I was given a gift this week, once again, in an unusual format. Sitting in staff meeting on a Monday morning is usually not people’s favorite place to be. I would say for me, its manageable, but you know, sometimes, it’s just something you want to check off your list. This week, we had a guest speaker, which is pretty common for us as we collaborate with many business partners, agencies, schools, supporters. I was hunkered down, listening, but admittedly, thinking about a few other things that have been on my mind.
But this gentleman, he caught my attention, and as he spoke about his experience working with at-risk youth in prisons, in rehab, in places where kids are deemed unworthy, casts off, trash, I put away my notebook, and fully tuned in to what he had to say. This guy exudes authenticity, real personable skills, and began his presentation with the genuine desire to help others. He said he approaches his helping work with the premise that he does this work for a reason; ” ‘It’s not because I am better than you, but I am older and have a lifetime of experience.’ I was speaking from my gut, not trying to be tough or be anything but my own true self.” Ahhhh, how refreshing. Isn’t this all what we are trying to do – well maybe not all of us – but come on, when the mess of daily life boils down to our true selves, we just want to help and share our experiences, and our wisdom. I would argue very few people approach their work with I’m better than you so listen up. None of us respond to that kind of false, unearned trust or authority. I don’t know this presenter guy, but I think I love his approach already. I want to know more, learn more, and pass on what he has to say.
He passed out a hand out called The 4 Agreements – see above – and I have literally put them next to my bed. Each statement, each affirmation, is something that can help me get through the day – help us all get through the day. I think the one that I have been working on all year – at work, with wedding planning, with my family, with my friends and my therapist – is the ” When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t need to be the victim of needless suffering.” Thank you universe, for bringing that message round again. I love it – it makes me giddy and unbelievably calm, because while each of those statements are hard to live by every day, they carry such buoyant truth. Context, in this situation, isn’t important to me because these transcend those thoughts and apply to so many situations in my life. Be me, be Katie, don’t absorb other’s drama, seek my own truth, and take care of myself. Easy on paper, hard in practice, but that’s why I’ve put them above my side of the bed.
This week too I found simple pleasure in going to look at flowers for the wedding. Whole sale flower markets are really interesting and the textures and colors and potential of fun little tokens of promise for the wedding were fun to look at. And it’s freezing. They keep those coolers COLD – my teeth were chattering and I wanted to make quick decisions, and my recommendations were voiced by the stacks and stacks of vases while my arms thawed. Dylan’s mom and his aunts came with us and what a blessing it is that his aunt is going to do the flowers for us. I got so lucky that so many members of my family are lending a hand and making our day special with their own contributions.
And I tried a new brussels sprouts recipe and devoured them at a restaurant when I got to go on an impromptu lunch with my mom on Friday afternoon. Isn’t it interesting how those little cabbages are making such a resurgence? I love the metaphor that these little veggies present. Something that has been written off for years, by children and adults since probably the 1960s have made the trendiest come back and now we pay $5 for a small bowl as an appetizer – brussels sprouts glazed in orange sauce (I highly recommend them at Restaurant 415 in Fort Collins) – or I try roasting them at home with cranberries and feta. Click here for the recipe. Don’t sell yourself short, you never know what you will find yourself loving years down the road that perhaps you hated for quite some time.
So which of The 4 Agreements stand out to you? How can you apply them to your life? Would you eat brussels sprouts with me if we sat down and had a chat about how we try to live authentically?
For more information about our guest speaker, Steve and his business Teach Authentic visit his website