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Excerpt from "Seeds of Freedom: Cultivating A Life That Matters"

by Heather Marie Wilson


The following excerpt is taken from the book SEEDS OF FREEDOM: Cultivating a Life That Matters by Heather Marie Wilson. It is published by Hay House (September 2011) and is available at all bookstores or online at: www.hayhouse.com.  

What Matters to You?

Planting the seed of focus in your life involves becoming clear about what your values are. What matters to you? What do you hold in high regard? What do you respect and require in your life? What can’t you live without (or with)?

Your core values are the things you rate most crucial in your life. They’re what influence the choices you make, the way you behave, the kinds of people you choose to interact with, and the way you spend your time. So would you say that beauty, freedom, love, abundance, or productivity are most important to you? Or do you prefer to have fun or pay attention to detail? However you respond, note that your Life Garden should always reflect the essence of your core values, so cultivating relationships with whatever you hold dear is at the bedrock of a healthy Garden. Exploring your values is also a good way to tap into the essence of who you are right now.

What follows are a number of core values. Please look at each word or phrase in the list and consider it carefully. If you feel that it describes what you value most in life, write it down in your journal or notebook. Be sure to only choose the words that you value; that is, those which are really important in all aspects of your life. Remember that we all embody many of these words, so be a bit discriminating and don’t write down every single one. You may also add any of your own if you don’t see them listed below.

Values List

Abundance

Delightfulness

Honesty

Optimism

Serenity

Acceptance

Dependability

Honor

Organization

Service

Achievement

Devotion

Humanity

Passion

Sexuality

Activity

Dignity

Humor

Patience

Sincerity

Adventure

Discernment

Imagination

Peacefulness

Solitude

Affection

Discipline

Impact

Perfection

Space

Amusement

Drama

Importance

Order

Spirituality

Artistic ability

Dreaming

Improvement

Organic

Sports

Aspiration

Duty

Independence

Playfulness

Stability

Attentiveness

Education

Individuality

Pleasure

Status

Attractiveness

Efficiency

Influence

Politeness

Stimulation

Authority

Elegance

Information

Popularity

Strength

Autonomy

Encouragement

Ingenuity

Possessions

Structure

Awareness

Energization

Initiative

Possibilities

Success

Balance

Energy

Innovation

Power

Support

Beauty

Enjoyment

Inquisitiveness

Predictability

Sustainability

Belonging

Enlightenment

Inspiration

Preparation

Talent

Bliss

Enterprise

Intelligence

Presence

Taste

Bravery

Entertainment

Integration

Professionalism

Teaching

Building

Excellence

Integrity

Providing

Tenacity

Capability

Exhilaration

Interconnectivity

Punctuality

Tenderness

Change

Facilitation

Inventiveness

Quality

Thoughtfulness

Clarity

Fame

Joy

Questioning

Tolerance

Coaching

Family

Justice

Radiance

Tradition

Collaboration

Financial security

Knowledge

Realization

Training

Comfort

Forthrightness

Laughter

Reason

Tranquility

Commitment

Freedom

Leadership

Recognition

Transformation

Community

Friendship

Learning

Refinement

Travel

Compassion

Fulfillment

Logic

Relating to God

Triumph

Competence

Fun

Love

Relaxation

Trustworthiness

Competition

Generosity

Loyalty

Reliability

Truthfulness

Completeness

Giving

Magnificence

Religiousness

Understanding

Connection

Glamour

Mastery

Respectfulness

Uniqueness

Contentment

Government

Meditation

Responsibility

Unity

Contribution

Grace

Ministry

Risk

Uplifting

Control

Gratitude

Moving forward

Romance

Variety

Cooperation

Growth

Mystery

Routine

Vitality

Courage

Happiness

Nature

Satisfaction

Vulnerability

Creativity

Hard work

Nourishment

Searching

Wealth

Danger

Harmony

Nurturing

Security

Winning

Decisiveness

Health

Observation

Sensitivity

Wisdom

Dedication

Helpfulness

Open-mindedness

Sensuality

Wonder

Now, go through all the words you wrote down and select ten that are critical to have in your life. Write those ten words on a new page in your journal.

Next, you’re really going to tap into your inner self and find out what matters most to you. From the previous list, select the three to five words that are absolutely essential to have in your life—these represent the essence of who you are. That is, if you had to pick three or four words to describe what you value most in life, what would they be? Write those words on a new page in your journal.

You can use your words to start the creation of your Life Garden. There are no good or bad, right or wrong, or should-have words. These are merely tools to help you discover what you personally value—and since your Garden is uniquely yours, it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s or what your mother, husband, or boss thinks it should look like.

When I did this exercise, I discovered that my top four values are: connection, freedom, creativity, and joy. These four words describe my essence. For example, I know that connection—with self, a higher power, and other people—is so essential to me that it’s how I’m guided in my life. I also know that freedom is one of my highest values because I want to live life on my terms; I’m much happier when I don’t have the confines of a job, structure, or rules telling me what to do. Creativity is another important value for me because I’m at my best when I’m creating, organizing, and improving all of the possibilities in life. I am an idea person and need to express these ideas through any type of creation. Creating is easy and fun for me. And finally, I want to be able to let my light shine for the whole world to see. I want to experience joy in all that I do—beautiful things, positive people, and uplifting situations in the world. When I share my four words, people automatically confirm that I’ve picked out the right ones for my personality. These words create my personal culture, and everything I do in life focuses on them.

Once you’ve identified your own core values, it becomes much easier to begin to cultivate those values in your Life Garden. If you value beauty, then perhaps you’ll plant lots of roses. If you value service, then you may start a community garden that services a local food bank. Or, like me, you may discover that you want to grow a family—and wind up riding a camel in India. We all have our own ways of expressing values. We can use our unique gifts and roles in the world to create our own Gardens. When we recognize that each person truly is an individual expression, then we have the freedom to construct our own lives based on what brings us joy.

As you start to cultivate your Garden based on your values, you may focus on a specific skill, growth area, or aspect of yourself and find that your life—and everything in it—begins to change and evolve. This could include the people you associate with, the things you care about, the music or television programs you like, the clothes you wear, how you spend your time and resources, or even how much money you make. All this change has residual effects. Your friends may not like what’s happening and stop inviting you to parties; your spouse may not like your new body; you might not be able to afford the vacations that your family is planning this summer—or you can now afford things that your neighbors can’t.

If you’re true to your values and know that what you’re doing is right for your life, you’ll be able to handle these changes. As you get to know yourself better, you’ll become more firmly rooted in who you really are and what you want from life. And you’ll be able to manage these changes as well. You don’t have to stay at the same job, keep the same friends, or continue to do the same activities throughout your life; it’s natural for these things to change as you do. It’s a part of the learning process.


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