Creating Simplicity – The Fijian Way


Today is a good day. My outlook is clear, my perspective is positive and my mind is active. The past is the past, the future is the future and the now is the now. In this very moment, we are living in the now and in order to be 100% content with where we are at, we must concentrate all of our energy into our current position in the world. Let your stance at this moment in time be powerful — stand tall, stand proud. After all, student Malakai’s height of 4’2″ did not stand a chance against her 6′ tall character.

If we can master the art of living in the moment, we have made life simple.

Fiji taught me simplicity in the most complicated way. The definition of minimalism has never made more sense. The people of Fiji are so happy and lively, yet they are living in villages where poverty prevails and the challenges of a developing nation is apparent around every street corner.

This? This is perspective.

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Car keys, cell phone, wallet, laptop –> my usual morning checklist walking out the door to University.

Smile, water bottle, present mind –> the only three things I needed heading to AOG Primary School every day in Fiji.

Teaching and coaching in Fiji, I realized that what it means to live “normally” is only relative to each region of the world. Though the Fiji cultural ways are quite different compared to Canada, I learned to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. The biggest culture shock actually occurred when I arrived back to my own Canadian neighbourhood. I fell in love with the Fiji way of life and thought that I had to leave that all behind once I boarded my flight home. I’ve never been more wrong in my life. The love, compassion and acceptance that the Fijians engrained in my heart will forever live on.

Mission: Teach the children.

Reality: The children taught me.

Educators, doctors, first responders, accountants, children — we are all students of life’s game.

Area of focus: Healthy living in a world that is currently health’s biggest competitor, especially in a village with few resources. Poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle and technological convenience is having a larger negative impact on individual well-being.

SOO — was the intent of my STRETCH to make a difference in health and wellness? Of course, but more on that in a later post.

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Sure, I could write about the 200+ hours of teaching and coaching that I complete — but my biggest takeaway? PROPER COMMUNICATION.

The importance of proper communication is underestimated. As individuals, we thrive off of companionship and relationships. I learned that we must first invest in building rapport between one another before we can adapt to communicating on the same frequency. My challenge and biggest accomplishment was framing my health topics in a way that was tailored specifically to each unique child.

Opposite geographical locations, 10 year age differences, language barriers, etc., yet I’ve never felt more heard in my life. They were willing to receive my frequency because I learned to wade in the water before diving in head first — authentic connection was established with each student like the roots of a tree. The trunk could then grow from this foundation and allow the branches to flourish. Universal power and diversity are the world’s biggest strengths. We can learn to walk down the same avenue while letting vehicles of knowledge pass by and teach us valuable life lessons along the way.

What I am saying here is that if a person can only throw a ball 10 feet, and the receiver is standing 20 feet away, somebody has to adapt. When adaptation occurs, the conduit of knowledge can get through.

Evaluate your audience before performing in the theatre. You can describe a magnificent sunset to your audience and everyone in the room will see something different. My version of magnificent is different than Aroni’s and Emele’s, but is still relative to our own imaginations. AOG Primary School taught me to find a way to connect and get on the same level as my students.

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Evaluate, act, align. Let’s become better teachers and learners. Let’s build lasting relationships. Let’s work in harmony to share knowledge across oceans. Let us all be teammates in this life with the help of proper communication.

I’m sharing this insight with all of you on a frequency that I hope you can tune in to.

Today is a good day.

Vinaka Vakalevu!


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