Friday, September 30, 2005

I stole this from another recovery site...

Imagine embracing new break-through patterns, bringing new “agreements” into your daily life. Consider incorporating into your life The Four Agreements described by Don Miguel Ruiz in his book by the same name. If you dare to risk transforming your life, read on.

Be Impeccable with Your Word

This agreement sounds simple but it is very powerful. It speaks to the beautiful or destructive power of our language and how we use it, and choose it to communicate with other people as well as with ourselves. Speak with integrity; take responsibility for yourself without the personal poison of blame, judgment or anger towards yourself or others. Say what you really mean, without negative exaggerations like always or never. Eliminate words like can’t, but, try, if only, should and impossible. Misusing certain words often results in put-downs to our self and others, sometimes inadvertently. Remember that 68 percent of the people who leave association memberships leave because someone was rude or indifferent to them. Lying, negative self-talk and the harmful intent of gossip are eliminated by being impeccable with your word. Instead of looking in a mirror and thinking “old, fat, ugly, stupid, not good enough,” choose messages of loving yourself unconditionally, making your life light, easy and joyful, forgiving everyone including yourself, and releasing the past with love and acceptance.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

One of the most difficult revelations for every human being is, “It’s not all about me!” Our egos jump in to protect us and we make the selfish assumption that we are the center of everyone else’s universe. We impose our world on to their world, when in fact, nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. You are never responsible for the actions of others, only for yourself. Releasing the temptation of taking things personally allows you to be immune to the opinions and actions of others and not be the victim of needless suffering. Remember no person, place, thing or condition (weather, traffic, grocery lines) can take your personal power unless you give it away. There are only two kinds of problems in the world: my problems and not my problems. Figure out which you really own and imagine the relief you’ll feel when you give up trying to control the whole world.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Assumptions have the appearance of truth and we tend to believe them. We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we create a whole drama for nothing. This trap can be avoided by simply communicating, asking questions for clarification, having the courage to express what you really want and need. When friends, members, directors and spouses don’t do what we assume they should do, we feel hurt and say, “You should have known!” Choose freedom from guessing. If they don’t tell us something, we make an assumption to fulfill our need to know. We assume because we don’t have the courage to ask questions. We assume everyone sees life the way we do. Get the facts and you will avoid misunderstanding, conflict, and many relationship issues among your members.

Always Do Your Best

This looks like the easiest agreement for all over-achievers, but take a closer look. This is not about perfection; it’s about taking action on the other three agreements. Accept the fact that your best changes from moment to moment. Acknowledge that your best can be affected by your sickness or health, morning or night, whether you’re feeling wonderful and happy, or upset, angry or jealous. Too often if we do less we feel frustration, self-judgment, the self-imposed pain of guilt and regrets. Just check to be sure your attitude hasn’t negatively affected your ability to do your best. To do your best you need to take action. Do what you do because you love it, not because you are expecting rewards, salary or medals. Do what you love, what makes YOU happy — and rewards will come. As you build the habits of the four agreements, your best will continually become better. By doing your best, you learn to accept and love yourself exactly the way you are right now. You must be present to win… and that has nothing to do with attendance at chorus rehearsals! Keep your attention on today and take action in the safety and beauty of the present moment. The past is where the drama is. The future is where the dreams are. The present is where the action is. Only this moment is real.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Ancient Thoughts on 12 Steps and 12 Traditions

"In our sleep,
pain which we cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God."

– Aeschylus, 5th century B.C.E.