Commitment has become one of the sexiest words I know. I cannot imagine a rich, fulfilling life without it, nor would I want to.
Im studying music at SMC, and all that it requires is all of me. Twenty-five hours of going to school, plus many hours of homework. Four weeks in, I wonder how I will sustain the rhythm.
This week we watched the movie Pulse. Dr. Goodman, a walking music encyclopedia, is hooked on rhythm as the universal form of communication. In the movie, people from all over the world beat drums, whack their boots, beatbox (make vocal rhythmic sounds), stomp their feet, and dance. Many of them do this as ritual, clothed in ceremonial dress, steeped in prayer, and intending to heal planetary conflict with music and movement.
Rhythm, by its nature, is repetitive, stable, consistent, like the heart, like breath. We bond in rhythm, because it is universal. It moves us emotionally and physically, reminding us of our oneness. As I watched, I stood up and let myself sway and keep time.
I felt drawn to the native American dancing. I noted the mens fully beaded shirts and wondered how many years of work went into the clothing and how that level of commitment affects not only the musician, but the music as well. I imagine it permeates the vibration, makes it richer on some unseen level. I felt deep respect, awe, and the desire to live at their level of commitment, to belong in my community with one simple, clear identity, and to pour myself into it, heart and soul.
I felt this committed when I became pregnant with my daughter 21 years ago. I became the archetype of Mother, and allowed my new identity to mold meliterally. Now, Im in a new phase, with the transition period following divorce and my daughter moving out subsiding, giving space to a vision of my own life. Im earning a degree. Im deeply in love with a beautiful man. Im in shamanic training, and I recently joined the devotional singing group, Presence. My life is divinely guided. My life is also divinely full! Ive taken on powerful commitments.
What I receive back goes beyond the joys of these individual pursuits. The very act of committing gives me clarity, motivation, meaning, and vitality. My life is simpler. What is most important takes all my time, so its easy for me to say no to everything else based on whether or not the invitation supports my vision. No apologies. No explanations. Yet I can be gracious in my declinations, because Im comfortable with myself, at home in my life after years of feeling like I couldnt quite make the connection between who I wanted to be and who I was. In alignment at last. Its powerful. And it took a long time to get here.
First, I had to know what I wanted. This took hours of meditation, writing, talking with friends, etc. I made a vision board. I noticed what brought me joy, and I began to allow myself to imagine a different life than the one I was living. Then, I took small action steps toward change and learned that even small steps can lead right off a cliff. I often felt scared, alone, and unwilling. But the sand kept falling through the proverbial hourglass, and I was determined to create a life filled with meaning and joy.
Without commitment to healthy rhythms, I could not do it.
I have regular practices to support each commitment, and each has its own rhythm. On a daily basis, I do several music practices to strengthen my ear and build musicianship skills; I speak with my action buddy to go over tasks; and I make sure to eat and sleep, so my foundation remains strong. Then, at least once a week, I spend time with my man, rehearse with the band, attend classes and support meetings, complete assignments, dance, hike, lift weights, do yoga, and have at least one nights dinner at home with my son. There are also monthly and quarterly practices: my prayer lodge, shamanic training, and full-moon and new-moon ceremonial fires. Then there are the seemingly infinite hours necessary for errands and running the house. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed.
Im told I am a miracle. A friend said Im like the Polar Express. I feel like that sometimes. I pray for strength and that my will and Gods will be oneI pray a lot.
I used to use money as an excuse to not go for it. But that no longer works. I learned somewhere along the line that sometimes money would be there, and sometimes not. The obstacle was never the lack of money, but my fear of the lack of money.
One woman I know gave up gas in her home when she went through USM. She had two teenage daughters. They used a camp stove and took cold showers outdoors. Shed made a commitment to get her masters. Now she has it, the girls dont hate her, and she survived a temporary lack of money.
At the end of the movie, a member from each group contributes a sound, creating a rhythmic tapestry of oneness. Tears rolled down my cheeks. Everyones rhythms worked together, and I felt the possibility of all my rhythms somehow fitting together. Perhaps I have time for all of this. I am a divine instrument, and my commitment is enough. With commitment, the rhythm will take me over, carry me in its waves, and hold me safely in place. Perhaps Gods commitment to me is based on my own, and we are finding our rhythm togetherone heartbeat at a time.
Sage Knight is a local author, editor, self-care and writing coach, and musician. For help with your life rhythms, feel free to visit her at www.SageKnightWrites.com.