The Seven Soul Commitments
The First Soul~Commitment
I commit to realizing my full potential for both closeness and
autonomy. I open myself to learning about and honoring my essence rhythms and to learning about and honoring those rhythms in others.
The important thing to remember is that all of us have needs both for closeness and for alone-time. If you come from a back¬ground where you developed an ease for being by yourself, your learning edge may be to cultivate that same ease for being with people. If you are by nature comfortable with closeness, your learn¬ing edge may be to get comfortable with yourself as your only company.
The Second Soul~Commitment
I commit to full expression, to holding back nothing. This means
telling the truth about everything, including my feelings, my
fantasies, and my actions. I commit to telling the unarguable truth-
truth that no one can argue with-instead of giving my opinions,
beliefs, and prejudices. I also commit to listening, non-
judgmentally, to what people say to me.
In our families of origin, people did not tell the truth about their
feelings. Instead of speaking about their fears, sadness’s, dreams,
and desires, they often hid them inside. Like most people, they had
had no education or modeling about telling the truth about feel¬ings,
and they probably didn't know how.
The Third Soul~Commitment
I commit to becoming the source of full responsibility for my life,
including my happiness, my wellbeing, and my life goals. I absolve
everyone, living or dead, past or present, from any implication that
they cause my feelings or actions in any way.
Sourcing responsibility is perhaps the toughest commitment to honor.
In spite of our good intentions, education, and intelligence, we
still have a strong tendency to run for the victim position when we
felt threatened. When we are upset, it always looks like the other
Relationships only exist between equals. Each of us has 100 percent responsibility to create our connection because we are each whole beings. People get into trouble when they stop acting from full creative participation. If you take less than 100 percent
responsibility, it's easy to feel that other people are at fault. As
man says to his wife, "If you'd just stand still for a moment, I
wouldn't feel so chaotic!"
It's usually easier for us to recognize what we call a victim role,
taking less than 100 percent responsibility, than it is to
ac¬knowledge the problems caused by taking more than 100 percent responsibility. If you're drawn to criticize or correct your partner, especially if it's for their own good, it may be difficult to see
your actions as an attempt to control. The truly uncomfortable
confron¬tation with yourself comes from recognizing the helpful
suggestions and debris collection as the disrespectful gestures they
are. When we take more than 100 percent responsibility, we
communicate to our partners, "You are not capable, and I need to take over here because I'm right."
There are three maddening role possibilities if we aren't taking
healthy responsibility: persecutor, rescuer, or victim. Only three
choices-but the combinations, skirmishes, and escalations they
generate can look at first like real connecting. Some people even
mistake the dramas caused by playing these roles for a relationship.
Relationship is not possible within these roles, only entangle¬ment
and encumbrance. As Edna St. Vincent Millay once said, “It’s not one thing after another. It's the same damn thing over and over."
The Fourth Soul~Commitment
When faced with the choice between being happy and being defensive, I commit to choosing happiness. I commit to doing this especially in those situations when my defensiveness seems most warranted and when it is totally obvious to me that I am right and the other person is wrong.
Choosing happiness and harmony in a relationship is the most radical thing lovers can do. For many it can be like setting forth into the unknown in terms of our genetic histories.
The Fifth Soul~Commitment
I commit to learning to love and appreciate myself and others in my
Learning to love ourselves is one of the key lessons of the
con¬scious heart. One reason that traditional religions have lost
favor today is that shame pervades their teachings. People now seem to be tired of feeling bad about themselves. Over the past few decades, a new wave of psychology and spirituality has swept the world, a wave that is cleansing the old shame-based spirituality from our minds and bodies. The shame-based model is still firmly in control in much of the world, however, and if we look deeply enough, most of us can find it in the cells of our own beings. To love ourselves, and to become a space in which others can love themselves, is a high calling and a foundation stone of the path.
Psychologist John Gottman's extensive marital research indi¬cates
that in relationships that thrive, the ratio of appreciations to
criticisms is at least five to one.
The Sixth Soul~Commitment
I commit to the full expression of my creativity, and to inspiring
the full creative expression of those around me
When you commit to the full expression of creativity and to
facilitating the creativity of people around you, a major shift
hap¬pens in your relationship. For one thing, making this commitment ends control. It’s amazing the amount of energy people spend trying to control things and people that are outside their control. Many people seem to think that others are there only to be controlled by them. The key to any spiritual path is to release control. It is fine and wise to have goals and plans, but if you think you can control exactly where you are going and how you are going to get there, you are thumbing your nose at the universe. If you think you know where your partner should go, look out.
The Seventh Soul~Commitment
I commit to celebration as the dominant emotional tone of my relationships. Particularly, I commit to celebrating the essence of myself and those close to me.
Life works better when we commit to living in waves of learning and
appreciation rather than in contractions of control. This commitment
won't stop the occasional spasm of control, but it will let you and
the universe know that you do not plan to take them as seriously.
When you commit to celebration as an operating principle, you set a
high emotional tone for your relationship. The dictionary tells us
that to celebrate is "to praise and honor publicly" and "to have a
convivial good time." Convivial, by the way, comes from the Latin
word convivium, "a banquet or feast." Both of these intentions are
important to a spiritual path. When we can praise and honor publicly
your close relationships and live in them as an ongoing feast, you
are using your relationships fully.
Celebration moves happiness into a higher gear by bringing more
people to the feast. When you publicly appreciate your relationship,
you inspire the heartfelt participation of your larger community.
You widen the circle of essence by sharing the full expression of