A year ago, almost to the day, I settled into the driver’s seat of my car, with the key poised near the ignition, and I heard the words:
“If you can’t commit to yourself, how can anyone else?”
An earthquake reverberated through my body that shook me to my core. That was it. The missing step to Dancing at Your Edge…or more aptly put, dancing at my edge.
I had become frustrated with the man in my life––who came and went like the tides, and sometimes unpredictably. I had also watched my clients come and go as well. My fluctuating bank balance was my biggest concern. So I asked, “What is the lesson I’m to learn from this?” And here was my answer:
I hadn’t been willing to commit to myself!
I pondered this during a group meditation that I frequently participated in on Sunday mornings. After meditation, I came home and hit the sofa, turning off my phone, which I rarely do, so that I could have uninterrupted time just for me. I mind-mapped all the ways I hadn’t committed to myself––and the results of doing so. Hours passed and the results were sobering. Here are just a few of my examples:
- I’d written a book, On the Mother Lagoon and didn’t market it.
- I committed to writing Dancing at Your Edge: 7 Steps for Becoming the Star of Your Own Story –– and I wasn’t writing consistently.
- I began seeing clients in the wee hours of the morning several times a week, forgoing my meditation and yoga.
- And I wasn’t marketing my business on a consistent basis.
As I dug deeper into my past, dipping back into my teens and early twenties, my stomach flipped when I acknowledged each situation where I hadn’t chosen in favor of myself or hadn’t committed to my own happiness, success, and safety. I’d done a great job of self-sabotaging myself. I did just enough to get by and to have some semblance of success, but not enough to catapult me into the level of accomplishment and fulfillment that I knew I was capable of. I was also far too focused on keeping everyone around me happy first, putting myself at the bottom of the list.
Knowing that I needed to acknowledge myself for all the ways I had committed to myself, I mind-mapped some more.
- I began writing in my early twenties, despite raising two children in a difficult marriage and working part-time––and being told by my high school guidance counselor that I’d never be a writer.
- I went back to school in my forties, completing my bachelor’s and master’s degrees while managing the fly fishing lodge, commuting 100 miles round trip, and logging in fourteen-hour days for this pursuit.
- I delved into Jack Canfield’s work, including attending Train the Trainer, and made significant changes in my life, including leaving my second unfulfilling marriage and South Texas, and moving to San Diego to be close to my daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons.
My biggest epiphany!
As the afternoon slipped into evening, I realized that when I committed to taking care of myself and my work, the money flowed and I experienced abundance in all areas of my life. When I set boundaries in my relationships, the men in my life stepped up and took responsibility for their part in the relationship. Without that commitment to myself, my bank accounts dried up and the men in my life misbehaved.
I knew something had to change.
Since I advocate embracing change as an adventure, I knew that my next adventure was to develop a stronger relationship with myself. So the mind-mapping continued around the question:
What do I need to do to commit to myself?
My hand whirled across the page as I thought about ways to commit to my body, my mind, my business, and my spirit. In addition to creating a schedule and a habits list, I committed to:
- going to yoga three times a week
- refraining from eating gluten for five days out of the week
- reading thirty minutes a day for my business pursuits and taking two breaks during my workday
- consistent blogging and three hours of writing on my book each week; and
- early morning meditations and reading inspirational books for ten minutes before going to sleep.
Detaching from Distractions
In the week that followed, I created a strategic plan to further the commitment I had made to myself. By looking around my life, I discovered that I had allowed many distractions to keep me from being focused on ME! So I wrote the question: “Does this Serve Me?” on Post-Its and placed them strategically around my house.
I had several books sitting on my coffee table and my nightstand, knowing that I could read only one at a time. My files were a mess, and I had piles all over my office. I received several newsletters or emails a day from organizations or other business that I just didn’t read, but spent time deleting. I got into action:
- I unsubscribed from any email that I didn’t read consistently, and I installed a spam blocker on my blog.
- I took the books off my coffee table and put them on my bookshelf.
- I created time in my schedule to organize my files and eliminate the piles on my desk.
Then the discomfort began and the little voice that wanted to protect the status quo began to arise: What if I’m going to miss an important email? It’s my house, I like books, and I can leave them around if I want to––and read more than one at a time! I’ve got so much to do, how am I ever going to find time to organize?
As a Master RIM facilitator and someone who’s been studying limiting beliefs for a number of years, I knew what was happening. My ego was trying to protect me, and keep me safely within my comfort zone––the zone of the known. It was the same force that kept me in marriages long after they were good for me. It was the same force that said, one piece of bread won’t hurt. And it was the same force that kept me focused on taking care of everyone else’s needs first and putting mine last.
However, I was willing to Dance at My Edge!
I’d like to say that I was successful to committing to myself in 2013. I was, but not until life’s circumstances turned a whole lot worse–the Universe’s way of really driving the point home until I’d learned the lesson. Committing to myself consistently was difficult. I faced guilt, procrastination, and even anger.
Jack Canfield frequently advises, “Always choose in favor of yourself.” It’s taken practice, and like any practice, whether doing yoga, meditating, or running, it’s gotten easier over time. Now I contemplate each situation, each person, each “thing” in my life and ask: Does this serve me? And if it doesn’t, I do my best to release it with love. I don’t always do the releasing gracefully, but I do the best I can in the moment.
My intention for 2014
I’ve raised the bar on committing to myself. In the last week, I’ve been transforming my house–painting the walls in vibrant colors, rearranging furniture and redesigning my office to make it more efficient. I’m releasing pieces of furniture and decorations that no longer suit me. I’ve declared new client hours that allow me to use the first hours of the morning for what I need for me: meditation, inspirational and business reading––and writing and developing my business. And all but one of my evenings are for yoga, family, friends, and relaxation.
So I have a question for you: What do you need to do to commit to yourself?