Trading Responsibility for Joy

On the rare occasions that I host a party or a dinner I have noticed myself entering a state that I think of as “host” energy. It is a somewhat timeless place due to the focus and presence in the moment as I work to ensure that things are done, people taken care of, that everyone has a good time. One task or conversation follows another and before I know it the evening is over and I come back to myself and the lower energy levels I usually function at.

Even if it was a good event, I usually feel a bit drained and wonder where all the time went. Perhaps I also feel some relief.

Its a different energy from attending someone else’s party, though that may also be a busy time full of a series of conversations and other events that are not very dissimilar. The difference is that I am not the “host” I don’t walk in with a sense of responsibility for anyone else, just for myself.

Recently I have been noticing parallels with other situations. Take parenting. Now that I am stepping out of that, I notice the relief of not being in host mode for my children, even though years of experience had dulled the edge a bit. As they have grown up I am glad to acknowledge that they can take on more responsibility for their own lives. I try to trust them as capable human beings to do so.

But what about other guests, or even more balanced relationships? How about a new roommate, a new romantic interest, or a new co-worker? Do you go into “host mode”? or perhaps you might experience it as “wanting to make a good impression”? Some elements of “care taking” might even slip in. Its probably not conscious, so check twice. To what extent do you “take responsibility” for others when it might be reasonable to let them take it for themselves?

There’s no correct answer here, just something to consider.

In some cases it is reasonable. If you have a guest from far away who doesn’t know their way around town, they may need some help getting around, but are you also responsible for them enjoying their trip? or are they? If so to what extent? Are you creating their experience? or are you co-creating with them?

Back at the party: we are all adults, isn’t it appropriate that I trust my guests to have a good time, or to ask if they need something? What happens if I let go of the weight of being responsible for everyone and just show up in joy and enthusiasm? Wow. A bit better for me! perhaps even better for them?

Not that I don’t still do all the appropriate things as host, but the energy is very different. Instead of being in accelerated attention mode (read anxiety), I can just be present in joy and expectation that something great will unfold. I have more space to consider what is appropriate, and what may not be. In taking care of myself and creating space for others to take care of themselves, trusting that they can, do we not take steps towards true co-creation?

In trusting yourself, trusting others, you can ease the anxiety and burden of “responsibility” and open a whole different space. Perhaps you have already discovered this. Wonderful! Perhaps there are still situations or relationships where you can give yourself more permission to let go and make the switch. Let’s start practicing.

Just think of a world full of joy and enthusiasm. What a great thing to create together!

(© 10/2008)

This entry was posted in Relationships, Spiritual Process and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *