Downward spirals are cause for patience to take flight…
A life with challenges of mood and emotion means twists and turns happen frequently. Sometimes it feels like an assault on the body and brain, pummeling cannonballs deep to craters within the soul. And at others, it’s an invitation for a feat of endurance, a welcome chance to say, “Okay life, what have ya got?” – an opportunity for a humbling or righteous lesson.
After a recent backslide in my journey, I’ve resurfaced with new data from the minefield of life. Some may say I’ve emerged a confounded cynic, but I’ll meet that with what I’ve really come to know and value, and that’s skepticism. I believe the question, “Why?” is priceless. It’s when we assume to know the answers without investigation that we find ourselves in a bit of trouble.
Before falling my “two steps back”, I was deeply impassioned and emboldened with integrity and justice – I was an ardent advocate for them. I’ve run into barriers before, so I’m no stranger to things like bouncing back or recovery. It’s just that this time, I decided to question my perception of my reality. I say “my reality” since everyone’s is different…perhaps I had the wrong filters, an inaccurate mindset about my life experience and how I might interact most effectively with the world.
So I asked myself, “Do integrity and justice really exist?” My answer was, “It depends” – for me, not a firm enough thesis on which to base my passion, my life purpose. Because the beliefs that we operate from form the sources of our values, thoughts, and actions, I knew my modus operandi needed to be realistic and true to the best of my knowledge.
I came across a speech by author Dennis Lehane titled, “Live with Honor”:
It presented me with the challenge to pursue dignity and honor over justice and truth. He states that the measure of humanity is based on one simple question that we can each ask ourselves every day: Did I behave with dignity and respect toward all living things? He goes on to say, “Honor is not doing what is easy if it hurts a single soul”. It’s not what happens to us, it’s what we do with our lives despite what happens to us.
So, do dignity and honor really exist? The answer might be the same as in my first question, but these concepts seem more tangible. We can aspire to live with honor. In my experiences, integrity and justice are constantly being stripped away or threatened. But I think dignity and honor are within our reach no matter what the circumstances.
As we wander our mazes and climb our mountains, we can let our trials transform us. We can become honorable, authentic beings.
By Kim Bragado for The Authentic Thinker