Our commitments are not for the easy days when we “feel” like meditating, working out, doing yoga, writing our book, eating well, etc…

Our 100% commitments are for the days when we don’t feel inspired to do what it takes to stay healthy and balanced. These are the days when our commitments might be the only thing that keep us in the flow.

 

Every time I stray from my commitments, daily rituals and practices of self care, I find myself less balanced, less focused, less powerful and less clear. EVERY TIME. Not sometimes or occasionally. ALWAYS.

The extent of our success is directly related to the strength of our foundation.

Our disciplines and practices of self care are the primary contributors to our core foundational strength.  This rock solid foundation supports EVERYTHING else in our lives.  Even the most brilliant ideas, intentions, projects and actions will eventually crumble if they are not built upon a solid foundation.

Just a few components of a solid personal foundation include:

  • Vibrant  and robust physical health
  • A clear mind
  • A balanced sense of presence
  • A prevailing sense of peace
  • A rich and immediate connection to core values.
  • A strong and direct connection to a life force and central faith
  • Connection to family and friends
  • Ongoing education and learning

Each of these foundational building blocks requires conscious attention to keep them healthy and strong. They will not magically align and strengthen themselves. The speed and focus of modern day life is not designed to support your practices of self care and well being. Taking the time necessary to commit to your practices of self care is completely up to you.

Persistent attention – Over time the ubiquitous tides of life and all those things that ceaselessly need doing swirl persistently in and out of our days and erode even the strongest foundation. It is our disciplines and commitments that counter the inherent entropy of life and keep us grounded, aligned, present and solidly steady.

When it comes to commitments, 99% is a bitch, 100% is a breeze. ~ Jack Canfield

When a commitment is made with the general intent to “mostly” follow through on it, then each and every day becomes a new process of weighing options and deciding if this is the day that you can justify not following through? Is today the day that you find an excuse?

What an expense of energy and what a perfect recipe for falling back into non-supportive habits and losing sight of the commitment altogether. 95% commitment becomes 75% then 50% and then……

With 100% commitment, no exceptions, done deal, not negotiable – the decision is made. That’s it! You don’t have to revisit the question at hand.

Some of the practices to which we can dedicate ourselves regularly to help build healthy foundations are:

  • Meditation
  • Dance
  • Healthy Diet
  • Biking
  • Walking
  • Gardening
  • Yoga
  • Writing
  • Journaling
  • Play
  • Exercise
  • Swimming
  • Love
  • Intimacy
  • Rich Conversations
  • Singing
  • Music
  • Purposeful & Attentive Relationships
  • Art
  • Reading
  • Study /Education

(Just to name a few)  Basically anything that helps you feel more alive, centered, clear, balanced and connected the the miracle of life.

Living life without the practices that demand my commitment and dedication is the hardest work I have ever done. Discipline has set me free!

Once I was lost – Discipline, Commitment, Routine, Dedication – All words that used to threaten the petulant child within me who wanted to do what the hell he wanted when he wanted. Don’t give me your rules and your guidance and your help. I’ll figure it out on my own and I certainly don’t need or want any structure to constrain me.

I was clinging to false freedoms and found myself in the endless loop of getting lost and getting found and then getting lost again. It was completely exhausting.

See if this sounds familiar. The classic insane internal conversation:

  • Life has begun to spiral out of control and so I better re-dedicate myself to my foundational practices of self care.
  • Within a few days, weeks or months – Whew, I’m feeling back on track and solid. So now I can ease up on those pesky and time consuming commitments.
  • Within a few days, weeks or months – Hmmmmm, I’m not feeling so focused, clear and aligned with my core values and desires. I’m feeling a bit adrift and uncertain. I better get back to my dedication to the things that I know always bring me back to a powerful center & balance & clarity.
  • Within a few days, weeks or months – O.K. I’m feeling strong and clear again, I don’t need the support of my practices. I can back off a bit on these daily practices that are my saving grace.  But just back off a little, not completely.
  • Within a few days, weeks or months – Damn, I’ve lost my way again……

There is only one way to end this insane cycle – 100% Commitments.

I recommend at least 20 minutes of meditation every day.

Unless of course you are exceptionally busy, in which case I recommend 30 minutes.

Commitments – The Ultimate Time Machine – I tend to make commitments when I’m in an inspired state of feeling clear, steady and strong. Then when I’m not feeling inspired to follow through on what I know is the right thing to do, I go back in time and tap into my own wisdom from when I was thinking and feeling and living as my most clear and determined self. What commitments did that wise person make?

An example:

A few years ago I made a commitment to meditate for an hour each day for one month. I also made a commitment to exercise in one form or another 5 days a week for that same month. Remember, it takes time to change patterns of habit!

However, the truth was that I didn’t feel like it every day. But if I went by the “feel” standard of decision making, then I surely would have fallen short of my goals.

So, each day I ritualized a time to listen to the ‘me’ who made the specific 100% commitment for dedicated self care from a place of clarity and purpose; that self who had a compelling vision of the future and knew that these two aspects of my health were vital to attaining my goals and reaching my highest ideals.

After a month of solidly attending to a new practice I changed my core behavior. Today, years later, I meditate for 30 minutes every day and my exercise regimen is strong and solid. I eat well, I sleep well, I work hard and I’m consistently re-visiting and re-aligning around my core values and my sense of purpose in the work I do.

“The world around us is nothing more and nothing less than a reflection of what we have become from within.

We must become the very things that we choose to experience in life.”

~ Gregg Braden – The Science of Miracles.

 

The powerful influence of foundations – You sense it immediately when you meet someone who has a strong foundation of presence, self awareness and a courageous alignment with their core values. It is reflected in not only how they show up in the world but in how the world responds and shows up around them.

They’re sublimely confident and aren’t out to prove anything. There is a reassuring sense of peace and solidity. They are clear. They are calm. They are focused. They are at ease and know how to enjoy the presence of others. There is a strong quality of compassion and the core intent to support and celebrate the best in others.

As clearly as you feel that sense of foundation in others within moments of meeting them, others can also sense your solid foundation built from years of practice and commitment and dedication.

Taking action:

Here are two simple journal exercises that, if practiced every day, will help keep you aligned with your core values and self awareness. From this renewed daily awareness, you can make the best choices for how to build and maintain your core foundation.

Why journaling? – It is our most intimate and courageous conversations with friends and family that most often awaken us to what’s really important in life and where we might want to shift our focus and energies. We come away from core conversations with a renewed sense of purpose, dedication, clarity and inspiration.

Journaling allows us to slow down and have that very same powerful and important conversation – with ourselves.  A daily honest conversation with yourself is a powerful way to build and sustain your core foundations.

Daily Gratitude: This one is a simple case of sitting quiet for a few minutes and reflecting on the things for which you are grateful to have in your life and writing them down. When we reflect upon and align with those things for which we are grateful it makes it much easier to act and behave in ways that are in support of honoring and supporting those very same things.

Today my gratitude list contained:

  • The beauty and peace of my home on a lake.
  • The health that I have. Especially in light of some health concerns that have preoccupied me lately.
  • The friends who truly see me and love me no matter what.
  • The preciousness of family who love and support each other.
  • My love for exploring the mysteries of life.
  • My love of seeing and supporting the positive evolution of others.
  • A roof over my head, food in the refrigerator, a safe place to sleep and a toilet that flushes.

Embracing and Letting Go:

This is a simple practice of listing, in two columns, the behaviors, belies and attitudes that you embrace and that you are letting go. This is a powerful way refocus your awareness every day to your non-supportive habits and more importantly to the things on which you want to focus.

Today my list contained:

Embrace

Let Go

  • A Conscious Diet
  • Any sense of not good enough
  • Commitment to health and vitality
  • Shame
  • My focus on Leadership Development
  • Needing to prove
  • Self Compassion
  • Shoulds
  • My significance as a compassionate man
  • Judgement of others and self
  • Joy
  • Looking for fault or imperfection in the world and people around me
  • Playfulness
  • Seeking the “wrongs” of the world
  • Appreciation of the perfect imperfection of others.
 
  • Celebrating the beauty in others
 

My list changes slightly every day. It is a wonderful way for me to stay clear about where I’m energetically out of alignment and bring myself quickly and easily back into alignment with the attitudes and actions that best serve my highest aspirations.

An Added Bonus – Your Practice for today.

Now, take that ‘Embrace’ list and choose one item to make your central focus for the day. This is your practice for the day. This is the one and central thing to which you will bring your full attention for the day. Today I chose to bring a clear and purposeful attention to seeing, witnessing and celebrating the beauty in others. Today I choose to see only beauty and not to seek out and focus on people’s less than ideal qualities. Today I celebrate others.

Where your attention goes, energy flows and results show.

Let today’s practice be one that celebrates your highest and most inspired self and may your commitment and dedication serve as an inspiration for others to do the same.