Deliberate Living:
Living Your Life With Intention

Deliberate Living is defined on the online Free Dictionary as: 

  • Done with or marked by full consciousness of the nature and effects;             intentional;
  • Arising from or marked by careful consideration;
  • Unhurried in action, movement, or manner, as if trying to avoid error;
  • To think carefully and often slowly, as about a choice to be made;
  • To consider (a matter) carefully and often slowly, as by weighing alternatives

To follow the path of deliberate living means that you live your life intentionally and with care.  Rather than getting passively swept away while you try keeping up with the Joneses, you are actively engaged in creating your own life. It is about being purposeful and engaged. 

How do you do this? 

Well, first we have to realize that whether or not we live deliberately, life will happen.  If you do not create and design your life, other people and circumstances will make choices for you and, before you know it, your life is enmeshed in other people’s ideas, and in our consumer culture’s way of life, rather than your own.  

The challenge is that when you create your own life, and create your own existence, rather than following the herd of Joneses, you may be met with resistance from others and resistance and fear from within yourself. The pressure to conform is immense and it takes courage and perseverance to follow your own path. 

In my own experience, as I became more professionally successful, I did not necessarily become happier.  In fact, I became more and more stressed out as the complications in my life piled up.  I lost sight of the simple joys in life as I was drowning in stress and pressure. 

This all happened, despite me considering myself a person who lived deliberately.  I thought I was the kind of person who set goals and pursued them.  I often reached my goals and created new ones.  Then I would move on to the next set of goals and then the next. 

What I did not realize was that the very goals I was striving for were part of a bigger problem relating to our consumer-oriented and “success"-oriented culture.  Instead of focusing on the important things in life that I enjoyed, like spending time with my child and watching her grow, being with my husband, cuddling my dogs, and being in the forest, I focused instead on building an office, buying more stuff, and dreaming about owning a big ski chalet.  I did all of this while believing I was not materialistic.  

Deliberate living is about slowing down, and thinking about and paying attention to:

  • How you are spending your time;
  • What you are purchasing;
  • What you are consuming (stuff, food, substances);
  • How you are caring for your body;
  • How you are nurturing your mind;
  • How you are caring for your soul; and, most importantly,
  • How you are caring for the relationships with those you love.

Deliberate living is about continually creating your time, relationships, experiences, and learning every day.  As I sit and write this, I am listening to the early morning birds singing and it makes my soul sing.  It would have been easy to miss this part of my day that is so very important to me by sleeping in. Instead, I sit and write and feel my soul sing.  This is the best way to create the beginning of my day.  What is yours? 

Written by Val Hemminger, the nonconforming professional

Return from deliberate living

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