For 30-Days, we focus our attention on how to implement the First of the Four Agreements.
Day 1: Read the Blog Post on The First Agreement
Day 2: Be aware of your same old reactions….
Day 3:“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” ― C.G. Jung
Day 4: Skip the Gossip…..
Day 5: Just say NO to magazines! This morning at the airport, a nice airline employee was offering people magazines to read while we waited for our flight. She asked me if I would like to read a juicy gossip magazine. My reply was “no” and she seemed shocked by this. Honestly, I didn’t want to read it. I have better things to do and so do you, especially if you want to clear the negativity out of the messages you are constantly bombarded with on a daily basis. Reading gossip magazines is some of the worst information you can consume. They only offer endless ways to judge others and feel bad about ourselves – put them down and pick up a good book instead.
Day 6: T.H.I.N.K.!
Day 7: A Quote by Alan Alda
Day 8: Yesterday, as I was leaving to go to an event, I saw a couple walking across the street from my building. The woman was pushing a bicycle and the man was walking, sullenly, a couple of feet behind her. Normally, I would probably not have noticed them walking there, other than to note two people were walking on the sidewalk. But, this couple grabbed my attention because the woman was screaming in such a vile and hateful way to the man that it caused my heart to wrench in my chest. She openly berated him in public, and he willingly accepted this treatment.
Now, I have no idea what events led up this argument and I am not going to make any assumptions as to who is at fault or who is to blame, but it brought back memories of a past time in my life when people I loved spoke this way to one another and it saddened me deeply. No one deserves to be spoken to in such a manner, because nothing productive comes of it. Even if you are hurt, even if the person has deeply wounded you in some way, by using words in such a hateful way, you are affecting your own state of being in a negative way.
If your emotions have gone racing off into the wild, it may be worth considering a time out and allow them to roam free for awhile before you choose to continue the cycle of hurt and pain between two people. If you can’t speak to someone without an intensely negative reaction, consider allowing yourself space away from that person until you have given yourself the appropriate time to heal. Sometimes, that takes a lifetime….or more….but the more time you spend in a toxic situation or around toxic people, the deeper effect it will have on your own sweetness of mind.
Do you really want to be around someone who pushes around a bicycle and screams at people they claim to love in public? Do you want to be the person who is being yelled at by a crazy woman pushing a bicycle around in public?
Best to work on being impeccable with your words my friends…….
Day 9: To challenge yourself to be impeccable with your words, what’s one constructive thing you would say about the person you least like?
Day 10: “It’s not the existence of beliefs that’s the problem, but what happens to us when we hold them rigidly, without examining them, when we presume the absolute centrality of our views and become disdainful of others.” – Sharon Salzberg (“Faith”, p. 63)
Day 11: What’s something nice you would say about your boss?
Day 12: Quote by Heather O’Hara
Day 13: What does “sin” mean to you?
Day 14: Sin means doing something to intentionally harm yourself. It isn’t about what any religion deems as moral, it is about what you do to damage your sweetness of mind. When you speak badly about yourself, or drink too much alcohol, or eat too much food, you generally don’t feel well (mentally and/or physically). This is sin – it is simple and it isn’t about trying make you guilty so that I can control your behavior. Being free of sin – being impeccable – means you upgrade your choices to speak better about yourself (and others) and choose better food and less to drink so that you feel more alive (physically and/or mentally). This is impeccability.
Day 15: Self-Defeating beliefs are the agreements that we have made with ourselves that we are often not even aware of, but are full of negativity and cause us to be vulnerable to painful mood swings as well as conflicts in personal relationships. This is an attitude that is built into your personal value system and can be the root cause of our negative thinking. Start to bring awareness and observance to some of these common self-defeating beliefs:
- Perfectionism (comes in many forms): Emotional – “I should always feel happy…” “ I should not feel angry, anxious, vulnerable, jealous, etc……”;
- Performance – “I must never fail..or make a mistake.”; Perceived – “People will not love me if I am flawed”
- Fear of rejection (or disapproval): “I need approval to be worthwhile.”; “If I am not loved, then I am not valuable”
- Fear of failure: (this was the most challenging one for me, until I failed and lived to realize that failure is not the end of the world) “My value as a person is dependent on my achievements (intelligence, status, looks, etc.)”
- Fear of Being Alone: “If I am ‘alone’, then I will be sad and unfulfilled.”
Conflictphobia: “People who love each other shouldn’t fight…”
- Entitlement: “People should behave/speak/act the way I expect them to be” (also known as Narcissism)
Which one of these most accurately reflects your self-defeating beliefs?
Day 16: You are not trying to be a martyr, or beat yourself up by recognizing these old agreements, the old words we use that cause us pain and suffering. Through this practice, you are trying to remove sin against yourself. More importantly, you are practicing how to love yourself through this process. Knowing your self-defeating beliefs gives you the opportunity to revise them into something more suitable for cultivating your sweetness of mind.
Day 17: Remember to speak kindly to your inner child as well….
Day 18: This is one of my favorite articles ever written! It is an example of the kind of effect that the impeccability with words can have on our state of being:
Day 19: Start to Untwist Your Thinking….it’s time to catch yourself in those moments of criticism and judgement and examine the evidence. Instead of assuming the thought is true, check for actual evidence that supports the thought. Maybe do a Cost-Benefit Analysis to list out the advantages and disadvantages of a negative thought, or self-defeating belief, or destructive behavior pattern. Then, as you would speak to a child, or your dearest friend, substitute language that is less emotionally charged and more compassionate and accepting of your faults and imperfections.
Day 20: If you knew the person standing in front of you was going to die tomorrow, how would you speak to them? If that person was you, how would you speak to yourself? This is how we should always approach our interactions with one another – as delicate beings who are deserving of love and compassion.
Day 21: Increase your capacity for empathy.
Day 22: How often do you commit to things and not follow through?
Day 23: “If you always tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” –Pinocchio This includes telling it to yourself (and whilst making commitments….)
Day 24: Do you have friends who make commitments and rarely follow through? Once or twice is understandable, but how often do you allow this to happen without saying something?
Day 25: So, I didn’t pick this image in association with the open letter I have written to yoga teachers. I actually had it selected a week or so prior, as I was planning the rest of the posts for the 30-day challenge, but of course the Universe will always reflect back what the thinker thinks into it…..
PS – here is my Open Letter To Yoga Teachers
Day 26: This about putting your “words” into action today……or rather not using words at all……. “The first duty of love is to listen.” – Paul Tillich
Day 27: From a recent article in Psychology Today: “What is the single biggest determinant of your happiness? Not wealth, fame, beauty, or power, but how others—particularly those closest to you—treat you. When people close to you are nice to you, you can’t help but feel happy; when they mistreat you or avoid you, you are bound to be unhappy.”
As the courts weigh in on the right to marry whomever you choose, maybe they could bear in mind that treating others with equality will uplift their state of being. Their duty is protect EVERYONE’S constitutional right to pursue happiness….let them be impeccable with their words/actions for all of us.
Day 28: I just think these are some really beautiful words….
Day 29: The Follow Up
Day 30: It’s that simple…..