“The wound is the place where the light enters you” –Rumi
Of all the pain that I have endured in the past year and a half, the physical wound on top of my foot is perhaps the most profound, and I willingly created it. This wound is physical to be sure, but I’m beginning to realize that it’s much more than that. It’s a spiritual gift that I refer to as my Toltec Scar.
For the first time in a very long time, my number one priority is to tend to my own healing, and I do that through stillness. Being still, it turns out, is not my forte. I’m the type of person who finds tremendous joy in cleaning out a closet or the garage during my summer vacation. Or better yet, deep cleaning and organizing the fridge and pantry. It’s true. I subscribe whole-heartedly to Gretchen Rubin‘s notion that “outer order brings inner calm”. I love the sense of accomplishment and the mental space that a tidy area provides me at the end of the day.
So imagine the challenge before me to lay on my back in prolonged stillness for weeks on end. Per my podiatrist’s orders, my only job right now is to heal. And in order to do that well, I need to lay back, ice and elevate my leg, keep pressure off of my foot and rest. That means I’m officially off-duty from my daily grind of cooking, cleaning, laundry and driving. Let me repeat that: I have been told by doctor’s orders that I am not allowed to cook nor to clean nor to do the laundry nor to drive myself or my children anywhere for one entire, blessed month. Can I get an amen? Now three weeks into my recovery, I’m finding that the stillness is not only allowing my physical wound to heal, but it is also healing a deep seated soul wound by opening my eyes to the suffering that I have allowed myself to sit in for too long.
Don Miguel Ruiz is the author of the “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, a Toltec Wisdom Book.” A few weeks ago my Vybrant friend Sarah lovingly told me to pull that book back off of my shelf and to re-read Agreement number 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally, because she saw me struggling with this agreement. You see, as an empath, not taking things personally is crazy hard for me to do. Follow that up with Agreement number 3: Don’t Make Assumptions and you have the formula that has lead to so much personal suffering not just in this past year, but throughout my lifetime.
And here’s how the Universe works in a crazy cool way:
Sometime last week I was out back with my morning cup of coffee, foot iced and elevated, strolling through Facebook when an advertisement came across my feed from Wanderlust Entrepreneur. It was about running retreats, which is something that I happened to be actively considering. The ad went on to say that I could pay whatever price I wanted to join their educational seminar which would take place over the next five days. I thought to myself, Big Brother is darn good. This is exactly the direction and education that would help me to make the first step in creating my retreat, so for my chosen price of $25, I joined. Here’s where it gets good. The following morning I received a welcome message that said:
“Greetings fellow Wanderlusters. Like all of you I love to travel. When I was 20 years old I had the good fortune to be able to live in and travel around Europe for 6 months. Then 10 years later I went on my first transformational retreat in Teotihuacan, the pyramid complex in Mexico, with the man who became my teacher Don Miguel Ruiz. In the next ten years I went on numerous journeys of power to ancient sites in Mexico, Peru and Egypt….I look forward to working with you to learn how to successfully launch your transformational retreats” -Leo Van, Retreat Strategist and Coach, Wanderlust Entrepreneur
And that was just the beginning of this incredible week of learning which was taught by the beautiful soul of Sheri Rosenthal, who was also a student of Don Miguel Ruiz. In fact, she spent ten years of her life leading deeply spiritual retreats based on his Toltec book of wisdom, The Four Agreements. By the end of the week, I had clarity on the direction where I wanted to steer the next chapter in my life: creating Let Love Rise Retreats. There will be more on that later, but for now, let’s go back to the book that was sitting there on my nightstand.
The intensive 5-day seminar was over and I had a new day before me with endless potential. As usual, I began my day with a cup of coffee, my ice pack and my journals out on the back porch. On This particular day, I also brought The Four Agreements onto the back porch with me. My curiosity was peeked. Why was this book sitting on my nightstand at the exact same time as when this incredible learning opportunity from the Wanderlust Entrepreneur team had manifested? It was time to re-read the book. And I did so, in one beautifully still day.
The Four Agreements
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Always do your best.
It seems pretty straight-forward right? After all, it is called “a practical guide” to personal freedom. When I read it for the first time circa 2012, I could recognize that it was a powerful book about transformation, but I wasn’t ready to truly take in the wisdom. This time, however, The Four Agreements hit me on a soul level. One page in the section of the second agreement was so impactful, that nearly every sentence is underlined and I drew stars and wrote boldly in the margin “2021!”
“Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing…When we really see people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do….Telling yourself the truth about it may hurt, but you don’t need to be attached to the pain. Healing is on the way, and it’s just a matter of time before things will be better for you. If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you…Walking away may hurt for a little while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.” – Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
Drop the mic! I cannot tell you how badly I needed to hear that. There is absolutely no coincidence that I re-read this Toltec book of wisdom just days before the arrival of July 1st, which won’t be a wedding anniversary for me for the first time in 21 years. A new chapter in my life has begun, and I am going to reclaim July 1st as my Personal Freedom Day and my inspiration will be my toltec scar and these words from Don Miguel Ruiz:
“I want you to see yourself living a new life, a new dream, a life where you don’t need to justify your existence and you are free to be who you really are. Imagine that you have the permission to be happy and to really enjoy your life…Imagine living your life without fear of expressing your dreams. You know what you want, what you don’t want, and when you want it. You are free to change your life the way you really want to.” –Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
I have never felt so authentically alive as I do right now being still on my couch, making mental space to dream about the life that I really want to live. I know that the Universe is for me and it feels like the stars have aligned in order to bring all this wisdom and opportunity to fall into place at the exact time that I was healing from my foot surgery. I don’t think that everyone needs to plummet to the depths that I have in order to make the decision to live a more liberated life. It has more to do with awareness than anything else. Do you see yourself in the quote above? Are you living a life without fear of expressing your authenticity? If not, what’s holding you back?
I allowed myself to suffer for too long, and now I want to help others become aware of their own pain if that’s what they’re experiencing. And I want to help others liberate themselves from their cages while I liberate myself from my own. My exquisite stillness has made me aware of the life that I want to live moving forward, and there is no better musical anthem than that from my childhood idol, John Denver: I want to live. If you had an anthem to your dream life, what would it be? Share in the Let Love Rise comments below. And together let’s be free to be beautifully, authentically ourselves. Namaste.
I want to live, I want to grow
I want to see, I want to know
I want to share what I can give
I want to be, I want to live