The Neoshamanistic Book That's Inspiring My Daily Life and the Perfume That Totally Goes With It

This isn’t a prelude to a cult invitation or something — just an enthusiastic book and perfume recommendation.
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Maya Dodd
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This isn’t a prelude to a cult invitation or something — just an enthusiastic book and perfume recommendation.

Don Miguel Ruiz is cool. Really cool. 

[Amber-Allen Publishing]

[Amber-Allen Publishing]

Author of the book The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom, he was raised in a family of healers in Mexico, and I guess kind of disappointed them all by going off to medical school when they hoped he’d continue the family legacy. For years, he was a surgeon until he had a near-death experience, which caused him to realize there’s a world outside the one we physically experience, or what he called “pure awareness.” 

Whatever it was, it was so strong that he returned home, finished training, and became a shaman.

In The Four Agreements, he basically lays out four agreements (duh) you should live by to achieve happiness. And who doesn’t want happiness? I absolutely love, love, love this book; it’s one of the few books that I’ve written and highlighted in. What I like about Don Miguel is that he’s direct; every sentence in this book is quotable. Some new age books overcomplicate things, but everything here is simply put. A ton of Toltec wisdom all boiled down into four points.

You don’t have to agree to do anything you don’t want to. I certainly don’t! This isn’t a prelude to a cult invitation or something. So just think of these like suggestions or promises you might want to make with yourself.

1. Be impeccable with your word.

Basically, just don’t talk shit about other people or yourself. This rule is very The Secret, in that your word has the power of attraction. So if you put out negativity, that’s what you get back and vice versa.

2. Don’t take anything personally.

This one was written for me. I take everything personally, I am uber-sensitive. I had a little mini-breakthrough at the sentence “Nothing others do is because of you,” which was a much-needed slap in the face to my narcissism. 

But it’s true isn’t it? When you don’t let other people’s opinions faze you, you save yourself from needless stress. So I’m all for utilizing an IDGAF attitude in the name of spirituality.

3. Don’t make assumptions.

This piggybacks on number two, except with one of those calls to action, which I am never a fan of. But basically, you actually do have to express and articulate what you want. Communicate. Don’t internalize because you will drive yourself crazy trying to figure people out when you could just ask them. 

So instead of building a whole scenario in my head where everybody hates me, I can just ask that girl why she side-eyed me.

4. Always do your best.

I am lazy. My “best” is usually mediocre. I won’t lie — a lot of the time (especially academically) I could do a lot better. But if you do your best, you can’t (or at least shouldn’t) judge yourself no matter the outcome. Plus I love the little bit that “your best changes from moment to moment.” No one is 100 percent all the time. I’m usually a solid 75 percent, and that’s on a good day.

Now, just think how nice your life might be if you followed those four rules. Or maybe not nice at all because life still gets pretty shitty. But at the least it might be less complicated. 

Obviously, it’s impossible to follow all the agreements to a T. But to me, they’re nice little reminders to have when those trouble-making gears in your head start turning. Plus, the book is compact, which means you can shove it down in your purse and carry it everywhere, as I do.

On to the perfume, though. 

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So if you haven’t heard of Harvey Prince fragrances, get with it! Some of the best perfumes ever come from that brand. When I think of a meditative state of mind, I think of fresh, clean, brain-stabilizing smells. And in comes Yogini

It smells floral, and citrusy, and musky. Think top-dollar yoga class. The notes of amber, jasmine, incense, and myrrh make you feel like the poster child for aromatherapy — calm, put together, and well-adjusted. It even comes in a cool rollerball format. Bonus!

So, what new agey books are you reading, and what mood-based perfumes are you drowning yourself in?