A Look at What Really Matters
Clarify your values and align them with how you live your life.
I’ve experienced a few different times in my busy life when what seemed to be most important in the entire world was rendered completely meaningless in a moment.
The first and biggest was when I was so busy running my businesses, writing books, coaching, speaking, and doing everything humanly possible to be “successful.” Then, the news came that my mom had ALS. She needed help. She was dying. I looked at all the activities of my life, the ones causing me so much stress, and suddenly none of them mattered. I launched into a year of caring for my mom.
After she died, I had to reinvent myself and repair the damage that a year mostly away inflicted on my marriage. In fact, I think that was part of the divine plan as my life never returned to what it had been like before; a new and improved version emerged.
Slowly, bit by bit, the business returned, however. The stress returned. The importance of “getting it all done” came back. Despite my vows to honor my body before all else (having witnessed first hand how critically important our bodies are and how difficult it is for other people to care for them), my priorities shifted back to working too hard, too long, and not taking enough time for my own self-care.
This reprioritization happened on a national scale when the attacks of 9/11 took place. Suddenly the things we valued so highly as a country—money, work, success—took a huge back seat to country, family, and spirituality. For a while, we were a kinder, gentler people. But slowly, just like with my own life, as the emergency abated, we returned to our old values system.
It seems our pendulum has swung a bit too far askew. We are now as a country, and as a global community, in the midst of a huge values clarification and prioritization conflict. Do we prioritize money and business over the environment? Do we value one skin color over another? Do we value humans over animals? Do we prioritize convenience over longevity? Do we prioritize our party, or our country, loyalty over decency, integrity, and humanity? Do we value ours now over our children’s future? Do we value our religion over spiritual values like loving one another, caring for each other, and compassion?
In the big picture, I’m pretty sure that until we gain clarity and integrity once and for all, we are going to get slammed with one disaster after the next that causes our true values to come into clear view. While disasters may inevitably always loom in our future, if we have the values piece figured out, they won’t cause the same level of personal upheaval.
In the smaller picture, the same pattern exists. Divorce, death, illness, accidents—they all cause us to reprioritize, rethink, regroup…get a grip.
While we may or may not be able to control the big picture, we do have a golden opportunity to “get this right” on a personal level.
I invite you to do some deep values clarification, an exploration of priorities and consciously choose how to focus your life. If one were to look at you and how you are living your life, what would they think your most important values were? How accurate does how your living reflect what is truly important to you? If you, or someone you love, were suddenly given the term limit on your life, what would you change or deem most important? Is it possible to bring more balance to your daily choices so that the things and people most important to you are higher on your list? If you were to stand face to face with the loving presence of God, would you feel justified in and proud of your choices? Does what you do and say make sense when looked at through a spiritual, humane and healthy mindset? Exploring the answers to these questions may guide you to clarity and reprioritization without having to experience loss or the threat of loss in the awakening.
May we all take a moment to render meaningless what is actually not important and dedicate ourselves, our choices and our lives to what truly matters.