mwotw integrity


My garden hose has an integrity problem.

And no, I didn’t catch it lying or sneaking out at night to water other yards despite an agreement otherwise. 

But nearly every time I try to water my window boxes, it gets kinked somewhere.

The flow stops. 

Or it sputters and slows to a trickle.

I have to go find the kink and straighten it out.

Then the hose does its job again: It becomes a clear conduit for the substance (water) that’s trying to move through it. 

(Should I get a new hose? Yes. Probably. But I digress.)

We, as humans, are much like my garden hose.

Except it’s energy that’s trying to flow through us.

When we’re out of integrity, that energy flow gets blocked by kinks.

Or sometimes it leaks — like my car tire the other day, which was out of integrity thanks to a nail that got lodged in it. 

You may gather that I’m defining “integrity” in an unusual way.

The way I use the word, it simply means WHOLENESS.

(I learned this from Gay and Katie Hendricks, via my mentors at the Conscious Leadership Group.)

Think of the word “integer” you probably learned in math class. 

Whole numbers.

In Spanish, “whole-wheat bread” is called “pan integral.”

THAT’S the kind of integrity I mean.

No moral judgment. 

No right and wrong.

Just a question: Is there wholeness here?

Can the energy flow?

Or is there a leak or a kink?

With some practice, it becomes fairly easy to notice when we’re out of integrity.

I experience it as a feeling in the body.

It’s the ick of doing something I’d really rather not, out of a sense of obligation.

Is the twinge of regret at not really saying what I actually mean.

Integrity breaches happen when you don’t:

  • Feel your feelings
  • Keep your agreements
  • Own what’s yours to own
  • Say what’s yours to say 

Not sure what I’m talking about?

Here’s a map of what integrity looks like.

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And here’s a simple worksheet to help you take an inventory of where in your life you might be out of integrity.


Last night, I was walking with my friend Claire near her new house in Crestone.

The sun was setting over the mountains, the summer air was cool on our skin, and we’d just eaten a delicious dinner.

She was telling me about how RIGHT her life feels.

How much YES she has about everything she’s doing, everyone she’s spending time with, everywhere she’s putting her energy. 

She’s claiming her spot in the world, her corner of her life.

And man, was the energy flowing.

That’s integrity.

How’s yours?

Inspired and wholly yours,


PS – I already wrote about Martha Beck’s awesome book, The Way of Integrity. If this topic intrigues, that’s the best resource I can point you to. Check it out. 

This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.

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