Day 5 – KABOOM! – Honoring Commitments

Sifting through mountains of paper in my office as I pack, it is easy to unearth many dreams not yet realized. I am not exactly a pack rat, but I do like to make lists. Despite our digital platforms, I still slap random thoughts, taglines, outlines and To Dos on slips of paper. I need to see it, touch it and apparently move it about for several days/weeks/years, before I commit it to its rightful place in my grand scheme. And sometimes I lose the thread.

My creative process is not tidy. And it gets me into trouble. Running through the world with my butterfly net as I do, I get caught up in “potential” as often as the stuff that will stick. And I sometimes bump into other people; their plans, ideas and timelines. That would be fine if I did not commit to doing things that do not fit my style, talents and/or preferences.

I have never once intended to let someone down. But it has happened more times than I care to admit. A hurried conversation, a missed deadline, a gesture not followed up. I write this and know it is true that I have let others down, and, at the same time, I know I am one of the most conscientious people I know. So what is the difference?

The sickness is in making dubious commitments at the start. I think we know what we want and do not want, what we will and will not do. Yet, we hold on to the “idea” of ourselves – cultivated by ourselves and other over decades – that set us up to think of ourselves in a certain way. As a “so and so,” I would necessarily do “such and such.” Right? So we say “yes,” even thought it’s likely doomed from the start. You can fill in the blank: menu selection, date for the evening (or life), assignment/ job, pair of slacks (OMG, I have never typed that word), vacation destination, etc.

We each have a seed of something in us that calls, squeaks, and sometimes demand attention. When it is a low hum, it’s easy to get off track and say “yes, yes, yes” to an endless stream of “not quite right.” When the teapot is wailing, we realize we’ve committed to the wrong things. But, because we’re now off-balance by the new pressure (to actually do the right and/or overdue thing) and not ready to act on what we really need and want, we mess it up. Very ungraceful.

The past week, I’ve tried to clean up a few of my messes: a neglected friendship, an abandoned work assignment, an overdue bill, and stack of paper and magazines that feels like the “right thing.” If only I would allow myself the freedom to say “no” to the distractions and bad fits and commit to me and that right thing more often.

Well, I got “outed” on one big dream this weekend. On Facebook, I received a compliment for writing about my big (private) dream. Whoa! What happened here?

Perplexed, then pissed, then stymied, I finally put some metaphorical logs on the fire. I got more accomplished today on one project than I have the past few months. [Thank you “Whistle Blower”] It is one of the “right things” and so it ended up being less complicated and cumbersome than I feared. I did it! I’ve got about 100 other tasks related to that project, but we’ll see where my enthusiasm takes me tomorrow… if I let it.

If we please others, we often disappoint ourselves. It’s the between that is the bloody Hell. To delay or deny the dream, leads to the petit mort (little death); sometimes many of them. If we suffer enough of them, like heart attacks, they can break us one day for good. No more of the good stuff. Only pain and punishment (and pills). Why punish ourselves?

“Fair play to those who dream, and don’t give up.” Spoken by Marketa Irglova (song-writing partner with Glen Hansard) at the Academy Awards (she’s at the clip’s end, hang on), after winning best Original Song Oscar© for the movie “Once.” [One of the sweetest films you can ever view, BTW.]

Give yourself the chance. Honor the commitment to your dream, and say “yes” to it first.