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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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.


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The Gifts We Have Been Given

This morning Pastor Mark spoke about our God given gifts, explaining Romans chapter 12.

Not having read Romans 12, I did not know all that it entailed but as I read the scripture I found myself resonating with it. Most of it I have found myself implementing in my own life over the last couple of years… not even being aware of these gifts, but using them to give back to others as it felt right to do.

As Pastor Mark explained, some of us will find that we have more than one of these gifts… if you don’t know what gifts I speak of, check out Romans 12. I am fortunate to have more than one of these gifts – some of which I have only just become aware of and have possessed… possibly holding them selfishly for myself in the past.

Serving others is something I have been doing since I can remember. As a child, doing for my parents and grandparents, as a young professional working in government since the age of 18 – employed as a public servant – most of the time gladly.

Encouraging others is another gift that has always come easy to me. I’ve always wondered what my place was int his world and if nothing else, it has always felt like I have been placed in peoples’ lives to motivate and encourage them to be better, to live up to their potential, to stop settling for less. Or – at least – that has always been my intention. (This happens to be my favorite gift.)

Giving is a gift that I have only recently become mindful of outside of my own selfish needs. As an Aries, I am, at my core, selfish and have battled this on many occasions. But what I have learned is that when I give to others, I feel great and when I feel great then I am actually giving myself the gift of fulfillment. I haven’t been able to give much until recently as most of my resources (being there for others, time, money)  have been exhausted… however lately, I have been blessed and have made the conscious effort to give back even when I may not necessarily have the time, mental capacity, or money. What I’ve witnessed is this: when I do give – without worrying about the lack – I am always provided for in return.

Another gift I possess and have always known is in my cards is leadership. I am a born leader. It’s in my cards; it comes easily. I may still be learning all of the traits and characteristics of a good leader, but the essentials already exist in my core. I think to be a great leader, you have to be a visionary and I see the big picture and understand the synergies that exist to accomplish the overall goal. I’m not just referring to the workplace, but in life there are also many moving parts – in our own lives, yes, but we are also one moving part of many in this world. What we say and do effects everything around us. We need to be great leaders in our own lives and great examples in this world.

Love… last in Romans 12, but certainly not least. In fact, I think it’s the most important. Love is understanding, compassion, unconditional, without judgement. It is when we give of ourselves, wholly, to others for their benefit. Love is when we are present in those moments with others and honest, open, and raw. Love is when we are compassionate towards people and see them for who THEY are and without judgement, ACCEPT them for who they are. Without love, all other gifts are not possible.

The gifts that we possess are our own treasures to nurture and build upon to share with others – not for our own gain – but for the benefit of everyone around us.

In closing, in the words of Pastor Mark, “the most important things in life is God, the use of our time, and the love of people”… okay so I modified it a bit, but I think he would agree. 🙂