Have you ever asked yourself why the 2016 US election campaign and other divisive xenophobic movements around the world are causing you such obsessive and personal angst? Well, besides the racism, increase of violence and hate crimes and the potential for global destruction (and the list goes on), consider that everything those disturbing movements stand for is a complete affront to your core values.
We feel like we’ve stepped over a threshold into a dark period, the likes of which we learned about in history books but that we, and maybe you, have never lived through.
We believe that humans are good and that decent people who work for the betterment of humankind should prevail over those who lie, cheat, harass, and bully. But these days it appears that the “those” people are getting all the attention and power. And it’s infuriating.
Who are you if not a conscious being grounded in your core values?
By core values, we mean they’re at your core! They define you and serve as your foundation. Your core values are what make you who you are. Who you are, what you do, and how you be in the world is an expression of your core values.
It’s no coincidence that “values” is one of six categories of questions in our guide “How to Write Your Heart Will.” Also referred to as an Ethical Will, Spirit Will or Legacy Letter, your Heart Will is a tool to help you reflect on your life and create lasting messages for those you love. The main point is to create something for others to cherish at or around the time of your death and long after you die. But one of the greatest gifts of writing a Heart Will is the opportunity to discover, articulate and then own what really, truly matters most to you.
These three questions from the Values section give you a sense of what’s at, well, the heart of a Heart Will:
- What are your five core values and how have they served you or impacted your life?
- If the people you love were to remember only three things about you, what do you want them to be?
- How would you describe yourself to a future family member (birth or chosen family), who you will never meet?
Which of the above questions resonates with you the most? Which brings tears to your eyes or kick starts the giggles?
Here’s our invitation:
Spend 15 minutes answering that one question that resonates the most and see how it goes. You may be surprised at what you discover.
Another unexpected benefit of writing your Heart Will is that you can refer back to it in difficult times. Your Heart Will will remind you of who you are and what you stand for. In these troubled times, we each looked back at the Heart Wills we wrote earlier this year.
From Reena’s Heart Will: “From a young age I valued friendship, compassion, and community, and abhorred bullying, exclusion and segregation. I never comprehended why humans would consciously hurt one another. We don’t thrive in environments of segregation and isolation. Just like all things in nature, humans grow and thrive with diversity. Actually, our survival depends upon it.”
From Michelle’s Heart Will: “I want to be known for being a creative thinker and catalyst for action. I see and bring to life connections between ideas, people, places and projects that make our world a better place. I want to be remembered for cultivating love, courage, and self-determination in myself and in others.“
What do you value?
What do you want to be known for?
Who are YOU?
As Leonard Cohen reminds us, “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Looking back at our Heart Wills brought us both that light and strength. Knowing and owning who we are – which is really what a Heart Will is all about – reignited our people-and planet-loving values. We moved beyond our fury and are inspired to connect and collaborate for change.
How about you?
How has writing your Heart Will or even answering one of the questions helped you in these troubling times?
What are your core values and how does owning them make a difference in your life?
Please join the discussion below. We’d love to hear from you.
Please, for the sake of our shared humanity, for the sake of our precious planet …