I am preparing for a speech later this week on Living Intentionally and must begin by commenting on the terrible shooting Sunday in Texas. Another shooting. How many devastating shootings will we have before we begin to solve whatever problems are causing these tragedies?
Living Intentionally may not have helped the victims of yesterday’s shootings at all. Someone took their choices away from them. The unbelievable has happened again and in another church. A church, where people go to worship, not that the location makes the tragedy anymore or less understandable or acceptable. How are we to begin to understand this?
I have no words of wisdom for those affected by these tragedies; only thoughts of grief. I, and likely you cannot affect these situations. But we can affect what happens in our lives, or at least, much of what happens in our lives. There will always be some things outside of our control. Not as much as we think, however. But things such as the most recent Texas massacre, and the massacre in Las Vegas, and in New York City, and all of those before, are probably outside of our individual control. What we have more control of is what happens in our own lives. And unfortunately, many of us do not pay enough attention to what we can control. Living Intentionally has everything to do with this.
Living Intentionally is about being our best self and making living our best life a priority. It is about choosing our best even when there are forces all around us that can distract us from this. It is about recognizing when how we are living is no longer working for us, and not just recognizing it, but changing it. It is about having the courage to make a personal change, which is the hardest change to make. It is about living a life that is authentic, one that is in concert with our values.
But how do we start? Where do we begin? This is probably the easiest question to answer. We begin where we are and we decide who and where we want to be. While it is tempting to think that we must continue along the same trajectory that got us to where we are now, such is not the case. We can totally change our lives if and when we decide that who and where we are now is no longer working for us. To do so, however, requires that we be vulnerable, that we accept our vulnerability. We have to face our discomfort before we can begin to change. Nothing changes unless and until what we want is stronger than what we have. The pull to stay where we are is so strong that what we want cannot occupy the space it needs to until what we have moves over to make room for it.
There are many steps in this process, and they can vary based upon one’s circumstances and one’s desires. But the first step must always be to decide to live an intentional life. This step cannot be skipped. It all starts with this decision. There will not be any clarity about the rest of the process until this decision is made. And it cannot be just a desire. It must be a decision.
My Hurricane Irma in St. Maarten experience in September was the point at which I made this decision, the decision to live an intentional life. The decision came easily to me at the moment that I thought I was going to die. It came to me with absolute clarity. It was my “why.” It has been said that when we know our “why,” our “how” follows.
During my Hurricane Irma experience in St. Maarten, when I thought I was going to die, I decided to really live. While all that means for me is not yet known, the mystery is beginning to unfold.