By: Rose Goossen
11/27/16 - 1/1/17
Patience - Pride - Curiosity - Integrity - Freedom
I took on a five-week band challenge after meeting Tiffany through some mutual friends in Taipei. It was the end of the calendar year, and I was interested to do a ‘personal inventory’ that would help me to verbalize and examine some of my recent development, and give me some ideas to move forward with. I didn’t map out all five weeks in advance, because I preferred to allow the journey to inform itself, and to unfold as a voyage of discovery. In the end, I traveled through Patience, Pride, Curiosity, Integrity and Freedom.
I used social media to post regular updates about my progress during the challenge. This was a different sort of exercise in accountability for me, because I usually use Facebook only for promotional/entertainment purposes, and I’m not accustomed to putting personal information and ‘real’ thought on display. I enjoyed a lot of positive feedback from friends, and I definitely felt that my willpower was strengthened by the process of advertising my intentions - after having said something on a semipublic platform, I was more inclined to walk my talk.
I kept daily journals throughout the five weeks, and sent a report to Tiffany at the end of each value’s time period. This, in combination with the more glossy and editorial Facebook posts, was a wonderful opportunity to practice verbalizing my ideas, feelings, and experiences. I am a heavily verbal person, but in the past I have often had trouble to explain myself fully when discussing personal questions. I loved having one keyword to focus on, and discovering what other words became recurring themes in connection with it. Around each central value, I amassed a cloud of related terms. It was fascinating to explore all the layered meanings and implications of each value. Through the written exercises, I felt that I was strengthening my emotional vocabulary, and heartfelt communication with friends became much more fluid during this time.
Tiffany and I had a weekly coaching call to talk about progress and next steps. It wasn’t easy to schedule, as we were on opposite sides of the globe, but she was very generous with her time, and we made it happen. I valued these calls because Tiffany, as my coach, was fearless in digging for the words behind my words. On more than one occasion, I tried to brush off an issue with an abstract aphorism, and she asked me, “What do you really mean by that?” At that moment, I had to pause and examine my true feelings, which were always more complex and usually more ugly than I had been willing to suggest.
Tiffany also provided amazing guidance in choosing values to work with. There were a couple of occasions upon which I was unsure how to move forward, and her knowledge of how values relate to each other offered me the stepping stone that I needed to get on to the next week. She motivated me to be accountable every step of the way, and to reach out to the like-minded community that is growing around RemindMe Values. I felt supported throughout the process, and I was able to glean new insights from the feedback and reports of others who were involved in their own band challenges.
It was fascinating to observe how the events of my life and my perception of them changed when viewed through the lens of each value - the laws of attraction were surely at work. During my third week I focused on Curiosity, and during that time I was tempted by many obscure propositions, which I probably would have ignored if I had been banding something like Focus. I did not ignore them. I welcomed and considered and probed each unusual opportunity, and it was an immensely satisfying time. The following week, when I was practicing Integrity, there was the first and only occasion of someone making a negative comment in response to one of my Facebook posts. I was challenged in that moment to respond to a heavily triggering stimulus in a way that was still aligned with my spirit and intentions.
At the end of the challenge, I felt strongly that I had made significant alterations to many of my mental pathways and ingrained habits of perception. I noticed this especially after a week of Patience; whereas before I had been quick to become frustrated with waiting periods, there was a now a new voice in my head saying “this is fine, just take a deep breath”. Another major revelation came during the week of Freedom. I discovered how important the practice of saying ‘no’ could be in relation to feeling free and unfettered. I had always perceived Freedom as more of an exercise in ‘yes!’, and to understand this duality firsthand was truly liberating.
Moving forward, I feel that I will be more diligent in exercising values in my daily life, and especially my interpersonal relations. Having spent five weeks examining and labeling my life with vocabulary related to values, I am more likely to contemplate which element of my own system of values I would like to exercise when I find myself in a complicated situation that requires action. The band challenge is an fun and versatile method for exploring conscience and consciousness, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in expanding and diversifying their understanding of personal identity.