Commitment — three stories and a picture

Where are you on the commitment spectrum?

Is your commitment a promise? An obligation? A duty? Or is it as fluid as all of life seems to be?

How do you allow for changes once the commitment is made? Because darling, change happens (there’s that fluidity again!), and I can tell you that it feels so much better when you realize that even when things change, or lose priority, you’re still okay. There is a ton of freedom attached to full-hearted commitment and full-hearted acceptance of the ebb and flow that may cause commitments to change or even disappear.

I have three small-ish stories that arose this week, calling to be shared with you. Each is about commitment in its own way.

Let’s look.


Commitment

“Blessed be” is no longer in my vocabulary (for now)

I care about words, and I am angry when my chosen words turn to ashes in my mouth.

Handmaids — blessed be

I’m a witch. A Jew-witch. As you may already know.

I’ve been saying “blessed be” as a salutation for years and years and years! A big commitment of mine is to be precise in language, and to continue to develop a lexicon that suits me and my desire to express myself as a badass sovereign priestess. “Blessed be” has been an important chosen phrase for me. I use it in public ritual, private ritual, often at the close of my posts and comments, or at the end of a call or conversation when I’m offering a deep bow of gratitude and/or a hug.

But now that expression is on the shelf. Because this:

I’m watching The Handmaid’s Tale and the commanders use that phrase with each other, and now “blessed be” just doesn’t sound right. For now.

I will happily reclaim it once enough time has passed (or maybe I won’t; maybe another phrase is coming to take its place!), but for now, I just can’t. Even just thinking about “blessed be” makes me cringe.

(I know Handmaid’s Tale is not for everyone, but I personally think it has potential to increase commitment to human rights, reproductive rights, and civil rights just when we need strong vocal protesting voices the most. Watch it if you can. Talk about it. Bless.

Weights and measures

Do you remember the stickers that were on the scales at the grocery store? The produce stand? The butcher shop?

ApprovedI found myself thinking about this recently. With all the uncertainty, with rights and freedoms being reversed, with unethical and shifty weakening of rules and protections everywhere I look (and more, and worse, I know!), I found myself longing for the security seeing a sticker like this gave me as a kid. It made me feel like someone must be watching, checking, making sure that things were “right.”

I think a commitment to regulation, and reliable structure, so that I can trust that something marked “8 ounces” contains 8 ounces of something, is a big fucking deal. And it’s not just about scales, and ounces, and measurements, but you understand that, right? It’s about rights for all not some, it’s about access for all not some… I know you know what I’m thinking and feeling here!

Do you need to lug around a toolbox?

Yup, you could call me on this one if you wanted to (I’ve been such a toolbox gal!). I think there are probably 20 posts in this collection (more?) in which I write about “tools” and your toolbox, and how important it is to have a big box of really useful tools that support you to live your badass life. Things are changing for me, and when the change is as liberating as this one appears to be, I have to share it with you.

Here’s what’s happening: I’m immersed in studying the 3 Principles of mind, consciousness, and thought, and in the process I see how much is changing inside of me. One change looks like me pushing less and enjoying more. I’ve noticed that I no longer feel that have to do exactly the same practices in exactly the same way for exactly the same amount of time every single day in order to meet my commitment to self-care. Instead, I can listen for what bubbles up in my inner cauldron. Now I’m more likely to do one or two of my morning practices each day. Some days I do zero (gasp!). Some days I do more. I spend less time thinking about my toolbox, and more time in easy contemplation and more open to creative thought.

For now, lately, the last few weeks anyway, I find that each morning I do what needs to be done. Sometimes I meditate, or stretch, or do tai chi before sitting down in front of a screen. Some days I sit down in front of a screen as soon as I’ve made my tea. Some days I do things I’ve rarely done before, like taking a book (not a screen) out to the back deck with a cuppa and take a meditative break. Or take a midday walk.

With a slightly less busy mind and slightly less attachment to the thoughts that are swirling around in there, I’m open to feeling and seeing what’s bubbling up in my cauldron, and trusting myself to do the things that have highest value for me in the moment. Or getting there. I think I’d be lying to say that I have this 100%, but I have a little of it, and I like it!

If you’re intrigued by this 3 Principles idea, there are a ton of resources out there. Right now, I’m reading Michael Neill’s The Space Within. His description of dipping a bucket into a well and pulling up what you need morphed itself — in my mind — into the image of a cauldron with all my tools floating around in it, and available to me with a quick dip of my ladle or skimmer.

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Sue

I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Lively conversation!

  1. Reba Linker says

    Beautiful post, Sue. I love and agree with your points, both about fluidity and about commitment – or I would say, integrity, a word that’s been popping up a lot for me lately. It’s like the old Hassidic tales about the populace needing to find one righteous man in order to avert some pending disaster (butchering the story a bit here, so sorry!) and instead of calling forth the learned men, the rabbi instructs them to bring a humble peddler forward. He turns out to be the righteous man who never cheated anyone of a kopek or an ounce – and how rare was that then, and these days as well?!

    • Sue says

      I like the way you told the story, Reba, it works for me. I like gently disconnecting my integrity (being my word, doing what I say I will do or owning up to changes as they arise) from my habits and routines. Liberating.

  2. Kathleen O'Keefe-Kanavos says

    As usual Sue I love this blog becuase of its profound honesty. I believe flexibility gives me strength because it allows me to stand in my power, not be manipulated, and to get out of anything twice as fast as I got into it. Concerning toolboxes — flexibilty is right next to a big hammer in mine.

    • Sue says

      Kathleen, thanks for the kind words! I love that you have flexibility in your toolbox, that’s key, isn’t it, to having freedom as well as passionate commitment.

  3. Suzie Cheel says

    I am for fluidity although sometimes that finds me down a rabbit hole. Commitment I do have to exercise twice a day and amazed that I do this each day and being unable to do my morning walk it gives me energy and raises my metabolism
    I love the idea of these 3 principles and will check out the book thank you xxx

  4. Marquita Herald says

    It is quite easy to commit to things, people do it all the time without giving much thought to the consequences. There is a huge difference between committing and being committed. I’ve always been a bit obsessed with keeping my word, the problem is (or was) that I had a tendency to “over” commit. Fortunately, the more aware and confident I became about setting healthy boundaries the more discerning I became about my commitments. Great article Sue!

    • Sue says

      Marquita, thank you. You make important distinctions here about committing and over-committing, and in my case, losing my connection to what drove me to the commitment in the first place. Discernment, being present, questioning “Is this as useful to me today as it once was?” and being willing to let go, reshape, and move on is (I seem to be talking about liberation a lot!) freeing.

  5. Joyce Hansen says

    Sue, you have tapped into something very important here. I think that as we move through this time of uncertainty, confusion, manipulation, and misdirection, the only place where we can find what our soul needs is to go within and trust ourselves.

  6. Crystal says

    Sue, this is a great read. I commend you on your commitment to beginning the painting! Even if no one ever sees it, you know you did it and gave it a go! Just today, I brought the time commitment to someone’s attention-that is a biggie, especially when you WANT to commit. Sometimes saying no is the hardest in these moments! Thank you for sharing.

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