Lesson 1 – The Orphan: Personal Values
Learn about values that guide one’s life and how these affect our journey through life.
Listen to Elaine’s story in Video #1 The Orphan: Personal Values and review the information and questions presented in this Lesson for self-reflection. Use these links to access the available resources with this lesson: Elaine Grinnell Biography, History of the Jamestown S’Klallam, Core Values Exercise, and the Historical Trauma Resource Sheet.
“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”
– Joseph Campbell
The orphan describes the feeling of being alone; being in a place that causes you to feel isolated from others; feeling singly challenged and even feeling overwhelmed at times by the work facing you.
In the interview, Elaine Grinnell makes reference to family members as being “lost” to their addictions. She shares about the history influencing this,
“That’s the beginning of the migration of the S’Klallams; we broke up, I think there was 15,000 S’Klallam up here; and then we started breaking up and we died of diseases and then we got into the alcoholism.”
– Elaine Grinnell
Being lost is a metaphorical way of describing being separated from yourself and from others, of losing sight of your beliefs, of being led astray from your core values. The following exercise will help you to reflect upon your own core values, and to understand the areas you recognize as the leading principles that influence your life. Having a clear understanding of your core values will guide you in being honest to yourself when making behavioral choices.
Core Values Exercise
Core Values is the term used to describe the set of beliefs that you hold dear. Your personal core values make up the foundation of your belief system. The choices you make in life are based upon the core values you cherish.
Look at the list of words below. These are examples of different core values that may influence your life. Read over the list to determine which of these values are important to you. If you have additional values that aren’t listed here, add yours to the list. Once you’ve had time to read over and think about all of the values on the list, do the steps listed below. (Note: This exercise is very difficult – take your time to think through each step.)
In the following spaces, add any you feel are missing:
Step one: After reviewing the list, choose the ten 10 core values you feel are most important to you. Think of the things you “just couldn’t live without.” Cross out the ones that didn’t make this cut.
Step two: Review the ten (10) core values that remain on your list. Now imagine you have to eliminate half of those. Cross out so that only five (5) remain. Choose carefully!
Step three: Next review the five (5) that remain. Then whittle your list down to three (3) core values! Cross out the ones you eliminate.
Step four: Now the difficult step! Choose 1 from the three that remain – Yes, only one!, Cross out the other two.
The last core value left on your list is one that primarily guides your life. Many of the decisions you make are influenced by this value. Of course we have other core values, but when pressured, this one value will often shine through when you make choices in life. When you are addicted, you have no control over your choices. An addiction-based choice does not allow you to take into account your core values. When you are addicted, the things you hold most dear are left out of the decision-making process.
Reflection: Review the experience o f working through this exercise.
- How did it feel doing this exercise?
- What thoughts emerged when doing this exercise?
Journal: Use the following writing prompt to reflect upon this exercise. For example, “The core values I cherish help me to feel my life is meaningful.”
- Create a list of ten reasons why core values are important to you.
Elaine Grinnell shares of a memory representing a Core Value:
“I can remember Billy Hull coming in the evening on the ebb tide. He would have his canoe and the sail up. He would be sitting back and be low in the water because he had so many fish. And we’d all grab our pans. Grandma would grab her pan and we would all go down in front of his house and he would share those fish with everyone. And I think that’s part of being a tribe. That’s part of being interconnected. What a marvelous thing – and we’d all watch for him!”
– Elaine Grinnell