Feedback Loops: Cultivating Personal Responsibility is a Sacred Act

It’s always someone else’s fault…

  • What does it mean to take ownership of one’s actions, and therefore life?
  • What does it mean to take responsibility when we un/intentionally cause harm?

These are some of the questions percolating through my mind today as I am painfully aware that, in our society, we are not modelled how to do that. Instead, we are modelled the opposite.

Every institution we have built and continue to sustain displaces responsibility rather than takes ownership of it.

Malpractice suits, prison, offshore accounts, shell companies, cognitive dissonance, the blue wall of silence, medical exemptions (and so on…) all have the effect of displacing responsibility. Instead of acting from a place of generosity of spirit, we act from that mental space of “catch me if you can”. If someone along the way does something “bad” and they are caught, then they are targeted as the “bad apple”. Nothing fundamentally changes nor do we evaluate the environment and paradigm from which that “bad apple” operates from. We assume people are inherently self-interested and the world is dangerous and scarce (despite all the evidence to the contrary). So everyone goes on with business as usual. In the paradigm we operate from, we end up creating distance from point A (self) to point X (other). Because of that distance, we end up fooling ourselves that we are somehow safe in our personal irresponsibility toward other.

Personal responsibility is a deeply self-intimate act.

In a recent email exchange the brilliance that is Mandy Sandbach from SOUL-fully Soil pointed out how feedback loops work and their impact on our connection to Source. The longer the chain from nature, the less natural feedback look we can engage. The longer it takes to receive feedback, the more distorted that feedback becomes. With that distortion comes the displacement of personal responsibility.

Let me illustrate with Mandy’s example. Think about where you food comes from — say, peaches. The farmer who grows them lives in Chile, getting paid the absolute minimum wage to work tirelessly. He is under tremendous financial pressures to produce the maximum possible due to the factory farming mindset where maximum profit is the “bottom line”. The invasion of capitalism in that country makes it such that in order to eat, the farmer accepts the terrible wages and work conditions. He is likely to work for some major corporation who mandates he sprays his fruit with insecticides and herbicides other chemicals to maximise production and minimise waste. The fruit is picked unripe, sprayed with chemicals to keep it from ripening and rotting in it’s journey here. The fruit is then hauled into Canada after a long journey with many middle-men who handle the distribution. All that necessarily impacts the health of the worker and the quality of the land, air and water.

But what’s my only role as the consumer? Go to my grocery store and purchase it at the predetermined price, unquestionably. I don’t have to think about the destructive process of how the food got here. I don’t have to think about the toxicity of the production. I don’t have to think about who benefits at the expense of whom. I don’t have to think about the quality of life of those who produce and distribute my food. I don’t have to think about the invasive nature of the process of production. I don’t have to think about the impact of the excessive use of chemicals on the bodies of people or the body of Gaia.

On the other hand, if I grow my own peaches I am directly responsible for the process and the outcome. I am directly connected to the source. I know intuitively the environmental conditions required to make the fruit grow. I know the amount of sun exposure, water, wind, soil health. I know that if I treat the environment disrespectfully, my peaches will not grow. I know everything there is to know in that food chain, so if something goes wrong, my community and I know intuitively how to fix it.

The point Mandy is making is that the more deeply we are connected to our creations (relationships, food, medicine, clothing, education, community) the more immediate the feedback we receive. This allows us to micro-adjust as needed, to respond intuitively and immediately. But the further we are removed from our creation, the larger the space of the feedback loop gets. This leaves us to respond slowly, incrementally, often too late or in an outdated, unnecessary and heavy-handed way.

Metaphor of distance and distraction instead of connection.

All of what Mandy said was imprinted in my psyche. All of what she said is a metaphor for ‘distance’ and ‘distraction’ instead of ‘connection’. If I am distant from you then I distract myself in my own world (increasingly smaller) and I feel no sense of connection. That has made it so easy for me to accept at the end of the chain the sanitised version of it instead of play the whole tape through and notice what’s actually going on.

This notion of noticing the distance in the feedback loops helped me make so much sense why the collective “we” has chosen to turn a blind eye to international slavery, immense wealth inequality, starvation, war, factory farming torture, invasive agriculture, liberal use of toxic chemicals, and so on. It makes sense why we ingest pills and inject foreign substances when we don’t understand what’s going on with our own bodies because we are so disconnected, even from ourselves (maybe especially from ourselves).

We have given up our personal power to institutions who have historically claimed to know better …when in reality, they have functioned to create isolation and alienation from one another and from Self/Source/Spirit/Soul/Consciousness/The All/ The I am that I AM.

I was feeding my son this afternoon and I realised I couldn’t come up with the language to describe that feeling I had inside of me. I could tell you where I sensed it, but I couldn’t say the depth of it or the intensity of it or the colours of it or the taste of it or the majesty of it. I just know what I sensed. That’s me being ‘hands-on’ with my son. The only way to get that experience is to BE with him, to hold him, to cuddle him, to not rush, to be present, to pay attention, to deeply care. It is SUCH an intimate connection that can only be known via mindful Presence. I know what my son needs because I’m HERE. I pay attention. I care about his well-being.

When I am disconnected from that which I am responsible for, I am no longer responsible for it because I am unable to intimately relate with it.

I also know people ship their children off to boarding school because they’d rather someone else deal with their children. In effect, displacing responsibility and therefore intimacy and connection. The boarding school is a fairly extreme example, because there are many mini shipping-offs we do daily, but the point I’m making is that when I am disconnected from that which I am responsible for, I am no longer responsible for it. My responsibility has been diluted. Ultimately, it means that I am no longer able to intimately relate with it. All I now notice is ‘what’s wrong’ and the powerlessness I feel in my own belly to be able to DO anything about it. So I numb myself and continue to perpetuate that which I’m told is real and true.

I wonder, how much of this removal from the source is intentional? How much of it was made such so that the broken telephone of the feedback loop became our reality? We have accepted, as a species, that all of this is okay. We keep replicating it. We have lost connection with our roots, we have displaced our responsibilities (and therefore intimacy), we have lost the ability to respond from that intimate place of intuitive knowing.

No wonder, then, that we can’t pay attention to the loud responses of Gaia (and all she hosts on her body). In the book “If Women Rose Rooted” there is a metaphor about who’s making decisions in our world. A white man in a crisp suit sitting on the top floor of a skyscraper. This person is deeply disconnected from the earth. He offshores his responsibilities. He only does what everyone else is doing. He is highly self-interested (in the conditioned / egotistical sense). His hands are never, ever ‘dirty’. He knows the system because he helped shape it, and he operates from within it. He has never met the people on the other side of the world that make his products. He doesn’t much care for them. He might even convince himself he’s doing them a favour by employing them — at least they’re not starving peasants. His deeds are often legal, but highly unethical. But he doesn’t question the morality of his actions because he has been taught it’s a dog-eat-dog world. He’s worked hard to be at the top. He’s got shareholders and offshore accounts. He has never thought to question the paradigm he is operating from; he just responds. Because his vantage point is vastly different,he assumes no responsibility for any of his creations. He is profoundly disconnected from all he creates. How’s that for a metaphor?!

The antithesis to patriarchal creations: Cultivating sacred responsibility.

As a woman connected to my sense of Self, knowing the infinite power of what I AM, my creations are deeply intimate. They are created and birthed out of love and thus they are are deeply meaningful and personal. They are connected to the Source that I AM, and they are fully my personal responsibility. To me, that responsibility over my creations is sacred. I only create from my Soul, and those creations are intended to spark the sacred.

Connect with that which is meaningful and life-affirming to me in every breath, every moment.

To do that, I must stay deeply connected to my own sense of Self (Soul/Spirit/Consciousnesses/godForce/I AM/Signal). I choose to live a deeply intimate life. To create as the Force of consciousness that I AM rather than a mere mortal human. To have the conversations that are of utmost importance to the evolution of consciousness itself. To connect with that which is meaningful and life-affirming to me in every breath, every moment. To be HERE. Present to my own internal cues so that they’re not hijacked. To be certain in my uncertainly. To truly respect myself, and therefore all that I choose to pay attention to. All of it in its brilliance. To notice that there is ALWAYS a higher intelligence at play…

To know also that I get to be with exactly what presents in the moment. There is brilliance in it all. I get to grieve that which I perceive as a loss; and yet I trust it is all necessary for the next iteration of the evolution of consciousness that I AM. In that, it is all brilliant.

Gaia as my role model.

I believe Gaia intimately knows this. I believe she is fearless. I believe she trusts what is and has no judgements about what she thinks should be. In fact, she doesn’t think, at all. She just IS. She trusts that all is meaningful, all is perpetually evolving. She knows there is a bigger picture, and she trusts in that, and allows everything to unfold exactly as it is. And I believe she chooses intentionally. In that, I trust her brilliance. She is a great role model – a powerful expression of godForce, indeed!  

My invitation to myself in this moment is to notice all that I perceive as chaos or destructive around me and consciously choose to trust the brilliance of the moment and invite and allow it all to unfold exactly as it is. I can only do this if I trust that I AM the godForce/consciousness, manifested. When I forget, to invite myself back to my Self. To remain awake, intimate, vulnerable. To remain connected to the most sacred connection of all. To consciously cultivate on a moment by moment basis my relationship with the Signal that I AM.

THAT is what sustains me.

THAT is what enlivens me.

THAT is my most sacred personal responsibility.

THAT is my legacy.

For your consideration…

  • What is your most sacred personal responsibility?
  • How do you choose to honour it?
  • Do you cultivate it on a daily basis?

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