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When Your Commitments Are Tested, Who Wins?

Several months ago, when the article below came out originally, I was questioning my ability/resolve in making commitments. As it turns out, this story now has an additional ending as well. That ending has become the beginning of new and more positive thoughts about making commitments that I now keep easily.

Most mornings, I go to a pre-dawn yoga class where I twist and sweat and encourage myself to hold the positions. These arduous poses also give me a chance to exercise compassion as I look around the room at younger, thinner, bendier people than me. I purposefully send silent blessings to these amazing creatures.

They represent radiance and possibility—and although I am squishier and wider than many of them, I feel blessed to be in a community of people who are taking care of themselves.

The class, with the same routine, day in and day out, becomes a sort of moving meditation. What is encouraged is total focus on your inner world, your breath, your strength and your goals rather than competition with anyone else. When I come out of the class, it is into the full-blown light of a new day.

The metaphor alone, from dark to light from the night before to the day ahead, is enough to inspire me.

But then there’s MR. GRABBY. He’s a guy about my age. As most of the guys are in class, he is shirtless. But, unlike most of the buff guys in class, he should not be. He should be wearing a Precious Princess, by Maidenform, if you get my drift. But no, “the girls” are resting ever-so-gently on his very big, very tattoed belly.

That’s not the worst of it. Brace yourself.

He wears very loose, long shorts. As he begins to sweat, evidently his shorts get twisted up in the few things left on his body that one would hope to remain private. His shorts become a tangled diaper as he tries to yank them as high as possible into the very crowded space between his legs.

Before he yanks up his shorts, he is man-handling himself, as he dives with both hands into the front of his pants, moving things into position for the “Big Yank”, as I have begun to call it. As the class flows from one posture to the next, he is a bevy of pre-emptive activity.

No matter where I seem to position my mat, water, and towel on the floor, he seems to plop his mat right in front of me.

I am not sure what you call The Full Monty when you are seeing all of it, for an hour and half, from the back, but surely some of you clever people can help me with a name, because I desperately need a name so I can objectify the view of the body parts attached to this heaving, sweating mass of humanity. Please.

But, guess what? Here is what I know for sure when being Positive On Purpose is a way of life.

He is there to teach me some things.

Whenever I am stressed by someone else’s behavior, no matter how obnoxious or outrageous, I must look at these emotions as my signposts.

What am I to learn?

How will this bless me?

How is this a gift?

The more over-the-top the “teacher”, the bigger the lesson I need to learn.

MR. GRABBY is no different. May I just say right here and now: “Thanks a helluvalot” for this golden opportunity.

One thing I have definitely experienced over the years is this: when I do get the lesson and the light bulb of understanding has switched on, the teacher disappears from my life. That’s incentive enough to figure out what MR. GRABBY is doing in front of me two or three days a week.

The first question is: Just how committed am I

to my own well-being?

If I am there for me and the purpose is to stay through the whole class FOCUSED on the postures and my commitment to FULLY PARTICIPATE, then I am shooting myself in the foot by allowing ANYTHING to distract me. How easily do I get distracted from other things I claim to be important and committed to in my life?

Secondly, how quickly do I blame the OTHER person for MY behavior?

WOW, that’s another biggie.

Third, how often do I enlist the sympathy of others when I am blaming

another person?

It’s a great way to get a “pass”. Who would want to be behind this guy under any circumstances? Gee whiz, anyone would understand why I would bail out of a class with a guy like that in it! Right? Just another clever and more manipulative way to bail out on myself.

Fourth. Hey, what about positioning myself on the

FRONT row of class?

The people in the front row are always the ones who can do all the postures the best, right? They have committed to the challenges of becoming not only proficient but excellent at something. Why not step up and join THEM? That would resolve the problem completely, wouldn’t it?

I would not be behind anyone ever again.

What other things am I hanging “in the back of the room” about?

What would it feel like to be a leader or a role model?

What would it take for me to commit to living in the present moment?

My healthy psyche, body, and mind are all up to me.

As I leave one more day, driving away in a snitty kerfluffle without completing the class, blaming MR. GRABBY, he is finishing the class in all his glory, getting the full benefit of his commitment while I backed out on the

commitment I made.

To Myself.

What’s true for you?

That was then……THIS IS NOW.


What beliefs did I need to change, that might affect a more positive attitude about my behavior?

Here’s what I discovered.

1. I actually hated hot room yoga. I hated the flying sweat. I hated the smell. I hated the claustrophobic feeling of being crammed so intimately close to strangers, wearing almost nothing.

2. I asked myself "WHAT WAS YOUR GOAL for going in the first place?" The answer: To feel strong and supple and serene as a result of moving and stretching my body, especially to start the day.

3. The next question was "COULD YOU FIND ANOTHER WAY TO CREATE THE SAME RESULT?” Well, duh. Of course there was another way. There were stretch classes in gyms all over town. Even early ones to kick off the day. AND, there were other yoga classes that didn’t involve the miserable heated room and flying sweat. I could even find YouTube classes online and roll right out of bed without the effort getting to a class created.

Time to re-group.

Without judgment.

Time to seek the adventure of an alternative process without losing sight of my ultimate goal…something that would really be a fit for me.

Time to replace UGH with AHHH.

I was worth it.

Time to thank Mr. Grabby for pushing me so far out of my comfort zone, that I got to clarify my priorities. I went from blaming him, to letting go of the underlying anger I was feeling for myself, to seeking solutions that would ultimately make making a commitment a snap.

What I have learned is that when I take the time to find the things that are really in alignment with my values, my tastes and my goals…..there IS no misery involved. The word “commitment” is replaced by, “

I love this...I can’t wait for the next time.”


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