There are some deep thoughts floating around this week and it seemed important to shine some light on them for Thoughty Thursday.
To go back a few days…
I cracked open my copy of The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz’ over the weekend during my time on the dreaded eliptical machine. What a mixture that book is! From one chapter to the next, I swing wildly between “Hell Yes” and “You’ve Gotta Be Kidding.”
Maybe the eliptical was siphoning all my oxygen out through my feet. Maybe I had PMS. I don’t know what made me have such wild swings, but I’ll tell you I was riveted through 30 minutes on the machine of torture.
Any book that can do that, especially on a second read-through, is definitely on my recommended reading list. Let’s talk agreements…
The Four Agreements are:
1. Be impeccable with your word.
According to Ruiz, this is the number one agreement and if you follow this, your life will be measurably happier. Make just this one change and receive a vast return.
Writers are keenly aware of the importance of words. We think and dream and live inside of words.
What I get from that statement is:
- Choose your words wisely.
- Work to be diligent in meaning what you say.
- Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
The next three agreements are really the support structure to help you keep agreement #1. The first on the list is a keeper, and was a definite “Oh, yeah” for me. In this world of “reality” TV and “staged” truth, I think people are thirsting for authenticity.
Agreement #1 speaks to being authentic.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
Ruiz makes a stellar point that nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. Their thoughts and perceptions of the world affect they way they act.
That’s fair…to a point.
We’ve been talking about Dirty Fighting here on More Cowbell and this is at the heart of why people fight nasty. They haven’t learned yet how to have clean discussions or how to surround themselves with clean fighters as an adult.
Of course you’re going to take some things personally. And you’re going to react to them. In understanding that people have their own crappioca to deal with, there’s a chance that you’ll react less. Consider the option that what that person just did is not about you. I swear it takes the weight off most discussions.
Think about Clean Fighting Step #2 – Leave the person an “out with dignity” by understanding that there may be facts you don’t know. Now, let’s think about how most people view the actions of others. How often have you heard an adult or a child say, “Look what you made me do!”
How often have you heard someone correct them with, “Look what you chose to do. Would you like to talk about why you made that choice?”
Following this principle cuts down on the pain and amps up the love, giving you that much more energy to achieve the goals and passions that are important to you and your success. I’m not saying, “Go forth and be a sociopath.” I’m saying, understand that most things are not about you.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
A challenge to our beliefs can give us that squinchy feeling in the belly (that’s fear, my friends, plain and simple). In essence, a challenge to our core beliefs makes us feel unsafe.
Whether it’s our family, our friends or – heaven forbid – our boss, we must be brave enough to ask questions and express what we really want.
It takes a great deal of courage to either defend or challenge our own beliefs and learn from the interaction. It takes even more to translate that new knowledge into words and actions.
4. Always do your best.
When you always do your best, you take action. Doing your best means you undertake the action because you love it, not because you’re expecting a reward. Trying your damnedest ensures that you live your life intensely and without regret.
My rockstar mama always told me, “If you do your best, that’s good enough for me.”
I feel lucky that I was blessed with a mama like that because I don’t see that message being transmitted to kids on a societal level. There seems to be a lot of conditional love (and conditional approval) running around the planet right now, jogging in the fast lane alongside that most heinous word, “should.”
These are some heavy agreements. I give Miguel Ruiz major points for not getting preachy about a subect that’s easy to get preachy on. At its heart, this book is about living a life of integrity.
My favorite line in the book was: It is not the stars that create light but rather light that creates the stars.
As we move into a weekend that marks the 10th anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history, I hope your heart is open to some light. I believe that everyone has the ability to illuminate the world, in ways both large and small.
In John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural speech in 1961, he said:
I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
I hope you spend a moment this Sunday lighting a fire in your corner of the world.
What sorts of September 11th thoughts are on your mind this week? Are you participating in any remembrance activities this weekend?
REMINDER: Tomorrow is Life List Club Friday and I will be over at David N. Walker’s blog, with a post about achieving your dreams, even when they’re scary. Emily Moir will be guest posting here. See you Saturday for Risky Baby Business!