It's been a long week away from the blog, a week of highs and lows. The highs came early in a weekend training that was overflowing with energy and commitment and an unusual willingness to focus on both personal and group strengths. As I think about that weekend now, I find it remarkable to notice what strength and energy resonate from integrity.
Too often, integrity is talked about as if it is merely a reaction to other things. It is true that integrity is often noticed when it is challenged: we see the buildings that hold together through the storm of the century. We see the people who emerge from illness or controversy with their values and personality intact, and notice that they have integrity. It is true that integrity has the power to resist and sustain. What we miss, sometimes, is the power of integrity to impel us forward. Integrity holds us together: it also allows us to reach outwards.
In our training, we say that integrity is the force that creates and supports congruence: the ability to align multiple strengths and resources so that they focus on a single goal. In the weekend just past, we worked with participants who became increasingly aware that integrity gives them energy and enthusiasm and intention. Integrity not only results from integration; it encourages integration. Different qualities or different people can be wholly themselves and yet interact in ways that produce a new unity, bigger, stronger, and differently creative than the individuals who comprise it. From the integrity of individuals grow emergent systems that themselves thrive on the force of integrity.
Integrity is not what stops us from doing things we should not do: it is what drives us to do what we want most to do. It is not a secondary benefit of surviving tough times; it is the utter conviction that we can become ourselves in whatever times we find ourselves.
Integrity is not an anchor that slows us down. It is the wind in our sails.