I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ownership. As someone who is highly sensitive to the emotions of others, I have this habit of not only feeling and relating to the emotions and energy of others, but owning them as well. It’s sometimes so fluid it’s difficult to detach the source of someone else’s “stuff” from my own.
I have this theory (and please understand that this is based on my own beliefs and perceptions of the world) that there are varying degrees of innate intuition in all of us. We all have the ability in us to feel energy, but as is the case with the creative selves we’re born with we become desensitized or immune, exhausted by responsibility and expectation, and we abandon ship. We are influenced, I believe, by mainstream survival. If someone is overly sensitive it’s seen as weak or unpredictable so protection is about drowning out the noise.
Last night we took the dog out for a walk quite late and on the way back into our building we noticed one of the cars in the parking lot had its lights on. We knew who belonged to the car but not where they lived. We stood around the car for several minutes trying to decide what to do. We talked about trying to get into the car but figured if we were caught doing so, the consequences would be worse than just a dead car battery. So, after several minutes of contemplation we took the dog inside.
This morning I ran into the owners of the car and told them their lights had been left on. Many others had walked by the car throughout the course of the night and morning but nobody resolved the issue or seeked out the owners. When I told him, the man turned to me and asked why we didn’t shut them off or do more to fix the situation. I told him that we didn’t know where he lived and didn’t feel comfortable breaking into the car, but I stewed on it for a minute. The situation sounds small, but there was a time in my life when his anger and blame would have sent me into a tailspin for a good remainder of the day. I would have owned it. I do still feel a sense of guilt lingering in the background, wondering if I should have found a way into the car or tried to find someone who knew him. I offered to drive him to work to help fix the situation but he declined, having called a friend for a boost.
The whole of the situation got me to a place where I began contemplating ownership. All those people that walked by and said and did nothing didn’t have to face the driver in the morning when he discovered it, and even if they did they didn’t have to own up to knowing anything. I was walking by when I encountered him and waved hello. Should I have kept my mouth shut? Should I feel guilty about a problem that isn’t mine? Last week I witnessed a terrible traffic accident and was faced with the very same questions.
It’s all a metaphor for something much bigger. It’s easier now than ever not to own or be a part of what we don’t want to see. Small scale or large, it’s more convenient to look at the world and believe that it’s problems are not ours.
We decide how much ownership we take and we decide how much the pieces of each other overlap.
We are all in this wide and crazy world together.