“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

Tom Brady is among the best quarterbacks in the history of football. Though that statement is argued by professional analysts and armchair quarterbacks, results matter. Tom Brady’s results speak loud a clear.

After a controversial ending to the 2015 NFL season, Tom Brady was preparing for his 5 week late entry into the 2016 schedule. Headed into his return to lead the New England Patriots, Brady accepted an ESPN interview. Brady was asked how he continues to perform at such a high level at an age when most professional athletes have either retired or are seeing their best days in the rearview mirror. Brady talked about keeping his mind right. He specifically stated that he rereads one book every year to help him with that.

So, Tom Brady says there is one book worth rereading every year, and that one book has been a primary key to his success! Naturally, I ordered the book quite immediately.

The book presents Toltec ideology for practical application. While some of the spiritual elements required me to take pause, the wisdom shared is of value to any person seeking life lived well.

The Four Agreements are:

  1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Through the word you express your creative power. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid speaking against yourself or others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of where they are in life.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions. Be willing to express your desired. Communicate clearly. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
  4. Always Do Your Best: Know that your best may be different at different times. Wherever you are, give your best that day and you will have nothing to regret.

A few quotes that I underlined while reading are:

  • Everything is made of light, and the space in-between isn’t empty. Everything that exists is one living being, and that light is the messenger of life, because it is alive and contains all information.
  • Everything in existence is a manifestation of the one living being we call God.
  • Everything is God.
  • What you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream.
  • To have faith is to believe unconditionally.
  • Even if the Book of Law is wrong, it makes you feel safe.
  • How many times do we pay for one mistake? The answer is thousands of times. The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake. The rest of the animals pay once for every mistake they make. But not us. We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves. If justice exists, then that was enough; we don’t need to do it again. But every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, and again, and again. If we have a wife or husband he or she also reminds us of the mistake, so we can judge ourselves again, punish ourselves again, and find ourselves guilty again. Is this fair?
  • Impeccability means “without sin”.
  • A sin is anything you do which goes against yourself.
  • Being impeccable with your word is not using the word against yourself.
  • How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word.
  • If you don’t take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell.
  • We have the habit of dreaming with no basis in reality.
  • It is not important if the answer is correct; just the answer itself makes us feel safe. This is why we make assumptions.
  • The best way to say, “I love you, God,” is to live your life doing your best.
  • The best way to say, “Thank you, God,” is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now.
  • Whatever life takes away from you, let it go.
  • Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.
  • The first three agreements will only work if you do your best.
  • True freedom has to do with the human spirit – it is the freedom to be who we truly are.
  • Just like hell, heaven is a place that exists within our mind.
  • Forgiveness is the only way to heal.
  • How are we to become a warrior?… The warrior has awareness… The warrior has control… The big difference between a warrior and a victim is that the represses, and the warrior refrains.
  • Only love has the ability to put you in that state of bliss.
  • Love in action only produces happiness.
  • Love will give you inner peace.

Review and Quotes from “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

ToKillAMockingbirdThis is the all-time favorite book of my daughter – Alexa. Further, this is on the summer reading list for my son, Samuel. I always like to read whatever it is that my kids are reading; so, this one got added to the list and I am oh so glad it did. The tale is marvelously written and introduced me to the concept of a man whom I would like to model as the goal for many personal characteristics – Atticus Finch. The story is based in a time when blacks were legally free, but far from legally equal. During such a time, Atticus quietly and consistently stood for what was right. He did this for no other reason than the fact that he believed it was the right thing to do. Though I hate the atrocities of our past, I love everything about this book. It not only inspires me, it causes me to examine myself for bigotries, false pretences and impure motives that I may be blind to. This book is now a top 10 of all time for me. Continue reading “Review and Quotes from “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee”

Being In Love – Valentine’s Week Inspiration from C.S. Lewis

InLoveIf the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,’ then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from ‘being in love’ — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. it is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.

– from Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
(emphasis added)

Chosen for Pain?

My beautiful daughter has lived with continual pain for more than 5 years. A number of specialists from local providers, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Duke University Medical Center have confirmed rotator cuff damage, thoracic outlet syndrome and partial rib development to be the root cause of her hurts. This led to multiple trips for multiple surgeries resulting in permanent nerve damage – think receptors sending continual signals of being on fire throughout your body. A plethora of medicinal experiments have been attempted to no avail. Just in case you might wonder if it is possible for a once joyful teenager to endure more, she recently received an additional diagnosis of fibromyalgia from the experts at Duke University Neurology and Pain Clinic. Continue reading “Chosen for Pain?”

Anxious, Worthless and Bears – Oh my!

BlackBear

Bears – I live in a nice neighborhood on the outskirts of town where neighbors wave hellos and children play. Many days, I come home to my son playing XBOX with his pal from next door. Other days, I find that they are playing basketball at his house. Many times, they are not to be found at either house, but that is not a concern. They are most likely riding bikes or playing on the playground at the school across the street. They are great boys and we know they are probably out having fun somewhere. Life is great and I love knowing that my son has friends to run around and enjoy spending time with – until earlier this week… Continue reading “Anxious, Worthless and Bears – Oh my!”