Now that itís back to school time, come rejuvenate. Start with a relaxing aromatherapy foot bath, then retreat into a private room for our muscle melt massage, a fusion of Deep Tissue and Swedish massage using our own specially blended herbal liniment. Finally let our esthetician customize a facial to address your skin care needs. $190
Couples Foot Massage Class
Thursday September 10th 7:30 - 9:00 pm
Enjoy an evening where you will learn basic foot massage techniques and communication skills that will enhance all areas of your relationship. $35 per couple
Committed to Happiness, Part One
By Peter Borten
Acupuncturist and Herbalist at The Dragontree
Commitment means different things to different people. It’s generally regarded as a noble thing, though sometimes our commitments make us feel obligated or trapped. Other times, being committed to a job or in a committed relationship gives us a sense of security. We may feel that no matter what happens, this is a variable that won’t change. But it’s worth asking ourselves what kind of security this really provides, and if this is reason enough to stay in a job or relationship. Also, does remaining in a relationship or job, regardless of our contribution to it, actually mean that we’re committed?
I believe there’s a lot of confusion about commitment. Let’s take a look at the notion that by merely sticking around we’re following through on a commitment we’ve made. As a teenager, I remember committing myself to a job, but then deciding I didn’t like it. So I grumbled to myself all day about what was wrong with it. I stopped doing my best. I daydreamed all the time. I complained to others who worked there and tried to get them on my side. I effectively sabotaged the very work environment I so disliked. But I had agreed to do the job and I needed the money, so I stayed and upheld my "commitment."
I sometimes did the same thing in relationships. I claimed to be committed, but backed this up with only my physical presence and little else. I’d tell myself that I was in a committed relationship because of the mere fact that we hadn’t broken up and I wasn’t cheating on her. Despite my physical presence, my mind was often elsewhere. I was really much more committed to my own mental analysis and judgments, dissecting the relationship or departing it rather than being in it. It wasn’t until I was almost thirty that I began to change my definition of commitment.
Real commitment, I discovered, has more to do with the spirit of our presence than anything else. The heart of any sincere commitment is actually a commitment to a certain quality of participation.
When we’re earnest about it, we see that we probably didn’t commit to just clock in at work, contribute in the most minimal way, clock out, and collect our paycheck. When we were hired, there was an understanding that we would use all our skills and experience, we’d enhance our workplace, we’d do our best, etc.
For any number of reasons – we’re tired, we’re bored, we’re underpaid, our partner doesn’t participate at the same level we do – we can deny our commitment and withdraw our participation. But it’s important to recognize how significantly this hurts our own happiness and sense of self-worth. Indeed, when we’re functioning at this level, we often carry around a feeling of guilt and/or drudgery. Not only do we have a sense that our follow-through is half-assed, we know that we’re really breaking a commitment with ourselves.
When we’re struggling with pain, loneliness, or burden, we sometimes forget that life is a gift. But when we become quiet and peaceful, the awe of our existence reveals itself. And it’s here that we remember what this commitment with ourselves is. It’s not so much an imperative to work ourselves to the bone as it is a kind of gratitude and inspiration that makes us appreciate each moment and want to show up as fully as we can. To relish the experience of being alive and share our gifts with the world. Though it may be hard at times to see the incentive to show up fully for our boss or partner, we can always choose to do it for our community or ourselves.
Anyone who is conscious during their wedding vows understands that "’Til death do us part," is just a fraction of the commitment. Unless we’re marrying someone for green card purposes, there is a mutual meeting of needs and sharing of love that inspires us to commit to each other in the first place. What we really signed up for is a certain quality of relationship, more than just a duration of relationship. Commitment doesn’t have to mean staying in a relationship forever, but as I see it, as long as we’re committed it makes sense to act like we’re committed. (To do otherwise is an act of denial, no?) Commitment is a moment-to-moment thing.
As you move through your life in the coming days, consider asking yourself, "What am I committed to?" If you notice that you’re not following through on your commitments to your work, your partner, your kids, or yourself, see if you can uncover what you’ve been committing to instead. Money? Security? Success? Control? Comfort? Without invalidating these pursuits, it’s important to not let them eclipse our deeper commitments. In the next part of this article, we’ll discuss how to overcome fear of commitment and how commitment can affect our happiness.
Peter and Everyone at The Dragontree