Clarity is sometimes found in moments of opposition. Thus today I reflect on what anchors my buoyant spirit from drifting; thus am I drawn to what in myself are the deepest roots that feed what can only grow from within. Those roots are my values.
Values are not so much a lens through which we view the world nor a convenient way to categorize or box in experiences. Rather, values are a visceral taste or smell test – a gut check: Is what I do; what I say to others and to myself; what I watch, read, and listen to; and even what I wear in alignment with my values? Your body knows when something you value has been violated, even if your mind cannot easily make sense of it.
Values are the thing that when uprooted causes angst, anger, disgust (with others or with ourselves), etc.. Because this uprooting can have powerfully physical and emotional negative consequences, it is worth giving full-focused forethought to what your values are so that in act, word, thought, dress, etc. you can nourish the values that feed you.
My top five values are joy, courage, self-reliance, beauty, and health.
How did I identify those values? Well, it started with a simple (though not easy) exercise (like this one) involving a long list (like this one) and continued on my Pinterest boards (ahhhh sweet Pinterest). As I struggled to narrow down my values from the top 15 to 10 to 5, I happened to take a brain break to do a little pinning. Suddenly glaring into my old eyes with new vision was that I had already visually identified and labeled in an intuitive way quite a few of my values by way of my boards: Joy in life and love, Beauty, Gratitude, Sillyness, Simple wisdom, etc.
So what are your top five values that root you and that guide your decisions?
Image from pachamama.org