Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What Do We Own?

Was just thinking about the word Own, and how little it's being used today, unless it's describing possession.

When I was a kid, there was a local pond, which, during cold winters would freeze over and the crowds would go and enjoy their days skating on the ice. All sorts would be out there... families with small children, those kids that would claim a section for their hockey games, the elderly. It was a cross-section of the community enjoying a simple wonder of nature, frozen water. I remember skating on lit full moon nights with a group of friends, when the ice appeared lit up from the sky. It was magical.

Of course, I also remember seeing a sign for years that was faithfully posted at the entrance to this pond that read "Skate at Own Risk". So, there, on the ice, was a large number of people willing to share this risk. Risk of falling through the ice, getting cold, wet, possibly losing one's own life, knowing all the while that the responsibility was ours. Ours alone.

When did places like this change their signs of ownership to take away the risk, not allowing us to even enter the game? "No Skating" signs replaced the old. So now, if you were brave enough to go out on the ice, not only were you fully assuming the responsibility of any consequences, you were also breaking the Law.

This may seem small, but I believe it weakens our power of self. Our control. We become followers, waiting to be told what we can do and what we can't. And, some of us, if we do take risks or injure ourselves, don't own it. We go after someone else for restitution. Instead of learning from an experience in our lives, we somehow believe if we shift the blame elsewhere, we can gain from our "bad luck".

Now, I'm resisting the temptation for a disclaimer here. One that says, "of course, I'm not talking about reckless behavior that puts myself or innocents at risk"... We all know the phrasing. I won't use it. I will try to operate under the "old" way of assuming you are reasonably bright and intuitively know that I am speaking within a reasonable range of possibilities. That way, you may own your opinion... I don't have to structure for you how you should receive my opinion. I own it, and now you own it.