Conversations over Coffee

Conversations with Promises

When we were kids promises happened every day. “Wait for me after school?” “Yep!” “Promise?”  Sepia coloured days where promises meant everything.

Today I am the keeper of someone else’s sepia days – my two boys. Their world is full of promises. Days that tick by to the tempo of one promise after another. “Sushi after kindy today mum?” “Yes PJ.” “Pinky promise?”

We intertwine our two little pinky fingers, shake and smile knowing the promise we just made is not only binding, it is sacred. Each promise is another stroke in the sepia palette of their world.

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The most significant promise I have made was my wedding vows. Standing there on that altar twelve years ago now in front of God and our family and friends I could barely whisper the promises to my husband to love, honour and cherish him. Overwhelmed by the enormity of the vows and the promise I had to keep. Overwhelmed by the staggering reality that this promise shook the foundation of everything I believed in and wanted.

Looking back there was another promise I made that was just as significant, if not more significant in my life. A promise that was not spoken out aloud or made in front of family and friends. This promise was made in silence. Looking down at AJ, and two years later looking down at PJ, in my arms moments after they were born my soul promised to be everything and anything for those two boys.

Stripped bare and exposed to the vulnerability of the life I held in my hands the promise to those two little babies wasn’t one to love, honour and cherish it was a staggering promise that in every capacity, with every breath and every cell in my body I would dissolve my pretences and ego and humble myself to the sacred life I held in my hands.

Since then? Not so many promises. Other than the every day sepia promises with my boys.

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If I think about it long enough I realise I have never really made a promise to myself. Or have I? Surely the promises I made to my husband and to my children were also promises to me. But there really haven’t been promises exclusively for me.

There have been many aspects of my life I have vowed to change, work on and try hard to improve. Listening to my inner voice, being open to possibility – all good things that I have tried to incorporate into my life – for a better life. But these were never really promises.

Maybe fear is the reason I haven’t made a promise to myself. The undeniable linger of failure and how that could not only break a promise, but crack the foundation of who I am. I can feel the words trapped, hovering somewhere between my heart and my mouth – frozen and unable to come out.

The promise to pursue my hearts desires with complete abandon locked in a black world of no light, devoid of air and lacking the chance at life.

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If I were to paint a mural of those heart desires I would paint a completed written novel, strike that, I would paint three or more completed novels. I would paint a blog that grows in strength, diversity and audience. I would paint evenings clear of any schedule except time spent with my boys. I would paint readers who are connected and enlightened by my words. I would paint and paint and paint.

But instead of promises I exercise caution and tread with hesitation. Something that weighs me down. Something that I need to change. Something that I need to sit in the stillness of my mind and find the ropes that bind this weight down and sever them.

Promises to ourselves are far more important than any other promises we can make. Sepia toned promises to our children. Diamond studded promises to our partners. All shadows. Until we can find the strength to make promises to our own heart desires first.

When was the last time you made a promise?

This was the last Conversations over Coffee link for 2014.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of such inspiring conversations.
In anticipation of #convocoffee 2015 please leave me your suggestions for prompts or themes in the comments below – would love to hear your ideas xx


  • LydiaCLee

    I think we make little promises to ourselves quietly in our heads but because we don’t make a big fanfare, we don’t really commit to keep them…Part of blogging for me is making the big fanfare, so once it’s written down, I feel the need to try and commit to the idea. (be it actually doing something, or just saying yes to experience or even just trying not to be so negative). So while I don’t make big promises to myself, I do make commitments (though it’s interesting I don’t feel bound if I think about it, but if I write and press publish I do???)

    • I agree, I don’t feel bound by a commitment as much as I do a promise- thank you for being such an awesome contributor and supporter of #convocoffee this year – I have really loved reading your posts and having your part of the conversations xx

  • What a beautiful mural. I can’t remember the last time I made a promise to myself. I make promises with Dave and the kids all the time. Interesting isn’t it? Sorry I haven’t joined in with the last few conversations. My workload (for my real job) has been so heavy at the moment that I need to make sure I keep my head above water and don’t overload myself. Looking forward to joining in next year though. x

    • No need to apologise at all Renee. We are all trying to keep our heads above water. Your support, reading, commenting and being part of the conversations when you can have meant the world to me. And yes, we make promises to others far more often than we would even consider making a promise to ourselves – something perhaps we need to change?

  • Pip (@melbournelass)

    Sometimes I think you make promises to yourself but dare not declare them out loud. The ones as a mum seem out there because I feel the world comes to a stop as you drop everything to help them flourish. Here’s to uttering those promises aloud x

    • Uttering those promises out aloud is a huge step – one I keep hesitating to make. So lovely to have you here Pip, not just today, but always xx

  • YAY it’s loaded. I work very hard not to promises anymore, especially to myself because when I can’t keep them I get quite down. What I am proud of is that I NEVER promise things to the kids if I don’t know that I can follow through 100% of the time! x

    • I think it is very important to keep any promise – but especially the ones we make to our kids. Valuable lesson youa re teaching them Em and what a positive role model you are being xx

  • writeofthemiddle

    You are so good with words Josefa! … and you are right – promises we make to ourselves are much harder. There is risk, fears and all sorts of things tied up with promises to ourselves. I made one to myself about 2.5 years ago and that was to prioritise myself for a change and to start taking care of myself. It is one I am trying my best to keep but I sometimes trip up. In fact my latest post talks about the fact that I have tripped up and am making adjustments again because of this fact. 🙂 x

    • Absolutely, promise are not exclusive – they come tied up with clauses, fears, expectations and even our hopes and dreams end up snuggle din there – maybe that is what keeps so many of us from making them?

  • Oh I am not sure I have ever made a promise to myself either? Something to think about!
    I have made many promises to my boys and mostly keep them – if I don’t keep the promises then I make sure I explain why and make sure that I make a new promise.
    Conversations over coffee is so much fun, they take on so many levels, especially with close friends.

    • I like the idea of explaining why a promise is broken or not kept – that has certainly given me something to think about. I love a conversation over coffee, whether here on this space – or in real life xx

  • Grace

    Promises to myself are always so hard to keep. Life gets in the way and because I see promises as points of luxury than necessity, they always fall back in priority. It shouldn’t be that way but sadly, for the moment, it is…

    • I have never thought of promises as a luxury – maybe that is just one of the sacrifices we make as parents? Hmmm you have me thinking Grace xx

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