Someone said to me once that I am all about integrity.  At first I was not sure what he meant, but as I began to look at my choices and actions I realized that this is a thread that is deeply woven into who I am.  I am not one to lie or be dishonest even in those little white-lie situations that will not harm anything or anyone.  When I say I am going to do something, I do it, which can sometimes make myself and those in my life crazy.

Keeping my word is the foundation of integrity. Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness; the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished. 

Three reasons integrity should be a value in yourself that you cultivate:
1. Honor

For me, doing what I say I will do is a matter of honor. I wouldn’t feel good about myself if I didn’t keep my word. It would not support my intention for integrity. My word means something to me — I do not take it lightly and I expect the same from those in my life.  Perhaps I hold this standard too high at times and learning to trust others is part of my own path to honor. Do you easily say you will do something and then fail to follow through?  Do you allow others in your life to not keep their word?

2. Trust and Reliability

Demonstrating integrity builds trust and reliability. Without these values the relationship will struggle to be deeply rooted and flourish.  Continually being let down by others who do not keep their word leads to feelings that they are not reliable which leads to doubt and for me, ultimately where sadness enters. When there is doubt in a person or relationship the uphill battle to nurture the relationship can be exhausting. Friendships and deeply connected relationships thrive on trust.  How do you build trust in your relationships?

3. Respect

Do you respect for people who do not keep their word or who live without the value of integrity?  I end up feeling skeptical when someone says they are going to do something and who repeatedly show that they do not follow through. I try to give them grace and understanding but over time the reasons become excuses. Giving the benefit of the doubt helps in the beginning but over time their actions will be their truth. In return, if you want to feel respected by others, then you need to say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no, and not allow your fear of rejection or your fear of being controlled to get in the way.  If you want to live with integrity then you must seek out friends and a partner who will honor this value and give you what you need. Do you give and receive respect?


Hospice Yoga

I cannot explain the calling I woke up one early January morning with.  A strong and very vivid realization that there was something much more than I needed to be doing with my Yoga practice and teaching.  I knew immediately that I needed take action on the yearning.

I made the call.  I interviewed. I completed the mandatory training for all Hospice volunteers. The idea of offering a space of stillness, breathing practice and if applicable, providing some soft stretches and awareness of the body, is so deeply seeded in my heart that at times my own breath is taken at the awe of the experience.

If you are a practitioner of Yoga, you know that Yoga has the ability to bring you into the present moment and calm the body in times of crisis.  How many times have you come to the mat when you are crumbling by life’s events and feel far more clear when you roll up your mat? We know that the practice is powerful by our own experiences and to share that actuality is truly a gift.

I have often say that if you can breathe, you can practice.  Many of my other clients are wheelchair bound or severely disabled in some form, and yet because of the disability, they easily live in the present.  They are alive in the moment as they work each physical action with intent or the experience life without an ego.  By living in this state, their practice is gloriously beautiful.  Watching a woman with a Traumatic Brain Injury yesterday struggle fiercely with simply standing I was in awe of her practice.  When we shared the breath together, her legs stabilized enough for a small smile to come to her lips.  For the softness to happen.  For the space in the moment to see that she is. She is perfect and whole.

In my recent readings about death and dying and delving more into the philosophy of Hospice, I have learned that the process of dying needs to honored in the same way a birth is.  Certainly there is sadness and loss, but the process can and should be acknowledged with grace and love and hope for peace.  Bed-side yoga is breathing with them, acknowledging them and allowing their light to shine. It is also about listening and being completely present with them.  It is providing touch and a calm presence. It is being part of their path.

After all, the word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means “to join” or “to yoke”. What a magnificent way to practice.