A couple of days ago I defined “vows” and explained how making them has guided my conduct over the last ten years. Chances are you’ve made a vow yourself (other than at time of marriage) but haven’t thought about it in the way I’ve defined it. A vow, just to be clear, is self-chosen, not imposed* … it serves as a mantra, your heraldic motto: this is what I stand for, this is my intention.
I invite you to reflect on how intentions guide you through the chaos of everyday decision-making. What helps you steer clear of ethical obstacles and cope with moral dilemmas? What delineates your spiritual path? Please write if you feel inclined — the more precise the statement the better. If no explicit vow comes to mind, what would it look like if you made one?
* Added later: Sitting at the café this morning it occurred to me that “self-chosen” may feel like “self-imposed” — a subtle but worthwhile distinction. Self-imposed may come from the Small Self and thus be little more than (another) new year’s resolution doomed to failure and apt to cause discouragement. If, on the other hand, it comes from the Big Self, the one that’s larger than anything our reptilian mind can conjure up, it stands a better chance of being true and doable. In that sense, a vow embodies a calling (Latin vocation), a determination that comes from deep within.
image: (top) againwiththecomics.com; (bottom) Prince of Wales’s motto ICH DIEN means I serve. That’s German, strangely: “borrowed” along the way from the King of Bohemia.