Thoughts on Sovereignty and Personal Responsibility

4340668_xlI’ve been working with the concept of sovereignty from the perspective of leadership work. One of my big dreams is to take some of the drama out of the Earth-centered community. My motto for this work has been, “Together we are stronger,” and I really believe it. I suppose I’ve been in enough groups as a participant, and as a leader, and I get so upset and disheartened when I see a group divide over drama issues, or even just from one person.

One of the reasons I’ve been working so hard to offer leadership program is that I believe that if each person steps into their own Sovereignty, 90% of the drama would vanish. When I’m standing in my Sovereignty–when I’m full of my own power as power-with, not power over, or power under….when I have a healthy permeable ego and good self esteem….when I’m filling my own emotional cup…then, as a strong and self-actualized person, I can interact in community as a whole person.

I suppose I look at sovereignty as both a process of leadership in being a designated leader of a group, but also as personal sovereignty.

I wonder what the world would look like if we all had a firm footing beneath us–if we all knew we stood on solid ground and had good self esteem, then that would lead to having good boundaries. With good boundaries I’m neither teasing people and cutting them down or undermining them to make myself feel better, nor am I placating people in a codependent way. I can say with confidence, “No I’m sorry I cannot help you with your project,” without worrying someone will be mad at me or resent me in a way that will lead to future drama.

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I believe that if we could each step into sovereignty for ourselves, our groups would be stronger. And, it’s no easy process. I struggle with my own ideals and values all the time. It’s hard to stand in integrity, and I often fail to do so. But, having done a lot of work with personal sovereignty, I find that when I feel my ego getting tweaked by something and I get angry at someone, I can take a breath and look at why, and see if I’m genuinely angry at something that was genuinely wrong (i.e., someone hurt someone else) or if I’m angry because I feel that my ego got bruised and I want to lash out.

When I’m sitting in the place of a healthy ego, and the cup of my heart is whole, I find that people can insult me, or even just indicate disinterest, and my self image doesn’t waver, my ego isn’t bruised, and I can respond in a calm tone of voice. I don’t always get to that place, but I’ve been there, and it’s been a potent experience. I’ve been able to sit and hold space while someone flares up about something, and knowing that, even if they are insulting me, that it’s not about me, sit in my sovereignty and help them find theirs.

Often, stepping into sovereignty for me, and for others I’ve worked with, means identifying old wounds and allowing them to heal vs. living out of the old pattern. In essence, taking ownership of the old pattern and admitting that I’m responsible for myself, and my patterns, and I’m responsible when I’m acting out of them.

The rub of sovereignty, of course, is owning my own flaws, and owning what is mine. Most of the time someone else’s anger and emotion directed at me isn’t mine. But conversely, when I find my anger being directed at someone, that may be mine, and may be more about me than about them. So sovereignty also means owning my own emotions, owning that what I am feeling about something might be my own ego raging out of control. It’s owning my impact, owning that what actions I take have an impact and that I’m responsible for that.

First published in Isis-Seshat Journal Issue #22, Vol. 6 No. 2, P. 31

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