Well it is that time of year again. While I know a lot of people scoff at the idea of new years resolutions (and to a certain extent I do as well) I do typically like to reasses my goals and progress every 3-4 months or so and get clear on what my intentions are for the up coming quarter. I typically have done New Years resolutions on my birthday in October, but this year life got away from me as I had just moved into a new apartment, got engaged, started student teaching, and was going to school and working. My writing has definitely been neglected. Although as I write that, it reminds me of something I read recently by Brooke Shaden. In talking about creativity, effort and doing things well, she mentioned that she used to consider her self a reader, but she realised in reflection that she only had the idea of being a reader, in reality she would only read a couple of books a year. How often are we like this. How often are the narratives we tell ourself about ourselves actually founded in actions? I know I consider myself a writer, but I often don’t write. A meditator who doesn’t meditate. A creative who doesn’t create. That is why this year my intention is grounded in two ideas.
integrity and honesty
Lets look at each of these terms
Integrity is not simply living an honest or balanced life it is all about action. I am choosing to define it as, ” the concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.”
It is not simply about being honest in your words or your idea of yourself, but in every action. In how you perceive the world and how you walk through it. It is also about expectations. For be it is about connecting down into the fundamentals of Buddhism and 12 steps. In letting go of your control and expectations and doing the next right indicated step.
And for me I am choosing to define honesty not just as moral correctness, but as actions, words, and beliefs being, “free of deceit; truthful and sincere. Fairly earned, especially through hard work. Simple, unpretentious, and unsophisticated.”
Honesty is about being truthful in actions, words and thoughts, but it is also about working and earning what you have in life. It is about DOING the work and doing it with truth and authenticity, not at the expense of others or to protect of defend our egos.
Action is key
One of the elements brought in by both of these concepts is action. It is in the doing, not just the thinking that honesty and integrity are born.
I have been meditating a lot recently on the idea of present action verses future ideation, and this might seem ironic to talk about in a blog post about setting future intentions, but I am going to set that aside for now so I can work through this idea. Futurizing has always been a way for me to feel safe and give me an escape from often uncertain or unstable surroundings. Growing up in a house with a controlling narcissist, planning out what the future was going to be like was the only way to feel in control of my life. But it was a false sense of control that has become a habit that no longer serves me constructively. As an Al-anon I have recently realised how much of my life I try to control through planning. I plan and plan and plan and what I don’t do is act. I get so caught up in the mental vision I am creating for my life that I fail to open my eyes and actually live in the present moment. Letting go of the ego and stepping behind the waterfall, viewing the torrent of thoughts is what is needed. Seeing the beauty in the present moment. Embracing the extraordinary in the ordinary bits of life. But it all stems from action. Doing and not just thinking.
It is not enough to think or want to be a person of integrity, to have moral values. To truly live in integrity means to live it out, every day, in every tiny action.