I’ve been to twenty different schools in my lifetime, moved countless times between towns, cities and continents, and am still referred to as “The Littlest Hobo” among close friends. This, dear reader, is a fine example of what commitment is not.
So when reflecting on my latest “expedition” to Norway, two years later, I am stunned but so very pleased that I remain, despite the winter chill, hardships and fears. I’d be fibbing if throwing in the towel hadn’t crossed my mind at the darkest points, and i pondered the question, what does it take to commit and be ready?
Commitment to some can mean restriction, change, obligation and well, obligation. Not selling it really eh? I’ve definitely been in that camp, until one quote made me bolt to attention, and reconsider my ideas about commitment:
“Until one is committed, there is a hesitancy, the chance to draw back. The moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
I had to get with the programme.
Before we can commit, we need to first know what we want. Then we can set about the route to getting there.
Take the practice of asanas, the physical postures in yoga. By heck, they aren’t easy. In fact, some are seemingly downright impossible! But ever notice that if you return to something, work at it, somehow it gets easier? Perhaps side plank posture (Vasisthasana) feels utterly unobtainable. It certainly did for me when starting my yoga journey, and i’d collapse on my belly, crumpled, irritated and defeated at the audacity of some kind of strange pushup should be important in my practice. So after avoiding the posture for some time (and believe me, the avoidance mechanism still rears itself unless addressed. Spreading oneself too thinly is another tactic used on this path to non-commitment. And you might also add procrastination to that cheeky gang.) I committed to a long process of core strength and stability, essential for any posture, tracking my progress by holding plank pose with modification. For example, using the “knees to the mat” approach and holding the pose until tailbone and navel understood their place. Then moving onto forearm side plank, as well as adjusting other asanas to increase my strength in this area (floating triangle for example) until finally Vasisthasana was in reach.
Practice, combined with effort and direction can reap so many rewards. However the best part of this journey towards commitment was realising when I “achieved” my goal, there was still a hole lot more beyond it. More postures, more variations, the options were endless! plus that beautiful daily lesson with the practice: no day is ever the same! So although the action of setting an intentions, and parameters to meet that intention is crucial, non-attachment to the outcome will serve us well!
Commitment can be freedom. Freedom from keeping us inhabited by the rules or safety nets we set for ourselves. To protect us from leaping into the unknown adventure. It means moving into a place that challenges yes, but also expands us to realise our full potential. With commitment, we can become the person we want to be. Making a commitment can bring us focus, clarity and the opportunity to go deeper, limiting the noise of overwhelming options (and excuses!).
So, what steps can you take today towards readiness?
Oh and here´s a Spotify playlist for your ears whilst considering to pledge your allegiance. Can’t promise there’s no New Kids on the Block in it though. Soz.
CFCF – Exercise 8 (Change)
Massive Attack – Protection
Planningtorock – The Breaks
Blood Orange – Bad Girls
Kindness – House
Four Tet – She Just Likes To Fight
Youth Lagoon – Bobby
Frank Ocean – Thinkin Bout You
My Sad Captains – Orienteers
Jonathan Johansson – Under sjukhusen
Dionne Warwick – (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me
New Kids On The Block – If You Go Away
Birdy – 1901
Julianna Barwick – Prizewinning
Jose Gonzalez – Cycling Trivialities
Bon Iver – I Can’t Make You Love Me/Nick Of Time
Kings Of Convenience – Scars On Land