“It all begins
and ends in
your mind. What
you give power
to, has power
over you, if
you allow it.”
As a temporary solution to my current life dilemma (WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE???!!) I’ve been substitute teaching for schools in the St. Paul metro area. A few weeks ago I found myself in a kindergarten classroom doing flash cards with the kids.
Cue Teacher: Generosity, friendship, kindness, fairness.
Cue Students: Justice!
Cue Teacher: Virtue
Cue Students: A good habit. The way we act time and time again.
I continued flipping the cards giving or receiving the definitions for Temperance, Fortitude, Wisdom and Prudence. While it may seem silly, I was very taken aback by these children and what they were learning. Yes, it’s crazy for adults to truly think kids will understand these words. What really surprised me, however, was throughout the remainder of that day and the few days following I found myself probing my very innards for traces of these very same values these kindergarteners were learning about. I found my life was severely lacking the guidance of values such as these.
I let the idea sit and stored it deep into the subconscious intending to one day explore the idea again–but to be quite honest I wasn’t really in a place where I could confront myself and begin the process of change. “I need some more time” I thought, as we usually think when faced with something unpleasant. But, also like usual, God has got a different plan and it wasn’t but a short while later at a church activity held for the 12-18 year old young women that I was again reminded of what I needed to do. The greatest thing about all this is that I wasn’t even supposed to go, I invited myself so that I could knit but also say I was spending quality time with my mother. Funny how things work out sometimes. The activity night was called, “Value Night.” During the meeting the girls, their mothers and their leaders talked about and shared experiences they had while completing their value projects. These are 10hr projects accompanied by other activities (kind of like a marit badges for Boy Scouts) that help the young women develop values such as Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice & Accountability, Good Works, Integrity, and Virtue.
Again, I found myself probing and again came to the same realization. I needed to do something. Originally, like I tend to do, I came up with grandiose plans on how I wanted to accomplish this. Fairly quickly things got out of hand. My mom likes to tell me I just like to dream big–but when things got so complex and complicated (kind of like this post ;)) that the very thought of beginning was absolutely paralyzingly, a new approach needed to be taken. Simplicity, just like brevity, are my greatest assets.
The Project: To utilize brevity–it wasn’t too difficult for me to pick out the value that seemed to be the apple that rotted the barrel, the gluten that spoiled the cookie, the weak root that caused a timber, or more plainly the one massive cloud that ruins a perfectly sunny day at the beach. Can you guess the value? Ding ding ding! Integrity. Betcha didn’t see that coming. And yet–how many of us really struggle with maintaining integrity? The state of being whole and undivided, honest and true to the upholding of strong moral principles. If you are trying to convince yourself you do not fall into this category–stop fighting the battle and give in. Let me give you my definition first before you write it off: To me integrity is staying true to the person you are and the truths that you know at all times, in all things and with all people (if you’re Mormon I bet you thought I’d say places there didn’t ya?! Non-Mormons excuse for making a dumb inside joke…sorry to Mormons too).
As stated in the opening quote, which all credit naturally goes to the spiritual guru anonymous, we get to choose to whom or in what we give our power. When we give up our power we allow other ideas, things, and people to dictate how we react, live, speak, etc. (This is how most of us choose to live on many occasions–touch on that in a future post). On the flip side we can give ourselves back the power and live lives full of hope, potential, peace, confidence, wisdom, grace, all those things through strengthening our ability to live with integrity. As a Yogi would maybe put it (that’s a big maybe): Integrity is a fight against our ego, our worst, self-serving self.
The next few posts will be digging deeper into this idea. I’m hoping to find scriptures and secular studies to help better understand the barriers as well as the natural motivators than can help at least myself to live with greater integrity. While these posts aren’t really intended for an audience (though accordingly it is I suppose as this is a blog and not my long forgotten hard-copy journal) I’m not really interested in seeing my own already formed ideas on paper. I am much more interested in studying and allowing my ideas to form and grow. Subsequently I liked to see how I in this process am growing and changing as a person as far as my actions, reactions, thoughts, feelings and overall demeanor. It all starts in the mind.
As an awkward ending remark: I’m all about learning–So for heavens sake–don’t keep your thoughts in! Comment below and let’s start some conversations going. If you have articles, scriptures, quotes, anything really that you think are enlightening–SHARE! Next week’s topic will be “Integrity and the Body.” This will be the topic for the entire month of March. In anticipation for April, the topic will be “Integrity in Confrontation.” Or should we flip them? Let me know what you think. Mwauh💋