the four agreements-don miguel ruiz

“Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way that we deny life. Inaction is sitting in front of the television every day for years because you are afraid to be alive and to take the risk of expressing what you are.” (82)

i got into a fight over television recently, and now see that it was a fight within a fight. it probably wasn’t the exact right fight to take up, but it wasn’t the wrong one either. i recognize that television is an avoidance tactic, but it’s also a coping mechanism, a self-protecting or perceived self-preserving one. don’t get me wrong, i think there is genius in television programming, but i haven’t lived with a television in my home for almost twenty years and that is very much because of someone in my life who had it on constantly, even when he wasn’t watching.

“Wherever you go you will find people lying to you, and as your awareness grows, you will notice that you also lie to yourself. Do not expect people to tell you the truth because they also lie to themselves. You have to trust yourself an choose to believe or not to believe what someone says to you.
When we really see other people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do. Even if others lie to you, it is okay. They are lying to you because they are afraid.” (57)

“She didn’t know the power of her word, and therefore she isn’t to blame. She did what her own mother, father, and others had done to her in many ways. They misused the word.” (36)

this was a timely read, and it was on the bookshelf, exactly where i needed it to be. once, a mother of twins told me “we are the only species that rewards our young with food that’s destructive” and i thought on it for a while, and then put it in a poem. reading that humans are the only ones who pay over and over for our mistakes-other animals only pay once, i feel like i must do the same-put it in a poem, that is. for now, it’s here as a written record of my intention. we really do, as a population, have an addiction to suffering, and we do sign on to and enlist each other’s help in keeping the cycle going. this one was at once a completely jarring epiphany and one that i’m sure i will keep thinking about:

“In your whole life nobody has ever abused you more than you have abused yourself. And the limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else. If someone abuses you a little more than you abuse yourself, you will probably walk away from that person. But if someone abuses you a little less than you abuse yourself, you will probably stay in that relationship and tolerate it endlessly.” (20)

but of course, the other side is the equal and opposite force and propensity to be about the possibility of love:

“Why do I need to deny that I love you? It is not important if you love me back. I may die tomorrow or you may die tomorrow. What makes me happy now is to let you know how much I love you.” (120)

basically, war is over-if you want it. shouts to the staying power of yoko ono’s “yes” that warmed my heart recently at the MOMA and it’s cheeky juxtaposition on john lennon’s buns.


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