Creating a Container for Growth

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Last April I decided not to buy any clothes for an entire year.  Let me tell you how it all came about.

In the spring I made a commitment to my business.  I realized that I am in a relationship with my business and that relationship needed a bit of an overhaul.  I had been loving parts of my business and digging in my heals and resisting other important aspects of it.  I decided I would not let my eyes wander to ‘easier jobs’, I would not flirt with 9-5, I would not cozy up with the idea of a steady paycheck, the allure of sitting behind a desk and checking out library books would hold no sway on me.  I was committed to being a successful entrepreneur and running my own business-what ever it takes, and whether I like what it takes or not.  I based this commitment on a concept put forward by the renowned relationship specialists Harville Hendrix in his book Getting the Love you Want.  The practice involves creating a ‘no exit’ zone in the relationship for a certain amount of time-in the land of couples this means committing to no threats of divorce, no workaholic behavior etc., I am here and I will not leave the relationship, no matter what.  I decided to create a no exits arrangement with my business, just as partners would in a relationship. No Exits is a powerful commitment.

So I made this commitment to my business.  “I will not leave, no matter what you throw at me, Business.  I’m here.”  Once I made the commitment I was in a different and way more productive mindset.  It felt great and it created a container for getting things done and moving forward in my business.

At this same time I began to get curious about what else I might want to commit to for a year. My 18-year-old daughter was home on spring break and we had been doing a bit of ‘recreational shopping’. You know, wandering into to stores and wandering out $50 later with a cute little something.   I don’t really need any clothes.  Clothes are expensive. I spend valuable time shopping. What else could I be doing with my free time?   I’ve spent some money on my business this year and so why not save some money by not shopping for a year.

Five months into I am a committed non-shopper!  I’m saving time and money and I’m finding treasures in my closet that I didn’t even know I had.  I’m seeing what I do have with different eyes, knowing that these clothes and I are in it together for at least a year.  It’s definitely a mindfulness practice.  Several times I have been in stores shopping for one of my kids and found myself absently fondling a tee shirt here, thoughtlessly grabbing a dress and heading to the changing room, only to remember, oh yeah, I don’t do that any more.

The energy of commitment is different.  No exits mean that the energy is contained-not dissipated.  My guess is that it doesn’t really matter what your commitment is to, per se.  No sugar, no shopping, no cheating on my business with fantasies an ’easier’ career. 

What results is a calm.  And a sense of presence.  I am ready.  I am here and I am awake. 


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