My Journey into Finding Fearless Integrity
"Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive—the risk to be alive and express what we really are. Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans. We have learned to live our lives trying to satisfy other people’s demands. We have learned to live by other people’s points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else." - Don Miguel Ruiz
One of the things I have come to realize is that importance of deeply standing for something. As a teacher, I will admit that I have struggled with creating a clear offering. I have often tried to learn how to teach what is popular, or well liked. I listened to other people's feedback about my style, instead of showing up to what is in the room. Or I used excuses about the student's edges to not hold them accountable in the classroom.
I will also admit that I had a really long way to go in order to be in relationship to the students. This meant that I was sometimes unwilling or unable to see the students, allow myself to be seen and vulnerable. I hid behind a tough veneer that was fairly impenetrable and completely without compassion, much reflective of the relationship I had with myself at the time. Most of the time I wavered between desperately wanting to please students, and then being angry about their rejection.
However, as I have cultivated a deeper relationship with myself, I have learned how to have relationship with my own beliefs. I have discovered that in order to stand for something, to make an offering that will touch people deeply, I have to choose who I am from a place of wholeness, while having the boundary to let others dislike of my offering pass through me. In order to meet another, I have realized that I have to have something for them to meet as well.
Every person has a truth. No one truth is more real than the next. However, staying curious about the shape of the world's of those around you, while maintaining your integrity, will allow you the flexibility to reshape aspects of your truth while also allowing the irrelevant stuff to pass through you. Plus, integrity allows me to stand my ground in a higher intention, to hold space for people's stuff and to meet each one of them with love. Having integrity is not about being right or wrong, but rather, about understanding how another's world is shaped and how my world meets theirs.
One of the biggest lessons I have had on this journey is how to cherish the awkward moments. In my experience, those are the moments that create a deepening of relationship when I still have the courage to show up, vulnerable and open. Those are the moment that blow everything open.
For each of the teachers out there who read this.... the world needs you. The REAL you. The one hidden behind the roles you play and the person you think you should be. That beautiful, imperfect, awkward and loving self is the one that will change the world. And I simply can't wait to meet them.