The Book of Angeles Arrien

Miguel Ruiz is not the only one who can express his philosophy in four lines.  Angeles Arrien says:

Show up.
Be present.
Speak your truth.
Don’t be attached to the outcome.

She was the Keynote speaker at one of the many International conferences that The Message Company used to organize in Santa Fe which is where I also encountered Guy Finley, for example, perched on a stool as I remember.


She began her address with a prayer:

Let us take care of the children for they have a long way to go.
Let us take care of the elders for they have come a long way.
Let us take care of those who are in between for they are doing the work.

She also believes that the natural rhythm of life is Medium to Slow on the basis that there are two things that we cannot do when we are in the Fast Lane: deepen the experience and integrate the experience.” 

In that same vein, she suggested that to be healthy we have to able to answer “Yes” to this question: “Is my self-worth as strong as my self-critic? Is the good, true and beautiful in my nature as strong as the whispers of the demons and the monsters?”

So, she suggested ~ like the Buddhists, she seems to like numbers! ~ that we have to pay attention to Four Bones in our body:

The Back Bone which gives us courage.
The Funny Bone which gives us a sense of humour.
The Wish Bone which contains our dreams, and
The Hollow Little Bones that allow the Mystery to work us, and not the other way around.

And she followed her little anatomical analogy with this:

We need to be aware that our heart has four chambers ~ true! ~ which she calls the Full Heart, the Strong Heart, the Open Heart and the Clear Heart. So, she suggested ~ and it is beautiful the way she can play with words ~ that we need to look to see where we are Closed-hearted, and where we are Weak-hearted and hence lacking the courage to say what we mean. To which she added that when we are Half-hearted, or unclear, we are unreliable.

Next, she identified, what she called the Two Powers that enable us, in her words, “to shape-shift into out true humanness”: The Power of Genuine Apology and The Power of Genuine Acknowledgement.

She continued with what she called Three Universal Agreements i.e. we all agree that conflicts and misunderstandings are created by people

Who don’t say what they mean.
Who don’t do what they say, and
Who don’t say what’s so, when it is so.

The avoidance of those traits is what she called “Emotional Integrity” in which context, she proposed that “We have to honour each other as the truest embodiment of enlightenment – enlightenment being the realization that we are not alone; that God dwells in each of us as we are …[so] … doesn’t everything and everyone have the right to exist?” 

Earlier, she had suggested that “the work of our time is to walk both the inner and the outer worlds without doing the splits! To learn about and express Love in all its forms and to be creative”. 

In that connection, she proposed asking ourselves four questions, which she chose to express negatively, to assess the current state of our souls and what, if anything, needed to be rekindled:

When in your life did you stop singing?
When in your life did you stop dancing?
When in your life did you stop listening to stories, including your own story?
When in your life did you stop being enchanted/comforted by the sweet territory of silence? 

Then, to avoid walking what she called The Path of the Living Dead, she proposed that we have to track four rivers every day:

The River of Inspiration: Who are our heroes/heroines?
The River of Challenge:     An invitation to grow again.
The River of Surprise:         Learn to re-open the door to magic and wonder.
The River of intimacy:       What is our capacity to love?

Later, and I thought this was kind of fun, because, in a way, what she then said has no truth to it chronologically ~ unless you apply it to the time of life rather than to the time of day ~ so maybe she was speaking metaphorically when she the suggested that we are all soft, strong and subtle creatures:

Soft, in the morning, which carries with it Love and Compassion; Strong, in the afternoon, which carries with it Strength and Clarity; and Subtle in the evening, which carries with it Refinement, Grace and Dignity.

To which, following the native tradition she added: It is a good day to fly and it’s a good day to die. 

Finally, a la Joseph Campbell who urged us to “Follow your bliss”, she ended her address with these words, which I would wish for all of us too:

Give yourself wholeheartedly to the passions that move you”.

Footnote: When I later looked at her web-site I learned that those four opening lines that I began this with are a shorter version of what she calls the The Four-Fold Way, the ways of the Warrior, Healer,Visionary and Teacher, in that order.