Last week I challenged you to come up with a list of values that uniquely describe who you came here to be in the world. What did the important people in your life tell you about what’s important to you?
In Thrival Skills 101, in chapter 4 there is a section called: Visualization. I encourage you to read it and answer the questions it asks. This will help you get clarity around what’s important to you in the different arenas of life such as life work, financial security, health, family/friends, significant other, community, spiritual life, recreation/fun, to name a few.
As important as it is to determine what your desires in each of those areas of your life are, it’s even more important, in my mind, to get a better understanding of how you want to show up in each of those arenas. The work you did last week in uncovering your values is key. For they act as a North Star in our lives—keeping us in alignment with our overarching individual life purpose and informing our specific mission in each of our life arenas.
Our mission may be different in each life sphere, but it will be infused by our vision and our values. Let me use my life as an example. My current professional life mission is to be a catalyst in moving others toward a more awakened state of being in the world through writing, consulting, teaching, speaking and mindfully interacting with others of all ages, backgrounds and cultures. My values are: kindness, learner, committed, creative, mindful, futuristic, connectedness.
The following story illustrates how one’s vision, mission and core values interact with one another in making life decisions—both big and small. I believe we are called to be of service, and this happens where our deepest desires and the needs of the world intersect. My story is about the learner in me recognizing that it was time to move on. I had been at the University of Houston for 17 years and loved my work, yet I was also experiencing what I call “divine discontent”. I was being called to something more. I wanted to be able to bring these Accelerated Learning (AL) principles about which I was so passionate to a broader audience. I wanted to expose not only teachers, but also school principles to this amazing teaching methodology which I believe honors each learner.
Sometimes pursuing our dreams means we also have to give up something. In this case it meant giving up a job I loved to become a full-time doctoral student in education. Both because I am a learner and because commitment is such an important value to me, making the decision to commit full-time to my education meant I would be able to put my whole self into this new adventure. And because connection is another of my core values, I chose to move to a part of the country whose mountains, rivers and streams fed my connection to the environment.
Mindfulness—for me, means listening to that still small voice inside and honoring its guidance even when it may cause disquiet in others. In this instance, I was mindful that my children were not particularly happy about my decision to move. Although I wanted to support them in whatever way I could, this new life direction had such a strong pull on me that I literally felt I would die spiritually if I did not follow this soul call. So, I did. I applied and was accepted at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro (UNCG). And I worked in this field for a number of years. But in 2009, I got another soul call.
This call was precipitated by my being laid off. Not finding work in my chosen field, I asked—“What’s next?” and was guided to create a spiritual education program. The book, Thrival Skills 101 and subsequently this blog is the outgrowth of listening to the next calls that came my way.
Creative can have the meaning we normally attribute to it and I often think of myself as using my creativity when I write, when I prepare a lesson plan, when I create all the posters, etc. that go with delivering a lesson, but that word also has a deeper meaning for me. I am creative when I am listening deeply to that still, small voice within and following it’s guidance. The beauty of this kind of creativeness is that we often don’t know where it will lead, yet we are willing to follow the call trusting that where our higher-self calls us will not only be for our highest good but the highest good of all involved.
When I think of describing myself as a futurist, I simply light up inside. I am always on the look out for new ideas, new ways of being and doing that will take all of us closer to my vision for our world. My vision is: A spiritually awakened world in which all people live in joyful gratitude. Can you imagine what it would be like to live every minute of every day in joyful gratitude? Can you imagine the love and support we would be giving one another and our environment? This thought is what motivates me to get up every day, to keep learning, to keep sharing. It is also what leads me naturally into my sixth core value—kindness.
In Corinthians, Chapter 13, often thought of as the love chapter in the Scriptures, it reminds us that we can do all things, be all things, but if we have not love, all is for naught. For me, another word for love is kindness. Sometimes, I can get so focused on a project that I’m not really aware of those around me. In those instances, I stop myself—sometimes! —and ask: What’s really important here? And then I am reminded of my other two values—connectedness and kindness—and ask myself: Am I living in congruence with those two values in this situation?
And now, it is your turn to share. What are your core values? How do they inform your daily interactions? Your major life decisions? This blog—if I am understanding the purpose of blogs correctly—is to be about us sharing with and learning from one another. I invite you to share your story, your values, your understanding of who you came here to be.