“Take responsibility for the energy you bring.”
― Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey
This quote comes from the above book written by a brain scientist who had a stroke. She speaks of how she could feel the energy of the staff at the hospital as they entered the room before they even said a word. You’ve felt that energy from people, right? Me too.
One of the things I value most in my life is having a soft place to land. The world can be brutal sometimes. Often times, really. Just watching the news can have me running for cover on any given day. That’s why I try not to, I guess. Working and dealing with the public can have its own challenges.
My soft place to land is my home. I know if I just get through the day, when I close that door at home, everything will be better. I have a husband, four children, two dogs and a cat. I’m not saying it’s calm. But, it’s our home. It’s what we’ve made it. It’s built on trust, love, and mutual respect. It’s a good place to be.
The barrier I had to get past to do my part in accomplishing this was to focus on myself. I always want other people to be the ones to change. After all, what could be wrong with ME? What, possibly, would I need to change? Keith Ellis in his book The Magic Lamp: Goal Setting for People Who Hate Setting Goals writes: “You can’t wish for someone else to make you happy, because you can’t make that happen. But you can wish to spend more of your time doing the things that make you happy. If you wish only for what you can control, then success will always be in your hands.”
When issues arise, we have practiced – over the years – addressing them right away. We didn’t used to. We weren’t very good at this in the early years. We spoke to one another in harsh tones. Criticism was common – in both of us. Then we started paying attention to how our voices sounded to one another. There are times when I thought, about the words coming out of my own mouth, “I would be SO mad if someone spoke to me like that.” We have become more responsive to one another. More responsible for the energy we bring.
I remember when my home wasn’t a soft place to land. It was heartbreaking to live without that kind of refuge. I remember coming home from a 3-11pm shift in critical care and sitting in my mini-van outside the home I shared with my first husband. I wasn’t physically abused. I had nothing to fear, no reason not to go in. But, things were most definitely not right, not comfortable, not nurturing nor loving anymore. I just didn’t want to go into the energy of that place.
One of the things I’m most grateful for is the home we’ve built together – not the physical home, though I’m grateful for that, too. I’m most grateful for the emotional home we’ve been able to build. It takes work, time and attention but it’s a vital step in building the life you choose.