After the first few weeks of the stay-at-home orders in March of this year, I decided to revisit my more and less of list in 45 since this answered the question, “If you had more time in the day, what would you do?” Since the quarantine orders enabled significantly more time to dedicate to the things I wanted to do, I was able to incorporate all of them into my regular routine. When the quarantine orders became LESS restrictive last month, I made sure to not abandon these activities: more time in nature, more barefoot, more mindfulness, more meditation, more writing, and more reading.
And now that orders have become restrictive again, it has had minimal effect on my life. In fact, the only impact it has had on me is taking leave to travel this holiday season – a small sacrifice in the wake of a pandemic, of political and social unrest, and a time when a country – the world – and its citizens need stillness. A much needed time to reconsider what is truly essential, what is important, and to (re)connect, or for some identify, your values that you live or wish to live by.
Last year, my list was about doing… actions that I wanted to more or less of. This year, I am building on that list but not necessarily adding more activities, rather going a layer deeper. I will focus on the values I want to improve – values that also help drive what I do and my actions.
- More courage to stand and to speak for what is right and what is true. Less deference to others who might represent and stand or speak for me.
- More justice and fairness in the treatment others, holding myself and others accountable, and building or restoring relationships. Less ego and “what’s in it for me?”
- More wisdom not simply in the application of knowledge, but a reflection of that knowledge and the accumulation of experiences, and learning from them. Less fear of failure, mistakes, or not getting it ‘right’ all the time.
- More temperance and self-control, focusing on what I can control despite external circumstances. Less apathy to how these external circumstances might impact others.
- More discernment of what is, and its purpose (to include my divine purpose). Less judgment of what should be and ignoring the ‘why’ which may actually reveal our purpose.
- More grace and mercy especially to those who are disadvantaged and downtrodden, exemplifying God’s grace and mercy to me time and again over the past 45 years. Less “deserving-ness” and merit towards others, recognizing that I am where I am today not merely because of my hard work and I deserve to be here, but because of the grace and mercy of others – family, friends, and mentors – I have met along life’s journey who gave me access to and opportunities that has allowed me to create the path I have chosen. I am not dismissing hard work at all (I believe in putting in the work to succeed), but it would do us all some good if the world – and especially people of faith (or claim to be) – had a little more grace and mercy towards others they deem “undeserving”.
Each and every day we are given multiple opportunities to exemplify the values we hold dear. We may not always be successful in identifying these opportunities, and when we do, we might not get it right in every situation. Show yourself some grace and mercy and hold yourself accountable next time. There are more values I could add to this list, but in the year of forty-six, I will focus on these: courage, justice, wisdom, temperance, discernment, grace and mercy.
As everyone begins making Christmas lists or their New Year’s resolutions, try (re)connecting with your values. Write them all down (create your values list). Then ask yourself, “what values might need more focus this coming year?” and commit to it.