Sunday, August 23, 2009

Practicing Integrity

For the past several months I’ve pondered frequently about integrity in my writing, my job, my love of positive and thought provoking quotes, and even when I’m driving around in my car. Specifically, I want to better myself in “walking the walk.”

It’s not that difficult to find fantastic and inspiring quotes. It’s not difficult to share these quotes in a note to a friend. It’s not difficult to clip a quote from a magazine and stick it to the refrigerator. It’s not even difficult to enjoy thinking about great quotes in a meditative fashion.

Where I am most tested with integrity is in the everyday situation~when I forget my quotes and inspirational thoughts.

Three weeks ago, I drove my car to a coffee shop where you can drive up to a speaker, order your coffee and then drive up to a window where you pay and receive your coffee. The first three times this woman spoke through the speaker, all I could hear was garbled static sounds and then the word “Africa.” I even looked over at my son in the passenger seat and asked him if he could understand what was said and he shook his head. I apologized to the woman and asked if she could speak with her mouth further from the microphone. She did. The question: Would you like to buy a pound of coffee and the proceeds go to help children in Africa? I said, “Sure.” The woman said, “Great! That will be $15.00 at the window.” That was it. She was gone.

I sat there until she spoke through the speaker again. “Yes?” she asked. “I wanted to order a couple of coffee drinks.” The woman laughed and asked me what kind of coffee we wanted. I ordered the drinks and drove forward. I waited behind the car in front of me for several minutes (nearly ten minutes to be exact) while I watched this woman lean out the window and talk with a person who appeared to be her friend.

This is where I get frustrated and “forget” that I truly want to be kind, understanding and sympathetic. I start thinking things like “incompetent, rude, time is wasting.” And without fail, once I start thinking about the negatives, the more negatives come my way. The woman in the car in front of me finally leaves. I drive to the window feeling frustrated and then she asks me if I’d like my coffee beans ground. Since I don’t own a coffee grinder I needed to have the beans ground…this could have been accomplished during my ten minute wait.

My quandary is that if I complain, I’m continuing the cycle of frustration…if I don’t, the next person receives the same kind of lackadaisical service and in the end I’m frustrated either way. I remind myself when I am pulling away that I should “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” (Plato), and that the “True measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. Do something great for a stranger today” (Unknown).

Just a few days after this experience, I decided to put signs on the backseat side windows of my car. They both say LOVE. Knowing that I have these signs in my windows for everyone to see, keeps my integrity where I want it to be. I am Love and while I’m in my car, I am very aware of this because of the signs serve as reminders.

We are all spirits in progress. Patience is my hardest area. Wayne Dyer says “If you have eternal patience you will experience immediate results.” I will spend more time on understanding and practicing this one.


  1. Ah, yes. I think these little incidents serve us because through them we have the opportunity to choose to be in, and expand, love or fear. Love love, love! And I love the daily opportunities to grow in love. I even love the times when I choose fear and am conscious of it...because next time, then, I am more likely to choose love. All the world is a classroom ;)

  2. Thank you, Darcy and I couldn't agree more that "all the world is a classroom."

    Ironically, I just returned from the grocery store ...I live in a college town and classes begin was so crowed and crazy that it was definitely a "classroom experience."


  3. I live with someone who is constantly negative and is working on a better outlook. I hear you! As a high school teacher, I have many of those frustration moments. Sometimes it is difficult to see that the "teachable moments" are for me to learn!

  4. Agree that the negatives keep coming if you react negative to a circumstance. I think the negativity sticks to you in awful ways too. Like health problems.

    My husband, daughter and I, lived with my parents for a year and a half. They're in their early 70's, living in 2400 sq ft home on 2 acres of Pecan Trees.

    My Dad is negative as can be. Our experience living with them was painstakingly ill. I was very stressed seeing how he treated my husband and daughter (his own grandchild). I became ill with migraine headaches, even to a point where I went blind in one eye for a few hours. My daughter developed an ear infection that is now slowly healing. I've prayed or sent healing thoughts by placing my hand on her ears. We are away from them now and our health is good once more. I love my parents but their negativity is far gone. My dad had prostate cancer, is a diabetic, has osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and Lupus.
    I pray for my dad and still love him no matter what. I'm just glad we aren't living there anymore.

    Leticia Werner

  5. Dear Leticia,

    What you say here is so true ~ I've lived in situations where the stress was such that I, too, had health issues and didn't realize until later that stress was primary reason ~

    And, love is the key to all of these things ~ if we can just remember this more and more, life simply gets better and better.

    Thanks for your comments ~

    Peace & Love