Archives for posts with tag: the four agreements

Yesterday was delightful. My Traveling Partner and I spent the day together (how else, in this time of pandemic? lol). We played video games – not generally my “thing”, and I’m not very skilled. My partner was terrifically patient with me, giving me room to play, learn, and grow, while gently offering some useful tips, and coaching with great care to respect my autonomy, and consideration for the time it takes (me) to learn new skills. So much fun! It matters a lot for the quality of such experiences, when he is patient with me.

…Illustrating that point, I took 2 years of keyboard lessons, and never learned to play keyboard, at all, mostly due to my grandfather’s impatience with me just completely sucking the fun out of the entire experience and totally “putting me off” of it, permanently. Same thing when I sought to learn to play guitar, only that time the impatience was my Dad’s, and my instructor’s. It’s been a recurring theme affecting a number of experiences over the course of a lifetime.

…Sometimes my own impatience with my humble efforts, and frustrations with understandable failures during a period of learning, have resulted in dropping some hobby or eagerly sought experience, simply because it was not enjoyable, at all. Why would I put myself through that misery? Hasn’t been worth it. So… my skills and developed competencies are a strange hodge-podge of things that were sufficiently easy to learn that I learned them, or sufficiently engaging to learn that I overcame beginner’s frustrations with pure will. My aquarium(s) fit in that latter category. I love them and delight in them too much to abandon the work needed to “level up”, learn new skills, and take on the real work involved.

I sit here contemplating the new shrimp tank (formerly know as my “thug tank” due to being thrown together to house some aggressive skirt tetras who persisted in hassling my betta, and eating my shrimp). It’s… kind of a mess. lol Oh, not in any horrifying way, but less tidy than it will become over time, while also “too sparse”. I have to wait (patiently) for plants to take root and begin to grown in. I am also waiting for some varieties of plant to simply fail, being less suited to the water conditioned; trial and error on plants and livestock has been a small source of frustration. Everyone who writes or presents content on the topic of aquarium keeping has their own thoughts on the matter, based on their own experience in their own environment, with their own water sources, and their own research. My results vary, whether I follow them, or learn on my own. I do both. My results still vary. lol Patience is necessary.

This tank looks very different now, than it will in a couple weeks. Patience is necessary. Gaming with my Traveling Partner is very different right now, than it likely will become, over time. I am capable of learning. Sometimes it takes me a while, sometimes a ludicrous amount of repetition is needed – sometimes my “learning curve” is dependent on the kind of thing I am trying to learn, and how many “learning styles” it uses (or requires).

I learn best in an environment of positive encouragement and autonomy. I learn fastest when I do the work involved, myself. I learn most durably when there are a lot of opportunities for repetition, fairly consistent in frequency, over time. Few things shut down my learning process faster than impatient frequent criticism. I have only gained this understanding of myself with this much clarity fairly recently – a byproduct of self-reflection on this aquarium-keeping/game-playing path. Fewer distractions. More focus. No real opportunity to wander away in a moment of frustration.  Even learning these things about myself, which promises to improve future learning experiences, requires some patience – and a willingness to be vulnerable, and honest with myself about my specific challenges. Now I celebrate! Right?

…Um… No. There are still verbs involved. The map is not the world. The journey is the destination. We become what we practice. My results will still vary. lol This is a very human experience. I’ve simply added some depth of understanding, and a smidgen of personal awareness, to my approach to learning new skills – if I can hold on to that. Maybe I have already learned this before, and forgotten it, and now I am learning it all over again? That’s a real thing for me. This morning I laugh it off; it doesn’t change the joy I experience from watching the fish and shrimp in my aquariums, or the delight I feel when I score well on a game I am playing with my Traveling Partner, and hear his merry exclamation at how well I have done.

Being patient with myself (and therefore, also, being patient with other people) is so worth it!

…It’s time to begin again. 😀

I’m starting the morning in a positive place. I feel well-rested. My coffee is hot and tasty – I assume; I haven’t actually tasted it yet, it’s still too hot. lol There’s the key, though; my assumption is positive. I’m grateful for the coffee I’ve got. Gratitude is a reliably good start to a day. (Cool thing about that? I can choose to start with gratitude, if I’ve the will to undertake it.) I sit awhile, feeling grateful. Grateful for love. Grateful for a great partnership. Grateful for indoor plumbing. Grateful that I’m not in pain this morning (well, mostly not). Grateful for the car in the driveway. Grateful for a great team at work. Grateful that there are mornings like this one.

Sometimes my day doesn’t begin so comfortably, or so easily. 🙂

Gratitude is an excellent way to start a day.

I want to be super clear; I understand feeling angry. There’s a lot in the world truly worth feeling angry about. There’s definitely a fair few things that I feel angry about in life. There are challenges and hurdles and problems in the world that are certainly worthy of raising an angry voice. I feel it, too. It’s when feeling angry becomes being angry that things skew towards “the dark side”. “Angry” is a pretty horrible state of being (and fairly exhausting). We become what we practice. If anger is the only emotional state we embrace, we become damned good at being angry, and less and less able to experience much else. Anger gets a foothold and can begin dominating an emotional experience. Anger is “sticky” and immersive. We can become chronically predisposed toward being angry as a first reaction – to everything. That does not sound good to me, personally. (I’ve even given that a test drive. I found it… unpleasant, and worse.)

…I also found that I was more prone to earnestly needing to “be right”, while living a life infused with anger, and a peculiar tendency towards closed-mindedly thinking that I was right, as a default assumption. (Oh, and… I wasn’t. Not so much, no.) Earnest committed assumptions of one’s own righteousness seem to be most commonly associated with great measures of… wrongness. lol Damn. (Do better, Humans!) I’ll also point out, for folks who “tend to be right most of the time” (I see you out there!) – it doesn’t hurt to avoid the assumption of being right, and to leave room for error. Humble looks good on you. 😉

Sometimes the wiser path is to”let it go”. To refrain from taking things personally. To make a point of assuming positive intent. To appreciate, to build, to encourage – instead of resenting, destroying, or belittling. (I’m not saying it’s easy.) To make willful choices to be the person I most want to be. Before I get a rousing chorus of “I can’t help how I feel!”, I’ll gently observe that indeed, the one thing we have reliable potential to “help” is our own experience, “how we feel” – it’s just not a matter of force or pure will. Force and pure will can certainly change behavior. Over time, emotions may catch up. Emotion needs a bit more subtlety and real care. Emotional resilience and well-being seem most durably built, over time, with commitment, and practice, and slowly becoming the person we most want to be. Through practice. That has lasting power well-beyond the immediate moment. 🙂

This is a season of change, of transformation, and yes, of gratitude. What are you doing with that? Me, personally? I’m sitting here with my coffee and my thoughts, and a smile. 🙂 (It’s enough.)

It can be as simple as this.

The Four Agreements are an old favorite of mine for new beginnings. There are other exceptional ways to seed new thinking, and provoke positive change. What will yours be? (It’s definitely time to begin again. Isn’t it always?)  🙂

What a waste of emotional bandwidth! Getting mired in taking something personally, and becoming frustrated, sorrowful, disappointed, or angry… to what end? It’s rarely “personal”, and even when it is a willfully inflicted slight or insult of some kind… it’s not really personal. Those things say more about the person who delivers the insult than the person it is directed towards. 🙂 I remind myself to let these things go.

I am rereading the Four Agreements; a worthy starting point on any journey of self.

Have you taken time to brush up on The Four Agreements? A compact and worthy read. I come back to it something like once a year or so. 🙂 I reset. I brush up. I begin again. It’s a good starting point.

I sip my coffee, and feel the house fill with lovely pre-dawn breezes. Soon enough it will be time to go to work, begin a new week, and move on to other moments. For now, this moment right here is enough. Lovely, peaceful, quiet. It is a pleasant morning for new beginnings. I smile, and tuck the books I am reading this week into my backpack: The Four Agreements, After The Ecstasy The Laundry, and a selection for the office book club (the title slips my mind because I have no emotional investment in that, just a commitment). I am enjoying how much more time for reading I have, after giving up social media. 😀 I very definitely missed reading, for years, and the sensation of having “no time” was crushing – I love to read. Funny… I don’t miss social media, at all. 🙂

I look at the time… the weekend is definitely over, and it’s time to begin a new work week, and a new moment. 🙂

My view of the meadow, covered by morning mist rising from the marsh, is obscured by condensation on the window, left open during the night. My view is obscured by my perspective. Something to think about, generally.

Low mist on the meadow before sunrise.

Sometimes I have to change my perspective to enjoy the view…

Today my traveling partner [figuratively, metaphorically] becomes my literal traveling partner, headed to a favorite festival. I smile every time I think about him enjoying himself there. I come back to the thought frequently; I enjoy his joy. 🙂

I caught myself getting caught up in the news… the usual horror and tedium, frankly, and fairly dismal. Getting mired in it does no one any good, and doesn’t change things. I can change only those things that are precisely and specifically changeable by me. It’s entirely a worthwhile endeavor to be the best human being I can, without bothering with the day-to-day stress and drama of comparison, or competition. Yeah, life?  It’s so not a competition. What a lie I’d been sold there! When I allow myself to be distracted by how well you are doing, or how well that famous person over there is doing, or how well a motivational speaker suggests I could be doing, or any number of other frankly revenue-generating (for someone) bits of bamboozlement, I lose precious time on my own authentic journey. Sometimes the journey is difficult. It’s mine. Sometimes the journey is a disastrous maze of detours. It’s mine. Sometimes the journey is fraught with confusion, sorrow, or anger. It’s mine. Sometimes the journey is delightful, joyful, and fun. It’s mine. My journey to make on my own terms; I am my own cartographer, having my own experience. Sure – we’re all in this together, and that matters, too. Still my journey, on my terms, in my own time – and similarly, yours belongs to you. We don’t gain much when we try to use someone else’s map… and we lose a lot when we’re sold on someone else’s destination. Just saying. Do you.

The mist begins to lift, the sky to lighten. I hear crows discussing their plan for the morning. I see the earliest hints of autumn in the trees on the far side of the park; shades of yellow and orange beginning to show in the summer green foliage.

Today is a good day to wish the world well, and my traveling partner too; each of us having our own experience. Each of us on our own journey. Today is a good day to be authentic, genuine, and also the very best of who I am able to be. (Each of us doing so would change the world.) 🙂