Living with Dignity

One way sign
Dignity: the quality or state of being worthy honored, or esteemed

Being accused of harassment in a brief, protocol driven letter, and then put on hold because there wasn’t any evidence, is a cruel joke. The eventual meeting of the principals revealed the “witch hunt” aspect of this accusation, which inspired disdain, and fear. Such stressors do not subside easily, nor do they inspire loyalty to the system.

Despite my attempts to let go and let good orderly direction prevail, the feelings, at the base of my being, sought to resolve the unresolvable conflict with the “enemy” in my midst, who wanted me either removed, or a least harmed. Their remained anonymity, because of protocol, would never allow such a resolution, thus increasing my level of stress. I will never know my accuser.

Making decisions from burning impulses never goes smoothly. Taught to come from a place of reflection and adjustment, friends reminded me to reach out to my support community, which operates on the assumption that a collective moral compass, rooted in a spirit of forgiveness, will lead to a right view, thus a right path forward.

As a sentient being, who’s arrogant brain pride-fully feels its self-importances, often, my steps walk into troubled spots, and stick in the mud for a while. Reflection and adjustment are the only available frameworks for amending my poor behavior. But this process takes time, and many times, my efforts see-saw: I shine or muddle; cajole or insult. No matter where the words, the feelings or the instances take me, they are mine to reckon with; mine to accept, how logic and feelings drive ideas versus misperceptions, self-righteousness versus compassion.

Although I butted heads at work from what I believe were grass-roots efforts, the leadership and I usually came to a common ground: or so I thought. This incident changed my view of those I sit across the table to negotiate with. Now, efforts are to quietly accept the misperceptions.

The accusation, a concerted effort by a colleague to create smoke where there was no fire, could signify some denial on my part. This event, forced me to face the possibility of an unwilling acceptance of truth, which too easily led to a grave and dark place of fear.

Can one live with dignity in a state of fear?

When we live in a state of panic there is no peace. And where there is no peace, there is no faith, thus removing our state of freedom. So, how do we get it back? It begins by connecting with our higher power and gaining clarity regarding the necessary steps for our lives to count for something greater than ourselves. Having faith in real change, starts with us changing how we view life. No longer can we depend on society, family or careers to bring value to our lives. We must begin to see our own value, and then bring value to the lives of others.

— Charmaine Carraway, “There is No Freedom Living in a State of Fear,” THE BLOG 08/05/2016

Alone in the world – in solitude — we can receive the daily repreive of acceptance, courage, faith, and love, if we strive for positive decision-making. Service to society depends on these individual values. At the same time, solitude breeds self-centeredness.

Recently, someone close to my heart told me how I enjoy my solitude, which paused me to consider what that meant in relation to how my life has unfolded. Solitude is a double-edged sword: a prison of self, but also a necessary place to create.

In my tower growing up, high above the forest below, the birds and trees were part of the alter where I saw my potential. In my youth, the world seemed overwrought by competition, gendered stereotypes, and the inability to see any potential living outside the “box.” I found what little faith in myself I could gather within that vestige of nature. I found a creative center. However, that gift of building a self in my solitude also gave way to limiting my ability to have relationships: limited interactions obstructed smoothly accepting social norms that built thriving communities.

Aloneness led to darkness, and no one sought to guide me toward a light. When children make their own decisions, they often fail to see the lessons those who previously lived learned to avoid. Since I was someone not seen, I had to see for myself without a dialogue to appreciate or understand the innuendos of a growing youth.

Throughout my walks in public places, my choppy paces ashamedly forced me to look at my negative self-perceptions. I needed a place to work through balancing liabilities and assets; the stressors of bad choices and healthy living. Such a resource did not come easily, and only remains thru due diligence.

There is no perfect human being. The qualities appreciated in one situation can be negative in another: both celebrated and denigrated. Choices to remove my obstacles to success only work with a sincerity of walking on a path of dignity. Successes have only happened when my practice balanced the fears manifested in solitude with a courage, and fearlessness, to reach out, and publically serve to give voice to the voiceless.