Living your values: What are you about?

My mind’s been going in a thousand different directions lately. I’ve tried meditation; I like it, I’m trying to stick with it, but if you’ve ever practiced meditation you’ll know it’s not an instant fix. It’s the opposite and that’s the whole point.

 meditation GIF

Animation by Tahlia Newland via Giphy:


That’s lovely, but when you’re on the hospital gurney, metaphorically speaking, it’s not the time to begin a discussion on eating a balanced diet and taking a daily walk. You want a tourniquet to stop the bleeding or paddles to restart the heart.

I’ll get on the healthy meditation diet, so to speak, but I need the emergency jump-start in order to make room in my life for it. And in order to make that room, I’ve got to get clear about what I’m about.

Because I’m short of memory (due to the cluttered mind), I’m writing it down here, where I can’t lose it.

Defining my values

At the risk of stating the obvious, if I want to feel connected every day to what’s important to me, I need to define precisely what it is I care about. Understanding that my values may shift a bit in priority from day to day (more on that later), I needed a top ten list. Here’s what I came up with, in no particular order (remember, they shift):

  1. Kindness
  2. Patience
  3. Generosity
  4. Openness
  5. Responsibility
  6. Hospitality
  7. Justice
  8. Humility
  9. Self-discipline
  10. Faith.

Sitting down and trying to encompass everything that’s important to me, value-wise, in 10 items or fewer proved to be a challenging but deeply useful exercise. Have you ever given it a try? What did you come up with?