Walking With Intention Day 9 by Martha Stout

On Your Mind

by Martha Stout of the Martha0stout blog

How is it that many turn away?
Only seeking their own gain?
Not caring who is stepped on today
Or who will fall, writhing in pain
Requisite so that they get their own way?

Have you ever looked around yourself and wondered just what this ‘honor’ that people were talking about was?

I have, a lot; every time I hear someone mention the word ‘honor’ I wonder just what they are talking about. When I look up ‘honor’ in the thesaurus, it shows different words like: integrity, righteousness, decency and morality. The dictionary had even more descriptions than the thesaurus (which actually went on for a bit on other words for ‘honor’.)

To me, honor is something more than words on a paper or pride in myself and/or anything else, honor is doing what’s right even when everyone else tells you that it’s wrong.

Sometimes doing what’s right is thought of as either hard or easy. Many people forget that it is both of those things at the same time. Much like honor being both what is first owed to yourself before it is owed to others. If you have no honor, no integrity or truthfulness to yourself then how can you be truthful or honorable in your actions with others? And just because something is hard doesn’t mean that once you have made the commitment to do it that it will stay quite so hard. Once a decision has been made, it is easier to stay with that decision, to keep going that direction because the hardest part has already happened. It is very difficult to stay on a path that you are waffling about leaving in the first place. Actions cannot fully be put into effect until a decision has been made.

Honor is a lot like that. If you decide right off the bat just what is and isn’t honorable for you and then base what you’re going to do off of that, it makes life easier because you don’t have to keep making the same decision over and over again. But it makes it harder because then you have to stick with that path through no matter what. To do anything less would call your own honor, whatever definition that is, into question for yourself.

Don’t strip away what is there
Innocence and integrity
Going to cling to who they are
Not going to give in to despair
Individuals hold more than they know
To keep going for more and to grow
You will find even as you grasp for more air.

Wherever you go or whatever you do, you want to have dignity. You want to respect yourself and feel like you are worth something.

You’ve heard of the golden rule, to treat others as you want to be treated.

Why not let someone else keep their dignity, their self-respect just as you want to keep yours?

Self-respect is not something that can be given, but, if persecuted enough, it is something that can be taken away. A person can only take so much. So if you have to take anything from a person, don’t let it be their dignity or their self-respect.

Buying what time you need
Reaching out with more than a hand
Inching ever closer to what you should heed
Laying down what you need for the land
Looking beyond what everything seems
Indication you know more than you mean
Acting until the truth will ring thru
Not certain just if it will all fall through
To keep everyone going with what you can do.

Sometimes being brilliant doesn’t mean you just know things, it means that you know when to use that knowledge as well. After all, we pray that we may have the power to change things and the wisdom to know when to do so.

Brilliance also doesn’t need to be long or involved. Short and sweet and able to get the message across instead of miring down the whole process with flowery words or expressions. Brilliance isn’t as brilliance does, it simply is because you work hard enough for it to be.

Books can only teach you so much
Reality is more harsh a task mistress
Activity with your mind brought to bear
Variety will teach what more than what you hear
Especially if you are humble enough to learn.

Stepping away from the crowd and being yourself, though sometimes that crowd is small, but it is the small things that sometimes have the most impact. Being able to make up your own mind about what you will and won’t do and then taking the consequences of those decisions onto your own shoulders is a kind of bravery that many don’t think to acknowledge.

It is often stated (correctly in my opinion) that being brave is not the absence of fear, but in acting despite the presence of fear. We all need fear, it is what keeps us alive and helps us to survive. It also helps us to fear for the sake of others and want to keep them alive and help them survive. I mention both because being alive and surviving are not quite the same thing, though they are close. Being brave enough to stand up for yourself is one thing, being brave for another is also something else entirely. To disregard your fears in order to do something for yourself doesn’t take as much gumption as setting them aside to do something for someone else.

And it’s not just being brave enough to stand up for someone else, but to be brave for them.

When things go wrong, because they will, they most assuredly will, you don’t always have the luxury to fall apart. Because being able to do so is a luxury in a lot of cases though people don’t realize that. You have to be brave for those around you because they need someone and that someone, for one reason or another, has to be you. You have to keep going and have any breakdowns quietly and out of sight, because you have to not only have hope, but be hope.

Sitting quietly and observing all around you
To best decide on a course of action
Reacting with thought and decision
Onward through the times of trial
Not going to give in or lose to denial
Getting what needs to be done pushed through

Being strong doesn’t have to mean being strong physically. You can have the strongest mind, the strongest heart, the strongest will and be so physically weak that someone has to literally carry you everywhere. It’s not just extremes, though, strength, like anything has a spectrum and that spectrum is different for every single being that ever lived, lives or will live.

Strength can be something you are born with and/or something that you cultivate. If you want to be strong, want it enough to actually work and work hard for it, then it’s likely that you will, one day, have it. That’s a kind of strength in and of itself, the strength of will.

Some find the action to be foolish
Their minds not understanding the logic behind
Unless they are there in the moment
Perhaps even then it wouldn’t enter their mind
Incidents are different for different people
Don’t look down your nose at someone in a bind.

For those who look down on fools, they forget how much ingenuity that the fool has, for nothing is ever really fool-proof.

I have often been told that I have done very stupid things. I know in my heart that, at times, this is a very true statement. Just as I know that it is false in the same breath it is spoken.

For what are we if not our experiences? Do we not need to do things to learn not only how to do things, but how to not do things? If we are to live, to grow and to become more than what we began with, then we must do things that seem stupid, sometimes over and over again expecting a different result. Do we not repeat the same things over and over again in schools and at home in order to learn from them more fully?

If we are to go anywhere in this world, we must intend to do so, intend to walk down the paths before us. Intend to become what we become. It does us, and certainly anyone else, no favors to just float through life without any kind of effort given into that life, whether that effort is for ourselves or for another. We must have honor and dignity, be brilliant and brave as well as strong and stupid. We must be something; we must want to become what we are and be what we wish. Then we must do it.

We must walk with intention down the path of life laid before us.


profile picMy blog name is Martha of martha0stout and I enjoy reading and writing and (surprisingly) poetry. That last was a giant surprise that I hadn’t really thought much about until I started blogging and realized that I couldn’t live without it. I just moved out and started a farm with my sister and her children and it is a lot of work with very little return (at the moment, hopefully), but has adorable baby animals who are looking very fluffy for the winter. (Seriously, those baby goats are so fluffy I could just die!)



Written for Walking With Intention.  If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more info here: Walking With Intention.  But first leave a comment and let Martha know how you feel about what she said, and be sure to visit her over at martha0stout when you’re done.


Featured image via http://www.hdwallpapers.cat

About the author

I am a King without a Kingdom, in a world with many masters, wrapped in the spoils of a jealous heart, and my people’s callous laughter.


  1. I’m so glad to have your representing in the Walking challenge as you are my number one all time Dungeon Prompt contributor, having completed far more than anyone else, and many more than once. And you did it in classic Martha Stout style with acrostics and weaving your way around your subject towards a great ending. I love the strong and stupid, cause it’s just so true! I jumped into a life that many thought was stupid at the time, but sometimes that’s just the way that it has to be. Thanks for your contribution.

  2. Such thoughtful, excellent points. As I was reading, I thought I had a “favorite” or two… but it all is so good together. I love the nuances of worth in places people are the least likely to expect them, as in “stupid” or knowing when and when not to display your “knowing” based on how it may harm another’s dignity. Your approach is so creative, and very well-received by this reader! Definitely, a resource of great takeaways here!

  3. You added such a creative offering to the Walking with Intention even! And I love ACROSTICS so that made it extra special. I also really liked the “be brilliant and brave as well as strong and stupid.”

    I did something this weekend that was brave even though I felt stupid. So I can relate!

  4. For what are we if not our experiences? *Sigh* this hit me straight in the heart.. what a wonderful write this was! Creative in its offering 🙂 Indeed if we are to live on our own terms.. we shall blaze our path with intention. Cheers 😀

  5. Ah Martha!!! the queen of acrostics! bless you with this very thought provoking post. Your poetry gives more strength to the message and your message is strong. Honour, integrity, respect, dignity all important and yes we can make a difference but not to just ourselves as you have pointed out but to allow others to grow. I`m so pleased you are enjoying your farm and those fluffly animals too. Big hugs to you, Martha!!

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