Book Club: The Four Agreements Chapters 4 & 5

Book Club October 22,  Chapters 4 & 5
Thanks everyone for your attendance and lively discussion this week as we talked about the:
3rd Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions.
I had heard don Miguel Ruiz interviewed last week and shared with the group his thoughts on making assumptions.  He says that when we make assumptions we are writing a play, directing it, producing it and playing the main star in it.  We also assign roles to others who have no idea of what your play is and that they are even in it!  This story becomes a drama and the only one aware of what is going on in the drama is you.  He then said “and who is listening”?
We all have choices.  We can choose drama or we can choose paradise.   We can ask questions and start to communicate more clearly with one another.  By asking questions, being impeccable with our word and by not taking things personally our drama diminishes and paradise begins to emerge.
Some of the quotes we discussed;
We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing.
All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally.
We create a lot of emotional poison just by making assumptions and taking it personally, because usually we start gossiping about our assumptions.  Remember gossiping is the way we communicate to each other in the dream of hell and transfer poison to one another.
….we make assumptions …. to replace the need to communicate.
When we believe something, we assume we are right about it to the point that we will destroy relationships in order to defend our position.
Find your voice to ask for what you want.
A white magician uses the word for creation, giving, sharing and loving.
4th Agreement:  Always Do Your Best
In the interview don Miguel Ruiz says that doing our best is “doing what we love because it makes us happy.
Doing our best is the action part of all the agreements.  He points out that our best will vary.  Somedays our best is “high quality” and other times not so good.  He says that regardless of the quality keep doing your best, no more and no less.  We thought it was interesting the point he makes about trying too hard, spending more energy than is necessary and we compared it to “burn out” at work, at home and in the community.  If you always do your best you do not judge yourself, as you know you did the best you could for how you were feeling.
Quotes we discussed:
You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life.  You are here to live, to be happy, to love.
Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you are expecting a reward.
God is life, God is life in action.  The best way to say “I love you, God” is to live your life doing your best.  The best way to say “Thank you God” is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment.
You express your own divinity by being alive and by loving yourself and others.
I have fallen many times, but I stood up and kept going.  And I fell again, and I kept going, I didn‘t feel sorry for myself, I said “If I fall, I am strong enough and intelligent enough, I can do it!”  …so if you do fall, do not judge.
Live one day at a time.

This Saturday will be the last meeting on the Four Agreements, so if you are following along in the book, we would love to have you join us.  It is fun, it is free and it is on Saturday from 1 to 2:30
See you there!
Judi

A Heart “Breaking” Open

Love.  Are we really loving each other today?  What is love?  What do YOU consider love to be?  What if I told you that love is not just an emotion that you feel but the goal and pinnacle of love is for it to become your state of being. Love is an incredibly powerful energy we can tap into to use for the good of all when we open our hearts.  Love is an inspired form of giving that brings us an inexhaustible amount of energy to work with for good.  And it’s not that we need to become more loving! Most people think they have to become more loving but the opposite is actually true.  We must find all the blocks inside of us to allow this natural resource inside of us to run free.   Our natural state is love. Our source energy is Love. Our soul’s energy is pure unconditional love.  However thru life experiences which are often times painful we begin to build up walls and the once freely flowing river trickles.   Life gives us so many different experiences.  Each one shapes us and if we are not careful can cut us off from the natural well of energy residing inside us.

Today I see a world of closed hearts.  Could this possibly be physically represented by all the different heart conditions we have today?  We are meant to love freely but if we do not filter and process each experience we go through we begin to build up a lot of unprocessed emotion that blocks love from flowing.  We don’t do this consciously.  Our ego does this to protect us from hurting again.  Ego seeks to protect us from future pain so if there was an experience that brought on a lot of pain and anything similar comes about ego sends signals out “warning” and we close are hearts if we don’t have the light of awareness in our hearts.

Living in the world with an open heart is the most courageous thing we can ever do!  It can be so hard, scary, vulnerable to say the least to live in the world with an open heart, especially if it’s been broken before.  Sometimes I refer to my students about the heart “breaking” open.  I think there is a lot of wisdom to that.

I know in my own personal experience it took a heart-break.  It took an enormous grievance to split my heart open.  I had so many painful experiences in my youth that without knowing at some point I closed my heart because I’d had enough.(Well, my ego had.)  I didn’t want to feel anymore pain.  But in closing down I also closed down LIFE.  Everything became dull because the energy that is meant to run through my body was not.  As I moved through the motions, closed, Universe gave me an experience that forced my heart to open again. Literally my heart split open.  My heart “broke” open.  The most painful experience in my life became my biggest blessing because it broke down every barrier that I had up.

I felt raw, vulnerable, exposed.  It was so scary but something in me could not close anymore.  Let me share with you what I wrote that day so I would not forget.  An incredible amount of energy surged through my body as I felt all the barriers come down.  I have promised myself since that regardless of what anyone else does, I will remain open.  I will not allow experience to close my heart again because in my own experience a life with a  closed heart is not a life worth living.

I tried to write in words but some experience is not able to be put in words.  Words are only symbols for thoughts and sometimes you cannot communicate emotion fully through words.  That is why all art, all music, all creative manifestation is so important because it gives expression to what cannot be said.

Drunk with Love.

Intoxicated with the Divine.

Transcendent of oneself

Integration

Wholeness

Love without condition

Love

Nothing But Love

All that is left is a deep feeling of Joy.

Expanding out

Breaking boundaries.

Borders come down

Unites and bridges

Leaves no separation.

Oneness.

Home.

I hope that if you’ve ever been hurt, who hasn’t, I hope you give love another chance.  And I’m not even talking about romantic love.  That is totally different.  I am just talking about love that wants nothing in return but the well-being of the other.  That is my definition love.  No expectation, no reward, just loves for the sake of loving.  When you allow this energy to flow through you I promise you will feel closer to home than ever before.  Our spiritual path is all about making the drop from the head to the heart.  Next time someone is closed, will you remain open?  That is a decision YOU make.  Regardless of the other.  And yes, staying open you will be so vulnerable and yes you will experience grief but this will allow you to reach for the opposite, which is bliss.  Over time you will see there is beauty in both the sad and the happy the grief and the bliss.   It is all part or our total experience, and all of it is beautiful when the heart is open.  And in staying open when someone else is closed they cannot remain closed very long.  When you genuinely love someone they cannot stay closed for long and you become a beacon of light to others.

Sending all my love this morning,

Sandra

The Four Agreements Book Club Notes Chapter 2 & 3

Book Club Notes from October 15th, 2011.
Thanks to everyone for coming out and taking part in the discussion of Chapters Two and Three, it was fun and stimulating conversation.
The First Agreement: Be Impeccable With Your Word.
Our word is our most powerful tool, a precious gift from God.  “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word is God.” (Gospel of John, in the bible)   God gave only humans the gift of word and how we use this gift is up to us.  “Regardless of what language you speak, your intent manifests through the word”.  As we worked our way through this chapter we kept returning to this point, that when struggling with what to say in certain situations, it is necessary to be aware of our intent before sharing information.  So many things said thoughtlessly or casually can destroy friendships, lives and dreams.  We saw repeatedly why being aware of our own domestication process was necessary to become more aware of certain things we say and do to others and ourselves, without much thought.  We alone are responsible for how we use our word.
Quotes that we picked out of this chapter as meaningful to us:
The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human;, it is the tool of magic.  But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream or your word can destroy everything around you”.
“The word is like a seed, and the human mind is so fertile!  The only problem is that too often it is fertile for the seeds of fear.  Every human mind is fertile, but only for those kinds of seeds it is prepared for.  What is important is to see which kind of seeds our mind is fertile for, and to prepare it to receive the seeds of love”.
“One fear or doubt planted in our mind can create an endless drama of events”.
“Impeccability means ‘without sin’.  …. A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself.  … You go against yourself when you judge or blame yourself for anything.  …When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself”.
“Gossip is black magic at its very worst because it is pure poison.  We learned how to gossip by agreement.  When we were children, we heard the adults around us gossiping all the time, openly giving their opinions about other people. …Emotional poison was transferred along with the opinions, and we learned this as the normal way to communicate”.   “One little piece of misinformation can break down communication between people, causing every person it touches to become infected and contagious to others”.
“How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word.  When you are impeccable with your word, you feel good; you feel happy and at peace”.
The Second Agreement:  Don’t Take Anything Personally.
“Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally.  …if I see you on the street and I say, “Hey you are so stupid,” without knowing you, it’s not about you; it’s about me.  If you take it personally, then perhaps you believe you are stupid.  Maybe you think to yourself, “How does he know?  Is he clairvoyant, or can everybody see how stupid I am?”  We all laughed about this, yet how often do we take what is said or done around us personally?  He goes on to say “You take it personally because you agree with whatever was said.  As soon as you agree, the poison goes through you and you are trapped in the dream of hell.  What causes you to be trapped is what we call personal importance.  Personal importance or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness, because we make the assumption that everything is about ‘me’ ”.  (Bold words are my addition, as these were the words on which we focused our discussion.)
This agreement is a challenge for many of us as we do want to be accepted by our peers and we then do care what they think about us.  As one member said “we are social beings”.   Something as basic as saying “No” to a request for help at a function when you feel are are tapped out, brings on guilt and anguish.  Yet when looking at it through the eyes of the agreements it is both Being Impeccable With Your Word (not sinning against yourself when you are worn out) and Not Taking Things Personally  (not focusing on what others think about me).  You are speaking your truth, your intent is positive and you are trusting yourself to make a responsible choice.  
“If you keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your heart completely open and no one can hurt you.  You can say, “I love you,” without fear of being ridiculed or rejected.  You can ask for what you need.  You can say yes, or you  can say no   whatever you choose   without guilt or self-judgement.”
Not Taking Things Personally, opens us up to a life of love, freedom, happiness and peace.
Quotes we picked out of this chapter we liked;
“What they say, what they do, and the opinions they have are according to the agreements they have in their own minds”.
“Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators, these black magicians.  They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up.  …and now it becomes your garbage.  But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell.  Immunity to poison in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement”.
“Even your opinions about yourself are not necessarily true”.
“If others say one thing, but do another, you are lying to yourself if you don’t listen to their actions’.
“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you”.

Book club will meet next Saturday, October 22 at 1PM.  Come join us as we discuss chapters 4 & 5, the third and fourth agreements.
See you there, have a great week.

Judi

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz: Book Club Notes Chapter One & Two

October 8th, 2011

We had a good attendance at our first meeting and some interesting discussion on the introduction and the first two chapters of the book The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Don Miguel Ruiz was born into a humble family in Mexico, the youngest of 13 children.  His mother and his grandfather were “Healers” in the traditional Toltec way and it was always expected that Don Miguel would follow in their footsteps.  Instead, he decided to go to medical school and eventually became a Neurosurgeon.  As a Neurosurgeon he realized that although he could help the physical part of the brain, it was often the mind that needed healing as well.  He felt unable to help with this aspect.  After being involved in a near-fatal car accident…
He experienced himself as pure awareness outside of the constraints of his physical body. He realized that the Toltec wisdom of his family contained all of the tools needed to change the human mind. (Don Miguel’s web-site)
He decided to return to his mother and study the Toltec ways and he himself became a shaman.  He wrote this book The Four Agreements to help people find peace with in their own minds.
In the introduction he talks about a man having a dream.  In the dream he realized that we are all interconnected, that we are God, as God is in all of us.  Sandra’s analogy (which I loved) was that each molecule of the ocean is a part of the ocean and the ocean is not diminished, the ocean is still great.  In the same way we are each of us part of God and we are all interconnected.  Seeing our connectedness helps us see beyond the daily “dream” in which we live.  We talked about the night dream and the daytime dream.  In both we are looking for what is behind the dream, the meaning and or purpose of the dream.  The busier our minds, the more difficult it is to find peace, meaning and purpose.
In chapter 2 the idea of domestication was discussed.  The idea of what is said and sometimes what is not said within the family, community, church, school and culture all shape who we become and all shape our messages to ourselves.  The self messages are often harsh and unrelenting.  We are far harder on our selves than we would be on others and so often we are unaware of what we are doing to ourselves!  The quote in his book …” the limit of your self- abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else” was provocative.  We had some great discussion around this and some further insights.  One of the favorite attendees quotes of the day was “I will never get everything done and I can’t get anything wrong”.  A great self statement on any day!

A special thank you to Mary for the delicious Banana Pecan Muffins.

Come and join our discussion whenever you can make it.  It is fun, free and intellectually and spiritually stimulating.  This Saturday, October 15th from 1-2:30 PM we start with the first two agreements, Be Impeccable With Your Word, and Don’t Take Anything Personally.
See you there!
Judi

A few memorable quotes for Chapters One & Two:

“Every time we do something that goes against the Book of Law, the Judge says we are guilty, we need to be punished, we should be ashamed.  This happens many times a day, day after day, for all the years of our lives.”

“Breaking the rules in the Book of Law opens your emotional wounds, and your reaction is to create emotional poison.  Because everything that is in the Book of law has to be true, anything that challenges what you believe is going to make you feel unsafe.  Even if the Book of Law is wrong, it makes you feel safe.  That is why we need a great deal of courage to challenge our own beliefs. ”

“True justice is paying only once for each mistake.  True injustice is paying more than once for each mistake.  How many times do we pay for one mistake?  The answer is thousands of times.  The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake.  The rest of the animals pay once for every mistake they make.  But not us.  We have a powerful memory.  We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves.  If justice exists, then the was enough; we don’t need to do it again.  But every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, we are guilty again, and we punish ourselves again, and again, and again.”

“We trust what we believe, and our beliefs set us up for suffering.”

“Our image of perfection is the reason we reject ourselves; it is why we don’t accept ourselves the way we are, and why we don’t accept others the way they are.”

Notice of Drinking Water CHLORITE Violation and What You Can Do About Your Water Quality

I wrote an email last week about making sure to test the quality of your water to make sure it’s a safe resource.  I opened my mail last night from the City of Weatherford, TX and this is what it says.  I am sharing so that everyone can protect themselves against the harmful chlorite in the water right now.  I will repost the email I sent out to students here underneath the public notice.

NOTICE OF DRINKING WATER CHLORITE VIOLATION

“The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has notified the water system that the drinking water being supplied to customers had exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for Chlorite.  The US Environmental Protection Agency has established the MCL for Chlorite at 1 mg/L, and has determined that it is a health concern at levels above the MCL.  Analysis of drinking water in your community for Chlorite indicates a level of 1.15 mg/L.

Some infants and young children who drinnk water containing chlorite in excess of the MCL could experience nervous system effects.  Similar effects may occur in fetuses of pregnant women who drink water containing chlorite in excess of the MCL.  Some people may experience anemia.

Most consumers do not need to use an alternative water supply.  However, if you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor to get more information about how this may affect you.

We are working to correct the problem:

The City of Weatherford routinely samples for chlorite, which is a disinfection byproduct of chlorine dioxide.  During routine sampling the City of Weatherford noticed elevated levels of chlorite.   The elevated level occurred on only one sample and was found to be a result of equipment malfunction.  The City of Weatherford will be replacing the equipment that malfunctioned.  Tests immediately after the malfunction and since have been below the MCL, as prescribed by the EPA.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly. (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses.)  You can do this by posting  this notice in a public place of distributing copies by hand or mail.

For more information contact:  James Hotopp at 817-598-4016.

Public Wather System ID:  1840005

What is the Quality of the Water You Drink?

We spend so much time in class working hard to get rid of toxin build up inside our bodies.  Through all the sweating and breath work we focus on daily we work hard trying to keep our bodies  detoxified from the inside out.  I was visiting about water quality and the importance of it with a student today and thought to share with everyone.  It’s just another way to help your healing system flourish.  For most, I’m sure this is old news, but I want to share the importance of having a safe source of drinking water.

Our bodies are made up of approximately 60-70% water.  It is essential to have a clean pure source of fresh water to drink daily as water helps to fuel so many of our bodies functions!  We cannot have a healthy body or sound mind without water.  Today, drinking water is a major source of environmental toxin that can harm your internal healing system. Thankfully, we can do something about it!

The two most common chemicals found in water are chlorine and lead.   Chlorine may increase the risk of heart disease and is linked to certain types of cancer. Water containing too much lead is also a health risk.  Even small amounts of lead may result in organ damage and stunt the nervous system. Some of our bodies are more sensitive than others.  You know if you are more sensitive, take precaution! Millions of Americans today are drinking water that contains significant levels of three cancer-causing chemicals:  arsenic, radon, and chlorine by-products.  If you are using tap water to cook or drink with make sure you flush your pipes daily to allow impurities that might have leached out of the pipes to be flushed.  Be sure to get your water quality checked annually.

Things to make sure you check for in water testing are whether fecal-coliform bacteria, bacteria, lead, fluorine, chlorine, arsenic, nitrates, and hardness fall within safe levels.  Also check for parasites, sulfates, herbicides, and pesticides.

If you use bottled water check the results of water testing. A home purifying system may be a good investment to your health but take time finding the right one for you.  They range in price and quality.

Please take time and find out where your drinking water comes from and what impurities it might contain.  Stop drinking chlorinated water!