Living with Intent: 6 Steps to Living a Healthier, More Joyful & Purposeful Life

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About two years ago, I approached my father (Deepak Chopra) with a confession. I told him I was generally exhausted, over caffeinated and my sugar addiction was out of control.  I realized I was overscheduled trying to balance my role as a wife, mom, and entrepreneur with Intent.com, my start-up social media company. I felt bloated and had a lot of body pain. I hadn’t been meditating or exercising much, and at night I was having trouble sleeping. My father looked shell shocked, and it took a few moments for him to transition from concerned father to Deepak Chopra, the person that thousands go to for health advice. Continue reading

Service Learning: Teaching Children to Live With Intent

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The concept of living with intent, with a sense of purpose, can be taught to children at a young age. Parents lead by their own example, but great teachers can have a huge impact.

Carlthorp School, my daughter’s school in Santa Monica CA, has developed an incredible program with KidUnity, an organization that combines 21st Century learning concepts with service learning to create empathy, empowerment, and skills for children to engage in our world. My daughter is incredibly lucky to have participated in a year long program on civic engagement that culminated with a visit to Washington DC where the students heard from and made presentations to congress, media and organizations on subjects they had studied for during the academic year.

Here is a a reflection from my 12 year old daughter, Leela, on how the program worked and her experience: Continue reading

Doing the Inner Work for the Outer Work in a Suffering World

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For the last 3 weeks, I participated in an intensive program at Teachers College (Columbia University) for my Masters in Psychology and Spirituality. During 9-hour days, we immersed ourselves in an academic understanding of the inherent spirituality in children, and how spirituality relates to personal healing, education, substance abuse and depression, and communication. The experiential learning included heart based connection, artistic expression, individual and planetary energy healing, Jungian symbol exploration and, of course, lots of meditation and intention setting.

I will be honest – at times I found the experiential exercises excruciatingly annoying. I have been meditating for 35 years, have attended conferences since my teens, and teach about intention and balance at conferences around the world! For me, returning to school at 45 was clear – my intent was to develop a lexicon of theories in spiritual psychology for my public speaking, and potentially future books and projects.

This endeavor was for my mind and my intellect, not my soul.

As we sat, day after day meditating, I found myself getting more irritable. Because, the world continued to happen…

Brexit, stirring fear and uncertainty

Terrorist attacks in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, Saudi Arabia

The refugee crisis

My friend mourning her husband’s death to cancer

Philando Castile and Alton Sterling

Police shootings in Dallas

Accepting that we had to let go of Cleo, my brother’s dog Continue reading

Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully:
Noticing and Choosing What You Want As You Grow Older

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A few months ago, I did a panel, and follow-up interview with Prevention Magazine (a magazine which I love, by the way) on aging gracefully. How funny to find myself being a voice for that…

On the panel, as others talked about diet, exercise and how to look young, I found myself getting emotional as I thought about my grandfather, Nana, who had just passed away. I realized, while sitting on the stage, that aging gracefully for me meant living with dignity, being of service, and cherishing the relationships in my life. Continue reading

7 Power Foods That Improve Your Appearance

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A lot of us struggle with excessive consumption of foods that harm our appearance and good looks. One of the contributing factors to outbreaks of acne and skin blemishes is having lots of oily and processed foods in our diet. Thankfully, there are natural antidotes that can get the body clean and back in shape. It is important if there is an outbreak of skin problems that we lower consumption of the damaging food. Continue reading

Successful Marriage is an Art, and a Talent Worth Pursuing

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For decades now, people have admired the rapport between my husband and I. Whether we’re presenting on stage together, or chatting with friends in our living room, the chemistry is obvious and apparently enviable. A curiosity. Where, I’ve been asked, does it come from?

If only I could take my inquirers to Paris. Because my answer is there, in the Louvre Art Museum, specifically in the “Salle des Etats”, where Mona Lisa sits composed in the midst of constant chaos: hundreds of photographers clamoring for their shot at any given moment. And why not? She is the most famous face in history. What most people don’t know about Mona Lisa though, is the fact that it took forty-plus years to create her––at least it took that long for Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci, to become expert enough, to craft his masterpiece.

And therein lies the answer to our question, “Where does a charmed marriage come from?” Continue reading

How Humor and Faith Help You Focus on What’s Important

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The idea to mix the topic of humor and faith came to me after receiving a note from a good friend last week. His morning habit includes praying and thought of me as he read this passage: 

Who can find a woman of noble character? She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs at the hard times to come. (Proverbs 31: 10, 25)

Reading this made me smile and giggle because he knows some of the crazy stuff I’ve been through. It also reminded me that everything will be okay. I “thought” I was having a bad morning until receiving that note. My thoughts switched to positive mode and made me happy.

Having a sense of humor can help you get through uncomfortable moments or situations. Humor helps provide insight and tolerance and allows you to see things from a different perspective. Laughter bonds people.

Having faith is the best way to tap into your innate wisdom, harmony and strength which keeps us centered. Life is full of bumps and curves, and faith will help steer you back to your center as many times as needed.

These two things – humor and faith – are important aspects of our lives we tend take for granted. Here are three examples that illustrate how humor and faith can help you focus on what’s important: Continue reading

3 Reasons to Avoid the Kid’s Menu and What to Do Instead

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What if the common restaurant kid’s menu was never invented? What if parents ordered right off the adult menu, asking for a side plate to share “grown-up foods” with their kids from the moment they were learning to chew? What would happen?

  1. Kids would be exposed to a wide variety of textures, aromas and tastes. Research shows that exposure to new foods is the first step to raising healthy eaters.

  2. Kids would explore new foods, no matter which restaurant they visited.  Exploring new foods, essentially food play, has been shown to decrease the likelihood that kids will become picky eaters.  Food exploration doesn’t have to be messy play. It can include cutting into green beans and counting each tiny bean inside, or learning about shapes with parents handing over round slices of zucchini or triangles of spinach frittata. Exploring food is mindful, purposeful and has the intent of creating interest, not just filling bellies.

  3. Kids would expand their food repertoire over time, as they grew and experienced new restaurant menus. While purees are a nice start for learning eaters, children who linger on purees past the age of 9 months are likely to develop feeding difficulties. Kids who rely on the standard kid fare of chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese or French fries, never venturing from a kiddie menu, get stuck in a kids’ meal rut, with no direction on how to climb out.

Continue reading

How Being Flexible Can Help You Avoid Burnout

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A few days ago, I was reminded of the importance of the art of mental flexibility in order to avoid stress.

One of the many reasons people feel stressed out is that life changes when they don’t want it or expect it. It is the surprise change that throws the careful routine out the window. People then tense up, trying to restore what was, without being opened to the change and the possibilities it could bring into their life.

I consider myself quite good at being flexible and I believe it to be true for the most part. But sometimes, we need a reminder.

For the past 10 years, we have led a gluten, milk and egg free life, due to a lot of food allergies running in the family. While it had been a huge initial adjustment at the time, and it had continued to be extremely restrictive for us, we had found a routine that worked. We had adapted.

Then a few weeks ago, the doctor suggested that the kids should be re-tested for their allergies and the way to do that was to re-introduce in their diet the offending foods for a couple of months and have test done again at the end of the period.

Needless to say, the kids were ecstatic. Finally they would be able to eat like everybody else and enjoy the foods they had been missing out on – pizza, cupcakes, cheeseburgers – the first few days were a teenager dream.

However, I had a completely different reaction. I felt overwhelmed by the idea of all the changes needing to happen for this to work: Double food preparation, (Not everybody in the family is being re-tested), change in shopping patterns, getting used to using those ingredients again, … The list went on and on.

While in theory, I could see that it was a very positive move, I was really struggling with the change emotionally.

Why? Continue reading

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