Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements was published in 1997. For many, The Four Agreements is a life-changing book, whose ideas come from the ancient Toltec wisdom of the native people of Southern Mexico. The Toltec were ‘people of knowledge’ – scientists and artists who created a society to explore and conserve the traditional spiritual knowledge and practices of their ancestors. The Toltec viewed science and spirit as part of the same entity, believing that all energy – material or ethereal – is derived from and governed by the universe. The simple ideas of The Four Agreements provide an inspirational code for life; a personal development model, and a template for personal development, behaviour, communications and relationships.
Be Impeccable with Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Impeccable means “without sin” and a sin is something you do or believe that goes against yourself. It means not speaking against yourself, to yourself or to others. It means not rejecting yourself. To be impeccable means to take responsibility for yourself, to not participate in “the blame game.”
Regarding the word, the rules of “action-reaction” apply. What you put out energetically will return to you. Proper use of the word creates proper use of energy, putting out love and gratitude perpetuates the same in the universe. The converse is also true.
Impeccability starts at home. Be impeccable with yourself and that will reflect in your life and your relationships with others. This agreement can help change thousands of other agreements, especially ones that create fear instead of love.
“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” — Siddhārtha Gautama
I think we’ve all hit a point in our lives when we realize that our life isn’t the way we want it to be.
Have you? Have you ever wondered, “what am I doing with my life?”
Usually this happens because we coast through some parts of our life, and without realizing it, end up in situations that leave us feeling unsatisfied.
I’m not talking about depression (though this can turn into depression). The feeling is more like a lack of excitement about what you’re doing with your life that manifests itself as a strong dissatisfaction. Life becomes stale. You just feel like your wasting your time, like there are better things out there for you that you just haven’t found. You don’t really know what these things are or how to get them, but you know they exist.
The problem is that you’re afraid to shake things up because you don’t want to ruin what you already have for something that’s unknown.
The Roller Coaster of Life
Life happens…fast (especially in a haze of drinking and partying that is college). And when times are good, you can’t imagine living any other way. You feel like you’ve figured it out, but eventually good times turn to bad times for no particular reason. It’s because we live in a world of constant change. Life is a roller coaster.
The key to living life is embracing this concept of constant change. It’s knowing that good times are fleeting and so are bad. It’s learning how to appreciate the good times without becoming attached to them and being able to learn from the bad times without getting discouraged. It’s about being comfortable with change and being okay with reinventing yourself if you need to.
1. A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
2. Dr Seiss, Horton Hears a Who
1. First Important Lesson – “Know The Cleaning Lady”
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.
“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”
I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
1. Removing the struggle from your child’s life.
It’s SO hard to watch them struggle but they need to learn how to cope with struggle itself as it is our best teacher.
When my oldest was about nine months old he still wasn’t crawling. He was still technically my foster child at that point and we had a home nurse that came monthly to check on us. I asked her about the crawling and she pointed out how I had him sitting in a circle of toys that were all within his reach. He was happy and had no need to learn to crawl because life was being handed to him. She went over and pulled the toys away from his little circle of blanket. He of course cried and then I cried and she just kept me from giving the toys back. I told her that with his vision issues he could no longer see the toys and she didn’t care and continued to hold me back. Well he didn’t just magically start crawling but he did stop crying and start exploring.
You have to allow your children to struggle!
I use this story often with them when they think I’m being mean for not helping with something. I explain that sometimes as their mother it is my job to let them cry and figure things out for themselves. I’m not sure they fully understand it yet but when they’re older they will.
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete…
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.