Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.


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Are you in the arena, or the stands?

When we decide to make some major quality of life changes, there will always be those individuals that don’t understand our motives, and even worse – criticize what they don’t understand. Here’s the thing: unless these critics are down in the arena with us, they can’t possible comprehend or appreciate the what and why of our strategy. Criticism holds no weight from the stands.

I’ve recently decided to make some hefty quality of life changes, starting with my place of employment. When you reach a point of little-to-no fulfillment, and can’t seem to find the joy in what you do, or begin to see people or places as toxic environments – then it’s time to think about making a change.

That’s where I found myself. I knew something had to change, yet I stuck around for about six months longer than I should have. I felt the desire to break free from the toxic and unfulfilling work environment, and to find a more meaningful direction. I didn’t need to change my career path, I just needed to shifted my focus… I needed to narrow-in on exactly what drew me to the profession in the first place. The people. The community. The relationship between the two.

So, I took the dive. Thanks to all of those who were in the arena with me. They got it. They understood my passion, and my drive. They had an appreciation for what I wanted to accomplish, and they stood behind me 110%. The support and encouragement that I received from those in the arena with me – setting out to achieve the same fulfillment and happiness that I sought – held more weight than those of the critics in the stands, who just couldn’t see my vision.

In addition to a more rewarding career, I wanted more quality time with my daughter, flexibility in my schedule, and time to focus on my health, which was taking a very sharp decline and fast. I’m only one month in and there are still some adjustments to be made, and still some fine-tuning to be done – but overall, I find myself in a more consistent and jovial mood. I’ve been able to focus on what’s important in life, and make my career align with my values. Even better, I have more control over my health and stress-levels.

So, stay in that arena, find your teammates, fuel one another and go for the goal. Pay no mind to the critics in the stands for they’re not on the field with you; they have no stake in the game.

(Helpful reminder: Judgement is just a mirror through which people see their own insecurities reflected back at them. When you find someone judging you, it might help to remember that they’re may be feeling insecure about the qualities they may lack, such as the courage to pursue the unknown.)

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Just say no. 

With so many demands and expectations placed on us, it’s necessary to carve out time for self and solitude. There is always something that needs to be done, people who demand your attention, and responsibilities you can’t avoid. It’s so important to do take time for self in order to recharge your batteries and avoid burnout. 

I have a mounting “to do” list of chores and people that demand my time but as a working single mom and a boyfriend who lives 30 minutes away, my time is almost entirely accounted for Sunday afternoon through Friday night. Sometimes we have to make tough decisions that require us to say no to people or events when we know it will induce burnout. And yes, people will get their feelings hurt or you might miss something but every day brings a different set of priorities, of which no one else will understand until they walk a day or week in your shoes. You should and must take time to care for self, do only what makes you happy, and recharge. 

Inevitably… You will feel guilty, but don’t beat yourself up too much. You can’t be your best self when your best self is tired and run ragged. 

When you are reaching your breaking point, just say no. 


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We are in this together…

The theme of the week, at least as I saw it, is that we are all connected… we are in this fight – called life – together. Ultimately, we all want and are seeking the same thing in life: JOY. You can define it however you’d like but you might recognize it as overwhelming sense of contentment, feeling complete, conscious state of gratitude, calm and stillness, state of peacefulness.

Day in and day out we go about our lives, not even connected to others. We don’t say hello or even speak on an elevator. We don’t look up from our phones in the grocery line to acknowledge another. We judge one another. Our “getting to know someone” doesn’t even scratch the surface and seek to understand the core of their being… yet we long for connectedness, understanding, a sense of community. We can’t walk through life denying the existence of our brothers and sisters. We can’t connect with someone for the purpose of gaining something out of it.

We see life as this competition between one another… walking through life feeling like others are out to get us, thinking that our brothers and sisters have ill intentions or take everything so personally. We all do it… we are human… we were raised in a generation that seeks fulfillment, usually outside of ourselves.

That being said, I associate “humanity” as  being able to recognizing ourselves in the other. You recognize in others what you know to be true in yourself… insecurities, anger, hate, conceit, fear but also compassion, longing, determination, and commitment. What does that mean? It means that – subtract the flesh – we are all the same in spirit. We seek connection, love, beauty, to be recognized – professionally or romantically, to fit in – or to stand out, to find purpose, meaning, and joy.

I was at the gym this morning and while I was stretching, I looked around… There we all were, wearing our headphones, bouncing from machine to machine, with the primary mission of staying healthy and getting in shape. We all had that in common… there we were all connected, even with our headphones on. It made me smile… I felt connected to each one. We were a community.

I challenge you to see others as your brother or sister. Relate and come from a place of understanding – even to a total stranger. And if you find yourself judging someone, just be aware that you recognized something in the other that you, yourself, can identify with… and you can’t judge another until you’ve given yourself a good hard look in the mirror. We are all in this together.

#love