It was such an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to see don Miguel Ruiz during his recent tour for his newly published book, “The Toltec Art of Life and Death.” Miguel has been a personal hero of mine for a long time.
When I first read “The Four Agreements” back in 1997, it changed my life. I was an Executive at the time and led a fairly big team. I think I had around 40 people reporting to me. I was young, ambitious and frankly, pretty flawed as a leader and communicator. This book catapulted me into the world of personal development and I’ve never looked back. I think my team would also say they were grateful I found this book. My consciousness shifted dramatically about my impact and the impact others had on me. It changed in the way I saw the world and how I showed up. I still had a VERY long journey ahead to become the leader I am today (we are talking tip of the iceberg here), and I know the journey will continue for many years to come. Nevertheless, don Miguel’s work was a huge catalyst for me to discover where my power and spirituality meet.
I was so inspired by this book that I gave a copy of it to my four siblings and to my parents. As the flawed but inspired person I was, over the Holidays I tried to start a book club discussion at the dinner table in an effort to instill these four agreements in our family dynamics. I had great intentions. Although some of it hit home, I also got a fair amount of eye rolls. In the years hence, I have learned more about the art of influence and enrollment. I still try to share understanding from my own personal development with the people I love and weave it into the fabric of our relationship.
As I sat in the audience listening to don Miguel the other night, I had tears of inspiration and resonance running down my cheeks. I am easily moved to tears when I’m in the presence of such powerful beings and wish I had brought some Kleenex! His ethereal wisdom was beautiful to witness.
Here is a man that almost died several years ago, then received a life saving heart transplant, only now two years later, to have that heart be actively rejected by his body. Luckily there is a cure for this! But here is this very ill man with an ailing heart and immune system who is so committed to his message, that he shows up anyway. Now this is some serious dedication.
There were many things he spoke about that evening. Much of it washed over me and through me. I will never forget, however, what he said about love. It is our human nature has us love conditionally. “If you do this, then I will love you. If you don’t do this, I will take my love away from you”. And we do this because it’s what we do first and foremost to ourselves. We love ourselves conditionally. We say hateful things to ourselves when we fail to measure up to some unattainable standard we’ve created.
It is not until we learn to love ourselves unconditionally that we can extend and truly embrace unconditional love for others. And when we learn to do this, all the ugly things about our human race simply go away. (War, greed, inequality of race or gender…you name it). These things cannot exist in a world brimming with unconditional love.
I have to admit, that pretty much blew me away. I have read many books (Anatomy of Peace, for an example), that have talked about our inability to see the hearts of our enemy and how that puts a deeper and deeper wedge between us. If we were simply to remember that they are a father, a sister, a husband, a lover, a friend, just as we are, then our compassion would erode that wedge. To think that ALL the ugliness of our world could and would disappear if we simply loved each other without condition…well, that gave me immense hope for our world. It also made me really sad for a few days, too, knowing that all the ugliness in our world is because each of us cannot love our own selves unconditionally.
We can change this. And it starts here.
Like many of you I have struggled with loving all of myself. Some parts have been easy to love and appreciate. Other parts have been incredibly challenging to embrace. It’s been a huge part of this personal development journey I’ve been on. I have slowly peeled layer after layer away, always finding more layers to unfurl each time. One thing I know for sure is that it has made my life infinitely more interesting.
What don Miguel shared has shifted my perspective dramatically.
It’s no longer just about stepping into loving myself for the sake of myself. Loving myself unconditionally will change everything and everyone I touch. And that has upped the ante…BIG TIME.
Will it up your ante, too?
Will you heed the call, like I am, to do whatever you can to fully embrace all the parts of you that you combat with today?
I hope you will. I want this for you. I want this for us all.
Thank-you don Miguel, for planting a seed. It’s sprouting and it’s feeding my soul. I hope this will feed your soul, too.