It is finally time to shed the dark and heavy cloak of 2017.
As we face the first few days of the New Year, it is a natural time to look forward to what we may want to bring forth into 2018.
Many of you may have resolved to make changes, and much encouragement out to you with these resolutions!
Many of you may still be considering what this New Year will hold for you, where you will channel your energy.
I also reflect on my future at the beginning of a new year. Lately, instead of setting unrealistic goals for myself, I have focused more on setting an intention, something to guide me. I am surprised how even something this subtle, has created forward change in my life. Last year for 2017, I set an intention to bring in more music into my life. I am happy to report that this manifested many times and in many ways last year, serendipitously and planned.
This year, I am inspired by an exercise from the Mindful Self-Compassion Program that I lead. The exercise asks us to reflect on what we are things we value. It reminds us that goals are things we set to achieve, and our values guide our way. Goals are something we do, values are something we live. The course reminds us that we cannot really give ourselves what we need, if we do not know what we value. Knowing our values, and living in accordance with them, is key to self-care.
As I repeated this exercise for myself, I was surprised how incredibly powerful it was to write out my values. I discovered that there were many ways in which I WAS living in accord with my values, and many ways in which I WAS NOT living in accord with my values. I also realized my values acted as an anchor, keeping me on course as I navigate my way through my ongoing personal evolution.
Here's what was on my list:
Family. I do value family, though mine can be trying at times. I have learned that when it comes to family, boundaries are my friend. They allow me to love, tolerate, and be compassionate with them and myself.
Boundaries. As mentioned above, my relationships would not be healthy without clear and established boundaries. I truly value boundaries.
Friendships. A funny thing happens around the time you turn 40. Your life magically falls apart, just implodes, as did many of my friendships, for whatever reason. It’s all good though. I believe we all needed room to grow. It is interesting to see who has survived the wreckage of my mid-life crisis. Some people are keepers. I value their friendship tremendously. There are many others, who are no longer a part of my life, and that is ok too. For the most part, they may still be dealing with their own crash, or life has taken them in another direction away from my path. I am sure the universe will bring us together again if that is in the cards.
Freedom. My God I value FREEDOM!
Security. This is the paradox I live to survive (quote: Gord Downie – Springtime In Vienna). Can the two co-exist - Freedom and Security? I hope so because I value both.
Creativity. My medical training really killed this in me. I felt my own voice was smothered, and so was my true Self. I fight every day to bring it back through creative expression.
Nature. There is no life without the natural world to sustain it - the air, the water, the trees, this earth… Nothing heals me more than getting outside and being in Nature. Why do we treat it so poorly? I need to spend more time on the trails and in the trees. I value nature and time spent in it.
Sleep. I truly value Sleep. My body needs it.
Compassion. Let it be my guide for myself, for those around me and all beings. Remembering, as our friend Brene Brown says, there is no Compassion without boundaries (see value 2, which maybe should be value 1…).
Love. Love is the secret sauce. I vow to be guided by love this year in my actions towards myself, others and all that surrounds me.
Respect. I am learning what true respect for myself really means. How do I treat myself with respect? Do others show me the same? If they do not, why are they in my life? How do I show respect for others?
Myself. Reflecting on my life, I can see many instances in which I acted in ways, or was caught in situations, that were disrespectful to my own self. I can value respect, but if I do not also value Myself, I realize that I may fall into the trap of disrespecting myself (which conflicts with the previous value). May I value Myself enough to not be subjected to, caught in, or treat myself in a disrespectful way. Also, May I value Myself enough to put Myself to bed on time this year! (oh - another two-for-one! Get in that sleep!)
What do you value? What is on your list?
What would it be like to live in accordance with your values?
How can you bring your values forth into 2018?
How do you think this will influence your self-care?
1. The exercise was used without permission, because I did not have time to ask. But I will do so.
Source: Christopher Germer, Kristen Neff, Michelle Beker, Steve Hickman. MSC Teacher Guide.September 2015. All Rights are Reserved. I will also be offering the Mindful Self-Compassion program again in the spring,
2."We live to Survive our Paradoxes" from Springtime in Vienna from the album Trouble at the Hen House. The Tragically Hip. Song released May, 1997. OMG, that was over 20 years ago! Those were good times.Springtime in Vienna from the