May 23, 2016 - Daily Notes, From the Editor
I have a habit of taking big bites out of life. I commit to things that move my heart with a great deal of optimism, confidence and inspired momentum. These enormous bites often result in stuffed cheeks and wide, watery eyes. I am not always as graceful as I'd like to be.
My two-year old niece does the same thing when her grandpa gives her candy. She puts the entire thing in her mouth and even though it makes her teary-eyed, she refuses to spit it out or take smaller bites. Her commitment might be a bit unwieldy, but it tastes so very good.
I am hosting Lucia Circles in my living room this summer, inviting a handful of the brilliant women I know to come for coffee, movement, breath, juicy conversation and journaling around themes that hold relevance in our creative lives. The first was this past Saturday and the theme was commitment.
As a part-time yoga teacher, I am familiar with holding space for people to move their bodies and have their own internal experience, but holding space for other women to share what's in their hearts and minds, out loud in a circle, is new for me. I realized this as we sat down and began to talk, that perhaps I had bitten off more than I actually know how to chew.
Thankfully, women seem to instinctually know how to hold one another. While I was quietly worrying about whether and how I could adeptly facilitate an inspiring conversation...the conversation unfolded. What I had hoped for, happened. The women who came collectively knew more than me, and so I learned.
Three braved the rainy Seattle morning (and multiple unmentionable obstacles) to get here, drink coffee, and spill their wisdom.
One has found her calling and gone to great lengths to prepare herself to offer her gifts to the world in professional ways that heal and bring light. She is also a mother to a toddler and finds herself questioning where she should commit her energy right now. Is there room for both? How?
Another shared that she is experiencing the raw, rug-pulled-out-from-under-you feeling that accompanies the potential unraveling of a marriage. The big stuff. What are we supposed to do when the commitments we built our lives upon start to come apart?
A third recently "quit" a big commitment she made professionally, completely shifting her life. I write "quit" in quotes here because what she shared led us all to consider the power of the language we use. What is the difference between the word "quit" and the words "redirect" and "evolve" as they relate to making and breaking commitments?
Our conversation wound around each other's stories and held space for questions, tears, inspiration, and hearty laughter.
One of the women in our circle said, "I think it's possible to commit gracefully."
Commitment has always sounded to me like a tense, tight, heavy sort of thing. Grace, on the other hand, is supposed to be light and forgiving. What could it possibly mean to commit gracefully?
Time is one element, we decided. We do not always grasp the amount of time it will take to bring a promise to fruition until we are knee-deep in whatever it is we've committed to. When things are not going the way we envisioned or hoped, it can feel overwhelming, like anxiety or even failure. Can we give ourselves permission to take more time? This is grace.
Committing to a process rather than an outcome is another piece. The same woman asked, "When you started Lucia, were you committed to an outcome or were you committed to the process of creating something meaningful?" Her question gave me pause.
Maybe we can lighten the weight of obligations we tend to place upon ourselves by turning them into daily practices instead of goals-that-have-not-been-met-yet. Maybe keeping a commitment simply means doing the best job you are able to do each day, living your life the way you wish.
"I think it's also important to own our commitments, rather than let them own us," someone offered. "We are always evolving and so are our promises. It's important to keep taking stock of what we commit to and check in to see if that is still what is needed."
Is it graceful to place an entire truffle in your mouth when it is so big it makes your eyes water? I imagine at age two my niece doesn't care but I guarantee you once it is in her cheeks she is not going to spit it out. Nobody rushes her and in time it melts. Soon she's asking for another.
I intend to make good on the wisdom three ladies poured in my lap on Saturday by shifting the way I think about my own commitment to Lucia. I am going to give my promises permission to evolve.
And I am really looking forward to sharing more from these Lucia Circles with you as they unfold this summer.