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Personal Accountability

August 21, 20229 min read

PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY
August 20, 2022 | Inspiration

horses in a field

In a herd of horses, personal accountability is everywhere. The survival of the herd can depend on whether or not each member is in a balanced state, aware of their surroundings, and taking responsibility for their actions and emotions. 

Let me break each term down for a moment as I may have lost a few of you in the prior statement. First, personal accountability. What does that mean exactly?! By my definition, someone who is personally accountable holds a self-awareness. There is the capability to step outside of themselves for a moment and view their own actions, thoughts, emotions, decisions and so on from the perspective of the “other”. We are of course always seeing the world through our own lens; however, we need to hold up a mirror now and again and reflect (see what I did there?) on how we are using our energy and projecting ourselves into the world. By doing this, we can then discern: was the action I took, the words I said, the energy I used (etc) appropriate for the situation by my estimation? Have I weighed those behaviors against the societal norms of my community? Did the decision I made/action I took (etc) impact a member of that community or ‘herd’ in an undesirable way? If so, what conclusions have I drawn from their response and how will I use that information to adjust my energy/action/word/thought in the future? Is an apology necessary to preserve the relationship and return balance to the community and to show my self- awareness and responsibility to how I project myself into this space?

How about the term “balanced state”? What does it mean to be in balance? Well, the opposing term is to be out of balance…and I think we can easily recall a time we came across someone who was not themselves, perhaps their energy was too high or too low. Perhaps they were projecting, victimizing, blaming, etc. and it was impacting not only the health and happiness of that individual but the entire group. If we can more easily see what it is to be out of balance, then by elimination whatever is “not” that should be “in” balance correct? Well in some ways yes, however, it can be tricky to put a pin in it as we are all unique, we all view the world through our own lens, we let ego drive the bus more often than we like to admit, and our fears tend to lead when we’re asleep at the wheel. Holy cow, we sound like a mess when I put it that way, how will we ever get balanced?! First: as stated above, self-awareness. Take a beat to breathe and reflect. See what your inner critic and victim think of the situation, then ask them to quiet and dig deeper (if we don’t give them the floor, they’ll tend to take it…so might as well let them get it off their chest so they can sit down and be quiet 😉). If you begin to view the “cranky committee” as a bit of a game, it tends to take their power away. Look at their narrative as game almost, view it out of curiosity and from a distance… “I wonder what they’ll have to say about this!” Soon, they stop sharing their opinions because you’re not listening to them anyway…

Then, seek out the opinion of the one who is beyond ego, beyond criticism. The perspective of your higher self.  Do a “gut check”. Take another deep breath and sit quietly with the information. This small calm and loving voice will emerge. They will help you reflect on your actions through the lens of unconditional love, and this is the only way you should ever view yourself.  To reach a balanced state, you must treat yourself as you treat others. Yes! The golden rule works in reverse as well 😊. Give yourself the same benefit of the doubt. Speak to yourself from love and give yourself some grace. As it has been said many times “none of us are getting out of this alive”, so sit back and relax. Enjoy the ride! Stay curious about the world around you and how you impact and influence it and you’ll be well on your way to finding a balanced state that is authentic and true for you. Horses lack the ego that we humans carry, which allows them to connect with their higher self and the collective unconscious much easier as all the “stuff” we carry around isn’t a burden to them and therefore doesn’t get in their way. When the path is clear taking the steps is easy. When we can’t see the road in front of us is when we get stuck. If you’re not sure how to move beyond ego (ego encompasses more than an over-confidence in ourselves, it is where the critic, victim, judge and the rest of the committee live), look to the horses. Watch how they respond to each other. They don’t hold a grudge, they don’t let the actions of others eat at them, and they certainly don’t beat themselves up if they make a wrong move, they simply adjust to the desired state and work to stay there.

horse

Now that we’re in balance, let’s take a look around and gain awareness of our surroundings.  What do you see? What are you taking in? Now, pause. Take a breath, close your eyes, drop your shoulders, and stretch your awareness out around you. What do you notice now? What were you filtering out before as background noise that you can now sense? Now open your eyes and try a game: look straight forward, do not move your eyes, but soften your gaze and see what information you can register from the periphery of your visual field without moving your eyes. How far does it go to each side? Where does it stop? How many things can you recognize their shape or form? Our vision gets fuzzier the farther out you go, which is why we’re so quick to turn our eyes or our head to bring something into focus. The downside of this is we ignore a good majority of our visual field most of the time due to our ability to simply turn and look straight on. However, if we use all of our visual field, we will improve our awareness of our surroundings and become more present in the space we occupy instantly. Horses use their entire visual field (which is pretty vast!) at all times. All information is useful and important. They hear every sound and register every visual que. They don’t filter out the majority of their surroundings like we do. As hunter/gatherers we are wired to laser focus with intent. This is discerning for horses as there’s an intensity to that gaze which communicates to them, we’re in predator mode. Other humans can feel this subconsciously as well, and if we soften our gaze and practice spatial awareness you might be surprised at the shift in how people respond to your energy.

Lastly, taking responsibility for our actions and emotions. This comes naturally when we are taking personal accountability, in a balanced state and aware of our surroundings. This ability to be open and curious about ourselves, our environment and how we influence that environment naturally leads to a deeper understanding of self. Once we have that personal awareness, we begin to better understand how we move through the world, how we project our energy, and how those two things impact others around us. Then, we simply make a decision about whether or not we like the outcome and shift our behavior and energy to meet the answer. Was the desired response achieved? Great! Keep it up. Did the response I receive not feel good or not result in the outcome I was after? Oops! Let’s reflect and find where we can shift for next time. And on it goes into oblivion.  

horses at sunset

How does this self-reflection and awareness connect to boundaries? Is it our job to constantly shift for the sake of others? Certainly not. If you watch a herd long enough the final key and the big “secret” to this balanced state of self-awareness is know what is and is not OK in your world. What does and does not feel good to you, what you will and won’t tolerate from those around you – as they too have these same levels of discernment in their bubble of control as well. The more you reflect and listen to the subtle inner voice that is beyond ego, you will find your comfort zone. When you find it, to truly honor yourself through unconditional love and acceptance, you must also be willing to stand up and protect yourself. The “balanced” state of this does not lash out or respond to a boundary crossing in a violent way, it simply holds the line. “I won’t cross your boundaries, but you cannot cross mine”. This is the key to happiness in all herds. If a horse is a bit off and it crosses a boundary, the other horse will communicate that quickly. If the off-balance horse isn’t self-aware enough or aware of their surroundings, they may miss the que and then the other horse will escalate -but only to the level necessary to get their point across and no further. As soon as the un-balanced horse gets the hint, they shift back to balance and return to the proper side of the boundary line, the horse whose boundary was crossed immediately returns to their prior state. There’s no continued pursuit to “make a point” or “teach a lesson” to give an excuse to express and release anger like us 2-legged herd members are so quick to do in response to hurt feelings or fear. There is much we can learn from this approach, and much I still learn every day!  “Return to grazing” is a phrase we often use in the Equine Partnered professions which simply refers to this act of recovering to a balanced state quickly. We hold on to emotions that we should release which keep us stuck and out of balance. Releasing these emotions in a healthy way will get us back in balance. Horses “shake it off” literally and figuratively and move on with their day. 

So, if you’re struggling to find balanced state where you are aware of your surroundings and taking responsibility for your actions and emotions – look to the herd. They can model it for you. Then, take a deep breath, give yourself some grace for being human and not a horse, and try to shake it off and move on with your day, ready to reflect and shift again tomorrow. This is how you achieve personal accountability, which leads to manifesting and achieving the life you dream of, but more on that in a later post.


In good health,

Sonia


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