i am doing an online course run by these lovely ladies and i was asked to come up with my five personal values.
i've done work like this before, but having had a rocky few months and having felt like everything is shifting in life, i thought it best to dive in again. in light of everything, in light of feeling lost and hurt, in life of not knowing what will happen in my career and in my personal life, in light of the changes in my personality and understanding of self: what things/values/intentions do i live by?
i came up with the list above. i'm still trying it on for size. not sure i got the words right, but i think i am close.
today, as i was moving thru my apartment, i was thinking about how i may embody them (it was one of our assignments to ponder this and i found the assignment hard and so i put it down for a rainy day). it is one thing to say these are my values and it is quite another to live them. i was worried that i wasn't embodying them. that i put some nice words on some paper and that was the end of it. but as i made my way through the morning, i realized that in many ways i am embodying them. i am living them. they just may not be the ways i thought. so i thought i'd share some of the ways i thought of my values and my embodiment of those values today. i also wrote out how i am defining these values for myself.
authenticity :: groundedness, honesty, doing what i love and want, showing up, speaking up, not sacrificing myself or my values, presence, being more myself now than ever before, truth, cultivating my style and voice, being angry when i need to be, being sad when i need to be, feeling what i feel without apology
this morning as i was taking my comforter down to the laundry room because my lovely pup decided to throw up on it (he is fine...he sometimes has morning tummy troubles if he didn't eat much the night before...), i looked down at what i was wearing and noted that i really liked the outfit. it felt very me. and lately i've been getting more compliments on what i've been wearing--which is always nice--but the really nice part is that each time i've gotten a compliment, i felt like i was wearing something that was me. that made me comfortable and feel good and feel beautiful and feel stylish. today it is a nice big skirt in a lovely burnt orange paired with black and white top and shoes and sweater. this is one way i can and do embody authenticity. i am not wearing this skirt because a magazine told me to, but because i saw it and liked it and tried it on and it felt like me. what is also authentic to me? not wearing makeup except on very special occasions. wanting to wear heels but then my knees telling me not to. always carrying a book and a notebook in my bag. loving my natural curls even while i sometimes miss straightening my hair. noticing race and gender dynamics as soon as i walk into a room. yearning for someone to slow dance with. despite trying to push away from it, it seems the color yellow is a part of me. the list goes on and on...
education :: curiosity, supporting others' learning, reading, never giving up, learning something new all the time, learning more about myself whenever possible
i struggled to write a short paper on minstrelsy on sunday because i kept learning more and more as i researched and wanted to include it all in the paper but it was impossible. i then wondered if i should get my phd. i wonder this at least once a week. i then felt frustrated because i got a book suggestion from a friend, but i am in the middle of a book and i don't even have time to read that book, not to mention the 30+ books i seem to have bought in the last three months EVEN THOUGH I HAVE NO TIME TO READ THEM.
i want to live on a desert island filled with books.
okay, i want to live in a nice bungalow by the water in some non-earthquake zone place that is filled with books, has a handsome man that is my lover that also loves to read and loves jazz and wants to dance with me on the beach, while i am researching something for a play, but also my novel and also my phd.
that is the sexy, authentic version of my education value dream.
health :: feeling balanced, feeling strong, connecting to myself, to others, to nature, moving my body (yoga, running), letting go, meditation, therapy, anything that feels like self-care, actually going to the doctor's and dentist, flossing
this weekend i ran a half marathon. i wrote a big sappy instagram post about it. i beat my previous times in a major way. the entire run i was amazed by how fast i was moving. now, i am a slowpoke to the rest of the world, but i could feel how my legs were moving faster than normal. i could feel my lungs working. i could feel my body using itself, pushing itself. it was an amazing thing to feel as i ran. it has occurred to me again and again that this running i've been doing has been as much about my physical health as it has been about my emotional health. i ran to see what my body can do and what my mind can let go of. and now, i am recovering. i was going to workout today, but i decided that my legs needed one more day of just walking and being. that is health too.
another thing too...yesterday i was feeling really stressed. i've gotten some good news the past few days, but it is good news that could still go bad, or good news with strings attached that aren't exactly the easiest strings to untangle. i was feeling frustrated and angry and sad and impatient and anxious. i then had meditation class. two hours of breathing, meditating, and discussing meditating. as soon as i left class, i looked at FB and saw that someone had gotten something awesome, someone else had had a baby, and someone else had gotten engaged. all the icky feelings i had been feeling before class came back...but with a difference: i was also able to recognize that i am where i am supposed to be. it may not be the place i want to be, but it is where i am supposed to be right now. great for all of my friends that they are supposed to be where they are supposed to be right now. i felt calmer, more grounded, despite the feelings. healthier, you could say.
another small thing: while running the half marathon i decided against listening to this song because it reminds me of my ex. but then the next day it came on and i realized i love the song and kind of want the life that i feel the song, if it were a person, would have and i realized that sometimes what is good and self-caring and healthy for you can change and shift depending on the circumstances.
also, i am itching to go on a hike. i am not sure i've ever written those words down before, but it is true. i feel the urge to be in nature, to feel connected to it. which brings me to...
connection :: love, reaching out to friends and family, taking a deep breath, feeling my feet on the ground, long walks, meditation, writing, sharing
i wrote a play this weekend. it is dark and who knows if it is any good, but i wrote it. and it was the easiest play i've written in years. seriously, i sat down on my couch and the words came tumbling out of me. on saturday, i wrote the majority of it from 11am to 6pm. i would keep looking at the clock, so confused by where the time had gone. i was lost in a vortex of words and creativity and it has been a really fucking long time since i felt that. i felt connected to my creativity. i felt grounded as i wrote. i felt connected to my work and my dreams and my ideas. i felt connected to myself in a way i hadn't in a while. i've been feeling disconnected and this reminded me why i love to write and that, perhaps, i am exactly where i need to be (i'm sensing a theme...).
compassion :: love, understanding, friendship, openness, forgiveness, service, gratitude, self-love, letting go, setting up boundaries, not being my own worst enemy, support
at 3am, when i was unable to sleep, i came across this video by brene brown shared by a friend.
i realized that i've been scared to put up boundaries in my life. i've been scared to say when something is not okay. i realized that this is the struggle i have currently with choosing not to talk to my ex. i have felt like the most compassionate/good person/loving thing to do was stay friends. after all, i love(d) him--how can i be compassionate/good/loving by saying to someone i love(d) that i don't want them in my life? and yet four months ago, i said just that and it hasn't always sat well in my tummy. but watching the video i realized that some part of me knows that i need to set up a boundary. i need to be able to say this was not okay for me. i understand, you did the best you could, but it was not okay for me. and the type of friendship that we were trying to have, for a number of reasons, was not okay for me. i understand, you did the best you could, i did the best i could, but it was not okay for me. and i realized i needed to set up a boundary. one that allowed for me to stay true to who i am, that allowed me to care for him in a way that did not hurt me, that allowed him to go off and do whatever he needs to do. this boundary is about being loving and compassionate to myself--and to him. this boundary, and other boundaries i find myself making these days, are about compassion and love and, ultimately, my health as well.
there are, of course, more ways that i live these values. some more serious than others. but the important thing is that i am embodying the things that i feel are most important, in ways that feel true to myself. i am trying to hold onto that feeling. that being true to myself is most important--not true to how someone else wants you to be or thinks you should be or thinks you are. and that is a boundary i am drawing to. i want this in my life, not that. i am me, not who you think i am. this is my life, not yours.
these are my values, not necessarily yours. and how lovely that is.