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Posts Tagged ‘Values’

ROSEMARY’S EXPLORATION: How’s That Planning Thing Going for You?

August 6, 2014 Leave a comment

We can plan.  We can organize.  We can expect.  And then Life Happens.

Have you ever had a plan, had everything organized down to the tiniest detail, and set your expectations on that plan working out exactly as you planned it?  And have you had the experience of having little or big glitches shift things out of Plan A?

We have all had this experience.  We THINK we are in charge of everything but the Universe sometimes (or often) has a different plan and guess who succeeds?

This isn’t about whether or not you should develop a plan of action to accomplish something.  It’s good to have a plan.  But do you become so invested in YOUR plan that you forget the ‘this or something better’ part of your request to the Universe?  There is a value in learning to go with the flow.

We saw this with the birth of our grandson.  His parents had Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and the baby decided to be born on HIS schedule, the way HE wanted to come into the world, with HIS CHOSEN astrological birth chart.  He was born the day that a surprise baby shower had been planned for his Mommy.  The surprise was his appearance in the world 3 ½ weeks early!

What plans have you developed that have seemed to go awry?  How do you react when that happens?

Remember that the formula is:

Event happens.  Then you React.  And then you CHOOSE how you will respond.

Event (Plan seems to go awry).  What is your REACTION?  Anger?  Upset? Depression? Denial? So many different emotions can arise and they can stem from previous experiences, even from your childhood.  Reactions start at the unconscious level. But your RESPONSE is chosen consciously.

Do you allow your reaction to dictate your response?  Or do you hit the pause button and give yourself a chance to consciously choose how you will respond?  This is how you live a conscious life.

Babies choose how and when they will come into the world.  Most of us accept that they have a plan of their own.  But what about other plans that don’t go the way you want them to, or planned them, or expected?  What if another person interferes with your plans?  What do you do then?

Remember that you CHOOSE how to respond.  You can choose to get upset and to stay upset but that isn’t a very resourceful place to be.  Even if you do get upset, you can decide to respond by figuring out a new plan, to go with the flow.

Do you plan differently in your work than at home?  Are you flexible in the workplace to get along with others but you are rigid at home because you want things to be just the way you intend for them to be?  Notice if you operate differently and then ask yourself, ‘Why?’  Sometimes it is easier to adjust plans in the workplace because you are not emotionally invested in them and you are resourceful when you are in ‘work mode.’ But when you are at home, with the family or in a social setting, you might have stronger expectations that you have control over your life.  Can you go with the flow?  Are you willing to work on Plan B or Plan C?

If you are the opposite – going with the flow outside of work but expecting everyone around you at work to line up with your plan – what could you gain by adding some flexibility to your methods?  What if Plan A was the goal but Plan B was also OK?

Think about this the next time you decide that your plans must go exactly as you arranged them.  Those creative babies might have a mind of their own!

This or something better.

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What’s Your Commitment Level? – Richard’s Commentary

March 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Life Purpose; Commitment; the Universe is waiting. And:

I can assure you that no one’s Life Purpose is to play small in the world. Remember that there are a lot of other souls waiting for you to show up to play your part.

This is heavy stuff; a challenge! Am I ready? Am I already living my purpose? How can I know, for sure?

A number of years ago I did a values assessment exercise. I listed out my top five or so values, the usual. And I wrote my “morning pages” on each value across several days. I worked hard on this. Then I reflected on these values and I began to reduce them, to simplify them into a formula I could easily follow. The result is pretty simple:

Practice———>Love

A bit of time after I worked through this exercise, I learned about Scientific Hand Analysis. This approach, to determine things about ourselves from our finger and hand-prints is both fun and pretty amazing. Turns out my fingerprints are all of one kind, loops. And the simple meaning of this is my Life Purpose is Love! I also happen to be in the School of Love and my Lessons revolve around Love.

Now, this too seems pretty simple! (Believe me it’s not!). And it certainly aligns with my values nicely! But here’s the thing: that first word in my “simple” values statement is Practice! Oh, yeah. I’ve got to practice this! Every day, in every way.

And, following Rosemary’s reminder, I have to commit to this 100%. There’s no playing small here. There is no end either; no limits, no boundaries. No perfection!

But then just a day or so ago a poem came to me in an interesting context: on Sunday I had taken a day off, completely off, no practice, no schedule, no thinking, a real day of rest. Then as I reflected on this day off, I came back to my purpose, my values:

Practice———>Love

Values:
Two words,
A gesture.
A flow:
No striving
No stress
No cramming
No rush
No push
No list
No deadlines
No wish
No angst
No want
No grief
No fear
No anger
Only breath!
Rhythm
In time
With All.

©2014 Richard W. Bredeson. All rights reserved.

Adjusting Our Tolerance Levels

September 13, 2013 Leave a comment

In yesterday’s post I wrote about tolerance and my view of what tolerance, what we come to tolerate, means. As a follow-up I want to explore today how to set those tolerance levels for optimum effect and performance.

Why? Because when we tolerate things to an extreme it drains our energy. When we are lax in our standards, when we tolerate something beyond a reasonable level it saps our strength; it depletes our ability to cope and to move through life with ease. And we may overlook important lessons if our allowances are too lenient.

But there is another side to this tolerance coin as I mentioned yesterday. We can also set our levels too high, our expectations too demanding to the point of spending too much energy holding ourselves and others to that high standard. Again, we lose energy, in this case actively.

So, where’s the balance? How do we determine the best level of tolerance in a given situation? This goes to the heart of values. We first assess our values, list them and prioritize them. For our highest values we establish an approach to live by those values. And we set boundaries around these values (we may even do this subconsciously based on our life history, family of origin, socialization, beliefs, etc.). The boundaries become our measures of tolerance, both for ourselves and others.

Here’s an example: I was outraged a few days ago when I learned through a news report that three US Congressional Representatives, led by Michele Bachmann, traveled to Egypt and made a speech about the turmoil there and praising the Egyptian military for its actions to overthrow the elected government. They did not have their facts straight, they did not speak well, stumbling over their words, and their general demeanor seemed typical of the superior, high-handed western approach. I had to bite my tongue not to explode in reaction to this total misrepresentation of facts, American ideals and me as an American. Did I expend too much energy on this? Certainly! Why? Because I set my standards too high for politicians these days. Let’s be real: there is a very good reason that our US Congress has one of the lowest levels of approval in history!

OK, so what do I do about this? I have several choices: 1) stop believing that the representatives in the US Congress actually represent me; 2) stop expecting these representatives, and senators, to have much in the way of standards; 3) relax my standards on what it means to be a) an American b) an elected representative c) a politician d) a participant in a democratic experiment; and 4) lower or even remove the notion that living in a republic is a useful value!

Sorry that sentence got a little complicated but I think you get my drift here. I can lower my expectations of how I think a member of the US Congress should behave, especially internationally, and save a lot of wasted emotional energy worrying and railing about it!

I use this example to illustrate my approach to the process. I chose a value of lower priority in my scheme of life to keep it light. My practices, on the other hand, are high on my priority list. And I spend a lot of energy on these practices. They keep me both grounded and connected to what is real. They offer me a way to assess and reassess these values that are so important as a gauge to adjusting my tolerance levels. Values change with the flow and evolution of life and consciousness. Tolerance levels rise and fall with lessons learned.

Do your practices help you adjust your tolerance levels? Do you have a way to assess your values and apply them consciously to the events in your life? What is your approach?

I Am Tolerating WHAT???!!! – Richard’s Commentary

September 12, 2013 1 comment

Tolerance, a “permissive attitude”, can be a lackadaisical approach to life or it can be a philosophy and intentional approach to life. Which is it? Maybe it can be both.

Tolerance in a carefully machined automobile part is the amount of deviation from a standard that can be allowed for the part to function properly. In this example machining the part further to comply with a tighter than needed tolerance would take more time and energy and would not necessarily improve the functionality of the part. A more relaxed tolerance in this case can save energy rather than expend more energy.

Personally I can tolerate a certain amount of dust on a windowsill or a few dust bunnies under the bed; if I vacuum the rug every two weeks rather than every week I am saving myself time and a bit on the electric bill. The tolerance level here is the amount of deviation from perfection that balances the energy saved with the energy expended on accepting the deviation.

If you are a parent, how much do you tolerate from your kids? Do you have a “permissive attitude” toward their behavior? And how far do you allow that permission to extend? Again, energy can be a measure here: the energy you spend on parenting can be balanced by the energy the children spend on testing the boundaries of your tolerance. They are busy learning about those boundaries and you must be busy setting them so they learn how to be balanced, creative, socially adapted individuals.

And then there are the personal boundaries that we develop and evolve as we grow and mature, learn and expand consciously. These boundaries form the tolerances in our lives. Some are external; they involve our family, friends, community, even country. Some people choose to leave their country of origin because they can no longer tolerate the living circumstances, whether those are political, religious, social, or economic factors. And then there are the internal boundaries, the tolerance levels we set up as standards for our own behavior and how we live life within those standards, or values. It is these values around which we balance the energy we expend on maintaining our adherence to those standards versus the energy drain from letting down our guard and giving in to a lower standard.

As an example one of my standards, a practice, is to write three longhand pages of text everyday, early in the day, preferably first thing in the morning. This is a practice I adopted from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I have been doing this for years, and I find it very worthwhile. It is a way for me to meditate, to journal, to dump the cobwebs from my psyche, to rail at the Universe, to give thanks to the universe, to channel the divine. I love this practice. Do I do it every day, first thing in the morning? No. Clearly there are things that get in the way, that disrupt this practice. This morning I am writing this blog post first before my pages. Lately I’ve been eating some breakfast before my pages. These are tolerances that I can live with; energy spent obsessing about always writing the pages first is not balanced by the positive effect of the writing. On the other hand there are some days I miss writing altogether. When I occasionally miss one day it seems to be OK, I can tolerate that. But when two or more days go by and I fail to get to mypages, I begin to notice the effects: I get more irritable, less tolerant! Then the balance tips in the direction of energy drained from me that is out of balance with energy spent in writing the pages.

How do you measure your tolerance levels? Do you do this consciously? Are you aware when your boundaries are crossed and your energy drained? It’s good to think about your boundaries so you can maximize your energy levels and live fully, in the present.

Now I’m going to write those pages!

ROSEMARY’S INSPIRATION: The Heart of Humanity

June 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Rosemary’s video for the week: The Heart of Humanity

PS: Your next opportunity to participate in a Conversation with The Other Side is July 13 at 7:00 pm Eastern. You can join the Conversation online via a video internet connection, or voice/phone; and if you can come to Annapolis, join Rosemary live! Get the details here.

Is Your Life Reflecting Your Values? — Richard’s Commentary

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Rosemary always asks these pointed and difficult questions! Yes, I know they are good for me to reflect on, to answer, truthfully, for myself. And I actually thought this one would be reasonably easy for me to reply to and write this commentary. Then I took a second look!

A couple of years ago I did an exercise to clarify my values, to align them with my thinking, my philosophy. I made a list and prioritized it. I took a deep dive into this analysis, writing at length about these values I had come up with, what they mean to me and how I live by them. At the end of much thought I distilled the set of values down to two key ones: Practice and Love. In fact I even drew a diagram, a schematic to relate these two primal values: Practice –> Love.

No, this doesn’t mean my practices lead to love and it doesn’t mean if I practice well enough I will learn love. Maybe these meanings are overlays here, but these are two distinct values for me. I truly value that I am able to practice my various approaches to live a conscious life. Meditation, yoga, qigong, pages, poetry, … and any other consciousness raising practice that comes along that has potential for me is a key value. And how much more can I say about Love? Self, family, friends, community, humanity, life, Planet Earth, Nature, food, wine, beer making, wow…so much to love in life! And, clearly there is a relationship between practice and love. I love my practices. My practices help me better understand this whole sense of Love. Love improves my practices. It is complex and I can’t say that I even fully understand it when I write, and I often do: Practice –> Love.

But Rosemary’s question goes deeper here. Yes, she asks us to review our values, but more importantly to review our lives as they reflect those values we reaffirm! This is the key analysis, the driving question.

And I’ve spent the last several days, as part of our retreat weekend, reviewing and refining my answer. My answer initially is “no.” Oh sure, I’m doing a lot of practice, and I’m pleased with this. I also love: I am partnered with the love of my life. I am part of a loving family. My kids really do love me (at least they’ve done an awesome job of showing it!). But there’s a deeper level here I am reaching toward.

My exploration begins with the word “unconditional.” This is the quality of Love I’m reaching to attain. And this would then truly be the goal of Practice –> Love, my core values. I am not practicing unconditional love at every opportunity and therefore, my life is not reflecting this value.

That said I am working on it. This is my new level of Practice I’m striving to achieve. I suspect it is a life-long pursuit! But I have begun. Last evening, after Rosemary and I had returned from our retreat, our daughter stated, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that she had been craving pancakes for breakfast and would I please get up to make her some next morning! Hmmm, on Wednesdays she leaves for work at 7:15; hey, I’m retired, and while I am working harder than ever before and enjoying it a whole lot more, my hours don’t include 7:15 am! I did not commit! But this morning I was awake at 6:30, wanting more sleep. I debated with myself for about 30 seconds, and then asked “what would I do if I held the value of unconditional love? Yeah, you guessed it; I got up and fixed daughter and two grandsons pancakes (two different kinds). And the surprise and smiles were well worth the few extra winks!

With this good experience as a launch point I have been challenging myself to come from unconditional love all day. I’ve failed multiple times! I had several errands to run which meant driving and encountering other drivers; always a stumbling block for me to keep my cool while driving, but at least I continued to pull myself back to my core value. I’m practicing!

How are you practicing your values this year?

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ROSEMARY’S EXPLORATION: Is Your Life Reflecting Your Values?

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

We’re getting down to the nitty gritty here and I hope you’ll seriously consider what’s in this article.  How do you decide which activities will receive your attention today?  What values are you using to allocate your precious hours today, the hours that you will never be able to recapture after they have been spent?

This is where living a conscious life meets living the hectic 21st Century busyness that seduces us all into thinking that things have to be the way they are.

You have 24 hours in each day.  Your human body requires 7-9 hours of sleep – good, peaceful, restful, restorative sleep.  The rest of your hours are yours to spend as you choose.

‘Wait!’ you say.  ‘I have to go to work, get the kids off to school, teach my class, meet with my clients, go to the grocery store, and ______________ [fill in the blank]!   I don’t have control over those hours!’

To which I answer, ‘Yes.  You do.’

Every moment of every day we are at choice as to how we will spend that moment.  You choose to work at that particular job.  The kids might be able to get themselves off to school or a nanny could do it.  You scheduled your class or your clients.  Groceries can be delivered or a personal assistant or a spouse can do the shopping.  And so the choices go.  You might think that you can’t afford things but you can afford certain things because you choose them.

I’m not being simplistic here.  We all make choices and ‘I can’t afford it’ really translates to ‘I choose to spend my money elsewhere’ or, even, ‘I CHOSE to spend my money elsewhere and now I have to pay the bills.’  Still, it is all based on choice.

So knowing that you choose how to spend your time, how can you make sure that you are choosing according to your values?

First, you must know what your values are and you must know them in priority order.  I frequently see a client who feels conflicted and the answer to clarity lies in examining the values that are bumping into each other.  Here are two questions to ask yourself:

Who do I really want to spend time with today?

AND  What is the most fulfilling activity that I can put on my calendar today?

If the answers match the schedule, good for you!  And if not, then ask yourself, Why not?

You have the power to make choices about how you spend the precious hours you have each day.  Are you LIVING your life or are you SPENDING your life?

Choose to schedule your day based on what is important to you, what really matters.  Don’t let anyone else control your schedule.  If your boss wants you to be in a meeting at a certain time, then, by all means, attend the meeting.  But instead of spending emotional capital resenting it, accept that you choose to remain in this job [even if it feels as if you have no choice to remain in this job.  You could choose to quit and maybe live on the street so you might be making the right choice for the moment!]  If your family is making a demand on your time that causes you to resent saying ‘yes’ then say ‘no.’  And release feeling guilty about it!

Notice how often you make choices that don’t feel right to you.  Making the choice to take an injured kid to the ER feels right, doesn’t it?  Making the choice to escape into TV when there might be something else you could do might be escaping your life instead of living it.  AND watching TV might be your active choice to relax and rest your mind for a bit, so release the feeling of guilt about making that choice!

CHOOSE.  Match your schedule to your values.  Raise your consciousness about your moments and you’ll feel happier!

INSPIRATION FROM ROSEMARY: What Are Your Values for 2013?

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Here’s Rosemary’s video for the week: What Are Your Values for 2013?