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Practical Integrity -- Leading a Simple Life
by Tracy Becker
Have you ever stopped in the middle of an argument and thought to yourself, "Isn't this the same argument we had over and over again? I thought we settled this." Do you ever feel depressed, lifeless, or hear yourself complaining a lot? Do you have relationships that are unfulfilling and leave you wondering why you keep trying? Do you have communications with others that never seem to result in a win-win resolution where each of you feels more alive and joyful?

So why does this continue to happen? It happens because somewhere along the line we have stepped out of our integrity. Instead we have made a choice, conscious or unconscious, to fall into a cycle of familiar patterns that we participate in known as the Drama Triangle.

What is a Drama Triangle? How can we change these patterns and begin to experience more satisfying and fulfilling relationships with each other and ourselves? What does it mean to be fully in our integrity? When I am standing fully in my integrity, I am experiencing more aliveness, abundant creativity, ecstatic energy, and a genuine and fulfilling connection with others. For me this means when I lay down at night to go to sleep I simply relish in the events of the day. Thoughts of "should have, could have, ought to have" never enter my mind nor do negative thoughts about others. I am simply satisfied with my day.

When I have a breach in my integrity, I tend to replay the day's events, I get angry at myself and others for not doing things differently, I make up stories about myself and others that are not based on any sort of truth. I toss and turn in my discontent.

When I realize that I am feeling out of sorts, I run through a checklist of four simple characteristics and explore where I have stepped out of my integrity.

  1. Where have I not been authentic and told the truth about this situation to myself?
  2. Where have I not been authentic and told the truth about this situation to the relevant person/s?
  3. Where have I not kept an agreement with myself or someone else? (What did I do that I said I wouldn't do or what did I not do that I said I would?)
  4. How can I claim responsibility for creating this situation in my life, what am I getting by recreating this pattern and what can I learn about myself from this situation?

As I run through this checklist I make mental notes and find ways to take steps to rectify or make amends in my breach of integrity. At this point it is up to me to recognize and lovingly communicate the truth about my actions to myself and any other/s concerned and to follow up with any new agreements I make. In doing so I give myself the gift of fully stepping back into my integrity, hence experiencing more energy, aliveness, vitality, creativity and a closer connection with myself as well as with others.

When we spend time out of integrity, which many of us do, we are participating in a phenomenon known as the Drama Triangle which I mentioned earlier (see diagram). Becoming aware of the familiar pattern in which we participate can be a useful tool for learning about ourselves and how we continue to create drama and chaos in our lives instead of creating more joy and freedom.

Notice on the diagram that there are three different positions, the Wronged or Victim, the Wronger or Persecutor and the Reliever or Rescuer. These three positions hold a variety of different personas (a social façade), qualities, and feelings. For example, the Wronged position has qualities and feelings of shame, humiliation, hurt, pain, confusion; and some of its personas are the martyr, complainer, doubter, poor pitiful me types. The Wronger has qualities and feelings of indignation, blame and righteousness, and some of its personas are the competitor, perfectionist, critic, know-it-all.

The Reliever has qualities and feelings of pity, sympathy, helpful, apologetic with personas of supercompetent, dependable, caretaker, counselor. Through full body experience (role playing) you can see your own unique patterns of how you participate in these different positions and discover the positions you feel most comfortable in. In many couples relationships there is often a race for the Wronged or Victim position (examples: who does more, who earns more, who deserves more, who puts up with more, etc.). In which case, whomever gets there first leaves open just two other positions for the other partner to choose from, Wronger or Reliever. (Examples: how you can make the other wrong and you right or how you can show them how inferior they are or their way of thinking is to yours.) In conflict we tend to chase one another from one position to the other and often find ourselves with a foot in two of the positions at a time. For me, it is very easy to be blaming (Wronger) while at the same time complaining, doubting, or counseling (Wronged) the other.

It has been through my studies of this work of Drs. Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks of the Hendricks Institute in Santa Barbara, California (www.hendricks.com) that I have with great enthusiasm and humor taken the opportunity to see my patterns and experience the freedom and power behind standing in a firm foundation of integrity. It is because of the fun and aliveness I have gained through learning how to stand fully in my integrity that I have chosen to share my experiences and the knowledge and joy I have gained with you. In the classes and workshops that I teach I offer you the same opportunity to experience your own favorite patterns and places you get stuck through a variety of full body exercises and play while also instructing you on how to become more fully aware of and gain experience in developing a firm foundation of integrity.

I invite you to join in playfully exploring your inner-self more deeply and feel the spaciousness of shedding the past and opening up to the limitless world of creativity and aliveness. Starting on Friday, February 18 - Sunday February 20 I will be leading a class in Practical Integrity -- Leading a Simple Life with a follow-up session on Saturday March 4. Price for the weekend $150 per person; $75 for the follow-up session or prepay for both by January 30 for $200. Email: tracybecker@juno.com

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