I guess I just like words

I think English words taste like pickles: crunchy on the outside with savory, meaty middles.

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Spanish is like a Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window, its colorful geometry sliding into place like the children’s game Rush Hour.

Speaking Arabic is like putting on gilded silk robes that I don’t deserve.

Hebrew diffuses through my veins, and Yiddish sends me spiralling into my ancestors.

When I sat in French class, I was able to peer into a manicured francophone antique store that enthralls me.

And when I preach my dreams of universal Esperanto, I feel the international interdependency of the future colliding with the frilly beauty of antiquity. 

I was barely twelve when I sat on a train pouring words onto a page, words that sounded right, that fit right, that like singing nails resonated in my chest.

I was a silversmith working self-righteous metal into ornate rings around fingers black with mud.

Four Letters

Love is just a four letter word thrown around like a feather.

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I used to throw it around without a care because, to me, it was just a word.  At least, that’s what I told myself.

Then, one day, I fell in love.

It was the strongest emotion I had ever felt.  It was like when you’re a kid and you got to sleepover at your best friend’s house on a school night.  I felt like I was flying.  Nothing could ever break me down.

Then, he ripped me to shreds.  He tore my heart out and stomped on it without ever looking back.

That four letter word lifted me higher than I had ever been.  Then, tore me down faster than I fell for his lies.  It was the strongest emotion I had ever felt.  Then, I felt the aftermath of it: heartbreak.

Now, I wonder how anyone could ever say that word in the first place.

Love is not just a four letter word.

The Four Agreements

I stumbled upon a book today, The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz.

My dad told me about the Four Agreements when I was in third grade.  Being an 8-year-old, I thought nothing of them.

But now, they are of value to me.

The Four Agreements are devices used to end needless suffering.  By following the Agreements, one can (in theory) achieve serenity.

The Four Agreements are:

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

I find the first three to be the most helpful to me personally.  Number 2, Number 1 and Number 3 (in that order) are what will reducing my suffering the most and the most quickly.

The book has each of the Agreements as the subject of a chapter.  Ruiz goes on to explore each Agreement in depth, providing examples for the reader and from his own experience.

The concept of the Four Agreements is based off of ancient Toltec teachings.  The book, and the Agreements themselves are really, truly worth a look.

Ruiz emphasizes that much of suffering comes from selfishness and the unwillingness to let others see our imperfections.  It is a bit of a blow to the ego, reading about how we are the sole cause of our suffering and anxiety.  But nonetheless, a much-needed blow.

So seriously, check it out.  Maybe start your attempt at serenity today.  I think I have.