Commitment as a spiritual exercise; day 22 of Ramadan

When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” – Howard Schultz
Earlier today I was hanging out with my bro Mark and we spent a good deal of time being and talking amongst ourselves. One of the things we discussed at length is the nature of commitment and how it seems that sometimes in our culture we sometimes have a reluctance to remain committed to a person, an organization, a place we worship in, and so on.
Commitment to someone or something is a good thing, it causes us to remain faithful and keeps us in check for the long haul. Because it is very easy to stick with something or someone in the good times, but what about the difficult and trying parts of life? Are we going to leave simply because we or it or they are going through a rough season of life? Would we want that to happen to US if we were in their shoes? Probably not and that’s why I think it is so vital to stick to something through all seasons of life- ours as well as theirs!

Now I realize that we all live self-defined busy lives and obviously we cannot commit to all things, which is why I propose we take the time to examine what’s on our plate of things we do and start clearing it; while it might all be good, it’s prudent to find the great and commit to that.

Why some and not all you might ask, very simply; time management and personal health. We are not defined by our jobs, our labels, our doings as well as our beings. And subsequently the multitude of things we might undertake feed into a false sense of who we are. Plus everyone who lives is given 168 hours of life per week, and if we’re fully committed to a LOT of things where’s the time we can call our own?

We should want to give of our time and our lives to others and causes we align ourselves with, but we also need to find space within all that to recharge our batteries lest we fall prey to compassion fatigue.
I work a job in the behavioral health field and I see compassion fatigue all around me, and if I am honest with myself I am in the throes of it myself, but I have learned (and relearned) over the years to detach myself from it all when I am not there.

Otherwise I am prone to think that my coworkers aren’t able to do as good of a job as I can and that shit will hit the proverbial fan in my absence. This is unhealthy to my coworkers and residents alike, and it fuels my ego in the most perverse of ways. So when I am not at work, I am not at work period! Life will go on without me, and all I can do is hope that all is well and if it’s not it will be rectified by those who are working when I am not.

So examine your life, your plate, and start the process of clearing it. Figure out what are the good things in your life and weed them out and commit to those great things instead! It might be frustrating to get to the place of identifying and pursuing the great things in life, but trust me it is well worth it to get to that place in life.
So with all that being said, commitment is my keyword on this 22nd day of Ramadan. Thanks be to God, The Committed One, who is faithful and loving and compassionate to all of mankind. May we take time to figure out what’s worth committing to in our lives, to our personal benefit as well as to the benefit of others.

Salaam alaikum be yours now and always,

Compartmentalization is more work than it’s worth

I’m packing up for 5 days in Wisconsin, and one thing I recognize is my compartmentalization skills; my camera gear is separate from my clothing is separate from my book bag is separate from my laptop bag.

While this is important, well, as long as you know which is which and if you can find what you’re looking for at it’s needed time, life sometimes in itself becomes compartmentalized; my work life is separated from my home life is separated from my spiritual life is separated from the friends I hang out with on Friday nights after work at a bar…

While I do think that balance and boundaries are a good thing, some things need to have that type of order, it is my opinion that compartmentalization is more work than what it’s worth, and that a follower of Christ I should fear or worry about living holistically, because as Rob Bell said; everything is spiritual.

There was a time in my life where I did my best to compartmentalize my life, my life consisted of boxes, all of mine but I only let some people in to what was really going on in my life. I did what I could to keep up a good facade of “everything is okay” but by the time I got to college I started unraveling at the seams.

When I went away to school I tried to keep up a good show of what was going on in my life; after all I was the new guy and didn’t know anyone apart from a friend who transferred from junior college to that school with me, we were actually in the same program before he dropped out and got married while I switched majors and graduated.

Some of my suite-mates and even one of my roommates picked up something was amiss in Nathanael-land (why yes, I am an island entire of myself, sometimes) and they were patient with me and they loved on me which I found odd because I thought that if I put myself out there I would be disliked and even worse, unloved.

Life without love is hardly a life at all, you have to give it and hopefully you get some love as well 🙂 But as I put my hurts and my pains out to my new acquaintances who became my friends I realized that I was still liked…I was still loved.


Since my college days gone by I do try to open myself more to people I trust and live life holistically, but I need to step up my game. If I am not willing to be more transparent and less compartmentalized how can I expect anyone else to? My standards are for me, but if I am to part wisdom upon those around me it begins with being the change I want to see in me.

So I will tear down my curtains,
I will reveal what goes on behind-the-scenes,
I will engage with you the proscenium.