April 28, 2008

living deliberately

‘…I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear... I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life….’ Henry Thoreau

‘Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial. Eveything is permissible but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. ‘ – Paul,The Bible

Now I can bitch with the best of them but when it comes to meaningful morals I do not consider myself to be especially judgemental. I’m happy to let people live their own lives and I’m sorry when things don’t turn out well for them. I think I’m relatively laid back; not easily phased.

But there is something people do that really offends me. It disturbs me, it makes me feel frustrated, almost angry. The strength of my reaction always surprises me. I just cannot respect it and I usually have to say something. Unintentional behaviour.

People who do things they do not believe are ok. Like people who hate smoking lighting up, or people who love someone kissing someone else. sound familiar? people who claim something and act in the opposite direction. Don’t say sorry later, you made your choice at the time. Actions speak louder than words.

Let me introduce you to ‘Living deliberately’; a policy that places your life in your own hands to give to whatever or whoever you want. ‘Living deliberately’ is a phrase my mate Hannah and I coined. We were at university and the days were sliding past like children on a skiddy floor. As I imagined the wrinkles forming on my face, I decided to choose how to live, each millisecond. Not exactly carpe diem, more like running a google search for the implications of every action you make.

Zwane was the HOTTEST guy in Malawi; he wore a necklace of sex appeal. I noticed him around for a few weeks and one night asked him why he wasn’t wearing his usual hat?a few hours later he was in front of my face and keen. I looked at his lips… they were interesting, slightly asymmetric a bit dry… absolutely magnetic. He was very close and I was centimetres away from giving in, on-the-spot I glimpsed the implications (my boyfriend!!) and I dived past the lips and fobbed him off with a sturdy hug. it wasn’t what I WANTED to do, but it was a deliberate decision for the greater good!!

Wait wait, deliberate living is not control-freak psycho, harnessing spontaneity, crushing individualism… and it is definitely not a glittery self-help self-empowering pep talk, be all you can be. It is about liberating yourself from silly impulsive choices that only give immediate gratification and may fuck up your life in the long run.

‘… life is more than a series of moments. I believe we can make choices… and we can choose to protect the people we love.’ – Ben Afleck in Forces of Nature

‘you were called to be free. But do not let this freedom become an excuse for letting your physical desires control you. Instead, let love make you serve one another. For the whole law is summed up in one commandment ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’. But if you act like wild animals, hurting and harming each other, then watch out, or you will completely destroy one another.’ Paul, The Bible

Call them what you will, there are things you REALLY want to do which are not healthy or helpful. These things impact your life, the other people involved and the innocent bystanders. They don’t even make you happy!!

‘for what our human nature wants is opposed to what the spirit wants, and what the spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do.’ Paul, The Bible

If ‘deliberate living’ is possible, you can then take complete full unashamed responsibility for every single one of your actions and make choices that fully reflect who you are and what you believe. An intentional life - no regrets, no accidents, no mistakes – attractive?

‘So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to – the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.’ – Paul, The Bible

'I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life….’ – Henry Thoreau


  1. JESS!

    This is deep. But I totally agree. People always say, it just happened. No, nothing just happens. You have free will and you make conscious decisions to do things. But, sometimes, when people don't actually know what they want, things just happen. Because they don't have the personal strength and "rooting" to know which way to go and which way would be right or wrong.

  2. Huh! Interesting.

  3. By the way, this 'Zwane' is probably my cousin. Who knows? Maybe you missed out a lifetime of happiness with him. He! He! But knowing my cousin, perhaps not.

    Anyway, since you are "happy to let others live their lives", why are you 'mad' when they cheat, lie, etc, on themselves?

  4. MICHAEL thats the whole point... i'm happy to let others live their lives... apart from when they are not true to themselves.

  5. Okay. I get it (although in my world, people who love someone can kiss someone - he! he!) Anyway, I think I get it.

    You disapprove of people who don't walk the walk. Of course, this makes sense. The Bible, which you quoted quite well in this entry, might i add, is full of those. Prophets they call them.

    Nothing wrong with walking the walk, which is what you do (one gets the feeling after reading your blog entry - "I smoke therefore I'll smoke, I lie therefore I'll lie, right?" Not "I don't like smnoking but I'll smoke to look cool, etc."

    The world, as cynic as it is, will then ask you: "Do you really walk the walk? Do you really love when you say you love?" If not, then you elevating yourself to a podium very few can afford to perch. Playing God, others call it.

    Interesting topic to handle, morals is. Perhaps you should try an approach my crazy mentor once taught me:

    "I'm an ass, you're an ass. Where's the problem?"

    It might save you that chagrin feeling you get the next time someone does something they didn't mean to do and then complained about it later.

    To quote one Jessica Mack (hey, turns out thats you), "that sounds horribly depressing" and not a
    fun place to be - being at the mercy of what others are doing.

    ps. We should go to that view you took me the other day and talk more about Thoreau, the next time you're in town. I used to be a big fan.

  6. mmmmh zwane! that is all i have to say.

    it is interesting how tiny the world really is. how you can be idly googling a remembered face and come across the blog of a random stranger. you probably made the right choice in that time.

  7. Ohhh I m pierced to the quick!

  8. It is not possible to liberate ourselves from making wrong choices. If it is then Christ died and rose again unnecessarily. The scriptures you are using apply only to those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour and are in relationship with him. Outside his grace, it is impossible to 'free ourselves from slavery to bad choices a.k.a. sin'

  9. ‘When faced with anything painful or pleasurable, anything bringing glory or disrepute, realize that the crisis is now, the Olympics have started, and waiting is no longer an option; that the chance for progress, to keep or lose, turns on the events of a single day’ Epictetus

  10. We make the choices that put us exactly where we chose to be.
    Learn to stop complaining, to stop being dissatisfied,to show gratitude, to have acceptance. To make a conscious choices, if you don't like it, change it or accept it.
    Live in the now, be completely present


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