By Heather Krantz
Probably the most recent embodied lesson I have gained through my time working with Springhouse and the Sourced Design principles is around what it means to be committed, to practice, and to surrender. For me, these work in a cycle. It has been an invigorating and terrifying process to build the awareness, courage, skills and strength needed to do this and to consciously make the choice to live a more vital life. This is what this lesson looks like for me.
The cycle begins by choosing to commit. Before I choose to commit to something I need to spend some time contemplating and exploring what it is I want to commit to and why. I do my best to fight the urge to come to a conclusion right away and try to stay in a neutral mindset. Then if I can, I allow as much time as possible to just let ideas and solutions come up naturally. Usually this process takes me at least a couple of days if not weeks or more if necessary. During this time I ask myself questions like “What am I really wanting to get out of this?” or “What emotions are coming up for me around this?” and I spend time digging into why I am having a certain feeling or not about it. I’ll often spend time in nature or use some creative activity to help me explore what’s coming up for me. Somehow through this process, what is true will continue to come up again and again, and that is what allows me to get clear about a commitment. If I do choose to commit to something, I do my best to show up fully so it’s important that I take the time needed to make the choice.
Next comes the act of practicing. Most everything we do can be broken down into smaller components or activities that we do again and again in order to get better at them or just because they are necessary. These activities work towards a larger goal or are in support of something we believe in. Sometimes I see a goal or a place that I want to be and I want to skip the practice part and get right to the outcome or benefit. Nothing has taught me more that this is genuinely not possible than playing an instrument. There is no way to pretend that you can play an instrument and the only way to achieve mastery of an instrument is disciplined practice over a long period of time.
While learning to do anything it’s important to start with the basics and fundamentals. Without a strong foundation, you won’t be able to build upon it. There is no shortcut to anything that has depth or sustainability and if you don’t build a strong foundation in the beginning, you will eventually have to go back and rebuild it again if you want it to last.
Once I have made a clear commitment and I am actively practicing what’s necessary to reach my goals, then comes my need to surrender. In the last few years especially, I’ve learned that I am not in control of the outcomes and when I have a strong attachment to the outcome, there’s usually something else going on for me that I need to explore.
Surrendering is an act of trust. To trust that showing up for my personal commitments and practices is enough and what I need (not always what I want) will become clear if I’m paying attention. Surrendering to the outcomes allows me to have presence and awareness for what is truly happening. When I see the truth, I am able to make clear observations that can help me evaluate how things are working and if I need to realign or redirect where I’m headed. This is how the cycle starts over again.
My commitments seem to always lead the way to the next commitment. I have come to find that I am somewhere in this cycle all of the time, usually with many different things at once. I have learned and continue to deepen my understanding that there really is no final destination but only a beautiful journey that makes each one of us uniquely who we are. As long as I am living, I believe this is how it will be and this brings me comfort. There’s no perfect final ending, performance or outcome, only a continued cycle that is alive and vibrant, exciting and unpredictable. I am grateful to understand this in the way that I do now. I believe it allows me to live a more vital and holistic life.