Healthy Responsibility: A Personal Story

The Mop & The Kitty

I recently unwound a familiar pattern that showed up throughout my life.

The pattern was me being on the lookout for a burden to alleviate, or coming to someone’s rescue with the expectation of receiving oodles of praise, love or money. In reality I would end up being horribly disappointed when the appreciation never materialized. I’ve concluded that a past childhood upset unconsciously laid the tracks to habitually recreate that felt experience.

When I was 10 years old I would remember feeling guilty and sad that my mother was stressed out from working, cooking and cleaning. I was struck with the brilliant idea that I would surprise her with mopping the kitchen floor. She would come home and shower me with smiling loving attention when she saw that there was one less task to complete thanks to her thoughtful daughter… ME! That day she came home looking tired and began cooking dinner. When I realized she hadn’t noticed, I pointed out my thoughtful act and she shrugged her shoulder and curtly exclaimed “So what?! I do that and 100 more tasks everyday without a ‘thank you’ so why should I give you one?” The proverbial rug was pulled out from under me. I went from feeling good about myself and confident that I would receive praise, to feeling disheartened, sad and dejected.

This memory was sparked by an idea I embraced while reading 5 Wishes by Gay Hendricks. My idea was to practice clearing up loose ends in my life in order to generate flow towards what I truly desire; in other words, completing incompletions. The unfinished business that chapped my hide the most was recalling that I had not been reimbursed for taking care of an acquaintance’s ailing 19 year old cat, years ago, when she had to suddenly move out of the country. I felt paralyzed at the thought of initiating that conversation. My Big Leap coach, Michele Yasuda, guided me as I unwound and fully faced the nuisances of this particular situation. We collaborated on getting microscopically clear on what I wanted while taking responsibility for the role I played in my incompletion. During this discovery process I noticed a horrible upset feeling in my body that was painfully familiar. I took some conscious breaths, became lovingly curious regarding the specificity of my confusion, fear, sadness and resentful feelings while simultaneously creating a pleasant “Hmmmmmm” sound throughout my body.
Soon, the memory of my mother and the mopped floor fiasco bubbled up. My body tingled all over as I became aware that I orchestrated the experience of feeling unappreciated for my efforts of “easing a burden.” That was a tremendous AHA moment for me.

I unconsciously arranged this pattern by:
1. Jumping at the chance to ease the cat owner’s burden without checking in with my “Yes” or “No”
2. Ignoring my impulse to exchange our ideas of what taking care of kitty looked like to each of us
3. Avoiding the conversation regarding a spending limit and just how the reimbursement would take place, thereby setting up the outcome of my disappointment from my assumption that she would pay me back in total and in a timely manner.

One of my daily consciousness practices is to draw a card from Katie and Gay Hendricks’ Impeccable Integrity Deck. The concept that I tuned into with all of this reminds me of the card in the category of Healthy Responsibility that reads, “How can I notice what unintentional commitments/beliefs are driving the results I experience in my life?” By becoming curious and facing just how I create the results that are occurring in my life, I broke the spell of a lifelong pattern. Through unpacking this particular incompletion I developed an intimacy with my inner workings that will continue to inform my actions moving forward. I am committing to initiating conversations with authentic expression, making clear, direct requests that include a specific agreed upon deadline instead of making up a story that I will be abundantly rewarded without any communication on my part.

I feel empowered by the gems I have received while embarking on completing incompletions. I find the practice to be a treasure trove of transformational healing. I clear away the static of unconscious patterns by experimenting with the tools I have learned from Gay, Katie Hendricks and my Big Leap Coach, Michele Yasuda. I experience a delightful clarity in creating a life by my conscious design as these practices become second nature to me.

Darlene Bellis
Big Leap Coach