Being Out of Integrity

This is a re-post I found inspiring to me today. Take time to find your middle ground and come home to your Self.

oooOOOooo


meditating

I used to think that when I was out of integrity I was not walking my own talk and my thoughts were not in alignment with my beliefs and values.
That when my thinking and actions weren’t aligned, I was letting myself down in some away, and not honoring my best self.
And then I woke up and experienced it as something more.

The signs of being out of integrity were the same. For me, its an icky uncomfortable feeling in my gut. I’ve come to recognize this as my unconscious letting me know that something isn’t right. There is something to discover within.

When this feeling happens I ask myself two questions and then listen for an answer.

1. Am I feeling fearful? ….I didn’t defect any fear. There were no anxious thoughts or worries.

2. Am I out of integrity?…. and I couldn’t see anything “wrong”. I wasn’t letting myself down by being out of alignment with my thoughts and actions. Usually there’s something that comes up –  like avoiding exercise, over eating, trying to get out of a commitment I regretted having made, or feeling bad because I was snippy with someone when I was focused elsewhere. This time it made no sense whatsoever. But there was no “bad” deed or self denial to be dug up and exposed.

So what was going on?

I decided to set aside time to be with myself for yoga and meditation. I moved gently and then simply sat. Being fully present and open to see what would show up.

As I did, I felt a gentle wave of warm loving energy and a softening around my heart. A small voice without words seemed to say “Ah here you are. I’ve missed you.”

The well intentioned judge disappeared and was replaced by pure loving kindness. I gave it space to be and to grow. It moved through my very being. Enfolding me and nurturing my spirit.

My realization is this:

Before I would judge myself as in some way as being “wrong”, and then I would make it “right” by changing how I was behaving or thinking. My judge is well intentioned, but sees things as right or wrong and can be very critical.

When we let go of the judge, a loving connection with ourselves can seed itself and grow. Harmony is found again and everything is aligned once more with life and the world.

Now I know that when I am out of integrity then I am not taking time to be kind to myself.

It’s not about changing my thinking and actions, its about opening my heart and connecting to my Self.

Namaste

* Living our Values

woman reflecting

This post is inspired by a wonderful post from Sangeeta over at Serene Reflection.

She writes:

“Values are not what we talk about. They are how we live. They determine why we make and live the choices we eventually do. Quite often, we don’t live what we advocate. … and this causes stress.”

I would encourage you to read the whole post here.

What I came away with, is a shift in perspective about my own values. As a coach, I have done several exercises on values over the years and they tend to come back to the same themes. I know them and now take them for granted, but Sangeeta’s post made me pause and ask myself, am I truly living them?

Here are some questions to reflect on:

  • How do I spend my time and energy?
  • How do I spend my money?
  • What do I think about most?
  • What do I envision or visualize most?
  • What do I talk about most to myself?
  • What do I talk about most to others?
  • Where am I most organized or disciplined?

Now compare this to who you thought you were or would like to be, and how you would like to live. Some areas will already converge while the contrasts in other places may surprise you.

This is a good time to recognize what your real priorities are and where you are putting your energy.

Update your list of values so that it has meaning in how you are living your life right now.

Be aware that you may be judging yourself against values that you are not living up to.  If so, be kind and take time to reflect on what the next step is. It may not be time to implement changes, or it may be time to start taking actions to come into alignment.

There is no right or wrong here.  Its about becoming true to yourself.

* I am Woof!

Charlie and Lola being true to themselves

Charlie and Lola being true to themselves

“The human says, “I love myself” or “I hate myself.”

The dog says, “woof, woof,”

which, translated means

I AM MYSELF.

I call that integrity – being one with yourself.”

                                                Eckhart Tolle from Guardians of Being

May we all continue to learn and grow from the connection with our loving animal companions. Charlie and Lola aren’t ours, but they adopt us when we vacation in Italy every year.

What do you think their authentic selves are waiting for here?…

* My Yoga Story

People come to yoga for many reasons. In my experience, some people are wanting to be more flexible and strong in their bodies, yoga treewhile others are looking to calm their minds and  find an inner connection with themselves.  Yoga practice brings together mind body and spirit … and allows each individual to grow, heal and strengthen in their own way.

My story about how I came to yoga is a bit different, and I wanted to share it with you…

When I began my training to become a coach in 2002, we did a lot of self exploration about our strengths, values and needs, and what makes each of us unique.  I also had a mentor coach to support me in my skill building and growth. Its a time for getting real and personal transformation!

One day we did a class on Integrity. We looked at what it meant to us and how we could bring that to our coaching….. As I sat back in the chair with my headphones on, I reached for a cigarette and lit up.

quit smokingI felt such a wave of guilt and disappointment in myself for being a smoker.

How could I coach others to be their best while I was feeling so uncomfortable about being a smoker. I realized I was out of integrity.

And I was also scared about giving up my habit. Cigarettes had been a friend and a support for me for so many years. Could I really go it alone? What if I failed miserably (again) and couldn’t give them up? Wasn’t it better to be healthy in other parts of my life to balance out the toxicity of smoking? I was trying to do a deal with myself and it wasn’t working…. That icky feeling in my gut was still there.

I was out of integrity and I had to do something if I wanted to face myself and my potential clients. So I told my mentor coach and set a date – March 27th 2002. We put together a coaching plan with the steps that I would take. Each step was something that I felt I could do. … and I did 🙂

Part of my smoke free plan was to start doing yoga. My mentor  said it would calm my mind so that I didn’t get as agitated during the change of habit and the physical withdrawal. I hadn’t ever considered yoga ….but  I went along to a yoga studio near me……. and I found that it wasn’t as weird or woo woo as I had anticipated. The people were very friendly and made me feel welcome.

I discovered two things that day that would change my life … and my life span!

The first thing I discovered was that my body enjoyed being stretched. The poses felt a bit awkward, but there was a definite opening and flexing that felt good.Yoga Val on beach

The second thing I discovered was how I loved to breathe! Smoking cigarettes had been a way, not only to get a nicotine fix, but also to let me breath fully. Smoking relaxed me. Each big inhale and exhale released the tension. I felt immediately calm as I took a big draw in and then exhaled out.

It was pretty amazing to me that in yoga I could feel the same calming effects without poisoning myself!!

Yoga became a part of my life and cigarettes became a part of my past.

Now I teach yoga to people at all stages of life and share my love of breathing, stretching, focusing, accepting and letting go….

There is no judgment in yoga, just acceptance of where you are and being your best to live life fully…. and breathe fully.

If you have experienced something other than this, then please look for an other teacher!

Namaste