I like to read the samples of online library books, as I wait my turn to check one out digitally from Libby. A book titled “Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty begins with a chapter on assessing one’s values. He suggests you audit your life, because “no matter what you think your values are, your actions tell the real story.” He recommends tracking how you spend your time, what media you view and for how long, what you spend your money on.
Very rarely, I will save an item I see on facebook. So I decided to see if I could assess what I value, by considering the values apparent to me in the images and texts I have put in my Saved file.
My oldest and most favorite image. Every time I see this I can’t help laughing. At me mostly. Whenever I feel like my age, or experience, or something, makes me wise I remember this picture. In this life it seems humility is not an option but a requirement.
A most recent favorite. There is almost nothing I value more than being hugged by art. And art is so much more than painting and making drums. Ajahn Sona, the Abbot of Birken Forest Monastery, talks about learning to create. “It’s an invitation to art, isn’t it? To making your life a work of art, of grace, and beauty, and love.”
This poem has such impact in its simplicity and truth. It seems the experiences I value most in my life: art making and drum building and oracle readings, Buddhist meditation and shamanic practice, have been about changing how I see.
How I see leads directly to this. The value of not thinking about myself first. As a child, I remember my Dad saying “You feed the dogs and cats first because they are depending on you. You get to choose when you eat, but they cannot.”
This poem underlines a value I learned from Martin Prechtel–that I own only my breath. So I value that as the most profound gift I can give as a gesture of respect to other beings.
I have a respectful yet deeply enthusiastic relationship with risk. Not so much the risk-taking that jumps off the garage roof when you are 7 (although I did that) as the risk that brings a little smile when I hear my inner voice say, “So, lets just do this.” I value not knowing where the risk will go, and even more, I value trusting that it will go well.
And ultimately, there is just valuing the journey,
because this is what we have to work with.