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january read: the four agreements

i'm not a particular believer in new year's resolutions. i think a lot of people make them, stick to them for a solid month or two, and then go back to their old habits or ways. so i'm hard pressed to make goals simply because it's a new year. however, i have been wanting to read more. so a few months ago i decided i'd start doing just that.

i also know, through wise advice, that goals are easier achieved when they're specific (after all, reading a page is a 100% improvement from not reading at all, yet is still only reading a page). so I've refined that goal to wanting to read one book per month.

i'm actually currently in the middle of several books, but i'm pretty far away from my book collection at the moment, so i decided to start this goal off with a book my uncle sent to me a couple of months ago, the four agreements by don miguel ruiz. it's one he actually sent me the condensed version of when i was a little girl, too, so i wasn't particularly new to the concepts of it. it's also not particularly long, either. 138 pages. i really eased myself in.

despite having it written in my planner for about two months now (see paragraph above about setting specific goals for yourself *facepalm*), i started reading it while walter and i were in estes park between christmas and new years just a couple of weeks ago. between puzzling and dinnertime conversations, i would read a couple of lines and let them really sink in. i'd let my mind wander and ponder what exactly the book was saying. needless to say i wasn't getting very far very fast.

one day, while walter and i were hanging out after we had come home, i was telling him about it and how i hadn't gotten very far. i think i asked if i could read it to him and he agreed. so, over the course of a couple of weeks, i actually ended up reading the whole book aloud to him and at the end of each chapter, we'd sit and talk about it and what each others' thoughts were on it. i was actually happy to be making progress in the book and give myself a moment for reflection (while hearing my partner's thoughts, too!). the idea for book club was born then.

as i said before, when i was really little, my uncle got me a kid's or pocket version of this book, and i remember picking it up, every once in a while off my bookshelf as a kid, and skimming it. i'm glad i did, because after reading the entire book i realized how much of the lessons i already applied in my everyday life! still, reading it gave me a lot of perspective shifts I'm thankful for. i really cannot recommend this book enough!

although it has some religious language that could be pretty easy to get caught up in if you're not particularly religious or spiritual, the lessons are pertinent to being a concise communicator and effective human being in general. specifically, i took a lot away in context to our newfound age of covid.

it'd be so easy to live in the fear that's really being pushed to us from the media and politicians. fear is an emotion manipulated a lot by these spheres. but the book reminded me that i'm in charge of creating my heaven, and i derived a lot of empowerment from that.

i also really loved the bit about treating your body as a puja, or shrine to a deity. i've always believed in the saying, "cleanliness is godliness." i also do one skincare mask a day, and take self care pretty seriously (weekly manicures, weekly hair masks and treatments, daily lotion application, and a twice daily facial skin care routine to name just a few). recently it's even extended to my diet in cutting out excess sugar, too. i want to give my body the best things to run on so that it can give me it's best possible output.

although it's a short book, it's definitely not light reading, and i definitely recommend reading it with someone, or talking about it with someone who's already read it to help you process it! i'll volunteer to be the latter!

i'm really proud of myself for finishing this book a few days before the middle of the month even came up. rather than jump into another book straight away, i've been prioritizing some other things in my life (hi blog!). i've got a lot on the books (no pun intended) over the next few months, and self care also extends to taking care of future self work-wise, too! so, next month i'll start the next book, which will be a book called the overstory by richard powers.

til then...


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