Dream. Discover. Do. • 1

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I came across these pictures on my hard drive - they were taken this same time last year in our backyard in Albuquerque.
Because we're in this limbo stage, we've all been really home sick and I couldn't help but share these again.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Jodi over at Practising Simplicity that I had won a giveaway for the 'Dream. Discover. Do.' e-course with Kate from Total Balance. I feel really privileged to have been chosen to participate - I often see so many of these courses that sound fascinating, but I usually don't have the funds to sign up. The DDD course was made to help people come to know themselves better and give them the tools and inspiration to begin to create positive change in their life. I'm not sure how accurate I am in saying this, but I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what I want out of life, my strengths and weaknesses, etc. If anything, I want to do too much, so that's what I'm focusing on while I'm taking this course: finding a handful of things that are most important. I'm going to try not to share too much about the exercises in the course because I know Kate has worked really hard to put it all together and I would hate to cheat her out of that, but writing here is sort of a solidifying thing for me - it keeps me accountable and helps me process my thoughts.

Last week's focus was on values; finding out what's important to you, reflecting on those things, and thinking of changes you can make to incorporate them into your life more. Through a series of exercises, I came to the conclusion that my top three values are:

 having a sense of meaning, purpose, achievement, and financial security through creating.

 feeling connected with myself through learning, creating, and having peaceful moments alone.

 family happiness through adventures, careers that allow us to spend more time together, and connectedness.

Some of the exercises brought things to the surface that I guess I've always known, but that I didn't realize were such prominent aspects of my life or personality. One of the exercises asked you to write down major events of your childhood and how they made you feel. What I ended up doing was linking traits that I have to memories from my childhood to come to conclusions like: I'm an introvert because I spent a lot of time alone as a kid, but I also didn't have a lot of friends as a kid, so even though I enjoy time by myself as an adult, the thought of being a loner still really makes me uncomfortable - and there was usually a lot of stress in our house when I was growing up (to respect my mom and the fact that she did the best she could with what life gave her, I won't go into detail), which is why homemaking and creating a peaceful home is so important to me. Another one of the exercises was to take a survey through a Penn State website centered around studying authentic happiness that told you what your top five strengths are and the results were interesting - my strengths are love of learning, appreciation of beauty and excellence, hope, optimism, and future-mindedness, curiosity and interest in the world, and zest, enthusiasm, and energy.

The last exercise asked you to take the three values that I listed and think of three changes you can make to incorporate these values into your life more.

 Create more than I consume. Write, draw, sew, paint, crochet, read, and take pictures more than I search for inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram. Schedule chunks of time throughout the week to work, so that I can have a home business up and running in the next year.
 Along with scheduling work time, make sure to make time alone a priority - read a book, take a bath, do yoga, anything that will fill me.
 Create a budget and include an allowance for family dates. Go for walks more often. Find free local things to do. Be more intentional about doing crafts and teaching Ev instead of assuming she should entertain herself. Make an effort to make our home a haven, even on a limited budget.

To be honest, I've always been turned of to the idea of 'self help' books or life coaches. No offense to anyone who swears by them - I'm just a realist and need concrete facts and statistics to convince me of things and most self help books seem a bit fanciful. At the beginning of the week, I approached this coarse cautiously like I approach self help book and had a second where I was like 'Do I really need to ask myself all these questions? Am I really going to learn something new about myself?' but I did. I really enjoyed the work I had to do and the thought I had to put into it. It helped me to feel more accomplished and inspired.

What kinds of things in life are most valuable to you?

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