The First Agreement and My Life as a Reformed Gossip

I really should have started this thread of posts with the 1st agreement, but I didn’t.

Impeccable With Your Word
Agreement #1: Be Impeccable With Your Word

The First Agreement:

Be Impeccable With Your Word.

What DOES that mean exactly?

You know, I remember the first time I read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz back in 2004. The first agreement was a doozy for me. It was like someone throat punched me and kicked my legs out from underneath me at the same time. Ouch!!! I think I read that chapter a hundred times because it really hit home and teased me take a good hard look at myself while making me very uncomfortable at the same time.

It is by far been the most challenging of the four agreements for me to keep.

 Why? Because I like to talk. A lot. In fact, I can’t stop talking sometimes. I want people to listen to me and give a shit about what I am saying. I want them to agree with me. I want them to care about me and love me. I want to be heard.And I’ve been known to gossip. In fact, gossiping has gotten me in more trouble throughout the years than I care to remember. Like in elementary school, I used to sit with my best friend at recess and we would talk about what so-and-so did or said or what they were wearing. Sometimes we would make fun of people. We thought we were so cool. Or in middle school when I would learn a secret about who liked what boy and I would tell his friend so he would definitely find out.

Over the years in various jobs, I couldn’t keep my fucking mouth shut ever. If my boss pissed me off or did something stupid, I would run my mouth by telling someone, usually a co-worker or my friends about whatever travesty/trauma I had suffered at the hands of said boss. If a co-worker was getting on my nerves, I would whine about it to someone (usually the boss who had pissed me off the day before). I was always talking and not listening to those around me.

Anyway… You get the drift. I am a talker. A gossip. A complete asshole sometimes. Not all the time, mind you, but some of the time. Today I consider myself a mostly reformed gossip.

See, I read The Four Agreements and that first one really was like a fork in my eye! Ouch! That hurt, but secretly I knew this agreement quite intimately, yet I violated and broke this agreement nearly daily.

Being impeccable with your word is so fucking important! When we speak without thinking, ouch! Watch out world! A lot of hurt feelings and damage can be avoided by just being impeccable with our word. When we talk, our words have power. They have the power to heal and the power to hurt. Each word has it’s own vibration just as every thought has it’s own vibration.

And how we say the words, they have power too. Talking just for the hell of it isn’t a good idea. You end up saying shit you didn’t mean to say and once it’s out there, it’s out there. You can’t take it back. For example, have you ever gotten into an argument with someone and said something so awful, but once you said it, your relationship with that person was changed forever? Or maybe you told someone you loved and cared for them, but you really didn’t. See….ouch. I want to cry when I read that.

I also still struggle with this agreement to this day.

Choose yourself
Choose Yourself! ~James Altucher

Recently, I read this other book mind blowing book, Choose Yourself by James Altucher and in it, James talks about talking. How he practices silence because he doesn’t “learn when he (we) is (are) talking. We only learn when we are listening.” It’s a good practice, silence. Speaking only when necessary. Being impeccable with one’s word.

I’m still learning to be impeccable with my word. Everyday, I try to be mindful of what I am saying and to whom. I have become very aware of what tone I am using and what words I choose to speak. Even when it comes to myself ,I am learning to ‘speak’ gently and kindly to myself cause it all comes down to

Being Impeccable with Your Word

What Do Cats Have to Do with The Four Agreements?

cats agreements
What do cats have to do with The Four Agreements

I really love my cats. Like really love them. I’d like to think that I ‘own’ them, but I know that’s not true. They own me. Seriously. They own me. They have me wrapped around their cute little paws and tails. If they want to be petted, I pet them. If they cry for food, I feed them. If they get upset about the cat box and pee outside the box, I clean their litter box. I’m completely owned.

That’s not what I wanted to talk about today though. I want to talk about what I’ve learned from my cats.Many years ago, a friend of mine suggested I read this book called “The Four Agreements”  by don Miguel Ruiz. In it are these four agreements that when taken seriously and applied to one’s life, can change your life and make it more beautiful. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest it.

Anyway….Here are the four agreements.

 1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally
3. Don’t make assumptions
4. Always Do your best.

So what do The Four Agreements have to do with cats?

Well, I was recently reading the Four Agreements again and one of my cats, Odin, decided he would interrupt me. He does this when I’m reading, cooking, sleeping, doing yoga and pretty much any other time that he feels I am not paying enough attention to him.

agreement #2 cat translation
Agreement #2: Cat Translation-Flick your tail at it, walk away and stop taking shit personally

So I stop reading because he actually knocked the book out of my hand (see, I am owned), and while I’m petting him, I’m thinking about the book. A particular part of the book….the second agreement: Don’t take things personally.

Cats are the living embodiment of this agreement. They are incapable of taking things personally. I was looking at Odin and I suddenly understood that agreement. He’s a cat and he does not take things personally…ever.

For example, he and one of my other cats don’t get along. Why don’t they get along? I have no idea, but the other cat, Little MacBoo, she does not like him. If she sees him, she growls and hisses. At least once a day, she growls at him. Guess what he does. Nothing. He does nothing. Sometimes he will give her a passing glance, flick his tail casually and just walk away from her like ‘eh, whatever.’ Other times, he just stands there and stares at her with indifference. He does not take it personally that she does not like him.

Another thing that the cats do is they will get into these little spats. Two of them will be playing or lounging and then suddenly  out of the blue, one of the two decides they do not like what’s going and will attack the other. Usually there is some meowing and a bit of clawing until one or the both of them run away. Now, that’s not the amazing part. What’s amazing is after some time has passed, like 20 minutes or several hours later, they are best friends again as if the fight never occurred. No one took the fight personally and everyone lives happily ever after.

Taking things personally is one of the biggest challenges I think we all face as human beings. We want people to like us. We want to feel like we belong. We want to be loved and respected. When someone might say or do something to us that is hurtful, mean or spiteful, it’s very easy to take it personally and get angry, upset, hurt or feel slighted. I know first hand because I’ve spent many years of my life taking things personally that in retrospect, were not personal at all. I only made them personal because of my reaction to them.

Maybe we all should learn to be more like cats. Just flick our tails, walk away and not take shit personally cause none of it is personal.

And now it’s time to pet Odin since he just jumped on the desk and is trying to steal my pens again!


Mindfulness and the UFO (Un-Finished Object)

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, in the present moment, non-judgementally
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, in the present moment, non-judgementally

a state in which you are consciously aware of your actions.

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

For me, that means that everything I do, be it washing the dishes, reading, yoga, walking, petting the cats, cleaning, etc…..

The UFO (Un-Finished Object)

For the past few weeks, I’ve started back to work on a project, a very large writing project. Now I could have finished this project weeks ago, but I decided instead to put off finishing it.

When I started this particular project, I was in a bit of a bad emotional state. I was panicking and freaking out on most days about another part of my life. Because I was feeling both stressed and out of control almost everyday, when I started and went to work on the project, I had a hard time staying focused on it. I was pretty much trying to gung-ho my writing by force and put very little thought and love into it.

It didn’t it work, by the way. Gung-ho’ing never works. My project still sat unfinished until just recently when I started doing yoga and meditating everyday.

At this point you are probably wondering what in the heck does finishing your writing project, yoga, stress and meditation have to do with mindfulness?

When you start to practice yoga, one of the first things they will tell you to do is breathe. You are told to breathe and be mindful of your breath. In and Out….Inhale and exhale. From the moment you start practicing by yourself or with an instructor or DVD, they will remind you to breathe. They might even say something like ‘be mindful of your breath’.

So you are breathing in and out, and connecting with it, moving from asana to asana, focusing and becoming aware of your body and your breath. Now just by becoming aware of your breath while practicing yoga, you are being mindful.

Then there is meditation. Most people think of meditation and it conjures up some pictures in their head of some swami in a sheet sitting in lotus position for hours and hours starting at a wall. Don’t feel bad if that’s the same picture you get in your head. I used to feel that I had to be like that swami, so disciplined and so guru to be able to practice meditation. I didn’t think it was for me cause I didn’t fit that picture.

Be mindful
Be Mindful

Turns out I was dead wrong. Meditation is defined as a practice in which an individual trains the mind. To do what? Well that depends on what you want to achieve with meditation. I use meditation to help calm my mind. Sometimes I do a guided meditation. Other times I just listen to music. The point is that I have started to take at least 2 minutes out of my day to sit, close my eyes, breath and meditate.

Now because I am calmer, I am not only able to be mindful during both my yoga and meditation practices, but I am noticing it spill over into other areas of my life, such as my work and the aforementioned project.

And I’m finishing that project…..with mindfulness.