When I hear these word or phrases verbalized I often wonder – do they have true meaning or are they sentences fillers?
They come rolling off the tongue fast and furious – every third or fourth word, meaningless, falling flat, and exacerbating an emotion from the person listening. Where is the substance in our core selves?
I wonder, are these words delegated in subject or verbally lined with Integrity? This blog article is about – Integrity! A word that contains great substance in life, and it is time to exam the meaning, bringing forth the core of our humanity, having everyone responsible in finding their Integrity, while not banishing their past imprudence, no matter how reckless.
Often, for a bi-daily dose of ideas and positive input, listening pleasure and educational fervor, I watch over coffee – TedTalks.com. Most all speakers “blow me away” with their ideas, authentic prowess, knowledge; mostly the life they have lived and are sharing with genius reasoning. Verna Myers, How To Overcome Our Biases. Then the realization hits, I and we are no different as we travel through our lives.
One in particular well known writer, activist, and speaker – Andrew Solomon, enthralls me with his pure honesty and integrity. Every speech I have had the honor in hearing is inspiring, about life and how we make our choices, Andrew clearly states personal stories, interviews with others, sees the humanity, does not judge, rather brings open brilliance to light and shares his visual lenses with the audience and the world. Andrew Solomon, How the worst moments in our lives makes us who we are.
“How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are! ” These words resound in my mind and body as I searched for a simplistic and short synapses – in meaning and action of Integrity. Andrew further states: “People with major challenges seem to draw strength from them (the challenges)”.
When I heard Andrews’ statement, the resonance was most significant and essential for our human factor; “How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are, we forge meaning and build identity from these life challenges”.
This is Integrity! Simply stated, not easily lived. We might state, “The Road Less Traveled.” I believe these days, it is more traveled than ever! There are moments in life when we are victimized, but choose to not be a victim, instead forge a meaning of who we are from that moment on.
We can be victimized by circumstances and other people in life and yet choose not to be a victim; rather rise beyond the occasion and reveal a prodigious life from the unscrupulous treachery of life.
Does this denote that life is a continual challenge offering ultimatums? YES!
Some (people) may seem to have a wondrous easy life; you have not glanced through the lenses in which they live daily. Do not assume torment, angst only hits a few on this planet. We all must make grueling daily decisions; we share this in common as humans. Some are able to move with adept resilience than others. Do not judge the actions of others until you know all sides of the story. I am one of these people, the choices I have had to make being a teenage and self-emancipated, make for great writing in “humorously licentious” book form.
Seldom have I spoken much of my past after being self-emancipated, for I wish to leave the past – in the background, I cannot change the past – none of us can, nonetheless we move forward! It is over, except for what is sequestered knowledge deep inside of us. Oft time it is of the horror and opprobrious nature of life. When eluding to a sheer utterance of my life prior to my twenty years (to a couple of very close friends) they were shocked!
Not understanding their mystified dumbfounded reactions, with the follow up statement, “you should write a book”, bewildered me. What they saw at the time, I was unaware of; it was and still is, that I lived my life with Integrity.
Their reaction was one of disquieted apprehension. Hearing a modicum of stories, the nefarious adventures and villainous people I encounter, at tender ages of innocence. My Eyes were Wide Open to Life, and the world of men at a frail jejune age, starting in my toddler years. I was incorrigibly naïve.
Many urged me to write the book, this action would take another three decades to write the first draft titled, Brilliance Disrupted. Looking back, my silence was out of integrity (albeit, barely aware of my intrinsic intentions). I was still learning about others and all sides of life. Traveling from destination to destination in life. Decades of adventures.
Immersion into life, raw, vile, vulgar, deep sorrow, grief, almost killed several times, taken and tossed – thrown away; I stood up in the wake of contemptible tsunamis, dusted off, stated DAMN YOU, moved on. It may have not been forward, but onward.
Are there regrets, maybe? How is one to say there are regrets when traveling through life in its’ guttural fashion? We do not know where these years of forbearances lead us to. One may take a hike into wildernesses or canyons and come back a different person, physically and mentally.
No my name is not Scarlett, although I do admit to wearing scarlet letters. Life is harsh with its whirling detours and our frailness in conscious awareness, our humanity fails often. We have caused wars from the beginning time over simple cultural beliefs.
As I wrote Brilliance Disrupted (now in editing form), I came to realize, over those eight months of writing in a torrent milieu, not only was there substantial GRIT in me, I had let go of a consequential part my childhood, my teens, the vulgarity of growing up at the hands of men and women; I had gone wayward through blamelessness and bloodguilt.
Looking further into the meaning of Integrity the thesaurus and synonyms. Honorableness, straightforwardness, candor, rectitude, standing on principle or incorruptibility. The last word here, I could not honor for I have been corrupted; I clawed my way back with my head held high.
These life experiences taught me to see through the veneer, the public face most often shown, to see the core of each person I met, with acumen. Dropping the facades, seeing people without the pretenses they may portray, there is no hiding from my eyes. The beauty of this ability, is I see the human side of life with compassion. Many feel comfortable around me – they are allowed to be themselves. On that note, if you are hiding from yourself, you will not be at ease. Why?
I have done it, I have live it and I have been a perpetrator in life’s moments. I have been through the core and evil opprobria of life; perpetrated in guile; wallowed and swallowed, regurgitated, lost myself; had my entire body broken – bloody through beatings and sadistic battering; I stood again and looked evil in its eye and said you will not kill me, you will not win! I was beaten, raped, abused and I stood again, living without machination.
Some call this understanding “chi.” Others’ might state it is “chutzpah” or GRIT! Look around, are you dead yet? If not, stand up and feel that core of integral flame is undisguisable inside of you!
Seth Godin states: “Success comes from doing the hard part. When the hard part is all you’ve got, you’re more likely to do it. And this is precisely why it’s difficult to focus. Because focusing means acknowledging that you just signed up for the hard part.”
Through the years I sought out the most intelligent of minds through books, DVD’s, studied and never quit studying to this day.
Integrity does not mean you shout out to acclaim who you are. The understated preference is, that you walk it in silence, most of the time, inner knowing of self. You feel the experience in every cell of your body. There is an air about a person with great integrity when they walk into a room. They are not loud, they are of a quiet resolve, a magnet of unbeknownst understated prowess, and yet the adroitness is masterful. They may smile with pronounced knowing of who they are. They are themselves with pure authority – living, breathing, talking, caring, understanding others and do not scrutinize; rather their knowledge penetrates shadows offering a welcoming engagement. For they have lived through indescribable life. And yet will state, “I have failed many times”. This is “Authentic Prowess and Integrity”.
Many times the life lived through integrity takes people down incorrigible paths, one could not bear to hear these stories told, but we must in the end for it is knowledge. These are the hard ways of living and yet, most rewarding. We stand in the midst of defeat, sometimes crawl our way up the mountains and across the seas to unknown parts of life. Often times beaten so severely, tears flowing down the faces, broken, bloodied, put one hand on a knee – look up to a point – straighten the crippled body and STAND again. Not in defiance, nor in insubordination, more to acquiescence to the enormity we are about to greet. It may take more years, possibly another few nefarious monstrous atrocities.
Howbeit, we stand. Life becomes clear. There is an indomitable spirit within that sense a magnitude of gratitude; appreciation, strength from the core where no one could disburse or disseminate the flame of integrity.
This is Honor at its greatest moment. Mankind has fought many wars for freedom, but what we have not said, the real reason has been for integrity.
We have honor and question this obeisance of allegiance to our families and friends. More so for our countries and some degree of co-existence.
To look into the eyes of a fellow human, stand and say, “I fight for my country as you do” and then to kill in defense, is a lifelong visual all humans in this position will never forget. It is a mare on the spirit and yet, done with integrity.
Just as, being a “conscientious objector” stands in their virtuous forthrightness and say, “I cannot kill another man or human for a belief or orders from our country’s laws.” It is integrity speaking.
It is the self that must be true to a core resolve. This steadfastness is lived with purposefulness from the time we are born. The predisposition is there, the intention is felt and alive. The boldness may be suppressed through childhood. Later life conjures the pressure – cracking through the layers formed – presenting sometime in the future, the predisposed integrity will erupt through to live.
Many die heinous deaths fighting for integrity: Michael Angelo, Hypatia (my mentor), Mary Magdalena, Galileo, Amazon Warrior Women, Helen of Troy, Steven Biko, Mohammed, Jesus.
Others live equally memorable lives, Elon Musk, Eleanor Roosevelt Buddha, Queen Elizabeth II, to contemporary status – the Maya Angelou and Dalai Lama of our days.
Many will live with vicious gossipers who wish to defile such geniuses, as Albert Einstein or more recent, Tiger Woods. We are human, there will always be judicature and inquisition.
Moving through the crusted imbued formats of life we are taught, the light will pierce through with predisposed integrity, it will permeate through the bog of faintheartedness and abhorrence imposed by parents, cultures, ideology; beliefs based in consternation.
Not all who have integrity will have a life of loss or torture. These words of such memorable people were to stir your spirit, to look deep inside the person you are, right now. Are you living from your depths, searing through your own trials?
As Maya Angelou mother Vivian Baxter Johnson stated, (a couple phrases), “Hurt and unmet expectations are inevitable”. When you are done with one problem in life, there are three more at your doorstep”.
I have known a few who seem to have had golden lives, the truth be known, there was struggle – heartache and hardship; they seem to hide it better or had more support for their journey.
Personally, I resonate to Maya Angelou and Bette Davis; our birthdays are all on the same day or one day less apart. Maya was April 4th, Bette Davis was born on April 5th as was my birthday on a Tuesday, April 5th. Indomitable! Unassailable, unflinching, unyielding? Yes, on the outside! The inside, well… travel with me and find out.
As I looked out over my decades of life, and I am far from done – I say, “Sometimes life is bitter and some moments are worth the bitterness”.
If this resonates with you, you have known life, you have crossed the desert, climbed the mountains and have climbed to see the canopy of life. And yet, you still stand. I ask, with whom do you stand? I hope you say, “I stand with myself”.
“I am an irreverent barrel of monkeys playing in the canopy of life”, care to join me with every cellular morsel of integrity, and a strong dose of gratitude.
These, plus other ingredients, are part and parcel of Happiness! If you live in Happiness conjured from the guttural life’s experiences, stand straight, and admit who are and where you have come from, you are prodigiously awesome. And I would be honored to know you!
For you are an everyday person passing on the street filled with new ideas, thoughts of how to better humanity; view in awe what new adventure is ahead; how to construct – give to a child or homeless person. You have the job that makes a difference, whether grandeurs or minutia, you have pride in what you give.
There are many who have come from the beyond, in all levels of life, cruelty, loved, tortured, happily in relationships – divorced. Whatever life has dealt them, those with the flame of integrity in their core, alive, flickering – they go beyond these heinous and ever so human points, endeavor to the highest degree of themselves and continue to push the boundaries of their own limitations.
We have seen them on celluloid, in public walkways, dancing, and sitting on benches. They are you and I. We admit our faults, for this is human. We pierce through that grey bog that steams with deaden trees, foul odors as it bubbles its quick-sand-mud that traps many.
That is integrity. Humans are not perfect. This is not a perfect world. We have choice and that choice is ever changing; move on, move forward; proclaim who you are and be that flickering flame from within.
One day, you will glow as a bonfire and leap for joy. Then continue your walk.
PS: This article on Integrity has been over a life spam of learning, and I continue to learn as I wrote this piece. It took me two weeks in preparation, a month in thought during my move home to Colorado, where I feel my spirit soars with every passing fickle moment in weather. Watching my two Arabians run on 2 acres of land being free. I looked to my Sade (blue heeler) and to my Arabians for internal fortitude. My Sammie Kewl Kat died with the move home. The word Integrity resounded deep within and would not let go, the need to write the words became an obsession.
DEDICATED TO BEHAVIORAL SOLUTIONS FOR THE BETTERMENT OF LIFE. ©
About the Author: MicheleElys is a Neurobehaviorist ~ Writer ~ Educator ~ Keynote Speaker.
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