The annual I Can Do It workshops last month in Melbourne and Sydney were a feast of inspiration, says Margaret Evans
When the day starts bright and early with an exuberant, fun loving 85 year old sharing the stage with her protege, glamorous in killer heels in her early 50s, we know we're in for a great weekend. And so it transpired at this year's I Can Do It event in Melbourne in mid August, to be followed the next weekend in Sydney.
A full house of 2000, mainly women but with a good smattering of men and even a moving cameo performance by star footballer Harry O'Brien, was treated to some of the most impressive minds working in today's holistic industry - just as we've come to expect from this event in recent years.
After the 'warm up' act of Louise L. Hay herself and Cheryl Richardson, who, after travelling together for more than a year, share a delightful chemistry as they relate anecdotes and wisdom about bringing awareness to life's small everyday beauties, we were treated to workshops from a rollcall of New York Times bestselling authors, Cheryl again, Robert Holden, Suze Orman and on Sunday, Doreen Virtue, Don Miguel Ruiz and Neale Donald Walsch. We could hardly fail to be inspired and uplifted as these thoughtful writers, all of them consummate presenters, set about offering us the tools and insights to transform our lives. In a weekend that entertained and often moved me, as well as validating many of my own thoughts, it's almost impossible to pick a stand out. But the speaker who brought a tear to my eye, as much through his gentle manner as his rare wisdom, was Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements which has sold a staggering five million copies since it was first published 15 years ago.
Making his first visit to Australia, a triumph of courage and perseverance over almost overwhelming odds (after a major heart attack 10 years ago he was given only a year or, at most, two to live and travelling was virtually ruled out) Don Miguel radiated serenity and love.(As we learned later from Neale Donald Walsch, this was a small triumph in itself as Don Miguel had left his speech notes at home.)
None of us guessed his anxiety as he swept us up in 90 minutes of soul enriching truth, surely a case of complete belief in his key message to us that "everything is perfect just the way it is."
According to Don Miguel, a shaman or nagual of his Toltec heritage of southern Mexico, "the idea of imperfection is the biggest lie that humans create. How can we believe that we are not perfect when everything we perceive is perfect?"
He continued; "I'm not perfect is a great excuse. We don't need teachers, masters or gurus. We are our own master but the problem is we don't believe in ourselves.
“We are all only one living being. Every single cell is a whole universe - and it is perfect. Humanity is just an organ of a bigger living being, planet Earth. The atmosphere, the forests, the oceans all are other organs. They all need to work together for the equilibrium of planet Earth."
The First Agreement as Don Miguel explored in The Four Agreements, a distillation of Toltec wisdom on how to transform our lives from self limiting beliefs to experience true liberation and love, is ‘To Be Impeccable with Your Word’, in other words to speak with integrity and truth.
"Truth and love," Don Miguel tells us, "are synonymous. Love just exists - we create all those lies. It's the same with truth. We fear what we don't know. Knowledge creates fear. The biggest fear that knowledge creates is the fear of the unknown. More than 90% of our whole creation is based on lies."
The Second Agreement of the book, ‘Don't Take Anything Personally’, applies, Don Miguel says, "mainly to the interaction with yourself.
"We create our own identity. It's hard to believe that you are not that identity. But when you know this truth it will set you free."
His words give us the key to true freedom: "Have the courage to be yourself - to say 'no' when you want to say no; say 'yes' when you want to say yes. You no longer need to pretend to be what you are not."
Continuing in his understated way with the help only of an overhead projection of his words in case we have difficulty with his Mexican accent (I don't but am nevertheless impressed with the skill of the transcriber who barely falters over 90 minutes and all without any notes as a guide), Don Miguel tells that whatever we have in our life, good and bad, is our creation. The Toltec people, of whom he is a proud descendant, would know - Toltec, we learn, means artist. Echoing the powerful words of Mahatma Gandhi to, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Don Miguel tells us we have the opportunity to change our life if we change the main character in our personal story, ourself.
"Truth existed long before the beginning of humanity and will exist long after the extinction of humanity. Everything can change. Humanity itself can change if you start changing. It's up to you. No one else has the right to tell you how to live your life."
The key, says Don Miguel coming to the crux of his message to us, is to understand that our innate divinity, that with which we are born, something he calls the First Program, is perfect. The problems of life arise when we fall victim to our own creation and all it entails - fear, anger, jealousy, anxiety, pride, emotional pain. The list is long and all too familiar!
"Imperfection only exists in the virtual reality created by the Second Program. And it's not real. It's a lie." The internal dialogue that arises from this conflict is, as Don Miguel describes it, "like being at a party with so many people talking, but nobody is listening".
"When we end the conflict in our head we will get that inner peace." Practices like yoga, prayer or meditation will all help but they will only take us part of the way.
"We need a strong will and enough discipline to make it work. Everything is possible if we really want it. Practice will create that inner peace."
Don Miguel tells us he believes in angels, the word ‘angel’ meaning 'messenger' in ancient Greek. "We are all messengers and we deliver messages all the time. But what kind of messages are we sending? And, most importantly, which is the message that you deliver to yourself? Do you deliver truth or lies?"
As the world enters the last third of 2012, a year of great transformation as predicted by other peoples of the Meso-American world, Don Miguel urges us to make a pact with ourselves to take complete responsibility for every decision that we take from now on in our lives. No small challenge!
On the pivotal date of December 21, 2012 where some predict doom, Don Miguel Ruiz, the Toltec shaman and man of peace, assures us "nothing will happen unless we want it to happen."
Rather than succumbing to fear, instead he urges us to "make an agreement for the end of superstition, the end of fanaticism and the return of the truth.
"Learn to love ourselves, have faith in ourselves and change our lives. We all have the right to be happy and our mission in life is to be happy."
Ninety minutes in the company of Don Miguel Ruiz, now rejuvenated after heart transplant surgery 18 months ago, is a wonderful antidote to life's concerns. He has that rare gift of opening the doorway to reveal the truth just waiting for us to be brave enough to step forward and grasp.
You may also want to read "Toltec Teacher", Rosamund Burton's interview with Don Miguel in our June issue - http://www.novamagazine.com.au/article_archive/2012/2012-06-tolec-teacher.html