New Year’s Intention and Integrity

The agonies and ecstasies of the holiday season! That was the theme of my December Message. We focused on developing a perspective of joy—even in the midst of stress and conflict. We attended to the positive, celebratory, and meaningful, rather than submerging into the negative. We exercised intentionality in spreading that joy. In this post, at January's end, I want to look at New Year intentions. How are they going for you?

For me, Integrity has captured my attention. That word has bubbled up to the forefront for 2015. It's a theme for this new year. I hope it can become a New Year's intention for everyone. Integrity is about being honest, authentic, real, undivided, whole and uncontaminated. It is about pursuing a moral compass, uprightness, rejecting falseness, and having an internal consistency.  It is vital whether we are talking about the quality of life, the quality of a football game, or the quality of food (keep reading and that will make sense). It is the way to health, wholeness and love.

Last week, leaving Peet's coffee, I met a man whose business name includes the word integrity. I hope that is sincere, I thought, and not just marketing strategy.  


If you watch the news, you have seen the controversy around the teams in this year's Super Bowl; the accusations that the New England Patriots "cheated." Did they lack integrity in playing the game? Many people are upset, outraged, even devasted by this. Understandably. We humans have a deeply innate need to have trustworthy, reliable relationships, heroes, parent figures, models—people we look up to and admire, or even emulate. We need people of integrity in our lives. Despite our misbegotten attempts to be independent, we are created a communal folk. Our ancestors were tribal, and if you look closely, we really still are. What we choose affect others, especially our families and communities. If we lie, cheat, or behave selfishly, it impacts the many, not just the one. And so, much of the world is watching this fiasco. 

Did they cheat? Now, I realize that a lot of money rides on this issue, but more importantly, many hearts and minds are affected. I am not judging or even offering an opinion about the New England Patriots. I am pointing out the incredible importance of living in integrity, living in authenticity and harmony with our inner core and with one another. 

"Pictures, words and descriptions are meaningless without integrity. To us integrity matters."

This motto is displayed on the web page, and on the side of a van advertising three wonderful restaurants owned by the Firok Shield family. They own our favorite restaurant, da Giovanni, in gorgeous Carmel-by-the-sea, in Central California. 

Theirs is a great statement. People can say anything, promise the moon, impress with lavish marketing strategies. But is it real? Do they deliver? Do they have integrity? This restaurant team means what they say, and they back up their pictures and promises by delivering better than expected. While the food is incredibly delicious (great quality, creative offerings—well worth our 8 hour drive to get to them!) their hospitality and graciousness is the most endearing.

I spoke to Jennifer, who was driving the van with the motto prominently painted on the side. Apparently she manages all three of their Carmel restaurants. She was so humble and pleasant, we didn't find out until later of her position. Her description of the family—their humility, graciousness, and therefore the pleasure of working for them—was inspiring! She told us that Mr. Shield, now in his 70's, works as hard as he expects of any employee. Yet still he finds time to greet his guests and serve a gift of dessert wine! We visit only once a year—yet Firok, his daughters and staff, have always managed to make us feel like family. 

Kindness, graciousness, friendliness and integrity—what valuable qualities. Those are the special ingredients that make our da Giovanni culinary experience so memorable. They are the ingredients that make life and relationships exceptional. When they are lacking, we all suffer. When they are present, life is good! 

Now back to the New England Patriots. I hope we discover that there was no malicious intent. But either way, their debacle serves as an example. How far-reaching is the impact of our choices, and our characters. Even those choices and decisions we think are in private, ultimately impact our families, our communities, our world. My hope for 2015 is that integrity is found in greater abundance in all our lives, and in this tribe of humanity to which we belong. I am making it an even greater priority this yearto live in integrity, and to support it—wherever, and in whomever I find it! I hope you will join me. 

© Laurel Basbas 2014