Aligning your values with your life
It’s quite important to me that my family spends quality time in nature—camping, hiking,
and exploring the great outdoors. As my boys quickly grow up before my eyes, I want their lives to be enriched by their experiences of the wild world around them. It excites me to think of night rides through the country to look for dear and other nocturnal critters, snorkeling in clear waters to appreciate all manner of sea life, and kayaking adventures down the local waterways.
Here’s the catch—while everything I said above is something I say I believe, we rarely
hike or spend extended times in nature. We haven’t camped in years. Sure, I relish the chance to fish throughout our one-week lake vacation each summer, and I can usually convince the boys to put down their video games long enough to swim and occasionally drop lines or small boats in the water. This hardly qualifies, however, as a regular priority for outdoorsmanship in our lives.
What I say is important in this matter simply doesn’t match with how I actually live. To put it more harshly, one may even say I live duplicitously as a self-appointed nature lover who spends far less than half of his waking hours outside. You have heard it said that we need to mind our “p’s and q’s”. In this case I need to mind just my “p’s”—to look for the places where they don’t match up.
What are my “p’s”?
Well, I operate by varying principles that guide my thinking and beliefs, passions that stir in my soul, proclamations that I speak out or otherwise present to the world, and practices the actual things I spend time and energy on. In my example above, I clearly don’t spend as much time practicing what I think, what I say, or perhaps even what stirs inside of me with regards to nature.
Somewhere I need to recalibrate. Somewhere I need alignment.
Alignment requires bringing together the various pieces of who we are so that our lives are fruitful and thriving, not disconnected and disintegrating. Therefore, I engage the ongoing work of assessing my “p’s” for ways to better understand how my life is actually arranged and where I can get my life in synch.