Getting in touch with our values

November 14th, 2015

by Bonnie Cardell

Getting in touch with our values

  • Count five values you cannot live without or which define you or bring meaning to your life
  • Think about these identified values for five minutes per day and before you go to bed
  • Track if you wake up with a different feeling towards yourself or your actions
  • Be amazed at what you created
  • Decide if this is still working for you and what you might want to leave behind with the Autumn\fall

Autumn is a time for retreat, or more specifically for taking count, stepping back and regrouping in preparation for winter. After being forced to remedy a stash of pine nuts in our attic last month due to a ‘squirrel invasion,’ I reflected on how connected we humans are and how nature is the perfect reminder of how we should behave. Some people are sensitive to seasonal depressions. Some of us try to ignore nature’s signals for slowing down. Halloween is also a reminder of the liminal space [occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold] between the dead and the living and another one of nature’s reminders, which we have embodied by ritual to give and receive gifts from the ancestors, honor their wisdom and take count of our inherited values both familial and cultural.

During my meditation practice today I thought of five things I learned from my ancestors and also five things I personally value, based on what I have learned either from my ancestors who tried to guide me or from my own wisdom and life experience. I decided a wonderful way to honor the Autumn and the change of seasons for me would be to take five minutes per day and think about these five values, and think about the actions I am creating in my life and whether I can trace my actions and my daily living back to my five most prominent values. I’m taking count to make sure I’m “living it right.” I’m hoping to leave behind what isn’t working and what no longer emanates from my heart.

If you feel you are winding down, feeling depressed, or just don’t feel motivated. Maybe your actions need to be reassessed for connection to your values. Try identifying five values you have gained in your life or from your ancestors, living or dead, and apply these to the things you do. Are they in discord? Do they match up? Taking count is one way to get back in touch with what is meaningful. We have the whole winter to contemplate what to do with this new knowledge. Then in spring we plant the seeds and begin afresh.

Taking count also leaves room for failure, because it is only through failure we learn how to succeed. This is life’s wonderful trick! As in nature, things may not be what they appear to be at first glance – even when we look them straight in the eye. It might be the perceiving eye has a blemish, or a blind spot for the truth. And maybe we cannot see truth until we know what it is? And if truth is ever-changing like the seasons, then surely we can forgive ourselves for what didn’t work and let nature take its new course. This is my new perceived understanding of, “TRICK-OR-TREAT.”

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