Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Four Agreements and The Mommy Wars

I've been thinking a lot about the "Mommy Wars" lately. I have largely tried to avoid fanning the flames of disagrement unnecessarily. Sometimes I do honestly need to say something critical about another writer or mother, but I do my best to be constructive and honest.

I recently read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and I think his guiding principles for living are very applicable to our discussions among mothers.

Ruiz's Four Agreements are:

1. Be impeccable with your word

2. Don't take anything personally

3. Don't make assumptions

4. Always do your best

When other philosophical/faith traditions talk about sin or falling short of the mark, it's easy to jump ahead to rules such as "thou shalt not kill" and think that we're doing great since we haven't murdered anyone lately. Ruiz brings our attention to the areas where we fail daily: gossiping, suffering because we take the criticism of others too personally, or causing misunderstandings and drama by not communicating clearly. Those hit home for me and show me where I can do better.

For the record, I am a practicing Christian and I am also open to receiving wisdom wherever I find it. In this case, Ruiz's advice feels like just the right tool to apply to having an open discussion while minimizing the "Mommy Wars." I cannot vouch for the historical authenticity of his Toltec wisdom but it just feels like common sense.

I'm going to head over to blog on MomsRising.org later tonight and try to put these ideas to good use.

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