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 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.

Upgrading from Obligation

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 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.

So what's been happening?

What seems pretty obvious is that people are so tired of obligation, they are avoiding deeper connections bound by obligations… 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 being, truthfully, counterculture. It means consciously crafting relationships, even with life partners and children, that seek to honor freedom… and build resilient 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 ever 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 a body cast.

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 removing the shackles of obligation.

Devotion Brings Presence

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 with them? Do they drop in, tune in, and engage deeply with each family member individually and as a group?

People also assert that they are devoted to a particular change they want to see in the world, yet they rarely seem to take consistent steps to use their presence and resourcefulness to influence us towards that thriving future.

We get it. People are busy. Distractions are many. Stress, pressure, and worry deplete energy. Past trauma can put the brakes on. We get it.

Devotion 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 that matter to you.
  • 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 actually 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 life force… and our Presence… into that which we're devoted to.

Useful Questions

  • What makes this relationship or project important enough to me to devote myself to it (with the freedom to change my mind as a sacred decision)?
  • How does deeper devotion change how I'm present in this engagement? How would that serve me better than just casual curiosity and openness?
  • Am I aware of the edges where continuing my devotion would no longer be healthy?
  • Can any obligations here—especially unspoken ones—be replaced 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 in ways that enhance my thriving life?


Related Concepts

We-Space, Emotional Freedom, Engage With, Inspired Action, Expectations vs. Agreements, Curiosity, Presence, Co-Creating, Power With, Resilience, Sacred Decisions


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