8 episodes

Kathy & Michael are exploronauts in the field of Intentional Living, which aims to unify daily living with dreams through practices, habits, routines and exercises. Why live reactively when you can live intentionally?

Intentional Living with Kathy & Michael trulyintentional@gmail.com

    • Health & Fitness

Kathy & Michael are exploronauts in the field of Intentional Living, which aims to unify daily living with dreams through practices, habits, routines and exercises. Why live reactively when you can live intentionally?

    Episode 6: You are 100% Responsible for Everything in Your Life. Whaaat?

    Episode 6: You are 100% Responsible for Everything in Your Life. Whaaat?

    What does this concept mean, that you are 100% responsible for everything in your life?  How can that possibly be true? It’s everywhere in the personal development literature.  In a nutshell it means that you create your life with your energy, words and actions and you are 100% responsible for that.  And while you cannot control how people receive what you put out into the world, you invite into your life whatever your efforts yield, and therefore, you are responsible for what comes into your life. 

    Michael and Kathy discuss how responsibility is different from guilt and blame.  You can take responsbility for something without accepting guilt about it.  Likewise, you can accept reponsibility for things that you tend to blame others for.  Do you blame others for how your life is going?  This is also a way of surrendering responsibility for control.  This may constitute a “racket” as used in the Landmark Worldwide – a game that you keep repeating even though it leads to a no-win situation.

    Michael and Kathy discuss the concept that reality is constructed by language.  When you choose language in a conversation with another person, you are creating a reality and your choices about what to say create the outcome.

    Your life is constructed by your thoughts and actions.  Your life is a story that you tell yourself.  So choose your story carefully.

    Managing Thought by Mary J. Lore explores the concept that you are not your thoughts and you need not be controlled by them.  She explains how you can distance yourself from your thoughts and become an observer of them.

    Reframing is a technique disussed in How Emotions are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett.  Instead of surrendering to expectations that bad things repeat themselves whenever you see associated “warning signs” and have to be interpreted the same way, try being open to reframing every interaction as the possibility of something new, different and positive happening.

    If you expect struggle in your efforts, you likely will encounter struffle.  Try looking for ease and finding it.  In yoga, there is the concept of ease, sukha in Sanskrit.  While a student of yoga may have difficulty or struggle to get into a pose, once there, the student can try to find the ease in the pose by inhabiting the pose from within.  This makes the pose more enjoyable, easier to hold and more beneficial.   Michael tells a story of expecting a difficult experience, then dropping that expectation and looking for and finding ease in the situation.

    Michael mentions Focus by Daniel Goleman, which invites the reader to consider carefully what he or she is bringing focus to.  He also mentions, as another book that illuminates the importance of personal responsibility, Start with Why by Simon Sinek, which invites the reader to ask why about his or her own desires and motivations.  Sinek suggests going behind the initial “why?” to get past superficial expressions of desire and motivation.  Michael and Kathy role play the “five whys” that a personal trainer asks to investigate the true motivation behind a client’s fitness goals.  For example, if a client says, “I want to lose weight”, the trainer would ask “why do you want to lose weight?”  Through a trail of “five whys”, the trainer and client can discover a deeper motivation cloaked in the client’s emotions that will truly, deeply motivate the client to stick to a program and achieve his or her goals.

    Personal responsibility means giving interactions your best effort with your best energy.  You can’t control how what you say lands; that part is not your responsibility.  You can’t control the other person’s reaction.  You are responsible for managing your energy with good self-care rituals – getting enough sleep and rest, making sure you’re oxygenated with enough exercise

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Episode 5: When Things Go Wrong

    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…..

    • 35 min
    Episode 4: Daily Rituals, Habits and Practices to Support Your Intentional Life

    Episode 4: Daily Rituals, Habits and Practices to Support Your Intentional Life

    Thanks for coming back to listen!
    In this episode, Kathy and Michael discuss daily rituals, habits and practices.  When you think about all the things that might work for you as daily practices, do you ever feel as though if you kept up with all of them you’d have no time for life?  Welcome to the club!  In this episode we discuss how to identify and hone your daily practices until the ones that really support where you want to go with your intentional life become automatic.  They won’t feel like distractions or intrusions at all; rather, they are the building blocks of your intentional life.
    Daily practices fall into three categories, mental, physical spiritual practices.  Some practices, such as movement, cross the boundaries of these categories.  Moving serves your body and your mind.  Examples:  Controlled Articulated Rotation – CARs as a daily practice helps you establish and maintain a healthy range of motion for your joints.  Consistent practice might stave off bone spurs that can restrict joint mobility.  You only get to keep the range of motion that you work.  
    What’s more, CARs are an example of how movement can stimulate you neurological circuits to help you learn how to move your body even better.  This is neuroplasticity that results from requiring your body to move in different way that it isn’t used to.
    Working out every day as a presumption:  Kathy mentioned that she operates on a presumption that she will be working out every day – some sort of movement that makes you lose your breath and break a sweat.  If you assume you’ll work out 7 days of week, and you miss one day or even two days, you’re still on top of your game.
    Working out as a ritual can also free part of your brain for processing other parts of your life. It can support mental acuity and make problem solving easier.
    Where are you on a scale of 1 to 5 in your physical activity?  Are you a zero (never do it) or a 5 (just about every day)?  Would you consider moving up a notch to support
    Amy Cuddy has a TED Talk in which she advocates power poses as a way of priming your confidence.  https://tinyurl.com/lxs7u6e  (Cuddy’s work has been criticized because other researchers have said that they can’t reproduce her results in terms of objective life outcomes for study participants.  Nevertheless, subjectively, these poses can make you feel better in the moment and are worth trying to see what you make of them.)
    Laughter as a movement:  If you’re really laughing at something that strikes you as funny, you are moving!  Laughter has many neurological and hormonal benefits.  Kathy mentioned a practice called Laughter Yoga, a movement in which the teacher provokes students to laugh.  Once the class gets going, it’s contagious.  Michael gets into laughing by watching an hour of TV comedy (using blue filter glasses) before going to sleep.  This help create endorphins to balance out cortisol, which can support restful sleep.  Cortisol is not bad in and of itself.  It results from stimulation of the fight or flight impulse, which happens constanty in modern life from irritating but non-life-threatening stimuli – traffic, work annoyance – more than is necessary to ensure physical security.  So balancing it out with endorphin-provoking laughter is importance to physical and mental balance.
    Laughter Yoga – Yes, it’s a real thing.  Check out https://laughteryoga.org
    Win the Morning, Win the Day – What you do first thing in the morning primes you for the way the rest of the day can go for you.  Michael looks for inspiration from motivational speakers on YouTube.  He also meditates daily using the HeadSpace app – not for spiritual enlightenment but to get clarity for the day.
    Meditation – Kathy speaks about her meditation practice as a “fort” – a touchstone place of calm and non-reactivity that y

    • 1 hr 26 min
    Episode 3: Medium-Term Planning Goals – From This Week to Your Intentional Future

    Episode 3: Medium-Term Planning Goals – From This Week to Your Intentional Future

    Welcome to the podcast!  In this episode Kathy and Michael discuss medium-term planning and evaluation tools to support your long-term vision.  Here are the key tools:
    Self Journal – Best Self Journal company offers beautiful physical journals that help you organize your efforts in 13-week chunks meant to be manageable and to keep yourself accountable.  The journal includes an accountability contract – you promise you that you’ll stay on task with your goals.
    Games in the World – This is a Landmark Worldwide technique to project a goal several months out and then reverse engineer the milestones that you need to meet to get there.  Operative concepts are possibilities and outcomes.  What are the possibilities inherent in the present moment? Examples:  fun is possible; charm is possible; inspiration is possible.  Think of this as a way of being.  If fun is possible, you are the possibility of fun.  If inspiration is possible, you are the possibility of inspiring yourself and others.  (Go with it; the usage is a little puzzling, but you get the concept.)  Outcomes define what you desire to have happen as an experience for yourself and others.  You can bring other people into the game to form a team to help you realize your possibilities and achive your outcome.
    SMART Goals – These are goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Reasonable and Time-Bounded.  You can have SMART goals for a quarter, a year or an hour.  You could say, for example, that the SMART goal for a one-hour meeting is to decide when and where the conference you are planning will occur and how many attendees you can accommodate.
    GAPS – Goals, Accomplishments, Proud, Struggle – A weekly exercise in which you list things that fit these four categories to solidfy what you’ve achieved and celebrate what you’ve done.  This helps empower you for the week ahead to define and achieve your goals.  It also helps you keep track of progress toward your larger goals and the subtending milestones.  Accountability!  When you write down what you’re proud of don’t be shy.  You did it!  Say it!  When you define your struggles, this is a moment to contemplate what’s in the way of achieving your larger goals and what else it going on in your life.  Are your relationships working in support of your goals?  Are you distracted by unexpected events or recurring habits?  You can only address what you acknowledge is showing up.
    Calendar – This isn’t just a list of reminder of when to show up for meetings and appointments.  Not for your intentional life!  You can use your calendar to keep you on track for weekly habits.  Example:  Sunday 2 p.m. – write your GAPS for the week.  Example:  Midnight every day, looking at your phone, wouldn’t it be nice to have a reassuring suggestion that you dream about your future?  (Don’t set a reminder tone, though.  It’s preferable that you’re already asleep.  But if you’re up, why not make it a reassuring experience?)
    To Do List – There are different ways to use this tactical tool.  It’s not really a great place to set goals that are longer term – they may just stay on the page and discourage you from paying attention to them.  It’s a good way to declutter your brain to prevent the same things from coming up over and over again.
    Quarterly Review – Look back at your efforts over the past quarter.  Ask yourself six questions:  1.  What did you accomplish?  2.  What worked?  3. What didn’t work?  4. What was missing?        5. What do you want to accomplish?  6. What action steps do the answers to these questions suggest?  The quarterly review can provide a virtuous feedback loop to fuel your efforts in the coming months.

    • 52 min
    Episode 2.1 – Long Term Planning – The (gulp) Funeral Exercise

    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.

    • 11 min
    Episode 2.2 – Listener Feedback

    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!

    • 5 min

Customer Reviews

Zil Snave ,

Insightful Advice

Very helpful for those of us trying to forge new paths and be true to who we are!

evayuchieh ,

Real people!

Nice to listen to a couple of real people talk about making life work for them!

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