Weekly Assignment: Name Your Values

Amoghasiddhi Buddha - Fearlessness

Being able to name your true values is pretty essential. Too often, we spend our time and energy on things that feel like a burden because we’re “supposed to,” and we wonder why we’re so unhappy.

When we’re not acting in tune with our own values, we make decisions that make some imaginary judge happy but not ourselves.

Name your values: Love, adventure, family, learning — what ideals are the most important to you? In your work life, is it more important to create something new or to touch people’s lives?  Start getting detailed about how these values play out in your life.

If you value equality, what does that mean to you? Where would you like to see that value applied or lived out more in your life? For each of your major values, list a few ways you could act more in alignment there.

I’m no great moral authority, and I will never tell you how to live your life — your decisions, your morals, your soul are all your own — but I’ll tell ya things get a lot more clear when you can name your values.

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Weekly Assignment: Describe Yourself in 140 Words or More

shape of a hoper

If you came of age in the era of internet profiles, you’ve probably spent a little too much time filling in boxes labeled, “Describe yourself briefly.” I get profile rage because I can’t describe myself briefly and get it right. Currently, my Twitter profile says, “Yoga teacher, writer, feminist, smartass.” If you get to know me, you’ll find all those things basically true, yet you can’t really tell anything about me by that. It doesn’t say, “I’m awkward and make inappropriate jokes when meeting new people,” because that’s not something I like to brag about. I chose characteristics I like about myself for the profile because that’s what I want you to see in me, obviously. Nonetheless, it’s important for me to be real and let you see my shortcomings, which is why I ramble on so much here!

This week, be bigger than 140 characters. Describe yourself in 140 words or more. No one has to read it, but if you do decide to share it, I think you’ll be surprised by the interest you get from others. People want to know you in a sincere, multi-faceted way, not just as an avatar that scrolls by on their various digital timelines. Be three-dimensional.Be imperfect, thoughtful, damaged, needy even. Write at least one paragraph that’s really true about yourself. What’s the most important thing in your life right now? How do you feel about your own face?

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Weekly Assignment: What Do You Need?

Take what you need

Here’s what I want you to do right now. Take stock of how you feel.

What’s your energy level like? Rate it from 1-10 where 1 is falling asleep and 10 is bouncing off the walls.
What’s going on in your mind right now? Just make note without dwelling on it. Are you thinking about 15 different things? Writing your to-do list?
Are you worried about anything? Holding on to anything? Obsessing about anything?
Are you bored, anxious, or angry?
Are you hungry?
Just pay attention for a minute to what it’s like to be in your body, in your life, right now.

Now, here’s the important question: “What do I need or want right now?”

I try to ask myself this question pretty regularly, and I get a variety of answers depending on the day. For example …
friendship
a hug
to be heard
a few minutes of silence
really loud music
an escape
money
something to work on
therapy
medicine
a nap
a walk
a kitten
a vacation
to get laid
to feel appreciated

The follow-up question, of course, is “What can I do to address that?”

Do it every day this week, and indulge yourself. If if what you want is an orgasm every day, you just go the heck ahead and do that, guilt free, ok? If anyone questions you, tell them I said you could by the almighty power of the internet. See how you feel when you grant your own wishes.

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Weekly Assignment: Tell the Truth

Truth or Consequences

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I only ever told the truth. I used to have a theory that if I only told the truth, I would get better at detecting lies. I thought I could learn to recognize sincerity like an old friend, and when there was no sincerity in a person’s voice, face, or demeanor, then I would know they were lying. It hasn’t been quite that simple, but I think I was on to something.

I can usually tell when people are being false with me in a general sense. I can tell when people are talking trash about others just to feel better about themselves, but that’s generally because that’s the only reason anyone talks trash. When you’re really trying to help someone, it sounds friendly, not gossipy.

This week, tell the truth as much as possible. Be honest about what you see, feel, think, and experience. The truth will not always be nice, so you’ll have to decide whether what you have to say is helpful or appropriate. While it may be challenging at first, I think you’ll find that honesty significantly improves your relationships and frees up your energy.

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Weekly Assignment: Get Yourself Discovered

You may be a special snowflake, but from a distance, all snowflakes look the same. It's up to you to show the world what you've got.
You may be a special snowflake, but from a distance, all snowflakes look the same. It’s up to you to show the world what you’ve got.

When I was a kid, I had this idea that writers were supposed to get discovered. My favorite poet, Emily Dickinson, was “discovered” after her death, as I understood it. Models and actresses were discovered, I thought. Musicians, too, spent their days perfecting their craft in local bands and dingy night clubs, waiting for some producer big shot to notice that they had something special and sign them on a multi-record deal and international tour.

Nope. Turns out, that’s not how it works at all.

This week, do something to get yourself discovered. You may have a really fabulous talent and a passion for your art, but if you’re not reaching out to other people, don’t hang your hat on the hope of “getting discovered,”

Here are a few things you can do to get started:

  1. Volunteer: I still teach some yoga classes on a volunteer basis because it helps me reach new people and become a better teacher.
  2. Email your 5 best friends: These are the people who know you best and support you no matter what. Email these people individually to explain what you’re working on and ask them to support you by sharing your work with others.
  3. Show off: That’s what the internet is for, guys. Post some selfies on Tumblr, humble brag on Facebook and Twitter, and of course, post links to your beautiful work everywhere you can.

Finally, keep in mind that the process of discovery is very rarely a single “Eureka!” moment. It takes a long time to find your right people and hone your message for them. To the rest of the world, it will look like you just sprung up over night, but you and I both know, you’ve been working toward your particular greatness all your life.

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