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One of my favorite "self-help" books is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  The 4 agreements are simple and profound.  They seem easy enough.  The reality is that they are easier said than done.

The first agreement is "Be impeccable with your word."

Ouch!

The first time I read that, I scoffed.  This Don guy must be an introvert.  It's so much easier to be impeccable with your word when you're an introvert and don't talk much.  Not so easy for an extrovert like me...a person who loves words, loves to talk, loves to communicate.  

I really try to be impeccable with my word, but then my humanness gets in the way.

When I hear something slip out of my mouth, something a little less than "impeccable", I hope it goes unnoticed.  And for the most part, it does, mostly because I'm just not "all that".  

Usually the people I'm around aren't really paying that much attention to what I'm blathering about because, if the truth be told, their mind is most likely wandering and they're wondering what they're going to have for dinner that night, is that spot on their arm skin cancer or are they going to be the next in a line of lay-offs at the company they work at?

It doesn't hurt to have people in our lives that hold us accountable for our words and our actions. Spouses are good for that.  Trusted friends are another.  Our children can be irritatingly competent at calling us on the gaps between our words and our actions.

What I never suspected would be a monitor of my words was my beloved and trusted iPhone.

What is with this thing? The iPhone is so advanced it has a mind of its' own!  Have you had this experience with your iPhone?  It calls people randomly.  People on your call list...people you know!

Sometimes you catch this and more often than not, you don't.  You look down and see that your phone has been connected to someone for a couple of minutes and you scratch your head and search your brain for anything you might have been mumbling out loud.  You know you've talked out loud to yourself more than a few times, maybe more than what might be considered "normal".  

Usually you've said nothing and later the person your iPhone called says, "Mary, it looks like you called me the other day but didn't leave a message."  Phew!

My luck ran out the other day.

I was driving up to the mountains and left messages for both my daughters, daughters A and B.  Daughter B had just texted me so I knew she was near her phone. My iPhone rang and not bothering to look at caller ID, I answered.   Hearing the familiar sound of Daughter B’s voice, I launched into what is, in therapist world lingo, a "triangulation".

Triangulations are NOT healthy.  It's when one person is talking about another person to a third person.  We justify triangulations, which is another word for gossip, because there seems to be something fun about it.   It makes us feel superior and as a culture, we love drama.   Oh, how we love to create our own soap operas.

So I'm telling daughter B not to tell daughter A something, because daughter A really doesn't need to know about it, it might hurt her feelings, and we really don't want to hurt her feelings, etc. etc.

There's a pause and then a voice says, "Well, Mom, the only problem with this story is that you are talking to daughter A!!!!"

BUSTED!

I began to stammer and try to pour out words to use as salves to the wound I had surely just inflicted.  My daughter interrupts me.  "Mom, Mom, Mom!  Don't even try it!  You just nailed yourself and no amount of words is going to get you out of this!  You were just triangulating and you know how unhealthy that is!"

Damn these children who have been raised by a therapist and know how to throw around professional language they've never been trained to use!

My daughter forgave me but I haven't heard the last of that story, I' can tell you that much.

Not sure why I'm blaming the iPhone for this, but it helps to think there was an accomplice involved and I'm not entirely responsible.

One time, one of my sister’s iPhone called me (not Just Cathy, just so you know).  It took me a minute or two to realize that she hadn’t called me and was in the midst of a therapy session.  She was going on and on about her most recent troubles.  I had to force myself to hang up because actually her stories were quite compelling and juicy and could be used for future sibling blackmail, but being a person of integrity, I resisted the temptation.

Yesterday, I was talking to my best friend.  We had been playing phone tag for a couple of days. Our call had been interrupted several times from the beeps of incoming calls that were ignored.  We were finally getting to the point of maybe getting caught up when yet another call comes in.  

I looked down at caller ID and saw that it was my dear husband.  Only at that particular moment, he was not my dear husband.  He was yet another unwanted interruption.

"Uggggh Lorraine, it's Nick.  Ugghhh gawd, I better take his call."

When I look down at my phone, I saw that it was already connected to Nick.  I didn't touch a thing!  I didn't click the button that goes to the call that's coming in.

Me:  "Oh hi honey, how you doing sweetie sweets?"

Him:  "I heard that."

Me:  "Heard what?"

Him:  "I just heard that.  Never mind, it wasn't important."  Click.

Damn, damn and double damn!

There's another term in therapy world and it's called a "positive reframe."  It's when you take something that to be honest is really crappy, and you get really creative and find the treasure in the messiness so you don't have to feel so crummy about the crappy thing.  While I call this a "reframe", others may call it "delusional".

I went into the house to make amends to my husband and give him a positive reframe on what had just happened.  How he may have even imagined the annoyed sound in my voice.  How I got off the phone to take his call, how important he is, blah, blah blah.

He wasn't buying any of it.  Now I call that "denial."

I’ve been thinking since then of my iPhone's inclination to be my fly on the wall.  I'm getting Buddhist real quick.  There are no more sacred spaces of being alone, unless I turn my phone off.  I can't do that because I might miss a very critical important phone call.

So I'm becoming more mindful, more aware of the words that come out of my mouth.  Are they being used to uplift or tear down?

My iPhone has become my mentor and my conscience.  Its' presence reminds me that words, once uttered, can never be retrieved.

I'd like to call that "enlightenment".



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