Leaning into the pain of our challenges

I wrote that poem after a tough night.

The biggest challenges are like that. Painful. We feel them in our bones. The sting of heartbreak. The emptiness of loss. The embarrassment of shame.

But I don’t hear enough about the beauty of challenges.

The magic of a good cry. The rawness of failure. The humility in desperation.

Even amid that night’s grip on my psyche, I grinned. When the suffering subsided, I realized I needed it. Tears still in the eyes, I spit out a chuckle.

Then the sun rose. My grin spread wide. I grabbed my book to pen a proper thank you.

I didn’t plan to open this way. Spectacular anguish isn’t a safe choice to launch Student of Intention. But it feels right.

I share the guts of my soul. Write it into words and record it on an iPhone. Expose my insecurities, regrets and perspectives via email.

It is all challenging. I promise to lean into these challenges intentionally. And find the beauty. Especially in the tough stuff. The weird stuff.

You have your weird stuff too.

That’s why it feels right to start here.

We know pain. Let’s find the beauty in it too.


The Rundown

I ask that you read every word of this email with thought and care. But also know you’re human. So here’s a quick summary if you want to skip ahead, come back, ignore, etc:

Welcome and What to expect

Training myself to be intentional

Stealing time

A gift of music (Student of Intention Playlist)

Stuff for next time

Welcome and What to expect

Thank you and congratulations. You made it to Student of Intention’s first email.

Before we go further, it is worth pointing out my archive where I detail reasons for starting this email and what to expect. I also include an About section with additional insight. When they call to you, give ‘em a read.

Many of you have already so thank you for that as well.

I can also use some help. There are billions of people looking to live deliberately. To find meaning and purpose in their every day.

I want to share my lessons with as many as possible.

Think you can send Student of Intention to 5 friends?

Share Student of Intention

You and I are building a community together. I consider us partners and appreciate your efforts.

There are plenty of places to leave me feedback. Do not be shy in giving it.

Questions, comments and complaints welcome.

Now - let’s go!

Training myself to be intentional

You should notice a consistent phrase in my content:

Don’t wait. Start small. Learn as you go.

You see it often because it helps me. It reminds me to train to be intentional before expecting I am intentional. I focus on just getting something out. Naming a few moments I want to experience. I develop awareness and perspective. I better understand what I am getting and giving in my decisions. I see nuance and realize the stakes. Like a muscle, my awareness grows stronger. I better know what intentions matter. What moments I want to experience more often.

The core tool I use to date is The 5 Buckets - a framework for living with intention. I put together a one-page Intention Guide. You received the link in my welcome email. Here is the first of many nudges to take it for a walk. Maybe print it out. Scribble an intention, doodle on it over coffee then see what happens.

If the idea of prioritizing certain moments in your life isn’t reason enough, no worries. I appreciate this small corner of your inbox nonetheless. But remember what I mention about awareness. There are lessons in just getting intentions on paper. I forego scheduled intentions all the time. When I do, I’m not happy about it. But I understand what I miss and potentially why. It is enlightening. It is helpful training to living deliberately.

I explain further in my upcoming book. But if you’re open to it, I want to help now. If you download the Intention Guide and name a few intentions next week, let me know. I’d love the feedback and am happy to collaborate.

Stealing time

Maybe you’re thinking, this guy is full of shit. Or maybe you’re drifting off, half reading and half thinking about the next email. Or you’re one of many thinking you do not have enough time. Not enough time to do something like this. Not enough time to be intentional.

All good. When I started using The 5 Buckets, I wasn’t looking for more time. I was after balance mostly. For me, more time came as a byproduct. I found more time once I began the practice of naming intentions each week. It wasn’t until recently, I realized this idea of stealing time.

Julia Cameron describes it well in her book, The Right to Write. She writes a chapter called The Time Lie. A part reads:

If we learn to write from the sheer love of writing, there is always enough time, but time must be stolen like a quick kiss between lovers on the run. As a shrewd woman once told me, “The busiest and most important man can always find time for you if he’s in love with you and, if he can’t, then he is not in love.” When we love our writing, we find time for it.

These are Julia’s words so resist faulting me. Deciphering whether someone is in love with you is brutal work. Apologies if we opened a wound.

I love her metaphor of stealing a quick kiss. What a cool way to write about grabbing time by the collar. I also subscribe to her idea. If we love something enough, we find time for it. Figure out what moments we want to experience and we’ll find time for them.

I woke up at 4:30 AM last Thursday. It wasn’t pretty. I didn’t jump out of bed singing a capella like a Glee cast member. Quite the opposite. I argued with myself for ten minutes then muscled my way out of that cozy paradise.

Then I stole some time. Stole time to write three pages of bad writing. Stole a little to clean up the kitchen before Tracy was up. And stole enough time to take a sunrise run down Balboa peninsula. That wasn’t all that pretty either. It was cold. My feet numbed in the frosty sand. My stomach reminded me Max’s bolognese was riding shotgun. But it was intentional. I wanted that sunrise. I wanted to straddle that line of exhaustion and satisfaction. That part is worth stealing some time.

Why not steal some time yourself this week? Go ahead and write it into existence.

This week I will steal time to

Leave a comment

I am definitely stealing time for a morning bike ride. See you out there!

A Gift of Music

I want to make a point to give gifts to loyal readers. You deserve a little something for coming this far. For this week, I gift you an hour’s worth of music. I put thought into this list. It is a diverse mix with each song placed carefully. I curated it intentionally. Note the song Lost in the Woods by Enjune. That is my friend Jake Goble. Jake was the first to join me in naming intentions across The 5 Buckets. Thanks for everything buddy.

Try to give the whole playlist a listen - start to finish. I’d love to hear what you think if you want to send me a note once you give it a go.

How's the Music?

I plan to give different gifts each email. You will get plenty of music but other things too. Merch, tea, coffee, books and gift cards are a few I am considering. I am open to ideas and am a reply away.

For next time (possibly):

If you read my welcome post, you read that I am new to this writer stuff. This is my first crack at a newsletter so maybe I put too much into this week. Or not enough. Send over any feedback and I’ll adjust as I go. You and I are partners and I value your input.

Here are some things I left out that I may touch on in two weeks:

Intentional relationships yield an intentional self


Intentions VS Habits

Bobby’s Brew (the coffee I’m making and the love I have for the process)

Until we meet again,

Don’t wait. Start small. Learn as you go.

Also find me on Instagram, LinkedIn and Medium

Share Student of Intention