By Linda Sherry
(adapted from Soul Matters, March 2021)

Huge payoffs come when we keep our commitments. Maintaining loyalty to healthy habits not only lengthens our lives but enriches them. Faithfully following through on our relationship commitments allows us to fully realize ourselves, as well as increases just about every metric of happiness, meaning and success out there. And keeping the promises we make to ourselves ultimately gives us the strength needed to follow through on all those promises we make to those around us.

Add it all up and what we get is a picture of commitment that looks a lot like climbing a mountain. What’s needed most in our backpacks are the qualities of endurance, focus, determination and grit. And of course a handful of coaches offering us motivational words and strategic tips and encouraging shouts of “You can do it!”

There is no doubt that such climbs are worth it. All of us certainly need a few of these successful journeys to feel fulfilled. But what about those we notice along the way? What about those we see sitting on the side of the trail, bruised and tending to their wounds?

There’s the friend whose marriage was good for so many years, but that relationship has now just grown thin.  There’s also the co-worker that is proud to have maintained a successful career for 20 years that supported his family, but who — because of that commitment to stable work — had to turn his back on an earlier dream of being a writer. Then, of course, there many who bravely remain committed to the long-haul goals of health and security, but who walk wearily because addictions or bad luck have turned their journey into one of “one step forward and two steps back.”

All of which is to say that maybe what’s needed most this month is for us to tone down all the motivational talk so we can make at least a little room for mourning.

Not every path of commitment is clear and long, with a reward waiting at the end. Some just lead to dead ends. Some trails are simply too steep and must be abandoned, not just for our safety but for the safety of those we love. And almost always there’s that fork in the road. We want to travel both, but we are forced to choose. So commitment to one necessarily means traveling with regret and “What ifs.”

In such woods, our backpacks need to be filled with more than just endurance, focus and grit. Self-forgiveness, acceptance, and the ability to let go or admit “I was wrong” need to be tucked in there too.

In such woods, people need us to be willing to offer them repair and rest.  We need to remember that for every person wanting to hear “push through the pain,” there are two needing someone to say, “It’s OK to tell me about your pain.”

Less shouting “You can do it!” from the sidelines, and more whispering “I’m here to listen.”

Yes, there’s no doubt that’s exactly what so many need this month.  And maybe that’s exactly what you need too. …

We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.

Michelle Obama

Say Yes. Whatever it is, say yes with your whole heart & simple as it sounds that’s all the excuse life needs to grab you by the hands and start to dance.

Find the Soul Matters packet for March here:

The Sacred Word supplement for March on Awakening is here: