Wednesday, December 26, 2012

9 Virtues


9 Virtues
Written discussions of the Dedicant's understanding of each of the following nine virtues: wisdom, piety, vision, courage, integrity, perseverance, hospitality, moderation and fertility. The Dedicant may also include other virtues, if desired, and compare them to these nine. (125 words min. each)
Wisdom:

Definition: The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.

ADF Definition: Good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about and decide on the correct response.

Wisdom is a combination of knowledge, experiences, and judgment.  For me, it is knowing right from wrong and understanding when you don’t know what is best.  However, it is also being aware of when to hold your tongue and when to speak up for what you think is right.   It is acknowledging that not everyone is going to agree with you (even if you believe you’re right) and being okay with that.  Having knowledge that comes from books and formal education is important, but just as important is the knowledge you obtain from experiences and the world around you. 

For me, this virtue is one that I definitely associate with the deities.  Athena is well known for her wisdom, justice, and strategy. Odin made incredible sacrifices to gain wisdom and knowledge.  He chose to pluck out one of his eyes to give to the well guardian for a single drink from the well of knowledge.  To me, these examples show just how important this virtue is to the deities, which means they should be important to me.

I try to show wisdom as a virtue in my life in many different ways. I am always trying to further my education and teach myself.  I work for a school district, so I am also working to help educate future generations, as well as my own son.  (225 words)

Piety:

Definition:  The quality of being religious or reverent.  The quality of being dutiful.

ADF Definition: Correct observance of ritual and social traditions, the maintenance of the agreements (both personal and societal) we humans have with the Gods and Spirits.  Keeping the Old Ways, through ceremony and duty.

Piety is defined as being committed and loyal.  For me, piety is an incredibly important trait to have in many aspects of your life, and isn’t limited to just your spirituality.  You should be pious in your religion and to the Kindreds, but it’s also important to be just as devoted to the more mundane aspects of your life such as your family and friends. 

Piety within ADF is important for recognizing and celebrating the high days as well as honoring the Gods in your daily life through your actions.  It’s incredibly important because ADF needs members to be dedicated to the ideals and beliefs and to participate in the high days in a way that represents ADF in a positive manner.  I believe that anyone who chooses to follow any sort of “alternative” religion has a level of piety.  It’s definitely easier to hide in the closet and pretend you’re just like everyone else, but being dedicated to your faith despite potential criticism or hardship is a very brave, devout, and honorable thing to do.  (176 words)

Vision:

Definition:  The faculty or state of being able to see.

ADF Definition: The ability to broaden one’s perspective to have a greater understanding of our place/role in the cosmos, relating to the past, present, and future.

Vision is another virtue that has many different facets to it.  It is the ability to see not only what is there but also what could potentially happen. It’s the ability to comprehend the potential that something has or the consequences that may come because of something.  It means being able to identify with the here and now as well as the effects your actions, words, and ideas can have on the future.  It also includes having ideas and dreams for the future and how to improve yourself and the world around you.  Having vision means fostering ideas and being creative.  It’s thinking about the future and planning for it.  Knowing that you can really make a difference and acting on that, to me that is vision. 

I try to exhibit vision in my daily life by thinking about the future both for my son and me.  I make plans and try to figure out what will have the best effect on our future.  I also try to look at the world around me and appreciate what I see.  I try to share those experiences with my son teach him to look for the beauty in the world around him.   (200 words)

Courage:

Definition:  The ability to do something that frightens one.

ADF Definition:  The ability to act appropriately in the face of danger.

Courage may be based around the ideas of bravery and action, but there is so much more than what meets the eye.  It’s important to be wise in your decisions and know which battles are truly worth fighting for.  The hardest part of being courageous is being willing to do the right thing, even if it isn’t what necessarily works best for you.  Sometimes it may mean there is something hazardous that you need to react to in order to fix the issue.  Courage is being able to do what’s right when you’re afraid of what may happen.  It’s being yourself when you’re not sure if others will like you.  It manifests itself within ADF by being open and honest about your faith despite the fact that you may face opposition.  Every time we hear of a fire fighter who traverses a building to save someone’s life we understand their sacrifice and courage, but not every courageous act may be that apparent or bold.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t present.

I try to be courageous in my life by being myself even in the toughest times.  I stand up for my beliefs when faced with challenges.  I’m a mother so sometimes I have to be brave and take on the world when I want to hide away.  It’s hard to be brave, but it’s something that I have to do.  (230 words)

Integrity:

Definition:  The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness

ADF Definition: Honor; being trustworthy to oneself and to others, involving oath-keeping, honesty, fairness, respect, self confidence.

 Integrity is upholding your morals and ethics when they are challenged.  It’s being honest when it would be easier to lie.  It also includes being respectful to both yourself and others as well as acting in a way that honors the Kindreds.  It is maintaining your oaths to your faith, family, and friends.  To me, oaths are not something to be taken lightly and are not easily broken, so it is incredibly important to keep each and every oath to the very best of your abilities.   Self-confidence is also a part of integrity, but it is a part that I personally have a much more difficult time with.  I know logically that it is important to believe in yourself and know when your actions are right and true, but it is still hard for me to do.  I believe integrity has one of the largest pools of role models to explore: people who stood up not only for what was right for them but for the morals and ethics of entire cultures. 

For me, Integrity is a sense of being “complete” which is a huge goal for me in exploring spirituality.  Religion is a journey to fill a void in my life and make me whole.  I’m not there yet, but I think it is a lifelong journey and something that may never be truly finished, but by following the virtues, sticking to my oaths, and continuing to evolve I’ll be able to work toward that direction.  (248 words)

Perseverance:

Definition:  Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

ADF Definition:  Drive; the motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit becomes difficult.

Perseverance is the will to continue doing what you know is right despite facing difficulties.  It’s continuing to work on a cause you believe in when it isn’t the easier path to take.  For me, it’s taking the path less traveled and being dedicated to doing what you say you’re going to do.  It’s taking the extra step to finish what you have started. 

It’s easy to find examples of perseverance throughout history all over the world.  Beethoven is one of the greatest composers ever known, yet he couldn’t hear the notes that he was playing.  Stephen Hawking is an amazing physicist despite having Lou Gehrig’s disease.  Either of these people could have easily given up and done nothing with their lives, but instead they rose above their challenges and literally changed the way people view the world.  They showed just how incredible perseverance can be. 

I have had to overcome many issues in order to become who I am today.  I’m proud of that fact.  I’ve never had things just handed to me and have always had to work for what I’ve wanted.  Because of that, those things that I do have mean a lot more to me than if everything just fell into place.  (204 words)

Hospitality:

Definition:  The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers

ADF Definition: Acting as both a gracious host and an appreciative guest, involving benevolence, friendliness, humor, and the honouring of “a gift for a gift.” 

Hospitality is being generous, giving, and big hearted.  It’s being willing to make sacrifices so guests are comfortable in your home.  It is also making a conscience effort to not disturb your host when you are in their environment.  I think the challenge in hospitality is balancing those two things.  You don’t want to give more than you are able to, but you also don’t want to give too little.  You have to be willing to share what you do have with your guests, even if it isn’t an excessive amount.  It isn’t the quantity that that makes it important. 

For me, hospitality is more about making someone feel welcome, loved, and appreciated.  At the same time, it’s being grateful for what your host has given you.  It’s easy to forget sometimes that you can be an inconvenience to your host just by being in their space.  I try to be grateful for the little things they provide, be it laughter, food, comfort, or a temporary roof over my head.  I also try to let people know that my home is always open to them.   (185 words)

Moderation:

Definition:  The avoidance of excess or extremes.

ADF Definition:  Cultivating one’s appetites so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health (mental or physical), through excess or deficiency.

Moderation is to try to control the amount that you are doing something.  Most people think of moderation as simply not eating or drinking too much, but in actuality it goes well beyond that.  It is not spending too much time on the couch and not exercising too much.  It means learning to appreciate new and different foods and activities and not doing things either to the “too much” or “too little” extreme.  Nearly everything in your life should be moderated to some extent.  In my opinion, there are very few things that shouldn’t be moderated.  You can never laugh too much or love too much because even after those things falter your life is better because you’ve experienced them.  Moderation is knowing how to balance yourself between excess and deficiency in a way that is healthy and can help to aid your happiness. 

I try to practice moderation in my life in many areas.  I try to use self control in areas that I may otherwise be weak.  I know my family has an issue with alcoholism so I strictly moderate how much I drink.  For me, moderation can be a challenge as I have OCD and can often find myself obsessing over things for longer than I should be.  It’s something that I struggle with, but I work very hard to make sure I keep it in check.  The most important thing to know is when you are doing something harmful to yourself and taking the steps to change it.  (252 words)

Fertility:

Definition:  The ability to produce offspring; power of reproduction

ADF Definition:  Bounty of mind, body and spirit, involving creativity, production of objects, food, works of art, etc., an appreciation of the physical, sensual, nurturing.

From my experience, fertility is the most debated ADF virtue.  At first glance I understand how it may offend some people since it is generally recognized as the ability to have children and not everyone can do so or may choose not to.  However, I don’t think this is true at all.  Fertility goes well beyond the ability to have children.  It is being creative and letting your imagination run wild.  It’s making something out of nothing, be it life, art, music, clothing, poetry, thought, etc.  To me, fertility is the ability to create.  In this form everyone has the ability to partake in the virtue.  With fertility the possibilities are literally endless and limited only by your abilities and desires.  It is the most easily misunderstood virtue, but one that everyone should hold deeply in their heart.

Fertility plays a huge role in my life.  I am a mother, so creating the life of my son and helping him grow and flourish is my first thought of fertility.  However, I also write and use my skills to create in many other ways.  My favorite thing to create out of nothing is laughter.  I love seeing people smile and knowing that I’ve helped to create joy in them.   (208 words)

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