I’m on the upswing of a minor funk, I can feel it. I think getting out of my comfort zone by going to scout camp and then anxiously waiting for my little’s return kind of put me into a tailspin.
It’s Monday and I’m trying to plan my week so that I can be productive, happy and fulfilled. I have my 3rd step meeting with Arlina on Thursday, so I have to do some step 3 reading and worksheet. I also want to get out and walk today (it’s been forever). Jules has been getting really sluggish on walks, so until we figure out what’s going on with his health, I need to find an inside workout regimen to stick to. That or riding my bike– but I bought an ankle brace and now my foot is doing SO much better so I want to start running again– might be time to dust off my treadmill. I also want to get back to the Lotus and the Lilly 30 day soul book, which I started way back in March. SO much to do & all fun stuff too!! OH and I need to go to a meeting. I’m planning on going today and maybe 1 or 2 other days this week (they are conveniently every week day at noon and like a mile down the road– it doesn’t get any easier than that).
The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz
I call the Four Agreements my life’s bible. I strongly believe that the four simple principals promoted in the book can be used and applied to any situation. This book has helped my anxiety with relating to others immensely and I want to write about my experience with applying the principals.
The first rule of this book is to be impeccable with your word.
While this seems fairly straight forward it takes on many subtle and profound aspects as you begin to practice. Very simply to be impeccable with your Word is to use your Word in the direction of love and truth. It’s not as simple as it sounds.
How we apply this agreement in practice can be complicated. For instance, suppose we have a good friend and are friends with their spouse as well. We’ve found out that the spouse is cheating on our friend. It is in the direction of truth to tell our friend that their partner is cheating on them. On the other hand delivering the message and facts is not very kind and loving and will hurt their feelings. It also might not be considered very respectful to inject our nose into the business of other people’s relationship. In these critical situations being impeccable with your word can appear to go either way.
You can create how you feel emotionally by generating emotions, and then you feel them. You can create dynamics of respect in relationship by being silent and listening attentively. You can create a different experience for your self and others by refraining from an emotional reaction. You create an income for your self by how well you express caring in the activity of your work. You create a different self image of your self by putting the power of your faith in a thought you have about your self. This can happen in a very subtle and almost passive way of just accepting what you think about your self as true.
You express in a multitude of ways through out the day and being impeccable with your Word applies to all of them.
Silence can be Impeccable
Silence is an expression. And sometimes silence and refrain says a lot more than words can. Your actions are a part of how you create. To hit someone doesn’t fall into the category of expressing your self in the direction of love and truth. To greet someone with a kiss on the cheek is an expression that says more than a thousand words can.
Your Fears go against your Self
To live with existing fears in your mind doesn’t fall into the category of being impeccable. Maintaining fears of public speaking, asking someone out on a date, or a fear of failing is not in the direction of love for your self. Keeping your self in fear is an ongoing expression in your own mind that causes you to hold back in your actions of love for your self and others. Fear is at the heart of NOT being impeccable.
To Be Impeccable with Your Word is not as simple as it sounds. When you explore the meaning of this agreement your understanding will expand. You will begin to pay attention to the smaller moments of the day. Thoughts that used to go unnoticed or passing comments that seemed to be no big deal before become significant. As you become aware of the subtle expressions of the day this agreement becomes more challenging than one originally thought.
To really master being impeccable will require that you heighten your awareness not just to the words you say, but also to the emotions you express, your attitude, your actions, and where you express the power of your belief. You will need to develop a discipline of mindfulness to be impeccable in these expressions through out the day.
To Be Impeccable with Your Word is an art requiring constant vigilance. It is not something that you can decide to do one day and master by the end of the week. The mastery of any art, like music, painting, or sculpture, requires practice. To master the way you express your emotions, actions, thoughts, beliefs, will take practice just like any other art. In the beginning it will be challenging to just learn the basic skills.
You too will let go of what you created in your life years ago, and work on bigger and better creations as you develop. Each day is an opportunity to create a new piece of art with your life. Last years art is already far behind you. Learn, grow, and develop your skills through your creations, but don’t let them define you as an artist.
When you apply the practice of doing your best to be impeccable you discover that it has incredible rewards. To express your self in the direction of truth and love allows you to create your life as a masterpiece of beauty.
To master being impeccable with your word will take many moments of practice. You will likely throw away many of your attempts as being clumsy and not what you want. But that is okay. For with each action and attempt, you improve as the artist of your life.
Be careful not to believe the judgments that are likely to come from that inner judge. Make a commitment to do your best everyday and it will help you avoid self judgments as you practice and improve. Remember that in the midst of all these expressions that the real art you are working on is your self and you are worth taking time for.
A few weeks ago, one of the teachers at my school came into my room to complain, she was visibly upset. Our secretary, and older, very outspoken and sometimes downright rude individual, had bad mouthed her to another staff member. One of the things that was so upsetting was that she was about to retire and had tried to make every aspect of this school year a positive “last” but this was a painful memory that she would remember for a long time and would cast a shadow on her retirement.
She basically came into my room to vent, because sometimes you just need a listening ear. So I listened and sympathized. This book came up in our conversation, as I knew this teacher has read it and so has our secretary. The teacher told me that she was going to talk to her about what she said and how it affects the morale of the staff. I suggested she recommends this book to her (athough I know she HAS read it– but isn’t applying the rules to herself..).
Sometimes when you are talking to someone who you are really close to, it’s easy to talk and (sometimes) giggle at other people. I question myself ALL THE TIME. The bonus is that most people that I’m close to has read this book, so they all know what I’m talking about when I start to scrutinize our actions (Are we being gossipy? Am I being impeccable with my word?) It most always promotes positive and productive conversations– and allows us to establish norms that are not going to spread poison. In most cases the person and I either agree that, “Yes, we are being rude and judgy and it’s not helping anything so we need to stop” or “No, if he was here with us he would be laughing too, so we are laughing with him, it is ok.”
One last thing I want to say about being impeccable with your word. I don’t (can’t) trust people who spend time talking about others behind their back. It is Not. A. Good. Look. If you’re talking about X, Y or Z behind their back, then I’m SURE you’re talking about ME behind my back. Perfect example of this is my school secretary. After you read this blog, you are going to think that she’s absolutely dreadful. That is not the case, but she is a gossip. Not in a mean way, more like a lovingly grandmotherly type of way. BUT, while I love her, I generally keep my distance because I know that whatever I tell her is likely to come out, possibly in a distorted way.
I hope that you enjoyed reading about the first principal of The Four Agreements.