Values

This post is inspired by week 2 of the Simplify Your Life challenge that’s been running all year. Having just stumbled across Deb’s Home Life Simplified blog I’m coming in halfway through on the challenge but I am determined to give catching up a red hot go!

Values are so important. Yet when I think about actually coming up with a set, writing them down, being clear, I squirm. I feel as if exercises like this trivialise things. It’s to do with my fear of being average, stereotypical, normal, in a category, mundane. That’s a cop out of course. Nothing could ever make me mundane. So here is a rundown of my values exercise and a list of the top five.

I thought about the questions Debra posted and came up with some values:

Love

This is important because as a really intellectual type I can often dismiss love. Not that I’ve ever thought it wasn’t vitally important to life, but the whole ‘all you need is love’ thing has always been easy to criticise for me. I’ve always said that surely you need more than love – commitment, understanding, respect, trust, communication, awareness, etc etc etc… Yes, that’s true, but recently I’ve realised that love IS all of those things.  So you only need love.

Communication

I write. It’s what I’ve always done. Even before I was taught to write, I was trying to write. I talk a fair bit too, for someone who is technically an introvert. But despite all that, communication can still break down. And if it does, it’s disastrous. As human beings, we need communication more than any other animal to progress and move through our lives peacefully. If we don’t communicate, we deny our very humanity.

Positivity

A few years ago, I may not have even mentioned this. In fact, ten years ago I might have been unable to utter the word without rolling my eyes or cringing. I was once one of those people who looks at happy people and resents them. I found positive thinking to be unrealistic and for people whose lives were easy. And that’s just the point; life is easier when you think positively. With my recent reading of Louise L Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, I’m gaining a new and amazing understanding of just how important positive thoughts are in our lives. I don’t know if anyone’s nerdy enough to recall, but the opening credits of the show Monkey, or Monkey Magic, as it was known to me (70s Japanese production about a group of spirits and a priest taking Buddhist scrolls from China to India) featured a voiceover explaining Monkey’s birth ‘from a certain rock, old as creation’ which ‘became magically fertile’.  That voiceover reverberates around my head with the words: ‘Tathagata Buddha, the father Buddha said, “with our thoughts we make the world”.’  It sounded bizarre to me as a kid but it makes perfect sense now.

Trust

By this, I simply mean trust in the Universe. Things happen for a reason; nothing is arbitrary; life is exactly as it should be. Even in the most dire of circumstances, we need to trust that we are on a path to enlightenment and we will be shown the answer if we are open and ready.

Ambition

I’m not necessarily talking about gaining wealth or finding a career path. By being ambitious I’m referring to always remaining ready and open for greatness, to be the best you can be. We don’t abide by mediocrity. That’s not to say we don’t accept failure or mistakes. As long as you stay true to yourself and make every effort to find your path, you are everything. I’m talking here about striving for greatness and not being afraid to let your light shine. There is a great Mandela quote that my mum used to have stuck to the toilet wall (next to the Desiderata and a chart of famous composers throughout history). I can’t recall the exact words but it was something like: ‘Our greatest fear in life is not failure; it is being great beyond measure.’ We should never be afraid to be the best we can be.

There are a lot more values I could include in my list but for the purposes of this exercise, we’ll keep it at top five. I must confess I have found it hard to prioritise them!  But using the suggestion of narrowing it down to only one, then doing this five times over, I have ordered them thus:

Love

Trust

Positivity

Communication

Ambition

I’m not really sure what will come of this, to be honest, if anything, but I am willing to change and I am willing to begin from where I am right now. Here’s a clip of Monkey for your viewing pleasure!

Self-destruction

Lately I’ve been feeling very torn. I want a lot in my life and most of what I have now isn’t right. I’ve always found it easy to blame people or circumstance for my life being so far from ideal. Recently I’ve begun to realise that I only have myself to blame.

I am the best excuse-maker in the world. I am slack, lazy. I have no willpower. Most bad stuff that happens, it’s my fault. No, seriously, it’s true. And it’s all because I can’t put my foot down, draw a line. I always have these grand plans, intentions, but they never work out. I can’t pull myself out of my laziness! I am in self-destruct mode.

I am not sure how long I’ve been in self-destruct mode. My whole life? It may even be my natural state. I waste so much time. And then I get stressed because I didn’t achieve anything the whole day. And Mr Chewbacca gets pissed off because he can’t understand why I haven’t done stuff.

My ideal day would involve a healthy breakfast and lunch, home made of course. I would enjoy those meals with my son. We’d do a bit of playing and I’d really be with him, not distracted by anything. He would go down for a nap for an hour during which time I’d meditate and do some yoga and perhaps have my shower quickly. I’d know what I was cooking for dinner and I’d have it ready when Mr Chewbacca gets in so we could all eat together. If the Dude wouldn’t have his nap in bed, I’d put him on my back and read while he sleeps. We may go for a walk with the pram. Some days I would iron some shirts. Others I’d do some cleaning if possible, the bathroom, kitchen. If I had time and Dude was happy I’d try to get some writing done. Okay so this is sounding very domestic housewife-ish and that wasn’t the intention.

What I really want to get across is how much I hate what I do, how I behave, and how self-destructive it is. Yet I feel powerless to take control and change. Because what would I do instead? Currently my day involves getting up and getting the Dude breakfast and just coffee for me. I turn on some crap on the Lifestyle channel like How to Look Good Naked or Sex and the City or Trinny and Susannah and I feed the Dude while he wreaks havoc pulling everything out of drawers and cupboards and I sip my coffee and look at crap on my phone instead of the tv. The Dude plays and I engage with him here and there. I usually make some toast eventually but pretty much stay on or near the couch most of the morning dealing with the Dude, feeding him when he’s hungry and half watching the tv. If he’s not tired, I shower while he plays in the hall. I can’t let him in the bathroom while I shower because he’ll destroy everything. He’s usually happy to play outside and will keep busy by pulling everything off his change table shelves or out of any drawers he can open. He might go into the laundry and turn the washing machine on and off a few hundred times.

Once showered I might feed Dude again and take him for a walk or drive if I have an errand to run or if not he might fall asleep in my arms. I never put him to sleep in bed during the day any more. It just takes too long and often doesn’t happen. If he is really restless and I’m not feeling energetic enough to walk I will put him on my back in the ergo. This never fails to get him to sleep provided there’s not too much noise and I’m moving around. Lately, or at least last week, I’ve actually turned the volume down low, put subtitles on and played Grand Theft Auto on the xbox! Oh the shame in admitting that!! But it’s true. What a loser.

Anyway, while watching mindless tv, playing stupid games or facebooking is entertaining and all, I don’t think any of that is even remotely healthy or constructive. It’s achieving zero for me in my life. If anything it’s actually zapping energy. In fact I think I choose those activities deliberately as they will zap energy faster and more effectively than anything else. The question is, why do I want to rid myself of valuable energy with nothing to show for it? Why don’t I choose activities that at least achieve something positive?

I don’t really know the answer but I am willing to find out. I want to be excited about my day because it’s fulfilling and another step toward a fantastic goal. I want to achieve. And the insane thing is that I’m not one of these stay at home mums with enough money to do it. We are really struggling financially and it would make a huge difference if I did some work and brought in some money. So I really shouldn’t be wasting time for that reason as well.

I’d like to do something about moving forward and I know it won’t be easy because I haven’t been successful in making change happen in my life many times to date. But I must at least try. So I’ve decided to get started, albeit six months late, on this fantastic Simplify Your Life challenge from the awesome Home Life Simplified blog. I don’t know how I’ll cram 12 months worth of simplification into six but I’m not focusing on that because I don’t think it matters. It’s about whether I actually effect change. The other thing that has coincided nicely is that I’m finally reading Louise L Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life. Her philosophies make sense to me and I’m willing to be open to the process. Some of what I’ve read in the first three chapters has made me cry; and some of it has frustrated and confused me. I don’t ever remember my parents telling me anything negative and I’m not sure if I think I’m good enough or not. But as I said, I’m open and willing to make this change. It may take time to make total sense.

I am apprehensive because I start a lot of things and don’t finish them (in fact that’s one aspect of my behaviour that I’d like to change) but I am focusing on now as much as possible. And we will see what happens.