Sliding Otter News

Agree To Live a Life of Happiness

Mayan Shield

Listen to the intent behind the words and you will understand the real message.

~Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz~

       In their book, The Fifth Agreement, Miguel and Jose Ruiz chronicle the many labels others apply to us throughout our lives. We learn to accept these labels as defining who we are. Through the fifth agreement (Be skeptical but learn to listen) we learn to challenge others’ stories or dreams about who we are. We relearn how to just be ourselves as we were at birth. Instead of living up to others’ expectations or trying to disprove them, we can be who we are and stop being concerned about how others label us.

Babies don’t worry about what others think of them or feel guilty about not living up to their own or others expectations. They are just themselves. They don’t judge anyone, especially themselves. Maybe that is why being in their presence gives us such a sense of peace. Thanks again, James. Now we can have the serenity to be artists, painting the picture of our lives without the constraints of someone else’s idea of us.

We can challenge everything we are taught to believe about ourselves. We can rid ourselves of destructive labels and concentrate on being joyful within ourselves and considerate of others as they make the best of their lives.

In addition to the fifth agreement we can cleanse ourselves of troubling patterns by being impeccable with our word, not taking anything personally, not making assumptions and always doing our best. This approach is not a religion but incorporates many of the best approaches of the world’s religious beliefs and traditions. It comes from the Toltecs, wise people from early Mayan times.

I consider people who bring light to our lives to be angels. Miguel and Jose Ruiz consider us all to be angels. The word angel means messenger. We send messages to each other through the way we live our lives. How we conduct our lives can improve the world by our input or make it a more difficult place in which to live. The choice is ours. We can start by choosing between internalizing all the destructive labels others apply to us or shedding them and returning to a life where we pay no mind to labels and live at peace with ourselves and others.

Taking this radical path is not easy. We are used to all our negative emotions: anger, jealousy, revenge, feeling superior, feeling inferior and many others. Being at peace might seem boring to some. But changing our inner world is the first step toward influencing others to abandon the chains which they have accepted. We can leave our baggage behind if we choose to and find simpler ways to exist. In the immortal words of Popeye the Sailor, “I am what I am and that’s all I am.”

Life Lab Lessons

  • Which role model do you choose, Scrooge or a baby?
  • Do you dare leave your baggage behind?
  • What would your life be without your baggage?
  • Imagine your life as an art project.
  • Don’t think about it. Try it.



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