This word has been tossed around a lot in the last several years.
It's been used to point out how people were and weren't taking responsibility for their actions and beliefs.
Sometimes it has been used well, and other times not: typical human behavior.
I want to talk about a positive experience of ownership I had recently.
I was standing in my house, looking out the window. I became aware of the house around me, above me, and below me giving me shelter. Home has always been very important to me, and as more than just shelter. I want it to feel good, both literally, like the beds being cozy and there being soft places to sit, and good places to do projects, and also the way it feels in a more subtle way. A yoga teacher taught me the word 'feeling-tone.' I am fairly stubborn about having a harmonious feeling-tone in my home. I want all the people and animals that live there to get along together in a loving, clearly communicating way. If it's not going well, I talk about it with them and figure out what needs to change. And things do need to change every once in a while, because we all keep evolving, and the world keeps changing.
And as I wrote about here, all of that inter-relating (to both each other and ourselves) is a moving target and requires our constant and gentle attention. Side note- constant and gentle does not mean difficult and tension-filled. So often whenever we are presented with adding anything more to our awareness, we automatically feel burdened. This isn't necessarily so.
But back to me looking out the window and feeling sheltered and safe. I value feeling sheltered and safe immensely and have not always had access to those feelings for various reasons.
Standing there, really feeling that, I realized that not only was I having that emotional experience but that barring dramatically unexpected mitigating circumstances, I get to keep that feeling because my name is one of two on the deed. Whoa. I don’t think I ever really let myself feel that before.
I took a few breaths just feeling that sense of security. That I had something that helped me feel safe that it would be difficult for anyone to take away from me.
Security feels a particular way. First, it hits you in the heart center. There’s a softening and a warmth there. But then if you allow it to, it will soak through you and rest in the back of your rib cage spreading out under your shoulder blades down towards the mid-back and sometimes even up into the back of your neck. It moves from the heart into the back body and gives you something warm to rest on.
I have experienced this without having my name on a deed. I remember my first apartment that was all my own with no roommates. I bought a warm blanket, a 25# bag of rice, and a jumbo pack of toilet paper (this was in the mid-1990s, I was a toilet paper hoarding forerunner), and I felt more secure than I had since times in my childhood. I loved to just sit in that apartment while rice was cooking and feel safe.
For me feeling safe comes from having the basics- shelter, food, and warmth- in my control. It was up to me to follow through with working to pay my rent, buying things as I needed them, and making good choices. I was responsible for myself, and this felt good. I have always had a mainly internal locus of control, and this is an upside to that- when I have what I need, and have met my responsibilities, I can deeply relax.
It's much more than a materialistic satisfaction of ownership. There is something really deep in me that has finally begun to let go. Old fears of the future feel less potent. I feel like I have enough security to be brave. To try new things, to invest in myself, and build new ways to help people. I suspect this is partially a gift of getting older. I have had enough life experiences to know that I will probably be able to handle what comes next, and if I can't, I have learned how to ask for help.
Part of this is basic hierarchy of needs stuff- first we need food and shelter. Then comes love and belonging, then esteem, which is where I think where this sense of ownership may fit in. After esteem, which includes respect, recognition, strength, and self-esteem, comes self-actualization. All of those sound like pretty big ideas, and at the same time, most of us can relate to them.
Check it out. Try feeling positive ownership. Ownership of your gifts, experiences, and even of the things you physically possess. Really dive into it. Are you really good at something? Does it feel great when you stretch? Do you own something that you cherish that you worked hard for? Is there an experience, or a moment in time when you felt whole and realized? Can you evoke that feeling in your body? Is there an activity that helps you feel embodied and present? Own it. It's yours. Relax.