Could this have come at a better time? I think not. As we start this new year 2010, I chose not to make any resolutions for the new year as so many do every year. However, I have committed my life to being more responsive to greater things and ideas in my life. After completing my Bachelors degree in Psychology this last fall and getting ready to start my first semester of my graduate studies in Marriage & Family Therapy, I understand that I am in my right place at the right time in my life (even though I thought I would have been here within the first ten years out of high school, that would have been ten years ago now.) After reading the notes, I think that I may just need to go ahead and read the entire book. I knew that things have been off in my life for a few months. As I started to look into this new year, I made a commitment to better myself by taking time for me for a change and going on a Vision Quest. This quest is being done to rediscover those things in my life that I feel have been so vital to me, yet I lost them some where along the way. Part of this quest was to search my soul and find out why I lost my desire for music, understanding that music has been such an influential part of my being for the last 23 years. Somehow, I felt that music didn’t matter any more. I quit listening to my collection, and rarely listen to the radio. I also quit writing various musical pieces. This is so not the me I was used to.

In the first agreement we learn that we need to be impeccable with our word. What I found the most revealing is that the word ‘sin’ means to err or miss the mark. How many times have we all “sinned?” In the five things we were asked to look at that needs some work in our lives my first three had to do with this agreement; belittling myself as well as belittling others and then gossiping, .sniping, and nit picking about others as well. I always remember the story about nit picking from a sermon at church I once heard. The minister was saying that we as a people, have become like monkeys. See monkeys go around cleaning each other and pick (clean) the nits off of each other. When we see the issues of others that we feel that they should not experience, i.e. smoking, overeating, over weight, etc., we have a tendency to NIT pick about their problems and avoid our own. If you cannot keep your own house clean, how are you going to be able to clean someone elses?

In the second agreement, Ruiz says that we need not to take anything personally. This is a bad habit of mine that I have dealt with all my life. “You’re no good at that.” “You’ll never be any good at that.” I grew up with those words from one of my grandmothers most of my life. So this is one area that I have struggled with over the years. Because of this I see a mantra that will be at my desk to read every day when I am studying, on the computer, or whatever may put me at my desk:

“I’m totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others. I’m totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others.”

Because of this I have thought of myself as not great at anything, although I know that I am good at some things. I know that I can sing, and that I am an excellent singer/ performer, however I never have felt that I am a Josh Groban or Povarotti. If I work at it, I know I can be as good as they are. Recently I started taking up art. I know that I am no Picasso. I AM ME. I AM MICHAEL CRILLY. I do not have to be Pablo Picasso to be an artist. I do my own style and ideas of what art is. I may not be as good as he was, but my art is my art ind that is all that matters. As I have on my profile on gaia.com (formerly Zaadz), “I am beautiful. I am a Phoenix. I AM ME.”  I know that I have constantly battled this area in my life, thinking that no matter what I did I was failure or having unworthy feelings toward myself. No More!

“I’m totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others. I’m totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others.” And “I am totally independent of the good or bad opinion of myself.”

In the third agreement, Don’t make assumptions, I found that although I thought I had stopped assuming anything, I was just kidding myself. If you actually take the word apart, assume, it gives three words; ass u me. This makes an ass out of u and me. I am sorry but I was not created to be an ass and neither was anyone else in this world. We were all created in the likeness of the Divine. God was not a donkey and neither are we. One of my worst memories was of treating one of my former best friends like an ass. As a music major, originally a vocal teaching major, I would help my friends by teaching them how to sing. One day when my best friend was singing I told him that he sounded like a dying mule and it was making my ears bleed. I was only joking about it, but it hurt his feelings so much that he never sang in front of me again, even at church services. I made an ass out of myself more so than anyone ever assuming does.

Finally in the fourth agreement, Don Miguel says “Always Do Your Best.” Last year me and my partner’s roommate had gone to “church” one Sunday when neither of us was feeling up to par. The minister is one of our regular prayer practitioners and spoke on Our Best. She said that no matter what you are doing, if it is your best no one can ask for any more than that. Since then I have focused my life on doing my best. If I go out and look for a job and only turn in five resumes a month and that is my best, I cannot ask for anything more. If my friend says that five resumes is not my best and that I need to turn in at least ten a day, who is to say that is my best. It may be their best, but if my health prevents me from getting up one morning or going to every place I am qualified to apply, than I can only do MY BEST.

In conclusion, I know that I will be placing many of the notes from todays reading in plain sight to remind me of the four agreements and how to utilize them for my best good.

If you are interested in knowing more, or soul searching your own self, you might visit http://www.philosophersnotes.com or http://www.gaia.com!

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