Tag Archives: The Four Agreements

Fun Ideas for Gift Season

‘Tis the season of celebratory events, and whether you’re attending a wedding, shower, graduation or house warming, you’ll probably find yourself hunting for that “perfect gift” — which can be daunting!   To make the process a little easier, we’ve asked our leaders to share their go-to gifts for this event-happy time of year.  Check them out for inspiration for what to get the next time you’re on the hunt:

polarbear cooler

Delaine

Delaine

One of my favorite gifts for almost anyone is the Polar Bear Cooler – a personalized, soft-sided cooler that is light-weight and easy to take on road trips, picnics, to sporting events and more. It’s great to fill it with other gifts, depending on the occasion. For a wedding shower, fill it with a bottle of champagne and personalized cocktail napkins. For graduation, fill it with collegiate koozies or cups. For a baby shower, fill it with a picnic blanket and personalized bib or water bottle for the baby. You can buy them at polarbearcoolers.com or locally at 3 Threads.

Cary

Cary

My favorite gift to give to graduates is a small and basic tool kit. Screams boring, yes — it’s utilitarian, let’s just say it — but guys!!  Hammers come in flowers now! And whose day is not brightened by a flowered hammer, or a polka-dotted tape measure?? Toolkit: for those freshman-year days when the sun won’t shine, but your socket wrench will.

monogrammedgifts

Amy

Amy

For wedding/graduation/shower gift ideas, I took my lead from iGnite member Lisa Hildebrand who works at the Silver Papery in Westbank Market. It is a super fun store to shop, and they also have personalized John Hart gifts, which make great graduation gifts. Here were her suggestions — I am going to check out the personalized cutting board for some of my upcoming wedding gifts!

  • Maple Leaf Personalized Wood Cutting Boards
  • Monogrammed styrofoam or frost flex plastic cups with their new married monogram
  • Personalized Note Pads with their new married names or monogram
  • Monogrammed guest towels for guest bath
Neissa

Neissa

A gift that I think is super practical is a personalized address stamp for letter writing. After all, a newlywed couple is going to be writing tons of thank you notes, so being able to conveniently stamp their address is helpful. Plus, I personally love them!
For college graduation gifts, I give a bundle of three books that helped me when I was a struggling twenty-something college graduate trying to figure out who I was and my purpose in life. The books are: The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and Oh the Places You’ll Go, by Dr Suess. These three books are chock-full of wisdom and for me: They gave me great direction, perspective and guidance during the “tumultuous twenties”.

gifts

Molly

Molly

I am sucker for anything monogrammed!  Waffle robes with either the letter of your first name or your full monogram make a cute and extremely comfortable piece to wear around the house. I’ve also given a colorfully designed jewelry plate with a friend’s name on it as a gift. You can find both of these gift ideas at Personally Yours. My sister gifted me a very cozy Pottery Barn blanket with my new monogram embroidered in one corner as a wedding shower gift. I use it daily and love it so much that I’ve given it to friends for their wedding!

Make up towel

Kathleen

Kathleen

My new high school grad gift will be the little black wash clothes embroidered with “make up” on them.  I plan on putting the cute wash cloth into a cute clear plastic monogrammed make-up case from Personally Yours!!  Inexpensive and very useful! For boys I always give a monogrammed Texas Flag from Personally Yours. The perfect wall decor for the dude! I have had great responses from young men loving this idea — in state or out of state.

College Grad gifts are always a gift card. They are usually setting up an apartment, so I get a gift card to Crate and Barrel, Target or Ikea. They have already received all of the monogrammed items they need from HS graduation!

Happy gift buying!

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The Most Powerful Tools We Have (The ‘Antidote for Exhaustion’ Challenge III)

“Your word is the power that you have to create. Your word is the gift that comes directly from God. Your word is a force, it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think and thereby to create the events in your life. Your word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic. Depending upon how it is used, your word can set free,
or it can enslave you more than you know.  All of the magic you possess is based on your words.”
– Don Miguel Ruiz

Points to Ponder:
Are you careless with your words?
What things in your life do you do half-heartedly?

Action Item:
Focus this week on being impeccable with your words and always doing your best.
And, if you haven’t already, order your copy of The Four Agreements to read over spring break.

 

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Throughout last week I found myself relying on the advice of Don Miguel Ruiz’s two ‘agreements:’ don’t make assumptions and don’t take things personally. It really is amazing how often I need to apply these rules to my life and how much energy they conserve. I was doing a good job until Friday morning, when my father accused me of something that created an exorcist-like reaction in my body. The scenario was this: Tuesday night after putting the kids to sleep, I got a second wind and stayed up too late.  As I was about to go to bed, my three-year-old son Durant woke up and didn’t go back to sleep for another three-ish hours. Needless to say, I got about two hours of sleep. Then the next night, while I did go to bed at a decent hour, Durant and Malaine (my ten-month-old daughter) woke up again in the middle of the night…when it rains it pours, right?! Thankfully, after a diaper change and bottle, Malaine was back to sleep, but not Durant. As you might expect, I was in a sleep deficit and my body was beginning to shut down. By Thursday I had a scratchy throat with mild body aches and by the evening I was feeling pretty rough, but nothing I felt a good night’s rest couldn’t cure.

It just so happened that Thursday night my dad and step-mom spent the night with us. Typically my energy is pretty high, but that night it was low and they were aware of the past two days’ events. So, Friday morning, after a healing night’s rest, my father, whom I adore, put his arm around me and said,  “You know, for someone who has a health and fitness business, you sure don’t do a good job of taking care of yourself.”  He also suggested that my Achilles heels are lack of sleep and stress. It was at that exact moment my head spun around and my eyes bugged out of their sockets. For a minute I was speechless, but not too long afterwards I respectfully disagreed and told him all of the reasons why he was absolutely wrong. I also told him I knew he was coming from a loving place, but that he needed to retract his words. I also suggested that if he were to survey 100 moms with a three-year old and ten month old, who also have a busy traveling husband, they would be stressed too! And, ON TOP OF THAT I AM RUNNING MY OWN BUSINESS!!! Whew. I think you get the picture. Inside I was offended and fuming, which led me to call both my mom and my husband, Russell.

Clearly I took everything my dad said very personally, which led me down a rabbit hole of assumptions… Do I come across like a crazy stressed person and even worse, am I not being impeccable with my words? Do I not walk my talk, as Don Miguel Ruiz suggests is so important? Are my words meaningless? Am I a horrible leader? I’m a horrible mom!, etc. etc. etc.

While replaying by dad’s words and trying to remember that he was only trying to help, it dawned on me that while it might not always look pretty or even appear the healthiest, I can say with confidence that I always do my best, which is one of the four agreements. And, as long as I am doing my best then I can appreciate his concern, but it doesn’t go beyond that. I must also have personal confidence and discernment so I can honestly critique my best, without needing the approval of others, which is what I was shopping for from my mom and Russell.

Don Miguel Ruiz suggests that being Impeccable with your words is the most important of all four agreements, because it is the correct use of your energy; it means to use your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself and others. If you make an agreement with yourself to be impeccable with your words, just with that intention, the truth will manifest through you and clean all of the emotional poison that exists within us. But making this agreement is difficult because we have learned to do precisely the opposite. We have learned to lie and gossip for example, as a habit of communication with others. And more importantly, we have learned to lie to to ourselves, as in telling ourselves we aren’t good enough, thin enough, smart enough, pretty enough or qualified enough, which negatively effects our relationship with ourselves and with others: how we communicate with ourselves is a reflection of how we love ourselves, which gives others permission to treat us exactly the same. It’s the law of attraction.

Finally, by always doing our best, Don Miguel says that it allows the other three agreements (‘don’t take things personally,’ ‘don’t make assumptions,’ and ‘be impeccable with your words’) to become deeply ingrained habits. He also suggests to “keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next, as everything is alive and changing all of the time. Therefore, your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good. But, regardless of of the quality, keep doing your best because doing your best will allow you to be productive and to be good to yourself, because you will be giving yourself to your family, to your community and everything. Doing your best is taking action because you love it, not because you are expecting a reward.”

All in all, life is too short and too precious to not living amazingly. And, by applying the common-sense wisdom and powerful tools from The Four Agreements we optimize our ability to live our best blow-out life. If you haven’t ordered or read the book yet, it’s not too late. The iGnite team is reading it over Spring Break, and it can easily be ordered here on Amazon for less than $8.00. It will be at your doorstep within two days of ordering. The Kindle Edition is available too. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am!

 

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Fasting From Two Nasty Habits (The ‘Antidote for Exhaustion’ Challenge II)

“When you refuse to take anything personally you avoid many upsets in your life. Your feelings of anger, jealousy — and even your sadness — will disappear if you don’t take things personally.”
– Don Miguel Ruiz

Point to Ponder:
Do people ever tell you that you take things too personally or make negative assumptions?
…could they possibly be right?

Action Item:
Take the 3 scenario quiz in the journal and  order your copy of The Four Agreements to read over Spring Break.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I don’t know about you, but this whole ‘antidote for exhaustion’ topic has me spinning in all of the right directions. I find myself thinking about it all of the time and thankfully feel zero obligation to say yes to anything I’m not interested in or that will take precious time or energy away from my family and iGnite.  I’ve also caught myself red-handed in ‘comparison mode.’  The most recent example was this weekend, at a four year old’s birthday party, really!  There were lots of moms with their little boys, and sure enough, I was sizing the moms up.  I know! That’s crappy, and I hate to admit it, but I am guilty. However, when I catch myself comparing, I immediately give myself ‘a talking-to’ and analyze why in the world I just can’t be in the moment.  I suppose comparing — like the Bermuda Triangle — is one of the great mysteries of life, but I am committed to remaining aware and trying to eliminate the disgusting habit that prevents me from living wholeheartedly. And even though I don’t get on Facebook much, not having it as an option to look at and subconsciously compare through (because I’m doing the 7-day cleanse) has been immensely cleansing and freeing.

Speaking of ‘freeing,’ about twelve years ago, my husband Russell suggested that I read the short and simple book The Four Agreements.  He said it impacted his life and he thought it would do the same for mine. So, I read it and not only did it impact my life, but it changed my life and absolutely gave me the freedom that  enabled me to live less exhaustedly, and more wholeheartedly.

By taking this short quiz, let’s see if you could benefit from reading The Four Agreements:
Read these 3 scenarios and ask yourself if the reaction described sounds familiar…

  1. You run into a colleague or acquaintance and he/she doesn’t engage you in conversation and seems disinterested. You’re confused and wondering what you did to make him/her react in such an unfriendly way.
  2. You were not invited to a lunch/wedding/party that many of your friends/co-workers were invited to. Your feelings are hurt, and you think you must have done something wrong or that something is wrong with you to not be included.
  3. Someone sent you a short and monotone email (with no smiley faces, exclamation points or xo’s). You think they are upset with you and you ask yourself over and over what you said or did wrong.

To clarify, assumptions are non-truths, yet we believe they are the truth.  So, if you answered ‘yes’ to any of the three scenarios then you are guilty of making an assumption and taking it personally, which we all do all of the time.

Before reading The Four Agreements, I was completely unaware of how many assumptions I was making each day and how personally I was taking each assumption. Let’s just say I stayed emotionally exhausted — trying to be liked by everyone and always wondering why he/she didn’t say hello or looked at me in a certain way. Clearly I was letting other people’s “stuff” affect my emotions, when I’m sure what he/she did or didn’t say to me really had nothing to do with me.  All in all, it was a complete and total waste of my emotional time and energy, and when I finally stopped making assumptions and taking things personally, a new freedom and world opened up for me!

Even though I’ve read the book, it’s time for a re-read.  With Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and Spring Break all around the corner, this week I encourage you to join me in fasting from making assumptions and taking things personally. I promise this will create in you more wholehearted spiritual and emotional space, which will allow you to focus on the important endeavors in your life: the things that really matter. I also encourage you to read The Four Agreements over Spring Break. It’s a quick and simple read and can be ordered here on Amazon for less than $8.00. It will be at your doorstep within one to two days of ordering. The Kindle Edition is available too.

There are two more equally life-changing agreements in The Four Agreements that we will discuss next week. Until then, here’s to letting go of unwanted drama and emotional highs and lows!