In Friday’s post, we talked about ideas being the cornerstone of change.
The cornerstone I was thinking about for today is personal responsibility. It is nearly impossible to act differently unless you have some vague idea that something else is possible. On the other hand, ideas are motionless unless and until you act upon them. If you have an idea or a bit of knowledge, but do not change what you actually do, then ideas alone can’t be an agent of change. If ideas influence how you do things or how you make choices, then they are essential to change. They might attract other things that prompt change, they might set lessons in motion just by being ignored, but in the short term, ideas alone need a little help from our spine to made real.
One cornerstone does not make a building. Just like a rock can’t make a lever without a stick.
After thinking about it a little more, A lever would be a better mental-example than ‘cornerstones’ in this case. It was a start...ideas are so basic, so foundational, so needed to build something new. Ideas are the turning point, but more is needed.
Think about levers. We all learned about them in elementary school science. Or at least played on seesaws at recess.
Ideas are the fulcrum...the turning point around which change begins. Personal responsibility a is the stick that gets stuff done, that makes the change actually happen.
No matter what diet books we read, or what regulations are enacted, or what resources we have at our disposal, who is that picks up the fork or picks up the cup? Who is it that opens our mouths and who swallows? The same person who can change all of that. We are the ones who got ourselves overweight, and we are the only ones who can get as fit and healthy as possible. Knowing what to do is of marginal value until we take the responsibility for ourselves and do it.
That is the concept that I was trying to crowbar into words last week when the perfect, elegant, simple expression of it fell into my inbox. That is where the Richard Bach quote comes in.
“It isn’t up to my parents to change my past . . . even if they want to change it, that’s not in their power. It is, though, in my power. I can let the past go! If it’s never our fault, we can’t take responsibility for it. If we can’t take responsibility for it, we’ll always be its victim.”
The quote, I’m proud to say, is used with permission.
It isn’t in the power of books or support groups to change our past...or our future. It is in our power to let our past go, to take responsibility for our mis-judgements and do things differently. We may have eaten poorly, been sedentary and hand a hand in our own ill health. But we can let that past go. If we continue as we are, then we that past is in vain. If we change, then we instantly transform that past from a mistake into a life-giving lesson. If we take responsibility for both what we did and what we will do, then we are free in the here and now as well.
Have you ever seen a whining, victimized vampire? If that is part of the mythos, it is in a comedy or parody. Even in camp and satire show vampires as powerful, in control, and self-responsible. They own their atrocities, whether they regret them or not. In choosing to be healthier, we are letting go of the past and leveraging ourselves into a new and better direction.
I feel lighter already just thinking about it.