This is what I do, don't try to understand how I do it; I don't really know either

Archive for May, 2018

Follow Your Why

There is a lot of writing involved in getting your MA and your PhD but for me there is additional writing because I am applying for scholarships. I had to write an essay for one and thought I would share it with you. It’s the basis for why I do what I do.

Here was the criteria:

An essay of no more than 1,000 words specifically describing how you “followed your why” and contributed to advancing positive social change in one or more of the following areas:
a. Influencing the lives of others
b. Mentoring a colleague
c. Making a positive impact in your community *

Following our why is critical to success in life. “Your WHY is what drives you to action: A thirst for knowledge, a commitment to your family, a desire for change in your community,” Walden University Follow Your Why (2018). Your why is what will change you and those around you at the same time. It is the foundation for what we do. Having passion is important but as Kimathi Kaumbutho points out, “passion is fleeting,” (2017, May 11).  Your why will remain constant and at time fuel your passion, but when your passion fades, your why will keep you moving forward. Kaumbutho talks about days he wanted to stay in bed, but he put in the hard work anyways because his why was that he wanted to inspire others.

I have goals of making a difference in those around me and also those around the world. My why is because I should not be where I am. Where I have come from and what I grew up with determined a trajectory that was bleak and dismal. I chose to not allow my circumstances to determine my future. I wanted something different, something more and I was willing to do whatever it took to make that happen. Walden is not “looking for people who follow the crowd. We’re looking for people who follow their passion. People who have the courage to make a change,” Walden University Follow Your Why (2018). I embody this principle.

I have been told I could not make it, and to not try to achieve what I was working towards. I have evaluated the feedback and the source, then evaluated myself, my why and my options and decided that giving up was not what I would choose. There have been many days I wanted to give up, to stop trying and just let life pass by. The conceptualization of what achieving my goals looks like has been the force for me to continue on. Each goal that is realized enforces the hard decisions I have made to keep going, and that all the effort is worth it.

Showing others who come from difficult backgrounds that they can achieve their dreams is my why. At times I did not believe in myself, but among the naysayers, there were also those who profoundly believed in me. I want to be one of those people who sees in others what they can not see in themselves. We live in a broken world, we are hurt and we hurt others; but these things don’t have to define us. We need to see in each other whats under the surface. We need to be real, dig deep and live vulnerably. “We seek to belong and to contribute, to cherish and be cherished, in the places we work and live. That is what success is,” Asghar, R. (2014, January 22).

I have followed my why to bring positive change first and foremost to my children. I want them to have a much different childhood than my own. This meant I had to change myself so I could lead them by example. I have not yet arrived by any stretch but I am not who I was. I would not be disappointed if they turned out like me, but I definitely want them to go even further. I have also been involved in youth outreach since I was a youth myself. Youth are our future and though it means change will take longer to come, it will come as we shape and develop them to be people who know who they are and follow their why.

On a global scale, I have been involved in various ways politically for many years. This has been an effort to bring change federally, provincially and municipally. Currently, I volunteer as a parliamentary riding leader for the ONE campaign. We are an advocacy group with a goal to end extreme poverty. I also own a company that works with international students. These students are primarily high school age and they come from all over the world for long and short-term programs to Canada. My staff arrangesnay their living accommodations with families. I have developed a mentor program so while the students are here, we are connecting with them and pouring into their lives so that when they return home they are not the same. I have seen amazing things happen in lives through building these relationships.

My future goals are to complete my Ph.D. in public policy and administration while using my research to bring reform to the youth justice systems in developing countries. I have already made connections to start this endeavour and I am excited to begin the process that will ultimately have an impact on the future of developing countries. I will achieve these goals by following my why and showing others that they can overcome their circumstances.

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Living By Moments

I love to get there. I love that feeling after a really long drive, of having arrived. It excites me to cross things off a list – I have a deep sense of satisfaction when I accomplish something. I am an achiever. I get a lot of things done because it feels good to get things done. I have always just wanted to get there and not really stop along the way because I always felt that the joy was in the end, not in the journey.

I’m getting older and learning. I don’t think I will ever not be satisfied at the end or driven to get there, but I am learning to enjoy things along the way. My life has been filled with trauma and pain. so really is it any wonder that I would just want to get to the end. When your in pain you just want it to stop, so you just get through it.

Last week I was hurting and in between my sobs I said to myself, feel this. Don’t just get through it, but feel it. My custom has been to clench every muscle and curl up tight while riding the roller coaster and just make it through. The belief is that once you are on the other side it’s over, but that is false. What you went through comes with you, unless you feel it. It’s like these emotions wait and they sneak up on you. Some will never go away – I have pain that will always be with me, but if I feel it at the time it happens, it has less power when it comes back. The more I feel it, the more I acknowledge and process it, the less it can overwhelm me. It’s that simple but not that easy.

If I break life down into moments it is easier. There are good moments and bad ones and you need to live in both. The bad moments are easier to deal with if you think of them as moment. Moments pass. When I think of them as moments I feel as though I can put it in the palm of my hand and look it over. I can examine it from different angles and take it apart. I can see why it hurts or how it came to be. Understanding helps with healing.

Of course we want the good moments to last longer but they are also only moments. I am learning to enjoy them when I have them. I often focus on the big picture – which isn’t bad, but sometimes you miss the beautiful details that only come by taking the moments. Maybe the end isn’t what you want, but don’t miss the moments on the way. Both good and bad make us who we are. We will always have the moments we want to keep stored in our memory.

I’ll never forget jumping on the trampoline with Susan and the babies. Riding my bike as a kid with the wind rushing through my hair and I felt like I could go anywhere. Each of my children being born (including the one who died). Laughing with my best friends, which happens often, but never often enough. Being surrounded by my family and eating tacos. Teaching my kids to read. The moments when I know I have impacted the life of a young person in a positive way. Finishing my degrees. Watching the city lights at night and standing on the edge of the majestic ocean.

These are all my moments. I get to keep them. The good and the bad make up my life.

I want to live it and feel it. All of it.