not give it to anyone else. It is mine. I made it and lived it, and I can do what I wish with it. And I will no permit anyone to take it from me or tell me what to do with it.
One day in the not too distance future – what are years but the flick of an eye? – I will return, without lament and resentment, to our Mother, the earth, who loves the human compost and returns it to life. That is healing for me, and puts life in perspective. If I am fully responsible for my life, I am also responsible for my death.
I embrace this idea of full responsibility. Freud said that most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. Just look at the news.
The price of success or greatness or creativity, I believe, is responsibility.
When I got divorced after a long marriage, my wife and I fought for years over who was responsible for the end of our marriage, and who was entitled to what piece of our lives, I slipped into bitterness and blame.
Full responsibility is different. She is not to blame, no matter what happened to break us apart. It doesn't matter who did what to who or who said what to whom. I take full responsibility for my life. I will not assign it to anybody else. It is mine. I made it, lived it, and decided what to do with it.
Full responsibility is a way of looking at the world, and also of learning, growing, changing.
I once blamed everyone in the world for the troubles of my country but me. Sometimes I blamed the left, sometimes the right, sometimes politicians, sometimes the reporters.
I am responsible for the world I live in, I am working to do good rather than argue about it.
Some of you followed the episode on Saturday with my wonderful dog Fate, she refused to listen to me or respond to my commands as our Open House got underway and she was so excited to see the crowds, eventually running onto a busy road and nearly getting killed while I fruitlessly shouted for her to stop..
The government is not responsible for me, neither is the rising price of things, or the weather that surprises and confronts us, or politicians bought like stocks by giant corporations, or the media that intrudes upon us with messages of hate and rancor.
At first, as I wrote, I seethed at her and blamed her, and then I paused and took a breath and took full responsibility. I was responsible for what happened, I am a human and she is a dog, I have a conscience and she doesn't, I can reason in a way that she can't. I was responsible and when I took responsibility, the problem was resolved.
I don't have to show my love of my country their way, I can show it my way, by actions, not words.
Responsibility is a powerful spiritual tool. It bypasses blame and self-pity and argument. It goes to the heart of truth, rebirth and redemption. It fills the soul with strength and clarity. No one is responsible for my happiness or success or failure but me.
If I stand in my truth, extraordinary things can happen.
For me, responsibility means I have to deal with life. I have to be accountable, I must make my own decisions and act independently, without bowing to the will of others. I do not think or write to be liked or agreed with, but to be responsible for my life and the life around me.
This idea of full responsibility is the direction of my life, and I have lived it, I can do what I want with it, say what I want, believe what I wish.
Deep in this kind of faith, I have shed much of the anger and self-doubt and fear that has haunted me for so many years. Full responsibility is about strength and clarity, the ability to stand in one's truth and not be dominated by the will of others. As I take responsibility for myself away from others and onto myself, my life begins to turn and glow and shine.
It is not a perfect life, it is just my life.
Responsibility smothers self-pity and blame and doubt, they are, after all, just flickering candle wicks hiding from the next strong breeze.
Creative work depends on full responsibility to survive, it requires a loyalty and submission to the self as complete as the earth revolving around the sun. The creative seeker who cannot take responsibility for him or herself is lost, she cannot follow her dreams
I take responsibility for myself. I do not really care any more or very much what other people think I should say or be. I do not work to please others. That is the opposite of responsibility, it is submission.
On the new platform we call social media, people are always challenging me to fight with them, as if I am some aging boxer they want to stomp to get the title. They insist I love to fight, because they want me to fight. But that is just another kind of submission, another kind of slavery.
It would be irresponsible for me to say yes to anger and rage and argument.
"What we call our destiny is truly our character, "wrote Anais Nin, "and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, became it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings…We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements."
Responsibility is the beginning of devotion.