Tiny Shifts to Integrity

A few weeks ago I wrote to you about the Gift of Time, in it I shared my newest perspective on time and how time allows me to live in my presence. I wish I had gained this perspective quickly, but as with most things in life I learned to appreciate time the hard way. Alongside many others, I was racing or fighting time for too long. Luckily for us, slipping back into presence is only a breath away when the waves of life have pulled us away from it. I’d like to share more in hopes of encouraging us all to vibrantly witness the life that is here.

Martha Beck writes the brilliant book, “The Way of Integrity.” In it, Martha explains how we can live a life in alignment with our true nature by living in our presence. In each present moment, Martha tells us there is a choice to stay with ourselves or leave; that’s it, folks, that is the recipe to living in presence. You are so very welcome, my blog is done! Just kidding. What Martha writes about is the goal we can all be striving for; to sit fully with ourselves, honor what is before us, and make each decision in front of us in a way that honors our body, mind, and soul. The journey to this place of alignment is made possible by tiny little shifts in the right direction.

Tiny Shifts, Big Impacts

As these shifts are made, they accumulate into a patterned way of being where choosing what is right for us becomes easier and easier. In choosing what is right for us, presence is easier and well, more enjoyable to stay with. And when those tough times come and emotions run high we have the reserves to hold our hearts. Just read the incredible Edith Eger’s book, “The Choice.” As a Holocaust survivor, Edith writes that the Nazis could take everything except who she was; and that if she lost herself to hate they would have won. Edith is one of my heroes, but as I learn to live this way I’m also my own hero. I know you can be your own too.

So how do we do it? How do we intentionally choose to live a life in presence? If we choose this way of life, how does our life change for the better? I’ve shared several blogs on the topic of staying with yourself and allowing love to wash over you. In those blogs, I’ve talked to you about how radical detachment from thought, quieting your mind, and welcoming a loving presence will lead you home to your own heart. This is a daily practice because life, emotions, and being human can hijack us at any time. We’ve all got patterns to break in the way we respond to situations or emotions. Finding a way back into our own loving presence is the only way to change patterns or navigate situations that no longer serve us. This part is tricky at first, picture Bambi on ice, and imperfect. Yet as we get used to the default response of, “I need to go home to my heart,” in time it gets easier and easier to choose this path above what no longer serves us. It is then, when we walk this path, that our life begins to change for the better.

How does it change for the better? My answer to this question is, “In every way.” Making decisions from your heart allows you to live your life with integrity. This means when challenges come you are able to make decisions that sit well with your soul. It also means that tiny shift, by tiny shift, you are able to build a life that is custom-made for you. Think about all of the times you’ve said, “yes” or “no” to something to meet a social standard or escape discomfort. I know we all have a million different examples of this anywhere from pleasing our parents, staying in relationships that no longer serve us, all the way down to that package of Oreos when we’re stressed. We all make decisions that we think are nurturing ourselves, but in fact, are just another way in which we’re trying to stay comfortable after we have left our integrity.

The challenge is this; to ask your heart before you act in every decision you make. You heard me right; every decision. Think about choosing a life of integrity by trying on new clothes and asking, “Is this me?” This little shift of checking in with yourself allows you to become the sturdy leader of your life and heart. As you allow yourself to lead from your heart, when life throws obstacles, or you feel yourself out of integrity it becomes easier and easier to say, “It’s Okay girl, I’ve got this, we can go home.” Isn’t that what life is all about? Walking ourselves and each other home? I’d like to think so.

Take a Walk With Yourself

The majority of this blog is about walking yourself home and you might be thinking, “If I’m always thinking about my own heart won’t I become selfish?” No, my darling, you will become expansive. When your heart is full and you are treating yourself with love, loving and helping others is second nature. When you see another wounded person or a piece of the world you are able to approach it with compassion. For you know what it feels like to ache, to hold sorrow, to walk through the darkness of life, and how to leave that darkness with your light.

At my faith’s Christmas Eve service every year, the service ends with “O Holy Night,” as the congregation lights one candle at a time until the whole church glows. Shifting into your integrity lights your candle, as you glow, so does your neighbor, and as we all light our integrity the whole world glows. My beautiful one, you deserve a life filled with your wildest dreams. Walk home to your heart baby, it’s so good there.

Jessie Cooper

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