Intentionalism

I’m always on the search for a new person to inspire me. I’m somewhat a product of my generation in that I like when people who seem like they have some of their shit together tell me what to do.

Oh, you clawed your way out of debt and are a successful freelancer that’s not desperately selling your organs online? You must be woke, tell me your ways. And also explain what woke means. 

I stray from this in one way: I’m picky. I’m extremely picky.

I don’t just take YouTube or Instagram’s suggestions and run with them. Their algorithms are programmed to show us content similar to what we’re already consuming. This doesn’t work for me since I’m the Goldilocks of content consumers. It has to be just right. And chances are if you’re the person standing next to the person I like on the scale of style, values and content… I don’t like you. Well, it’s not that I don’t like you, it’s just that I won’t go out of my way to keep up with what you’re doing.

Just because I like Rich Roll, doesn’t mean I’m going to like stuff Tim Ferris does. I like hearing about Tim Ferris through the lens of Rich Roll, but I can’t seem to get on board with content from him. If you don’t know who these people are, start with Rich Roll. He’ll introduce you to everyone you need to know. 

To suit my taste, you need to have a clean aesthetic, a simple and authentic message, and unique content. This is more difficult to come by than it sounds.

I’ll cut to the chase a little more quickly. I’ve started to follow a YouTuber called Matt D’Avella. Instantly, I was drawn to the quality of his videos and the attention to detail he’s given every shot. It’s clearly the work of a true professional and he definitely cares about what he’s doing. I love him. Is it too soon in our relationship for me to just come out and say it? I love him. If I start writing his name with hearts in the back of my Moleskine planner, you can notify my boyfriend.

He has this short video about minimalism (he was actually the guy who did that documentary on Netflix about Minimalism, though I only found this exciting news out from simply watching his videos – I loved this documentary), where Joshua Fields Milburn of the Minimalists (see link) says about minimalism, 

For me, the ism is less important. You can call it minimalism, I think it’s the perfect word. I also think it’s the most imperfect word because sometimes it scares off people. Sometimes it scares people enough to actually make some changes which is great, but if it’s too austere of a word, then you can say essentialism, you can say intentionalism, you can say living-within-your-means-ism. Whatever ism you want to use, but it really has to do with living a more meaningful life.

*cue a montage of stuff blowing up as a metaphor for my brain*

I truthfully stopped listening after intentionalism. It hit me like a rock hitting water and cornstarch. It made a huge impact once it hit, but once I sat with it, it sunk right in.

Everyone talks about mindfulness, they talk about minimalism. I’ve only encountered intention as part of a yoga class – an intention is a thought or a feeling you set for the class as a dedication of sorts. Sure, at the root, I guess mindfulness and intentionalism are both kind of synonyms of each other when it comes down to it – but intentionalism is different because of the feeling it gives you when you think about doing something with intention instead of mindfully.

Mindfulness is peaceful, it’s taking note of what’s happening and not being affected by the sea of actions happening around you. It’s the pebble at the bottom of the river that lets the water rush over it without trying to stop it.

Intentionalism is action. Intentionalism is the deliberate lack of action. It’s choice and thought and action, inaction, stoicism, mindfulness, minimalism, zero waste, budgeting etc. etc. etc., all rolled into one. It’s motivational, it’s empowering and it’s easy to manipulate into something unique – into a term that works for you.

Mindfulness feels like a slow walk in the park, enjoying every flower, the smell of the breeze and acknowledging the present moment.

Intentionalism is choosing that present moment. It feels like marching down the street, feeling the journey rush over you, seeing the crack in the pavement and stepping over it, and taking control over which flowers you want to see today, or if you’d rather sit in a coffee shop and write a blog post. 

Both are valuable and you can’t (read: shouldn’t) live without either. But there is a certain level of control and choice we all have that gets left behind when people talk about enjoying life and being present for the journey.

So this is the mission. Keep moving forward, or slow down to a pace that feels right for you. Heck, screech to a stop if that’s what you need. Just do it intentionally.

Iceland Part 3

IMG_0267

But really, it’s like part 5 or 6.

Here it is, the last of the slew of photos and quick updates.

It’s an amazing country. I don’t have much to compare it to, but as far as beauty goes (and I’m Canadian… we have like, the most beautiful country ever), it’s pretty spectacular. When we drove out to Hofn you literally couldn’t escape the mountains. I imagine that’s similar to BC, but this little island can only hold so much mountain. And there was a lot of frickin’ mountain.

IMG_0234

Reykjavik was dreamy weather for this part of the world. Days were damp but fairly mild and the sun poked out more than we expected. We made use of this good weather on Wednesday to take the elevator up to the top of the church. Boy, the view was worth the $10 charge.

For those of you interested, Iceland has its own currency which is just slightly more valuable than the Canadian dollar. It’s a little more than $1 for 100 Icelandic Krona. Most things were more expensive. For example, an oat milk latte at Reykjavik Coffee Roasters was ~$7, but some things were really randomly cheap. OB tampons were less than $3. Craaaaaazy. Guess who smuggled a few cartons home?

IMG_0255

And yes, I found the best doughnuts in Iceland. Of course I did.

Deig was hidden by the old harbour, and I was really really surprised to find fresh yeast doughnuts, brushed with a simple cardamom and lemon glaze. OH. MY. GOD. Yes. I felt right at home with this in the best way.

IMG_0228

Iceland, it was an absolute honour. We’ll be back.

I read an article

entitled “The Most Important Thing Nobody Taught You”. It starts,

…we can’t help but run from the problems of our emotions into the false comforts of the mind.

When I read this, I exhaled a deep whistle in response. I can relate.

It goes on to talk about how solitude doesn’t mean you have to feel alone.

How we spend so much time in the act of distracting ourselves and trying to be inspired, that we forget the most inspiring and stimulating experiences happen when we’re alone.

Boredom should become a place to discover self-knowledge, do some reflecting and experience the world around us in greater, slower detail. To feel more alive and connected.

Interestingly, the main culprit isn’t our obsession with any particular worldly stimulation. It’s the fear of nothingness — our addiction to a state of not-being-bored. We have an instinctive aversion to simply being.

Even if you’ve considered this before, or attended a yoga class or have done some meditation, we can all benefit from a repeated revisitation of the idea.

I think part of it is that people don’t realize there is a possibility to simply be. That there is something that exists beyond the realm of our real world melodramas.

I’m attempting to not sound like a preacher here, but to communicate thoughts and also do some reflecting of my own:

Why do I keep losing sight of myself? Well, idiot, it’s because you’re not paying attention. You’re not looking at yourself. Step back, try to be alone from time to time and carry a mirror.

Here’s the article. You know, if you’re interested.

Let’s compare embroidery to life

Because who doesn’t love a good reach for a metaphor?

If you don’t already know, I spend a lot of my downtime putting a needle and thread through the fabric in an embroidery hoop. It’s not something I ever saw myself doing, but I love it. I believe I’ve finally started to grasp a couple key things about this craft that I think I can also turn into a cool life lesson moment.

Because you know, I’m an expert and know how to navigate life like a pro (read: I have no idea what I’m doing but I’m going to try and be wise here for the sake of the metaphor and try to follow my own advice).

Here’s a fun list:

1. First of all, f*ck what all of the “experts” and tutorials tell you. The only way you’re going to figure it out is if you figure it out.

2. Through trial and error, I’ve learned that any project is basically going to turn out pretty good if you treat each move like it means something.

3. Not every project will turn out well, and that’s okay. They’re hilarious to look back on and will remind you of how far you’ve come.

4. Sure, once you get some momentum, you’ll get to the end a lot faster, but the quality will suffer. Make sure you slow down and enjoy the process.

5. Don’t let other people guide your needle. That’s frickin’ dangerous and they probably suck at embroidery (read: don’t let other people guide your path, that’s frickin’ dangerous and they probably suck at embroidery).

It’s still art, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. You’re creating it, so find some way to take pride in it.

It’s still your life and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’re creating it, so find some way to take pride in it.

I think I should try to write some stuff.

Not only because I like the physical act – writing in pen, pencil, hearing the satisfyingly soft tap of my fingers against a keyboard – but because I feel like my head has a lot to say. I have lots of weird questions, normal questions, stories I tell myself, stories I want to tell other people, good poetry, bad poetry, some jokes and a bunch of gibberish that might actually also make sense to someone other than myself.

My downfall is I can’t seem to organize everything. I can’t organize it in my head or on the page unless I already know what I’m supposed to be writing about: an email, a social media post, or creating content for a hand-out or a poster. It’s almost always been part of my job. But I cannot seem to sit down and write about things I like. Without a prompt. Without a purpose for it.

I’ve tried in the past. The pattern is ironic and embarrassing.

It always goes like this:

“So I can’t seem to sit down and write.”

This, I always feel, is kind of relatable and might catch someone’s attention. I already did this here. See? Ironic. Might also turn out slightly embarrassing. We’ve not quite reached that level, but standby.

“I feel like maybe me sitting down and writing will help someone, or inspire someone. Nah, who am I kidding, right? Chances are, there’s no one reading this. And if there is, you probably know me as I am, a 20 something college drop-out whose only skills are cake decorating, sarcasm and eating. Or, it’s just my mom reading this. Hi mom.”

Here’s where it starts to get embarrassing. I’m rambling and self-deprecating. Hi mom.

“I like embroidery, people, biking, yoga, design, art, entrepreneurship, zero waste, and cooking.”

It then starts to turn into something my 7-year-old self would write in that really widely spaced lined journal because my Grade 1 teacher Mrs. Friend (yes, that was her actual name) asked us to describe ourselves. There was also room at the top for a drawing – remember those notebooks? They were sick. Do they still sell those? I’d buy one.

I digress.

Somehow describing yourself at that age turns into either a list of your physical attributes, or what you’re into. Which was probably Pogs, Polly Pocket, mini sticks, Pokemon, or colouring. I HAVE HAZEL EYES AND BROWN HAIR. 

Now, I catch myself doing the same thing as if being so overwhelmed as an adult has caused me to revert back into that seven-year-old self when trying to communicate who I am and what I want. Further evidence: when I try to tell someone what I want, I start to cry.

If you know me, then you know this is the truth. I am always crying. If you don’t know me, you’re just going to have to trust me on this, and sooner or later, you’ll see it too.

All of this aside, somehow I’ve managed to land good jobs, climb a ladder or two, and accomplish some things.

I’ve waded my way through more than several men (hi mom) and they’ve waded through me. I’ve learned who’s good for me and who isn’t.

Somehow I’ve been able to hold onto someone who has their shit together and only wants me to get my shit together when I’m ready to get my shit together. Who likes me both because and despite everything listed above.

But here I am. Rambling on about crying, Mrs. Friend, and my hipster-esque range of interests.

If all of those things interest you too, including finding out why I’m crying and seeing me create some stuff, then I guess you’re in the right place.

I’m challenging myself to write a blog post every day for a year, and after that, we’ll see where it takes me. I’m hoping my writing will improve, I’ll feel motivated to create, and I’ll find some stuff to talk about.

I’m just trying to end the pattern, learn about who I am, ask for what I want, and find a way to keep it all together.

Hey world.