“He can’t handle commitment.”
“I’m not ready to commit.”
Ever heard any of these?
Think about this for a moment… Perhaps there’s not a problem with the person. Perhaps there’s a problem with the word…
Have you ever said to yourself, “I am so depressed.”?
This statement literally says you equals depressed. They are one and the same. It’s as if your identity is the depression. It would be much more accurate to say “I feel so depressed.” It would be even more accurate to say, “I feel what I am labeling depression.”
The word “depression” has a tremendous amount of baggage to it, from social taboo, to a clinical state of incapacitation. And yet we use it so liberally!
A friend of mine once heard me say I was depressed and asked me to consider a different word. He said, “Try saying, ‘I’m in a dark night right now.'” I said it and immediately my view shifted as I could see the state as temporary (since night always passes into day) and I could find the art and poetry of being in the shadows, where perhaps I could find something hidden and interesting about myself. It was a total turnaround.
So back to the idea of commitment…
What if we replaced that word with devotion?
I was struck by this word when my former girlfriend told me how she thought Thievery Corporations’ Radio Retaliation is a very devotional album. I thought, Wow – it’s such a beautiful word. So I looked it up. Here’s the definition:
Now look at that in contrast to a few definitions from this word:
“Devotion” is a deeply motivated choice. “Commitment” is an obligation or a prison.
Is it any wonder so many of us shy away from “commitment”?
The divine insanity of noble minds,
that never falters nor abates,
but labors, endures, and waits,
till all that it foresees it finds,
or what it cannot find, creates.
To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature I meet.
To give so much time to improving myself that I have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side, so long as I am true to the best that is in me.
-Christian D. Larson, 1912
I was stuck at SFO for a four hour window when I found this magazine.
The cover article blew me away because it’s an easy concise sum-up of several of the techniques we used at the Deida event. Rather than simple psychology on intellectual ideas, it’s filled with actual techniques that create love on a physiological level. Great for generating it, or for keeping it.
It’s on magazine stands now, or download it here.
I was touched by Keith Ferrazi’s Facebook post about his trip to Guatemala:
The staple of their diet is a tortilla with a little salt to give it taste. one woman shred a story of christmas this year where she told her kids that tonight they would eat tortillas but because they had none she pretended and boiled rocks and sat next …to… the fire all night until the kids gave out from exhaustion and went to sleep. She at least wanted the kids to go to sleep thinking that they would have food.
Tonight is a great night to do it. It’s what I call the “sacrifice to the party gods.” Just before the weekend or a party starts, I like to give to a charity to remember that while I get to go out and have a good time, there are others who cannot even eat.
Does this sound familiar to you? You know someone who goes off to a weekend seminar, and they come back “a new person.” They can’t stop talking about it, and yet they don’t make much sense except for their clear message that you have to do the same thing, and at worst, they’ll think less of you if you don’t. And then several weeks later, they’re back to their old selves, their old bad habits, and nothing really changed.
Well, that was not what happened to me. Quite the opposite (which is why I’m conveying all of this weeks after the event).
The first day I got back, I felt a sore throat come on all of the sudden. By the next day I woke up and thought, “If I could simply feel completely awful, that would be a massive improvement.” I went to the doctor who diagnosed me with swine flu. That was a fun week, but it got worse…
I coughed so much for two weeks that I would wake up at all hours. Codeine, Robitussin and a healthy shot of Nyquil couldn’t stop the coughing. It was painful and I couldn’t sleep. I went on a 10-day course of antibiotics, and it was still there. I went through a Z-pack 5-day course of antibiotics as well.
Some could say I simply got sick, but my belief is that I was clearing out years worth of pain around my heart. Pain, memories and a loneliness I had not acknowledged. One of the worst nights I was lying at home in my apartment, thinking dreadfully, “If I were to die this weekend, no one would even look for me till Wednesday.” Dramatic, of course, but what hit me over those two weeks as I watched awful reality shows and sat on my couch eating loads of comfort foods was just how alone I felt, and how ready I was for all that to change.
By Thanksgiving the cloud finally began to lift. And that’s when I realized why all of this happened, because there’s a big part of this story I left out…
You see, by Thanksgiving, I knew the first woman I saw at the hotel before the Deida event would become the love of my life. (update: Not really, but it was a great relationship and we learned a lot)
But that’s another story, for another time 😉