“for I have promises to keep…”

“I’ll light a candle,” I casually told my friend.

I had been doing some desk work, when this friend texted me:

I have sad news, the text began.  The father of a mutual friend had just died suddenly.

I was close to the bereaved man, and since he's a professional with a very demanding schedule I couldn't imagine how he was going to absorb this loss and keep functioning.

I was having trouble processing this news myself, and the easy thing was to text back:

I’ll light a candle.

Except that I didn’t.  It wasn’t until I stepped away to make more tea that I realized I had done nothing with a candle.  The matches were –where?  

Oh well, I thought.

But wait!   Skipping the candle was out of alignment with something I’d realized earlier that week. 

It had to do with how our dreams can come true when we take them seriously.  I thought about how trust between people starts with making promises that you keep, small ones at first, and then bigger ones -- and making your furthest dreams come true works the same way.  You make a little promise to yourself, like how long you will meditate that day, and each time you keep that promise to yourself, your self-confidence grows until you can make adventurous affirmations like I attract only positive, successful people, or I have lost 30 pounds and look terrific, or I’m in Bali for 3-week vacation.  And how you make those affirmations or commitments come true is by taking tiny steps every day, as if you were the person in your daydream.  Building that trust.  That’s how it works, I had decided!  The better you are at keeping big and little promises to yourself, the more the universe provides. 

So I didn't want to sabotage myself, did I?  Never mind that I owed the departed that simple candle-lighting, now that I had made the statement!  And what was happening with satya, the #2 principle in yoga philosophy: Speak the truth?

But how easy it is to disrespect a little promise.   

I lit the candle.    May he rest in peace.    

—Carlotta