What Do You Value?
Episode #9 of the course Embodied mindfulness: Tools for tuning in to your health, creativity, and purpose by Mina Samuels
Glad you’re back!
How are the pauses feeling? When we live with more intention, we find that we can access our authentic creativity and purpose with less fear.
Too often, we don’t live from our authentic identity because it’s hard and scary to do so. Social media pressures us to repress the bits of us that don’t fit on our personal highlight reel. The demand for wow-aww-like-love moments is enormous. Our true self is messier, more differentiated.
Hunter S. Thompson wrote: “… to put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So, we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.”
We make the effort to be ourselves because if we don’t know who we are, then we cannot live our healthiest and most creative and purposeful life. Our authenticity is our single greatest gift. When we offer it into the world, we create abundance. Why wouldn’t we want access to its enormous generative energy? How do we allow our authentic self the safe space to emerge? What is that transformation process?
Practicing embodied mindfulness, as we have been doing over the past eight days, is one of the keys that can unlock our authenticity.
We’ve already meditated on fear. One place to start is to separate the fears we have that are real and healthy and those that are related to the fear of how we are perceived. We have to tease apart the person who current social conditions tell us that we should be from the person who we truly are. To do this, we have to know what values drive our intention.
Values are the things that we care about when no one is looking. Our values are who we are. They are what we do, how we are, and where we put our energy. Values are not what we say. They are what we do. Values are not comparative. Excellence, for example, is a value. Being better than other people is not. Kindness is a value, but only if we are not performing it for the accolades and rewards, for the “likes” on social media, or as part of a marketing campaign.
Our values are signposts, giving us direction for how we are in the world. When we are operating from a baseline of values, we aren’t stretched out on the rack of, “Do I have more or less than the next person?” We can step off the treadmill of constant comparison.
To arrive at this place of abundance, say: “I am enough.”
When we have grounded ourselves in values, when we allow our authentic self to breathe, we can see our gifts and more importantly, others’ gifts. When we look at the world from the upside perspective of gifts, we see the richness and potential. We see doors we can open, instead of obstacles. We live in possibility. This is the goal of embodied mindfulness.
Identify Your Values
I’m going to give you a long list of values. You’ll notice that authenticity is not on the list. That’s because it is not a value. Whether we are authentic is a function of whether we are living guided by our values. Begin by choosing ten from the list. If there’s a value that you don’t see on the list, feel free to add it. Set your shortlist aside for an hour or more, and then come back to it. Narrow the list to five values. Set the finalist list aside for another hour or more. Narrow the list to your top three, in order of priority, if you can.
No one is looking. The exercise is only as valuable as your willingness to be honest. As the musician Steve Mancoff puts it, “You need to tell the truth about yourself, to yourself.”
Consider how aligned your life currently is with this list of values. You might want to do a meditation on fear or even a body scan to feel how the list you’ve generated resonates. This is not a one-time list. You might find that you will revisit the list as you develop your embodied mindfulness practice.
List of values: achievement, adventure, aesthetics, agency, autonomy, communication, community, connection, compassion, courage, creativity, curiosity, decisiveness, dependability, diversity, efficiency, excellence, ethics, flexibility, forgiveness, fun, generosity, gratitude, growth, humility, honesty, integrity, intellect, justice, kindness, learning, organization, patience, power, profit, physical challenge, purpose, relationships, respect, responsibility, service, spirituality, truth, and wisdom.
Perhaps the most fundamental of these values listed is gratitude, which is our topic for tomorrow and our last day together here.
Value the day!
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