Monthly Archives: May 2011

A MOMENT OF SEREN-I-TEA VIDEO CONTEST: June 1 – 12, 2011

Dear Intent Community,

What does a moment of serenity look like to you? 

Ocean waves? Your cat curled up on your lap? A nice cup of chamomile tea steaming in the morning? Be creative and share it with us! 

SHOW it to us in the form of a 15 to 30 second video capturing this moment. We don’t need you to edit a fancy mini-short film or anything like that. Just shoot it, upload it, and share the video link with us by commenting on this blog post, tweeting it to us @intentdotcom or posting it on our Intent.com Facebook page.

The creator of the winning video will receive a grab bag of free Sokenbicha products: a yoga mat, a t-shirt, a journal, a pen and a carry bag! Contest participants limited to U.S. residents only.

Deadline for sharing the video link with us is Sunday, June 12 11:59PM PST. Winner of the video contest will be announcted on Wednesday, June 15.

Looking forward to seeing your moment of serenity in video form! 

Namaste,

The Intent Team

P.S. If you are living in the San Francisco Bay area, don’t forget to register for Seren-i-tea In The Square on Saturday, June 25, where you can enjoy an afternoon of serenity with a group meditation session by Mallika Chopra and a group yoga session by yoga instructor Stephanie Snyder right in San Francisco Union Square. Click here to learn more.

 

Game Changers – Who Are The Real Leaders Today?

I remember when the news hit about the Berlin wall coming down. It was a huge game changer many believed would never happen; a watershed moment that signaled the end of a hostile era. It brought about an incredible opportunity – similar to one we are facing today. Who will accept the challenge is the question.

My mother lived in Berlin at the end of the warwhen she took me out of my comfort zone and the security of my home in Texas to East Berlin, I remember how frightened she was just crossing through the check points, as though they might keep her there, in that world where the word freedom and peace had lost its meaning.

In the years since 911, the precious freedom my mother treasured and why America meant so much to her has eroded. Yes, in the name of protecting us from those who might wish us harm, and yet the surveillance, the ‘checkpoints’ at every airport where you are required to allow invasive body searches, the cameras on every street corner in all the major cities, the new laws that permit anyone to be taken into custody without representation (i.e. The Patriot Act)all seem to echo what we used to call tyranny in other countries.

And, we are standing at a crossroad in our history where we have an opportunity to transcend the fear-based legislation and way of life that exists today, that many have even begun to accept as the status quo. Consider what could happen if the billions spent on wars and surveillance to ‘protect’ us were invested in people and creativity to shift our failing economy and the future sustainability of this world.

Tom Friedman pointed out in the New York Times that with the advent of Bin Laden’s death, and the repudiation of his ideology by the millions of Arabs from Tunisia to Egypt, to gain dignity, justice and self rule peacefully and not by murderous violence or a return to puritanical Islam as we fearedthat this is a time for the forces of decency to get organized. Can we do that around the worldlet go of some of our past fearsand recognize that this very moment is calling out for a new era of peace. 

Ervin Laszlo, renowned author twice nominated for the Nobel Peace prize, states that breakthroughs happen when “The mind-sets of a critical mass of people evolve in time, shifting the culture of society toward a better-adapted mode. As these changes take hold, the improved social order- governed by more adapted values, world-views, and ethics – establishes itself. Society stabilizes itself in its changed condition.”

Is this just a dream?  Ask Nelson Mandela how he took an angry society and the fear-based legislation in his country and set new standards through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to turn it around, not by himself of course, but with the support of the people across South Africa, from those in high positions to the men and women on the street.

Will it be simple? Of course not, those who live in cynicism perpetuate it. Gandhi, Mandela, Gorbachev, Martin Luther King and other visionary leaders faced tidal waves of skepticism and distrust, and, it didn’t stop them.

Is it possible? History has shown us it is. Are we ready to insist on and stand firm beside those leaders who can turn the tide and make this time an evolutionary shift? Or, are we the leaders, the people who must initially hold the vision and bring our world leaders into the game we have begun to play?

Who will be the game changers? Who will dismantle the myths that are so prevalent today, of our differences culturally, and that we will never find solutions for living peacefully?

As I traveled the world in the last ten years, what I witnessed is our similarities.  At our core, what we value is the samethe right to be free, to raise our children in secure environments, and to live peacefully respecting one anotherwhich now means within the global community we are all a part of.

We are interconnected and can no longer believe in the illusion of a world where it’s only about my country and my family. The domino effect as the economy took a nose dive in one area and then continued to include the entire globe was a powerful eye opener, allowing us to see the world in some ways as the astronauts didas one world, this beautiful and yet fragile planet we are all fortunate to call home.

I remember how shocked we were in America at the dismantling of the myths that divided our worldour fear of the Russians who we thought were so different, who only wanted to see the demise of Americans and the rest of the worldonly to discover when the wall came down, that the masses didn’t want to fight us, they yearned for freedom and a peaceful life as much as anyone.

It’s time, for a new era of peace. The stage has been setnot by one event pointing the waybut many.

President Obama, your mantle gives you the authority to define a future that is one of the biggest game changers the world has known. There are people from every culture who will stand beside any leader who is ready to bring about a more unified and peaceful world.

Are you ready to transcend centuries of hate and fear and take a stand for peace in today’s world? Are you the game changer?

Maybe we all are.

Game Changers – Who Are The Real Leaders Today?







I remember when the news hit about the Berlin wall coming down. It was a huge game changer many believed would never happen; a watershed moment that signaled the end of a hostile era. It brought about an incredible opportunity – similar to one we are facing today. Who will accept the challenge is the question.

My mother lived in Berlin at the end of the warwhen she took me out of my comfort zone and the security of my home in Texas to East Berlin, I remember how frightened she was just crossing through the check points, as though they might keep her there, in that world where the word freedom and peace had lost its meaning.

In the years since 911, the precious freedom my mother treasured and why America meant so much to her has eroded. Yes, in the name of protecting us from those who might wish us harm, and yet the surveillance, the ‘checkpoints’ at every airport where you are required to allow invasive body searches, the cameras on every street corner in all the major cities, the new laws that permit anyone to be taken into custody without representation (i.e. The Patriot Act)all seem to echo what we used to call tyranny in other countries.

And, we are standing at a crossroad in our history where we have an opportunity to transcend the fear-based legislation and way of life that exists today, that many have even begun to accept as the status quo. Consider what could happen if the billions spent on wars and surveillance to ‘protect’ us were invested in people and creativity to shift our failing economy and the future sustainability of this world.

Tom Friedman pointed out in the New York Times that with the advent of Bin Laden’s death, and the repudiation of his ideology by the millions of Arabs from Tunisia to Egypt, to gain dignity, justice and self rule peacefully and not by murderous violence or a return to puritanical Islam as we fearedthat this is a time for the forces of decency to get organized. Can we do that around the worldlet go of some of our past fearsand recognize that this very moment is calling out for a new era of peace. 

 

Ervin Laszlo, renowned author twice nominated for the Nobel Peace prize, states that breakthroughs happen when “The mind-sets of a critical mass of people evolve in time, shifting the culture of society toward a better-adapted mode. As these changes take hold, the improved social order- governed by more adapted values, world-views, and ethics – establishes itself. Society stabilizes itself in its changed condition.”

 

Is this just a dream?  Ask Nelson Mandela how he took an angry society and the fear-based legislation in his country and set new standards through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to turn it around, not by himself of course, but with the support of the people across South Africa, from those in high positions to the men and women on the street.

Will it be simple? Of course not, those who live in cynicism perpetuate it. Gandhi, Mandela, Gorbachev, Martin Luther King and other visionary leaders faced tidal waves of skepticism and distrust, and, it didn’t stop them.

Is it possible? History has shown us it is. Are we ready to insist on and stand firm beside those leaders who can turn the tide and make this time an evolutionary shift? Or, are we the leaders, the people who must initially hold the vision and bring our world leaders into the game we have begun to play?

Who will be the game changers? Who will dismantle the myths that are so prevalent today, of our differences culturally, and that we will never find solutions for living peacefully?

As I traveled the world in the last ten years, what I witnessed is our similarities.  At our core, what we value is the samethe right to be free, to raise our children in secure environments, and to live peacefully respecting one anotherwhich now means within the global community we are all a part of.

We are interconnected and can no longer believe in the illusion of a world where it’s only about my country and my family. The domino effect as the economy took a nose dive in one area and then continued to include the entire globe was a powerful eye opener, allowing us to see the world in some ways as the astronauts didas one world, this beautiful and yet fragile planet we are all fortunate to call home.

I remember how shocked we were in America at the dismantling of the myths that divided our worldour fear of the Russians who we thought were so different, who only wanted to see the demise of Americans and the rest of the worldonly to discover when the wall came down, that the masses didn’t want to fight us, they yearned for freedom and a peaceful life as much as anyone.

It’s time, for a new era of peace. The stage has been setnot by one event pointing the waybut many.

President Obama, your mantle gives you the authority to define a future that is one of the biggest game changers the world has known. There are people from every culture who will stand beside any leader who is ready to bring about a more unified and peaceful world.

Are you ready to transcend centuries of hate and fear and take a stand for peace in today’s world? Are you the game changer?

Maybe we all are.

 

 






Be In Joy

 Tuesday, 5/31

 

Be in Joy

 

“Find cause to laugh, giggle, or radiate cheerfulness, practice being light-hearted, carefree, and elated about the miracles in your life or the miracles of the moment.  Be happy, be bright, rejoice and enjoy.  Be in Joy.”

 

–Morning Messages by Peggy Black

Steve Farrell

Humanity’s Team World Wide Coordinating Director

 

Why Women Are More Prone to Depression Than Men

Both men and women are stressed environmentally, physically and emotionally. However, researchers in social psychiatry point out women are twice as likely as men to develop depression. Why? Theories abound according to the Harvard Mental Health Letter:

* Hormonal changes: Monthly, during pregnancy and at menopause
* Women get caught in a negative worry loop
* Many women are overwhelmed with caregiving responsibilities
* Concerning family, friends and colleagues, most women feel responsible for everyone’s happiness
* On average, women are poorer than men
* Women speak more openly about stress and depression than men, so men might be suffering in silence and could be just as depressed as women

What can you do to improve your mood – naturally? Here are 10 strategies which work for my readers:
* Reduce the small daily stressors you have control over. Don’t let stress accumulate and pull you under.
* Simplify your life by determining what you really need. What you want is often fueled by commercials and competition.
* You need room to roam. Set up a quiet, no disturb zone every day. Even a short break from technology where you can unwind and disconnect from emails, phone calls and your computer will help you restore your natural rhythm.
* Let it go! Living in the moment is not just about enjoying a cup of coffee watching birds in flight. Living in the moment means the past is over and you move on instead of replaying the insult, indiscretion or conflict in your head. Reinterpret the living nightmare to a sweeter, kinder reality. You can change the channel in your head to watch a different movie.
* Exercise is particularly important for women. Every research study I have read asserts that exercise alleviates depression, improving mood and focus.  My mantra is, “Lift weights, lift your spirits.” Strength training is quantifiable as you can concretely track your progress which leads to feelings of accomplishment and future empowerment.
* Keep your body and mind in alignment – eat healthy, exercise, get outdoors and sleep. Your gut is lined with serotonin receptors which affect mood. If you are eating junk food to self-soothe, you could be sabotaging your mood.
* Don’t put yourself last on your to-do list when you are caregiver. Your R&R is a top priority. Overdoing leads to depletion which leads to negativity and possibly depression.
* Find your creative compensation when life gives you lemons. Creativity fills an empty heart.
* Women tend and befriend. Plug into upbeat friends who will pick you up when you begin to descend into the “abyss.” Don’t wait to hit the bottom – it is so much harder to climb out.
* Speak to yourself and others using positive language.  There is great power in the words you use to describe your daily reality.

If you are still feeling helpless and hopeless, see a professional for treatment options. You might have a chemical imbalance or a genetic predisposition.

  PHOTO (cc): Flickr /  Helga Weber

A Little Gratitude for Servers, Please and Thank-You

 As our world continues to go through dramatic changes and shifts, we are all being called to serve.  Every one of us have unique and individual ways we can serve others and the planet every day.  I believe it is more important than ever to recognize this and to consciously act from a heart centered place of sincere caring and concern.

My wonderfully spirited daughter Lani, who shines her light out into the world and serves others through her performing talents, also literally “serves” people every day at a family oriented, midtown restaurant in Toronto.  From what others have told me, she shines particularly brightly at this as well. 

 

What happened to her recently could have, and probably does, happen all the time to servers in towns and cities around the globe.  Her restaurant was offering a “buy one, get one free” entrée promotion to try to restore confidence, after a health scare that had been publicly blown out of proportion.  It was a busy Thursday night and after serving what to her, appeared to be a trustworthy family of four, she cheerfully left the billfold and check for them to pay, when they were ready.  No pressure and no sign of anything that in any way showed they weren’t 100% happy.  She went off, and in her efficient and enthusiastic way, continued serving her other customers, making sure everyone was equally happy and enjoying their dining experience.  Not too long after this, she returned to this family’s table and found they had left the building, taking the billfold and check with them.  Not only did they not leave a tip, they did not even pay the bill!  When she told me, I was shocked.

 

This family had already received two free entrées and although the bill was not a lot, their actions showed a total lack of respect and gratitude for the restaurant, the food and their server.  Because of restaurant policy, the server is responsible for the bill.  Ouch!  Her fellow servers rallied to support her, however, understandably as we are all human, this scarred her otherwise great day and night.  It left both of us  questioning how anyone could consciously and pre-meditatively behave in a way that so lacks integrity, illustrating an unflattering side of human nature; acting without  gratitude.

 

Being who I am, I looked for a lesson in it, believing there is always something to be learned in every situation, by the people involved.  Maybe the family was hungry and actually couldn’t afford to pay for the meal.  Maybe the husband thought the wife paid or vice versa.  Maybe there was a misunderstanding because English was not the family’s first language.  Trying to see the positive in it, I still find it difficult to understand why people forget to act from a place of gratitude and aren’t able to express it openly and freely to others, especially those who serve us, all the time.  Have we lost the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and see what the view looks like from there?  Is it really that difficult to stay aware and display gratitude for service?  

 

As I walked today, grateful for a glorious almost spring-like day, I found myself wondering when and if we as a people will be able to demonstrate genuine compassion and gratitude to others, not just in times of crisis when we are called to rally together, but all the time.  What someone does for a living is not who they are as a person, but what someone does to another person, does indicate the kind of person they are.  What kind of lessons are adults like this teaching their children?  I don’t have the definitive answers, but I believe we can all start by taking personal responsibility for how we choose to interact in the world.  The law of karma tells us that what goes around always comes around, making it important to make gratitude a daily practice, both personally and by showing it to others. Conscious intention is one place to start.

 

I’d love to hear stories from other servers of how either grateful or ungrateful behavior has impacted their lives.  If the family who left without paying, by some chance reads this, it is never too late to show up and make it right.  I know my rose coloured glass optimism keeps me somewhat naive, but I honestly do believe that people are  good and trustworthy and honourable and I see expressions of gratitude all the time, everywhere I look, more often than not.  Keep gratitude alive and well; it is really such a simple thing to practice.

 

Gratitude is the best attitude.  ~Author Unknown

Opening my heart to love

I have always been afraid to open my heart to love between a man and a woman,  I thinkI was afraid I WOULD NOT HAVE CONTROL IF i DID NOT LIKE THE WAY THE RELATIONSHIP WAS PROCEEDING OR AFRAID TO SAY NO , THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT CONNECTION FOR Me,  i WANT TO GET OVER THAT, LET THE WALL COME DOWN AND THEN i believe true love will come my way

Finding Peace

 Question:

How do I overcome my mind ….. To stop my fear of death and find purpose and peace in the present moment with out worrying why I am even on this earth… ? I feel like an alien… For this issue makes me bitter, angry, lonely, and afraid to be a part of. Please Help Me!

Answer:

I’m afraid my answer for you is simple but doesn’t happen instantly. You have built up your   identity around the idea of being separate from others, separate from your body and separate from your surroundings. That separation is the root of your fear and loneliness.

To get beyond the fears and worry of your mind you need to transcend the mind altogether. That means practice meditation so that you experience your true self as  unlimited awareness, pure being. When you know yourself as the stillness of consciousness, you know peace, your know your purpose, and you belong to the earth because the universe belongs to you. This won’t necessarily happen all at once, but this is the direction you need to travel, and as you establish more and more of your real self, more peace and happiness will emerge in your life.

Love,

Deepak

 deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

Invitation To Joy

 Monday, 5/30

Invitation to joy

 

 

 

 

“Life is constantly inviting you to experience new joy. Choose to accept more of those invitations.

 

 

 

You work hard to be able to live your life in the way you choose. So make sure you truly live it.

 

 

 

Even when you are hard at work, live with a playful and joyous attitude. Even when the situation is exceedingly serious, don’t take yourself too seriously.

 

 

 

Give your spirit just as much nourishment as you give your body and your mind. Every richness you’ll ever experience is connected to the beauty inside you.”

 

-The Daily Motivator by Ralph Marston

Steve Farrell Humanity’s Team Coordinating Director

 

 

Weekly Health Tip: How To Ease Back Pain During Pregnancy


Visualization is the courtesy of TheVisualMD.com

 

Brought to you by Deepak Chopra, MD, Alexander Tsiaras, and TheVisualMD.com

"Oh my aching back!" is a complaint eight out of 10 adults will voice at some point in their lives (1). But for women who are pregnant, these words have special resonance. More than two thirds of women who are expecting experience lower back and pelvic pain during their pregnancy, usually in the second and third trimesters (2). For many, the pain is bad enough to interfere with sleep, work and other activities. In a 2004 study, one third of women reported that they had to stop at least one activity due to back pain (3).

It’s hardly surprising that pregnancy can deliver a wallop to the lower back. A woman who is pregnant carries an extra 20 to 40 pounds of weight (2). That changes the way she stands and walks, which puts a strain on her back. Add in hormonal changes that make the pelvic joints wobbly and you have the perfect recipe for back pain.

The good news is that for most women, back pain disappears after delivery, usually within six months. But you don’t have to wait until then to get some relief. Exercise, acupuncture and other remedies can relieve back pain — or at least make it manageable. And if you are planning on becoming pregnant, you can take steps now to try to avoid back pain. Stay active — or get active if you aren’t already. Studies show that women who have a sedentary lifestyle before they become pregnant have an increased risk of back pain (2, 4).

How Pregnancy Impacts Your Back What makes pregnancy such a pain in the back? It’s usually the result of several things. The new weight a pregnant woman carries in front shifts her body’s center of gravity, which puts more pressure on the lower spine. In order to balance the new load, many women change their posture to a swayback position, which adds even more pressure to the lower back. To make things worse, the stomach muscles stretch during pregnancy and can no longer support the torso. The muscles of the lower back pick up the slack, and they must work harder and harder as the torso gets heavier.

Hormonal changes may also contribute to back pain. In preparation for delivery, a hormone aptly named "relaxin" relaxes and softens the tissues of the pelvic joints. Normally, these joints help support the spine. When they loosen during pregnancy, it can cause pain and inflammation not just in the pelvis, but also across the lower back.

Another possible culprit is the expanding uterus. As the uterus grows, it presses on certain blood vessels, especially when a woman is lying down at night. One theory is that this pressure reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the pelvis and lower spine, causing pain (2).

6 Ways to Ease the Pain No matter what’s causing the back pain, there are steps you can take to get relief. Several studies show that the best results come from exercises that strengthen the abdomen and lower back, water aerobics, acupuncture and the use of support pillows at night (4). But those aren’t the only options. Try some or all of the remedies below until you find the ones that work best for you. Be sure to talk to your doctor if your back pain persists. Backache that doesn’t go away can be a sign of preterm labor, an infection or other serious problems.

1. Exercise: A strengthening exercise called the pelvic tilt is one of the best for relieving — and preventing — back pain. Here’s how to do it: Get down on your hands and knees. Bend your elbows slightly and make sure your back is flat, like a table, and your head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach by contracting your muscles, curving your back slightly. Hold for a few seconds and release. Gradually work up to 10 to 20 repetitions.

Ask your doctor about other exercises — such as lower back extensions and Kegel exercises — that can help strengthen your back and abdomen. Try taking a water aerobics class. And be sure to include gentle physical activities like walking and swimming in your daily routine.

2. Acupuncture and Massage: The nearly painless insertion of very thin needles in the skin has been a key component of Chinese medicine for centuries. Traditional practitioners say that it works by re-balancing the flow of energy — known as qi — through the body. Many Western practitioners believe that it works by boosting the body’s natural painkillers. However it works, acupuncture seems to help pregnant women. A 2007 study found that 60 percent of pregnant women who received acupuncture treatments reported a decrease in back pain (4). Prenatal back massage may also help relieve back pain.

3. Sleeping Position and Pillow Support: Sleep on your side instead of your back and try keeping one or both knees bent. Research shows that using a pillow to support your abdomen, especially during the last trimester, can make a real difference (4). A wedge-shaped pillow seems to work best, if you can find one. Also try placing a pillow between your knees at night.

4. Gear Up: Wear shoes with low heels and good arch support. Maternity support belts can relieve pain by making the pelvic joints more stable, and some women find maternity pants helpful. You can also try using a heating pad to apply heat to the problem area.

5. Perfect Your Posture: Take some pressure off your lower back muscles by standing up straight instead of leaning back. If you have to stand for a long time, try resting one foot on a low stool. It helps to sit up straight, too. Use a chair that supports your back and try putting a small pillow behind your lower back for extra support.

6. Don’t Overdo It: Ask for help when you need it, especially when lifting heavy objects or doing other chores that can strain your back. Have you found a way to relieve back pain during pregnancy? Share it in the comments.

Learn more about maintaining your health and well-being:

TheVisualMD.com

References

1. National Institutes of Health

2. Sabino J, Grauer J. Pregnancy and low back pain. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine. 2008;1:137-141.

3. Wang SM, Dezinno P, Maranets I, et al. Low back pain during pregnancy: prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes. Obstet Gynecol. 2004;104:65-70.

4. Pennick V, Young G. Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Syst Rev. 2007; 2:CD001139.doi:10.1002/14651858. CD001139.pub2

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