31 Stories of December. Story Fourteen Recently a friend pointed out to me that the word “integrity” has the same Latin root as “integer”, “integral” and “integration.” As someone who studied math and English both in college, I’ve let this conversation linger in my mind for a while. Perhaps it’s because I’ve long had a fascination with both words and numbers, these abstractions that help us create and give name to our reality.Integers are whole numbers – they are not fractions or parts, but complete.In calculus, you use the process of integration to find the area underneath a really complexly shaped curve. Really, what the process is doing is adding together many tiny slices, as they approach infinity, underneath the curve, until every space is included and integrated into the whole.Often I’ve felt forced to divide myself. To choose, am I left-brained or right-brained? Am I introverted or extroverted? Am I selfish or am I self-less? Do I belong or am I outside of? But to live with integrity means more than to be good or to be above reproach. At its root, to live with integrity is to live a whole and complete life, with an inner sense of consistency. It means that I can be all of who I am at every moment, regardless of the different hats that I wear. The opposite of this is to live a disintegrated life, one of separation and compartments, one where I am different in different aspects of my life, a set of interesting, but separate little pieces. But when I live the life of the integer, I recognize the intersectionality of all the little pieces underneath my complex curve, and it adds up to something even greater than any box or label. This understanding helps me to comprehend the beautiful complexity but completeness of others. And that’s the first step in seeing and naming my part in the world with its wonderful, terrifying, complex wholeness. Subscribe Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates. Email Address Sign Up We respect your privacy. Thank you!