The Positive Habit Weekly Blog – 8th January, 2018 – The Four Agreements
I hope that you are well and welcome, as always, to any new readers – it’s a pleasure to have you with me.One of the books I got for Christmas was Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying,’ which after reading led me to become a little fixated with tidying and decluttering my wardrobe; I have always loved tidying but this book takes things to a new level! In particular, folding clothes is turned into an art form and if you follow Condo’s advice then never again will your wardrobe be a chaotic mess. Instead your closet will look more like a display in a posh department store where each item is clearly visible and accessible! After offloading about ten sacks to the charity shop, I am beginning to feel the therapeutic magic that Condo writes about.
A calm and decluttered space supports a calm and decluttered mind.
This brings me to another book that my ever loving husband bought me called ‘The Four Agreements,’ by Don Miguel Ruiz. Some of you may have heard of it or indeed Marie Kondo’s book as they are both international bestsellers. In hindsight, I wonder were these gifts a subtle message from my husband who is known for his tidiness and honesty?!
Like Deepak Chopra, Don Miguel Ruiz, a Mexican surgeon and author, turned his back on Western, conventional medicine to look at the healing powers of more holistic and ancient practices. In ‘The Four Agreements’ he focuses on the Toltec spiritual ethos which originates in Mexico.
Over the next four weeks of the blog I will deconstruct each agreement and suggest that you put the insights into practice for that week. The first agreement as you will see from the image above is:
“Agreement # 1 – 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.”
I really respect and admire this maxim which is actually the foundation of the remaining three agreements. The word is our most powerful tool in creating heaven or hell on earth, so that when we apply this agreement we are choosing to carefully consider what we say before we say it. We choose to speak honestly and openly and always operate from a place of love.
One of the things I often notice with clients, friends and family is how quick they are to use negative language about themselves. Frequently this is a flippant comment and not intended in a serious way. However, the power of language is such that it leaves an imprint on our subconscious, so saying “stupid me” or “I’m so fat” is really not helpful to our image of ourselves or our self-esteem. Indeed, many of these beliefs are in fact subconscious agreements that we may have been carting around since childhood. The bottom line is that they weigh us down, diminish us and keep us stuck.
When we use the word badly about ourselves the chances are that we will also do this about others. Again, the intention may not be serious or harmful but it leads to the rampant, toxic poison that is gossip. While being on the receiving end of gossip may be unpleasant to say the least, the person who ultimately suffers most from it is the person who does the gossiping.
This week, listen to the conversations around you and notice how people talk about themselves and others. The challenge for you is not to slip unintentionally into using the word negatively about yourself or others. Awareness is the key to practising this and all of the agreements. Think carefully about the words you use and the impact they have on you and the people around you. The word ‘impeccable’ comes from the Latin ‘pecatus’ which means ‘sin.’ When we are ‘impeccable’ with our word we therefore speak without sin about ourselves or about others.
In ‘The Four Agreements,’ Ruiz refers to the word as having the power of either white or black magic depending on how you use it. The word remains the most important tool of communication we have and our ability to be able to speak to each other is a gift that can be used for our greater good or for our downfall. Ruiz says:
“Use white magic, beginning with yourself, tell yourself how wonderful you are, how great you are. Tell yourself how much you love yourself.”
Next week we will consider the second agreement, ‘Don’t Take Anything Personally’. Imagine how this might help create a world of peace and harmony!
Have a great week and as always please do share The Positive Habit with anyone you think could benefit.
I will be creating a series of free videos throughout 2018, “Anxiety Free, Stress-Free, Choose The Positive Habit” and I will be sure to send them to you as they will be packed with sound advice, insights and practical tips to keep you mentally and emotionally fit.
‘Mind Yourself Now!’ – tune in to Today FM today, Monday 8th January at 10.30.am where I will be discussing taking the pressure off New Year’s goals and how to avoid feeling low around Blue Monday. You can also podcast the show if you miss it live.
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