6 years ago today, I awoke with a sense that something was “wrong”. The night before, I had inadvertently and minorly bumped into a door frame and my own bed within a 10 minute period … and found that “odd”. For someone who had a pretty strong sense of coordination (I taught dance after all), it had me wondering.
The next morning, still some moments… and so I headed towards “emerge” and the hospital. After a wait and an initial CT Scan, a doctor sat down with me and told me that I had had a brain bleed. A brain bleed? What? Fast forward through 5 days of observation and a subsequent release… and a year “off” while discovering that I seemingly had none of the causal factors and left professionals a little unsure of cause… it seemed grief and stress may have just caused some weak blood vessels to let go, so to speak. To this day, we remain unsure of cause… but the effects were clear.
The stroke left me with very little physical impact fortunately, but the way my brain processed going forward was different. Focus was much more crucial. Heavy lifting and processing needed to be more “graceful”. Indeed, there was a new “pace of Grace” necessary. Creativity was unimpacted, maybe even advanced somehow … but cognitive processing required a new approach, if you will.
Why do I share this? The stroke taught me much then. Patience, Flexibility, Steadfastness, Grace; all were necessary. New skills and habits were born of such. Indeed, and in deed, this day 6 years later… it is still teaching me. My stroke and life since has been a personal “pandemic experience”. There continues to be a new normal. Even as I have reclaimed high functioning, now amidst the ongoing global pandemic, the passing of Panda and a recent diagnoses of Type 2 Diabetes, I am returning to these strengths of Character. But, today, I am ever more aware of Congruence, in particular.
The Truth of CONGRUENCE
Doing what we say, requires us to think about what we say. Keeping our commitments requires us to discern upon what are our true commitments. And true commitments must align to true core values. That requires us to be truthful with ourselves.
Truthfulness is the foundation of all virtue; all character. With it, we can align. With it, we are mindful of of our thought, will and action… and how we treat others. With it, we align to our own truth, by admitting it. With it, I am ever more mindful of plotting my own course forward.
My point is this. As I mark 6 years since that day, I am convinced of my own need to move the needle on Congruence. It is “the zone” for our own best health of mind, body, spirit and Soul. When practicing Congruence, we are aligned of thought, will and action. When practicing this virtue, this strength of character, we simply are who we are, when and where we are. It builds Trustworthiness and Integrity. It builds our best “brand”, nay reputation. And, it builds a life of meaning and true joy.
I am about to take the final days of August as a true dial back and final rest and reset before what promises to be a filled Fall. But that filling will be made much more joyful as I take this time to get most truthful on my own practice of Congruence. In that, my stroke remains the teacher. Indeed, now, what’s it gonna be boy?
‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “Joy gives us wings! In times of joy our strength is more vital, our intellect keener, and our understanding less clouded. We seem better able to cope with the world and to find our sphere of usefulness.” Joy comes from meaning. Meaning comes from Congruence. Congruence is born of Truthfulness.
Thus teaches my stroke, 6 years later. It teaches me that we do not “know”, the future changes and character matters. It teaches me that our best rudder, anchor, sails and ballast are born of Congruence. The world is experiencing great change moving forward. Indeed, we have challenges. There is almost a global stroke happening, if you will… as much as we might want to somehow deny it. But my experience tells me strokes can teach. And Congruence locally, globally and individually is not a bad place to start. That rudder, anchor, sail and ballast gives us strength to create and move forward… even together, stronger.
I have some more rest and reset to do.
Peace, passion and prosperity…
“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. ― Abraham Lincoln