*BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth & love.
*DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinion and action of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
*DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS – Find the courage to ask questions and to express whata you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.
*ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as to when you are sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self abuse and regret.
I finally grabbed a book off my shelf that’s been quietly yelling at me to read it for far too long – The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
It’s based on the ancient but still very modern wisdom of his ancestors, a Mexican tribe called The Toltec’s.
Two of the agreements as they are called in the book are seemingly simple, and in short teach ‘don’t make assumptions, and don’t take things personally’.
I realised recently that I’d made an assumption about my Dad that had kept me resentful and sad for most of my life. Essentially, I was taking my Dad’s approach to his health personally.
At 130 kilo’s and with adult diabetes my father continued to joke that if he had to live life without Chinese take away and slabs of rocky road chocolate what was really the point of living?
So when your father or loved one is about to hit the age of 70 it doesn’t take a doctor to tell you that Dad’s jokes were becoming very black. As black as one of his now gangrenous toes had become.
All of sudden it came over me like an emotional tidal wave that perhaps my father, as stupid as it may sound, loved his funk food more than he loved me. I was terrified that if he didn’t give them up, he wasn’t going to be around much longer.
I broke down about it with a friend, and ended up writing one of those long emotionally charged letters that end up totally smudged as I cried so much I could barely see what I was putting down.
I decided after a few days that I wouldn’t send it as I didn’t want to break his heart as to how he’d I felt he’d made me feel. I guess if it was 10 or 20 years prior, I might of slapped in on the Lazy Susan and spun it around while he was wolfing down another dim sim.
Instead I just accepted that I was frightened and taking his choices personally, making assumptions that I wasn’t enough. And maybe it was too late for him to ever change anyway?
Last week he ended up in the emergency ward with what at best was going to result in him losing one toe. At worst it meant my fears were coming true, he was on the way out.
Thankfully he’s only one toe down and although still not in good health, it would appear he’s had his car crash moment and now seems to be finally seeing the light.
The day after his surgery he mentioned to me that just before he went under he couldn’t help but think, “I couldn’t stand the thought of never seeing you again.” I’d finally heard the words I was longing to hear.
I also realised that not caring for his own health was not about me, it was about how he felt about himself. He has his own story that started long before I came along.
If I had a dollar for every negative thought I had in relation to taking my Dad’s health personally, I’d probably be giving Donald Trump a run for his money.
As he shared finally that post-op fear, I managed not to burst out in self-pity; I just smiled and said, “Well, thank god you’re ok.”
Of course I had a little moment on my way home in the car, and now I wish I’d grabbed that book a little sooner.
Just as I know that when I head into that negative self destructive zone on and off in my life, it’s not about anyone else, it’s how I feel about myself.
Everyone has a story, a reason for bad behaviour or not taking care of themselves, but to make the assumption that that’s because of you, is really just the worst sort of self indulgent, restricting baggage, because essentially it means you think everything is about you.
So now I’m trading my IT’S ALL ABOUT ME t-shirt for BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.
HAVE YOU MADE A WRONG ASSUMPTION LATELY? READ THIS BOOK?