Determining my values – mindfulness day 3

Well, I’ve spent a lot of the last week thinking about my values. From lots of the websites I looked at (whether meant for school planning or changing careers or mindfulness) the basic idea seems to be to look at bunches of lists of values and see what resonates with you; what is most important to you.

I’ve just started reading Brene Brown and this really resonated.

Someone said they figured out their core values by asking themselves “what is the thing I want in X area of my life?” Then they asked “why do I want that?”. After asking why a few times they figured out their core values.

Some friends were kind enough to share theirs with me to give me thoughts on what they considered important.

And a while back an artist wanted to make me a picture as thanks for supporting her work and asked me a bunch of questions including: “use three words to describe your personality.”

I turned to three of my closest friends for help. I told them the first three that came to mind for me were: curious, kind, stubborn. They suggested changing “stubborn” to “determined”; and added: thoughtful, ‘often slightly drunk’, and generous.

I asked Toby and Q as well. Without hesitation Q said that his family and friends were the most important things to him. Then added health. Toby agreed with this and his first thought was ‘kindness’ – which I think is kinda sweet because it was definitely one of the first ones I thought of.

So back to figuring out my own values. I approached it like I do most everything really – I threw a bunch of stuff on the page and tried to figure out what should stay 😊


Family – there should be no doubt that Toby and Q are my world.

Security / Stability

After a bunch of thought and to-ing and fro-ing (just me, or does that just always look wrong? toing and froing is no better), I decided that the ones in bold are the most important to me. Apparently you’re supposed to narrow it down to two eventually but I figure these are a pretty good start. I might write more in the future about what they all mean to me (like generosity isn’t just donating money and maybe over time I’ll become more comfortable with generosity or kindness and only keep one of them bold) but this is where I am now.

Here are some lists of values for you to look at if you like:

Brene Brown – PDF link:

Psychology Today online list:

The University of California Berkeley has a checklist too (lots of other unis do if you poke around a little). The nifty thing about the Berkeley page is it also as an “end of career” activity which asks two questions:

How do you want to be remembered? Similarly, what do you want to be remembered for?

What evidence (e.g. accomplishments, relationships, achievements, etc.) would exist to prove that you led a meaningful life and a successful career?

I thought that was a pretty interesting framework. Especially the first question.


Accepting compliments – mindfulness day 2

I’m starting today with some housekeeping.

First: the person who set up the 28 days on FB is Brittany Terotta. She is a clinical social worker and refers to what she does as holistic therapy. The stuff I’m posting here are my thoughts and digressions and things I found using her prompts as my start. Blame me though, if you don’t like something, not her 😉

Second: I’ve realised there’s no way I’m going to do this as a daily thing. Also a part of Brittany’s day two was thinking about values. I’ve been thinking and poking about online (psychology resources, career planning, budgetting pages! they all talk about figuring out your values) and it’s going to take me a while just to digest that. I’ll still subtitle the posts “mindfulness day X” where X equals the last mindfulness post plus 1. And they will all be tagged “mindfulness” and “mental health” so they should be all easy to see together.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program….

This day pairs nicely with the positive affirmations – this time the idea is to make a commitment to accept compliments you are given. No deflecting, no “it was nothing,” none of that. Say thank you instead.

Then write it down. Keep a list. Read the list whenever you need some reminders.

I’m setting up my journal for August today (yes, I know – but at least it was the 3rd when I wrote this!) and I will have a page to write things down on.

I did a bit of this back in February – it’s lovely to see. And because I am me, I wrote down who said it and in what context lol

I have to remember the point is to become the best version of me that I can be. And I am grateful to be here.


Positive Affirmations – mindfulness day 1

Affirmations are an interesting idea. On one hand, I completely get the idea of neuroplasticity – networks in your brain change as they grow and reorganize. But how to move from thinking something to being something or doing something… I’m still not sure.

For months and months now, I really don’t remember when I started, (though in true Lisa-fashion, I started a google sheet in January 2020 so that I could keep track) my first post of the day on FB has been something positive. A word of thanks, a mantra for the day, a quote. Anything. From a quick “you got this” to a quote from Audre Lorde and a huge first comment explaining my thoughts. One little thing I’ve learned is that it means so much to me to help other people. The best days are the days where people say “I needed this today” or really every little thank you.

The idea of affirmations is, as I understand it of course not being trained or anything, that the more you repeat an idea, thought, image, the more you believe it. So thinking more positively helps over time – like water eroding rocks.

One of my favourite posts is to remind people to be as kind to themselves as they are to others. So my affirmations for August:

I am a good person

I matter

I believe in myself

I love ALL of me

I make mistakes

How can you change something you usually tell yourself to be more positive? Can you really change a “negative” to a “positive”? And I don’t mean in that “I’m a perfectionist” response to a job interview question about your weaknesses kind of way.


Mindfulness, mental health and other stuff

I love the Olympics. Even these summer sports. I mean, I especially love the winter ones but I forget how much I love all the Olympics. PanAm games too. Any time athletes are competing for something more than themselves. I mean, I guess NHL, NBA, NFL etc. athletes are also playing for their teams and their fans but for some reason there’s something about national competitions that makes me watch street skateboarding and table tennis and get as into it as I do for the diving and swimming and triathlon.

(on that note, if your kids are in sports or other activities and I can go watch, or watch online or support in ANY FREAKING WAY please let me know)

Follow Michael de Adder:

The US has amazing gymnasts. They defy gravity. Even Toby watched with me a little bit and we tried to figure out the physics.

And when you’re the best of an amazing team? When you’re Bolt of Jamaica or Comaneci of Romania, Redgraves of Great Britain, Thorpe of Australia, or Oleksiak or Hughes of Canada? Or well, Biles of the US? (plus many many others of all countries) Then your spotlight shines even more brightly and bright lights alone can cause damage. Then add on your own expectations, the expectations of your entire country, of random people like me sitting on the couch with a beer and chips, of the media, of history.

Simone Biles did what she had to do. And in that moment that was to stop. Pamela Ware walked off the spring board. Ellie Black withdrew. As Andy Murray did from the singles tennis.

Mental heath IS health. Every bit as much as physical health is health.

Back in February, a friend who recognized how hard COVID and the pandemic was hitting me invited me to a FB group to focus on self-love and mindfulness and care for a month. I couldn’t do it then – I wasn’t ready, I didn’t have the focus, I don’t know what. But I’m going to try it again now. 28 days. August has 31 of course so I have a couple of buffer days in there 😉 (and yes, this time I am going to stick with it even if it takes me to November to do).

But this is my August focus. And I’m going to write here a lot about it. I hope you join me.

Diversions Podcasts

Ologies – Quarantinology

One of the things I usually say when people ask (on FB or wherever) what I like best about myself is my curiosity. I love learning new things. Or about new people. Or a new way of doing something.

This doesn’t mean I need to have the latest new-fangled gadget; in fact, I’m usually a bit behind the times that way. But gosh I am such a geek.

Venn diagram showing three overlapping circles: Intelligence, Social Ineptitude, Obsession (I + S = dweeb; S + O = dork; O + I = geek; I + S + O = nerd)

Or maybe that should be nerd…but I’m not really socially inept, I just don’t like most people.

Anyway, I love learning new things. Especially from really smart people. So just try and imagine my joy a few months ago when I started listening to the podcast called Ologies. With a tagline like “Ask Smart People Stupid Questions” it was right up my alley!

I recently listened to the Quarantinology episode, where she had on several guests as California (where Alie Ward, the host is based) was poised to let COVID-19 protective measures expire. It’s a great episode and really helped me feel a bit less anxious.

BUT that’s not why I’m writing about it – sometimes it takes me a while to get to the point 🙂

I’m writing because TIL about Cole Imperi and thanatology. Thanatology – all about death and dying.

Aside: There’s another side story in me somewhere about how I was going to go to college and become a mortician but there’s already been enough digressions in here…

So part of what Imperi spoke about was “shadowloss” – a loss in life as opposed to a loss of life. Certain experiences affect people the same way that a death of a human or beloved pet might – there is grief and despair. An example she gives is divorce or the loss of a job. Just like the death of a loved one, divorce doesn’t effect everyone the same way, but for some the losses can be very similar. It’s a neat idea I think that conveys the depth of feeling.

moving from why to what

Another topic was on moving from why questions to what questions and I really love this. The idea is that why questions don’t really help. Even if there is an answer, the answer doesn’t change anything. “Why me?” doesn’t really get anyone anywhere.

But “what can I do now?” or “what can I do to honour the past?” or “what would feel good for me right now?” or “what can I learn from this?” are examples of shifting your perspective from mourning the past to embracing the future.

And now, please excuse me while I go down a thanatology rabbit-hole. Ciao!