I like to joke the only thing I will be committed to is an asylum. But I guess that you don’t go there unless someone else is committed to committing you. Maybe I’m safe for a bit longer in that case.
Commitment is a difficult trait to foster in yourself and most definitely impossible to get someone else to be unless, like my friend, you pasted a picture of a diamond ring to her boyfriend’s fridge until he was curtailed into one of life’s biggest commitments…. marriage. Well I’m not married (for 28 years) so can’t talk about that but I have been thinking, what is commitment, how to we get it and how do we keep it? And why do some of us tend to shy away from it altogether.
Commitment is the ability to stay. Stay in the pose, stay in the relationship, stay in the conversation, stay present in the moment. Stay for the right reasons also.
Let’s look at yoga asana. There are a few clines on the commitment scale. 1) stay in the pose; 2) Stay in the pose even while you are suffering because you don’t want to look bad or give up; 3) Run for the hills at the merest hint of discomfort. That’s me I’m number three. The merest hint of discomfort I’m out of there, I’m not interested in ‘breathing through the discomfort’ I want out, and I want it now. So watch my bent front leg go from a deep lunge to an extension, or watch my wardrobe adjustment, or my water bottle refill or my gaze around the room, this is how I operate.
Sometimes when I gaze around though I do notice another thing, commitment for the wrong reasons ( I’m guessing here) the steely bodies, the triple A batteries, the thin and muscley dive deeper and deeper into the pose, gripping like hell to get there, battling and plunging deeper into their own self imposed form of torture, commitment from fear. Fear of not having the perfect body, the perfect pose, of losing that extra kilo, of not being able to do it.
And then there are the wee marshmallows dropping out quickly, taking child’s pose, never straining, never pushing, probably not even trying, just going through the motions as if they are in the room but somehow they left their power in another lifetime.
Practicing yoga with strength and in a relaxed manner gives rise to harmony with the physical body (asana).
The pose must have a comfortable and steady seat. This requires commitment to stay with the pose even when you feel discomfort, but not to push to the point of suffering. Why add some extra suffering to your pose? As the Buddhists say ‘suffering is optional’.
Yoga is the practice of relationship, relationship to your breath, body, partners, children, garden anything you put energy into requires commitment. In a relationship you will most definitely have opportunity to want to run for the hills. I’m an expert in this and have had specialised training from my parents who at the merest hint of discomfort( most evenings) one of them would reverse down the driveway and go and live somewhere else for a while. Then come back and do it all over again.
So it came as a great surprise to me to meet the parents of my partner who had been in the same house and marriage for eons. This idea that you can actually stay in a relationship for longer than one week was a novel experience for me. Gradually over the years (pre-yoga) I would leave and come back, leave and come back. What I noticed post yoga is that I had no-where to actually go because you can’t really run away, can you? So I started to become more committed to being more committed. My commitment took on this flavour, watch the urge to leave, observe, note it and then stay. Over the years the urge to leave became less and less so my commitment became stronger and stronger. Not suffering, not marshmallow just steady slow and practiced.
So find something in your life you can commit to or you think is well worth your energy. Watch when you want to drop out and in out of that commitment. If it’s a relationship and you want to run just take a wee step away to observe yourself, if it’s your yoga practice, just unroll your mat and sit on it. If it’s your garden pull out one weed or plant one plant and be happy with that. Really feel what it is like to be grounded in true commitment. Not made from fear but rather a love of wanting to be there however it shows up for you.