Big Choices

 

Years ago, I did a training with a doctor who was steeped in the indigenous healing ways of his native culture. He told a story to highlight how sidetracked we can get in Life around Truth. According to his tradition, there is an evil spirit by the name of Iktomi. It’s diabolical power? To get you to believe the wrong thing, and then act on it. To quite literally, make the wrong choices based on false and misleading assumptions.

When I look back over the past year plus, and look for a pattern to help explain what has been happening for all of us on a macro level, I would say this: On every single level of life, to the person, we have got some very big choices to make as we step forward. The first one being, What frames of reference will we choose when encountering the world as it currently is? Next, How will we choose to live with ourselves and with each other? Which is of course, based on how we perceive what stands before us. In other words, what will we choose to believe and what choices will be born of those beliefs?

We can continue to approach the world with out-of-date narratives; unconsciously and willfully continuing to do what we have always done. Or…

We can begin to question. For if you look closely enough, everything that is before us now, has already been there for a very, very, long time. Many would say, too long. The depression, anxiety, and despair that has recently skyrocketed has been quietly devastating us for years now. The chronic, life-style related illnesses that are driving the death rates, have been stealing lives for decades. The soul-sucking and heart-robbing consequences of children spending too much time in front of a screen, have been insidiously, and unfortunately agreed to, long before a culture decided to close schools. The growing disparity through recent job losses, between the have’s and the have-nots, has been a condoned social structure for longer than we can admit. A broken medical system that can’t keep up with cases because it does not possess the medicine we need, is the very same one whose death throes have been spinning off harm for far longer than we should have ever tolerated. And then of course, there are the “Big Everythings” that have changed how we live, relate, and understand what it means to be human. Big Tech. Big Pharma. Big Money. Big Marriage Between Industry and Government. All of which have been controlling a greater portion of our lives recently, are the same unregulated and un-thoughtful industries that have been moving in this direction for years.

One little virus has revealed, exposed, and unmasked the very sickest and the most inhumane in us. So, is it a devastation? Or an opportunity? Most important of all, what are we going to do about it? Will we hunker down, praying someone else will make this go away? Will we desperately choose whatever we are fed to sidestep our own responsibilities in this? Will we continue to feed our minds on fear justifying why we get to do what we are doing?

Or will we rise up? Demanding that money not be the driving force behind the decisions being made on our behalf. Refusing to accept any longer “medicine” that harms. Taking back childhood from predatory interests that do not care about their well-being on any level. Finding our own voice and being willing to respect that in another. Regardless of, and maybe even despite, what that other voice is labelled as.

These are big times. Very, very big times. But not in the way we have been told. For as hard as it is to be going through what we have been going through, that would be easy compared to the personal choices that sit before each and every one of us. That being, to decide what seems fair and life-affirming TO YOU. To get clear on what health is and how best to support it. To stand for what is worthy of your precious attention. To put your voice into the conversations being had that impact us all.

But here’s the really hard part. Deciding to take the long and arduous journey of coming to know your own mind. Not what you have been told and sold. But the thoughts and beliefs that are uniquely yours; having been carefully and painstakingly cultivated by deeply questioning all that you see, hear, and think. A questioning that dives below the constant noise, cultural messaging and imagined fears, until it comes out on the other side to the place where you know your own mind as yours and yours alone. Claiming this noble and awe-inspiring power instead of allowing yourself to be a by-product of a paradigm that cares not for you.

Biological Truths

 

These are curious, confusing, and even dangerous times to be living in when it comes to the truth. In a world that is being described as a post-truth era, it is time we chose for something else. It is time to say we have had enough. Enough of political agendas, for-profit motives, fear-driven mandates, and control by the few, that have got absolutely nothing to do with the health and well-being of a life.

But where can we go? What truths can we tap into that truly are in the best interests of Life itself? And are there some Universal Truths that transcend the times, fads, opinions and agendas? Yes. It’s called your body and your breath.

Swami Kripalu, the Master Yogi who inspired the yoga lineage of which I am a teacher, practiced something called Sanatana Dharma. The Way of Eternal Truth. Where the practitioner, through practices focused on body and breath, comes into direct experience of Reality. As it really is. No filters. No preferences. No hidden agendas. Bias suspended. This becomes, as they say, guide, guru and god when it comes to the Truth of being alive.

This is the opposite of what we typically encounter where many of us are looking to sources outside of ourselves to tell us what to feel, what to put on and in our body, and now through “social currency,” how to behave.This only works because of how many of us are so disconnected from our very own bodies. This is dangerous not only in terms of health outcomes, for we do not care for what we do not value, there are also major sovereignty issues at play here. As in, if you are not inhabiting your own body, there are plenty of agendas and mandates that will.

But the Truth is, your body is your proving ground. It is the home of your soul and psyche. It is the only place where you can experience the world from. If you are not fully connected and fully embodied, the transmissions and signals of your inner world, along with information from the outer world, will be lost to you. Therefore, you will be lost to yourself. Victim to things that have got nothing to do with the real needs of a human life.

Like your very own breath. Like how without a continuous supply, your cells will go into survival mode. Can we still be alive on reduced breath to the body? We can. But not without consequence in both the short and long term. Have you felt it in yourself? The shortness of breath? The dizziness? The mental agitation? The headaches? The lack of clarity? The laboring? The sleep troubles? This does not even include the more “invisible” effects on the immune system, nervous system, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

When does the cure become more deadly than the disease?

Learn to inhabit your body. Make your breath your companion throughout the day. Pay attention when something hurts. Don’t tell yourself a story about why it is okay to keep doing what you are doing. Feel closely into what changes when the breath is free, and when it is obstructed. Learn to take your cues from the inside. No matter what the outside insists upon. Be your own personal experiment into Biological Truth.

 

Each Other

 

The air is cold and crisp. The sky clear blue. New fallen snow sparkling everywhere. I am where I most want to be; out on a run with the person I most want to be with. Pure perfection. Except for one thing. I feel like shit. My legs are heavy. My mood is murky. My motivation and energy level barely enough to keep me going.

How did I get here? By violating myself because that’s what I thought I needed to do to stay in belonging.

It all started innocently enough the night before when we had our neighbors over for dinner. They brought a bottle of home-made wine. Now, at this point in my life, I rarely drink, but it seemed worth the experience, so I accepted truly the most minuscule amount. The first few sips were great. But then I was done. Only some part of me would not let myself be done. So I took a few more sips. And that was all it took.

Now I could argue that it is ridiculous that a grown woman can only handle a few sips of alcohol, but that would be missing the point. That being, that my body and mind responded the way that it did out on the run, and for the rest of the day, because I overrode what I actually wanted in order to do what I thought I needed to do to keep in connection with others. I saw my mind as I took those extra sips, believing I was doing it because I did not want to hurt another person’s feelings. But below even that was the fear that I wouldn’t somehow belong. That I would be seen in an unflattering light. And that is what we often do, make it be about hurting or offending the other person, when in fact, we are terrified to be on the “outs” with another.

I am going on my sixth year of writing this blog. When I think back, I see some themes that regularly show up. One of them is life with other people. Specifically, how it is that we can be the truth of who we are while being in satisfying relationship with others. It is something that I daily work on, write about, and contemplate; having become some kind of lifelong puzzle and pursuit of mine to figure out.

I do it because I was raised in a family, in a time, and in a culture that did not include who I was. Did not recognize or support what I really and actually needed, and so I became what others wanted of me. It left a big, painful imprint. One that I thought was exclusive to me because for the longest time it didn’t seem like others were struggling with this. It seemed to me that others were just fine making concessions and leaving off parts of themselves in order to fit in.

Lately, I see that many of us either do not even know that it is happening, or that we are too afraid to exert ourselves for fear of losing the relationship, being shamed, or being accused of being a problem. As I have written over the past year, this terrible dilemma has gotten worse. For me, culminating today in a piece I heard on NPR, where a health professional was describing people who were getting the vaccine as being on the V.I.P. List; vaccine injected people who were going to receive “the promise of future privileges.”

My god, what have we become that we would do this to one another?

As far as I am concerned, one of the central Truths of human existence is to come to know who you truly are, and learn how to live that openly and courageously in the company of others. And that, and here is the difficult yet necessary part, that who and what you are is honored and met; by both yourself and others.

But as long as we are creating V.I.P. lists, and ways to make some people “in” according to mandates and fear-based standards, the precious expression of Life as it runs through each and every one of us will never happen. Why? Because we will never dare to not be on that list.

Please everyone, learn to live what truly makes sense to you, and let us honor the same in others in ways large and small. Even if we don’t understand it. Even if we fear it. We are all subject to violating ourselves for the exact wrong things just to belong. Let’s not do one more thing to each other in this regard.

 

“No man, for any considerable time, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitudes without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.” Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

Listening For Truth

 

I love winter. The stillness. The quiet. The bare reality of it all. No frills. No demands. Other than, of course, to go in. To slow down. To do less. To tend to the roots. To descend into Truth.

This is a tall order in a world intent on doing. Replicating. Proving and demanding. Keeping up with it all. A tall order in a world that does not know how to make use of the sacred pause of the wisdom season of winter. And it shows. It is there in our rush to solve things without quieting down long enough to understand the full scope of what stands before us. It is in the frenzied fear-based energy that is intent on fixing, without fully understanding. Resulting in a kind of overwhelm that imposes solutions that have little chance to work because they come from a less than complete assessment.

This week, I recommitted myself to letting go of the places where I unnecessarily fight in my own mind. The places where I bang my head up against the proverbial brick wall. The places that burn. The places where I relentlessly spin my own wheels. Instead, vowing to use the noise and the chaos of the world to drive me ever deeper within. Deeper down into the long tap root of my very existence. The place that just is.

That is winter’s influence. A deeply distilled, spacious and endless depth. A place below the confusion, and ill-fated action. A place of unity, wholeness, and natural, effortless resolve. Try it. Sit down. Even if just for a minute. Breathe easily and naturally. When you feel ready, breathe your breath down, down, down. As if your legs were roots that extended deep into the Earth. Down, down, down. Sink lower and lower. Just this. Only this.

This is where Truth lives. When you get there, say to yourself, “Within me, beyond all that rises and falls, Truth remains.”*

 

* Sacred Rebel Oracle by Alana Fairchild.

Blog inspired by a friend who reminded me “To listen for Truth.”

Belonging

 

We have gotten very, very confused about what it means to belong. About what we are to, and for, each other. And it shows.

We look to how many followers we have, and how many likes we can get off of one another to tell us who we are and what it takes now to belong. We cover our cars with bumper stickers displaying for all to see what our interests, proclivities, politics, and proud parent moments are. We wear clothing, advertising as billboards do, our party affiliations, ideologies, and sports team preferences. We self-righteously declare where we belong based on the news we watch, the podcasts we follow, and the music we listen to.

We use the causes we care about, and the movements we back as proof that we are good and honorable people. And now, we cover our faces, high-handedly taking “hero” selfies post-vaccine at Gillette Stadium, as we isolate ourselves in our own homes. Making sure everyone knows what we are doing; engaging in these acts in superior and self-congratulatory ways as the ultimate gestures of proof that we belong on the “right” side of things.

Instead of lifting ourselves up, by being lifted up by others, we now use one of our most basic and essential human needs as a weapon against those not in the fold. Instead of resting in, and being supported by, each other, we use what we are aligned with as justification of not only who and what we are, but of who and what others are not. Thereby rendering them worthy of our disdain, judgment, and sanctioning.

Have humans, in some way or another, always done this? Likely. Especially when we moved beyond a survival-focused existence. But now, with all of our technologies, our ways of communicating, and our seemingly endless affiliations, something that is quite basic, natural, and innate has gotten very distorted. Even, at times, dangerously so. We saw this recently at our Capital, we see it daily in the anxiety and depression brought on by people’s social media obsession, and now we are seeing it in how we approach our very own health and healing.

The pull to belong is great. The need to belong is undeniable. The question is, how will we be with this now? Will we take one of the potentially sweetest and most essential needs and make it cruel, inhuman, and coercive? Legislating that others do as we do? Or will we pause and reconsider the costs of deriving our sense of community and right to belong based on something we post, wear, or inject into ourselves.

To know any of this is to know to whom and to what you most fundamentally belong. It is to know that before we can truly belong to anyone or anything else, we must first belong to ourselves. We must first know down into our bones that belonging stems from a timeless and unconditional right to exist. Meaning, there is absolutely nothing we need to do. Or not do. This transcends the dictates, mandates, and expectations of the times with its limited and too often small-minded agendas.

To really understand this is to look beyond what any human being has said or created, and to set your sights on something worthy of the preciousness of your own Life. Something that makes our modern day preoccupations and blindspots right-sized. Something that opens our eyes to what we have been agreeing to fit in with, that would be best never agreed to.

If you want to know what it really means to belong, look to the heavens. Look into the eyes of a child. Look into newly fallen snow, and the full moon casting its light. Look to the animals who sense beyond words, slogans, PR campaigns, governmental messaging, and media headlines. The ones who respond directly from an undeniable and never distorted existential belonging.

Underneath that, look to know the places to understand the “why” of what you are doing. The places beyond what others expect of you. The places where you do what you do not because it actually feels right or life-giving, but because you are too afraid to stick out. To be kicked out. To be shamed, labelled, and denied. And in this place, begin to know your own mind as the source of your most balanced and sacred belonging.

 

Self-Care

 

When I was in my late twenties, after years of trying different diets, I made a commitment  to stop attacking myself over this thing called being overweight. My first act? Getting rid of the judge and jury I submitted to every day. Better known, as the bathroom scale. My second act was to begin the lifelong process of looking more deeply inside for why I was using food the way I was. Decades later I understand a lot more about where that initial impulse to change came from.

It wasn’t about measuring up to some external, or even internal, standard. It wasn’t about getting something, or becoming something that I wasn’t already.

It was about remembering. About turning towards, and putting back together, an inherent Truth that was already built into me. My ability to care for myself came with me at birth. It is hardwired in. It comes with me everywhere I go; remaining throughout my life as an essential aspect of my ability to not only survive, but to thrive.

Has it been derailed? Yes. Forgotten? Absolutely. Misled? For sure. Lost for good? Never.

We are mammals. We all instinctively know what works for us, and what doesn’t. As humans though, we have to contend with our own growing up where real human needs were not always honored, recognized, and met. Leaving us too often believing the wrong things about what we need, how to take care of ourselves, and where to look when we are hurting and confused. We also have to contend with the fact that we live in a culture that actively works against us taking better care of ourselves. Except of course where self-care is being increasingly monetized in the form of the big business that is growing up around our doubt and confusion around who we are and what we need. Selling us not only lots of stuff, but worst of all, the belief that we don’t know what we are doing.

One more place in our life where we aren’t doing it right. Aren’t doing enough. Need something outside of us to be the truth of who we are.

Where to begin then in the midst of this? We begin from within, and we begin with what is most simple. But in order to get to what is basic and built in, we must first bypass all of the erroneous conditioning and unsound advice around self-care. We can do that with a simple question. Not one that needs to be answered right away, but instead, one that is contemplated, considered, and referred to.

What needs to go in your life? What punitive and critical “scale” do you use with yourself that not only beats you up, but keeps you from being with yourself in a real and deep way?

Magic Bullets

 

Not long ago, a friend was frustrated that she was just learning now from mainstream media about the healthful impact Vitamin D has on overall immune functioning. Specifically when it comes to the virus of the moment. At first, I felt uplifted with the knowledge that other effective approaches of being with our current situation are making their way into mass consciousness. Something for which I am profoundly grateful.

I am also of a mixed mind.

On the one hand, that viable, effective, studied approaches with long histories of helping are starting to make their way into the mind of the western medical system is, though long over due, a great blessing. On the other hand, we are running the risk of doing what we in the West tend to do. Look for the quick fix. The magic bullet. The one thing that we can do, and do fast. An action we can take, without much effort on our part, to bring an end to our suffering. So very human to want expediency without too much expenditure of energy. And yet, that very same want has brought us to our knees when it comes to our health and well-being.

Why? Because the demand for quick fixes is based in avoidance, and with it, a fatal lack of understanding of how health and the body actually works. None of which will bring us to necessary truths or needed perspectives. None of which will reveal to us that what sits at the heart of our current health care crisis, what ails us most, is avoidable. But only if we are willing to understand ourselves and our health as inseparable from what we do, think, and feel. As inseparable from our environments, our beliefs, the company we keep, how we grow our food, and how are with ourselves on the daily.

Without including all of ourselves and all that we come in contact with, we run the risk of leaving our vitality up to something separate from how we are living. A fatal flaw actually in its denial of what it takes to keep any living thing alive and well. An unfortunate perspective that has separated us from the fabric of Life itself. It is far more difficult to look in this way. Not because it is unnatural, but because we have been conditioned to believe otherwise. We have been trained to look at the root causes of an illness, a pain or an imbalance in the body as being something we need to make go away.

As opposed to understanding its presence in our lives.

This is the proverbial band-aid approach. I cover up the symptom. I gain a little relief.  I go on. Never addressing that whatever is underneath that band-aid, remains. Untended. Ignored. Denied. So no matter how much vitamin D I take, if I am not getting the sleep I need, am endlessly propped up by caffeine, and staying too busy to notice how out of my mind I am, my immune system will still be flagging. No matter what I put into it.

As we open ourselves up to new perspectives around health and healing, it is essential to remember that magic bullets can come in any form. They can come from conventional medicine or alternative medicine. The most important aspect here being how we use them. What our mind set is. For at its best, it is not about substituting one bullet for another. It is to stop looking for bullets all together. It is to create a way of being that honors the fullness and the totality of who you are and what you need to be healthy.

It is a perspective that asks the question “What do I need to feel well?”

What supports that in you? What undermines it? Though we are inclined to make this question beyond the lay person’s ability to know, that is just not true. I recently heard a physician say that if you listen long enough, all good doctors know, that the patient will not only tell you what the problem is, they will tell you what caused it. What enormous power and possibility lies in that perspective. To go from looking for a magic bullet that someone else shoots at you, to understanding that nothing within needs to be annihilated.

Try it. Carve out some time when you can be alone with yourself. Put your hands on whatever is hurting, and listen. Just listen.

Waiting

 

As that old song goes, “The waiting is the hardest part.” I feel that right now. You? I feel it in myself and I feel it in the world. It’s not like I want to get back to the way things were. That’s never made sense to me. But boy am I ready for what I believe things could be. And therein lies the rub.

How do you be with what is here, now? While still standing, waiting, believing, eagerly, openly and excitedly even, in something else? For me that something else always has to do with how we are living as a people. How we are treating ourselves, one another, and the planet. On that level it is both so simple and so straightforward, while at the same time being so complex and so challenging.

If there was one question I could ask when I am no longer here, it would be, Why is it so hard to be who we really are? Why do we fight and avoid our truest nature? Why do we hurt ourselves and one another? Why is it so easy, sought after even, to get sidetracked from what matters most? Sure, I know some would say it is because of our past. Or maybe because that is just how the world is. Some would say it is how we learn. But is this the only way we can learn? If so, we must be really off track to require such extreme lessons to be coming our way.

What would it be like though to change out of love? Out of possibility? Out of the belief that we deserve better? I know it’s possible because these were all of the reasons that allowed me to make such dramatic internal shifts in myself as a young mother. My reasons were not for me, they were for another. But my god did it end up being for me as that orientation grew and stretched me in ways I never could have imagined at the start of it all.

So is that the key? To do it for more than ourselves? What would that even look like? If this was the answer, or at least a part of it, I know for sure doing for others has got nothing to do with following external mandates. It’s not even got to do with whether or not another thinks you are a good person. This can be hard to hear. If doing for others cannot be measured in that way, what’s the criteria then? How will we know when we are in healthy alignment, and when it is that we are following the wrong things?

All I can say about this comes from my experiences as a mother. There was a lot of waiting there. A lot of input with no guarantee. A lot of blind faith. But mostly,  a lot of selfreflection. A lot of being with why it was that I was doing what I was doing that had nothing to do with the specifics of what I was doing. This is what brought me to myself.  And to the understanding of how it is that doing for another brings us back to the Truth of who we are and what we most need. Interesting, how in the end, it is the focus on the other that actually brings us back to our very best Selves.

It is potent and transformational medicine to serve others, to act on behalf of another, to gesture to the world that you care about more than yourself. It is a seriously sacred duty. One that should never be taken lightly. Nor allowed to be misdirected or misguided by the wrong sentiments.For to do so would be the equivalent of allowing children to tell you how you should be in relationship to them to demonstrate your caring. If this were true, it would mean you could never draw a line. Or let them know that what they were wanting or believing was harmful. You could never make a choice, or take an action that they might not understand. But that you did.

Devotion To Life

 

I have been offering a brief relaxation series for faulty and staff at the college where I teach, off and on, since last semester. This week one of the professors lingered afterwards to chat. He told me that since last spring when we covered the topic of news and its impact on the well-being of our nervous systems, he began to note his “obsessive” need to keep checking the numbers and the maps. Recognizing that this was serving as a source of great dis-ease, he made a pact with himself. If he couldn’t stop doing what he was doing, he was at least going to commit to something that might help balance out what he was exposing himself to.

What did he choose? Going for a walk. Each time that he would turn to hear more news, he would follow it up with a walk. Which meant, not only did he balance his choice, it served as a governor for how many times he could let his obsession run wild.

What a brilliant and intuitive choice. For we are, after all, Nature herself. What better way to return ourselves to homeostasis than by immersing ourselves in our own truest Nature. The quintessential place of reminding us of who we really are, and what it is that we actually need to be well. And informed. Then there is no fight. No confusion. No overwhelm. No obsession. For having returned to the most primal of truths about who we are in this body, every time we make the choice to be outside, we are able to take that knowing and apply it to how we are approaching what stands before us. Otherwise, separated from our truest natures, we bring great harm to ourselves, others, and the planet.

It is nothing short of world-wide sanity and self-preservation to choose for something beyond what comes across a screen. This is not easy to do in a world that continues to offer up so many seductive sub par alternatives to living. Ones that diminish our capacity to feel at home in our own bodies. Ones that tell us we must look outside of our own experience, our own very nature, to be safe. And saved. Messages that convince us we must fear life. Not only our own, but also, the billions and billions and billions of life forms that we share this planet with.

Nothing in Nature fears itself. Nothing in Nature makes up fears about other life forms. Nothing in Nature is anything less than completely devoted to its own Life. Only humans do this.

What would it be like to make an agreement with yourself that would balance out what it is you imbibe in that brings you misery? What would it look like for you to choose to be devoted to your own life instead? This is not complicated. When in doubt, look for the choices that you make that just don’t feel good. While the mind will always say why you have to do something or watch something, do you? Challenge whatever it is that takes you from being devoted to your truest Nature, and watch what it feels like to really be alive.

A Good Girl

 

Like most, if not all children, I grew up trying to be good. Being a good girl was an organizing principle in my life. A kind of Holy Grail that I pursued with all my might. I was discerning in my endeavors and excellent in my follow through in this regard. I knew that what “good” meant for my father was different than my mother, than my grandfather, than my teachers. This extended to all of the grown-ups I came in contact with. I knew exactly what I needed to do to receive the coveted recognition of “goodness” as bestowed by whatever adult stood before me.

I was so good at being good that it made me physically sick in the form of debilitating stomach pains that had no “cause” according to the doctor. It would be years before I would come to understand it was the price I was paying for a kind of goodness that made others comfortable, as I sacrificed my own well-being to be seen in a certain way. None of this had anything to do with vanity and everything to do with belonging.

I know there is an argument to be made around the perhaps “essential” nature of conditioning children to the mores of the grown-ups in their lives. A kind of “for the good of all,” that I suppose must happen to a certain extent in order to have families and communities where it is clear about what makes for good, and what makes for bad. Whether this is, in fact, how it needs to go, matters not. What does matter to us as children is how absolute to us it all feels. How undeniable, incontrovertible, and inviolate the understandings are that we pick up around what makes us good or not. And how that gives us the right to belong. Or not.

Enter adulthood. While many of us would say that our choices now are based on reason and rationality, if you look at fields that study human nature, what we find is that anywhere from 90 to 95% of what we do emanates from our subconscious. The place in us where the root of all of our attitudes, beliefs and mores live. Including what we believe we need to do to fit in. Including the deep imprints from experiences we had as children around our own autonomy and belonging. This is the very same place that deeply controls our actions, thoughts, and choices. A subterranean world of influence that we typically have no awareness of; despite its powerful presence in our lives.

Which brings me to my point. I recently came across the phrase “Virtue Signaling.” It is being used in relation to whether one complies with the mandates currently in place around the virus, or not. When we comply we signal the virtues of caring and selflessness. When we do not, we signal that we are selfish and dangerous. This messaging strikes deeply at the heart of what it means to be a good person in relation to others. Something we all yearn to be seen as. Something that may feel like heresy to question.

But what if there was more to the story than that?

This is difficult to get to in a world where the preponderance of signalling says compliance with a particular set of instructions is how you do your part. Is how you show you care. Is how you are a hero. Ways of being that every one of us wants to be characterized as by others. But at what cost, and according to whose definition of virtuous? For what if there was far more to this story than the black and white summation of who we are based on whether or not we are masked or get a vaccine? What if there was solid and current science that offered another paradigm around how to be with what is happening?

Interestingly enough, the first reference in the dictionary for the word virtuous is potent. And then, efficacious. When we consider that possessing virtue is about being powerful and effective that adds another dimension to this conversation around what it means to signal to another your virtue. Your goodness. Your caring. Your heroism. What I mean is, what if being virtuous included the courage to ask powerful and effective questions while exploring other possibilities around what it is that brings health to an individual and to the collective?

Where do you derive your goodness from? Does it come from inside of you, from your own mighty well of authenticity and integrity? Or does it come from someplace else? And what is the downside of labeling people as virtuous or not based on one demonstrable piece of information?