Bela Johnson

What are our values? Webster defines a value as “that which is desirable or worthy of esteem for its own sake”. How do we honour and safeguard these estimable qualities we hold dear?

If we are to access the Divine Feminine within, our Wisdom Self, it is important to stand back and reflect on our values, rather than analyzing or rationalizing them. Values are deeply held feelings, and may not make logical sense in a self-serving culture, which implores us to submerge creativity and intuition so that the shiny consumerist machine may continue to surface and demand our attention. The feminine reflective process is crucial for both men and women to discover whether old values truly hold meaning for them or merely echo more of others’ cherished beliefs than their own (parents, respected peers, institutions). And though discerning where the values of others have superceded our own is a process, Toltec healer Don Miguel Ruiz gives us tools to free ourselves of this spell in his book, ‘The Four Agreements’. Feeling the need to justify our values within the context of a rapidly changing world can lead to disintegration of their deep, personal worth. Surviving and thriving though change is part of the human experience.

Maintaining our personal values in the face of change can be challenging. We all want acceptance, but at what cost? At what point do we sell our souls? In ‘Sacred Contracts’, Caroline Myss traces this soul-selling to our inner Prostitute, an archetype she maintains we all relate to, from time to time. Reflecting on our values requires that we allocate daily time during which we calm our mental chatter in order to make room for the voice of the Wisdom Self. This can be done by simply sitting and quieting ourselves in meditation, breathing through the colors of the rainbow from red to violet to clear the chakras or energy centres of the body, or any other creative means to draw focus to our inner, rather than outer life. If we postpone reflective time in favour of simply fending off the discomfort arising from such musings, we may find ourselves moving into addictive patterns or toward substances which distract us from our inner world. Before we know it, we might automatically begin reverting to old values which no longer serve our choice to live more consciously.

Effective personal growth takes place when we bring our desires and intentions into conscious

awareness. When brought to the surface through our reflections, these deeply held values are what help to produce an enriching and satisfying existence. Again, values are a felt thing, not something we can intellectualise. I know it may seem obvious, but time and again I have been asked the question, in one form or another, “What is a feeling?” This might best be answered by clarifying what a feeling is not. A feeling is not a thought. If we are thinking our feelings, we are not feeling them. And if we are not in touch with our feelings, our values are lost in the mainstream intellectualism so prevalent in current times. Our feeling function, our capacity to relate to one another and communicate, our sensitivity to the feelings of others — all of these are thought to be “feminine” traits. The energy of the masculine, on the other hand, carries creativity into expression and form in the world, as well as protecting and supporting the more vulnerable feminine qualities of the self. Jungian Marion Woodman speaks to this right relationship of masculine and feminine in her many works on conscious femininity, and states that conscious masculinity cannot emerge until we integrate the feminine in a conscious way. All human beings are composed of both yin (feminine) and yang (masculine). In our own culture and now the industrialised world, a driven patriarchy holds sway. This is detrimental both to the feminine as well as the masculine within us. Our relationships have become top-heavy, headstrong, intellect-oriented. What will hold us together, then, if our deepest feelings are denied, if love is only a word spoken from the mind rather than felt from the heart?