Do Your Choices Align with Your Values?


Photo Credit: Britt-knee

I wrote about values recently. How identifying & staying in touch with our values provides us with a road map for our lives. 

And yet, if we’re going to live by that map, steer our course by that map, there’s one essential ingredient.


The official definition of awareness is “knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.” 

I like to think about it as simply noticing. Noticing what’s happening right here, right now. Within me and around me. It calls our attention into the present moment.

At the heart of living by our values is knowing whether our actions and choices are aligned with our values. The reality for most of us, is that at times they don’t match up. Cultivating a practice of awareness brings our choices into clear view and helps us neutralize the things that get us off track. It helps us see if the misalignment is trying to teach us an important lesson.

If awareness, from a place of curiosity rather than criticism, is a daily practice, doorways to deeper understanding and alignment will open again and again.

While it sounds so simple – just be aware – in practice, it’s not so easy. Our lives are constantly bombarded by distractions. The demands on our attention and time are at an all-time high. When we’re balancing the demands of career, family, and personal interest along with a steady flow of information from all fronts, the space to pause and notice the the wealth of information in the here and now is often lost. Simple habits & routines – useful in streamlining life’s demands – can block our presence in the moment. With all the advances of modern living, stillness and silence have been sacrificed. A close connection with the natural world, which helped cultivate awareness in our ancestors, is less and less present in modern cultures. 

I can almost hear your responses from where I sit! In the face of what I just said, am I really suggesting one more thing for the to-do list?!

Yes. I am.

My guess is that you’ll find that cultivating a sense of awareness returns benefits essential to a satisfying life. Here are just a few.

  • If we can pay attention with curiosity, absent of judgement & self-criticism, we get to see what’s working, and what’s not.
  • We begin to develop clarity around changes that might improve our lives.
  • We begin to see old, out-dated beliefs that are blocking enjoyment of our lives in the present.
  • We find the attention to recognize and celebrate all the things that are going well.
  •  It allows us to fully inhabit our lives.
  • Through our clear attention we experience a deep vibrancy that’s always available when we’re in tune with this moment. 

Awareness is the key to alignment. It is an essential component in connection and gratitude and joy. 

Next time I’ll share several of the practices I’ve used in strengthening the muscles of awareness.

But don’t wait until then to get started.

Begin here.


What do you notice?

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  1. Winnie Ennenga August 3, 2015 at 7:25 am #

    Hi Kelly, I think that sometimes I am in such a hurry that I forget the value of pausing, of hesitating before I act. Even, sometimes that our society doesn’t regard that as an attribute sometimes. You. hear “he’s a get it done guy” after someone slams through your life.

    I value pausing to think, to reflect on thoughts such as you’ve shared here. Thank you. for inspiring my journal ing for this week on the river! Winnie

    • Kelly August 10, 2015 at 11:42 am #

      Vacations – especially ones like you’re taking – are great opportunities to pause & reflect. And . . . . I agree that it’s also essential to be conscious about our actions in the course of our day to day lives. Thanks!


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