Hello, Internet friends! I'll have you know that I started a post (though not this one) on New Year's Eve, around the same time I unveiled my latest blog banner:
The minute my coffee cup stained this notebook last year, I knew--KNEW--it had to find a way on my blog. Genius, I am!
But then my stamina tapered off and life got in the way, until last week I was breezing into church and grabbing the bulletin and ... huh. Well played, Jesus:
So here we are, together again. It's so good to see you.
The reason I'm excited to write tonight (last night) is that I just today (yesterday, hello, 1:21 a.m.!) finished week one of Brené Brown's inaugural Living Brave semester, where 15,000 devotees from more than 60 countries are rolling up our sleeves and exploring what it means to show up, be seen and live brave in every aspect of our lives. For the first six weeks, we're tackling Daring Greatly, which I first read near the end of 2014 and never fully recovered from, the insights and implications were that overwhelming. It wasn't what I learned about myself that was so paralyzing; it was more about understanding what I didn't know and not being ready to figure it out. Plus, 2015 was another tough work year, some of it my own doing, some not, and I was too wrapped up in my immediate problems to surrender to long-term emotional work. Luckily, I'm in a better place now, but even if I wasn't, this class is just something I need to do. It's time to look in the mirror for longer glances, write down what I see (what I'm looking at) (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE) and make the changes I need to truly be "all in" in my life.
This week's most challenging exercise was to identify two core values that serve as your true North above all else. It was a huge struggle to work through a massive list of perfectly good and meaningful concepts in order to get to two. I mean, who doesn't claim love as a core value? Or compassion? Or integrity? But eventually I did whittle it down (cheating a bit to include a third), and once I did, oh man, what a sense of peace. I could easily see how all the values that define my being map to these three:
Behaviors: Praying, reading the Bible, going to church, letting go of certainty, gratitude journaling, taking Bible studies, and service/volunteering
Brings to my life: Sense of purpose, belonging, grace, meaning, gratitude, integrity, optimism, kindness, joy, forgiveness (myself and others), and compassion
GRIT (aka I can do hard things)
Behaviors: Trying new things, trying again, not giving up, finishing/shipping my work, believing in myself and my ability to do hard things, setting boundaries and prioritizing to make sure I'm doing the right things at the right time, self care like exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep, forgiving myself when I make a mistake
Brings to my life: Achievement, balance, courage, forgiveness (myself and others), growth, making a difference, perseverance, risk-taking, resourcefulness, success, leadership, learning, initiative, teamwork, self-respect, creativity (writing and art) and innovation
Side note: Brigid Schulte talks about grit in her book Overwhelmed, and the word has stayed with me since I read about it last summer. Pulling grit out of my back pocket during the values exercise was a eureka moment; perseverance is similar but doesn't feel as proactive.
Behaviors: Living on one income, saying no to travel in my career, playing with the kids, making crafts, reading and praying together at bedtime, taking Kara to Girl Scouts and Nathan to piano, volunteering in the kids' classroom and for field trips, date nights with Luke, taking family vacations
Brings to my life: Gratitude, balance, patience, creativity, sense of adventure, LOVE, time, leisure, simplicity, and kindness
On Twitter, I called this process obvious, eye-opening and comforting. It's also been inspiring. I hope to share more of this journey with all of you. Cheers!