The Four Agreements

My summer reading project begins. This week, we’ll look at my lessons learned from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. If you haven't picked up this book, please do. It's a must-read, and on Amazon, I think it’s $5 for the Kindle version and just a few dollars more for the “real” book you can hold in your hand. There is so much to this book.

Here are a few of my takeaways:

The beginning of a book does a wonderful job of setting the tone for how these agreements work in our lives. We learn everything through repetition. You learned how to tie your shoes by doing it over and over again. You learned how to drive a car through repetition, lots and lots of repetition. Your personality and beliefs develop through repetition by the words repeated to you...and by you...over and over. As you're working through the Four Agreements or anytime you're working to change your mindset, be gentle with yourself.

Know that it's going to take repetition...just like it took repetition to become the person you are right now.

That repetition we use, not only in our talk with other people but also to ourselves. Earlier today I was out driving, thinking of a million things and made a wrong turn. The first words out of my mouth were “Well that was stupid.” Yep, broke the first agreement. Be impeccable with your word. As Ruiz says in the book,

“When you are impeccable you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself.”

Words are powerful tools, and they can hurt just as easily as they can heal. For me, it's easier to be impeccable with my words towards other people. But it can be difficult to change that inner dialogue in my head that I've been practicing for years and years.

This week, take special note of the dialogue in your head. Are you using loving, gentle words or are you using words against yourself?

Ruiz said living by these agreements would be difficult. The second agreement, don't take anything personally, is a big challenge for me. When you take words personally, you agree with them. You’re wandering around the grocery store and accidentally bump into a person having a really bad day. He whips around and yells, “Watch where you’re going, you idiot.” By taking it personally, you tell yourself that you are, in fact, an idiot. Repeat that often enough and your behavior reflects someone who believes she is an idiot. (Guess what? Not true!) In fact, that person snapped at you because he made a big mistake at work and he feels like the idiot. Think about it. He could have said a clutz or jerk or any number of names.

“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of them.”

Similarly, the book, The Shadow Effect, talks about how we relate to other people as a mirror reflecting our thoughts and feelings. We see the world through our distorted and selfish view.

If you know who you are, whatever anyone else says to you doesn’t matter.

You don't need to be accepted by anyone when you know who you are. Whether it's a compliment or criticism, you don't need the judgment of other people when you know who you are. And isn't that the problem for most of us. We focus so much on other people’s wants that we have forgotten who we are that the words from others take on more meaning.

Knowing who you are means knowing your imperfections along with your strengths, without judgment and guilt. Accept who you are at this exact moment.

If I lived the third agreement, I could prevent almost every argument. Don't make assumptions. Yep...guilty of this. It starts with an assumption, which we believe is true. We misunderstand the situation like every episode of Three’s Company (you young-ins’ will have to Google that reference). We take it personally (oops...broke the 2nd agreement), and that leads to feeling bad, hurt feelings and probably a fight where neither person knows what is wrong. It’s a vicious circle.

We assume people can read our minds. And I'm sure you've had this fight with your significant other more than once. Why didn't he know that you had planned on grocery shopping tomorrow (even though you didn’t say it) yet he invited friends over for dinner tonight? How were you supposed to know that he had a long day at work and is not in the mood to go out and look at a new couch? (Let’s be honest, even after a good day of work he probably doesn’t want to go.) We also assume that people think as we do. When we’re embarrassed about a mistake at work, we assume that everyone is judging us the way we are judging ourselves. Guess what? They’re probably thinking about their mistakes...remember we see the world through our mirror lenses.

The last agreement I think my mom wrote. Always do your best. Can you hear her saying those words? We’re our harshest critics. Even when we try our best, we're so mean to ourselves. We tend to believe that our “best” is a straight line on a chart. But that’s not true. Each moment is a different level of best. When you're sick, your level of best is not as high. That's ok. It's more than ok...it's perfect! Your level of best is whatever it needs to be on that day and in that moment. Ruiz says it so well,

“It doesn't matter if you are sick or tired if you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself. And if you don't judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt blame and self-punishment.”

How wonderful it would be if we were free from guilt, blame, and self-punishment. And we can be! The easiest way to keep this agreement is to focus one moment at a time. Obsessing about the past does you no good. It's already happened, let's move on. And thinking of the future is no good because your level of best will be different. If you focus on right now, you know exactly your level of best and, without judgment, that's what you strive to do. If you don't do your best...guess what? You just start over tomorrow. Clean slate. Don't look back. Don't look forward. Focus on right now.

So this week, you are going to notice the words you use with yourself. You are going to remember not to take it personally. It’s not you; it’s them. Don’t assume. (Now I want to see if I can find some old Three’s Company reruns…) And lastly, do your best…whatever your best is for that day.

If you know you are, then you don’t have any reason to judge yourself.

Send me an email. I would love to know what you discover.

Are you ready to make new agreements with yourself? Not sure where to start? Click here to schedule a FREE introductory call with me. Let's get you moving in the right direction.

Do you need a life coach?

I recently had a conversation with a stranger and it came up that I’m a life coach. She replied “Oh, I have so many problems I wouldn’t know where to start.” My response shocked her.

I don’t care what your problems are, I care about the actions you take to move you forward.

Ok, yes, that does seem harsh. I do care, very deeply in fact, about your problems. The difference is, I know that obsessing over and analyzing your problems will only get you so far. I did it for years and years. It is not enough to move you forward.

Therapy is great. It certainly helped me after my divorce. Working with a therapist is important if there is abuse of any kind, traumatic life events, or behavioral issues that need treatment. ​Coaching, on the other hand, can help motivate and inspire you to achieve more than you thought possible.

If you are stuck playing the same record over and over in your mind...

I’m not good enough
Bad things always happen to me
I’m afraid I’ll fail...again
I don’t deserve any more than I already have

And you are ready to turn off that record, smash it to bits, and play something new...

What you want is action. You need to know what moves you beyond those thoughts to a new life where you can say…

I am more than good enough...I am divine
I have the power to change my life
I am living in a state of grace where fear doesn’t exist
I am a being of love who deserves love and abundance unconditionally

How do you get in motion?

First, commit to yourself that you are ready to make a change and you are ready to have a different life.
Second, figure out where you want to be. It’s hard to plan a route without a destination.
Third, make an action plan that moves you toward your goal.
And this is the part where people struggle, you have to complete those action steps!

It’s really as simple as that.

Because as Newton’s first law of motion states: an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.


To get in motion, sometimes you need a little push. If you’re ready for that push, click here to book a 30 minute free call with me and let’s talk about what you need to get in motion.




Happy Birthday to Me

Today I turn 41 (although my mother likes to remind me that I’m actually starting my 42nd year…thanks, Mom!)

I’ve always loved my birthday. And being on the 5th of July, it always starts with a BANG!

When I was young, however, I hated fireworks. I would hide under furniture and crawl into corners to get away from them. (I was basically like your average dog in a sense.) They were just too loud for me. It probably didn’t help that most of my early memories of the Fourth centered around my father, neighbor, and uncle tempting fate. Yet somehow, year after year, they managed to keep out of the hospital.  The fastest my father ever moved was the year a bottle rocket when through the attic window.  

My fear of fireworks is long gone. I love kicking off my birthday every year with sounds and smells of the Fourth. It makes it easy to go back to the year before and reflect on who I was then. 

Now here I am…41 years old. How did that happen? Time really does seem to move faster the older you get.

I start every year with a new promise, a new hope. And another year will pass and it seems it never goes exactly as I planned. Do you find that too?

 Yet, I’m so grateful.

For every seemingly wrong turn on my path, I’m grateful.

For all that I‘ve learned, even when it took me a whole bunch of tries, I’m grateful.

Knowing I’ll get another chance on all the things I didn’t learn this time, I’m grateful.

For every person in my life – the good, the great, and the frustrating. You make my life colorful and unique and I’m grateful.

For this body (which I haven’t always treated well) for getting me through another year, I’m grateful.


This year, I’m not making a plan. I have a general direction to head towards, but that’s it. I’m opening myself up to all the experiences (good and bad), all the lessons, all the people, and all the choices I get to make in this my 42nd year.

I feel more empowered and at peace than any other birthday. And for that, I’m most grateful.

Does a new moon mean a new you?

June 23rd at 10:30pm eastern is the new moon in Cancer.

 

New moons are a mini New Years.

It’s the perfect time to have set new intentions. The best part is you only need to focus on a month, not a whole year. You can totally do that!

Plus a new moon gives you an excuse for some quality “me” time with your own personal moon ritual. *Note: large bubbling cauldron with rat’s tail is not required.

Before we get into planning, let’s talk a little bit about what it means to have a new moon in Cancer. Now I am not an astrology expert, but I am an expert on being a Cancer girl. Crabs unite! Being a July baby, I know that my favorite place is in my shell and I experience a wide range of emotions – sometimes all at once. Here is how I see it. Cancers are a water sign and they’re ruled by the moon. And for all you kids who passed 4th grade science, you know that tide changes are caused by the moon. Do you see what happens…my planet keeps messing with my element. That is why I can be a little sensitive.

Science break – if you’re curious I found this fun video to help explain. 

Back to the new moon…with a new moon in Cancer, you know that we are heading into some emotional times. It also means there is a greater focus on relationships and family, plus taking care of yourself and others.

Since you probably already go above and beyond for others, let’s use this energy to focus on you a bit more. Shall we?

 

New moon ritual in 3 easy steps

Self-care – Lots of options for this step so do what feels best for you.

  • Cancerian energy is all about water so take a bubble bath with extra bubbles for extra fun
  • Cancers can be a little insecure (that’s ok, right?) so meditation (add link) is a perfect way to check in with yourself and get in touch with that inner you.
  • Connect with your relationships and go for a walk with your bestie (person or dog)
  • Nurture yourself by reading a book for more than 5 minutes without interruptions (extra bonus points if you can read for more than 30 minutes)

Set Intentions – With every new moon, we have a new chance to focus on our goals.The first step in reaching goals is to know what they are. Take out your trusted diary or notebook, grab your favorite pen and start writing. The more energy you put into creating sacred intentions with yourself and the universe, the better your results will be. This is your time to go deep and plant new seeds that you want to manifest. Since we are in the Cancerian energy, this is a great time to focus on home, family, and your emotional and physical security.

Create a sacred space – Find a place in your home that you can create a little altar space with things that will help you focus on your intentions throughout the month. If you are going to focus on your family, include a picture of them. If you are focusing on your own emotional well-being, include things that make you feel good like flowers or that adorable elephant figurine that makes you smile whenever you see it. I like to include a few crystals to help raise the energy. Moonstone is perfect for this month.

Check out my moonstone. Perfect for a new moon.

Take action

The most important thing to remember is that this ritual is for you.  Make the time to focus on yourself today and throughout the month. During the next full moon, look back at your intentions and see how many have come true. If one hasn’t at all, it’s a good chance to take a closer look. Is it really the right thing for you?

Convinced that your intentions are just a waste of time since what you want never happens? It’s time to get a new perspective.  Join me for the Soul Alignment Program and spend the month with me. Discover the actions that will make a difference in your life. No more maybes. You are ready for something more. Join me today.

Maybe winter isn’t so bad

Maybe winter isn’t so bad

The temperatures here were teasing me with thoughts of spring.  It’s so close but cold temperatures are back and not gone for good.  Winter still has its cold hands gripped around the earth.

I am not a fan of winter (was that obvious?)  It has a cold that goes right through my bones no matter how many layers I wear.  And those layers make it hard to move around.  Have you ever settled in on the couch with several blankets, finally get them all in the right position to adequately cover every inch of your body only to notice the remote control just out of reach?  Fine. I will keep watching episodes of House Hunters (which was probably going to happen anyway…they never pick the house I think!)

I am sure those of you in warmer climates (you know who you are) have lost touch with the horrors of winter and might not understand so let me remind you.

Winter feels like suffering.  The cold air…painful.  Scraping the ice off of your car…impossible.  The darkness…miserable.

But maybe I am being dramatic (let me just turn my heated blanket up to high…ah…that feels better.)

Why do we have winter? I ask myself this question every day when I step outside and get slapped by the cold.  Bears hibernate through the winter (smart bears.)  The grass and trees do their own version of hibernation.  How I miss the bright greens in winter.  So why is winter important?

To rest.

Do you feel like sleeping more in the winter?  Perhaps you should listen to your body.  In our technological, overstimulated world, we have lost touch with our connection to the rhythm and cycles of the earth.  Each season has a purpose and instead of pushing against it, complaining the whole time, what if we stopped and flowed with the season?


Here are some ideas to put you in that winter-loving (or at least tolerating) state of mind:

Rest –
Don’t fight the darkness.  Use this time to get extra rest and give your body time to heal.  Perhaps the reason you keep getting colds is because your body needs a break.  Listen to it and slow down!

Stay In –
There is a hot new fad going around called hygge.  If you have not heard of it, I highly recommend you google it.  It is an old Danish concept that translates to “cozy togetherness.”  I don’t know why it took so long for us to jump on board.  Think comfy clothes, warm blankets, hot cocoa, and a night in with family and friends.

Pamper Yourself –
When you are done on google, hop over to Pinterest and find some at-home, DIY face masks or relaxing bath bombs – and actually make them.  Grab some essential oils (my favorite new hobby) and fill your home with yummy scents.  You don’t have to spend money to feel pampered.  Simply focus on taking care of yourself.


As the remaining days of winter pass by, take the time to prepare for the growth of spring.  There is much work ahead, but for now, grab a blanket (or two), curl up with that book you bought too long ago and haven’t started, and relax.  Gather your energy, heal the body, and before you know it – spring will arrive!

How are you getting ready for spring?  Post your ideas here on my Facebook page.