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Use intentions to maximize your life!

What exactly are intentions and why are they worth talking about?

Heading to Burning Man on the #Cobrabus this summer, we stopped before the burn and did an activity called an intention circle. This was the first time I’d done one, but I’d heard of them. Essentially, everyone gets in a circle and takes turns sharing what they hope to get out of a particular experience. Until this point, I hadn’t consciously thought of what I wanted to gain from the awesome opportunity of attending Burning Man. I wanted to have fun, hang out with my friends etc.; but on a deeper level, what specifically did I want out of it? It really made me think.

Loading the #Cobrabus with a pallet (100+ lbs) of water

Doing an intention circle empowered me to take more control over my experience. To work toward goals, to be mindful, and to get the most of out the burn. For this trip, I’ve been thinking about my intentions so that I make the most of this once in a lifetime chance.

This is also something that I would encourage you to do at home! It can be something big – like Burning Man, but it doesn’t have to be that serious. I do intentions for small things too, like when I go out for the day. “I’m open to new experiences and I’d like to meet new people”. Voila! It’s as easy as that guys, and you’ll be amazed at how differently things start going for you. 🙂

My intentions:

1. Develop a deeper appreciation for things I typically take for granted.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how lucky I am to have all the basic comforts. Friends, a roof over my head, multiple meals a day, unlimited access to water etc. Because I’ve never been without them, I’ve always wondered if I’m truly appreciating these luxuries. Can you really, truly appreciate having a roof over your head when there’s never been a time where you didn’t have one – know what I mean?

I’m purposefully visiting some more rural areas of Asia in order to see what it’s like to live without a flushing toilet, with power that goes out because of the heat, and where internet is limited, if not non existent. When I moved to Chicago, there was a whole level of poverty that I had never experienced in the affluent Beavercreek, Ohio. It was very eye opening and I want to open my eyes further.

A squat toilet from Thailand. Exactly what it sounds like lol

2. Gather information that will empower me to make informed decisions on what is worth my energy for the next 50 years.

It sunk in a few years ago that there are things you sometimes need to ruthlessly cut from your life. Unhealthy relationships was the hardest for me, but when I managed to do it, I felt worlds better. Saying “no” and setting healthy boundaries is another that I still struggle with. I’ve been slowly trimming the fat over the last few years and am ready to go to the next level.

My previous job was really sucking me dry. It made me wonder if I could spend the next 50 years of my life working a job that was a daily uphill battle for me. Not that job specifically, but once it becomes ‘just a job’, is it worth it just so that I can fit into the cookie cutter definition of success? Maybe. Would it be better to blaze my own path defined by my vision of success: connections with people, simple living and adventure? Maybe. Each set comes with pros and cons, and I’d like to experience enough to make an informed decision.

3. Get off my anxiety meds

This one is important, and possibly unrealistic. I’ve struggled with a latent level of anxiety my whole life. My stomach reacts violently when something big is on the horizon – first dates, job interviews, and life changing choices. When I moved to Chicago, I wasn’t taking any medications since my anxiety would only flair up in spurts. Over time; the rush of the city, the constant watching of strangers, and the grind of my job took it’s toll, raising the threshold of latent anxiety.

This landed me on a daily regimen of anxiety medication which, honestly, makes me feel a little broken. I should be able to manifest calmness myself. Why can’t I just be happy and do it on my own like everyone else – why do I have to take a medication to be normal? I know, I know I never have hope of being normal. LOL!

I think that dialing my life back a little will help with this. I believe doing hard work with my hands, being in nature, and having new experiences will be very cathartic for me. Hopefully I can get a little more in tune with myself and learn to control my anxiety in natural and healthy ways…like smoking weed! 😉

4. Live the day to day life of a different culture

What is it like to live somewhere blazing hot and humid? In Thailand, drying clothes in a dryer is very uncommon and they import all of their beef. Aka, no hamburgers/crazy fucking expensive hamburgers!

Does McDonalds serve pad thai kids meals?

This is the ‘tarot pie’ from McDonalds in China. If you’ve not had tarot flavoring, it’s delicious! Very common with bubble teas. I would totally gobble these up in shameless American fashion. Photo: USA Today

I’m not just going to do touristy things (tourists are so annoying, yep I’m doing a little self hate lol), but go to movies and nights out drinking with the locals. Just like Chicago is a different lifestyle using public transit, I’m sure Asia will have a whole different way of living.

I can’t wait to see it and live it!

5. It’s okay to be vulnerable and trust others.

I can be a prideful person. I like to take ownership of things I’m doing, I like to be in control of the situation, and it can be hard for me to ask for help on things I feel I should be strong enough to do alone. I’ve learned that while traveling – well, just in general – one can’t always maintain this. You sometimes have to ask for help and you’re not always in control. My fellow control freaks know my struggle (you know who you are!) – it’s hard to let go of these things, but being able to learn the skill of letting go is something that will make the rest of my life much easier. Practice, practice, practice!

BONUS: Come back with as many stories as possible and have a metric shit ton of fun!

If you haven’t seen the movie “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey, go rent it/stream it/download it and watch it. While the movie may be an extreme example of saying Yes to everything, I want to apply a degree of this idea to my travels. Like a thin, delicious layer of mayonnaise. “I am open to new experiences” is one of my mantras and I’m going to work it on this trip! Coming back to my rules of the road; yes I’ll try that food, yes I’ll go to that attraction and yes I’d love to meet that person. I’m going to walk through every open door I see. Immediacy!



Night of the man burn, 2015


If you were going on a trip like this what would your intentions be? Or, what have your intentions been for previous trips?

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