It has been a very sad week here in the UK.
Only a few short months since we were all delightedly celebrating the Platinum Jubilee and laughing at her skit with Paddington Bear, last Thursday 08 September, we learned that Queen Elizabeth II had passed peacefully, at one of her favourite places – Balmoral Castle here in Scotland.
In the days since her death, we have witnessed an incredible outpouring of love and respect for the woman who has reigned over the UK and Commonwealth for 70 years and truly devoted herself to a life of service.
Every day this week, we have heard anecdotes from those who knew her, those who worked for her and those who met her for only a few moments, all revealing more and more about the woman beyond the crown.
There have been many words used to describe this extraordinary woman – all of which are positive of course, but one that comes up over and over is ‘integrity’ and so I thought I might use the opportunity today, to talk about what it means to live with integrity in normal/everyday life.
First thing to note, is that it is easy to look at others and to make our own judgement as to whether we believe them to have integrity….. or not.
But how often do we stop to look at ourselves and ask the question…
Am I living in integrity?
Am I living true to the values that matter most to me?
Often, people have a narrow perception of what integrity even means, and therefore are not fully conscious to the areas where they may be living with a lack of integrity, or indeed how this fact may be undermining their peace of mind or their sense of self-worth.
It is easy to live under the illusion that because in the outer areas of our lives we are good, honest, hardworking people, that we have integrity. We may be completely unaware of the lack of integrity in the inner areas of our lives – that it is not just about what we are DOING in the world, but who we are BEING.
Thus, at its deepest level, the level at which the most profound transformation occurs, and the greatest courage lies, integrity is about unity between what your heart calls you to do and what you are doing and who you heart calls you to be and who you are being. When you are living fully in integrity, you can experience harmony at every level:
body, mind and spirit.
The thing is, most of us are so busy with the ‘busy-ness’ of living that we aren’t tuned in to the wisdom that speak through us (our intuition) to be able to live with integrity at its deepest level.
And then we wonder why something just doesn’t feel quite right on the inside. We know in our ‘gut’ that something is not right… but we are too scared to examine what that might be.
FEAR has taken over our lives to such an extent that we have forgotten what it was like (if we ever knew) to live without it.
Only by building your life on a rock-solid foundation of integrity can you live the fulfilling and fabulous life to which you aspire. Why? Because without integrity, nothing works.
Also, be aware that the higher you climb, the harder the wind blows, so if there are any crack in your foundation – any areas where your integrity is compromised – then the cracks will begin to give way under the pressure of mounting expectations, responsibility, power, and status. And if the foundation crumbles, the consequences can be devastating.
Integrity takes courage, because the path is often not the easiest, or most convenient to travel. We all experience occasions when it is much easier to just go with the flow, take the ‘politically correct’ and socially acceptable route, and step away from our principles or the voice of our conscience.
But when you are committed to living with integrity, you are compelled to take the actions that you know are right for you, however serious the doubt, significant the risk or daunting the challenge. You simply cannot help but choose to follow the path that stirs your heart, however high the price or scary the prospect because the price you would pay for NOT doing so is much higher.
Are you living your life in integrity?
x Until next time, sending you love x
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