It’s been fairly thoroughly established that I’m a huge fangirl of Rich Roll – I love to listen to his podcasts while I’m running, or walking with Straxi, or driving, or cleaning the house…ok, pretty much any time. I have so many books from his guests in my list of books to read (it’s never ending, but that’s not really a surprise – I mean, have you met me?). A recent guest – Brad Stulberg – closed out his interview with Rich by talking about core values, and he outlined a way we can determine what our core values might be. He said we should make a list of 3-5 attributes associated with you at your best. This stopped me in my tracks as I was listening (fortunately, no traffic was coming, because I was in the middle of the street) and I paused the podcast so I could return to it and make note of just what the heck he was saying.

That’s one of the down sides to listening to a podcast that really speaks to me as I run – I have to remember to go back and write some stuff down, or else I have to walk a while so I can make some notes on my phone. Technology is amazing.

After making a list of attributes, expand that list into some things you can do for each attribute (or stop doing) to embody it. This whole thing seemed a little complicated to me, but when we are discussing virtues and values, it seems that complexity would be required. Imagine my surprise when, after thinking about this for a few weeks (yeah, I’m a really fast actor), it was pretty straightforward.

I’m not done with my list of ways I can embody these core values yet, but I’m still working on it. I thought that my biggest, most important value would relate in some way to my work – my teaching practice. I guess in a way it does, now that I think about it. My prime, first, number one, core value is making healthy choices for myself.

I guess it really speaks to how well I have internalized that message that women are supposed to be caregivers and look out for others above self that I found it necessary to include “for myself” in a description of a core value that I – myself – hold. Insert rolly eyes emoji here.

Making healthy choices for myself includes some of the following, and I’m still fleshing this out, obviously, as I encounter things I hadn’t previously considered:

  • Improving my sleep hygiene and developing a better nightly routine
  • Writing down all my food before I eat it, so I can make better informed choices
  • Avoiding processed foods (and I’ll get back to an insight I had into this in just a second)
  • Regular exercise (including developing and following a plan!)
  • Meditation

These are all probably pretty much at the DUH level for most people, myself included, but the issue isn’t thinking of ways I can enact and embody these values (because I know what’s involved in making healthy choices) the issue is knowing this and acting on it – actually doing it, and doing it consistently. Consistency is key, and consistency is a weak point for me. Even when I’ve seen consistency provide really great results, reinforcing the importance of consistency, I still struggle.

The whole “avoiding processed foods” thing has been pretty easy this summer. Having little to no disposable income has resulted in very, very careful grocery shopping (one of the only places we can really trim at this point – everything else is at a nub, to be honest, with no further room for trimming). Where I used to run to the store and grab some vegan Ben & Jerry’s as a splurge, I’m looking at that price tag now and noping right out of that decision. I just do not have the $7 per pint it takes to support that sort of decision (and I fear that this isn’t just a blip in the road w/r/t prices – it’s not just because of COVID that these companies are jacking up the prices – it’s because they can. I don’t see them voluntarily stopping that behavior just out of the goodness of their hearts. We are in this for the long haul, imo. But I’m no economist, so what do I know? Capitalism is evil and horrible and will eventually kill all of us little people.)

So that’s why the processed foods aren’t so hard to stay away from – and I am anticipating that consistency here won’t be hard. Even when I do have disposable income, I’m going to be hard pressed to give it to the asshole corporations who can’t see past the amount of money they can wring out of us in the short term. Yeah, staying away from $11 Amy’s Pizza isn’t going to be hard, especially given their labor issues.

The other stuff, though – that’s going to take some work.