Integrity…I would have thought that to live in integrity was not that hard a gig. Seems I am wrong. Seems that integrity is the toughest gig in town. Not only that, but that it is rare. It demands of you your best. And more. It demands of you that you say no to a lot of yummy things, and yes to some of the really hard stuff. It comes at a price. Most people don’t pay.
What is integrity? To me it means wholeness. Completeness. I first ‘got’ integrity when I was working with building Bucky Fuller’s models. Take a bunch of toothpicks, and some jelly babies, and build a square. Notice when you do that the square cannot stay upright on its own. It collapses. Yet we have built our maths and architecture around squares. Now build a triangle. Something feels good about a triangle. But it has no dimensionality. So add one extra point and create a tetrahedron. Bingo…now you have a thing that holds its shape. It has complete integrity. It has an inside and an outside, which means that it is a system. Actually, it is the minimum system in Universe.
A complex system, like a human being, has integrity when it is holding its shape. When it is doing what it was designed to do. When it is complete. Given the changing state of the larger ecosystem in which we find ourselves, to do this requires extreme attention. It means that our intention matches our words, matches our actions, matches the effects our words and actions have. The signal is clear, from source to delivery to destination. There is no dissonance, no misalignment, no fracturing, no distortion. Yep, I did say this integrity thing was hard.
It has to start with source. The source of our signal. What is that? Most of the time we get distracted with the signal itself. Like an amazing light show, the brightness takes our attention away from the source. We have become signal responding creatures, rarely focusing on source. We take a pain killer for a headache, eat too much to hide our guilt or shame, react to things without taking the time to focus on what is really going on. Jump to conclusions, make assumptions. Accumulate yuk because we do not speak up sooner. Or get distracted by the bright shiny object before we really know about from where the bright shiny object came.
How many times have you had the experience of getting riled up, jumped to conclusions, only to find that you were missing a significant piece of the information, and that when you had that information, the view changed so significantly that your reaction was ill conceived? Hmm..let me name 30% of the waste in human productivity spent in this type of conversation. Let me name my own getting trapped in this way too many times. It is a nauseating place to be, and yet for some dark reason, us humans find it attractive. That smelly, icky gossipy place. It always does harm. Subtly or overtly. This is why the conversation for understanding is so important.
How does it feel to be on the receiving end of another person’s neglect of going to the source of your actions? Of jumping to conclusions, making assumptions, blaming or shaming without having the relevant whole? Or of being completely negated and discarded after weeks, months, or years of attention, focus and applied energy being put into something that deeply mattered to you because the other party did not take the time to go to source, to see the whole, to honour your history, your effort, your dedication?
Bucky said that the necessary ingredient of synergy is to start first with the whole. With the Universe. That until we have the complete picture, we have only a partial and therefore incomplete view. Our legal system is supposed to be built around this…innocent until proven guilty. But do we live by this?
Have you ever felt devalued? Discarded as a human of value? I have. Many times. It feels horrible. The question is…how many times have I done this to others? And this is a question I am sitting in now. As someone who has built my brand around integrity, I have known that the price of so doing would be high. That this conscious choice would open me to be held to account at a level most uncomfortable. That I would have to demand of myself the kind of personal reflection rigor that few stomach. That I would have to stand in the heat of others who see me in my shadow. And own it all. All. Yep…this stuff is hard.
So I circle back…..what is the source of your signal? What is the intent you project in the world? And what comes back at you that indicates the truth of the projection? Is it aligned? Where is the dissonance? For this is our feedback. Like it or not.
Do your words really match your intention? Do your actions? Or do you say one thing and do another? How do you cheat on yourself and your own integrity?
And are you really game enough to surround yourself with people who will hold you to your highest expression of integrity, your most magnificent wholeness? These are your true support team. The ones who will not step over anything ever, but will bravely and respectfully point out when you have strayed from your own wholeness. Ideally they will do this from a place of deep care for you. Sometimes they will not. Sometimes it will be the total stranger who will shock you from your own treachery. Hard medicine, but a gift none the less.
Integrity is a tough gig. The toughest. Which is why it is so important.
To declare my current focus in living in integrity, my commitment is to work at going to source before I get into reaction, make judgements or jump to conclusions. To have the whole view rather than work from the partial. I am up to being held to account around this….if you notice me stray.
What is yours? Want to play…?