integrity

THE POWER IN BUILDING & BREAKING INTEGRITY

“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” -Rumi chy's broken potteryConsider that integrity is just the system working.  Integrity shows the solid strength of a person, an organization, a container.  If integrity is out, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong.  There’s nothing bad about being out of integrity, just as being in integrity doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something right.  Integrity is just the system working as it is.

Integrity will move in and out as organizations grow, or as projects move.  I see it being as natural as seasons and as beautiful and creative as our natural planet.  As integrity moves out (say, if co-workers continuously come in late to work) then it’s a creative moment for us to see that crack in the container and decide to recommit to coming in on time or create a new system that better matches what we’re committed to (maybe set a new start time, and be committed to that).  If being your word is a source of power… being out of integrity is your ability to stretch and grow.  The trick is to not make yourself or the organization wrong when you are out of integrity.

Consider that we are constantly repeating ourselves to create a strong structure.  Every time we show up on time, we are strengthening the container for that commitment on being on time. Every time I am deciding to leave (so as to arrive on time or not) I am reaffirming or breaking my integrity. That moment of choice is creative. One of my favorite theorists, Judith Butler explains how repetition creates an opening for choice and re-evaluation.  She uses the concept to describe how social norms are created and maintained as dissent comes up and the repetition of thoughts and beliefs re-attach what is created to be “normal” or “central”.  In this, she explains, we have an opportunity to re-evaluate and envision various options:  just as we are about to repeat, we see the possibility of change (see: Gender Trouble).

US Property No TrespassingI can see that being out of integrity works in the same way.  Again, integrity is the system working… and maybe the system isn’t what you’re committed to.  An example of this is a story of how a friend of mine walked in protest onto the property of WHINSEC, a combat training facility in Georgia.  From the government’s view, he was out of integrity and against the assumed/regulated commitment to the security for that facility.  From his perspective (and those activists that walked with him), his breaking of that security was an opportunity to address the unworkable military system.  His breaking of the law provided an opportunity to speak in court regarding the human rights violations of that facility and bring in those objections to the table in an official setting.  He was arrested, tried and convicted and his statements were recorded and publicized.  Josh was jailed for 60 days. As a United States citizen, he was out of integrity. As an activist dedicated to human rights, he was in his own integrity.

Josh Prisoner of ConscienceI use this example to show how being out of integrity is a moment for re-choice.  Whether you go out of integrity with being on time or not paying your taxes… these times are opportunities to choose and re-choose what you are committed to.  As a citizen in a larger container called the United States, we might be out of integrity and break the law. These moments create a tear in the system and thus create the opportunity for conversation and the possibility of a shift in the structure.  There’s nothing wrong with being out of integrity (no matter how big or small), only the opportunity to repeat, to disrupt and to reform.  Integrity helps us move, flex and grow and is necessary to create a vibrant and dynamic space.

Where are you out of integrity?  What are you creating?

 

This was a post that I wrote for my personal blog, Deconstruction Crafts.

Happy Birthday, Wendy... don't forget to write!

I hardly know how or where to begin it's been so long since I've actually sat down to "just write." No agenda. No strategy or plan. Just writing. I've forgotten.... This weekend, I had the great pleasure of leading a Sacred Commerce workshop in San Francisco with an amazing dear friend, Batul Trueheart, and it brought me to yet another round of deeper thinking - the spiral "peeling of the onion," so to speak. In coming up on my 50th birthday, I'm experiencing a re-assessment of my life in a more thorough way than I have in a while. I was saying to someone the other day, "It feels like my soul is being roto-rootered" - scrubbed with about 25 boxes of steel wool, so nothing is left undone. It's as if every spot of whatever has been stuck on the walls of my heart for the last few years is getting a fair amount of extra elbow grease from God.

One of our homework assignments we invite our participants to do is make an "Integrity List." It's a list of all the places where we're out of integrity in any way- unpaid bills, unspoken communications, broken agreements - to which we attach dates for completion (sooner rather than later) that we can use to recalibrate ourselves. It's what helps us "course correct" to stay in alignment with our mission or purpose and step up as leaders in our own lives. Some of the items on that integrity list may include communications such as requests, apologies and acknowledgments.

In reflecting on the weekend as I was driving back home to the mountains, I realized that I have a longer integrity list than I care to admit, including some fairly size-able apologies and requests. Let the roto-rootering begin! Waking up this morning to a mosquito buzzing in my ear and a slight breeze whispering in the branches above, I knew it was time to start writing again - regardless of what it was about. I knew that one of my biggest out-of-integrity pieces was the commitment I made this January to write, no matter what - even if it was for five minutes a day, to keep up my blog and write a monthly newsletter for Get That You Matter.

I have utterly failed at keeping that commitment. And I know that failure doesn't mean anything unless I make it so. And, in all honesty, I have made this particular failure mean so much that I've actually started to avoid any substantial writing because I've made up a story that there's so much to write about, I can't even begin to begin. I got so caught up in the "doing" of starting this company, I kept putting off the very thing that was the catalyst for this whole enterprise in the first place.

In honor of working on my integrity list, I apologize to myself and anyone else with whom I shared that commitment. And... I re-commit to writing as much as I can - even if it's only for five minutes. The great thing is, now I actually have an amazing team with whom to share the work of Get That You Matter. This is truly helping me to give myself the experience of feeling more spacious and peaceful - the qualities I cherish for my writing time.

 

It is also a special day today... August 21st. It would have been my mom's 72nd birthday.

In reflecting on her life, her impact on everyone around her and her legacy, I feel a nudging from her spirit... as if she's saying, "Don't forget to write," which are the words on a pencil I found almost exactly two years ago while hiking in Topanga Canyon with my wonderful friend, Alejandra. We were actually talking about my mom when, suddenly, I got this urge to look down and I saw a pencil lying in the dirt. I picked it up and noticed along its length, in small silver letters, were inscribed the words, "Don't forget to write." Of course, I got chills all over and knew it was a message from my mom.

Despite our challenges, she always, always encouraged me to be myself, to listen to my heart and to follow my dreams. She was an unparalleled cheerleader who made everyone around her feel as if she was always there for them... and she often was, even when she was sick and barely able to get off the sofa. She had more of an influence on me than I will likely ever know, and I'm grateful for those moments when I look in the mirror and see her in the shape of my mouth, the look in my eyes or the expression on my face.

Mom, thank you. Thank you for being such a vibrantly creative person. Thank you for being such an invitation to everyone who met you - an invitation to fun, joy and celebration as well as to reflection, deep conversations and connection. Thank you for being such an amazing friend - to your siblings, your neighbors, your colleagues, your grandchildren and to me. Thank you for BEing Inspiration... your spirit lives on. I love you and am so grateful to have had you with us for as many years as we did.

Happy Birthday, Mom! We miss you... don't forget to write!