The alchemical process of turning lead into gold happens because of something being taken away. So too, self alchemy begins with what we are willing to let go of or give away.
– Teal Swan
Have you heard the story of the Golden Buddha? During a violent invasion a huge, solid gold buddha at a monastery in Thailand was protected from plunder by being covered in terracotta and coloured glass. Over time the knowledge of the existence of the Golden Buddha was lost. It was discovered by accident, almost two hundred years later in 1957 when the buddha was being moved to a new location. Cracks in the clay surface revealed the gold within and the Golden Buddha was revealed, perfectly preserved.
This story has become an analogy to what happens to us in our lives. Our gold, or our essence, becomes overlaid with the ‘mud’ of our limiting thinking, unconscious conditioning and layers of human experience, and we lose sight of our essence and of what truly lights us up.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
In order to fully embrace our being, our essence,we need to differentiate our human experience and ‘life lessons’ from our core truth. It’s easy to get lost in this process .. to get stuck in the mud so to speak.
Having spent a lifetime searching for what I could do that would be in alignment with my natural strengths and gifts, I’ve gone down path after path only to find yet another ‘dead end’. In many ways the journey was the destination except that the lack of clarity and feeling of lostness has had me return to a sense of hopelessness and despair time and again.
But over the past week I had a breakthrough that has transformed the way I look at my life. This new perspective has offered a sense of hope and clarity and shifts a lot of the self judgement that has weighed me down. This shift is the result of an exercise I did as part of a program I’m in. The exercise, which is very simple (but not necessarily easy) is to come up with your top three values.
Your values are those things that are really important to you and motivate you on a day to day basis. They can be found by looking back at some of the turning points of your life and defining what thoughts or feelings were behind the decisions you took. They can also be found in looking at where your time and energy go each day, or identifying peak moments in your life.
If we aren’t aligned with our values we can spend a lot of time and energy striving to reach something we believe will fulfil us only to meet our goal and find we feel disappointed or empty inside.
I went into the exercise of defining my top values with hope and excitement, only to end up in a swamp-like state of helplessness and despair. Coming up with a big list of values wasn’t too hard, but when I tried to prioritise the values was when I got stuck. In trying to choose one value over another I went into a deep-rooted limiting belief of “I don’t know” and ended up on the coaching call with the exercise unfinished. But when my coach, Karen, asked me what my top three values were, I looked down at my list and rattled off three, almost without thinking – connection, creativity and curiosity.
She then asked me, “If you were living a life that had connection, creativity and curiosity in it .. how would you feel?”
And my response: “I would feel satisfied, excited, inspired, meaning, purpose, grateful, driven.”
My response is so enlightening to me. So much of my life has been driven by other people’s values which, though they are all valid, have often left me feeling unsatisfied, depressed, ungrateful, unmotivated and lacking in meaning and purpose. This exercise is SO powerful.
When Karen asked what actions I could take this week in alignment with my values, I thought of this newsletter, and how it aligns with my values of curiosity, creativity and connection. And similarly, the Cloudscape sculpture is totally in alignment too.
One of the most damaging things we do to ourselves is to compare ourselves to others, and to other’s experiences. ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ is such a true statement. Instead you need to get clear on what it is that is truly important to YOU – and to bring love and attention to that. Being clear on your values is a great way of staying aligned.
Your value, your essence, your gold, is often invisible to you, trapped under layers of society conditioning and adaptation to the needs, desires, opinions and expectations of others. But it’s there. And by discovering and aligning your life to your values, you can bring your best self to the world and feel more purpose, joy and connection to yourself. And in this way, aligning with our values helps us to bring more love and light to the world.
I would LOVE for you to identify your top values and for you to let me know what they are. And if you’d like some help identifying your top values, please get in touch!
For a simple guide to help you to find your top values, click here ..(link coming soon)..