If You Wish To Play Big Then Show Up And Travel In This Manner


It occurs to me that almost all of us, for almost all the time, live as slaves and/or victims.  What are we slaves of? Of reward and punishment. Of praise and blame.

We are slaves of  appreciation, of validation, of praise, of inclusion, of reward.  These leave us feeling good (and BIG) about ourselves and our place-role the world.  They can and often do elevate us from the ‘hell to heaven’.

We are also slaves of blame, criticism, ridicule, exclusion and punishment. These leaves us feeling bad (and SMALL) about ourselves and our place-role in the world. They can and usually do ‘snatch us from heaven and leave us in hell’ sometimes for long periods of time.

As I said you/i/we live as victims. Victims of whom/what? Victims of the people who around us whose opinions matter. Victims of the prevailing conventions and standards around what constitutes a normal-good-successful person.  Let me be clear, the ‘gate-less gate’ (to use a Buddhist expression) will never open for you/i if you/i continue to choose to live like slaves and victims.

It occurs to me that those of who choose to play BIG in life are asked to show up and travel in life in a particular manner. What kind of manner?  I leave you with a quote that points at that which I speak of:

I remember days of difficult labour in a spiritual school where we were encouraged to keep a balanced attention through all kinds of situations. I was given the task of grooming a horse.

From mane to tail, from hooves right up, I worked for hours.

Then the teacher came and after a brief inspection said, “Very poor job, superficial and sloppy.” He and I watched as my heart sank.

But then something rebounded: I knew I had done my best; I knew that I could not be a slave to reward or blame. In that moment, I saw the twinkle in his eye as he turned and left. 

– Kabir Edmund Helminski, Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness & The Essential Self

I say that you/i grant ourselves the space to play BIG in life as soon as (and for as long as) you/i show up and travel in this world in a manner that calls to us, walk on the paths that calls us, travel towards destinations/outcomes that call us. And irrespective of what others say and how they treat us, we ask ourselves the following question: “Am I showing up and travelling in life in a manner where in my being-doing I am giving it my all? “

If the honest answer is “Yes!” then I say you/i can be at peace with whatever shows up: reward, punishment, praise, blame, inclusion, exclusion..

If the honest answer is “No” then I say this answer is an opportunity to look into what is missing the presence of which would allow you/i to say “Yes!”.  Is it that the path no longer calls you/me?  Is it that you/i are simply in need of some rest, some time out, to energise?  Is it that you/i need to get creative about generating a different way of travelling the path?

I ask you to play BIG!  I ask you to show and travel in a manner that calls to you. I ask you to be OK with doing your best. I ask the same of myself.

It occurs to me that there is more to say. So I invite you to consider the following as a place to show up and operate from:

  • Only the imperfect demand perfection of themselves in order to feel perfect; and
  • The access to perfection is being OK with your imperfection AND giving your living all the you have to give AND being OK with knowing that you did and are doing your best.

Giving up ‘responsibility’ and standing in the ‘space of Responsibility’ is a powerful access to getting stuff done


I want to share two experiences with you and what I have learned from these experiences.  Lets start with the experiences:

A number of times I walked up and down the stairs and noticed dirt on the stairs.  Each time i sang the following song: “Hoovering the stairs and keep them clean is my son’s responsibility.  Did he do his job of cleaning the stairs on Sunday?  Did he do the job right? i  don’t think so else the stairs would not be this dirty.  You simply can’t count on people to do what you are counting on them to do.  i should have a word with him and get him to hoover the stairs.”   What I (the one committed to ‘Playing BIG’) noticed is that nothing changed in the real world.  i did not speak to my son – not that it would have done any good.  The stairs continued to be dirty.  Furthermore, I noticed that it is I (and i) who wants the stairs to be clean.  Now if I want the stairs to be clean then who is generating that demand on the world?  I am.  Once I got that I picked up the brush and dustpan and cleaned the stairs – twice during the week so that they could be pristine. And I felt great about it.

For about a week a bunch of boxes and the metal stand for the Christmas tree has lain upstairs on the landing.  Once, during the night, I tripped over the stand and almost hurt myself.  What came out of my mouth?  I cursed my wife for leaving the stuff there.  And I asked myself: “Why the heck has she not put the damn stuff up in the loft?  She wanted the Christmas tree and decorations.  So it is her responsibility to put the damn stuff away!”  Guess what that damned stuff stayed where she put it for the week. She was perfectly content for it to be there and so were my three children. Who was put out by it and wanted it moved off the landing and in the loft? Me.  Today, I and not i was present and it noticed that I is responsible for the demands that I (and i) place on the world.  Guess what?  In less than three minutes the stand and the boxes were up in the loft.  And I was left feeling joyful.  Why?  I had taken responsibility for making happen what I wanted to happen and not pester others to make happen what I want to happen.

So what is the lesson?  There is great wisdom in Nike’s slogan “Just do it!”  The access to just doing what I want done or what needs to be done is for me to stand in the ‘space of Responsibility’.  What do I mean?  Specifically, I mean stepping out of the already, always context (space) in which i, you, we are automatically embedded.  What is that space?  I call that was space “responsibility” – notice that it is responsibility with a small r.  In this space of responsibility when what i (you) want to happen does not happen then i (you) find someone to blame – i points the finger, i criticises, i bangs the table, i insists the other party does what i wants done.  The alternative place to stand and to live from is the space of “Responsibility” (notice that it starts with a big R).  In this space I (You) take the stand that I am Responsible for what shows up in my life AND I am Responsible for bringing into my life what I want in my live and keeping out of my life what I want to keep out of my live.  By taking this stand I look always to myself to get done what needs to be done. Now I might choose to get that done through other people and if I do go down that route and the stuff does not get done (or not the way I want it done) then I take a good look at myself and ask the following question:  who am I being such that I do not create the results that I want in my life?

Finally, I am clear that if I want to be powerful in my living then the access to that is standing (and operating) from the space of Responsibility and not responsibility.

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