I'm a commitment-phobe; perhaps a recovering commitment-phobe. In fact, I was secretly doing the "giving thing" for a while before I decided to finally commit to the whole concept and do an official 29 Gifts Round. I figured it would be good conversation for my book club. I figured signing in on the site would make me more accountable, even though I thought it was a bit contrived and not really me (I'm more of a doer not a talk-about-doing doer). And so I stepped in to the commitment not realizing what I was really committing to. Hell it was only 1 month, right?!
Yesterday I realized how much that sheer act of commitment has done for me. Every day I have been accountable for giving something, and in turn I feel like I have received so much. More than that, I decided at the outset to do a blog post every day on that site so I would not forget the gifts. It compelled me to wake up every morning and write, which is my passion, my dream, my balance. Sadly, it is also something I stuff down and keep secretive and leave seemingly out of reach. A few weeks ago, I realized that this blog was me "living the dream". Yes I would love for that dream to include a book contract and publication and yes perhaps I was celebrating the purple ribbon; but for now I was doing something and was inspired enough. It surely came with the mindset reframing that has taken place.
Wednesday night we were watching American Splendor and I found myself inspired by Harvey Pekar, a file clerk who never quite his “day” job but also held on to the idea of doing something “more” with his life. It's ironic coming from a man who has such a down-trodden, negative take on life; but they call him the “everyman comic book hero” and he writes stories about real life. After the movie, I felt like something was missing in the day and I realized I hadn't done a 29 Gifts post yet because I didn’t write that morning. It wasn't the first time that has happened but it was then that I realized I have written almost every day the past few weeks. At the beginning of January, my goal was to journal 10,000 words; I am well over 30,000. It's just a number but it validates something deeper in me.
Thursday morning, I woke up with a renewed sense of habit. Funny to, I bucked my normal routine and took a shower before I went down to write. D was up making coffee before me. When he came upstairs and saw me headed to the bathroom, he said, "Oh I thought you were going downstairs; I turned on your computer and heater." I realized then, that he too was getting used to this commitment and he was supporting it. It made me shine inside.
Afterwards, I was on fire in the basement. I was mentally in a place I hadn't been before. It was as strong as the sheer bouts of joy I have experienced lately but it was more than that. It was about really feeling connected to myself and the life I want to be living. I realized too that last year I stepped in to the one hell of a major commitment by marrying D. I was scared. It was something we both put off for so long but when I said yes, I felt like I was saying yes to life. I spent the rest of the year happily surprised to find how much marriage suited me. I also spent the rest of the year committing to get my body to a size and place I found ideal. That physical change has brought so much clarification and perspective on how I've been living. A year ago I was not this person. I felt like I was glowing.
Walking to work, I remembered a conversation with JK a few days ago when she said she was a commitment-phobe. Re-thinking it, I realized it was there to make me realize what committing does for one's soul. I wondered how many people never commit to their passion in life and yet they show up regularly to jobs they hate or they serve others needs while pushing aside their own. I thought about how much more inspired my life feels when I take care of myself first and how much more I give others when I am in that "space".
I was dying to ask JK if she could commit to an idea, to a desire in her life. When we finally sat down, she said she always associates commitment with the bad things, the obligation. I completely related. We spent two hours having a juicy conversation about this topic. I told her how good I felt and that I thought she should choose to commit to anything that inspires her. Anything and hold tight to it, if only for a month. I wondered what would happen. She said the idea felt like the rabbit hole; like once she got started, there would be no way to go back. She wasn't sure how much life would shift, but she thought it would be huge. I agreed it was scary - you never know what's going to happen. Then again, I told her my bigger fear was not the rabbit hole any longer, it was that this feeling of inspiration and hope and intuitive connection would end.
Is that the secret? To be accountable for who you are and what you do and what you want out of this life? As Jack London said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Yesterday it was so strong, I felt like I was flying. I left M a voice message saying I was spewing happiness. I wanted to say it was a good day, especially since it feels like so often I say it’s a bad day. The lights kept turning green as I approached each intersection walking home. I couldn’t help but think anything was possible.