Step Seven - Identifying where in life you are currently incorporating your innate values.
Alana: Step five and six requires you to review your present life. You ask where you have allowed yourself opportunities to demonstrate the values that you identified in step these steps. You examine your job. You look at your relationships. You get in touch with what you may sense your life mission may be. Many people know what their life mission is, and many people do not. This will help you formulate an idea of what your life mission may be if you don't know. If you have a sense of what it is, then this step will help you strengthen that mission. If you don't, then you can imagine where the values that you hold dear can apply to various actions.
Kirk: By doing this seventh step I imagine some people will experience a strong sense of what their mission, or life purpose, is. Some people may have known for a long time, and for other people this will be a dawning of a new awareness. In this sixth step, as people identify those things that are important to them, those things on the outside that are also important on the inside, it will start to give them hints of their life purpose. They can start by making a list of the activities they enjoy. I've noticed that many people get stuck at this point. They think they need to translate what they discover in this seventh step into a specific career.
For example, I like food, so that means I need to be a baker. Or I like people, so that means I need to be a therapist. They then get stuck by thinking they have to be good at what they just identified. What do you suggest here?
Alana: We don't want to make this step that complicated. Let's keep it simple. We are looking primarily for qualities. We do not need to do anything yet. Rather, we can look into our outer world and see where we are demonstrating these qualities. That is what we are searching for. We are searching to see if we are suppressing these qualities; saying they do not matter because other people's expectations supersede our own. Or saying they don’t matter because we feel these aspects of our nature are insignificant to what we should be doing. We're also checking to see how we are already demonstrating, supporting, and actualizing these qualities.
This seventh step is very wonderful. You will now have a new way to reference your actions--including your distractions from step two--by your value list. You will begin to get much clearer about the areas in your life that you are about ready to transform, and what you are getting ready to engage more of in your life.
Kirk: That makes sense. Is there anything else you would like to add to this seventh step Alana; where we are beginning to identify where we are currently incorporating our values?
Step Seven Exercise - "Values Inventory"
Alana: Yes I have a wonderful exercise I would like to mention. You can evaluate a typical weekday in your life. Pick one that has a bit of variety in it. Break the day into early morning, morning, early afternoon, late afternoon, early evening, and late evening. Next write down the day's activities and what you do during these different times. Also note your "state of being" during these times. Next go to the value list that we created in step six, and note what times of the day you incorporate the greatest amount of your values. This is through both "doing and being." Write the values down that you feel you are embracing in each section. Now do the opposite, noting which times of the day and which activities seem to incorporate less of your values. Also note which times of the day and activities do not support your values.
You will begin to see where you are listening to your nature, practicing self-love, and self-care. You will also see where you are out of balance, and not making a conscious choice to incorporate your values. You will see areas where you have values that seem to be opposite. This will point to areas of conflict, as well as to where you have negotiated that your values and needs are less important. Doing this exercise will also show where you have yet to develop the skill to bring your authentic self forward. This step also leads us naturally to the next step.
Kirk: Very Good! I can see how this would be very useful Alana. It is a very practical exercise and easy to follow. It certainly prepares us for the next step.
Step Eight - Take initiative to let go of your distractions
Alana: The next step is beginning to let go. Begin to let go of your distractions. Begin to find ways to say no. It may take some time to learn how to feel the vibration of no, and understand that when you say no, it does not mean that you are letting someone down. It actually means that you are empowering others. Because if you say yes to something that you really mean no to, the experience in your exchange will be one that is built on energy that is not clear or of love. It is an energy of self-sabotaging your spirit. It sets up an illusionary sense of others as well as self.
Kirk: By saying no to something that is a distraction, we're actually at the same time saying yes to something that is closer to, and more in alignment with, our authentic self. It seems that we started with discovering our authentic self and then moved to mission and life purpose. Are you saying the core of discovering life purpose is first discovering our authentic self?
Alana: Yes Kirk.
Alana: From taking these first eight steps, we will begin to attract more universal support. Often people feel they are not supported in the world, or even in their personal or business relationships. This is partly because they have not given a clear message as to who they truly are. Therefore, the outer world inclusive of other people will begin to see us for who we truly are.
Kirk: Self-discovery is a powerful process. When people begin to see our real essence, they begin to know more about how to give us support, and we become more able to contribute to others. Now, lets discuss step eight--"Take initiative to let go of your distractions"--in greater detail. How do we incorporate the previous "Values Inventory" exercises with this step?
Alana: Go back to the information you have collected. Circle the activities and the various times in your day that you feel the most compromised. Examine what you see here. Ask yourself if any of the activities you are doing could be distracting you from your authentic self. I think you may be surprised to see what old beliefs lay beneath these distractions, and what you continue to carry forward in your life.
Kirk: I imagine by expanding on this exercise it will help provide much more clarity about where we say "yes" when we would rather say "no", or vice versa. Alana how would you respond to someone who has the feeling that letting go of distractions would be a loss to them? Their perception might be that their life would become dull and this step would be rather limiting. For example, they may think "variety is the spice of life."
Alana: Oh, yes. Please understand that Alana is not intending that this process create any limitations whatsoever. This step is really more about stepping into abundance. This step's intention is not to let go of the things in life that are fulfilling, but rather, to let go of things that are unfulfilling so that we have more room, or space, for what wants to rise to the top of our excitement list! We want to make room for more possibility, which will lead us to a life that is full, rich, and purposeful.
Here is another way to work with this step. Begin looking at the things in life that come up and then rate them on a scale from one to ten. If they only come to a two or three on your excitement meter--you may call this your "excitometer"--then you will know this is not an area you want to continue to cultivate. You are creating a measurement within your nature. You can check into this meter and identify on a scale of one to ten how much you feel aligned with an action. If it only excites you on the bottom end of the scale, then I would say it is most likely a distraction. As you use this scale, pay attention to where activities align with what you are discovering is most important to you. If you are at 7, 8, 9, or 10 on the scale, then it certainly is not a distraction.
Kirk: So you are recommending that people don't just do this work in their head, but that they actually have a felt sense in their body?
Alana: Yes. Slow down, turn your attention inward, and get a felt sense. Feel your senses, bring them into your being and enjoy what they bring to you. Become aware of all your senses. They wish to direct you to gathering much more self-knowledge and information for guiding you to happiness and purpose.
Kirk: Thank you. Is there a ninth step?