On Having a Story, Saying Yes and Living with Intention

 “Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits.” – Bruce Lee & John Little, The Art of Expressing the Human Body (via Joel Runyon)

As I mentioned in my last post about WDS, two messages really resonated with me as I left Portland and absorbed everything that happened: having a story and saying yes. A third that I discovered is living with intention.

On Storytelling

The first person to really hit these topics for me was  Joel Runyon of Impossible HQ during his workshop (aptly titled): “Do Something. Do Anything.” He told us the question that propelled him into the creating a list of impossible things and changing his life was, “Are you telling a good story with your life? Would anybody want to read it?

I, admittedly, don’t have much of a story and it’s probably the major thing that I need to work on. My lack of story is a lot of things… fear, insecurities, unwillingness to be vulnerable… but it’s something that I want and am ready to change. So far, I’m just a girl who quit my corporate job, found another corporate job, pays off my debt, but sometimes does cool things on the side. Riveting, I’m sure.

Having a story is clearly one of my greatest weaknesses. I think I’m a cool enough person, but would anyone else want to read my story? Not without a little work.

On Saying Yes

I took absolutely no notes during JD Roth‘s speech on the Power of Personal Transformation (luckily, he posted the transcript yesterday). JD is a man who has gone through major transformations across all areas of his life over the past several years.

The first topic up? The power of yes. JD found that he was saying no to opportunities constantly because he was “afraid of what might happen.” Then he continued:

I made a resolution. I decided that instead of saying “no” to things because I was afraid of them, I’d “just say yes”.

Saying yes is something I’ve been working on in my life already. I don’t want to be the person that says “I wish.” I don’t want to wish, I want to do. As JD said, it is the things we do that make me who we are, not what we think we do.

I don’t wish I was brave enough to go skydiving, I do it.
I don’t wish I could travel, I make it a priority and do it.
I don’t wish I could get out of debt, I work at it everyday.
I don’t wish I had more time to read, I make it.

You never know what kind of friendships might develop or new adventures await, if you would just say yes and allow new opportunities into your life. Of all things that have terrified me the past year, attending WDS is definitely one of them, but I did it. And I think it’ll be one of the greatest decisions of my life.

On Living with Intention

Another workshop, Claim Your AUTHORity, lead by Cynthia Morris of Original Impulse, helped direct me toward my values and the realization that intention living is important to me. During one exercise, we were writing down the core values to our book (or life if we so chose), and I wrote down change, independence and gratitude.

After staring at my little circle with my three words in it, I added a fourth: intention.

It struck me that I wanted to live a life intended. How awesome and ambiguous is that? Just kidding. Intentional living is simply a life ” intentionally chosen by an individual based on awareness of her/his values and fundamental beliefs” (yes, it’s from Wikipedia). Much of the past week I’ve been considering my values and fundamental beliefs and I think I know what living with intention means to me right now: to give freely, live openly and practice gratitude.

Some things I’d already managed to incorporate into my daily life without realizing it, the others will take some time.

What stories did you hear that inspired change?


The Journey

Runner statue, Stanley Park (credit: rickz)

I woke up yesterday morning really early. And when I say early, I mean really REALLY early. Like 2 a.m. early… and for no reason other than that the stress got to me. By 5 a.m. I figured I might as well get up and tackle the day… and tackle it I did. Breakfast, French and a balanced checkbook all before I’d even entertain the idea of waking up on a normal day.

The only thing that could have actually made it better was if I’d gone on the 6:30 run I considered when I woke up, but I’d been up over 4 hours at that point and figured I’d be better served by an hour nap before work than an hour run. Unfortunately, as my stress levels have risen I’ve foregone running for sleeping. And I’m not sure that’s been the right decision.

Luckily, I had an evening run planned with a coworker, so I knew I wasn’t totally skipping it yesterday.


Truthfully, I’m shocked by how much I enjoy running. Prior to last month, I very openly hated it. I thought (and told anyone who would listen) that running was too boring, too hard, and worst of all, if I wasn’t losing weight, what was the point?

To put it simply, the point is to run.

I began running because I wanted to know what it was like to run 26.2 miles, even though it sounded crazy. (As I typed that sentence, I actually wrote “even though it sounds great.” My how times have changed.) The proud me side of me wants to prove that I am capable of it, both to myself and to others.

Another part of me knows that running is the only thing in my life that I can control right now. That no matter what happens during the day and how fast things feel like they are spinning out of control, I can put on my sneakers and run as hard and as long as I want to. That’s on me.

I set a goal to run 50 miles this month and I don’t know if I’ll hit it, but that’s okay. I’m a slow runner and there’s only so much daylight. I find that I love just being outside with my feet hitting the earth.  Some days I struggle to make it to three miles. Others I can drop six no problem. I’m not ready to run a full marathon yet, but I’ll get there eventually. It’s not solely about the destination, but also the journey…

Which I am happily taking with my own two feet.

(amazing photo belongs to rickz)


“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.”
-Alan Keightley

Pura Vida

Pura vida is the phrase that embodies Costa Rican culture. It doesn’t really have one meaning, but is used to say “full of life”, “this is living!”, “going great”, “real living”, “Awesome!” or “cool!” (according to Wikipedia). It’s used as a greeting, as goodbye, as you’re welcome, as how are you doing…l as everything. The phrase just is.

The Good Life

I spent only three full days in Costa Rica, but it felt like it easily could have been a week or more. I originally thought today’s post would be about the things we did and we saw, but how I felt was all I could think about as I began to write. The small taste of pura vida was both rejuvenating and heartbreaking at the same time.

I’ve talked a lot about change in the past and this has just reinforced where I want to end up. I still feel completely lost on the means to achieve it, but the fact that I’m heading in the right direction is reinforced every day.

As we rode the bus through the Costan Rican rainforest on the second day, meandering along the mountains with the cool air whipping through the open windows, my heart suddenly felt very, very full. I felt content to sit there and stare out the window as time slipped by, knowing that was moment and I was happy to just be.

And so I move onward, wherever the next bus might take me.

Pura Vida

Cloud cover over Arenal Volcano

I am already back from a short three days in Costa Rica. It was absolutely amazing and I will share more very soon!

February Goals Update

En Pointe Photography

(via enpointephotography)

Happy leap day!  I can’t believe another month is down and I feel as though I’ve been accomplishing so much. I love having a list of goals to keep me on track.

  1. Read 4 books
    Success! I did a lot of reading this month so I flew past this goal with 8 books total!
    Bruno, Chief of Police on 2/7
    Murder in the Sentier on 2/7
    Murder in the Bastille on 2/8
    Murder in Clichy on 2/10
    The Dark Vineyard on 2/12
    Freakonomics on 2/23
    Casanova: The Venetian Years on 2/23
    Murder in Montmartre on 2/26
  2. Finish funding my Moving Fund
    Check.  Complete on 2/3 and already being drained with an application fee. 🙂
  3. Begin full inventory of items
    Well, I started this.  Finish… not so much.  But I guess this counts as complete since I started it?
  4. Continue writing in my gratitude journal
  5. Practice French 15 minutes a day
    I *kind of* did this.  Up until the last week so this was a fail.
  6. Complete 10 days of absolutely no spending!
    FAIL.  Oh well… there’s always next month.

How did your month end up? Any goals you struggled with or were super successful with?

(photo by En Pointe Photography.  You should go check out her dancer photos, they’re amazing.)