Aligning with our deepest values

Hints of self

One of the things I pondered during the recent retreat from blogging and computer and caffeine and other distracting activities was this:  how can we more deeply align our daily activities with our deepest beliefs and values?

Where are we putting the gift of our attention?  Is it really aimed at our deepest wishes, or is it aimlessly drifting in other helter-skelter directions?

What do we want to be doing with our one precious life?  What is the core, the honey, the hidden treasure, the Holy Grail?

In what ways am I just coasting through the day, sugar-coating or filling the hours with distractions?  In what way is attention scattered into pursuits that really lead down dead-end streets?

Stairway up the mountain

I am vowing to keep these eyes wide open to see what is really wanted.  What direction I want to go from sunrise to sunset.

One thing came clear.  My blog needs to change directions to better align with my deepest values.  It’s been a fun three years of sharing *The adventures of Kathy* with you.  I wanted to encourage readers to deeply be themselves, to find their own quirkiness, their own individuality, their own chutzpah, their own path through their own woods of life.  I wanted them to find the Lake Superior within, one of the biggest coldest wildest lakes on the planet.  To run with wolves and coyotes and beavers and Facebook and WordPress and whatever your heart begged.

I wanted to encourage others to be authentic–to be more of who one truly is.

But that doesn’t exactly align with my deepest self any more.

What resonates the most deeply is Presence.  Being present.  Being.

Here, Now.

Perhaps it’s just a small change in focus.

Perhaps it’s only an incremental change.

Perhaps you won’t even notice.

But this blog is changing directions, friends.  It’s moving from north to the center of the circle.

Owl wing

The posts will share stories of this life in the Little House in the Woods, next to Lake Superior.  In fact it will share more stories.

But the main character will no longer be Kathy.  She’s stepping out of the main focus and allowing Presence itself to step forward.  She’s moving into a support role as Life takes center stage.

I’m really not interested in blathering about Kathy’s feelings, opinions, thoughts right now.

Life itself will tell the stories.

True life will tell what’s happening.

Which is more real?

We’ll see how this goes.  (Kathy really has no idea, since Life is now in the driving seat bumping along the snow-covered back roads.)

You may be wiggling your nose in a couple of weeks thinking, “What WAS she talking about?  She still uses the ‘I’ word, doesn’t she?”

But, if you’re astute, perhaps you’ll notice a shift.  Perhaps you’ll notice a shift within yourself, as well, if you choose to celebrate Presence with me.   (Yesterday’s post was the first attempt to share this with you.  The next attempt, already written, is about a chickadee and the hand of grace.)

Here’s to Life, my friends.  Here’s to aligning with our deepest values, again and again and again.

White eagle feather

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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71 Responses to Aligning with our deepest values

  1. Brenda Hardie says:

    Kathy…I understand and am also going through this shift in my awareness. Feels like I’m on the edge of a big change so it’s a bit unnerving.
    I love the owl wing picture!

    • Kathy says:

      It’s heartening to think that there are others feeling this shift in awareness, too, Brenda. The owl wing hung on a fence over behind the Pow Wow grounds a couple years ago.

  2. Susan Derozier says:

    It feels like you are taking us from “being alone” to the “All One.” I love these photos and look forward to shifting with you.

  3. I am up for a shift too — I think I commented yesterday about the “feel” of the post

  4. I love you vibrant explanations here and heave truly felt the presence of the Northern Winds Kindred Spirt, kind of the mome that makes me think of my home state-Minnesota, such wild presence , passion, and down to earth heart.,

    I hhave found that Lake Superior within, one of the biggest coldest wildest lakes on the planet. To run with wolves and coyotes and beavers and Facebook and WordPress and whatever my heart begged.

    Thank you!!!!!!!!


    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Kim, for loving the Northern Winds and appreciating the down to earth heart which is within each of us if we look beneath the inner script we’ve been creating for ourselves.

  5. Elisa's Spot says:

    See, just for today…what I want, my deepest me, is not possible with life on life’s terms. Though, I think from what you said, this is only part of being present. Being present can mean not hiding in addiction. Not hiding in fluffy writing about optimal conditions. Can I be present and the me of my grounded inner heart while spinning on black ice, smashing the front of my car thru the siderail of a high bridge and hanging by a guide wire hooked around the rear suspension? Am I ever NOT present?

  6. bonnie says:

    Searching, just searching……perhaps I will find the answers here…perhaps in the subtle shift….perhaps not, yet I will find something here to treasure, I have no doubt.

    • Kathy says:

      You will find something to treasure no matter where you look I think, Bonnie, for Life seems to be giving us treasures every minute. I think the biggest secret is realizing that the present moment is the “gift” we’ve been looking for, don’t you?

  7. sybil says:

    Insert wise observation here.

  8. Such a good idea. I wish that I could write more about something other than pets I just do not have the writing skills that you possess.

    I will continue to look forward to your posts- no matter the content.

  9. Karma says:

    Now you’ve got me pondering, Kathy. Life is SO full of distractions, many of them necessary to fulfill our basic needs (food, home, etc), how do I discern what it is that my deepest self desires? How do we allow the soul to pursue its wants when the “have to’s” of life so often get in the way?

    • Kathy says:

      The answer that I have come up with (and keep forgetting, and then remember, and keep forgetting and then remember) is that by cultivating Presence (be here, now) in the midst of our have to’s of life that we develop a deep peace. It’s when we become attached to the stories within our minds and the feelings those stories generate, that we often end up suffering and crazed. It’s hard to separate from our stories and drama, but infinitely possible, I pray.

  10. Pingback: November Chill « Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

  11. “Here’s to Life, my friends. Here’s to aligning with our deepest values, again and again and again.”

    Amen. And amen again.

  12. carolineskanne says:

    Yes! you put your pen on it. how liberating … & exciting to see what unfolds. love & gratitude ❤

  13. Kathy may your presence shine in the blogosphere 🙂 I am looking forward to the shift and the gifts I intuit that it will have to offer.

  14. Thought much about these things while at the cabin for Thanksgiving — always a good spot for reflection. Thank you for continuing to allow us to tag along for the journey! ~ Kat

    • Kathy says:

      Some wise person once said, “It’s the journey, not the destination…” Kat, I do believe that’s true. I want to be more awake to the journey and not lost telling a story about it instead of truly being Here.

  15. Kerry Dwyer says:

    Very profound. I look forward to the new posts. I like the idea of Life taking over but I hope to still see a lot of you, how can there not be?
    As ever wonderful pictures I particularly like the reflection of the tree so poignant for this post.

  16. This is lovely. Yesterday, I read your post, then the comments, then felt everything I was wanting to say had already been said. Today, I just quickly scrolled past the other writers so that I could tell you how very admirable this direction is. I feel I’ve been doing quite a bit of “self-ish” writing lately. I chastise myself for too much “navel-gazing”. More kindly, I remind myself that it’s okay, this is the place I am at in my own journey right now. I want the perspective you have, and your generosity of spirit to share it, and invite us all in. I’m not there yet, but I appreciate your view…thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      Quite often, especially when there are lots of comments, I just scroll down. Wanting to add what’s first on my mind without getting tangled in the other comments coming from different directions. Cindy, I think there is a time for writing about the self. We have to. We have to delve deeply into the self, to discover what’s there. We shouldn’t be ashamed. It’s necessary. Until we’ve gazed deeply enough, we’re not ready to surrender to Presence, perhaps. (And don’t idealize me, for heavens sake! I can be as reactive as the next person and sometimes very very far from being “here”.)

  17. Carol says:

    The constant is change – it will be interesting to watch yours.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Carol! Change is constant! And we can see it weaving its magic through all of our blogs if we adjust the kaleidoscope of perception to see it.

  18. Marianne says:

    Nice! I look forward to Life Itself! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Life Itself, Marianne, already sharing itself through the personal and impersonal, dancing this way and that, changing perspectives, simply and preciously shimmering. I suspect that Life is already having its way with us–as us–and we’re but dimly aware of it. Hope you are well, my dear fellow Presence-lover!

  19. Lori DiNardi says:

    Looking forward to it.

  20. The comments all cover the gracious, kindness, hereness of here and now; listening with the third here ear and seeing with the third eye or glimpsing from the peripheral vision the shadow of past and present shifting to the Presence which is within, even though occasionally it escapes and runs amuck with all the lives we lived and are living remembering….forgetting to see what is within and right in front of us.

    Should I leave my family stories and let them be discovered or not by the next generation; I see the sun casting shadows behind my latest painting changing how it really looks.

    I once could just BE. Now I ask WHY and wonder if I can BE again.
    Well, I should write my own post instead of writing a mini post here.

    Lovely thoughts and photos…that is what I am going to do….take those photos both good and bad simply to record a moment in time. That will keep me focused on the Here.

    Thank you for the SHIFT in focus! and for letting me ramble!

    • Kathy says:

      I loved reading your comment here, Linda. You may ramble any time. Perhaps Presence loves rambling, unlike our minds. I suspect we can all remember how to BE, but it takes some desire, perhaps. We often start out being and then get lost in the wild tangle of our minds and feelings. Am reading a book by Jan Frazier called “The Freedom of Being” and thought of you. Perhaps you might look into this book?

      Simply recording this precious (good/bad) moment in time…profound. Loving the SHIFT in those who wish it.

  21. lisaspiral says:

    Your thoughts make me think about the process of blogging like the medicine wheel, moving from one point of view to another and continuing to grow along the path. I think you’ve been moving your blog in this direction for the last few weeks anyway. Nice to have you identify your intention though. Fun to read in any case. Looking forward to more insights.

    • Kathy says:

      That is a wonderful analogy, Lisa. YES! Blogging is like the medicine wheel, continuing to move and grow, never stagnant. (Or stagnant for long as we want it to be, in order to better see what we’re trying to see.) I was going to just swing more fully into Presence on this blog, but wanted to share the *behind the scenes* with all of you.

  22. Heather says:

    Kathy, I’m looking forward to your new focus! It’s so easy to let our attention waver to things that we don’t agree with or like. Tony and I are trying a new approach to Christmas gift-giving this year thinking along these lines. Perhaps your blog will keep my efforts renewed as well.

  23. Stacy says:

    Very interesting that you’re shifting directions to the center, Kathy. I’ve kind of made this change in my own life recently. Let’s see how it goes….or if anyone notices. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      I wish I had the patience to just let other people notice (or not). There seems to be an almost crazy desire to explain things up front. Oh well! Silly personalities. 🙂

  24. Sid Dunnebacke says:

    The dominant, less smart hemisphere of my brain asks this: Have you figured out how to do this? How to be present? How to live here and now? The smarter and quieter hemisphere guesses this whole notion isn’t a destination but is rather a journey. Still, while I find this idea among the most important there are, I don’t know how to get on that train. I mean, how do I align my valid day-to-day worries (most of which have to do with money or the girls or both!) with being present?

    I’ll continue reading here to grab on to your wisdom, when it speaks to me, and continue my own travels toward that path of being more present. So bring on the wisdom, Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Good morning, Sid! I was so intrigued by your question when reading it the other day, but am just coming around to attempting an answer. No, I have not figured out how to do this 24/7. Some days not even at all. Other days, mostly. I agree that it’s a destination, a process, a hike through the woods of life.

      It seems that it’s important to see that our day-to-day worries come from our familiar self, our personal self. To live in Presence we see that self, but we keep returning to what’s more “real” beyond those everyday concerns. We move our perception from that part of self to that which surrounds us and isn’t worried, isn’t fussing. The part of our perception which sees the Whole, which is already unified, which really is the tenderest of loving-what-is.

      Perhaps, then, someday, our perception shifts (if we want it to) from the personal to the All. Or, perhaps, we’ll so fully embrace ourselves one day that it doesn’t matter any more…

  25. dawnkinster says:

    …and again. I think the shift is always happening; a goal we can all aspire to. I look forward to noticing.

    • Kathy says:

      Fascinating, Dawn, that you mention “the shift is always happening”. I will be thinking about that some more. You may be right. Sometimes feeling trapped in our old habits just make us think that it’s not happening.

  26. Elisa's Spot says:

    Ohhhh dear! See, when I read this post the first times, I was in a ‘bad’ spot for me and my brain was seeing everything as an affront, a verification that life didn’t give a *@$^ about me. I am so good at doing that! Just think if I got a gold star for it, not only would i feel pleased and maybe stop being a brat, others would be warned and I wouldn’t know it!

    The media trends after the Secret have driven people to play pretend. To NOT fully understand intent. To NOT fully understand what being present means. But it also then messes with the understanding of the word Presence. I think that I understood what Kathy meant to convey but my pity pot was a wee bit full and I dribbled on her carpets some. To notice Presence of my Higher Power, I feel most comfortable being grounded. If I monitor my grounding in a way that works best for me, my level of ungroundedness remains tolerable–no one is permanently grounded, took me forever to learn this and I still forget until hindsight. Well, for me, what happens when I am grounded is that no matter life on life’s terms, it is not so difficult to be available to function in life just as it is, and just where I am, and still notice the Presence of my Higher Power.

    For me, being present isn’t blocking out things only to focus upon what I THINK is now. Time is a continuous flow, a spiral, or some other figurative thread. It’s continuous and thus does contain the past, and effects, consequences, and rewards of sorts for the future, that all affect the present. If I stop to look at why me, why am i being punished, I might miss the direction forward to amend and to progress, or not see the waving red flag for the next right thing. So, I CAN’T get in the way of Presence, I can only not notice. That’s just for me though, take what you want, and leave the rest. Good Morning friend Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      good morning, friend Elisa! You made some very pertinent lovely points here. I do think it’s easy for our minds to decide what Presence means (on the basis of the latest book we read) and then to overlay that over what Presence actually is. I catch myself doing that at times. But another person’s definition of Presence doesn’t last. Only our own deep understanding of it will. I feel like I understand Presence as a mental concept very well. The desire still exists for the feet to understand it, the hands, the skin. And sometimes they seem to, but fleetingly.

      They say that awakening is “abiding” Presence. It doesn’t go away. In the meantime, it’s apparent, that groundedness comes and go. It’s part of the swirling movement.

      Being Present definitely isn’t blocking out things. It seems to be the opposite. It involves including everything. But I do believe one of the reasons we don’t perceive this is because we come from a singular personal viewpoint which is lost in the viewpoint’s story about what is actually arising.

      This blog is now more about practice for me. Everything down to the tiptoes feels solid when sharing in the last week or so. It feels a right direction to go, for now.

  27. sonali says:

    “What resonates the most deeply is presence” I love your words & they make so much sense to me on this day. It interests me to know the different aspects of your own self that you discover and experience. Phenomenal! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Sonali, actually I started by baby blog, Simply Here, in 2010 writing stories of Presence just like these. After a while, the blog changed to talking about non-duality and awareness and spirituality. Funny how things come full circle. Lake Superior Spirit didn’t feel ready for this until now. Glad you like the reflections and encouragement for different parts of YOUR self, too!

  28. Jeffstroud says:

    Isn’t that what your other blob was about? I like your goal here. So I think you will see that you and life are the same presence. Yet coming from different perspectives ! I could be wrong?

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, that’s how my other blog started, telling simple stories of Presence and awareness. But it morphed into talking about spirituality, and sometimes poetry, and other things. I agree that Life and we are the same presence! Even with all our stories and angles and perceptions. I think Life expresses itself through Everything That Is. Yet we so often miss this, because we’re so closely identified and aligned with a single perspective, don’t we?

  29. Dana says:

    How exciting, Kathy! Your ponderings and musings are always so inspiring to me. I *think* I yearn for Presence, but there you have it: “I think”. I’m not Being. I’m thinking about Being. (And I get so distracted by the most trivial and tiny of things!)

    I look forward to seeing the shift in your writing, whether it be subtle and soft like a downy feather or jarring and unexpected like a sixth finger or toe. Blessings to you, my friend! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Dana, you are so honest that I adore you! (OK, lots of people are honest, here, but I do love the way you hit the nail so squarely.) The truth of the matter is that many of us *think* we yearn for Presence. We do. Yet our actions often show that we’re really don’t want Presence yet. We want ourselves. We want our stories.

      The wise ones say–and that’s OK. Just be honest with yourselves. I want to be more honest. Wondering now if you’ll see a shift, or no? Maybe it will only be me who feels the shift? Let me know…

  30. Barb says:

    Glad I didn’t miss this – presence – the very hardest thing. I’ll follow along with this shift, Kathy. It is what I hope for, too.

  31. Karen “Karma” lead me to your inspiring post, Kathy. I am grateful to her. You two wrote in the same sort of questioning mood lately, if I may say so. Is it the end of the year coming soon ? a inner need for a change of direction and way of thinking, being ? Presence is certainly something we need to be more aware of – even in the middle of distractions. Not easy but well worth trying. Thank you for reminding us of this, always.

    • Kathy says:

      Glad Karma nudged you over here, Isa. Yes, we must be feeling that “end of 2012 feeling”… I find that awareness of Presence sometimes feels more “present” and other times wanes. Sometimes it feels easy to write blog posts that align with deeper values but sometimes I just want to feel fun and funny and lose sight of that. I guess the trick is to be presence even within our different moods and just let that shine through. Thank you for loving Presence, too. I feel that you do when reading your words.

  32. Robin says:

    Change is good. 🙂

  33. I’m sure I’ll love your ‘new focus’ as much as the previous one. I took a break from reading blogs for awhile, mainly because I was having trouble finding the time in the busy-ness that was my life the past month but I’m back and will make a greater effort to follow those I really care about and that’s you Kathy. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Hello again withershins. Looking at this blog post again it appears–more than a month later–that I have only been able to follow my heart’s deepest desire sporadically. You will probably notice when the emphasis changes. The problem is that I get hijacked by an internal comedian sometimes and just want to giggle at life. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, is there? Am trying to give both sides space to write and share. Kind of like you do with your crafts and interviews and personal info. (And I know what you mean about finding time to read blogs. I am almost two weeks behind now although really really want to get back to reading asap.)

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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