my dharma journey to mental healthiness

small steps

I don’t have the time to finish and publish this this morning. I don’t even have a point to make except the most important one in my life at this point of my life:

Do what I can, right now, to live my values.

To that end, I am writing this post in the last few minutes before I have to leave for work. Creativity is one of my core values, and writing is the primary way I wish to live that value. So with just a few minutes left before leaving, and a nice cuppa at hand, I made the choice to sit down and bang out some words.

Thankfully, my value isn’t “create masterpieces” or such nonsense. My value is creativity, which, now that I think about it, I have yet to clearly define. This is one reason I have this blog: to bring to mind things I have yet to bring to mind sufficiently. Such as creativity and what it is to me.

If I take a hint from this moment, one aspect of creativity is to use my writing talent to allow my thoughts and emotions to find some coherency. In this moment, creativity isn’t about writing a great essay that will enlighten readers, not that I’d object to that or am careless in the sentences I’m constructing. In this moment creativity is about uncovering what is buried under years of neglect and misuse and simple ignorance of its existence. “It” being my understanding of what “creativity” means to me as a value.

Values are pointless if they do not guide the things I choose to do in my life. As I write this, and write this for the purpose of self-enlightenment, I realize I have known for a very long time that I write for this purpose; I just never explicitly connected that act with my value system. 

My mental health journey is based in large part in “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy”, or ACT. As explained in the wonderful book “The Happiness Trap” by Russ Harris?, in order to live a fulfilling life you need to live in accordance with your values. Values will provide the light you need in the darkness, whereas chasing happiness will generally lead you astray and disappoint you. Ultimately, to be happy, you need to stop pursuing happiness. There are more important things to seek.

And those important things, the most important things, are based in values. So any way I can sort out what my values are and how to live them in my daily life is another step towards fulfillment.