Welcome back to Restorative Grief with Mandy Capehart. You are listening to episode 52, titled, “Core Values, Practically Speaking.”
This is our FINAL episode of season one! I wasn’t really sure how to end a weekly podcast without taking a true break, so I decided 52 weeks in a year means the end of a season! It made sense to me, so here we are. I’m just winging it, gang. We all are, so if you think I’ve got it together, rest assured!
So anyway, this week, we are going to move through an exercise I presented to the Restorative Grief Project about resetting our core values and confirming that we are pursuing alignment in ourselves as we make decisions and work toward healing.
So what is core value work and how to do we do it on a practical level? A lot of times I worry that the language I use in the Restorative Grief model leaves some folks behind. Not intentionally, of course, but simply by virtue of being less commonly used language. It’s hard enough to follow along when you’re grieving, but coupled with trying to learn an entirely new way of being in the world is daunting at best.
The way we address our core values on a practical level is going to set the pace for how we approach and integrate healing practices into our lives. If you’re newer to the principle of core value work in the grieving process, you can also listen to episodes 28 & 30 as a crash course to catch up.
Usually we think about core values as those high level beliefs about the best parts of our character. We start to name integrity, honesty, love, generosity, and many other very complex concepts that we simply cannot fully embody every day.
In grief work, however, we address the needs of our grief story in the moment by identifying our biggest pain points and connecting those pain points to a value or boundary that has been violated by our loss.
I don’t mean violated in an intentional way, like someone trying to cause you harm. But death is a violation of our understanding and expectations of life. It disrupts how we move through the world and we deserve all the time and intention necessary to carve a new and meaningful path back toward ourselves.
As you begin to think about your pain points and potential boundary violations in your life, I want to remind you that the core value work we’ll walk through here is not permanent. Meaning you can hold this core value for as little as a day, and focus on a new core value the following day. I like to choose three in a week and ensure all my actions, thoughts, emotions, and feelings are in harmony with those values.
Basically when you feel ready to focus on a new pain point, do it. Identify the value that deserves attention, and get creative with ways to address what might realign your mind, heart, body, and spirit with that value.
For today, we are going to explore the value of rest. And if you’re not sure where to begin with your own value work, feel free to borrow the value of rest and see what serves. It’s a very excellent value to start with anyway.
So, as for rest as a value. When we feel low energy and fatigued, we can say, “I need more energy” but without the inevitable shame that says it’s our own fault we’re fatigued. Once we identify our core value, our next work includes deciding what might help us feel more in line with that value.
The easy thing here is to get bogged down in trying to find “the right” thing. Listen – every action we take is just an experiment. We just want to see what helps and what doesn’t. If we hate something immediately, this is the perfect time to say, “NEVER AGAIN,” and move onto the next helpful idea.
But it can be equally as challenging to think of anything that could help. If I’m describing you right now, you’re not alone. Start with what you know you would hate. Narrow it down in reverse, and know that you’re going to miss some good ideas. That’s why we call all grief work a practice. You are looking for things that leave you feeling invigorated or excited, and in this new season, you’re likely to miss the center. It’s expected.
For rest as a value, here are a few ideas to get you started.
For your mind & thoughts, ideas might include: Guided meditations, reading something new and entertaining, crafting affirmations of your sound mind, engaging in a remembering ceremony for yourself, writing poetry, doing a puzzle or word search.
For your heart & emotions, ideas might include: Meaningful music, journaling your emotions, taking notes of how you respond to outside stimuli, speaking your emotions to another person, being honest with yourself, revisiting something meaningful to you.
For your body & feelings, ideas might include: Pilates or yoga, going for a walk, Tai chi, starting a strength training program, fasting a meal, dancing, indulging in a bubble bath or extra long shower, casual stretching, extra water and vitamins, a nourishing meal, a weighted blanket.
For your spirit & connections, ideas might include: Phone a friend, prayer practices, quiet/wordless meditation, instrumental music, establishing a slow ritual, remaining still and observing the noise around you, laughing, crying, expressing unexpressed emotion, focusing on impermanence for short windows of time, offering acceptance to your disparate parts, offering kindness toward your hurting parts.
So, are any of the ideas I just mentioned groundbreaking and unheard of? Probably not. And it’s likely that in the past, you’ve either tried some or all of these, or a well-meaning loved one advised you to try some or all of these, and it just didn’t help.
But now, you’re aware of the importance of connecting your actions and decisions back to your values. Your core values are what drive you to make intentional decisions and build connections. Maybe you love the idea of yoga, but know it’s not the right physical support for you. Have you considered if the principles and outcomes of yoga align with your values? Maybe patience is one of them. Guess what – I learn more patience with myself in yoga than anywhere else.
Doing the work of core value exploration will help you build meaning around your practices and your losses when you are ready for meaning, and when you realize how deeply that meaning can resonate with the values you hold most dear.
Thank you for listening to episode 52 of Restorative Grief. I realize inviting you into core value work is not something easy or lighthearted. But that’s just it – everything you are experiencing right now could probably qualify the same way. And yet in your own hard-earned wisdom, you know pursuing healing means engaging in ways you’ve never attempted before. Nothing else is really working yet – so why not try this?
You’re not alone in the work. Speak up – because telling someone you love that you are in pain leads you away from isolation and into confidence with another person. If this is your first time listening to Restorative Grief, thank you for being here! Knowing when and where you’re safe to share is complicated at best, so YOU are cordially invited to join The Restorative Grief Project, an online community of grievers and listeners of the show whose aim is to create psychologically safe spaces for ourselves and others to fall apart. We would love to have you check it out – the link is in the show notes.
And as promised, we are celebrating 52 regular episodes and over a year of the show! I’m still astounded at how many of you are listening and engaging. It’s brightening life, yours and mine, so thank you. And for anyone who listened to episode 50 and opted to participate in the 52 episode giveaway, thank you! The winner of the giveaway will receive a copy of my book, Restorative Grief: Engaging our losses without losing ourselves, and that person is Veronica K! Veronica, thank you so much for sharing about the show and telling your friends – it’s just so cool to see my work helping people. Wild.
If you want to learn more about the book, check the show notes for links. To everyone else who participated, thank you! We will be back next week with another interview to kick off “season two.” And remember, one last thing: The only solution for grief is to do the work of grieving. Thank you for listening – I’ll see you next week!
Links + Resources from this episode: