The Four Agreements

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.

Don’t take anything personally.

Nothing others do is because of you.
What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.
When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Don’t make assumptions.

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.
Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.
With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Always do your best.

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.
Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

The soft and flowing will prevail

newborn – we are tender and weak
in death – we are rigid and stiff

living plants are supple and yielding
dead branches are dry and brittle

so the hard and unyielding belong to death
and the soft and pliant belong to life

an inflexible army does not triumph
an unbending tree breaks in the wind

thus the rigid and inflexible will surely fail
while the soft and flowing will prevail

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu

When the wind blows,the grass bends.
Confucius, The Analects

I have learned – Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.

I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.”

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

Five Freedoms by Virginia Satir

The freedom to see and hear what is here, instead of what should be, was, or will be.

The freedom to say what you feel and think, instead of what you should.

The freedom to feel what you feel, instead of what you ought.

The freedom to ask for what you want, instead of always waiting for permission.

The freedom to take risks in your own behalf, instead of choosing to be only “secure” and not rocking the boat.

The Grinch Stole Christmas

Part of the dialogue goes like this:

Narrator: Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling

Grinch: How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes, or bags!

Narrator: And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”

Text borrowed from How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.

The Starfish Story

The Starfish Story is spread over the internet, Google shows 225,000 hits for that search term. My source is The Starfish Story where it says the story is adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977).

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

The lesson is even small deeds can make a big difference.

The Garden of Your Daily Living

I got this lovely text in a Yahoo Group I belong to. Original author is unknown.

PLANT THREE ROWS OF PEAS:
1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul

PLANT FOUR ROWS OF SQUASH:
1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness

PLANT FOUR ROWS OF LETTUCE:
1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another

NO GARDEN IS WITHOUT TURNIPS:
1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another

TO CONCLUDE OUR GARDEN WE MUST HAVE THYME:
1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends

Water freely with patience and cultivate with love. There is much fruit in your garden because you reap what you sow.

Catch the trade winds in your sails

Brian Clark at Copyblogger has a very interesting post titled The Nasty Four-Letter Word That Keeps You From Writing that hooked me because I am in a situation where I have a chance to really change what I do for a living. Brian writes:

based on my personal experience, there’s a nasty demon hiding behind the excuses we make. This four-letter word represents a condition we don’t like to admit to ourselves, much less utter in polite conversation.

Yep, it’s the “F” word.

Fear.

Fear affects us all more than we care to admit

Brian’s article is about fear in connection with writing but his post is valid in many areas of life. He mentions five different fears, the key ones (to me) are fear of failure and fear of risk.

Under fear of failure Brian writes:

Countless psychological studies have shown that the fear of failure is the number one barrier to personal success. We fear failure because we don’t separate tasks from ourselves, and therefore our self-esteem is at risk every time we attempt to do anything we really want to achieve.

If we try and fail then we can get up and try again. But if we do not even try then we lock ourselves in where we are now.

This is a quote worth remembering:
Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.

In the part about fear of risk Brian writes:

Is it really better to be safe than sorry? Sometimes, yes. But when it comes to your writing dreams and goals, being safe is a fate worse than death. Not only do your dreams die, but you get to live the rest of your life knowing it.

Remove the word ‘writing’ before dreams and this statement goes anywhere. Dreams are nice but until they turn into actions they remain dreams.

A while back I came across a quote that says a lot:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. (Mark Twain)

The feeling of safety makes us often hesitate and take the easy way out (stay in the harbor, no risk, no failure) and not take the exciting way (leave for the high sea, take risks). I think I shall go and check my sails…

Trust

I found this image some years ago, I think it was in an ad for an insurance company. Fell in love with the combination of picture and text, it is a great way to explain the concept of trust.

Trust is not being afraid even if you are vulnerable.

Trust

Beyond this Point There Be Dragons

The other day I found this interesting note on the internet:

In the time of the great explorers Columbus, Magellan, and Drake many areas of the earth’s surface, especially the oceans, were uncharted. Most of the people still believed that the earth was flat. Legend among seaman held that sea monsters and other creatures lived in these uncharted regions. As a result, the map makers of this era commonly place the words “beyond this point there be dragons” on uncharted areas.

That is the way we feel when we get outside our personal comfort zones, beyond this point there will be dragons. But if we want to grow outside our current comfort zone then we have to challenge these dragons now and then.