Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.

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Coping with Tragedies

There’s one notion that I can’t seem to let go unchecked… it’s been weighing on my mind so heavily for the last few days. This is the notion that we can be shamed into not talking about the tragedies that happen in our communities, our neighboring communities, our “grandmother’s best friend’s mom’s community.”

In the wake of what is happening across our nation, in our schools, and within our kids’ minds and hearts, we cannot be afraid to speak up or ask questions. On Valentine’s Day, we all learned of the tragic event that took place in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Growing up in south Florida – although never attending this particular high school – it hit close to home. Parkland is a small, beautiful and affluent community. I have several friends that have attended this high school. So, reality set in that this tragic event can happen any where and at any time and to anyone. Being a mother of two school-aged girls (8 and nearly 9.5 years old), this was a scary feeling. I had lots of questions: Why? How did this happen? Like… How was he allowed on campus when he is no longer a student? How did he get an AR-15 into the school without anyone noticing? Why hadn’t anyone voiced serious concerns when he posted such things on social media? How do you prepare children – especially young, innocent-minded children – for something so violent? How do you even begin to have such a heart-wrenching conversation?

Mulling over all of these questions and reading the Facebook posts of some of my south Florida friends and families, I came across a few seemingly shaming posts about how we shouldn’t make this event about ourselves, or how everyone “is trying to find some connection to this shooting.”

Listen up, the problem sits right here in those very statements. We are being shamed out of talking about difficult topics. We are being told that we can’t relate to this event – or feel deep sorrow and compassion about what took place in our own communities. Hell, I even saw a comment linking this to mental illness and assigning judgement to it. The mere fact that we are shaming people about mental illness or ascribing judgement to individuals who suffer from mental illness, in my opinion, should be a sign of mental instability – or at the very least fear or ignorance about it. There have also been several articles, social media posts, and comments laying blame to a political party because of access to guns. At this point, it’s beyond political. It’s personal. My readers: the next victim – or suspect – could be your child, your niece, or your best friend’s son. It could be your childhood teacher.

I think as individuals and parents it’s our job to ask these questions, to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It absolutely is our business and we should make this about ourselves and our own children or else we will be facing the same horrifying events as other parts of the country. Don’t let others silence you or shame you into speaking out and asking questions. Ask all the questions. Get involved. Talk to your kids. Talk to your child’s school administrator. Ask how this happened and how can we prevent it from happening again. A 19 year old walked into a school he wasn’t attending, with an assault rifle, without being detected. He took 17 lives. He crushed the hearts and souls of parents across the world. Let’s ask the questions.

My heart goes out to the families that were affected. ❤


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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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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.


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For the love of people…

Love is blind.

Blind is the inability to see… things like hate and judgement.

Hate and Judgement stems from fear.

Fear is a lack of understanding or knowledge. Ignorance.

Fear is the opposite of Love.

The absence of fear leaves empty space.

Empty space is a void.

Space = more room for love.

Therefore, fill void with love.

Love without expectations.

Expectations is wanting to control an outcome.

Outcomes are simply experiences and lessons, neither to be perceived good or bad.

Perception is the choice to see things differently.

Choice is the ability to see other options.

Choose to see love.