Living With Integrity

alternative life coach, polyamorous life coach, sex positive life coachOne of the major drivers in my life is integrity; Specifically integrity with myself. For me, integrity encompasses self-reflection, self-honesty, and humility. I’m writing about it because I have come to realize I’ve gotten out of integrity with myself. I’ve changed and grown. However, I’m still acting on old decisions and plans. I figured this out because of deep self-reflection and introspection. I’ve had to ask in many different ways questions like “what’s wrong,” “what do I REALLY want,” “what am I ok with,” “how much risk am I willing to take,” etc. I’ve also had to do somatic work, feeling different sensations in my body, asking what they are trying to tell me. I’ve also done some shadow integration work. I can feel I’ve barely scratched the surface with these last two.

Why am I doing all this work? Because of my health and my pleasure (or lack of it) in my body. I started on a journey to get healthy in January of 2018. In October of 2017, I was told by a doctor that I would be looking at getting a hip transplant soon, and there was no other choice besides pain management. I was devastated as I was only 38 at the time.

Since then, I’ve faced other significant life challenges, one being the possibility of going to prison. That gave me a whole additional layer of motivation to get healthy as I could not walk up a flight of stairs, and I feared for my safety if I was going to have to go to prison.

I’ve done so well in the last 20 months (right now its November 2019) – lost 55 lbs, gained mobility and strength, kept my business running, stayed connected with my immediate family and friends. The thing is, now that the worst seems to be behind me, I am still struggling with motivation and inspiration. That has made me turn to assess what I am doing in my life to see if I’m still in alignment with all of it. Some of it yes, some of it, no, and some of it partially. Yes, I’m entirely grateful not to be facing the possibility of going to prison or having to live in a wheelchair. And somehow, that is not enough. I know that I’ve experienced genuine excitement and high energy in my life, and I want it back. That is why I’m sharing this now.

I’m creating something new. I’m not even sure what it will look like, but this is my first swing at it. I’m letting go of what is not bringing me joy at all and working toward only doing what feels truly good.

One of the definitions of integrity is the condition of being unified, unimpaired, or sound in construction. When I operate my life with integrity, I benefit from the feeling of being unified internally. When you make choices that maintain your personal structure, you don’t have to deal with the inner conflict, dissonance, and turmoil that could ultimately tear you apart.

Another definition of integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, i.e., moral uprightness. Figuring out what is correct, righteous, and ethical for you is where self-reflection and introspection come in to play. How are you going to know if what you are doing is right for you if you do not stop and ask yourself? This level of honesty does take lots of courage, as you might find you have changed. You may have made decisions that once were in alignment, but now you have changed, and you have to make a new decision. Getting back into alignment might mean you have to undo things in your life. Undoing and restructuring will affect you for sure and might affect others. Many people (and me for a long time) avoid looking at things to avoid having to make these changes. We are too afraid. Too chicken. And too lazy.

Are you the type of person that when you find a problem you want to fix it? Does living dishonestly suck the life out of you? Then you are a lot like me. Changing will mean work and possibly accepting humility as there is a part of you that identifies with your previous decisions and commitments. That part of you is going to resist change at all costs.   That part of you will not want to die or be re-defined. It’s happy precisely the way it is and will do all kinds of dirty mental and physiological tricks to stay alive. But you are not your ego. You will never know unless you slow down and take a look.

If you feel like you are out of integrity and you have suspicions that you might need to make decisions, but you don’t know where to start or how to navigate the process, let me know if you would like some help. I’ve gone through this process before, and I’ve helped others through the years. Sometimes having a guide, cheerleader, or accountability partner makes all the difference.

Monogamy Vs. Non-Monogamy | Social Conditioning

The hardest part of “coming out” was to acknowledge and accept that I am not monogamous to myself. I felt a lot of judgment for myself because of the stories/programming/conditioning I had around what monogamy and non-monogamy meant. Their meaning didn’t match up to my definition of self and that meant I was going to be out of integrity with myself – and for me that is like being in purgatory. I have to be right with myself first or nothing else works.

wedding ringsHere are the characteristics that came with monogamy according to my conditioning: a person who is monogamous is caring, loyal, loving, dependable, reliable, humble, trustworthy. They are able to put the needs of the many before the needs of the individual and therefore are also more generous, fair and civil minded than others. These characteristics would also manifest in every other area of their life so that a monogamous person will also have a great work ethic, contribute to society, always take care of their own family and so on and so forth.

On the other hand, I had the belief that the characteristics of a non-monogamous person: dishonest, selfish, self centered, careless, driven by lust, couldn’t care about family or bonds. They would put their own needs ahead of anyone else’s at whatever cost to the other people as long as they were satisfied. These people were not to be trusted or relied upon under any circumstances. They would suck others into their deceitful manipulative lifestyle any chance they got.

So you can see how I had a hard time accepting being non-monogamous. I did my best to practice the values of the monogamous person. A part of me was dying inside because I wasn’t being true to myself. I couldn’t reconcile the differences between how I felt inside (non-monogamous) and the kind of life I wanted to live (positive and generative). It is only through experiencing acceptance, tolerance, love and approval from others and myself that I have been able to see that these definitions have nothing to do with reality. They have to do with social norms, control, repression, and shame.