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365DaysDailyPages8_3

Just as each of us is capable of choosing integrity and a life of presence we are also equally able to choose complacency and indifference. There is inside us the ability to sacrifice our individuality to the humdrum of ‘normalcy’, automate our lives according to complex schedules and roles, and convince ourselves of the utility in becoming like everyone else. This sacrifice of our self-determination might make our cities more efficient and well managed but will it make us more human?

In the movie Waking Life two random people collide in a stairwell but instead of muttering an apology and going on their way they challenge expectations to keep things moving quickly and stop to have a conversation:

“I don’t want to be an ant, you know? I mean, it’s like we go through life with our antennas bouncing off one another, continuously on ant auto-pilot with nothing really human required of us. Stop. Go. Walk here. Drive there. All action basically for survival. All communication simply to keep this ant colony buzzing along in an efficient polite manner. “Here’s your change.” “Paper or plastic?” “Credit or debit?” “You want ketchup with that?” I don’t want a straw, I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me. I don’t want to give that up. I don’t want to be an ant, you know?”   

Waking Life, 2001

We are not ants, we can resist, we do not have to give up our humanity and the search for moral integrity just to unthinkingly labour at maintaining structures that prevent our freedom and the free expression of others.  So, do you want to be an ant or do you want real human moments?

Further Reading:

Vaclav Havel, The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central Eastern Europe

Waking Life transcript “Ants” 2001, link to the movie.

If you want to learn more about #365DaysOfPresence check out the complete archive of daily pages here, you can also connect and share your thoughts by joining our welcoming community space. This project is offered by donation, if you value these thoughts you can contribute here.
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365DaysDailyPages8_2

“Live for yourself” or “help yourself before you help others” are widely accepted philosophies these days, it is completely socially acceptable to worry about yourself first, take care of number one, and believe that everyone else is equally responsible only for their own lives. Living for others, especially for vulnerable others, is something we leave for saints, the righteous or religious figures to do – but what if our lives are not entirely ours and instead belong to something far more precious and worthy of protection?

With all the devastating news from around the world plus the daily craziness and confusion in our communities, it has never been more important to talk about our ethics and what it means to live with integrity as individuals who are part of a common humanity. When everything can change in an instant isn’t it vital that we live each day striving to be the very best version of ourselves in relation to others? At what point do we look at the world around us and choose to be responsible to the prisoner, the hungry child, the forgotten and silenced voices we shush every time we value our own comfort over the work that must be done?

Both in times of security and in times of crisis when all is in chaos we can be guided by our decency, integrity, and compassion – because it is ours and can never be taken away.  Whether the earth shakes or nations clash we are defined by how we treat each other. Let’s make it a loving world, filled with compassion and respect for each other.

What could change if we lived as if the quality of our freedom depended on the quality of freedom for our most vulnerable or unheard?

Further Reading:

Elie Wiesel,  Nobel Acceptance Speech delivered in Oslo on December 10, 1986

If you want to learn more about #365DaysOfPresence check out the complete archive of daily pages here, you can also connect and share your thoughts by joining our welcoming community space. This project is offered by donation, if you value these thoughts you can contribute here.

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365DaysDailyPages8_1

What one characteristic might help solidify the trust in our own goodness, unite all our qualities and broken bits, support us in our work to live a good life, and keep us present and accountable to our choices and selves?

Integrity as a word comes from the Latin integer and French integrite meaning “whole, complete, intact” and “in perfect condition”. A person with integrity is undivided internally, they have managed to integrate the disparate parts of themselves into a whole being. It is no wonder that goodness is a synonym for Integrity for this quality can help us live a truly good life by uniting our characteristics into one integrated whole.

Integrity is uncomfortable to be around so is rarely invited to parties, people come to her for advice but rarely commit to deeper relationships for while they love and respect her honesty she makes them question all the places they compromise. Her stare and language are a little too direct, her sense of accountability to life too complete to be comfortable with indifference, hustling for power and money, or a lack of ethics. This makes her life, work, and love harder but she wouldn’t have it any other way, after all Integrity is accountable first and always to her own self.

Integrity walks with sureness placing one foot in front of the other like a statement of fact: I am here. She always looks you right in the eye and has little care for celebrity, status, and surface veneer, she wants to see inside you, know your values, understand the choices that make you. Integrity asks a lot of questions but when she tells you about herself she sets each word down carefully after polishing it off and inspecting it for cracks, to ensure the story she gives you is both solid and clear enough to be held up to the light of examination.

You cannot shame Integrity or force her eyes down, the knowledge of her own worth is inalienable and will not be stripped by force or failure. She is a force of nature moved by a code of ethics so strong it is etched into her bones, a constant reminder of the great responsibility to all that was, is, and will be. Integrity knows her whole self, both the darkness and glow of her undivided heart, she has no hidden secrets or skeletons in the closet, every room in Integrity’s house is open to the light. Yes she is intimidating, powerful, strong – but you are welcome in her home, come inside.

Further Reading:

Download the monthly PDF package of worksheets for Integrity, the quality we will be exploring in August.  Audre Lorde, I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings, also read Audre Lorde’s interview with Susan Leigh Star onlineIf you want to learn more about #365DaysOfPresence check out the complete archive of daily pages here, you can also connect and share your thoughts by joining our welcoming community space. This project is offered by donation, if you value these thoughts you can contribute here.