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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Responsibility as a World View: Bach Flower Elm

It's been a busy couple of days in my part of the world.  I've watched some interesting exchanges of power, authority, control, and decision making. The responsibility for outcomes that comes with power and control can be both ego boosting and overwhelming.  It can also, in my opinion, become a world view.

In the emergency management profession, people are taught to take "command and control"- it's actually a course, a system, and a guiding principle. The "incident commander" wears the captain's hat. The incident commander assumes responsibility for the incident. The system can work well if everyone playing agrees to the rules, hands over responsibility, and accepts command from the captain.  Hmm....

It occurs to me that this principle of authority is also the basis for many of the healing professions. The doctor, the healer, or the technician assumes responsibility.  There is often a "hand over" that occurs between patient and healer. Society considers some professions and the people that perform in such capacities as "authority figures".  Teachers usually fall in this category. Parents can be seen as authority figures.  In the domestic animal world, pet owners often consider  themselves to be authority figures for their animals. We assume responsibility for those we feel we lead.
People that often find themselves in this Incident Commander/Authority/Expert role, are often confident in their abilities, have great experience or knowledge, are good at their work, and very capable. The commander is often very aware of his or her life purpose. They are in this position because they passionately believe in their work and have made it their calling. When you believe you have a "calling", a true soul path, or are fulfilling your 'life's work", you often become pretty powerful in that role. Others see your confidence and they recognize you are wearing the captains hat.  They start to hand over more responsibility and you gladly take it on. You feel even more confident you are on the right path.  You become more determined. You enjoy the responsibility. When things go well, you feel successful. It feels powerful to be "in control".  Your ego is fed.  But....

Sometimes we begin to view our world from this position of responsibility. You become driven by your goals, your beliefs, your sense of purpose and the responsibility that goes with it. You start to feel burdened by the responsibility.When you see the world as your responsibility to fix, at some point or another, the load will be too heavy. It can get overwhelming and in that space of "overwhelming overload" you start to feel doubt.  You  feel exhausted. You may lose your confidence.  If you have accepted the responsibility for "saving lives", you will, at some point in your lifetime, have to accept the responsibility for "destroying lives". That can lead to depression, exhaustion and a crash in ego or self-esteem.

This worldview of "responsibility" is a direct match for the Bach Flower essence Elm. On the positive side, Elm is a strong, hardy and upwardly mobile tree. It is confident and secure with a solid base. On the negative side of the balance, Elm is indicated when you feel so overwhelmed by your responsibility that you lose confidence, become depressed, exhausted and full of doubt.  When you start to question whether or not you ever should have taken that hat, become a healer, accepted the parenting role, taken on pets, chosen that career, Elm can help.  

The Bach essence Elm is prepared by the boiling method and is another of those truly transforming essences. Elm types do change the world, and transform lives in positive ways. But sometimes you need to do a "reality check" and put things in perspective. Maybe you have taken on a bit too much responsibility and you need to reassess. Perhaps it's time to share the command.  Maybe you need to let someone else take over, release some of the burden, hand over some of the troops.

It's hard to hand over responsibility.  It can feel like failure. You can get so trapped in taking on more and more that to say "no" feels like you are admitting defeat, showing vulnerability, showing weakness, admitting you can't do it all. Hmm.. Sounds like the ego again.

Taking the Elm essence may help you modify your worldview a bit so that you can recognize when you have taken on too much. It can help you look at your own needs and realize when you need to "let go". All good leaders hand over command at some point. They bring others up to their level so they can assume the lead role. They give up some of the responsibility. That means giving up some of the glory, but it also lessons the burden.

If your captain's hat is starting to give you a headache and you are overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the responsibility, consider a few drops of the Bach Flower essence Elm.  Then you can sit back for a moment and think about your worldview. Consider whether or not you might manage your world with a little less responsibility for outcomes.

Everyone plays the role of incident commander in some aspect of their life but if you've taken this on as your whole life, it might be time to reconsider.  Allow Elm  to rescue the rescuer. 

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