I am indebted to Cherie Gannon-Taylor and to Gwynn Barton who inspired
Who is cause in the matter of my life?
In the conversation for
many questions evoke pure fun - for example "What do I
really want?". Other questions are profound and eternal -
"Who am I?".
And then there's one specific question which is senior in
the conversation for
question, a question which separates the women from the girls and the
men from the boys.
That question is "Who is cause in the matter of my life?". I mean
really: who is cause in the matter of your
Consider this - not like it's the truth but rather like a
powerful place to stand regardless of the circumstances. It's a blanket
statement, one of those rare generalities in the conversation for
It covers all situations, all circumstances, all experiences:
You were there - you're cause in the matter.
Proof By Extreme
I was with
when he worked with a woman who survived a Nazi extermination camp.
Most of her family in there with her weren't so lucky. Tortured pain
was quite understandably
deep into her face. It was clear it had been
that way for many, many years.
I'm a surfer.
I know what I like to
I like to
warm five to six foot playful left point breaks on which I can noseride
and let the feathering curl part my hair. But when I watch thirty foot
Banzai Pipeline tubes thunder in to the north shore on
O'ahu Hawai'i, or when I'm mesmerized as icy forty foot monsters pound
off California's Half
Bay, I know my limitations.
I had a sense I could make a difference with the woman who survived the
Nazi extermination camp. But when I realized it would mean taking the
conversation for being cause in the matter all the way to being cause
in the matter of being in a Nazi extermination camp, frankly I balked.
I know my limitations.
But then again, I'm not
took the conversation for being cause in the matter with her all the
way to being cause in the matter of being in a Nazi extermination camp.
When she got she was cause in the matter (and she did get
it!) her whole face changed. The tortured look just vanished. Actually
that says it way too mildly. Forty years of
tortured look just vanished. You could see she finally had closure. She
I had just witnessed a quiet miracle. Something had just taken place
that simply could not have taken place. Something had happened that
simply wasn't possible.
I'll never forget
comment to the group after she thanked him.
In any authentic conversation for
being cause in the matter is
front and center stage.
In the matter of living a
life, it's more than simply you're in charge of your own
life. You already know that. It's you're cause in the
matter of your own life. That's
Being cause in the matter is much maligned, much misunderstood. I'm
cause in the matter of my life. That doesn't mean I'm to blame or that
I'm guilty or that I'm at fault, accountabilities with which it's
variously confused. Being cause in the matter of my life is easy for me
to get when I have a great love affair, for example. If I have a great
love affair, I say it's my life, I caused it and I'm glad to take
responsibility for it.
But what if I'm raped? Being raped would be my life too. I say there's
no way I caused it and I'm not responsible for it.
Someone else did it to me. It seems being cause in the matter
of my life would be almost impossible to get if I was raped. Actually
it's more than almost impossible - it's seems it would be
totally out of the question.
So I ask the question: where's my responsibility for my life then? Is
it even valid or meaningful to ask where's my
responsibility if I'm raped? Who is cause in the matter
of my life if I'm raped? Or is the very question itself rendered
meaningless given the horrific violence of the circumstances?
These are tough questions for which I have no answers.
I'm not inquiring into being cause in the matter of my life to come up
with the truth, with answers. I'm inquiring into being cause in
the matter of my life to come up with a powerful place to stand
regardless of the circumstances.
I sit with it in my lap like a hot
I notice my inquiry is a conventional inquiry. I notice I
have an already outcome for my inquiry, which is this: in
the hypothetical matter of being raped, it's not possible
I could be cause in the matter.
But I notice that outcome doesn't give me any power. It
doesn't give me any new space. It doesn't
my life. If I was raped it wouldn't give me closure.
Being Cause Is A Choice
Taking on being cause in the matter isn't conventional.
It requires taking a huge step, an unreasonable step, a radical step,
an unconventional step. Taking on being cause in the matter isn't
taking on blame, shame, guilt, or fault. It simply means acknowledging
Iwasthere. I wasn't around the corner when it
happened. I wasn't somewhere else when it happened. I ...
was ... there.
I may not want to take that on. As a matter of fact, if I don't take on
that I'm cause in the matter of being raped, millions upon millions of
people would agree with me. I'll get a lot of agreement ... but I won't
If I do take on being cause in the matter of being raped, it's a place
of great power and of great
a place of closure. Actually it's more than that: it's a stand of
You can't make anyone take on being cause in the matter.
It's a stand I choose to take on, or not. There's power and
and closure if I do. And I don't have to.