I have already boasted about my love of the book, The Four Agreements in my previous post, Inspiration in Unlikely Places.
The Four Agreements has a set of companion cards that pull key lessons out of the book. There are 12 cards for each agreement, for a total of 48 cards.
When I purchased the Four Agreement Cards, the store owner and I had a small yet impactful conversation.
As I was checking out, I was telling her that I was purchasing most of my items for my sister-in-law’s birthday gift, but the cards, those where for me. I explained to her that I had been searching for this card deck for roughly a year and I was over joyed that I had finally found them.
With a kind smile, she looked me in my eyes and said “yes, but remember these cards are for everyone.”
I passed by that thought quickly, but never forgot it, and as I began pulling a card each day, reading, reflecting, and journaling my thoughts I started feeling the urge to share, and I remembered those words, “these cards are for everyone.”
I pulled up enough courage and began slightly twisting my writing style. I began challenging myself to journal my thoughts, but write as if I was talking to myself instead about myself. I turned my journal into a conversation, inspired by the idea that I was sitting in front of a mirror.
I posted each one, day 1 through 48, in real time on Facebook for only my friends and family. It was hard, and I feared how people would judge me, but with every post my confidence blossomed, it grew so much that here I am with a blog. (Insert self pat-on-back).
Hope you enjoy!
Day 1 of 48
The Four Agreements
From the card:
Always Do Your Best: Stay in the present moment.
Keep your attention on today, and stay in the present moment. This is the beginning of a new understanding, a new dream.
Oh, the present moment, also known as mindfulness.
Who hasn’t heard that the path to true happiness is living in the moment? So what is the present moment? Do you really think you can get away from it?
Is there actually a time in your life where you remember time traveling? Of course not, we are always in the present moment, we are here with our two feet firmly planted on the ground.
It’s our mind that doesn’t cooperate with us in the present moment. Why is it so difficult to keep the mind focused on the now and not jumping to the past or the future?
Whether you are supposed to be watching your child play but you start thinking about that argument you had 2 days ago, or you are cooking dinner and obsessing over what is going to happen next week when you have a doctor’s appointment, even spending more time formulating a response in your head during a conversation than actual listening to the person who is talking to you; these are all ways our mind pulls us out of the present moment.
Not to mention negative self talk and storytelling, the voices in our heads love to distract us with pointless chatter.
Personally, I am constantly worrying and obsessing over things that I either have no control over or am too scared to do anything about. Everything is a work in progress so at this point when it comes to the present moment I congratulate myself on small victories, and try to not even acknowledge my failures.
What does that look like?
It looks like meditation. Anyone familiar with the most important part of meditation? Being able to notice when your mind drifts, and being able to bring it back to whatever your focus is for that meditation.
Simple right, not really.
I do recommend meditation to everyone, you can try setting a timer for 5 minutes, sit in a chair, follow your breath (picture your lungs filling with air, and emptying…inflating and collapsing), do your best not to move. During this exercise especially if you have never meditated you will find your mind thinking “my back hurts,” “my face itches,” “am I breathing right,” “I have to make a shopping list,” “oh no I forgot to call my mom back.”
It’s ok, all you need to do when you become aware of your mind drifting is just go back to the breath. There is no need to feel like you are failing because meditation is a practice and you are practicing the training of your mind to stay focused and grounded. You may not be able to even get through two breaths without drifting, who cares, 1 breath, who cares! Just do your best.
There is a great guided meditation app called Headspace for those of you that feel you need a little help.
If you are resistive to mediation that is fine, try turning something you do into a mediation: exercise, cooking, listening to music, watching TV, or cleaning.
All you have to do is pay attention to only what you are doing, no phone, no thinking, just focus. When working out try only focusing on your muscles, breathing, and how your body feels, nothing else.
Maybe just sit outside and listen to the birds, only listen, if you start thinking just bring it back to listening.
These meditation exercises will help you see how your mind keeps pulling you out of the present moment. Some of us have no idea how much time we spend trapped inside our heads instead of experiencing life with all our senses.
Start observing this behavior in yourself throughout the day, and when you notice it do nothing just notice it.
Become an observer of your own behavior, just to see what’s happening, not with the intent to change it. This is the first step to becoming more connected to the present moment and creating a new dream, your personal dream.
By dream I mean reality, aka your life, you will begin creating a new dream that is aligned with who you truly are, not aligned with who you think you are supposed to be.
All you have to do is your best, even the smallest step is ok, don’t be hard on your self.