I have been thinking about my contribution to this newsletter since the minute I officially committed to sharing my journey with ‘commitment verses attachment’. I immediately included the disclaimer to Elisa that I had not found the promise land of a perfect life, and I received the assurance that my sharing didn’t come with the prerequisite of complete enlightenment. This was a reminder to me that life isn’t a hunt for a treasure; but that the treasure is the hunt. I started out on a quest for a more fulfilled life – aren’t we all? Searching for a life that is of our choosing not one that happens to us.

There were two areas in my life where I was stuck. So I started there, using powerful language to support my desire for change. I wanted an outstanding relationship and career. I had one of each but be neither was outstanding. It seemed to me that I needed to get out of my own way to really achieve outstanding in either area of my life (come to find out that it was my attachments that were getting in my way).

My pursuit of an outstanding career wasn’t about a lack of clarity. I knew that for a career to be what I needed and wanted, it had to challenge me intellectually, allow me to contribute to others and allow me to connect with others. You see, I had been a mortgage broker for 7 years and the flexibility and income provided me the time and money I needed as a single mom. But now my son would be entering Kindergarten, and I was ready to do something else. I wasn’t moving forward; I was going to the office everyday. I hadn’t been making enough money for some time. I hadn’t been contributing or growing for some time. I hadn’t connected with anyone on a deeper level since I can’t remember. So why was I still there? Understanding that an attachment is something that doesn’t serve you and that is the polar opposite of a commitment, it was clear that I was attached to being a mortgage broker.

After a question or two, it was more than obvious that the fact that I started working at this office the day after my husband left me six years ago meant I was strongly attached to this JOB. When I couldn’t eat or sleep or breathe even, I went to work. The people, my job kept me going. I had a purpose everyday. I was attached. I needed to quit. So I did- I didn’t stop working yet, but I knew it was over, and I began to look for another career. I clearly defined my idea of an outstanding career and went into action. In a matter of two weeks, I started a small company giving surf lessons for the summer. I absolutely loved every minute of it. I connected with people and shared my love for the water. That was a summer job so to speak; I was still in search of a career. I applied to an engineering firm without an ounce of experience and subsequently enrolled in an engineering degree program. It may take me 10 years, but I am enjoying the classes. Still no career; so when the local high school posted an opening for a math position, I didn’t hesitate.

Having rid myself of my attachment (being a mortgage broker) and committed to an outstanding career, I got a job. Not the one I applied for, but since I was clear about my commitment and not attached, I got the job I needed to get.  I am now the middle school math specialist, and it is outstanding.  I know this isn’t the end of the road, and I am willing to continue to look for outstanding in my career.

So that was the easy part. The relationship part was and has proven to be the more difficult challenge.  My attachments were stronger and like the mold that grows in the shower it comes back again and again – sometimes tougher than other times.  Really looking at what an outstanding relationship looks like, made it hard for me to ignore the fact that my current relationship was horrible.  My pattern was the same in my relationship as it was in my office.  I showed up everyday whether it was good for me or not.  My relationship was barely a sliver of outstanding; a streak of sunlight sneaking in through closed curtains.  So rather than just quit, knowing that the relationship wasn’t right, I talked to Mark.  I shared with him what I wanted out of the relationship.  Things I hadn’t shared in the 2 years we had been together.  And you know what he said- “I don’t see any of that happening any time in the foreseeable future.”  I’m not talking marriage and kids. I just wanted love, connection, growth, commitment.  Horrible right – NO it was great; I was free of my attachment to Mark and me working out.  I was attached to us working out no matter what.  But he didn’t want what I wanted not in the tiniest way, so it was over.

It was the end of June. Now what?  Elisa suggested to me that I should: Date.  For 6 months.  Kiss some frogs.  But I had never dated before.  I thought there just weren’t enough options.  That was true for the old me attached to; finding a boyfriend- finding a husband- not being alone. It was pointed out to me that I didn’t have trouble with commitment just with whom I committed to.  The Me committed to an outstanding relationship had too many options.

I still don’t know where all the men came from. One guy from summer league soccer, surf lessons, another from summer league soccer, friend of a friend, blind date. And not to be left out, Mark.  Yes Mark, who had seen the light and wanted to give to me everything that I had ever wanted.  But I was committed to dating, and I let him and everyone else know that.  I was committed to an outstanding relationship and this process was allowing me to see what kind of men they really were.  Jealous, not present, over eager, understanding, caring…  I got to know some of these men in a way that I never would have under other circumstances, and I am still friends with them all.  As for me, I usually commit early in a relationship and this gave me time to not do that.  Without the commitment to date, I would have gotten back with Mark with some hesitation, but I didn’t because I was dating.  It gave me a chance to get to know Steve.  I still remember every word of my conversation with Steve the day that I told him that I was dating others and would be for a few more months.  He looked at me and told me that he wasn’t going anywhere.  He also said don’t get me wrong I don’t want to share you with anyone else.  But he understood.

My big question in the process was how will I know who the right one is? Elisa said,” trust the process and you’ll know.”  Of course she was right.  One day I knew I didn’t need to date Mark any more.  I met him and told him; not that I had found the right man, but that I knew that he wasn’t the right one for me.  I am proud of him and his growth, and he will make a great husband and father someday.

After every new first date or coffee, I found I had enjoyed my time but longed to spend that time with Steve. I was constantly renewing my commitment to an outstanding relationship and found, as I was in month 4 of dating, that I was really only dating Steve.  Elisa was right – I knew.

Steve is the great love of my life. I am thankful for every minute I have with him.  He and I have said to each other at different times, “How did we get so lucky?”  Maybe it isn’t luck.  Maybe the people we are committed to being and the type of relationship we are committed to having produces the emotions and connections we feel.  Steve and I communicate – which hurts sometimes to share and continue to grow.  I don’t just show up anymore, and the conversation that took me 2 years to have with Mark, Steve and I had at 7 months.  It was hard, but as a couple we committed to communicating more, sharing and connecting.  I have to exfoliate my attachments to Steve sometimes and see our relationship for what it is and challenge myself to recommit to outstanding.  This has proven to be the hardest and most rewarding part.  This is where we are; experiencing the troughs and crests of the pursuit of outstanding.  Completely in love.

Thank you for listening. I want to leave you with a quote that reminds me to continue moving forward. “And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud, became greater than the risk to blossom.” Anais Nin


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