I have been reflecting on what it means to be a part of something bigger than myself while at the same time, holding another truth about what it means to also be me, an individual, who matters, and has a unique perspective in this huge universe. It was humbling and it took me to a place of focusing on my intentions in life, and specifically around my intentions for this piece. I want to invite you into an experience, an experience around bringing awareness to our choices and intentionality to those choices we make, some that are conscious and some unconscious.
Let’s explore bringing awareness to our choices through the theme of values. What are values? Values are the standards and principles that you deem most important in your life.
This is about getting our minds starting to become aware of what we deem important is actually lived out in our daily lives. Sometimes I say I should prioritize something but then, in reality, my actions don't reflect my thoughts. That is when I need to reevaluate to see if it is really important to me or whether I need to make some changes around the actions in my life.
When I am aware and thoughtful about 'living' my values, I feel connected to myself, my purpose, my truth and find meaning in life. Something I relate to about this idea is the importance of making connections between our thoughts, words and feelings, "what we say our values are" and actions "the choices we make" as a result of what we say is important in our lives. When I don't feel aligned with what I say is important and what I am doing that is when I feel out of integrity, which then completely throws me out of whack.
I want to share a story with you about Alfred Nobel who realized how his actions were not in line with his values and when reflecting on that, how his choices shifted.
In 1888, Alfred Nobel, the man who invented dynamite, was reading his morning papers when, with a shock, he found himself reading his own obituary. It turned out that a journalist had made a simple mistake. It was Nobel's brother who had died.
What horrified Nobel was what he read. It spoke about "the dynamite king" who had made a fortune from explosives. Nobel suddenly realized that if he did not change his life, that was all he would be remembered for. At that moment he decided to dedicate his fortune to creating five annual prizes for those who'd made outstanding contributions in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. Nobel chose to be remembered not for selling weapons of destruction but for honoring contributions to human knowledge (a value of his!)
Okay, now that we have talked about values and bringing awareness of our choices, let's reflect and do it ourselves!
Values, this word can be exciting, daunting and/or grounding for you. Some of you might be thinking that you have no idea what your values are or where to start. Don't worry, I got you! I have a pool of values at the end of this piece to help get you started. If you know exactly where you are going to go with this, try to bring one deeper layer of awareness to really hone in on your responses. Ask yourself if your responses are by rote, or if they are the truth and/or dynamic responses alive in you! I encourage you to be honest and not answer by rote because then we are not listening to our core voices.
1. In a notebook or on post-its write three values/principles that you live by. Values are standards and principles you deem important in your life!
2. Next, choose two values/principles that you wrote and write one way you live each of them in your life.
3. Now, choose one value/principle from the two you choose and write down one step you can take to embody or add action that represents this value/principle.
This is about building awareness and starting to notice in your life where you live out the values you wrote down and where some that you deem really important are not a part of your life in a big way. Maybe, there are some other values that show up more or maybe you are noticing patterning that you don't want as present in your life. You can do it again with more or other values or even choose another topic in your life to reflect on in this way. This is the just the beginning but one that can help you evaluate how to live life proactively!
*Example Values to get you started:
Memory, Knowledge, Hope, Gratitude, Responsibility, Community, Compassion, Ambition, Diversity, Justice, Truth, Tradition
Nasya Miller is passionate. She cares about people and their stories and one of her life missions is around belonging and helping others create and discover belonging in their own lives. She is a facilitator and an experiential educator, and a life and systems relationship coach.You can find her on Instagram, Facebook and explore more about reflection experiences and other conversations around ritual on her blog.
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