It was a lovely little coffee shop. Opening Love had just been published, and this woman, she had asked a very simple question. “What does commitment mean to you?”
My initial response was stumbly. My lover, seated in the audience, jumped in to fill what we both perceived as a moment of total awkwardness. At the time, I felt gratitude for my lover’s rescue: for he gave me the opportunity to just sit and not have to answer the question. I recall he defined commitment between partners as “taking action toward mutually agreed-upon ideals.” I remember nodding to his definition…and, yet, feeling surprisingly lost by her question.
Many polyamorous (poly, for short) people put a great deal of emphasis on building long-term committed relationships. Many value, like monogamists tend to do, the value of aiming for a relationship that stands the test of time. Often, activists in the poly movement tout the value of multiple partners living together, under one roof, sharing resources—and, thus, leaving a smaller ecological footprint. Indeed, it does seem like a good plan to intentionally come together: to give, to share, to break out of the strictures of the standard nuclear family unit and, instead, create an extended tribe, a loving support network who can help their loved ones to live more rich, sustainable lives, both on the material level as well as on the emotional level. Abundant love. Open love. Community. Family. Committing our future to the people who’ve committed to love and care for us. Mutuality. Beautiful interdependence.
The word commit derives from the Latin committere, meaning to “join” or “entrust.” From its etymology, we can see the word commitment is tangled in a sense of entanglement, a sense of community rather than that of isolation. To be committed means to join individuals together. It is coming together for some possible good or to relieve a perceived suffering.
Commitment involves a feeling of trust, some kind of faith in some force that is indeed bigger and more powerful than each solitary individual. Commitment involves harmony. It means a yes.
Commitment is, also, really, just a guess. A prediction. It is an idea (not a guarantee) of what we think might make us happy in the future. And it is a guess about what we think we might be able to do…but who knows if we actually can? Only time can answer.
After Opening Love appeared in bookstores, the most astonishing thing happened. I was suddenly overwhelmed with a feeling of confusion and ignorance. Of not-knowing. What is a relationship, really? What is love, really? What is commitment? To what and whom are we committing when when we commit? Does expectation naturally come with commitment, and if so, what kinds of expectations might be beneficial and what kinds might be harmful? Questions I thought I’d answered in the pages of Opening Love …well, I found out I had not.
For awhile, I left really stupid. And judgmental towards myself.
Then, a few months later, something shifted. My spiritual mentor, Paul Lowe, finally spoke with me via Skype (previously, up until that point, we’d only communicated through writing). He’d read my book, and wanted to share some feedback for me. Speaking with Paul, looking at Paul, having his eyes pierce me in a way that only a great teacher can, I felt the layers and layers of all my confusion melting away. All my complaint and pride and ego exposed. There was nowhere, absolutely nowhere, to flee. Only that moment, with him, and my true Self.
Being with Paul that day I understood suddenly that Opening Love, beautiful as it was, was only a beginning. A beautiful beginning. That in fact there is and can be no end to this exploration of love and relationship, for with each new level of consciousness, that which is the old must fall away, because it is no longer relevant. It was okay that I had already moved beyond some of what I’d written in Opening Love. Indeed, I saw that to be truly helpful to others, I must keep moving……keep moving, consistently and constantly, into the new. I can’t stop. I simply must dissolve into the next level, and then share that. Dissolve; then share. Dissolve; share. Repeat repeat.
Being Lovers is as an attempt to continue that process. To dissolve and then share. To keep moving.
Thank you for reading, dear reader. Indeed, it is clear to me—right from the start—that you are my lover, too. You are my beautiful mirror. You are worthy of all my love.
I commit to you. To us. To this beautiful dance, unfolding now. And now. And now…
Follow more of Anya’s musings at AnyaLight.com…and her book Opening Love!