The Myth of Ownership: Who Really Owns Space
I am writing this post because I had an interesting phenomenon happen to me today as I was working. When I began thinking about being creative and spirited in my job, I kept getting a negative image in my brain of one of the administrators and what that person might say or do to hinder the creativity. As I began to meditate why he was their in mind, I realized that I believed what most people must certainly believe, that the space belongs to the owners or people who are designated authority so whatever they think is what I have to overcome.
This puzzled me a great deal because I just thought that there must be a different solution. How do I get him out of my mind and still have a certain amount of respect for property rights? Well, this is a difficult challenge for me because it seems like whatever I do, he is there. It turns out that what this person really cares about is rules and order and people following procedures. He seems to spend every waking moment getting people to do things they way he wants. So if I don’t get something in right on time, he is all over it.
What he doesn’t seem to care too much about at all are the actual creative things I do with the students. This means that if I get things in on time and do fire drills correctly, then everything else is free and open. I think I can live with that. I can give him the 5% attention that will make him not have a heart attack so that I can spend 95% on the students doing interesting things.
I think that maybe the hang-up is wanting him to care more about some other things rather than mere organization, but then maybe that is the best he can do. I seem to be able to drop him out of my mind by letting him have his control issues, accept that that is where he is at, and realize that he has left open the door of creativity wide open to do whatever I wish.
Another way to say this is that he has chosen to own the way everyone lines up and how to turn in forms, but he has left the ownership of creativity to everyone else. I own the creativity.
If I enter someone else’s house, I can respect their property and level of noise, etc., but they are probably going to give over to me certain things that I can own. They can own the noise level and the order in the house, but they usually will share certain aspects like friendship and helpfulness. I can own the friendship and helpfulness and then use it freely to make the space much more enjoyable. I can own courtesy and I can own kindness and generosity. These things I can bring freely into the house as if the house were mine and then the house is mine while still belonging to them.
When I bring in bad manners and negativity, I am usually not invited back because the owner doesn’t allow that in the house. It is no longer mine. In Latin America there is a saying, “mi casa es su casa”(my house is your house), which implies mutual ownership, but it is all predicated on the visitor having a great deal of courtesy and respect for the owner. The owner agrees to share the ownership because the qualities of friendship and love and warmth that can exist are much better than living in loneliness.
I find it very interesting that the great prophets of God that founded huge religions like Buddha and Jesus and Muhammad were never interested in owning things or property. They only ever seemed to concern themselves with bettering the space where others were. Jesus told His followers to give Caesar his due. They were then allowed to pay attention to the hearts of others. This seems to be where the real ownership lies.
Who occupies my heart? I think I will meditate on that.