How I Practice Weekly Self-Care: The Virtues Project
Humans’ mental health took centre stage ever since COVID-19 swooped in mid March of 2020, when we were forced to sit at home and spend time with ourselves in our own heads. COVID-19 forced us to be aware of our inner thoughts, pain, and struggles.
My first year at UVic was during the pandemic and I knew that I had to prioritize my well-being, mental health, and stress. I was scrolling through UVic’s multifaith resources and saw The Virtues Project, weekly online meetings that support “Awakening our Inner Gifts of Character”.
I decided to attend my first meeting as a first-year student who wanted to support my well-being. I met Nooshi, the facilitator, a very warm and smiley soul who welcomed me in as family.
I met five other members who had committed to the meetings every week for the same reasons as me: to enhance my well-being and mental health.
As I revisited each week, I found way more in these meetings than a mental health stabilizer. I found myself falling in love with myself again. Then, falling in love with the world and the potential of humanity. This was a new feeling for me.
The Virtues Project
The Virtues Project is a practice that emphasizes inviting in our “gifts of character” which allow us to live as our truest selves in our best potential.
Founded in 1988, in the heart of Victoria, Linda Kavelin-Popov and her family were discussing humanity’s state of violence in and towards themselves and to each other.
Linda wrote a book and created a program that has been introduced to over 130 countries from her belief “that all children are born with the virtues in potential, and that when parents and educators awaken these gifts of character, we can change the world.”
The practice of this education “is grounded in research of all sacred traditions including the oral traditions of First Nations.”
The virtues unite all cultures by being universal. The mission, as Nooshi, my location’s trained facilitator, explains, is to inspire all cultures and ages to remember who we really are.
Everyone of all ages is full of gems (virtues), and we learn how to notice and practice these virtues in our daily lives. Virtues transform our relationship with ourselves and others to prevent misunderstanding, and aid healing.
The beauty of the virtues is that we can use them to approach something higher than ourselves and every week we learn how to approach this version in ourselves. Virtues have a healing power in how they are our reality, our truest potential, how we live as our true selves.
“If we are rich in virtues, we are rich in life” – Nooshi
As a UVic student, I’ve been practicing the virtues project for nearly two years now and you can too! Check the UVic Events calendar to find out how.
Every week Nooshi and people of all ages connect using Zoom to reconnect to ourselves and each other through the virtues.
We connect each week “for a moment of reflections, a pause, to unite and engage in conversations, start a culture of virtues, refresh our spirits, and apply the virtues to our life,” as Nooshi introduces while creating a space for the virtues.
I’ll take you through the structure of the weekly hour Zoom meetings.
Every meeting begins with the awareness of how each participant will be assertive of themselves and others, respectful of each other’s thoughts, lead with kindness, trust that this is a safe place, and not give advice but to listen with compassion.
First, everyone shares a reflection about how their week has been and what virtue they are bringing to the meeting, out of all the 100 Virtues and short definitions.
Then we read out the virtue of the week (it changes every week) and individually share what stuck out to us or resonated with us from that specific virtue card.
We go on to read a few quotes from different spirituality teachers/leaders that relate to the weekly virtue. Again, we individually share what resonated with us.
Lastly, we end the meeting with our biggest take away from the wisdom of what’s been shared by the cards and the reflections of others.
Virtues can Unite Humanity
A quote from the website states, “Values are culture specific, while virtues are universally valued by people of all cultures. Virtues are the common thread that unites humanity.”
I’ve never been committed to a religion, but with the practice of the virtues I am committed to a higher self by consciously practicing virtues in my daily life.
I believe humanity’s connection can strengthen and heal if we all decide to call upon the virtues to live a happy, honest, fulfilling life.
More information can be found at The Virtues Project.