What Is Integrity?

This year, I asked the universe for 3 things. I thought long and hard about each before I asked. They were as follows.

  1. Freedom
  2. Empowerment
  3. Integrity

The first two showed up in amazing ways. I feel like I have a grasp on both like I have never known. (Because… ask and it is given. Really. Just be careful what you wish for. Because it’s coming!)

Freedom? Check.

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That’s not me, but it is how I felt when I left my marriage, was let go from a job, and drove to Florida with no agenda or itinerary other than… ocean.

Empowerment:

These images speak volumes to me. All the power I’ve ever sought is within me.

Check empowerment off the list!

So, let’s talk integrity for a second. (I saved it for last because, honestly? I thought it would be the most boring. But luckily, I am working with a VERY skilled teacher. My inner being.)

About 3 years ago, I realized that I needed to do something with my life where I could be fully ME. Glennon Doyle Melton taught me that with her book Carry on Warrior. I realized that I could come out of the closet as a recovering alcoholic/bulimic and still be loved. That the presentation of my vulnerability could liberate others the same way her story liberated me. I knew that my story was my power, a force to be reckoned with, and something that no one could take away from me. My greatest challenges had presented themselves to me as the key to my awakening, my soul’s chosen path to finding my Self. It is no coincidence that the universe gave me quite a few more hurdles to clear, (divorce, eating disorder relapse, depression, job loss, just overall devastation) leaving me a hell of a lot stronger and frankly, ready to ask for something other than pain for a while. I discovered somewhere along the way that the pen was in my hand. I was more than the main character, being tossed about by whatever random plot the universe decided to throw my way. Now I am the creator.  And now, joy is my teacher.

(I like her better.)

I came to know over time that I am not a pawn in a giant game of destiny, I am the one moving the pieces. After living my life up until 3 years ago wearing different masks, dancing like a monkey for whoever was around, and trying to jam myself into a mold that didn’t feel good at all, I knew my days of wearing masks were over. I simply could not have a “work” me and a “vacation” me and a “yoga” me and a “mother” me, and a “wife” me, etc etc.  I wanted to just be ME. Integrated, whole, honest, child of the universe. I wanted to step into the light, be seen for who I really am, and know that I am so loved. When I came to know and understand that some people chose to live and move that way in the world, I decided I would not stop until I found that type of integrity. Knowing that my wounds gave me wisdom, only I could turn my pain to power, and rise up as the wounded healer that I am.

SHOUTING TO THE SKY, “God, USE ME! I want to be one of your workers. Help me nourish and grow the seeds of purpose that have been planted in my heart.”

There is nothing I have ever wanted more in the entire world than to co-create with spirit. In fact, I named this year “My year of Co-Creating with Spirit”. It’s been seriously FUN watching God and the angels wink at me.

Spirit is fun, playful, wise and true. When source is flowing to me and through me, I am invincible. I tap into a well of inner strength and intuition, I become a vessel for the power that creates WORLDS. Yes, worlds. YOU are capable of holding that same power. That source energy is flowing towards you and all you must do is open your MIND, eyes, heart, and hands and say YES! I want to flow with you. Show me where to go and what to do because there is no experience on earth quite like frolicking with your inner being, playing with the spirit world.

I have been divided before so I know what it feels like to have an internal split. This is precisely why I wanted the universe to deliver me INTEGRITY. I wanted to cease fighting myself. I had always wondered if this shadow aspect of me- My Demons, was self-created or actually real. I wanted to be in the light- to align my heart, mind, and gut and go in that direction. No more internal battles, no more war against me. Amnesty. Inner Peace. Integrity.

I’m going to give you a recent example of when I was not in my integrity, and how my emotional guidance system brought me back in alignment. Friday night, I arranged to have my mother watch my children from 8-10 PM. I had an internal agenda to stay out a bit later, but to wait to ask for that extension until about 9:30. Sneaky, right? Obviously, I had my own motives. I’m sure my daughters will repay me for these shenanigans one day. When I got no response, and it was after 10, I began to feel uncomfortable. I was enjoying the company I was in, but part of me was not fully there, because I knew I was not in my integrity.

I apologized to my mother, but that’s the thing about words. They mean nothing when your actions are not in alignment with them. Even saying I was sorry felt like I was rubbing her face in my bullshit. What real power is is when your thoughts, actions, and way of being align with who you really are. That’s what feels best. That’s when you know that you gave your all to a situation, and it does not matter how others respond because you are good with you. It’s very freeing to know yourself, and BE yourself. What’s not so freeing is when you are not 100% honest and so you know a negative result was caused by you not being in your integrity. It’s just not worth it, no matter what you are bending the truth for. Even a very charming young gentleman.

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So I realized, spirituality for the sake of it is really nice, but when its just for you and you don’t allow it to flow through to your relationships, its pretty meaningless. Learning how to love and be true to who you really are within the spectrum of relationships is the hardest and holiest work there is. Integrity is being about it. Fully pouring yourself into your life- your craft, relationships, and your actions without attachment to the outcome. Joy for the sake of joy. Love for the sake of love. Doing what feels good, because if you are honest with yourself, doing what you say you are going to do really feels the best.

Integrity is the sweat that goes into life. It is the preparation before a test or a workshop. It is knowing you gave a wholehearted effort and for that reason, you are ok even if you got a D+. It feels better inside than when you wing it, and you get a B-. At least the D+ was earned!

Guilt is like those bumps on the sides of the highway that let you know to get your ass back between the lines! Get back on the track of who you really are. Get in your integrity. Be kind and generous and loving to those around you. When you make the best of what’s around, the best gets even better.

We are meant to feel pure, unadulterated joy in this life. We are created to feel good, and there are plenty of reasons to do so. Feel good about your eyes opening, being aware enough to be reading this, an abundance of oxygen to fill your lungs right now, and enough sustenance physically. Your limbs move, your lungs inflate, you are here and you are alive and you have GREAT PURPOSE. Just breathe in and enjoy that. Get used to appreciating everything and the universe will send you more to appreciated. Wait with eager anticipation because the blessings are about to RAIN DOWN my friends. Inspiration will start playing with you. Life feels so frisky and fun when you are ACTIVELY ENGAGED with that inspiration. Inspired action leads you to a life of passion and purpose, of aliveness and eagerness and enthusiasm and love.

We are free beings, meaning we have full access to the entire realm of human emotions. Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for 20-some years, and yet he managed to stay free on the inside. To project love and peace to all he came into contact with. This is why a human being who Is in alignment with who they really are is more powerful than a million who aren’t. We are all meant to deliberately create a life filled with meaning, purpose, joy, abundance, and love. If we are short of any of those, it simply means we have deviated from our highlighted route, taken a detour to a rough patch when there is really no need for that. As soon as we are willing, honest, and open, help can get in. Our angels, human and celestial, can descend and help us out of the tangles, back in our integrity, back in a feeling good place of who we really are. But again, that cannot happen until we get honest about our state of being, are open to divine help, and are willing to take inspired action.

Spirituality and joy are BEST WHEN SHARED.

Have you ever prayed with someone and felt the shared energy expand exponentially? Or played or sang with someone when you were both in alignment with who you really are? There is nothing like it! It’s engaging and explosive and entertaining and FUN. We all become these beautiful vessels of spirit, playing off and increasing one another’s energy, lifting the collective vibration.Then it becomes natural to pour it out! A vessel is a container. That’s what you are.

Once you are open, so much goodness can flow through. To keep that flow going, we must be willing to go where spirit takes us. Willing to say YES when the universe nudges us. That makes life so rich and delicious and fulfilling. When we can be the light, the light is all we see.

So are demons and shadows and darkness real? Not for me, not anymore. The largest part of me, my inner being, never separates from source energy. Sometimes, the physical aspect of me takes a little while to catch up. But that doesn’t make her evil. She is human, beautiful, expanding, empowered, integrated, and free.

 

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Perfect, Whole, and Complete

 

The most revolutionary and bold thing anyone has ever said to me is “You are not broken.”

Followed in a close second by “You have all the answers you seek.”

Why are those two statements so hard to accept? Why do I toss and turn them, allow the world to tell me who and what I am and should be, why do I fail to act upon the wisdom of my heart? Something inside me knows they are true. But I still need a permission giver. Someone who tells me its ok, I’m enough, and I am worthy of love.

My heart wants to bloom. It wants to soar. It wants to create. It wants freedom. It wants unconditional love flowing to me, from me, and through me. It wants to liberate others. It wants to beat authentically to its own drum. It wants every day to be a dance, and it wants to dance every day.

Most of all, it tells me to remember. Remember what it has taught me. Remember who you are and what you have asked the universe to bring you. On New Year’s Day this year, I asked for Freedom, Integrity, and Creativity. The universe has been showing me that I can have all these things, but they are all things I have to choose to be. They are freely given, but require me to participate in their manifestation. God has healed me and continues to heal me, but I have to keep asking, keep reaching for healing. It’s not something I arrive at… it’s something I actively create with God every single moment of every single day.

There are moments when I am pulled away from what I truly want. Moments that I resort to painful, self-abusive coping mechanisms. Moments that I cling or magnetize to the world’s words and opinions of me instead of seeing myself with my love goggles on. Moments when I allow someone I love to direct my sails instead of the still voice within providing me direction, and then I wonder why my boat has crashed on the beach.

My boat has crashed, sunk, and been smashed to smithereens. This comes in the form of pain and suffering. It comes in the form of forgetting who I am, and symbolically and literally ending up with my head in a toilet. If I don’t get the truth out of me, it finds a way to come up out of me in a purge. If I abandon my truth in favor of what any person or any book says, I abandon God. I leave the little girl inside me locked in a closet with no lights on. My heart gets starved, so I run to food. Though it’s not a physical hunger that I am experiencing, my mind tells me it will fill the hole. The hungry ghost within yells “FEED ME”, and I do.

When the separation from my soul occurs, and I feel cut off from my voice and my light, I fall prey to the insidious addiction, the strange mental twist that is the voice in my head. She tells me it’s ok to face plant in a gallon of ice cream and a tub of peanut butter. It will be such a thrill to eat and eat and eat, and then get away with the ravenous, animalistic, violent binge with an even more intense purge. She wraps her arms around me like a warm, black cloak and whispers sweet nothings in my ear, masquerading very skillfully as the truth.

Bingeing takes 20 – 30 minutes sometimes. Purging takes 3. All that food that took so long to gobble, when I open my throat, can come flowing out much faster. My mind races and tries to make sense of it all. My head spins and I can’t breathe. I decide I don’t deserve to live. I want to cry, but often no sound comes out.

 

Then sanity eventually returns, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. I remember that no matter what, I’m not giving up. I remember that I am on my side.  I don’t know in that moment what the next right thing is, because I’ve forgotten that the answers lie in my heart. So I scroll facebook, read spiritual books, call friends, and eventually run right back to the cycle that broke me. This is the nature of addiction. It is insanity in the mind, an afflicted physical body, and an inability to deal with basic human emotions, especially pain. And it is a spiritual sickness that tells me that I’m separate. That my actions don’t affect others, which I am not worth trying to heal. It says that I am full of guilt, shame, fear, grief, lies, illusion, and attachments. And that I will never be free. I will never have the things I want because I never stick with anything. I’m always oscillating with the winds of change, always falling prey to my emotional nature, always weak in my flesh, and completely powerless over my mind. If those things are true, then why fight it? Why not just surrender to the reality that I am sick and always will be?

 

Because I have a choice today. I must surrender, that is for sure. But it is my choice whether I surrender to the voice of ego and fear, the voice that I am separate, bad and wrong, self-centered and selfish and afraid. I have surrendered to this voice many times, and it brings a lot of bad, wrong, self-centered actions and plenty-o-fear.

OR

I can surrender to the voice that says I am perfect, whole and complete in God. I am not separate from you or anyone, or God. I am in the vine and the branches, I am a child of God. We all are. Anything that suggests otherwise is ego, my small separated self. All the great spiritual masters have derived the truth that we are all connected, we are all one. We are one with the father, we are one with the mother, we are brothers and sisters, we are mirrors of each other. Physically, we seem separate, but this is an illusion of the 3D world. When we close our eyes, and slip into the spirit realm, we meet other on that same level. We see ourselves with pure, infinite, unconditional love. Only then can we discover that those around us are also made of that one love. We are gods with skin on us. That’s what Jesus showed us we can be. He said the Kingdom of Heaven is within. That WE would create greater miracles than him. But somehow we say, not me. I’m not capable or worthy of the life he calls me to step into. So I’m going to play small. Self-sabotage is a hell of a lot more comfortable than success. It’s also a lot less risky. I’m good at failure. Success is just too unfamiliar.

So if I choose to focus on my brokenness, my fear, my weakness, then I’m going to dwell on the time I snapped at my daughter, or let a work commitment fall through the cracks, or dropped the ball in a relationship when I should have showed up as love. I can choose to focus on the fact that I keep falling back into this bulimic hellhole. But if I allow space for another voice, then I can hear grace and forgiveness say, I don’t have to do that today. It gets to be ok. By my stumbling, the world is perfected.

I’m ok and on my way!

I am perfect, whole and complete IN God. He is in me and I am in him. God is love and so am I. God is all there is of me. God I am. As I empty myself, I can fill up with the Holy Spirit.

That was a mantra I was reciting during teacher training 2 years ago. The same day, lightning struck my tree in the front yard. No damage was done, but the spiritual significance to me was striking. It was without a shred of doubt,  a sign from God.

God sends me signs that are just as amazing, although often a lot more subtle, every day. Sometimes I am paying attention, but often I am not. I find that the most amazing and fascinating part of this journey is simply becoming more and more awake and aware that I am in fact NOT alone. I never have been and never will be. Any thoughts of separation or brokenness are a trick of the ego, smoke and mirrors. And God uses fear and ego to help me grow. He’s in charge, and my job is just to trust.

I had a vision that I was in a small row boat, it was dark and stormy, and my boat had become jammed up in some high jagged rocks. I was stuck, afraid, exhausted, and completely ready to give up. I yelled out, “GOD!!! HELP ME!!!” And he did. He pointed the direction to go. But he didn’t pick up my boat and place me in the safe waters. I had to push away from the shore, I had to row my boat to freedom, peace, sunshine, and truth.

Most of you know that I have had a very up and down battle with bulimia over the last year. Just when I seem to feel like I’ve left it behind forever, it sneaks in the back door, ties a rope around my feet, and pulls me back to the depths of hell. Heaven fights back though. Love always wins. If its not ok, its not the end.

Today I stepped on to my yoga mat, and then I asked my angels what I needed to do physically to contribute to my healing. I was in the gymnastics/karate room at the gym, and I ended up doing somersault after somersault, cartwheel after cartwheel, handstand after handstand, dancing and freeing up all the accumulated energy that I have repressed that the little girl inside me wants to express. Then I laid on my back with a hand on my soft belly, and I cried big huge little girl tears. My inner parent and my inner child held hands and cried. I told her I was sorry for hurting her and I told her she was safe now. And I truly mean that. I know she won’t come out and play unless she feels safe. I want her to feel safe. I want to learn to love the little girl in the closet who hides in the darkness. Who holes up and shuts out everything and everyone. The crazy thing I just realized is that I did this whole practice in the darkness, because I could not get the lights to work! Perhaps that was symbolism of my shadow, to not be afraid of my darkness anymore.  I don’t know how it’s all related, but I know that when I separate from truth, beauty, freedom, and radical self-love, she retreats to the darkness. And then I practice bulimia INSTEAD of LOVE to somehow escape the pain of being separated from her.

Addiction is like beating your head with a hammer when you have a headache. It’s like jaywalking in busy traffic for fun. It’s truly a death wish in the mind. A cancer, a parasite drawing all the life force from its host, until the host finally gives up. And God can kick the cancer’s ass, the angels can boot it out like nobody’s business, but I have to remember to keep the door locked. Because it’s a sneaky, insidious little fucker. And it will be back.

I have to remember to trust my inner knowing.

Be still and know that I AM GOD. And God tells me there is nothing I will find within me that is bad, or wrong, or undeserving of love. He simply wants to shine the light in ALL my dark shadowy spaces. And to give me the healing modalities I need to extend love and a safety net to the parts of me that have separated. I am perfect, whole, and complete IN God.

And so are you.

hug yourself