THE BLOG
11/12/2013 10:26 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Approaching Integrity

We work so hard to get somewhere, to realize a dream, to arrive at some destination, that we often forget that though some satisfaction may be waiting at the end of our endurance and effort, there is great and irreplaceable aliveness in the steps along the way.

Approaching Integrity

We are always approaching integrity, never arriving at it. In working toward a thoroughness of character, we dream of arriving at a state of completeness where who we are and what we do are forever one. We dream of living the rest of our lives this wholly.

But recently I realized -- when things weren't going smoothly, when I was breaking small things around me -- that the beauty of life resides in the relationships we're drawn into as we try to bridge the gap that is always there between who we are and what we do.

While we need to keep bringing who we are and what we do together, while we aspire morally to be in more and more alignment with life, making everything we encounter more whole, it's living in between that holds the richness of being alive. If blessed, we'll never arrive at complete integrity or life will be done with us. Rather, it's the thoroughness of holding nothing back as we try to be integral that brings us alive.

When I can accept that I'm always en route to integrity, my humility is awakened and my compassion deepens. This changes how I listen, how I give, how I receive. I was surprised to discover that the engagement of integrity over the achievement of integrity allows us to inhabit life through our vulnerability, rather than trying to perfect life through our imagined purity.

A Question to Walk With: Describe one difference you are experiencing between who you are and what you do. How do you regard the gap between who you are and what you do? Name one small step you can take in approaching your own integrity.

For more by Mark Nepo, click here.

For more on poetry for the soul, click here.