Pathways – On Making Commitments (and breaking them)

How often do we make commitments to ourselves, then not follow through? How often
do we feel so sure that what we have committed ourselves to will come to pass – as if by magic?
How often have we made life changing commitments, only to break the commitment or have it
broken for us? Ouch!!

I can only speak to myself. I’m constantly striving to be more than I am. I’m constantly
striving to become healthier, more prosperous, to be a consummate parent and friend, to be a
good citizen. And often I am disappointed when I haven’t achieved what I’ve set out to do. I’ve
made a covenant with myself to be the very best I can be at whatever I do, and it’s hard work.
It seems I was born with it, but it never became a reality for many years. It was buried
under a myriad of Life’s pressures, both real and imagined. Now, through wisdom and grace,
that commitment to myself has become critical to my survival. It brings me great joy and great
pain. And through it all I’m learning to balance the two, to not be afraid to experience with all
my being the joyousness of success and the pain of disappointment and loss.

Making commitments appears very easy. It’s not! And breaking them or having them
broken is terribly hard. What about marriage, the most precious commitment we make to
ourselves and to a significant other? The birthing of precious children? Establishing a ‘home’?
Building a career?

A painful divorce is often determined after years of pain and conflict? What about the
children of divorced parents? A covenant for Life has been broken. Who could know the changes
each would face over the years? The traumas each would face that totally change who we are?
Who could know that familial backgrounds were not compatible? Or that challenging
circumstances inherent in life would destroy a partnership? We can recommit to a greater good.
We can grow and adapt and change.

The loss of employment? Our society is evolving so fast that life-time employment is no
longer the norm. It’s hard to commit to a future that on the surface doesn’t appear to hold
promise for prosperity. Yet, if we accept the loss, if we can look at our talents, our dreams and
desires, and be committed to change, we can create something new and exciting. We can be

What about death – the absolute breaking of a covenant – with a spouse, a child or a
friend. I believe we internalize our commitment to Life so strongly that when death happens a
part of us dies. We must learn to live with the loss and not bow to pressures to succumb. We
must learn that the loss of a loved one is a part of the precious life we’ve been granted. And to
know that loss is just one aspect of our lives. We can recommit ourselves to Life

What about the simple everyday commitments we make. To lose weight, to read more, to
keep in touch with family and friends, to share more, to enjoy the great little community we live
in, to marvel at life’s littlest pleasures.

Commitment! a heart felt pledge or promise! a strong dedication to a cause or belief! A
covenant with myself, to give of myself, of my time and my talents and treasures – to my family,
to my friends and my community.

For me, a fully internalized commitment usually comes following significant losses, illnesses or trauma in my life. It seems that I need to be made less in order to become more. I know today I am whole. I am all I can be given all the circumstances, challenges and triumphs I’ve experienced. I know intuitively that I will always strive to be more than I am – at the same time as I’m striving to accept who I am. Quite the paradox, huh?

Isn’t Life Compelling? ‘Til next time….this is Joan…Smile, wide and often…it is the curve that
sets things straight!