Monday, December 20, 2010

It’s All Up to You

I was reading my friend Becky Gjendem’s blog, Deep Muck Big Rake, the other day and she had written a review of Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. In her post, Becky quotes others and talks about how difficult, how painful – but how necessary – self-reflection is. 

In November, my friend Rachel Lawley wrote "Seeing Clearly Now," in her blog, Wonderfully Ironic, about taking a look at herself and holding herself accountable.

A similar subject just came up this week in Dan Rockwell’s blog, Leadership Freak. In a recent post, “People are Frustrating?,” Dan wrote: “Personal happiness and personal freedom begin when we stop excusing ourselves and begin taking personal responsibility.”

Diane Crim Photography. Used with permission All rights Reserved. RCDC Photography.
All of these references to reflection, accountability and responsibility remind me of a passage in a book I received a lifetime ago from my friend, Renee. At the time, I was going through a seriously rough patch in life (well, rough till that point in my life, anyway). Divorce, job loss, death of a beloved grandparent. It was a sad, ugly chapter in my life.
So, for all those reasons and a variety of others, I started my inward gaze in my 20s (that was 20 years ago, if you're wondering). Looking inward should be a lifelong process, so I try to sit down with myself frequently. As with anything, I'm better at it some days than others.

But even as hard as self-reflection, self-acceptance and self-responsibility are, they also are incredibly liberating. On especially tough days of self-reflection, I always come back to this passage from Paul Williams’ book, Das Energi, that long-ago gift from my friend, Renee.
It’s all up to you.
You are completely responsible for your life.
You are the creator.
It’s an awesome burden and a great freedom.

It’s all up to you.
When you take responsibility for one life, you assume
responsibility for all life.
If you fail to take responsibility for your life, you
do not exist.
Tough, Isn’t it?

When you finally realize how really tough it is, when
you finally accept life, when you finally find there is
no way out but self-awareness and the incredible pain and
loneliness and responsibility it brings, then and only
then will you begin to be alive, and begin to know the
joy of freedom.
 Amen, Mr. Williams. The incredible pain fades. The joy of freedom lasts forever.


  1. I love this blog ... this is exactly what I'm choosing to do right now <3 This blog helps me realize I'm on the right path!!!

  2. Thank you, Erin! Whenever you're taking responsibility for yourself, it's going to be the right path. All the best to you.

  3. Wow - I'm touched that my blog was part of triggering thoughts like these. Very well stated, Karen. I look forward to reading your two other inspirations. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and growth.

  4. Thanks for seeing the pattern and pointing it out. :)

  5. I nearly posted a comment on Facebook yesterday about how I wish people stopped waiting for their own personal bailout from the federal government, but I didn't. Karen, you've hit another home run here. It really does all begin with each person taking responsibility for his or her own life. Thanks for making the connection.