What is it that you value?  There are all types of things we value in this life. Things we are supposed to value, things we feel embarrassed to value but secretly do anyway. There are things we value because our parents valued them, our country values them or our communities value them. How do we discover our true values, the ones we personally hold as having the greatest worth?  And how do we know the ones we are so sure we value are not symbolic of something else deeper, that gets to the base level of our core.  Good freaking question right. This can be a touchy issue. Values are very personal, especially if you identify a few that go against the normally excepted value system. Why are those there anyway?  It is sometimes difficult to think for yourself. Sometimes we think we are thinking for ourselves and don't even realize that we are falling victim to a total misconception of the truth.  What is the truth?  The truth is our authentic self. It is not observations of the world or the people that move within it. We don't have too look outside ourselves for the truth that is with in us, that is our SELF.  Who are you? You will realize the answer by identifying your core values, the things that stir emotion. That resonate and shake you. Are you in touch with your self?

These are all questions I have asked myself, things I have measured inside of my self and answered for the very first time. After I identified my cycles, or my personal story, and both subjectively and objectively observed where I have been and where I am now, I knew the best way I could move forward was by finding my authentic self. I had to ask the hard questions and face the truth of my answers. This process has been the focus of the last week.  I immersed myself in yoga, went to acupuncture, read books, sat and thought, slept, talked to 6 people who are wise, listened to them and measured all of my findings against the core of my self. I don't know how to explain this in words, and an attempt will likely muddle it all up with confusion, but I have a strong compass inside of me. It feels truth, authenticity, what is real. I think we all have one and the more we listen to it the stronger its signal.  It is easy to muffle its signal, easy to step off course and not realize it until you are way off and feel confused and lost. I wandered off course many times in my life and made a great effort to get back on track, back in my river.

Funny, I always thought of myself as a person in a canoe on a river, flowing with the current. There would occasionally be forks in my river, and I would have to look to my compass to decide which way to go. If I chose the way I was meant to, things would just fall into place, little effort would be required of me. Strange coincidences occurred that were too bizarre to be considered chance. People sometimes canoed beside me for a time, we would learn and nurture each other and then they would go off on their own path. And I knew when I was off course. Figuring out I was off course could be a bit tricky though.  Especially when you are not sure of what you value. At one point I needed and thought I valued recognition and validation. I wanted pats on the back, kudos, ego massage, money, to feel like I was indispensable, the only one that could do my job as good as I can, The ONE for the job. It took a lot for me to see that what I was really needing was self acceptance, not the acceptance of others. No matter how good it felt to hear that I was a genius at my job, deep down I felt like a fraud. There was never enough kudos. Nothing could convince me of my worth except for finding my worth inside of myself. Eventually the charms and external validation offered by that river fork felt shallow and empty and I knew I had to get back to my true river. I paddled and worked and humbled myself, admitted, my fault, came to terms with my demons, communicated my fears, and made my way back. Back to my true river. My yoga instructor calls the true river GRACE.

I was patient. I learned to not judge myself since it was a lesson I had to learn.  I forgave myself. I was forgiven. I tucked that river fork experience in my pocket and it helped me to see and detect tests that have come before me, temptations that urged me to enjoy those external validation pleasures, urged me off my path. I resist. . .  and when I don't I begin to feel empty again, begin to measure myself by others. . .  and I abhor that feeling. Abhorrence brings me back.  I want to feel GOOD. . .  Inside. . . and the things that make me feel really truly good and happy are my core values. The values my compass points to.


Anonymous said...

Ohhhh Christina, I have some great reads for you but they are in French...here's an idea of what I'm talking about http://www.oge.biz/en/index.php?oge=livre_OGE...this awarness hit you quite early...I'm 10 years older and I just started. Truth is until 2006 not all the puzzle pieces were in place and that's a MUST. Good luck, I'll follow your ''blooming'' and I,ll move your blog from my ''fashion'' favorites to the ''mind&soul'' section. All the best from Montreal,S

sarah said...

what you say really resonates with me and i am awed and inspired by your ability to put words to this fundamental but elusive core of person-ness.
this is the sort of thing more of us need to talk about. things and events and people are great pastimes but they can often work as shallow distractions if and when we're not in tune with ourselves.
thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

A year ago a student in one of my classes point blank asked me what my highest value was. I stood silent for several moments in front of an entire class of students and then, quite spontaneously answered: creativity.

I was taken aback by my own answer...as I am about many other qualities. Most of those who claim to love me would not likely name creativity as the first quality they think of about it, and yet, I KNOW it is. I have not regretted that answer for a moment. And, it also reflects my idea of my Creator.

RoseAG said...

Who knew that laser hair removal could be so enlightening?

Although I don't hale from the Show Me state my origins are not far, so I like to keep things simple.

To answer the question, what do I value I like to look at how I spend my most precious commodity - my time. What I spent my time doing tells me what my values are.

Like trying to figure out a dream, trying to figure out what my time-spent means requires a some creative thought, which leaves me plenty of space for rationalization and spin. I can judge the truthfulness of what I like to think my values are against my time-spent and know if I'm in an authentic zone.

The Elegant Bohemian said...

I GET what you're saying. After losing my mom 5 years ago and ending my 20 year marriage a year later due to his infidelity, I feel like I've really gotten to KNOW myself and even BECOME myself. when you say that you abhor that feeling of measuring yourself by others, that resonated with me. I HATE when I do that, when I get needy for approval. And when no matter how much I get, it's never enough. I never believe I'm enough. ~Serene

San said...

Interesting thoughts. My compass is somewhat under the surface and I'm currently digging it out.

On the book, I bought it because it resonated with me and yeah, I'm definitely a Renaissance Soul and it has already helped me a lot. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you and your journey and I'll definitely read on.

Take heart.

Anonymous said...

You know this isn't 100% my stuff and I can't say that I'll continue reading forever. HOWEVER, I am willing to reserve my judgment and listen to what someone has on their mind AND if I did decide to stop coming back I sure as hell wouldn't leave some chicken sh*t anonymous comment telling you about it. People can be so lame.

kornrose said...

Yes, YES! I love your river image. As I think of it, I know that I missed the 'right' fork many times in my life...however, it's too far away to paddle back now so I need to learn to navigate the different course that lay before me.

Have your heard of Saturn Return? It's an astrological pattern (add another pattern to your patterns ;-))that occurs around 30 and can bring about all kinds of changes and self-reflection. It was a big one for me...and perhaps, another mode of thinking to consider on this journey and why it is happening at this point in your life.

I, for one, am enjoying this look into your self-discovery. I respect your process and am inspired by it. Thank you for sharing it.

Jodi said...

These are the things I am truly passionate about. It makes me wish I knew you personally, so we could really talk. I don't believe that this journey is something you are into or not. We are all on this journey. It's just a matter of whether our eyes are open or not.

TavoLini said...

Girl, congratulations to you! You are on a brink of change and you seem very receptive.

Same time, look in yourself. You know what you're doing.

Love reading the blog, Christina. Keep searching, keep sharing.

406 Olivia said...

So so true...like you, I've always had a pretty strong internal compass. I've always referred to it as intuition, but I like your analogy because I truly felt guided, once even moving just in time to avoid a house fire! But sadly, I've veered off course...can't wait to read the rest of your journey...perhaps it will offer me insight into my own.


Anonymous said...

in regards to outside approval..
a professor told me, repeatedly, "you can't get enough of what you don't need. because what you don't need can't satisfy you."

a nice little package to put the sentiment in. it rings true.

Kimberellie said...

"but I have a strong compass inside of me. It feels truth, authenticity, what is real"

I love this sentence. It is so very true. I'm not sure if you consider yourself a Christian, Christina, but so much of what you have been saying here lately is so so so much like the book I have been reading (The Misunderstood God). Things like knowing the truth inside us, and so forth. I think you would probably enjoy it!

Anyway, I think you are lovely. And I love the things that you write. And I love your perspective and you have such a beautiful heart.

much love: Kimberllie

Snappy-Q said...

I love the idea that the river is Grace, that rings so true for me. Thanks for sharing this journey with us, it is so amazing that you are going through this right now.


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