How I live by my 5 core values
The aim of life is to live, and
to live means to be aware,
serenely, divinely aware.
I recently attended an online workshop with Cora Geroux for yoga business owners and was prompted to think about my core values. Cora offered clear and sound advice with and helped me to strip back to the basics of why I do what I do and identifying my core values along the way. Cora suggests that we work with 5 core values and this seems like a reasonable number to me, not too much to have to think about right? I already had 4 lined up, and so I just needed to think of one more.
In this article you’ll be finding out a little more about me, and what is important to me as a yoga teacher, photographer, mother and all round human being. Core values aren’t just about the world of business, they are the essence that help to keep the person behind the business going, and that help to inspire and elevate what this person has to offer to you! So, sit back with a cup of tea and spend 10 minutes finding out about me which in turn may help to connect you little further towards your very reason for being here.
What are core values?
“Core values are principles or beliefs that you hold most dear and that are of central importance in your life. When everything around you is changing, when the world is difficult to understand, and when you are riding up and down the emotion rollercoaster, your core values will always be there for you.” Daniel Riley
Core values are integrated through our system of believes. They lie at the heart of everything, from the way we live through to our relationships and how we run a business. They are intrinsic to us and should flow naturally into all aspects of our lives. When it comes to decision making or planning we should be referring back to our core values each time to make sure whatever it is we are stepping into aligns with us. You will become aware that my core values are quite spiritual because I sway towards a holistic approach as a creative practitioner through yoga and photography. I know that nearly everything I do links back to my core values because each one is so important to me and my development as a human being.
Below I have written a little about each of my core values. There are probably more and perhaps in a few years time they will change. It is a good idea to try and limit them down so that it is clear to you why you are here and what it is that we hope to achieve in our work or relationship together. Perhaps something will align more deeply with you, or perhaps you will decide that I am not the person for you. And that is okay! Professionally I see myself as a creative practitioner and I work within the fields of yoga and photography, but as you begin to find out more about my core values, you’ll notice how intrinsic they are to me and how they ripple to touch all aspects of my life.
They are part of my wholeness.
My 5 core values
“Creativity is our species’ natural response to the challenges of human experience“. Adriana Diaz
At the heart of everything I do is a ‘Joy of Creativity’. Photography is just one way that I can express myself creatively and yoga is another. My husband and I run a small, creative business (RoscoeRutter Ltd) and after spending some time talking about what is important to us, what makes us tick and what inspires us we kept coming back to the word ‘creativity’. It is an innate human response to create! As humans on earth this is what we are here to do…to create life. This simple fact is impossible to ignore. Earth was created and then there was life and everything else that has followed has been through the act of creativity. This is pretty awe-inspiring stuff and may be a little out there for some of you! For me, however so many choices and beliefs come out of my capacity to live a creatively fulfilling life.
I love art and nature which I love to explore with my camera, my yoga practice and as I write. If something is creative it speaks to me, and I can place it at the centre at my heart. If you’re a creative practitioner yourself you will know exactly what I mean. If you’re not sure but are curious to find out what creativity may be for you, set some time aside to explore going to an art gallery, reading poetry or taking some photographs of whatever it is you are drawn to.
How creativity works for me
“Creativity requires energy, sustained energy.” (So too does yoga) “When we are open, our creative energies…are able to flow through us with minimal wear and tear…when we are closed or blocked…we will experience our creativity as a bumpy and dangerous ride.” The Vein of Gold, Julia Cameron
First I practice yoga or I will meditate and then from this connected place ideas will flow, curiosity arises and I have to keep going with it until my creative urge has been full-filled. When teaching Yoga I use imaginative ways of getting ourselves into a particular posture and I am creative in the way I work with my voice. Being creative allows me to explore new territories and expand beyond them. We can be creative with the way we breathe through to the way we walk. Creativity is a flow-state and requires energy, once I am creating it is like being in a meditation, I am there fully focused and absorbed in the moment with little else coming in to grab my attention.
Within photography I just love to play, I guess that’s what it is all about really, playing and exploring and then seeing what arises as a result. Yoga and photography are intrinsically part of me and I feel really at ease within both of these fields of inquiry. When it comes to our photographic clients we are working with them in order to full-fill their creative ideas and by doing so it becomes a collaboration. When I’m working with clients, regardless of what my discipline, there is a current of creativity that informs almost everything I do.
“Yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are.” Moving into Stillness, Erich Schiffmann
Yoga is a way of life, of living. It is not just about touching your toes or trying to contort ourselves into some kind of impossible backbend. No, yoga is about experiencing life for what it is and filtering out the stuff that doesn’t serve us so well. We may start on the mat, but the real work is beyond the four corners of this grippy surface!
How does it work?
We start with the body, more often through movement, because this is something that we know, that is tangible for us. Then we go a little deeper and develop a relationship to the breath, something that believe it or not is often much harder than it sounds. As we cultivate a heightened awareness we begin to develop a new relationship towards moving and breathing together, the practice becomes mindful and embodied. The body helps us to notice what we feel physically and the breath helps us to notice what we feel energetically. As the practice deepens we slowly open a space for us to notice what it is we feel and need in each moment as we move mindfully, slowly and connected to the breath. The result is a stepping stone towards a feeling of lightness and clarity; of body, breath and ultimately the mind.
A dedicated yoga practice oozes devotional qualities. We are setting time aside for ourselves to learn, notice and to be kind and loving – to ourselves!! This kindness and lovingness will then flow to the people we care for and the places we visit, the choices we make and the relationships we choose.
Yoga is good for us and it is good for our planet!
My personal yoga practice has helped me to identify what triggers me and what brings me joy. As space opens in one part of life, another door opens else where. The flow-state that I mentioned in creativity is ever-present in yoga, and it is through my practice of yoga that I am also the business woman that I am. I am able to step back and notice, reflect or realise what is important and in doing so am offering an empathetic approach to those whom work with me.
I teach yoga to people online, and in small group classes. I am aware that people need space and time to relax. I’m also understanding of people’s needs in life, and will find ways to adapt the practice towards whatever it is they are hoping to achieve or let go of. This is a therapeutic approach and requires the act of listening and of learning. Listening and learning allows me to offer ideas as to how a client may be able to work through something, whether physical such as back pain or emotional such as stress.
“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” Maya Angelou
I run an independent, creative business with my partner in life David Rutter, who is also my husband. Dave, like me is a creative practitioner through photography, film and design. Over the years we have built a strong, trusting and loving relationship to one another which has been able to flow into our business and in the way we work with others. We often find that our clients come to us through the recommendations of others we have worked which provides us with great comfort and means we are working with like-minded people. Dave and I have been working in this way since 2015 when we decided to become co-parents to our first child. We’ve never looked back and have based ourselves in the Manchester region. Since then as our family has grown, so too has our network and our creative ambition.
I love to work with people…and that is you!! You inspire me to photograph and you inspire me to teach yoga! I care about my health and well-being which means I care about yours, and the well-being of the planet upon which we are cultivating our relationships. My family are ultimately my biggest inspiration of all, they are the fuel to keep me moving and smiling and resting. They help me to get grounded and remind me to have fun. Letting go and being playful is something we need more of in our lives, and will fuel those creative urges along the way.
Both as a photographer and as a yoga teacher forming a relationship or trust and understanding is a must. I love to photograph people and to find out about them along the way, telling authentic stories visually in creative and engaging ways. When it comes to yoga my mission is to help people feel more able and at ease in their bodies, whilst developing a greater sense of themselves along the way. I have always been taught to bring yoga to my community and in doing so strong relationships of trust and friendship forms. Then it spreads, if we can take care of ourselves we practice yoga, then hopefully we can do so when we get home and be in a position to build stronger and trusting relationships with our loved one’s, our environment and into our extended communities.
During the pandemic I, like so many of others have been building relationships virtually and have offered my yoga services in different ways via Zoom, YouTube and Instagram. This has been a new level of inquiry for me, but has proved to strengthen relationships with clients and brands along the way. Whilst we can be bombarded by the virtual world in the current way of living, there are definitely some positives to have come from it and relationship has been one of those for me.
“Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.” — Mary Oliver, Evidence
There is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t walk in nature. Having moved from city living to rural countryside, nature is on our doorstep and I can’t get enough of it! I love how outdoor, open spaces make me feel. I love being on top of a mountain or swimming in the sea. I also love to spend time with trees and ancient woodlands to soak up their inherent wisdom and qualities of being anchored and supported, expanding and growth. I also love photographing in nature, documenting the cycle of the seasons, it inspires my creativity, yoga and writing.
“Just think of the illimitable abundance and the marvelous loveliness of light…”
City of God
Spending time in nature soothes the nervous system and opens up a space for us to feel. Feel what I hear you ask? Freedom, openness, calmness or peace…whilst letting go of unnecessary tensions or fears. It can be a very incredible healing tool. For some, being outdoors opens a space for creativity and for conversation, as the boundaries of conventional walls are broken down, something so simple as stepping outdoors and talking will go so far in supporting those with mental health concerns. There is so much evidence to support the fact that just a slice of sunlight per day will boost your mood and your overall feeling of personal wellness! As we move through to the darker months it is important to arrange your day so that you get as much natural daylight as possible. Not only will this help your body, but it will enhance your energy levels and overall mood. Read this short article ‘It’s the small things: Daylight in Winter‘ to gain further insight.
When the weather is kind I will take my yoga classes outdoors as it helps us to freshen our perspective and change our view. Often people are surprised by their responses to practising outdoors and can’t wait to experience the connections with nature in this way again. There is a certain special quality that arises as we heighten our awareness to light, colour, fragrance and touch. As the seasons change, so to do our experiences, opening a dialogue between nature’s rhythms and our own can be extremely enlightening and revealing.
Did you notice how still life seemed during lockdown? The sound of birdsong was so vibrant. They brought the world to us, whilst everything else stopped spinning, nature still continued.
It was as though Mother-Earth was breathing with a vast sigh of relief. For many of us it was an opportunity for us to realise how much we consume, and to re-assess what again we need more or less of in life to feel nourished ourselves. My love of nature isn’t just about experiencing it through the lens or practice of yoga, I am also passionate about sustainable living and making informed decisions about how to reduce our carbon footprint as a family and small business owner. There is so much to learn about the ways in which we can improve our personal impact on the environment. It may feel sometimes as though individually we aren’t doing enough, but if each of us made one conscious choice per week or month such as choosing to buy seconds or using tubs instead of cling film to wrap food then collectively these decisions will create space for positive change in our attitudes.
As a business we are determined to work ethically and responsibly whilst we find new ways of operating in order to limit our personal impact upon the environment. I have been collaborating with Bamboo Clothing for some time now and more recently joined them in support of their zero waste and dare to wear longer clothing campaigns on social media.
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi
Finally I bring you to my fifth core value; Well-being. I care about my over-all well-being, which means I also care about yours! Let me give you an insight into why this is so.
Most of my life as a teenager and young adult was spent ignoring my personal well-being, rather striving for greater things without considering the impact upon my individual health and wellness. Prior to making the decisions I made in life professionally I was determined to be an Olympic athlete, in fact training for this very goal was my profession up until I was 25. I decided to dedicate so much to this dream that in the end things broke down for me; my physical health and then my mental health. At one point I had to rest for 6 weeks and I didn’t know what to do with myself. However it was during this time that I found some amazing support through a nutritionist who suggested I look at the bigger picture such as diet, sleep and non-exercise. What could I feed myself with that wasn’t going to cause me harm? The constant striving both physical and mental meant that I felt broken. I started to take care of myself, perhaps for the first time in my life.
I still wanted to reach my goals, but I became less fixated upon them, doors started opening as this focus softened and I decided to spend some time traveling whenever I could. I also enjoyed my creative practice more and found a yoga class at University which proved to be transformative. I don’t think I’d ever moved and breathed in such a way before. I was massively taken by the approach and its capacity to allow me to release so much stress and tension in my body, and mind. This was a big turning point in my life and the following year I started an MA in photography. It was during this time I decided to stop putting myself through the day to day pain and torture of trying to be something that was no longer serving me. It was a very difficult time for me, but the relief that came with it was immense. I knew that taking care of myself had to look a different way.
Since then I have practiced yoga nearly every day, and worked therapeutically with my long term teacher Zoë Martin. It was through my practice with Zoë that inspired me to become a yoga teacher, because I realised if yoga can do this for me, then I can offer it to others and it may help them to heal. I can’t say that every day has been perfect since then and I certainly made some huge mistakes too, however yoga became the common thread in my life and started to open up a space for me to realise what I needed more or less of in order to fully be myself.
Well-being is multi-dimensional because we are multi-dimensional
Addressing individual well-being may require us to assess the following areas of our lives;
- daily routines
- sleep patterns and behaviours
- movement based practice or exercise
- breathing patterns
- friendships or relationships
- identifying triggers
- mood patterns and…
- energy levels
Seeking the support of a counsellor, nutritionist or yoga therapist may help you further on your quest towards tackling these areas of your life.
Why am I sharing this with you? For me personally as a mother, partner, a creative practitioner and friend there is an inherent connection to my over-all well-being and how I operate in life. I’m not here to simply work or strive, I’m here to love, to live and to be happy. And for this to happen there are many elements that I draw upon to enhance my personal well-being; from creativity to yoga, relationship and nature…
My individual well-being has an impact upon the well-being of my business and of that of those I am working with, so it is important that I look after it!
You see all of my values are interlinked and make up a big part of who I am and what I am offering. As we are multi-dimensional beings, then so too will be the way we work together. I will take into account what it is you are hoping to achieve, whether through the creative form of photography or yoga and then we will collaborate and form a meaningful relationship which in turn may link you closer to your own nature of inquiry.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and if any of the above resonates with you please do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you. You can practice Yoga with me weekly online and through my YouTube channel. In person I teach in various locations in Manchester, UK. You can also see my collaborative photographic portfolio by heading to roscoerutter.com or you can check in with me on Instagram.