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The Power of Commitment

One of the quotes which participants of Soulful Purpose retreats find most helpful is from William Hutchinson Murray’s The Scottish Himalayan Expedition: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: ‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!’”

From the Latin mittere we get both “promise” (promittere, to send forth), and  “commitment” (committere, “to send together.”) We can thus say that when we make a promise we are sending forth our intention. When we commit we send forth an intention together with a decision; we take a step further and send a clear message to the Universe of our decision to take some action.

Once we make a commitment then the Universe completes the circle and responds. I have seen this happen so many times around retreat participation. Often money will show up in miraculous ways, at just the right time, from unexpected sources, once the choice has been made.
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My favorite story involves a single mother who at the time was in her twenties; her son must have been a year old. After I announced an upcoming 2-week long residential retreat that was to take place in Santa Fe, she came up to me and explained: “I have no idea how I could possibly afford something like this; I’m on food stamps right now. But I know I need to be there and I’m coming.” In all honesty, knowing her situation I did not give a lot of weight or consideration to her declaration. What a life lesson lesson it turned to be, one which has also impacted countless people with whom I have shared the story. A few weeks later, while I was already in New Mexico getting ready for the retreat, I get  a frantic voicemail: “Christian, I hope there is still space. You won’t believe what just happened.” Years earlier, an old boyfriend developed a drug problem and had taken some of their money to support his habit. After breaking up with him, she had lost contact and never thought she would hear from him again. Well, he had gotten clean, was in the process of making amends and had tracked her down and sent her a check, which turned out to be precisely the amount of money she needed for the retreat and to get herself there! In the face of her willingness and trust, not to mention the miracle, for lack of another word, an exception was made and even the child came to the retreat.

More recently, someone else was debating whether or not to come to my annual retreat in Hawaii. In the midst of deliberations and at the 11th hour, $11,000 she was not expecting from a previous consulting client showed up, months later, in her bank account.

So to what degree are you committed to that project or dream? What new commitment are you willing to make this week?

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