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Tenet 2: We recognize and follow our internal compass to speak and act with integrity

We recognize that each person is given–yes, it’s a gift–the ability to discern whether something is true or false, good or evil, important or nonessential. This precious gift, our internal compass, can guide us as we navigate our way in today’s complex world.

Our internal compass becomes more useful as we learn how it works. My internal compass guides me through my feelings. I sense or feel the goodness or truth or importance of something. And in the same way, I feel that something is wrong or dangerous or not important. Sometimes the feeling, especially a feeling of the goodness of something, is accompanied by great emotion. These positive feelings give me confidence to move forward, to continue on, to try something new or to try something again. And warnings of danger help me to stop or change. How does your internal compass work for you?

Another way that my internal compass works is to allow me to feel connected to another person or a group of people. Have you ever felt that? You feel what they feel. Sometimes you feel what someone feels about another person. Have you ever felt how God feels about another person? Have you ever felt how other people feel about you? Have you ever felt how God feels about you? My internal compass has allowed me to have these experiences. It’s more than compassion or empathy. One time I was speaking to a group of young teenage girls. I could feel God’s love for them, and as I expressed this to them, I felt a feeling that was so strong that it was almost painful. The realization of His great love was overpowering.

Like all gifts, however, it’s up to us to unwrap it and use it. The word “active” comes to my mind. Are we actively putting forth effort to understand the nature of all the information that comes our way? Does it just enter our brains with passive acceptance, or do we put forth some effort to evaluate it? Do we take whatever time is required to see how this information feels to us? Or are we so busy and distracted that we make no value judgments and hear no important messages? I’m probably worse than most at being distracted, but when I am mindful, I try to do this. I make it a point to listen to both conservative and liberal radio stations. I hear two perspectives and then toss these perspectives in my mind a bit, waiting to feel the goodness or the error of what is being said. I do the same thing with what I read. I try to read a variety of literature. I think about it. I actively seek to know through my internal compass if it is right or wrong. I like to ask, “Does this make sense? Does it feel right?”

Knowing what’s right and doing what’s right are two different things. As Big Ocean Women, we strive to listen to our internal compass and then speak and act with integrity. The youth group that we took to the United Nations Civil Society Conference is a good example of this. They were told to come to the conference to help write a youth declaration on climate change. When they got there, however, the declaration was already written. They understood through their internal compass the flaws of this document and chose to challenge the document and eventually wrote their own declaration. We saw the confidence and enthusiasm in their faces as they chose to do what they knew was right.

This month, let’s be more mindful. Let’s treasure our internal compass, giving it time and circumstance to guide us with its power. Let’s teach our loved ones about this precious gift and help them to know how it works for them. Let’s allow our internal compass to work within us, giving us confidence and courage to speak and act with integrity.