Devotion combines freedom alongside love, loyalty, and enthusiasm for people and projects that matter to us.
- Devotion appeals to the heart that needs freedom to choose (and choose again) while including the intention of a long-term, resilient engagement.
- Freed from obligations that bind us and demand from us, devotional co-creating becomes lighter, safer, and also freer from hierarchy (where some exert power over others).
- Devotion empowers a we-space with grounded security, an opportunity for growth, and the fresh air of freedom.
Are you willing to let people not be obligated to you? In order for you to feel safe, do you want to know that other people will be driven by intense shame if they don’t do what they are “supposed to do”?
We get that this is a touchy subject. We can want the freedom, for ourselves, to decide what is a yes for us and what is not. We can intend to stay true to that, even actively assert that we’re “done” with being forced to do what others tell us to do even at the cost of our health and sanity.
But what’s been happening? What seems pretty obvious is that people are so tired of obligation, they are avoiding deeper connections… even moving far away from family and groups that seek to insist they must… (insert a long list of family and community obligations).
Moving from obligation to devotion means to be, honestly, counter-culture. It means to consciously craft relationships even with life partners and children that seek to honor freedom… and also build resilience connections that serve us from cradle to grave.
Devotion has that potential. We speak to what is important to us, to the ways we want to show up that nourish us and give our life deeper meaning. We seek congruence with others.
We explore ways a person knows they are unlikely to be a YES. For example:
- I’m happy most times to pick you up at the airport, even at odd hours, but I’ll never cut your grass even if you’re in two leg casts.
Devotion isn’t bothered by respecting people’s limits and their needs. Obligation takes immediate offense: “What?!? I mowed your yard 6 times last summer when you were traveling and didn’t charge anything for it!”
When we engage where it is truly safe for someone to say no, even to something important to us, while knowing that we’re also loved and supported in other ways, we’ve upgraded our relationships by leaving the shackles of obligation out.
A measurable mark of devotion is the quality and quantity of Presence we bring.
It’s true… people might say they are devoted to their family. But do they spend time? Do they drop in, tune to, and engage deeply with each family member individually and as a group?
People also assert that are devoted to a particular change they want to see in the world – yet sometimes never seem to take regular steps to bring their presence and resourcefulness to influencing the future.
We get it. People are busy. Distractions are many. Stress and pressures and worry deplete energy. Past trauma can put the brakes on. We get it.
Devotion actually offers an alternative that can lead to thriving.
- Get clear on 1-2 areas of your life that really matter to you for love and for solid reasons.
- Devote (!) your presence to both areas. Be generous. Be responsive.
- Be real with yourself if you’re not showing up. Real means looking for the blocks and especially things that do not matter as much to you (that you are not devoted to) that are getting your time and attention.
We have found that expressing our devotion (even though it’s vulnerable) helps shift our core intentions. It starts to feel natural to put our lifeforce… and our Presence… into that which we’re devoted to.
- What makes this relationship or project important enough to me to devote myself to it?
- How does deeper devotion here change how I’m present in this engagement in ways that serve me better than just casual curiosity and openness?
- Am I aware of the edges where it wouldn’t be healthy anymore for me to continue my devotion here?
- Is it possible to replace any obligations here – especially unspoken ones – with Agreements that are a Yes-Yes for everyone involved?
- Can I accept a no in this situation without assuming they don’t care?
- How can I bring more Presence to the people and projects that I am devoted to?
We-Space, Emotional Freedom, Engage With, Inspired Action, Expectations vs. Agreements, Curiosity, Presence
We invite you to share your experiences and wisdom:
- Life examples where this concept has played a role
- Other useful questions
- Links to audios, videos, books, and courses that add to our shared understanding of this concept
- Memes, quotes, and inspiring images