Episode 5: When Things Go Wrong

What happens when your intentional living plan doesn’t work for you?  It happens!  In this episode we look behind the plan for intentional living to discern what may be going on when your plan doesn’t work.

The short answer is to look at what’s going on with your sense of control and autonomy and your willingness to empower yourself by taking responsibility for everything in your life.  You might be running rackets that are getting in your way!

Key Term – Rackets – a fixed way of thinking and a consistent complaint that emanates from a sense that you lack control or autonomy or your reluctance to take responsibility for what’s going on in your life.  Example:  “I work with a bunch of immature people.  I just wait for them to grow up or have the consequences of what they’re doing fall on them.”  The racket allows him to sidestep responsibility for interacting in a way that could improve the situation.  Rackets are a disempowering narrative that are often rooted in the past: “I can’t do that because I’m bad at math.  I’m a terrible dancer; that’s why no one asks me to dance.”

Key Term – Distinction – An invitation to elevate your thinking about a subject.  You’ve been thinking about something one way; a distinction invites you to divide the subject matter and see things differently.

Key Idea – You can’t ruin your life.  You are exactly where you belong right now, doing what you are meant to be doing.

The value of Mastermind – being in a space where someone else can ask you:  “Is that really true, or are you choosing to believe that it’s true?”

The value of journaling in a stream of consciousness way – it allows you to separate yourself from your thoughts so that you can look back and ask, “Is that true, or am I choosing to believe that it’s true?”

Key Idea – The Narrative or Default Network versus The Sensory Network – In his book Your Brain at Work, David Rock explains that as a default, your brain occupies itself with The Narrative Network, which is a busy, noisy feed that encompasses what’s happening, what happened, what will happen to you, your significant other, your cousins, etc.  It’s exhausting!  Rock suggests giving yourself a break frequently to switch to your sensory network – being present to what your senses are supplying.  Is there a breeze?  Is there a fragrance in the air?  What does the sunshine feel like?  You’ll refresh yourself!

Word Swap Exercise – Consider swapping “and” for “but”.  For example, “I want to get married, but all the good partners are taken.”  Change that to “I want to get married and all the good ones are taken.”  This may cause you to consider whether your search is too narrow, you’re looking in the wrong places, you’ve ruled out some possibilities that you should not have…..

Episode 2.1 – Long Term Planning: The (gulp) Funeral Exercise

Welcome back!  This short episode is an extension of the discussion in Episode 2 of long term planning and envisioning your future.

This exercise invites you to envision what your funeral might look like – but don’t worry! If this idea makes you squeamish (Kathy: “uh-huh”) you can envision another different kind of end of era.  Think of your retirement, or your Golden Wedding Anniversary, or your 75th birthday.

Who is present?   What’s the mood?  What can you learn from this vision?  Where do you want this event to be happening?  How do people think and speak about you?

This is not intended to get you concerned about what people think about you, only to provoke you to identify the values that you want to live into in order to be the person in that vision of the future.

Are your children, grandchildren or other next-generation relatives there?  What have they learned from your actions and your interactions with them?

Stepping back from this vision, reflect on whether there are transformations that will serve you to live into this vision of your future.



Episode 2.2 – Listener Feedback

Thanks to everyone who’s been listening and engaging!  Community is what makes this podcast joyful.

Eva listened and commented that Kathy and Michael are “real people” talking about what makes life work for them.  Exactly!

Che from Massachusetts, had lots of glorious thoughts to share and also the great idea of developing a reading list for listeners of the podcast.  Awesome!  Kathy and Michael can’t wait to start this project and to collaborate with listeners to expand and improve the list.  Thanks, Che!

Maria and Cameron commented that they got a little tangled up in the story that Michael told about how he channeled his grandfather as a role model when he had to decide what to do and how to conduct himself when he found himself in Manhattan on September 11, 2001.  The point of the story is that in stressful, difficult, traumatic situations you can summon your best self by thinking of a role model and embodying what they would have said and done.

Maria also recommended a book, “Girl, Wash Your Face” that identifies the lies that people, particularly women, tell themselves that become self-limiting beliefs and other heuristics that may not be helpful to living the life you want.

Thank you to everyone who left us a 5 star rating!

Episode 2: Authoring Your Future – Tools for Imagining, Envisioning and Planning Your Intentional Life

Podcast Cover Intentional Living

Welcome back!  Thanks for listening and engaging.  Your comments are welcome at trulyintentional@gmail.com

In this episode, Kathy and Michael discuss specific tools and exercises to envision the intentional life you want.   Here are some key ideas and tools from the episode.

Airport Exercise:  Michael first learned about the Airport Exercise from a blog and podcast by Pat Flynn called Smart Passive Income.  Here’s how to do the Airport Exercise:  Imagine you are five years in the future and you run into a friend, a good friend, at the airport whom you haven’t seen in the past five years.  What will you say to bring your friend up to date about your life in a brief conversation – not too long because you both have planes to catch!

First step:  Take a piece of paper and draw lines to divide it in four quadrants.  Give a name to each quadrant that identifies an area of life that is important to you.  Examples:  Health, Creativity, Travel, Family, Adventure, Connections, Love, Relationships.  Don’t anguish over what you write; just put down what floats to the top of your mind.

Second step:  Under each category, list a few things, in the present tense, that characterize that part of your life that you will be excited to share with your friend at the airport.  Examples:  I published my book!  I’m married and have 2 kids!  I’m a yoga teacher at a wonderful studio I love!

What’s the point?  The Airport Exercise supports your vision of your desired future by getting you to speak, from a future vantage point, about the life you want to live.  Using the present tense empowers that vision so that you can feel what it is like to have that life.

Five Year Plan:  The Airport Exercise is an imagination exercise, and Five Year Plan is a planning and goal setting exercise.  

First step:  Write down where you want to be in five years.  Examples:  I am a successful yoga teacher.  I am free of credit card debt.  I have published my book.  

Second step:  Break down the five year goal into year by year goals to establish benchmarks.   Examples:  In year one, I will take the courses required to become certified by Yoga Alliance as a yoga teacher.  In year two, I will research the studios in my area and offer to do workshops or substitute teaching so that I can get a feel for the sudio.  In year three, I will fortify my reputation in the local yoga community by leading regional workshops.  You get the idea. Third step:  Keep going; break each year into monthly benchmarks.  Michael uses his forthcoming new book on Prehab Exercises as an example of how to establish daily practices that support a five year goal, such as working every day on illustrations and learning via You Tube about what other people in his field are doing.

Inner Critic:  Most people have an inner critic, a voice that spools out negative, limiting messages.  Your Inner Critic may hijack your voice to sound like you, but often is a voice borrowed from a parent or other authority who’s had commentary on your life and actions.

Ideal Home:  Take a sheet of paper and sketch out and/or write out what your Ideal Home looks and how it feels. Draw a floor plan!  Design the landscape!  Sketch out what your most lived in rooms look like.  Describe how you feel when you arrive at home and when you spend time there.  Who lives there in addition to you?  Pets?  Kids?  Spouse?  How does the space flow?

Ideal Day:  Take a sheet of paper and walk yourself through an ideal day.  When do you wake up?  How do you feel when you get out of bed?  What is your morning routine?  Where do you go when you leave your home?  What do you do?  With whom do you collaborate during the day? What happens during your day?  How is your life balanced among work, play, creative and movement activities.

Vision Board:  This is a visual projection of your brain, mind and spirit.  Gather a bunch of old magazines, grab a pair of scissors and a poster board.  Identify three things that you want, three things that you want to do and three things you want to feel.  Browse through the magazines and collect what you see that aligns with these three categories.  Affix the images to your board and revisit it from time to time to see how you move toward it.  Put it where you will see it often.  Alternatives:  Do the same thing digitally, collecting images from the web.

Dragontree Apothecary Dreambook – This is a beautiful interview format journal that encourages you to explore how you want to experience different parts of your existence and relationships – how you want to feel in those parts of your life.  It explores topics such as your relationship with money.  You can buy the journal on line from Dragontree Apothecary or you can buy a .pdf file from them and print it out to work on as you move through the journal.   It is definitely a “little at a time” project!


Episode 1: What is Intentional Living?


This is the first episode of Intentional Living with Kathy & Michael.

In this first episode, Kathy and Michael introduce themselves and define and discuss intentional living:  taking control of your day to day life, the direction of your life and living less reactively.  Sound good?  Join in!  trulyintentional@gmail.com

Here are some of the key ideas Kathy and Michael discuss in the first episode

Mastermind – The podcast was born out of a Mastermind in which Kathy and Michael have participated for the past year.  A Mastermind is a club, group or gathering, informal or formal, in which the members share weekly milestones and offer one another affirmation and accountability.  The Kathy & Michael Mastermind has met in a parking structure, on the lawn outside Equinox Tysons Corner and in various coffeeshops.  Anywhere is good!  Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Landmark Worldwide – A personal development organization in which Michael has participated.  Www.landmarkworldwide.com

G.A.P.S. – Goals, Accomplishments, Proud, Struggle.  This is a weekly exercise that Kathy and Michael perform to look back at the past week and forward to the coming week.

How to Communicate Like a Buddhist, by Cynthia Kane – Before you say something, ask yourself three questions: 1.  Is it true?  2.  Is it kind?  3.  Is it necessary?

Mindset, by Carol Dweck – Are you locked into a fixed mindset, believing that what you’ve got and where you are – that’s it?  Or do you believe in your capacity to grow and change?  Guess which one promotes intentionality.

Airport Exercise – Imagine that you are at an airport, waiting to catch a plane, and you run into an old, good friend you haven’t seen for five years.  What will you say to catch that person up to where you are now?  Take a piece of paper and identify four areas of your life that you’d most want to cover in your update.  What are they?  Family?  Career?  Spirituality?  Health?  What do you want to be able to say about each area in this brief conversation?

Five-Year Plan – Michael uses this tool for himself and to encourage clients and friends to envision the life they want.  Think of writing a narrative that describes what’s important in your life, five years from now.  Imagine enough detail to provoke the idea of how you feel about each aspect of your life that you describe.  For example, how does your home feel?  How do you feel when you go to work?

The Four-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss.  Discusses how to make your work life efficient so that you have time for what you love to do.

Backroads Tours – Kathy took a long awaited cycling your with this company in September 2017 in Provence, France.  Magnifique! Excellent!

How Emotions are Made, by Lisa Feldman Barrett – Your brain is a black box that can’t do anything other than try to sort out the sensory inputs it receives from your body.

Unbeatable Mind:  Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level, by Mark Divine, former Navy SEAL and founder of SEALfit. Unbeatable Mind shares many techniques for mental resiliency, including Box Breathing, mantras and recapitulating

The Brain:  The Story of You, by David Eagleman – every time you visit a memory you change it.  Memories are malleable and you can change the way that they affect your present life by adding the wisdom of subsequent experiences to them when you revisit and observe them.

Role Modeling Tool – Michael talks about how his grandfather served as his role model when he had to decide what to do and  how to behave when he found himself in Manhattan on September 11, 2001.

HeadSpace – This is a meditation app that Kathy and Michael use.  Michael mentions in this episode the idea of reimagining your daily routine as if you’re on vacation (even though you’re not).