The current global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic presents a profound challenge to humans on both societal and individual levels. As we live through such extraordinary times, we are called to examine our true values and needs, and determine whether we are actually prioritizing those values and needs – as a society, as companies, as organizations, as families, and as individuals.
If you find yourself called to reflection during this time, I invite you to try this journaling exercise I learned at an excellent yoga/journaling/meditation event led by Dana and Morgan of Sol Peak earlier this year.
The exercise helps you determine what your “soul values” are, and whether your day-to-day priorities align with them.
“Soul values” are ideas that guide your actions and decisions, the things you believe on a soul level, values you hold in the core of your being.
Understanding your soul values can help guide how you prioritize things in your life, and help you better understand yourself, what your hold dear, and why.
Step 1: Write down your “soul values.”
Spend a few minutes writing down what comes to mind when you think about what your soul values are, and see if you can come up with 2-3 concepts that drive you in your actions every day.
What values are authentic to you? What guides you? What fuels you to create and do the things that you do?
Step 2: Step back a minute.
Now step back and question why about each of them, again and again, until you get to their core.
For example, I wrote down “music” as a soul value, but the more I examined it, the more I began to doubt that it truly was a value in and of itself. The more I thought about it, the more I realized there was a layer behind music that I appreciated more: creativity and self-expression.
You may write down something like “my spiritual path.” What about that do you value? Is it empowerment? Is it community? Is it connection? The answer will be different, depending who you ask.
Take time to consider everything you’ve written down, and keep asking “why” until you feel you’ve gotten to the core of it.
Step 3: Consider how you embrace them.
Now that you have an idea of your soul values, jot down some thoughts on how you embrace those values, day-to-day. How do your priorities in daily life match up with these values? How do you express those values? I challenge you to consider this for both the current, uncertain times, and during “normal” times.
Step 4: Consider how you could better align your life with your values.
In step 3, you may have had a twinge of regret upon realizing that your life doesn’t always align with your soul values. For the final step of this exercise, consider how you could improve this – how could you better align your life with your soul values? Again, I challenge you to consider this for both the current, uncertain times, and during “normal” times.
I’m curious what you come up with! Feel free to share in the comments.