09 Jul Living The Four Agreements: Gratitude for the Game
Always concentrate on how
far you have come, rather
than how far you have left
to go. The difference in
how easy it seems will
~ Heidi Johnson
Living the Four Agreements is not just about being impeccable with your word or not taking things personally. The Four Agreements are designed to help us return to our natural state, which is to experience joy, peace, and more and more love in our lives.
When we practice the Four Agreements we clear out drama and confusion – just imagine the decline in drama around the world if everyone stopped making assumptions! And with less drama and confusion, there is more room for celebration and creativity. Yes!
While it seems like it would be easy to switch from drama to celebration, old habits can die hard. After a lifetime of taking other people’s actions personally drama can become as familiar and comfortable as an old pair of fuzzy slippers. After years of making assumptions, shifting to asking clarifying questions instead of making up a fabulously-concocted story based on fragments of data can be a challenge.
It takes focus and stick-to-it-ness to change old patterns, which at times can be frustrating. But embodying the four agreements is a way of life, not a destination. I’ve talked to many people who catch themselves slipping back into gossiping at work despite their strong intent to stop, and I still watch myself making assumptions and trying to do more than my best after almost 20 years of living the four agreements. What changes over time as we practice the four agreements is more peace, more awareness, and being able to correct our actions or thoughts faster.
The goal is not to be perfect, the goal is to fully engage and enjoy the game. Imagine playing a game of tennis; no matter how long you have played, there are still times you hit the ball into the net or out of bounds. Do you throw your racket down and say “I give up!” when this happens? Or do you high five your playing partner and get excited to play again and improve your game?
I’ve found that celebrating awareness supports transformation; getting frustrated hinders change. And one of the biggest game up-levels is when we connect to our gratitude and start to love life, exactly the way it is.
Gratitude is like oil in squeaky parts; it helps reduce friction and creates ease and free movement. When we are in expectation or judgment of ourselves or others we get rusty and stuck. When we step back into gratitude the game of life is joyful, whether we are playing at our best or having an off day.
Don Miguel wrote a beautiful book called Prayers, which will soon be re-released by Amber-Allen Publishing under the name Circle of Fire. Here is an excerpt from the prayer on gratitude.
Today I will graciously receive your gifts by enjoying the beauty of all your creation. Help me to be as generous as you are, to share what I have with generosity just as you share your gifts so generously with me. Help me to become a master of gratitude, generosity and love so that I can enjoy all of your creations.
May we all shift from holding on to what we think should be, and turn our attention to gratitude, generosity, and loving and enjoying this game of life. Let’s stop looking toward how far we have to go, and instead hold gratitude for how far we have come.
This week’s practice: Cultivate gratitude for the little things in your life that you usually take for granted. Be grateful for your toothbrush, for the floor beneath your feet, for the awesomeness of the color green. Be grateful for your your eyesight, for your fingernails, and your big toe which helps you balance so perfectly. Be grateful for your awareness when you take something personally. Be grateful for your perseverance to stay in the game and creatively make new choices. What else can you be grateful for?
Heather Ash’s apprenticeship with don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, began in 1994, and she now teaches with the Ruiz family. She is the author of The Toltec Path of Transformation and founder of Toci, The Toltec Center of Creative Intent. www.toci.org
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