All posts by Intent

Why I Stopped Dieting (and you can make it your intent, too)

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Dieting sucks.

There, I said it. And, I think we can all agree.

Dieting implies restriction, deprivation, bland, boring foods and frequently guilt, self-hatred, and regret. No one wants that and no body responds well to that. Trust me, I tried.

I tried the low-fat diet, the low-carb approach, vegetarianism, no white foods, all of it. I tried shaming and criticizing my body into losing the weight. And you know what it made me? Fatter and more resentful.

Why? Because dieting doesn’t work on a physical level nor on an emotional level.

Good habits and self-love are what work. Continue reading

Celebrate Women’s Equality Day with Those Who Paved the Way

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Today marks the 95th anniversary of American women gaining the right to vote and so, has been named Women’s Equality Day. In that time, much progress has been made and at the same time, it’s hard to believe that women have had a voice in American politics for less than a century. Time Magazine reported that only 20% of the US government is represented by a female while female voter turnout has surpassed males at every election since 1980.

With plenty of distance still to go in the world of women’s equality globally, we celebrate our ladies with words of wisdom from those who have come before and sacrificed greatly and pioneered in a variety of ways for the good of many: Continue reading

Teens Discover Context and Compassion

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I’m sitting at a café having miso-mushroom soup, processing my meeting with an inner city high school principal about expanding the Mindfulness and Cultural Development program next year. The pilot was so successful; she would like to see it reach the entire freshman class. “I want them to have a full 4 years of support from the pressures they are under!”

“I think they are heroes for just being able to pay attention to their teachers in this academically challenging program. Some of them are dealing with such intense problems at home and in their neighborhoods.” The sole school counselor, serving 550 students with everything from college applications to behavioral interventions, nods her assent.

An image flashes across my mind from earlier this month. A lanky sweet looking girl in a yellow and orange bikini roughly kneed and handcuffed by a burly Texan policeman. The infraction? Going to a pool party.

To be a teenager in an inner-city these days is to be faced with issues far more complicated than first loves or summer jobs at the ice cream shop.

There isn’t an easy answer to the complex social, cultural, economic, environmental, and physical problems that face this next generation. But, there is a potent and profound way to empower our young adults, a way to help them cultivate inner strength for outer stability.

That’s where this innovative program Mindfulness & Cultural Development comes in. With all the benefits of classical mindfulness training, students gain objectivity on the thought process and de-stress through focus and non-judgment. Then they cultivate one more skill, which may make all the difference. They look at their experience in a vast context of cultural and evolutionary development. It’s fun. It’s powerful. And it creates space for heart and compassion in spades.

How does “context” create compassion? Continue reading

The Spirituality of Fitness

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by Janice Lennard

I am convinced that there is a direct parallelism between spirituality and fitness. Indeed, the foundation and centeredness achieved through regularly practiced physical activity is attributed to the interlacing of spirituality throughout the entire experience of exercise.

The commonalities of spirituality and fitness include, but are not limited to:

Discipline, Commitment, Focus, Mindset, Lifestyle and The ability to say “no.”

The aforementioned list most certainly has room for improvement and modification, but don’t we also have room for improvement and modification? After all, our bodies are constantly changing, and we modify our actions and behaviors to accommodate the continuous  changes we experience throughout our lives. It is through disciplined exercise and a spiritual mindset that change is embraced rather than feared. Continue reading

From Intent.com: The Kind to Self Challenge

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Let’s take a two minute pause to stop and consider kindness.
If you Google “kindness” , you’ll get responses like

“the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”

If you Google “friendly“, you’ll get all sorts of synonyms like communicative, approachable, easygoing, unreserved, benevolent. While those are words we can understand in relation to other people, they are not always things we think to extend to ourselves. Are we being a friend to ourselves before we try to be a friend to someone else? Are we showing kindness to ourselves in the same way we know other’s hope to receive?

So here’s your Kind-To-Self challenge for today: Continue reading

Evaluating Intention From the Inside, Out

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Normally when we discuss intention, it’s about our internal directive and how we want to achieve something. Whether that is being more loving, maintaining balance in our lives, or practicing patience; it’s very easy to understand our own objectives. But what about when it comes to others?

For instance, what about the driver who cuts you off in traffic? Do you believe they’re being aggressive? Or the person who repeatedly kicks the back of your seat in a movie theater or airplane? Are they being deliberately annoying?

How we interpret another’s intention actually reveals more about ourselves than them. The stories we fabricate of what we’re observing, can be subtle but rampant. Yet this is the cognitive energy we lug around when we unconsciously follow these unexplored guesses that usually result in lashing, negative and superficial judgments. Continue reading

One Woman’s Path to Wellness Through Integrative Nutrition

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For most if not all of human history, people have recognized the importance of nutrition in healthy living. What we put into our bodies has a clear effect on how feel, how we look, and ultimately how healthy we are. However, while this has always been apparent, we face unique challenges today. We’ve developed and created so many different foods, drinks, supplements, etc. that in ways it’s more difficult than ever before to figure out what’s truly healthy.

Fortunately, along with a more complicated diet, the modern era has introduced social tools that help those spreading strong nutritional strategies and values to reach wider audiences. For this reason, even though nutrition has long been emphasized among the health-conscious, the 21st century has begun to feel like the most nutritionally focused era in history.

Some of this is because of the prevalence of independent nutrition blogs and fad diets across the Internet, some of which make it big for a short time. But for the most part, it’s due to the rise of professional health and nutrition coaches, which is something the Intent Blog covered a few years ago in the article The Coming of the Health Coach Revolution.

In this article I wanted to take a more in-depth look at what it means to be a professional health coach, and what a thorough nutritional education can allow such a person to accomplish. In doing some research, I came across the success story of Jil Larsen, a paralegal-turned-small business owner who opened the Magic Mix Juicery in New York City. Continue reading

Seven Things You Need to Quit Now… For a Happier Marriage

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by Connie Podesta

Everyone says they want a happier, healthier, more loving relationship with their spouse, and who could blame them? That idea of happily ever after sounds pretty good-right? Here’s the thing however – too often it’s not always our partner that creates the rifts that allow us to drift apart. Many times? We’re the ones getting in the way. Here are seven things to quit right now if you want to create and sustain a healthy, happy marriage. Continue reading

Discovering Your Best Look First Thing in the Morning

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The alarm goes off, waking you to another long day.  Before your feet even hit the floor, you begin your body-checking rituals.

Ritual #1 – Lay perfectly flat on your bed.  Can you feel your hipbones? 

Ritual #2 -  Stand sideways in front of the mirror.  Does your stomach look “flat-enough”?

Ritual #3 – Step on the scale.  Have you lost any weight since yesterday?

The answers to these questions determine not only how you will think and feel for the rest of your day, but also how you dress and present yourself to the world.  Continue reading

Learn How to Be Present in the Moment with this Simple Skill

By Douglas E. Noll, JD, MA

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Many spiritual teachers and traditions teach about the power of being present in the moment. By cultivating an egoless state, they claim that you can find great joy and happiness in life. The problem is, many teachers don’t explain how to experience egolessness outside of years of contemplative practice. Meditation is an important process of self-actualization, but doesn’t always translate into the everyday world.

While developing a deep, empathic listening skill as part of my work as a peacemaker, I suddenly experienced non-ego for about 15 seconds. It was remarkable because I felt exactly as the teachers said I would. Nothing could touch me, and I was experiencing a deep connection while completely conscious. Even more startling, I was in the process of de-escalating a very angry person.

Standing in the midst of intense conflict, I found Oneness. Since then, I have perfected teaching the skill so that anyone can learn how to do it. Here are the steps you need to take to experience this for yourself. Continue reading

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