When I was a little girl, a long time ago, hanging out with Barbie and Ken, the seeds of being a grown-up were beginning to be planted deep in my subconscious. Entering adolescence, whilst surfing the waves of the agony and ecstasy of hormonal riotous teenagerdom, an innate dream was projected out somewhere far far away. By the time I was ‘old’ (read ‘40’!) I would be happily ensconced in its ideal: ready for commitment, married and with kids.
It’s likely that I wasn’t alone with this particular fantasy, it was inevitable, obviously! And as we grow up and into adulthood, this ideal is only strengthened by society’s wrappings. Media harkens to this imagery everywhere. It signifies ‘normality’, that you’ve ‘made it’, that you are essentially part of its happy, smiling, fulfilled family. Ah yes. The message very strongly portrayed in our culture is of the ‘contented’ family unit. So much is geared towards this picture.
No pressure then!
On my ever eternal quest and curiousity to find such ‘familial perfection’, and yes dear ones, I continue to put my heart out on to the front line, because, don’t get me wrong, that dream is still alive in me well past the ‘40’ sell by date. I am fascinated by the question of whether or not we truly, deeply, desire this for ourselves. Or, dare I say it, have we been brainwashed?
It is a lovely picture and there’s a certain amount of relief when one is no longer in the ‘single’ club on certain occasions (weddings spring to mind!) but really, honestly, do we have what it takes to actually be in a long term relationship?
Have we asked ourselves if we are really ready and willing, and able, thank you Prince, to step right in? you see, I am curious as to how many of us, once mired in the meeting with another, are nodding our heads in ‘yes’ whilst our hearts are actually saying ‘well, maybe’.
I think, though we might not like to admit it, most of us are dancing on the cliff edge of maybe. Maybe he will do. Maybe she is the one. Maybe I won’t find anyone else. Maybe this is enough. Maybe. Maybe.
Maybe we like the idea of the dream rather than the reality of the dream itself.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not a love pessimist. In fact quite the opposite. I’m a romantic at heart. But I know that there is a grain of truth in this. You see having a ‘maybe’ relationship is all very well and good, if that floats your boat, and you are happy to paddle in the shallow end. The thing is, having a ‘yes’ relationship is a whole other kettle of fish. For one thing, it demands of us our whole heart. It takes no less than our absolute ‘yes’. And it is held higher by the intention of that ‘C’ word, the scary one: commitment.
Commitment: dedication, devotion, allegiance, loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity, attentiveness. From the Latin ‘committere’: to entrust.
To entrust. In trust we offer our heart.
How much are we willing to commit? Of ourselves, our lives, our attention, presence, heart? We may say that we are seeking a committed relationship, but if we pause for a moment, what does that actually, truthfully, mean to you? How much are you willing to give? And if the old adage, and one of life’s (many) paradox’s, goes, “we receive back in direct proportion to the amount we give”, then this also poses the question ‘how much do we allow ourselves to receive?
You see, many of us haven’t actually got a clue how to receive another’s ‘yes’ fully. We haven’t got the know-how. Perhaps we have been hurt too many times before? Perhaps we are too ‘set in our ways’ and independent. Perhaps we hold the limiting, but oh so commonly held belief that we are not worthy of love. Of course you are sweet human, for aren’t we all just a part of God, of life, of Spirit, no one more deserving than another. It is who we are. Perhaps we are too jaded. But most likely, we are scared. Love is quite a force, in fact, it’s the greatest force there is. And it takes great guts and huge balls to stand our ground, open our arms and heart, and say ‘come in’. But let it in we must.
Giving and receiving. Two sides of the same coin.
In committing, we are giving as fully as we can, and yet we are also surrendering to receive. It’s a balancing act, and as is the eternal beauty of life, it is often in motion, tipping from one side to the other, like the tightrope walker. Sky walking the seemingly impossible. Making like a bird, invisible wings in constant soar, swoop, dive, rise and flight. Like our hearts, if we are willing to say ‘yes’.
I believe that one of the greatest gifts we can give another is our honesty. To be able to offer that we don’t know how, how to give fully, how to receive completely, how to love. Don’t we make these great heart adventures to fly out into the land of exploration? To encounter worlds new and unknown. Don’t we desire to be as fully immersed in these as we can? Isn’t that the point?
The thing about commitment is that it’s actually quite extraordinary. Rather than the often held belief that it will clip our wings, strangely it has the opposite effect. There’s a safety in commitment, a sense of stability, a ground, a starting place that is solid, that plants roots. It is the starting point for trust to rush in, and with that magical quality, we can breathe, we have more space, inside and out. More space to allow love to flow through us, and more space to expand into life, and into landscapes new. Our horizons broaden, we can fly higher, and feel the elements supporting us. I don’t know about you, but that sounds good to me!
So start small. Commit to fully listening to this other fascinating human being without waiting to rush in with your own words. Commit to enjoying each date, enjoy yourself. Commit to just being fully present to the moment, the walk, the kiss, the laughter, the intimacy, without needing to rush ahead. Commit to feeling the excitement, the nervousness, the possibilities, the vulnerabilities, and the whole goddamn adventure! Be here now as the great Ram Das says. I think we have to remind ourselves, moment by moment, and as we do so, with kindness, tenderness and truth, before we know it we have crafted a life, we have created our world, and possibly with our partner in it. How beautiful is that?!
But do be warned my friends, the other definition of commit is to be admitted to a mental institution! Aha! Yes, there is a folly to our ‘yeses’. There’s a madness in putting our eggs in one basket hoping that they do not break or are destroyed. Love is a craziness, but, as I always say, all the best people are mad, so why not jump off the cliff edge of maybe and see what happens. You never know. You might like it.
The thing about saying ‘yes’ with clarity is that we also need to learn how to say ‘no’ too, they go hand in hand. We have to learn how to commit to our ‘no’, that we can change our mind at any moment. I think that loving someone is a continuous active ‘yes’ in every moment. It is alive, a creature like us, and one that deserves our respect and truth. Nothing is ever certain in life and love, hearts will continue to get broken, people will leave us, and we will leave them. We all will die at some point in time, that’s just how it is, for all of us. Live in your truth, commit to your life, and if you enter the great skies of relationship, feed the ‘yeses’, the ‘no’s’. And be mindful of the ‘maybes’.