‘Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!’
W. H. Murray in The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, 1951
I have found myself pondering the virtue of commitment. Through unintended conversation and personal reflection, I have come to two resonant conclusions. First, I have been one holding to the ultimate value of commitment. I have proven myself committed to commitment, as a virtue. I believed in a quote that was shared with me years ago, anonymously. “Commitment is doing the thing you said you would do when you felt committed, long after you no longer feel committed.” Second, I have come to understand that, while commitment is a virtue, the real question is to what are you committed?
Truthfully, I consider myself successful and blessed. I have found myself in positions and roles which I have loved. I have a small and remarkable circle of very good friends. I have had parents from whom I have learned valuable lessons and received love. I enjoy being the person that I like to think I am. That being said, my path through past “relationships” has been marked by my first understanding of commitment.
Before I go further, let me say that I write this only for me… I may be completely alone in this experience, but it is mine… and it is real.
Though these aforementioned relationships ended or, at least, transformed… at the time of their “ending”, I fought hard to see them continue. Fiercely. I wanted them to continue. I was quite willing to make whatever changes were necessary to do so, even at the expense of who I was and liked about me. It was not out of fear of loss but a profound dedication to commitment. “I can make this work; we can make this work” was my battle cry. I found honor in the sacrifices I was so clearly willing to make. The relationship was more important than the people in it. I found some strange sense of nobility in that. Please understand that deep inside I knew I was giving up on pieces of me; pieces of me that I valued… but, it was a “noble sacrifice” at the alter of making the relationship work. That was my perceived calling.
In each circumstance, I am thankful for the courage of my partner. While they had their own challenges, their true strength was their commitment to finding their best path, within or without the relationship. Though they were willing to do some work, they, to their credit, were not willing to give up on who they were, at all. Were there issues of their own? Indeed. But, what is abundantly apparent to me now is that they knew what they wanted and to that which they were truly committed. I cannot speak to their own paths since but I can say, with clear resolve, that their courage in the face of my commitment was wise. They worked at the resolution of things but were not willing to surrender any pieces of who they were; and I commend them.
Had they approached the situation with my then understanding of commitment, possibly we would have remained. Possibly. Certainly, it would have been as reasonable facsimiles of who we truly were, always accommodating. Please, do not misunderstand. Relationships require balance, in all things… in the small things. Still, my understanding now is that, while they require healthy balance, they should not require toil. I write this for my own understanding only.
So, my point? Commitment is noble. The virtue is beautiful and worthy of our practice. Still, commitment first requires truthfulness, to ourselves and others… before, during and possibly after our connections and relationships. What I am realizing today is how much I want and need to shine in my work and my life, as me. What I am realizing today is that, in the words of one of my partners (and I paraphrase)… “be you, shine, and walk in that direction and see who shows up”. This is my new understanding of commitment. Commit to be you at work, in business, at school, in community, in family… and see who arrives. Commit to you and commit to those who share your path. Then see where that takes you?
A favourite quote of mine is this….
O SON OF SPIRIT! Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created. — Baha’u’llah
Ultimately, here is my question. For what were you called or created, however you understand that to be? Rise to it, and see who joins with you. There, you will find the relationships and work that matter. To thine own self be true and committed. This is true in business, at work, in education and life. I needed to type and read this note to self. If it resonates for you all the better.
Peace, passion, prosperity and true commitment.
Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™