“In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong.”
~ Pip, in ‘Great Expectations’ byCharles Dickens
Have you ever done something just to impress someone? Have you ever made an assumption about what other people might be thinking? Does it ever feel like someone else’s opinion is important enough to make you shift directions?
Undoubtedly, you have ethics, a moral code, and a strong internal sense of right and wrong. With enough time, space, and freedom to choose, you probably make decisions that are for your highest good almost all of the time.
But we’ve all had those moments where we “took the low road“ in some way or another, and made decisions that were lacking in love and kindness somehow. Beating up on our self for the occasional slip is never the answer.
If a lack of ethics or a tendency towards meanness becomes a habit however, there’s obviously work to be done and we should self-reflect with a clear eye and seek support immediately.
Developing a clear sense of what’s right happens early in life. If you were blessed with conscious and responsible parents, this is built into your childhood without question. (sadly, not everyone is so lucky!)
Children all need help with this, it’s part of growing up. Another father I know recently shared an anecdote with me about his six-year-old daughter. He and his wife earn part of their livelihood through a cash business, and therefore keep a considerable sum of money along with an accounting sheet in a large envelope in their house.
One day he checked the funds and noticed the envelope seemed quite thin. Upon adding it up and checking the numbers, he found that the difference was to the tune of $2000! After confirming with his wife that there hadn’t been an unannounced spending spree, they sat down with their two children and started asking very pointed questions.
The younger daughter quickly assumed a “deer in the headlights” expression, and an inspection of her bedroom revealed twenty $100 bills neatly tucked away in a Hello Kitty piggybank. Obviously this transformed instantly into a “teaching moment” and she was gently but firmly educated on things like respect for other people‘s property, how family members should treat one another, and the value of money.
At that age, a slip like this is totally innocent. Money is just some mysterious crinkly green paper that our parents have that they magically transform into groceries or fun things to do. Who’s face is on it, or what numbers appear in the corners is irrelevant — grown-ups seem to think it’s important, so it must be nice to have some around!
As we get older, and especially in our formative teenage years and early adulthood, our sense of goodness or right and wrong can be easily warped by what we assume other people are thinking. Developing our own ‘True North Star’, a solid ethical center that is immune to the perceived whims of others, is essential to becoming a fully-realized and mature adult.
One practice I’ve maintained over the years is to always have a good novel going, I generally read a few pages or a chapter before bedtime to help my mind shift gears. Science even says that reading narrative fiction contributes to emotional health, a finding that I agree with wholeheartedly. I like to challenge myself with works from different eras, alternating between modern masters and renowned classics.
It was in the pages of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens that I found the passage that sparked my thinking about today’s topic. The hero, Pip, is unduly influenced and tormented by the words and actions of Estella, an unkind and haughty girl a few years older than him. He is so concerned with what she might think that some of his major life decisions and personal actions towards others are made with her supposed opinions as a litmus test.
Another character, Bentley Drummle, is an influential villain whom he “holds in contempt.” Pip makes a great effort to avoid being seen by him in a certain situation, wisely observing “So, throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise.”
Words of wisdom from 1861 worth remembering today! If you’re ever dancing with a decision that might draw upon your lower self, pause and ponder just who might be hovering over your shoulder, (and if they have your best interests in mind!). Assumptions about other people’s opinions are ghosts to be banished, so always ask yourself if your actions hold up to your own measure of love and light.
Dancing with you until next week! Much love for your summer season!
Dance First Member Spotlight – Visudha de los Santos and her School of Mystery in Motion!
This week’s Monday Love Dance First Member Spotlight shines onVisudha de los Santos and her School of Mystery in Motion ! She’s a long-time Dance First member and well-loved and well-traveled member of the 5Rhythms facilitator community.
Her signature style and space-holding ability keeps her busy and in demand around the world all-year-round, so when she gets to return to her home base in Taos, New Mexico, she’s welcomed with open arms by her resident community.
With great delight I get to help her spread the word about her upcoming Annual 10-Day Embodiment Intensive, “Spirit Flight” coming up later this month from July 20 to 29th!
Join Visudha and a community of like-minded adventurers in The Land of Enchantment for this epic one-of-a-kind retreat. Renowned for her transformative Gong Journeys, as well as her vibrant interpretation of Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms, this is your opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the High Desert of the Great American Southwest and have the experience of a lifetime.
For an even more expansive global perspective, join Visudha on one of her incomparable eco-tours this fall. A limited number of dedicated travelers are invited to join her on sojourns to Cano Cristales in Columbia in September, and Rio Ucayaliyou in Peru & El Hierro in the Canary Islands in October.
Take an embodied approach to world travel and get a behind the scenes view of these epic ecological destinations. Visit her websitefor a complete view of her offerings and learn more about Visudha de los Santos today!
Spirit Flight :: Annual 10-Day Embodiment Intensive
July 20-29, Taos, New Mexico
Journey to Cano Cristales :: A Crystal Light Adventure
Sept 24-28, Serranía de La Macarena, Colombia
Peruvian Amazon Eco-Tour (by application only)
Oct 1-14, Rio Ucayaliyou, Pucullpa, Peru
Serpent Temple :: A 5-Day Ritual Movement Journey for Women
Oct 26-31, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain