Over the past few weeks, one clear theme has emerged from my work and my own evolution: the concept of commitment.
Of course, not just any old commitment: not the so-called "commitment" to making a seven-figure salary, getting a better car than your neighbours or dropping to 2% body fat.
No, we're talking about commitment to the serious s***:
- To your deepest self, your journey, your growth, your healing.
- To your purpose, your love, your longing.
- To others around you, to the planet, to this whole web of interbeingness that you are such an integral part of - whether you like it and believe it or not.
Perhaps if you look into your own life, there has been a little voice that has been gradually-but-surely getting louder; whispering, inviting, calling you towards your longing and your true need for self-care, support, evolution, growth, healing and connection?
And perhaps at the same time, the other, noisier voice of your resistance, fear, blame, judgment and denial has become more obvious and has begun to lose some of its intensity and power?
So (perhaps) are you ready to dive deeper into the adventure of life and to commit to what you truly long for? Well before you do, allow me first to question this so-called commitment:
What is your image of commitment?
We often hold a very distorted image of what commitment means. The layers of its origin are unique to each of us, but there does seem to be a common misperception of it.
In a nutshell, it goes something like this: "When I will be fully committed, I will be 100% dedicated".
There will be no mistakes. No setbacks.
I will be 100% focussed. All. The. Friggin'. Time.
I will be awesome/sorted/unstoppable.
However (and its a pretty strong however):
There will be no joy.
There will be no pleasure.
There will be no fun.
(But I will be awesome/sorted/unstoppable).
Just take a step back for a moment: do you recognise this within you? Not very conducive to change, is it?
Perhaps you can now see that this idea of commitment is what is in fact keeping you from it? But - I hear you ask - why do we do this to ourselves?
Well there is a pretty simple explanation. In fact, I gave you a clue in the very first sentence of this section: it's because this is an image of what commitment is, i.e. a set of beliefs, thoughts and perceptions held by the very-limited-yet-very-overambitious-and-overconfident mind.
Listening - and believing - such an image is like believing a drunk friend when he assures you that he is alright to drive because he has seen other people do it before.
And if you take such a distorted image of commitment as truth (i.e. if you believe your mind's limited understanding of it), its no wonder that you find it hard to follow through.
What if commitment was...
So if commitment is not like being strapped to an electric chair, fed only water and Weetabix, and not allowed to see your loved ones... then what the heck is it?
(Alert: there will be no answers given here, only questions... answers are so last year).
What if commitment was in fact a commitment to your true needs and to your soul's longing? Which by default also means your true need and longing for joy, pleasure, fun and connection - and all the awesome things that the mind doesn't seem to understand.
What if commitment was simply a choice - in each moment, each breath, each action, each step - to move closer to where you want to be, to give yourself a little more of what you really need, to be a teeny-weeny bit more present in your body and your life?
What if commitment was about acknowledging and accepting to take some steps "back"? Because in the grand scheme of things how do we even know they are steps back? And steps back to and from where exactly?
What if commitment was also about allowing ourselves to feel shit, having a day under the duvet, and following the natural rhythms of life? After all, everything in the natural world that is alive opens and closes, expands and contracts, ebbs and flows. And since we are very much a part of nature, why do we expect to be any different? (perhaps another trick of the all-powerful-and-overconfident mind?)
What if commitment was about letting go of the mind ideas and expectations, and going with our senses, impulses and instincts? What if it were about choosing to honour those, even if we have no "idea" of where it will lead us? Because perhaps we can choose to commit to something deeper and unknown, instead of the polarised, repetitive, mad-chatter-yet-utterly-believable spew of our minds?
What if commitment was also commitment to the uncomfortable stuff: to exploring your pain and wounds, your fears, your rage, your sadness? (Hang on a minute, would this be why the mind might try and take you somewhere else by giving you an image to distract you from reality? Surely it wouldn't be that crafty !!??)
One Last Question
And so my last question to you is this: who would you be and how would you feel about yourself without your current image of commitment?
Perhaps underneath it you may find that you already are complete, you already are loved, you already are whole and beautiful?
And perhaps - and this will be the last perhaps - all that you actually need to commit to is to giving yourself a little more breath, a little more space, a little more care, for your wholeness and completeness to shine through? (unless of course 2% body fat, a 7-figure salary and the latest BMW are your soul's true longing, and in that case just go for it - my job is obviously done.)
Keep questioning ...
(This article was first posted on Edward's site: http://www.edwardpike.net/blog/why-questionning-your-commitment-is-good-for-your-soul)