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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Name-Calling, the Act of Shaming, and Manipulation

You know I like to talk about the controversial topics, and why not? It’s good for us to think deeper, dig deeper, and try to understand one another better and what makes us all TICK. So, here we go again! What is with people who choose to tear a person down, rather than build them up? Is there any excuse for name calling? Why do some people think it’s okay and what’s their reason for doing so?

I woke up with these thoughts this morning. I guess you can say, I had a dream about my own past. I’m not saying that I haven’t done my fair share of name calling and tearing people down during my young adult years… but when I look back, I quickly realize why I thought it was acceptable behavior. Lying in bed this morning, contemplating about this topic and why I woke up with it on my mind… I quickly recalled three separate occasions in which I was verbally labeled a derogatory term or shamed for simply being the person that I am.

On three separate occasions, by one single person and by someone I should look up to, I was called a bitch, insecure, and selfish. None of these things built me up, none of them were productive, and they certainly didn’t motivate me. Looking back, I realize that at one point in time I actually believed those words to true. Collectively, we know better. We are better than this. It seems like such a remedial topic but the reality is, this happens more often than we realize… and we let it happen! So, why do people tear others down or call them by some derogatory name?

I would think insecurities or self-worth is probably top of the list of reasons why people do it. Jealousy can be a factor as people see in others what they wish they had the courage to be or do, and it makes them resentful. Shaming is the second biggest reason I believe people behave this way. Shaming is never acceptable. Shaming is one of the biggest ways that manipulators tear people down, and their victims often have no idea what’s actually taking place. We’ve all heard someone passive-aggressively shame another parent for their parenting style, or a boss using polite techniques to degrade an employee for a mistake or bad judgement call, and we have even heard a parent shame their child in language that sounds pretty standard when first uttered, but when you stop to truly hear it… “you should know better” which I’ve even caught myself saying… implies that the child is a disappointment and the parent is ashamed of them.

Why is this such a hot topic for me? I think it breeds resentment in the receiver. As the receiver, we don’t realize why the comments bother us… but perhaps it’s the act of shaming, or the passive-agressive truths covered in rose petals, maybe it’s because we all recognize a form of manipulation and we inherently do not like being manipulated. When we name call or shame our peers, friends, colleagues, employees, or children, we are setting the precedence that this behavior is acceptable, particularly to children who are watching and mimicking our every action. They grow up believing that it’s okay to call your friend a derogatory term, or shame your lover for their preferences, or manipulate your peers through both name calling and shaming into agreeing with or seeing your point of view.

So, let’s not tear each other down with mind games such as name calling, shaming, or manipulation. Let’s accept one another as individuals. Let’s be respectful to one another. Let’s show our children how to be tolerant, kind, and human.

As an adult, I realize that these are all words, as hurtful as they can be, but they do not shape us and they should never be taken for truth, which is why no one should ever waste their breath uttering such unproductive and negative things. I am not a bitch… although, I can be if you back me into a corner. I am not insecure… however, I can be very shy and I am a bit of an introvert. I am not selfish… I give what I can, but I also remember that I, too, am a priority.

Much love. ❤

 


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The Power of Expectation

Expectations have such a hold on each one of us. Marveling at its possibilities with wide eyes and lusting after what could be, you become hooked and drawn into believing it’s whispers that “this is reality.” It’s so right, so perfect. 

And WOMP! Expectations have a way of letting you down, crashing in disappointment, possibilities unraveling before your own eyes. Feelings of emptiness where the hope for what could have been once live. You think, “how could this be?” And maybe you throw yourself an adult tantrum (yes, it’s a real thing) at not getting your way. The vision was so clear and so seemingly real and possible. 

Behold… the power of expectation. 

Let go of what should be and embrace what is, each day and each moment. 

Set yourself free. 


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Hey you go-gettin-son-of-a-gun!

Nothing stops you. You’re on a mission, a mission for change or advancement, or maybe it’s realignment with your dreams and desires. Nothing is going to stop you… If you can just figure out where to start.

Paralysis is a challenge we all face. We have a vision but we struggle to execute it. I’ve been there and it can be a long process, so let me offer a quick guide that I developed a few years ago.This guide has helped me quickly identify what I want, why I want it, and how to get there. 

Dive into the meat of your desires and chart your course of action by answering these ten questions. When you answer these questions, remember to dig deep. 

  1. What do you want? (The feeling you’re seeking: To feel love; to be happy; feeling of fulfillment)
  2. What does it look like? (How it translates into action: A new job; break up with that lousy partner; moving to a new community)
  3. Why do you want it? (What will it accomplish; how will it move you closer to achieving your desire? What will it mean for you?)
  4. How will you feel when you get it? (Accomplished, relief, free, happy)
  5. What’s holding you back? (These are typically emotional or resource-based: Money, time, support, fears, limiting beliefs)
  6. What are you tolerating? (List them all!! Is it someone, something, maybe even yourself?)
  7. What can you control? (Internal vs external – list only what you can control because these are the only areas you can effectuate change)
  8. What needs to change? (Identify what HAS to change to move forward, both short term and long term)
  9. What changes are you willing to make right now? (Incrementalism is key, so start with the easy stuff and work through the rest.)
  10. Who can you enlist for support? (Find at least one person who believes in you and your vision. Ask him/her to hold you accountable.)

The final step is take action

Don’t be a dud in a sky of fireworks. 

Much love. 


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Wo(man) on a Mission

So, you’re on a mission… You set your sights on a goal, you get hyped about starting, and stoked to see your dreams become reality. And then life happens and you get distracted, and you wander off the path for a bit. How do pick back up and find the bread crumbs you left for yourself?

I know this all too well… here I go again… I’ve lost sight of my vision many times but I always find myself coming back to it. It happens, we all get distracted. Building a home and planning and preparation can be any easy excuse… But I won’t tolerate my own excuse(s).
How do we hold our vision? How do we stop ourselves from making or allowing excuses for losing our vision?

We enlist support in friends and colleagues. We rally our families and make sure they know what our vision is and the end game, and what it’s going to take to get there. We ask them to hold us accountable. 

How do we motivate and get back up off our tush? Shake off the shame from ditching your dreams (temporarily) and just start somewhere. Find the groove again, pick a point to start and just go. 

And lastly, stay on target! Don’t allow yourself to lose focus for too long, and persist. Because, why? Because you don’t want to look back and regret not chasing your dreams… 

[love]


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I want what I want…

Let’s face it, I’m a millennial. I have a different approach to life, a vastly different view on work-life, and the desire to be creative. I’m literally dying inside while sitting in front of a computer all day where I work (like a puppet) on things that other’s want me to do (even if I don’t agree) and my creative juices are, well, somewhere in the pit of my stomach causing me feel ill and lousy, and plain ol’ blah.

“How was work?” is usually the first thing people ask after a long day. I remember a time when I would rant and rave, excitedly sharing news about my day. I was making a difference. I was doing something great. Lately, I hear that question and I cringe at how to answer it without 1) pretending it was awesome, and 2) sending myself into an hour-long rant about how boring and unfulfilling it is.

What I want from my work-life is to be able to be creative, have fun with it, look forward to getting my sleeves rolled up and getting in there. I want to do something that is actually making a difference… not plan all these wild ideas of what-ifs, thinking up the plan and designing the program to get there only to just watch it get dusty on a shelf, never to be implemented.

I want to enjoy going to work. I want to enjoy 99% of the people I work with. I want us to lift each other up, celebrate one another, and make each other better. No one enjoys the gossiper, the whiner, the know it all, the nosey-Rose, and the slacker. Complacency is the culprit for all of the above. When people get bored, or fed-up, their ugly comes out. We all have those moments. I have them often. Soul-sucking personalities in your work-life are toxic, and spread like the wildfire.

I want flexibility. I want to work the hours during my personal peak productivity. I want that mid-day gym work out that gets the blood pumping and the creative juices flowing, staving off the 2 o’clock death hour that sends you into a coma, longing for a place to curl up for an afternoon nap. I want meetings held standing up or walking through the park. I want less lengthy reports that actually take away from the stuff that actually produces results.

I want colorful work spaces, fresh air, healthy work conditions and options. I once asked for a standing work station. It didn’t have to be a desk. It just needed to accommodate me standing up when I got tired of sitting through the 8 to 5. I was told that it “wouldn’t actually be better for me to stand for long periods of time.”

I want to wake up with the sun, not before it. To cherish the morning routine, not dread it. I want to not hit the snooze button three times. Who ever thought the idea of starting “work” at 8 AM was productive anyway? It’s no wonder why so many zombies stroll into work cranky, and some can’t shake it for the remainder of the day.

I want to taste my breakfast, sip (not gulp) my coffee, and actually help my daughter pick out matching clothes in the morning.

I want options. I want joy. I want health. I want to live, not merely exist.


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Are you an over-sharer?

Hey, over-sharer! Yes, I’m talking to you. You’re an over-sharer, and so am I. Over-sharing is a learned behavior that’s snow-balled over time, with the increased use of social media platforms and the ever-increasing need to impress.

Let’s talk about sharing privileged and personal information, what it means, and how to reel it in. Let’s first define what over-sharing is. To over-share is to reveal an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life. Key word here is personal

We all have someone in our lives – or it may be ourselves – that shares a little too much information. You’re walking down the street and you run into Sally. You ask her how she is doing and she unravels a lengthy, grueling story about her entire 2016 so far. And maybe you care to hear it because Sally is a dear friend, but you’re caught off guard with the verbal vomit that comes spewing out – and you were totally unprepared to be there for her emotionally or physically (timing is important). Maybe Sally’s just an acquaintance and you were not expecting for her to open up so freely.

Listen up, the story of our lives is privileged information to be shared with only those who are deserving. Sharing your story (whether exciting or scary news) with the wrong person can lead to private information getting into the wrong ears, or misinformation about you.. ring, ring… hello, remember the game of telephone?! Over-sharing is not only happening in our personal encounters with others, it’s also taking place on social media platforms every day – some use it as a means for managing others’ impressions of us. Do we really need to know every time you check into the gym? 

We must discern who we deeply open up to and what information to share. Next time you hear yourself begin to chatter about all the details of your life to an acquaintance, reel it back in and consider who’s standing in front of you. This is your chance to exercise a little self-regulation.

Even more, if your sharing information about someone else, we must honor that person and show respect for their privacy. Exercising restraint with someone else’s personal information can save friendships and keep you from looking like Ms. Gossip Queen (or Mr. Gossip Queen – I know some men who like a good gossip more than any woman I’ve ever met!) Over-sharing someone else’s personal information, or straight-up gossiping, will cause a person to refrain from befriending you.

So, what does it mean when someone over-shares? Generally, we can ascertain that over-sharers need to be heard. They long for connection, for sympathy, a moment to vent and let go of all that they’ve been holding onto (emotional stress). Over-sharers have a very admirable quality…  they’re trusting, although at times too trusting with the wrong people. Over-sharers are courageous in that they’re unafraid to be vulnerable and to truly be seen.

And while we all overshare a time or two (guilty!), it’s important to remember that we are not defined or limited by our stories and our experiences. These experiences are opportunities for growth!

Information about you is a gift, and to truly know you is a privilegeBy all means, forge connection with others, but do so with reverence.

xo