Revisiting the Idea of Intentional Living

Intentional Living

This morning, I woke up naturally when the room was filled with sunlight.

I laid in bed, content with my night’s sleep. Excited for the day ahead.

Then I went to the kitchen, cooked myself a delicious meal, and ate it freed from distraction, thinking about the potential I had for my day.

There was a calmness and assuredness that has been missing in my life recently that I didn’t even realize my soul was thirsting for. I drank it up. And feel great having done so.

Lately, as you might able to tell from my lack of new posts, I’ve been struggling to figure out where blogging fits into my life. To determine how much time is worth devoting to a hobby that I love… but that doesn’t necessarily co-incide with my other priorities right now.

So I spent much of the last week drafting a post in my head entitled “Why I Blog.”

When I sat down to write this morning, that post felt uninspired. Instead, I did two things:

  1. I spent two hours re-reading parts of The Desire Map and thinking about how I want to feel and the intentions I want in my life. I added a few sun salutations to the end of this process because every time I read Danielle LaPorte’s stuff I feel more in touch with my inner yoga-loving hippie.
  2. I looked at one of my first posts in which I wrote about intentional living. And then I went through the tag I’ve used on several other posts on this blog called “intentional living.”

In doing these two things, I realized: This blog was started with the mission of bring more intention into my life. More peace. More smart striving. More reflection. More time for pausing and reflecting. More intentional creativity and skill development.

It started as a way to elevate the priorities in my life. Not to compromise them.

I’ve fallen a bit from that original intention in the past two or three months.

I removed my Life List to make space for advertising options. I started adding sponsors to the end of my posts, whether they fit or not. I created a few posts I KNEW would drive a bunch of additional Pinterest traffic and in turn, increase my ad revenue.

I’m not saying any of these things are wrong, or that I regret doing any of them. I recently purchased tickets to Seattle this fall using solely income from blogging and felt awesome doing so.

But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the ways in which these things have left me resentful toward this space in the past few weeks. Feeling obligated to respond to emails, do right by my sponsors, and in general, devote a significant portion of my week planning and writing posts isn’t staying in line with my original mission for this blog:

To lead an intentional, celebratory life. And to share my story in hopes of relating with others that are striving to do the same.

Thus, it got me thinking: what does intentional living look like to me? My answer:

Intentional living looks like good sleep, a healthy diet, adequate movement that I actually enjoy, seeking out opportunities for travel and new experiences, creativity without restrictions, strong performance at work, music that lights up my brain synapses, books that help me strive and help me escape, and the freedom to enjoy and seek out fulfilling, soul-enhancing relationships.

And since I’m an over-sharer by nature who loves to write, documenting and sharing these things in this space.

Once I felt clear on what an intentional life actually meant to me, I asked the every important question:

WHY? Why do I want to live with intention? Isn’t it easier to just go with the flow? To take things in stride and deal with them as they come?

Yes. I’m sure that is easier. But the major thing I wanted to avoid when I started this blog was allowing my life to pass me by in a tiring loop of sleep, eat, work, get drunk, watch Netflix, repeat.

I want my twenties to be more than that. I want to challenge myself with goals and dreams and ideas. And I want to respect the process of seeing them all come to fruition.

So what does all of this mean for this blog? For the readers of this blog?

Basically, not a lot. I’ll be posting less in the summer months, simply because I love to walk the dog through the neighborhood multiple nights a week and spend the weekends exploring St. Louis on my bike or enjoying drinks on patios with my friends. My prime blogging time has been shortened as the days have lengthened. I figure you’re probably outside doing the same things, so you probably won’t even notice me coming ’round here less.

In the future, I’ll be writing much more about intentions. And reflecting on the things I’m working toward. Sharing my progress every now and then.

There are a few topics that still remain off limits for this blog (primarily fitness and dating) but I’ll be talking more about how I’m designing my life to serve my soul. So I suppose we might re-categorize All Things E from a “Personal Lifestyle Blog” to an “Intentional Living Blog,” which may or may not be a niche, but whatever. I’m calling it a niche.

Most of all, I see this space as a place to celebrate and discuss the rewards of living an intentional life. Whether it’s sharing stories from others who have discovered a way to live that lights them up, or reveling in the little (and big) things that are going on in my life that support my vision for myself.

At the end of the day, while I blog for myself, I also blog because I want to inspire others to give a shit about their day-to-day lives, even when it’s easy not to. Even when the paychecks are small or non-existent and those thirty pounds you want to lose won’t budge and you’re stuck in a relationship that doesn’t light you up. Even when you’re trudging through the the endless loop of sleep, eat, work, get drunk, Netflix, repeat and trying to figure out a way out.

There’s more to life. And I don’t want to miss it. And I don’t want you to, either.

Here’s to re-committing to the intentional life. And to REALLY embracing the things that make us FEEL GOOD.

Have a lovely week.

  • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

    A lot of what you wrote rings true for me too. I appreciate the honesty in this post–and the desire behind recommitting to a life with intention.

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      Thanks lady!

  • http://www.foodboozeandbaggage.com/ Food Booze & Baggage

    WOW…I actually started a draft today about what blogging has done for me, and one of my realizations was how it brought certain aspects of my life into focus. Not that you need a blog to do that but it made me pay more attention to the day to day because I “might” document it, instead of one day sliding into the next. This just struck a cord…though I’m still on the beginning side of blogging. I love this very honest kind of post.

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      I have to agree with you on the fact that blogging has brought certain aspects of my life into focus, FOR SURE. In some ways, I find that blogging makes me a bit more committed to my values/priorities – when you put something out there, it’s a lot easier to follow through on it. Glad this spoke to you! :)

  • http://www.wheremagiclivesblog.com Amy Jo Pendergrass

    Terrifically stated…and I look forward to seeing where things go from here.

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      Thanks Amy!

  • http://www.theladyokieblog.com/ Amanda

    Have you ever written about why those topics are off limits? I guess it’s kind of ironic to post about the topics you aren’t going to post about, but I’d be interested to know. Also, unless a blogger just doesn’t post for weeks at a time, I really don’t notice how often they do or don’t post. Just my two cents :)

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      Haha I haven’t. I actually pretty recently decided not to write about them, so I might as well tell you why!

      I don’t write about fitness, even though I used to quite a bit, because I found that it added a stress and pressure that while I know was SUPER DUMB, I couldn’t shake. Basically, I started running and blogging about it, hated it (personal preference, I know tons of people like it) and awkwardly hopped around the issue on this blog for awhile and felt weird about it. So now I leave my fitness or lack thereof off the blog. I know people like to read about it, but sharing about it just isn’t for me.

      As for dating, I don’t blog about it because I’ve been doing A LOT of it this year and blogging often comes up in conversation. Several of the guys I’ve gone on dates with have eventually read my blog (which was cool, I guess), but basically, I don’t want to chronicle dates and such just to keep parts of my life private. And I don’t want to drive guys away for fear of being turned into a blog post. This might change if a really good story comes about, or if I actually start dating someone seriously. But until then, it’s something I tend not to want to share about.

      I suppose there will always be exceptions, but that’s pretty much why i don’t blog about those things! :-)

      • http://www.theladyokieblog.com/ Amanda

        That makes sense! I probably wouldn’t blog about dating either if I were doing it. I bet you’re fun on a date and have lots of interesting things to talk about. Just guessing from your blog :)

        • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

          Hahaha best compliment. Thank you!

  • Hilary Biggart

    Your blog post seriously made my day today. I have been thinking a lot about intentional living lately – I actually wrote a blog post on it yesterday far less eloquently – but this was the extra inspiration and motivation I needed. Thank you for sharing.

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      So happy to hear that Hilary! :)

  • EncoreVoyage

    Wow! I’m quite a bit older than you, but your blog really resonates with me. It makes me smile that your desire for an intentional life is driving you at such a young age. Sometimes I wish I could turn back the hands of time. Seems we are pursuing the same things, while blogging for different audiences. So congratulations to you – I love your focus!

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      Well thank you, lady! What a lovely compliment.

  • http://www.herbearings.com Al

    This absolutely spoke to me! It’s also a definite focus for me to live an intentional and purposeful life. I definitely get stuck in the work/eat/Netflix/drink loop during the winter months, which I need to work on, but I definitely try my best to take advantage of the extended sunshine as well. I’ll need to check out the resources you mentioned!

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      The winter is SO MUCH more difficult than the summer for me as well. I can barely stay awake, let alone accomplish much of anything. It’s a struggle, for sure. Blogging kept me a bit more intentional in the winter (holing up indoors with a computer really isn’t so bad when it sucks outside), but it’s still definitely challenging. Summer is totally MY SEASON. Maybe I should move somewhere warm? Hm. Ha glad this spoke to you!

  • http://www.lagniappefitness.com/ Kourtney Thomas

    BOOM.

    Not a constructive comment, but sums up my feelings about this topic in a nutshell :)

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      :-)

  • http://www.sheismoments.com/ Maureen @SheisMoments

    Totally agree! You take time to do you and I have a feeling your posting will start making you happier. :)

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      Thanks Maureen!

  • http://moreawesomerblog.com/ Lindsey Sampson

    This is wonderful – I have been feeling similarly. There was one month where I accepted a bunch of sponsored posts to get a bit more cash, even though the brands didn’t really fit with my blog. I took a step or two back and decided to cut back on sponsored posts, eliminating the ones that don’t fit with the idea of my blog. Thanks for sharing this!

  • http://samanthamcgowan.com/ Sammie

    Hey Erika – I’ve been following you for a few months now after recently starting my own personal blog. I enjoy your stuff immensely, but this post specifically hit home for me. As I start to feel more comfortable talking about the fact that I blog, I’m obviously asked why I started it. There were a slew of reasons, but it has grown into so much more since I started.

    For one, like you said, it helps me really process what is going on in my life, significant or not. Instead of, “That was a really rough period of my life” or “Wow, I really enjoyed my day” I write about these things and figure out WHY I felt the way I did. It has really brought my life into focus and has helped me live intentionally!

    And the second biggest reason I continue blogging now is, also as you pointed out, to help others struggling through some of the same things I am. I never imagined I would make an impact on anyone’s life, but I have gotten message after message from friends, old friends, old acquaintances, and strangers about how my posts have helped them in some way or another. Who knew I could help anyone? I sure didn’t. But every time I receive an email or message from someone I helped, I want to cry.

    Anyway, I wanted to reach out FINALLY and let you know that you’re awesome. Looking forward to hearing about your progress, and perhaps you can also follow along with mine!

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      Ah wow, thank you for the lovely compliments. I definitely will follow along with your blog!

      Aren’t the messages from old friends and acquaintances the best?! I love them too. Definitely makes blogging worthwhile.

  • Danielle

    Love this post and LOVE Danielle LaPorte. I’m about to re-listen to the audio versions of The Fire Starter Sessions and The Desire Map. I’m definitely interested in living with intention more. You should check out jesslively.com if you haven’t already. She’s very inspirational too! I look forward to reading more of your posts on intention and can’t wait to write more of my own :-)

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      Ah yes! I like Jess’ stuff a lot. I’m definitely what I’d call a “self help junkie” – so I love to read work like theirs. Excited to share more about it! :-)

  • http://express.faded-aeterna.com/ Agent Q

    “But the major thing I wanted to avoid when I started this blog was allowing my life to pass me by in a tiring loop of sleep, eat, work, get drunk, watch Netflix, repeat.”

    There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The next step requires us to consider ways to break out of the cycle, which is a worthwhile obstacle to overcome.

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      Ah, that it is. It’s a challenge, but worthwhile!

  • Brianna Soloski

    Yep. I’ve been struggling to find things to blog about lately and that often means I go days without posting. Because I review books, I don’t have new content daily or even weekly. Instead, I have content when I finish a book, which is only a couple times a month lately. It’s very very hard to fill the space between book reviews because I am not a lover of memes or surveys.

  • Jessa Olson

    I love this! I’m trying to live with more intention. I’m glad that I am not the only one who is finding this blogging thing tough.

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      Haha I really think blogging has gotten tough because it’s summer! Much like students in school, bloggers probably need breaks. :-)

  • http://belongwithwildflowers.com/ Caitlin

    That endless loop you described? Man oh man, you hit that nail right on the head. Thank you for the reminder to live intentionally, even when it’s not easy and you’re lost in the endless loop of work/dinner/exercise/sleep/work/dinner/etc.

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      You’re welcome! :-) And hey – give yourself a high-five for exercise making it in there. My loop doesn’t always cover that portion… :-)

  • http://www.thewinestain.com/ Ashley

    E, I really needed this. Thank you!

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      You are welcome, my dear.

  • http://www.nearandfarmontana.com/ Jenn@NearandFarMontana

    I love this post. Lately, as I’ve written many times, I’ve been slammed at work and caught up with so many projects that I’m just exhausted at the end of every day and frazzled all the time. In college and the years after, I was young, single and always on the go. It was fine, I had the energy, time and ability to do a lot of things well. But, as I’ve grown ever so slightly wiser, I started realizing I wanted to do some things exceptionally well. I wanted to do great, not just good, not just pull things off by the skin of my teeth. I started thinking hard about the things I genuinely cared about, enough to invest significant time, energy and resources and to stick my neck out for. The areas where I wanted, and was able, to affect significant change. That’s sort of my version of living intentionally. I have a bad habit of getting caught up in my to do list, the little odds and ends, putting out the small fires now and not considering the bigger picture. But knowing that I do have specific areas that I care most about helps me focus my energies and the daily grind into something bigger. I lose sight from time to time and have to just stop myself to refocus, but it certainly helps me live with more intention instead of jumping on everything that comes my way. I’m all for spontaneity and being open to new things/opportunities, but I find it much more meaningful to filter those things a bit more carefully than I once did.

    Well done on a very insightful post and thanks for yet another post that really gets me thinking!

  • Emily Boyd

    This is exactly why I created my blog “choosing to” – I think life really is about your choices… intentional choices! And how we can really celebrate life and reflect and be curious creatures. I loved this post. Thanks!

    • http://allthingseblog.com/ Erika

      Yes! You’re so right. All about choices. :-)

  • http://www.thehungrygoat.net Ktcyril

    This was lovely.

    I live like with the motto: Live where you live.

    In essence, focus on the moment and space you’re at.

  • http://www.erikafromamerica.com/ Erika

    I read this a while ago but never commented… but I wanted to say that I related so much to this and I thought you articulated it so well. It’s always so interesting to think about the journeys we go on with our blogs. It seems that a lot of people have the same origins and beginnings, but as we do it more, we realize more of the space we want it to take up in our lives and what we want it to be. And sometimes we need to remind ourselves of why we’re doing it and return to that. Last summer, I was on my computer all the time but this summer, I’m feeling like I want to be a little more detached and a little more in the moment… definitely can relate to this! :)

  • Marta Ciupa

    Love your blog, thanks so much :)