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Image2snowface“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values,” by Ayn Rand.

Today’s Intention: Answer the question: Do my values align with what I value?

Case 1:

I value being in balance with the natural world.

I drive my car four blocks to the store to buy organic milk produced on small farms from grass-fed pastured raised cows and packaged in recyclable packaging ….

Verdict: No. I’m not in alignment.

What do I value most: Time.

I’m not judging the driving as good or bad, but it does not support my stated value when I drive a gas-powered automobile instead of walking four blocks.

Image3 sky treesCase 2:

I value being in balance with the natural world.

I have my accountant invest my retirement money in mutual funds but I do not check out the environmental stand of each and every company involved in that portfolio.

Verdict: No. I’m not aligned with my values.

What do I value most: Money and Time.

I’m not judging the mutual funds as good or bad, but it does not support my stated value to own stocks or bonds or whatever with companies that are not in balance with the environment.

Image17museumCase 3

I value being in balance with the natural world.

I accepted a job at a bank, earning 1/3 the money as the one I turned down, being a lab technician at a nuclear power plant.

Verdict: Yes.

What do I value most: being in balance with the natural world. As long as we have no safe way to dispose of nuclear waste, this form of energy is not in balance.

These are all real life examples from my past.

The question in the end can be phrased another way. When is it okay to do a “bad” thing if it is done for a “good” reason?

When I taught, I was deliberately exposed to “fragrances” on a daily basis. I only had one student ever tell me why they deliberately sprayed “fragrance” in my room. To the best of what I can infer these are the “good” reasons for the “bad” things that were done.

To get out of class.

To support a friend.

To get attention.

It’s my right to self-expression.

I forgave the kids a long time ago. But these reasons make me look at the world, past and present, and I see the same story being played out. Lot’s of people doing “bad” things for “good” reasons.

Image3bluejaysThere is of course the classic example and that would be Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Steal from the rich to give to the poor. Do a bad thing for a good reason.

How many wars have been fought for “good” reasons? All of them I would answer. Why else would someone go kill people they’ve never met — unless of course there was a good reason?

Slavery was supported in our country for the “good” reason of economic growth. There was no way, the south claimed, that they could economically survive without it. Which of course led to a very “good” reason for the civil war.

Image3catsAs humans we can come up with a “good” reason for everything we do. If little Jimmy and little Nate are playing and Nate takes Jimmy’s truck. Nate sees this as a good thing. He took from the rich (Jimmy) to give to the poor (himself). When Jimmy smacks Nate to get his truck back… he did what any country would do — he declared war to defend his natural resources.

So where’s the love in this pursuit of love post? I find if I value love first then everything else falls is balanced. This is an example of being out of balance:

At work, there were colleagues who wore two dabs of fragrance and those who wore so much you could blindfold me and I could follow their scent like a bloodhound. I suffered excruciating migraines, my throat closing off, memory loss, extreme fatigue… “bad” things. Obviously, these colleagues had “good” reasons for doing what they did. Why else would they do something they knew would harm me.

I acted from fear mostly and kept my mouth shut as I suffered. I was more afraid of losing my friends and my job then I was of the pain.

Image14cloudsWhat I have found as I started to examine the times I did “bad” things for “good” reasons — somewhere in there was a lie and somewhere in that “good” reason was fear. Recently, a friend’s husband was diagnosed with cancer. This is a friend I rarely see or talk to but one I care about very much. But I didn’t call to see how things were going. My “good” reasons: she would be too tired to talk, she has lots of family to take care of her, I’d probably say the wrong things… In the end, I admitted to myself this did not follow my value of love — it followed a path of fear.

And so I made the call. I got the answering machine. And I left a message from a place of love. “You’re in my thoughts. Put yourself first. If you have nothing left at the end of the day — choose rest. If you have nothing left at the end of the day and need to talk — call back.”

So what are some “bad” things done for “good” reasons you’d like to share? Are you like me, when you look back — some of those “good” reasons were really fear in disguise? How are you doing pursuing love vs fear?