Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2019 issue.
Being in alignment with yourself is a central aspect to complete well-being. The more in alignment we are with ourselves, the better we feel. The further we drift away from ourselves, the worse we feel. Distress, irritation and anxiety all begin to set in.
Alignment literally means a position of agreement or alliance. And while we may apply this to how we align our bodies on our yoga mats, what about how we show up in the rest of our lives? Out there, in that “real” world and within our relationships?
Pause for a moment and consider how aligned you are with your deepest values. Ask yourself: In this moment, from 1 to 100 percent, how “in alignment” am I living?
This isn’t an exercise of judgment or shame. This is purely an exercise of love. Because when we aren’t aligned with who we deeply are, we rob ourselves and the world from truly experiencing who we are. This also isn’t a practice of perfection. We are only human. We will rarely ever be 100 percent in alignment. And if we are so lucky to feel that 100 percent vibe, we will eventually stray away. We are not static or stagnant beings. It’s guaranteed we will move across a continuum of alignment. The intention in this practice is to notice when we drift away and become more aware of our alignment. Without being aware, we are powerless to do much of anything.
To be in agreement with ourselves and to notice where we are on our own continuum, we first need to understand who we are at our core. Defining my core values is instrumental in discovering what matters most to me and my heart. My inspiring coach, Jacki Carr, has been my own guide in this process. She’s a powerhouse when it comes to talking values.
“Taking the time to press pause and define and align to our core values, that inner GPS that supports in decision making, is one of my favorite foundational practices. When in transition or feeling stuck, the “values practice” is a way to feel at home within your own self and shift your perspective to truly support your best life by your own design,” says Jacki.
DEFINING YOUR VALUES
Similar to Jacki, my values act as my compass. They keep me orientated to my path, showing me when I’ve wander off and gotten lost within myself (and sometimes outside of myself). To help you discover your values, here are four steps you can take to get clear on who you are and what matters most:
1. NARROW IN ON FOUR KEY VALUES. I suggest they be single words like: INTEGRITY, CREATIVITY, CONNECTION.
2. DEFINE THESE WORDS. Not by the dictionary but by what they mean to YOU. Strip away what you’ve been told and dig into your own heartfelt definitions.
3. FEEL IT. Make sure these words resonate with you, that you can literally feel them in your core. To get these juices flowing, say a neutral word that isn’t meaningful for you (BASEBALL works for me!). Then say your values out loud. Feel the difference?
4. CHECK IN REGULARLY. Ask yourself how in alignment you are living and whether a decision is in alignment with your values. The 1 to 100 percent scale works great for this.
Your four core values become your north, south, east and west. They provide instant clarity, helping you adjust as you live a life that is most true to you. And trust me, the world needs more of you! Not more of what you “should” be …
When we are in alignment and in agreement with ourselves, we discover peace, joy and all the feel goods. This empowers us to show up with a confidence that brings a deeper sense of success and fulfillment.
Our values are our guides and our fuel for what we choose to do with our precious life. We will always have gaps that appear, but that’s our work: to practice noticing these gaps before they become canyons, while continuing to seek greater personal alignment.