Intention setting with Matt Shepard, multi-day ultrarunner and Lexi
Lexi (00:00):
Um, all right. Hi everybody. It's Friday here, October 29th. Um, I'm dressed up because I was teaching my students and of course you have to celebrate everything and anything you possibly can. And so I decided to come as baby grow goo. So, um, happy Friday, Matt Shep is back with us and we're gonna be talking about intentions today.
Matt (00:25):
oh, fantastic. Thanks for having me back. I'm excited, um, to talk about this, it's, it's something I've been practicing for a while and, you know, I've shared it with others, but I'd really like to kinda, you know, get it out there. I think it's, I think it's a really helpful tool to, uh, to kind of get you through those, especially those loads times
Lexi (00:43):
Mm-hmm mm-hmm for sure. Yeah. And I it's, it'll be interesting too, to hear kind of the way, because people have, have different and, and work with intentions and different things, but it's always, I, I find it fascinating to see how people make it their own. Right. Because again, you've got this big arching thing of intentions or goal setting or, um, you know, manifesting or things like that, but it's how does each person put their own twist on it and what do they do so that it works best for them. Right. So I, I can't wait to hear what you do and how you, how you work the intentions.
Matt (01:17):
Yeah. I mean, you totally nailed it. Like life is such a personal experience. You gotta find, you know, do it your own way. Don't try to, you know, mimic what other people are doing, but use those ideas to, to kind of guide you. Um, yeah, so intentions, like, I, I carry what I call. I have intention stones and it started, uh, a long time ago. I noticed when I was doing my long runs, they, my hands would start to swell. Have you ever noticed that when you're running your hands getting to swell and, and, uh, they just kind of feel full like, like full of fluid. So I picked up a stone and I would, I was carrying it, you know, just playing with it, to get some, um, you know, motion in my hands. Cause you're constantly running with your hands in that kind of idle position.
Matt (02:05):
And I take it and I throw it in a little rock garden at my house and it kind of just became a, a bit of a ritual when I, my hands would swell. I would pick up the stone and I would start doing races. And I would, you know, as I'm going along, I, I was looking for a, the perfect stone to play with, you know, something with some good ridges or some, you know, not too heavy, but with a little bit of weight to it. And, uh, you know, then I would take it and it would be kind of my memento from the event, uh, whether it was like a hype or race or something. So, uh, yeah, so I started collecting and now, now I carry them in like a small pouch. And I think about, you know, the different experiences that I have with each rock.
Matt (02:49):
Um, or if, you know, if I, it was a gift, some of them were gifts that come with intentions. And so it's, it's been a really neat, uh, kind of journey collecting these and, and, and utilizing 'em. So I thought this would be, this would be great to share with other people, not, not only because, uh, I, a lot of people, I talk to have experienced the hands swelling while you're running. Um, and it's, it's a great tool to kind of like, get that, to reduce a bit you're playing with the stone in your, your hands gets the, the muscles moving and helps to kind of move that, um, whatever excess fluid off of your hands. Um, yeah, so, so I just thought maybe I would share a couple of the stones that I've collected, uh, the ones that I like to carry and how they help me get through those kind of, uh, the low experiences, you know, when you're, when you're really tired and you're out there and you're, you've got a long ways to go, or it feels, you know, monumental, uh, the task in front of you. So I, I carry these stents. I just throw like one in my pocket. If I kind of have a particular thing I'd like to think about and when my hands are to swell or if I feel like, um, you know, I'm just struggling mentally, I'll grab one of these and, and, uh, just kind of like meditate on it. Mm-hmm, , mm-hmm, ,
Lexi (04:11):
That's really neat. And it, it makes me think like what you're talking about, your intention stones. I know, uh, again, just if I think myself and also with my students sometimes, you know, have what they call a worry stone different idea, but still that, that, that thought of having something in the hand that, that tactile does a lot too, for the mind. It, it just, I find is very grounding as well. So there's lots of, lots of layers to having those stones, I think are fantastic for, for many different things. And for you with the, um, yeah, I know I've got a few as well that I, I kind of carry close to me and it, it really helps in those, in those tougher moments where that mindset and that mind your mind really comes into play.
Matt (04:54):
Yeah, definitely. And it helps to bring, you can bring your focus, you can take that mental focus and move it around by. Um, sometimes, you know, if you feel ever that you're really just having a deep conversation in your head, you're in your head space, but if you say have a, a pain in your ankle, sometimes that's all you can feel. It's like, that's the only thing your mind is occupied with. And so if you have these, uh, you know, tact of things, you can touch and feel, you know, even your own fingerprints, rubbing your fingers together, you can take your focus and bring it and feel what does that rich feel like? Like how can I feel them individually? Uh, and you know, so like bringing that, that focus to a specific place can help, uh, you know, just kind of guide you through different things, especially if you're being drawn in a hundred different, um, you know, ways you, you feel that pressure just kind of taking, taking that stone or taking whatever that item is, and just kind of bringing your focus into one, one spot, and then that just a, kind of a, another way of meditation.
Matt (05:57):
Mm-hmm .
Lexi (06:00):
Yeah. And it's funny too, because typically when you say meditation to people, they always assume that it's, you're sitting still and that's it. And, and, and there's, there's so much more, that's not the only way as you mention, right. Like, I know for me, I meditate when I'm hiking, like when I'm in the forest and I'm hiking, or if I'm Kay, those are things that, those are my, it's a, an active meditation, if you will. Right. So yeah, just different
Matt (06:23):
Ways. Yeah. Oh, definitely. It's yeah, it's terrific. It doesn't have to be, yeah. That one, either person sitting in the room alone, silently, their legs crossed, which is, I mean, a terrific method if that's your method, but it doesn't have to be that it's more about bringing your, you know, bringing that attention, that awareness and moving it around mm-hmm and, you know, being in more control of it instead of being bombarded by the signals that are coming in mm-hmm .
Lexi (06:53):
And is that something like, was this something you said that you started collecting these stones and that were you, did you have intentions or were you working with intentions prior to that? Or is it just something? No,
Matt (07:04):
Not, not a whole lot. Um, you know, like I kind of, I, if, if I think about my head space prior to geez, like when I kind of got in my start to ultra running, it definitely was one of like, just being shielded, like, you know, stop the incoming signals. Uh, you know, I just, I did, I didn't have a great head space. And so this has been just a really, like I said earlier, it's just been a journey kind of, um, you know, the people that come into my life and share things with me. And, uh, and then, you know, you, you take those and you adapt them and make them your own. And this is definitely one of those things where I kind of, you know, took the input and, you know, combined it into my own special little ritual. And I don't know. It's nice. It's nice to have
Lexi (07:54):
Mm-hmm for sure. Right. That's awesome. And so you were, you were saying you've got some stones with you, right. That you were gonna show us or talk to us about, or I, is it, yeah,
Matt (08:04):
I thought, I thought perhaps I could share some of my favorite intentions, um, and the, and the stones behind them, the ones that I, I typically carry, I've got a, a variety of 'em. Um, but yeah, I'll, I'll share a couple of my favorites with,
Lexi (08:17):
You'd be fantastic.
Matt (08:23):
Here we go. See if we could get this to, oh, look at this. Awesome. Um, see, so here's just, these are a few of the ones that I've collected over the years. Um, many of them are gifts. Uh, some of them, I find as I hiking along, uh, this one, this one, I think, I think this is ammos mm-hmm it was a gift for my sister and I, I call this one, my Lovestone and this is, this is kind of a fun one because, you know, love was kind of something I I've struggled with a lot, you know, like just even just expressing your emotions. Um, and so this one, I, when I carry this, I like to just remember all the people that care about me and the people that love me and the people that I love and, you know, just kind of like, remember that connection and, and, uh, yeah, it's just a really enjoyable one. It helps me through a lot of the, the tougher times when you, when you're struggling and you just, you know, you need a friend mm-hmm , this is my, my intention stone for that moment.
Lexi (09:31):
That's awesome.
Matt (09:35):
Um, this is a fun one. So this is, um, my grounding stone. And basically with this one, I just kind of think about, you know, like, where am I in the world? Like, I travel quite a bit and I, I like to do this meditation where I'll hold this stone, and then I'll try to, have you ever used, um, Google earth and you zoom out and from your location. So I try to like zoom out in my mind and build the world around me from like the, the things that I've seen as I, you know, however, I arrived at the location I'm at. So I try to like think, okay, you know what, it's the next room over look like? You know, what does the building I'm in look like from the outside? How many streets over is the park? Um, you know, like, so just kind of zooming out in that perspective and then going, oh, you know, like, I'm, I'm a long ways away from the place I call home. Mm-hmm and it's just a, it's kind of a fun way to just kind of bring yourself into the, the space that you're in, the place that you occupy in space. Um, you know, it's just, it's neat. So that's, my, my grounding stone kind of just helps, helps set your head. Right.
Lexi (10:52):
I like that. I, I like the visual to the idea of like the Google earth. That's a really good, good visual for us to imagine the process that you go through with that one.
Matt (11:02):
Yeah. You know, um, it's, it, it, I really like to take note of the things that are around me, especially if I'm doing a, a run through somewhere I've never been before. You know, I I'll mentally take a picture of, you know, the there's this mountain on my right side. And, you know, I'm following this Ridge line and build that in my head as I'm going it just something to keep me, keep me occupied while I'm running, as well as you know, it's good for, um, practicing for my dream race, the barky marathons in Tennessee. Nice. Um, let's see, this, this is a fun one. See, this is one I, I collected, I was on a hike with my friend, um, and it was just like every corner we took, it was something just breathtaking. There were waterfalls and these just unbelievable views. So as I was hiking, I, I picked this one up because it kind of, it looked like it, somebody had dipped it in icing.
Matt (12:12):
I, and you know, there's the expression, the icing on the cake. And so I kind of just tied that to this one and went, you know, that's like, that's what this trip was. It was just like, everything was perfect. It was just kind of it lined up. And the, the, the timing was great. Just a terrific, uh, trip. So I think about how often that happened, you know, you go, and sometimes if nothing goes wrong, you just forget to take notice of how perfect things actually went, you know, but when, you know, something goes wrong and you go, oh man, what a disaster that was. But if it, if all goes smooth, it's just another day. So every day that things go right. You know, just be thankful for those
Lexi (12:55):
Mm-hmm .
Matt (12:58):
I like to say, uh, Ari Gato, just to remind myself, be thankful for the things that are going well.
Lexi (13:08):
I like that. And that's, again, that ties in nicely to what we had talked about last time, too, about kind that having that attitude of gratitude. And, and even if it's for the simplest little thing and, and again, for the struggles that we face it's okay. So I'm in the moment, it might feel horrible, but in the struggle, there's something that's gonna come out of. It there's a lesson there, there there's, at least that's how I kind of frame things. When things kind of get at those little hiccups or bumps, it's like, okay, so what am I gonna learn from this? Maybe I need to slow down, what do I need to do differently? And, and how can I, yeah. How can I come away with this, with, with something else? Right. So mm-hmm, , I
Matt (13:47):
Like that. Yeah. You know, EV every day is a step forward, regardless of what's occurring, you know, time moves and wonder. I, so if, if you let all the, the hardships get you down, you know, and, and feel like you're going backwards, then you know, you're already losing the battles before you start. So yeah, it's, it's good to have those things, like a little physical reminder, something that you can hold and remember, you know, there are good times and they will come again, even, even when it gets tough.
Lexi (14:21):
Yeah. There's, um, it, it makes me think too, there's a book called full catastrophe living. It's an older one. Um, but it's, it's really cool because it talks about that it's being able to hold in that tension. Right. And, and so often it's when something goes sideways or it's icky, icky feeling, uh, very scientific. Um, when you get that kind of feeling, um, you just wanna get out of it. Right. It's that, it's that reptilian brain it's like, get me outta here. And instead of, um, you know, learning to sit in it, and like you said, just the, that little mind shift, or looking at that rock and OTO or, or, um, you know, looking at your icing on the cake and, and looking at those different things. And, and they're just little things that are also a good reminder and a good way to kind of, um, flip that pattern or like a pattern interrupt. Right. So, uh, that's awesome.
Matt (15:10):
I love it. I was a, a perfect summary. You nailed it.
Lexi (15:15):
Thank you. no, that's fantastic. And it it's, I mean, I would imagine too, with long distance running, like I know my mind waters after a few minutes, that's actually why I love running, dancing and paddling because in moments and hiking too, in those moments, the squirrel, the hamsters off the wheel, it's actually one of the few times where I can just, everything else is gone, but if it's over a long period of time, then other things start to happen. Right. So again, you, you were kind of talking to that too, that when you're running it's how do you occupy your mind? How do you kind of play a few little games so that you're adjusting the tack and the mindset as you're going through different stages of your, your running too, right?
Matt (16:00):
Yeah, exactly. Um, it's cause it is, you know, definitely there are times when you want to be alert and aware and, you know, have a functioning active mind, and there are times when you just wanna turn it off and just, just run mm-hmm and, you know, there's there's time and a place for all of it. So, you know, just make sure to enjoy all of the bits of it, you know, even, even though your favorite ones. Yeah.
Lexi (16:26):
That's a really good point. And it, it also, like, I can see how, you know, if I think about vision boards and, and goal setting and our smart goals and different things like that as well, that intention, again, like, I, I, I know myself, I like to kind of tie the intention to the smart goal or to what the vision is. Right. So again, it's kind of extra reinforcement for things. I don't know. I it's just something that I found I really like to, it works well.
Matt (16:53):
I, I like that the smart goals, that's a, a good format for goal setting.
Lexi (16:58):
Mm-hmm yeah, definitely. , we've been working on that in class talking a lot about, you know, and I think as adults, we do it too. I have a ukulele that I bought last year and I was like, yeah, I'm gonna learn how to play the ukulele. Well, it's still in the bags. So, um, again, this year we, we talked about smart goals and I said, okay, this is how we're gonna lay it out. And, and that's it, it's that again, that failing to plan, right? You're, you're gonna go around in circles and not get anywhere if you don't have some clear ideas of, of milestones and things that you can do. So, yeah. , yeah. That's huge for you. You mentioned like for you you're, you're, um, you're recovering right now. And so for you, that kind of brings, brings us into that part of it with, with you and, and when you're recovering, if you, you know, you've injured yourself or, or what's happened, what's the, are there different intentions there, or do, do you like cuz the mindset with that would be something else too? I would imagine.
Matt (17:57):
Oh definitely. Um, yeah, it, it was really a struggle I've I've taken injuries before. Um, but I've not ever had like race seasons climb like this ahead ahead of time. And so, you know, I had some pretty big goals this year and so I definitely went through a bit of a dark time trying to get adjusted, just not moving to go from, um, you know, running a hundred and however many miles, uh, to a dead stop is tough. It's tough mentally. It's tough physically. And yeah, so I, I had to kind of give myself a goal. I I'm just, I'm a, I'm a creature of habit. I love to be working on something. And so to, to keep my mind, you know, occupy and ready to go, I still started building, you know, the, the rehab plan. What am I gonna do? Where am I gonna go?
Matt (18:55):
Um, how am I gonna structure this? And I created a goal for myself, something that I've wanted to work on for quite some time, just have never taken the time to do it was, uh, a pistol squat, which is, it's kind of a, a, a squat where you're standing on one leg. You put the other leg out in front of you and then you squat down and stand back up, which going down is easy. Getting up is much more difficult. Mm-hmm , uh, it's, it's a move that I, I really admire. I see people that can do it. And I go, man, that is a, that looks like a tough move. I know this is tough, move that it's, I can't even do it. So, um, I thought, you know, that would be a great thing to incorporate, like I'm gonna be working on, um, you know, hip civilian, hip strength, uh, over the next couple of weeks or months.
Matt (19:41):
So I thought there we go, that'll be a perfect opportunity to kind of build towards something I wanted to do as well as, you know, get through the rehab. So now have something to, to be excited about, you know, like, and, and I have a goal when I'm done, I'm hopefully going to be able to do this move. So, um, yeah, definitely set, set intentions, you know, like set goals, make, make plans and try to stick to them the best you can cuz that's, that's your route to success. It's like if you had a, a list of, remember when Google maps, you had to print them off before you had your phone, imagine if you just like threw one of those pages away and was like, I'm not gonna do that one mm-hmm mm-hmm you wouldn't get where you're going. Um, so make your map and follow it. Mm-hmm
Lexi (20:26):
And I think that's it, right? It's that key piece of follow through and it's okay. Feel to feel and that's, it exactly is feeling it, sitting in that, Ugh, I'm not happy with where I'm at right now, but let's okay. Let's get moving, let's set something and let's get that consistency. And, and that's it right? That consistency and that persistence, as you said, each day is a step forward. And so whether it's a couple of steps or a bit more, it's still moving forward and it's still moving from where you were. And I think it's, it's celebrating that and I can see how the intention stones would work or intentions in general would work well with that too. It's like, oh yeah. Right. Okay. That's a good reminder because we, right. You're caught up in what's going on and sometimes you forget, you forget the simple things, right? Yeah.
Matt (21:17):
Right on. That was, that was a fun chat. I'm I'm excited that we got the opportunity to
Lexi (21:24):
Do this. So am I and, and, and next time when we meet, I won't show up in, well, maybe I won't. No, I won't. I won't show up in costume next time. It'll be back to me, but I dunno,
Matt (21:34):
Reoccurring thing
Lexi (21:37):
If you do
Lexi (21:46):
Has amazing. I, uh, guys, if you've got any questions for us about anything we're chatting about any comments we would love to hear it. Um, and yeah, if there's something you wanna, you wanna hear about from Matt, is there something in particular, any questions, um, yeah. Or something you wanna kind of discuss further, let us know and we'd love to chat some more and yeah, I think we'll, I'm assuming we're gonna chat again. Um, so we'll figure out what our next topic's gonna be and then hopefully we can, uh, we'll connect and go to it. So thanks for joining us. Thanks. Thanks Shep. I keep on saying that. I guess I can. Thank you, Shep. all right.
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