Throughout my journey of self discovery, I have found guidance in so many places. Guidance is everywhere we look. The universe is always sending us messages, it is the listening, that we have to improve on. Sometimes I am too busy to listen, too distracted, or too judgmental to hear anything.
Sometimes I actively try to ignore messages or signs out of fear. Fear of what? That is always hard to pin down. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being wrong. Often, the fear of not living the life I believe I should be living. As I increase my awareness, and gain momentum over my fears, I often reflect on moments that I nearly allowed to pass me by.
One conversation in particular stands out in my mind, as a moment that almost slipped through my fingers. It was the conversation where an old coworker of mine suggested that I read the book, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. In that moment I was given the opportunity to listen or turn away. Thankfully I listened.
On the night that this conversation occurred, I was working over-time; I was tried, and I definitely was not going to go overboard doing any work related tasks. At that particular job there was always a bit of down time, actually a significant amount, if you wanted to be that type of employee. Seeing that I was working my second shift (against my will), I had planned on being that type of employee, and I found myself socializing more than working.
For most of that night, this coworker and I, spent time talking about positive change, and the universe. We shared with each other our views on the world, our frustrations, and information sources that had helped with our personal development so far.
Sounds like a great time right? And it was. But. I am embarrassed to say, there was a but. A big judgmental BUT. It was a great conversation, but, I wasn’t super fond of the person I was talking to. Why? Well, simply, because. That’s why. I think back, and I can’t remember disliking him. How could I? I didn’t even know him. But, like all good opinions, mine was based off of my personal perception.
In addition to not knowing him, my opinion took shape with the help of work-place gossip and rumors. A mixture of unbeatable odds. My opinion was formed way before he ever opened his mouth.
I thought that he came off a bit cocky and self absorbed. That he was outspoken, challenging, and a bit of a know-it-all. Seeing that those are of some of my classic traits, naturally I focused on them as negative. Pair that with rumors about him being a sexist, and bam, I wasn’t sure how I felt about him, or how I felt about what he had to say.
Regardless, I didn’t end the conversation, I mean, I didn’t want to actually have to do work. We kept on talking, and somewhere in there he suggested the book. Very nonchalantly, he passed the knowledge of this special and life changing wisdom on to me.
He was standing there in from of me, with his arms slightly raised from his sides, almost shrugging, and said, “you know what? You should read the Four Agreements, I think you will like it…you’ll love it”. He gave me a brief description of the agreements. He told me he had read it years ago, and had honored it ever since. He made a few connections on how he believed the book would interest me, and that was it.
Simple, just like the book.
BUT. There I was, wanting to believe everything I heard but having an internal struggle. I was thinking to myself. “This guy, read a book, and it made him a better person? What was he like before?”
I had to think about it. Was the book going to be worth it? I mean, all I could hear was, “waste of time”. I heard those thoughts, but decided to listen to my heart instead of my head.
My heart said, this is real. This is a real person, just as you. Trying to achieve his best possible life. Who are you to say what works for others? Who are you to critique how effective change is for someone else?
The answer was and still is, I am no one.
I remember feeling my mind change and my heart soften. I no longer cared that he stepped on people’s toes, or that his humor was slightly off colored. I began looking past those harsh judgements, and started to feel that I understood him deeper than his character allowed.
I was allowing myself to see him, instead of who I thought he was. I began to see someone who had life experience. Someone, who had put in the work to become the person he was. I was beginning to understand that he was undoubtably who he wanted to be, no matter what others thought of him. I began to see no matter what a work in progress looked like, it was a work in progress, just like me.
I was pretty excited, I thought I was finally loosening the ridiculous grip that I had on myself. The grip of shit talking, gossiping, judging others, and just over all negative suspiciousness. Those things are like a sickness, and I was actively trying to over come them.
I was happy to see my coworker as my new friend, and as a fellow awakening spirit. So happy that I wanted others to share in my joy. However, I was not met with joy. When I shared parts of the conversation we had, I was laughed at by my other coworkers.
I shared that this person was more than his appearance, and his “work behavior”. Others denied this possibility. There were jokes tossed around. One person even said, “you know he doesn’t believe any of those things, he just wanted to talk to you because he is a perve”.
I tried my best to not be affected by what I was hearing, but it hurt. I was hurt because I was taking the jokes personal. I perceived that their jokes were directed at me. I interrupted it as, everyone saying that I was so naive and hungry for attention, that I couldn’t see when a person was not interested in what I had to say, but only what I looked like. This was/is a sensitive spot for me.
As the jokes went on and on, I went on wondering if I was really so out of touch that I couldn’t tell when I was being fed lines. I wanted to fall into old behaviors and convince myself I had nothing to offer, and that I was not interesting. I wanted to, but didn’t. I mean come on, I am not a total flake. I am not so far removed that a human could sit in front of me and spout things off just so he could stare at my boobs.
There I was again feeding my brain with the information that, this conversation, this person, this suggestion had no place in my heart. I couldn’t wrap my head around what I was missing. Why was I having such an internal struggle? Over a book! Over a conversation with one person, in a sea of hundreds of meaningless conversations I have had over the years.
First, I almost let my own judgements keep me from listening. Then I almost let meaningless jokes turn me away from what I felt inside of my soul. I almost didn’t hear the universe leading me to the book that helped motivate so much positive change in my life. I almost threw out all of the positives from that moment because I was scared.
As silly as it sounds, I almost did. Almost. Almost, but didn’t. I almost skipped over this moment in my life, but I didn’t. Instead I remember it.
I remember the day this book was suggested to me. I remember how it was suggested. I remember how I resisted actually remembering the book’s name. How I let that resistance go so deep it was challenging my belief of whether I can trust people, and trust my own judgements.
I remember the day I got the book, and how it took me months to actually open it. I remember how it took me forever to finish it, even though it is only a couple hours long. How with every page I was agreeing, and being filled with joy. I remember how I finally felt when I was able to acknowledge that the words in that book were digging out thoughts from parts of my brain that had stop working out of fear. I remember the day that I finished the last page like it was yesterday.
The impact that book has had on me is truly profound. Something so simple. Just four little things to overcome all the negativity that surrounds most of everyday life. Simple but difficult to apply. Simple but hard to remember. I have to ask myself all the time when I see drama surrounding my life.
Am I being impeccable with my word?
Am I taking things personal?
Am I making assumptions?
Am I doing my best?
The Four Agreements has been the catalyst for my personal growth. It has helped me begin redefining myself slowly. Showing me, I am in control of my reality.
When this book was suggested to me, by a person who I thought was a pompous ass, I never imagined that I would be sitting here years later thankful for not just the inspiration that was given to me by the book itself, but the inspiration that was given to me by an unlikely source.
I have thanked this person before, publicly and privately, for introducing me to the book, but I have never told him the whole story. I never thanked him for just being him. Never told him the story about how I almost did not listen to a word he said because I almost let judgement rule over my instinct.
Thank you my Sweet friend for having such a positive impact on my life. Thank you for introducing me to the book. Thank you for all the support you have given me, and the inspiration that has not stop since that first conversation where you allowed me to see who you really are.
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Until next time, much love.