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Commitment is the natural unfolding when you’ve narrowed down all choices and picked exclusively those things that bring harmony and resonance. Similarly, and yet conversely, through commitment, any sense of unclarity, dis-ease, or uncertainty begins to melt away by the fire of conviction.

Most of us (myself included) have tried to operate in a way that hedges our bets. We act on what we believe—consciously or unconsciously—is possible, likely, or least likely to be painful (that is “safe”). This kind of “commitment” cuts out a great deal of potential magic, narrows the scope of our freedom, and dulls our lives considerably, turning us from the true grace in which we are capable of living. We are waiting to see who the winner is before we put our money down.

Another kind of grand experiment (one to which I am increasingly committed), is to commit first, and then watch as the obstacles peal away. Unexpected stores of energy break open; random gifts unfold. Night after night I’ve watched this; being hosted and traveling, and to date not having had to pack up a wet tent.

So say, I’m committed to driving from grocery store to my bed. Straight shot, right? However, if there turns out to be a parade on Main Street, I might have to make a detour or choose an alternative route. Great, I’m still committed to my own horizontal sleeping space. Then again, the parade might include an invitation to get out of the car, join the locals, and enjoy some entertainment. Then, the way simply opens as the last band fades in the distance and the fire engines return to the firehouse.

Of course I could run into a dilemma; rather than a parade, the road gives way to a broken bridge. I can swim, I can wait for the repair crew, or I can throw a temper-tantrum that I can’t sleep in my own bed. At some point I might realize that the thing I’m committed to (sleeping in my own bed) doesn’t serve me in this moment, though sleeping is certainly a blessing. In moments such as these a friend might call and invite me for dinner and the night. (It’s happened.)

Making a commitment doesn’t mean that no change is possible. Certainly, when faced with the parade on Main Street, I have choices. Because I’m committed to my bed I’m going to evaluate those choices in their entirety. (Do I stay and watch, find an alternative route, or go back to the grocery store and try and nap between the napkins and the paper plates?) Chances are, regardless of my choice at some point, I’m going to get back to my bed.

Often, I must sit in the uncomfortable place of not knowing until I’m able or willing to commit (however inconceivable) to a particular course of action. Somethings may not be known, I may have long cherished beliefs to which I am clinging.

There are often roadblocks, and each one invites a certain reflection and revaluation. These can serve to further strengthen my commitment, especially as this kind of Warrior’s stance involves doing battle (or having tea with) several of my inner demons of doubt and fear. I cherish these guardians, and the strength and freedom I gain from being willing to engage them, and I’m cultivating a gentleness for the times when I need a retreat from that engagement. That’s where pausing and just watching the parade is such a blessing. I don’t have to do anything, and way opens.

The thing is, you don’t have to believe in something to commit to it. And just because you believe (or believe in) something doesn’t mean you’ve committed. Any belief, no matter how cherished, will be tested in the presence of Truth—real truth, true reality. If I believe I can’t walk on water, it’s certainly true; if I believe I can, it may be proven otherwise, though I won’t know for real until I test the commitment. If a belief isn’t true, it will fall away naturally (unless, ironically, you are committed to keeping that belief despite evidence to the contrary; hope you don’t have strong opinions about damp feet.) What remains can be trusted and acted upon.

CourageJRuthGendler

A favorite quote by J. Ruth Gendler

So I can commit to walking on water, taking each step as it comes. If I’m truly committed, I’ll start evaluating all of my actions based on what brings me closer to that goal—choosing to deepen the engagements that move me towards walking and cutting back on those that drag me under. Often I won’t know until the end—I’ll wrestle, have tea, or simply watch the parade go by and see what comes. I won’t know until I’m across the river if it were even possible. Commitments build bridges faster than any road crew.