Freedom through commitment

David and I were on the approach to the Golden Gate Bridge when I had a “feeling” to check my cell. Sure enough, four calls within minutes, evidence someone was urgently trying to reach me. Validation that my intuition (i.e. that feeling) was working—oh, I just love that part! The part I don’t always LOVE is what’s actually “up.” Which, in this instance, was cause (or opportunity) to do an abrupt about-face and radically shift our plans, literally changing direction…with, I might add, nary a hiccup, hitch or grrrr. That’s what this blog is about: how our commitment to our practice of connecting to our inner guidance and wisdom, which David and I affectionately refer to as our “self-inquiry” practice, offers us the opportunity for real freedom. This might sound ridiculous or even confusing—freedom through commitment, yeah, right? Thirty years ago I might have agreed: I was simply not a fan of doing anything (except breathe in and out) for long periods of time, which in large part is what commitment implied to me. I suppose I was lucky that breathing is autonomic.

Many of us have a strong response to the concept of commitment. For some of us it’s full-on reaction: you just say the word and its YIKES, fight or flight, our heart pounds, our throats close up, the future evaporates, you can even hear the jail cell door slamming shhhhhrrrrgggg as the panic sets in. Not to fear, my liebchens (German word for dears), I am here as the bearer of good news. It absolutely doesn’t have to be like that…listen and you’ll see.

There we were, careening down the freeway, bags packed (this alone was enough to piss anyone off, given the time it takes to pack for even an overnight trip if you’re me), cat care, dog care, water plants extra ‘cause we know our son won’t, empty fridge of anything that won’t keep, phone charger, iPod headphones, 3 oz of EVERYTHING, refill favorite shampoo and conditioner, supplements, power bars & almonds (hate plane food), presentation material, business cards and…and…and…oh, the thingy that plugs into the laptop so you can be online everywhere (yes, I am technologically challenged). Then…the plane waiting at the airport, hotels booked, meetings planned, checked, double-checked, dinner reservations, cars picking up at airport, dropping off—shizer! Did I remember the bathing suit? That’s before you even get to the airport, which is an entire blog itself. Need I go on?

So while none of these details occurred to me as I got the updated schedule (pronounced she-du-al, best said with a British accent to emphasize du-al), I could feel the freight train of momentum behind me come to a screeching halt which felt certain to skid its way up and out of my mouth. While I have an inordinate amount of experience at turning on a dime, making lemonade out of lemons is an art reserved for the truly mature, because in these moments sometimes the only freedom that seems real is to explode in a mental tantrum or a control-freak-orama spasm. But I hardly flinched, and instead of derailing or even sitting on the swell, it actually did not come. It was almost weird, like slow motion—I saw it all happening in some altered state or zone. Even though I could feel the suck to kvetch, I let the train go down the track and took a left. Actually, took a North to be more exact!

Instead, my head flooded with alternate thoughts, happy and magical ones at that. I wonder what this all means? What wonderful thing will happen instead? As soon as we arrived back home we decided to explore those questions more literally. We sat quietly in a soft meditation, in which I heard; Pick a direction. And by “heard,” I mean from the same place I had that feeling, that intuition to check my phone. I opened my eyes and promptly blurted what I had heard, and since David speaks Maryanne (in other words, this kind of talk was not unfamiliar as I do it quite frequently), without hesitation he closed his eyes and in a moment said “North feels good.” Then he suggested I grab one of our Divination decks and pull a card for more clarity (a Div deck is a deck of cards used to help you connect to your own inner divine guidance or gain more clarity on whatever you want to know about). So we shuffled the cards, said our usual prayer, asked our question and pulled a card, which read “This is a great decision,” which made us laugh out loud (and look over our shoulders).

After a few more questions refining our upcoming sojourn, we eagerly piled in the car and headed North, filled with wonder about what was in store. Just prior to takeoff I had another hunch to do a Google search for boutique hotels in the area we decided to visit and stumbled across a gorgeous property, which just happened to have a last-minute cancellation in an otherwise fully committed weekend, said the reservationist in shock and awe. I squealed with delight. The reservationist squealed along with me; absolute joy is contagious! We were on our way.

To say we had a perfect weekend would be no exaggeration; one synchronicity after another unveiled the next stitch in the tapestry of this extraordinary and unexpected holiday.

Just when I thought I couldn’t have any more fun, possibly expand one tiny little bit more (How much joy is one person allowed to experience? I wondered), I remembered. Oh yeah: every day, in every moment is an opportunity for the universe to unfold in all its magical ways. All I have to do is be willing to stay on my path, which means being committed to my daily practice (going with the flow, letting the train go down the track, praying for guidance and direction, etc.) while at the same time getting out of my own way, instead of being bound by control issues or resentments or fear or anxiety or worry or blame ad nauseum. Real Freedom, freedom to participate, to trust and to behold life unfolding in its own amazing and glorious perfection!! Undoubtedly the gift of commitment. What a splendid way to roll!