One of my all-time favorite books is the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The book has remained on the New York Times bestseller list every year since its release in 1997, so obviously it’s also a lot of other people’s fave.
As happens every so often, I sat down to read this little gem again and for the first time started to see many applications within the world of reflexology.
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.”
This Agreement reminds me of the power my words have to either harm or support.
If I criticize and berate myself for imagined shortcomings, I will eventually erode my confidence – which will affect my ability to be truly present with my clients – which will make the planning and delivery of effective treatment plans impossible. Eventually, even the thought of seeing a client will further undermine my confidence. At some point, I won’t even want to show up.
Being impeccable with clients: I am reminded to always speak the truth – about my training, my abilities, the power of reflexology as well as its limitations. Not to exaggerate, diagnose, prescribe or hold back from offering hope. I am reminded here that my true gift is my presence, my compassion and my willingness to witness and support. This Agreement also reminds me of my responsibility to uphold confidentiality.
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.”
Many years ago I learned two very important principles: Never work harder than your clients and never offer something to someone who hasn’t told you s/he needs and/or wants it.
I’ve gotten pretty good remembering that when someone comes to me for reflexology, that’s what he or she has come for. Some people do ask me for more though, and I am happy to oblige, if I am qualified to do so and it’s within my scope of practice.
Whether or not they follow up with my recommendations and suggestions has nothing to do with me though. If they do or don’t do their “homework” is their choice. Their compliance or non-compliance, as Don Ruiz so brilliantly states, has to do with their relationship with themselves, not me.
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 misunderstanding, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.”
This Agreement reminds me that it is my responsibility to find and use my voice; to set healthy professional boundaries; to speak my truth. It takes courage and awareness to uncover core values and to speak honestly of how I am affected by clients who are chronically late; who share jokes and/or comments that I find discriminatory; and who ask too many personal questions.
The other piece of this guideline speaks to interviewing skills; the importance of donning my little detective hat and practicing respectful, open-ended inquiry so as to get the information that I need to offer my services in a safe and effective manner. Health intake forms serve as conversation openers not suppliers of information.
And most importantly, to not assume that I know what a client means by a certain word or phrase, just because I know what it means to me.
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.”
Before I can be available to take care of someone else, I must first take care of myself. I must prepare myself so that I can be present, patient, alert and useful to my clients. I can do my best by living a life of moderation; a life that is based on daily movement, adequate rest, healthy eating and nourishing relationships. Modeling a life built on healthy choices is also the most powerful way to teach.
Can you relate the Four Agreements to your practice? Do tell!