Slip-Sliding in Integrity and Impeccability

IMG_0970I’m having writer’s block. I don’t feel like writing. I feel like what I’m writing about is boring. Most days I’d just rather go to bed than write. They say the way to get through it is to keep writing. So, I’m going to do the best I can to keep using the prompts I know that work. Tonight, I pulled a Medicine Card with the request that they give me a topic to write about. I pulled the Jaguar card reversed.

I had to buy some new Medicine Cards before Christmas. I took them to work in my lunchbag and something leaked on them. I’ve had those cards since about 2000. I hated to get new ones because I loved the fact that those cards had been everywhere I’d been, but I had no other choice. They were sticking together, and I couldn’t shuffle them anymore. I ordered off David Carson’s website instead of going to Amazon. A friend of mine had ordered off Amazon, and the quality of the cards was not as nice as mine. I thought I’d do better to go to the source. I had some problems with PayPal, and contacted the website. Lo and behold, David himself emailed me back. I actually had an email conversation with the creator of the cards. I told him how much I loved them and that I write about them on my blog. He assured me that he didn’t know much about technology, but he’d love to check out my blog. I have no idea if he ever came by. But, it was really cool.

I got out of the habit of using the cards while I was waiting on my order. I’ve only drawn a few in the last few months. So, I thought I might draw tonight for inspiration. The Jaguar is about integrity and impeccability, a standard that is usually impossible to meet but is a great goal. Since I’m a perfectionist, I think in terms of always having integrity. If I slip up, I’m doomed…. a bad person ….needing to be punished ….  going to hell if there is any such thing. So, I hate when I draw this card. It reminds me of my imperfections in this area. I knew the card was reversed, so I suspected it was calling my attention to an area where I have not been impeccable or in integrity. I immediately listed all of those things I’ve done that I shouldn’t have done, the words I’ve said that should have never been spoken, the days when my attitude got the best of me. Really, Universe? This is what you want me to write about? Well, I’m not telling them where I’ve fallen short. This is public.

It does indeed ask me to correct those areas where I’ve fallen short. But, in the last few sentences, it also says, “Integrity requires a forgiving and open heart. Compassion and mercy are also needed. Self-blame or pointing fingers at others only shows your own lack of integrity.” It reminds me that I need to forgive myself when I fall short. I hate these slippery goals that aren’t black and white. If I’m going to be damned if I’m not in integrity, just do it. Don’t tell me to do it and then let me slide by telling me to forgive myself. I’m being facetious, of course. How could I function if I had to carry all of those faults over the years with me forever? And, I’ve learned over the years that I cannot forgive others completely until I forgive myself. If I’m still holding my own debts in unforgiveness, I truly can’t let go of others’. It is such an important practice and one that I slip and slide on all the time. I’m working on compassion for others’ shortcomings now in a big way. In some areas, I’ve expected too much of people who couldn’t do any better. It’s part acceptance, part forgiveness and part compassion. And none of it is easy… especially when it comes to my own shortcomings.

I’m working really hard to enjoy what is put in front of me. It’s a combination of having gratitude, cultivating acceptance and resolving to lower my expectations. The fact that I’m even trying is amazing because there was a long time in my life when I didn’t understand my role in my own unhappiness. And, if I’m truly honest, I know that some of the people I interact with on a daily basis are clueless in that area, too. Having been there, I should have more understanding that they don’t know any better. There I go with the ‘shoulds’ again. Let’s try that again. Having been there, I am going to have more understanding that they don’t know any better. When I was a supervisor at Starbucks, one of my teen baristas got treated really rudely by a customer at the drive-through. He was so hurt and didn’t understand why she treated him like that. I told him that he had to deal with her for 10 minutes. She has to live with herself all the time. His face brightened, “You’re right,” he said. It doesn’t make it hurt less, but sometimes it does help me have compassion when I remember how miserable it is to be unaware of what is causing my pain.

8 thoughts on “Slip-Sliding in Integrity and Impeccability

  1. I also understand the drought feeling. Yes, continuing to write helped. It also helped me to take a break (like what I did in November). When I needed the blog, it was still here, and I’ve returned to it gung-ho. Sometimes, though, we just have to write what we think is slop before we get to the good stuff/start to see our work for what it really is.

  2. Thank you for today’s blog, Sharon, it spoke to me quite loudly. I was in a car accident this morning – I am fine and the other fellow is fine – but I am definitely beating myself up over it. I know in my head that that behavior is not helpful, but, there ya go! From my position, it was the other guy’s fault; 2 eyewitnesses gave conflicting information to the police, so as it stands right now, it’s nobody’s fault. And that does not sit well with me! Like you said, either say it’s my fault and I’ll take my medicine, or say it’s his fault so I can feel better, but no-fault limbo is going to be a tough one.

    So I would do well to work on my integrity, my forgiveness, my compassion and just how to look at this situation as an opportunity to reflect the person I want to be, not necessarily the petulant foot-stomper that I am 🙂

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