Thursday, March 19, 2009

Empowerment and Freedom

The wonderful poem, The Journey, by Mary Oliver, is a powerful voice for
not being responsible for the happiness of others. The last line of the poem, "... determined to save the only life you could save," is a strong invitation for all of
us to start our journey of independent, responsible living. But what about the
other guy? Aren't we responsible for our brothers and sisters? Isn't that what the
world says?

Well, we can care for others, we can want the best for others, we can love others.
But the very best way we can do exactly that - care for, want the best, love others ...
is to not take their lives away from them by deciding to be responsible for them.

That's like saying, "you can't do it without me."

That's the road to Disempowerment and Victimhood.

What do you think? I'd love to hear from you.

Clyde Haberman, Senior Teacher at The Option Institute


  1. Great post Clyde!
    I remember when I first came to The Option Institute. I was such a caretaker! I adopted the beliefs from my mother that "if you loved me you would..." - and so I did! Once I understood that we're each in control of our own happiness, I tried to teach, cajole, and lecture my family on how they could better care for themselves. You can imagine how well that went over! Only when they saw changes in me, saw me comfortably stand up for myself and at times even say 'no', did they become interested in the Option Process(R) and the tools that I continue to learn through the programs (Empower Yourself (,15), Calm Amid Chaos (,16), etc) here.

  2. Liz, Can you imagine the incredible impact on our world if children were taught in our schools what we teach at The Option Institute - that we're each in control of our own happiness. I'm not responsible for your happiness, and you're not responsible for mine. How cool would that be??