Soul Places

Befriending the Soul through Inquiry and Creativity

Tag: Toltec

Maybe, It Pretty Much Always Means No

“It seems to me that maybe, It pretty much always means no.” ~ Jack Johnson, Flake 

Have you ever tried to make plans with someone, they respond with, “Maybe,” and you just know they are saying it to be nice?  They have no intention of finalizing any plans with you.  I understand if someone needs to check his or her calendar or see about other potential plans, but being strung along just feels crummy.  Unless you’re a highly trained, well-bred Greyhound, chasing the bone around the track may not be very gratifying.  Applying the Toltec Four Agreements has helped me move on, but the Fifth has helped me capture the elusive prize.

The Fifth Agreement is:

Be Skeptical, But Learn To Listen

Be skeptical is masterful because it uses the power of doubt to discern the truth.”  Initially, I wanted to reject this agreement.  I don’t want to walk around all day doubting the words coming out of people’s mouths.  Believing what people say is what I was taught, “Do as I say, not as I do.”  Even my own self-talk is what I had come to believe, “I can’t do that.  Who do you think you are?”

Having sufficient evidence that the other four agreements forever changed my life for the better, I continued to turn the page, be skeptical, and listen.  By adopting an attitude of doubt, I can question the truth in what’s being said.  My truth.  I can agree, disagree or not engage at all.  In the case of my own self-talk, anything that goes against my true nature of love can be transformed.  The First Agreement of Be Impeccable with Your Word helps me with this.  With diligence (Agreement Four), I can attain the prize.

And what is the elusive prize?  You decide.  Don’t believe my version of it.  But here it is in the instance that I’ve hooked your attention:  It’s not some cheap plastic bone at the end of a competitive sprint.  But energy I have lost by investing myself in any message that is not true.  When my doubt announces that maybe means no, I resume my life enlisting the tools of Agreements Two and Three.  And every now and again, I am pleasantly surprised when maybe means yes.

The Five Agreements:
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best
5. Be Skeptical, But Learn To Listen
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Another Arrow in a Quiver Against Resistance


Parking lot danger.

Originally uploaded by paulswansen

I have used The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz as my spiritual code for the better part of the last year. Over the last few months I have gotten lazy and forgetful of them so I decided to pull out the book again for a review. I wrote this poem earlier this year when these Agreements were literally oozing out of my pours like garlic. (The eighth stanza is the Four Agreements.) It’s a relatable piece even for those who are unfamiliar with this Toltec wisdom and for those who are friendly with it, there’s a Fifth Agreement too. I use these Agreements to vanquish resistance to my spiritual practices and break old, damaging patterns.

Parking Lot

By Diane Ludeking

I am slowly backing out of my parking spot

In my tiny blue Toyota Yaris

I am blinded by the enormous SUVs on either side

And sent into a panic when I hear a blaring horn

Who is dying? Who is crashing?

What’s with all the cacophony?

Hmm. Someone in a hurry

Speeding through the lot. That is all

I thought I learned in Driver’s Ed

That the person backing out had the right-of-way

Apparently that idea is the wrong-of-way

As proven by the glare I receive from my antagonist

When I am carefully retreating from my space

I am the blind one.

I cannot see who is coming

It makes sense that you should watch out for me

I do not have a fancy back-up camera

Extra mirrors hanging off my rear bumper

Or a loud, rhythmic beeping sound

To announce my backwards venture

I have no tools to help me see the impending doom.

The angry, rusted Isuzu truck

With a wire clothes hanger holding up it’s muffler

Is the shape of my next important lesson

But alas! I have tools of the best kind

They are not made of reflective, breakable glass

They do not show me only the physical objects in my way

They don’t even make offensive “Get out of my way!” declarations

I will be impeccable with my word

I will not take it personally, Mr. Isuzu

I will not assume you are having a bad day because you are foreign-made

And I will always do my best in order to avoid regrets

With these tools as my spiritual code

My lessons are much more black and white

They are not any easier to swallow

Nor are they any less frequent

But I can safely back out of my parking spot now

And as I pull onto the highway of life with confidence

And a newly discovered eagerness for adventure

I learn that there are no speed limits here