All posts by Intent

More than Love

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Guest post by Kanika Sethi

I am a big Beatles fan.  In fact, right after the 2016 election, when people immediately starting forming “resistance” groups and gathering in protest outside of Trump Tower shouting obscenities at him, I half-jokingly told friends and families that the only way I’d be standing out there would be if I were with a group singing, “All You Need is LOVE!”   

During the weeks prior to the election, like many Americans, my anxiety became so intense that I hardly slept. I could do nothing but obsess over the news, feeling in my gut that everything was going absolutely wrong.   The only way I knew how to calm myself down was by offering nightly loving-kindness meditations toward Donald Trump.  I thought that his suffering must have been so intense in order for him to be such hateful, spiteful, bitter, angry man.  And he desperately needed more love and compassion. 

I am a firm believer in the ideal of Ahimsa – Sanskrit for non-violence in word, thought and deed — and the idea of “resistance” or even just the term itself has triggered an inner conflict. I’m in awe of and absolutely grateful for the resistance groups and incredible activism that has emerged during this very troubling time in our world history.  Yet, although I firmly believe there are evil forces struggling to retain power, I have been conflicted about being part of a “resistance” when I fear it will only cause more harm and violence in the end. 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

Why Real-Life Love is Worth the Struggle

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It has been said that you craft a relationship by practice, practice, practice. It does not just happen. In fact, 80% of couples choose to stay together after adultery in marriage. Monogamy is a conscious decision.  Divorce is not an option or exit for those who have reached real-life love. Their mindset is different. Their mindset is we will make it work! It takes discipline to be married happily.

Adultery is now higher for women than it is for men. Career women may see life without a spouse as palatable because of the burnout they feel from carrying most of the responsibilities alone. Social networking after work pulls apart the intimacy and connection between a couple. People can look up old sweethearts and eulogize those memories. This makes them feel younger and fancy free.

There is no conflict or conflict resolution needed. Polite marriages are higher in adultery because they lack conflict which gives us passion. The bored are looking for the pizazz of first love, but are searching for it in the wrong place. No one knows that with better imagination and ingenuity you can have an affair with your own partner.

For those who claim monogamy is not natural to humans, studies suggest that married people have better health, sex, wealth, and happiness. Women in relationships feel more sexually satisfied after 15 years together. The longer a couple is together the more sense of kindness returns later in life—similar to the way the relationship was in the courting period. 

This is real-life love and if you’ve got there you’ve traversed the power struggle it took to get there. After you conquer the power struggle stage you have more respect for each other. When you reach real-life love, you accept each other as you are and you are better for it. You have grown together as improved individuals.

Here are some tips for reaching real-life love: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Time for Friendship

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Time and experience can tell you that you are definitely able to find yourself alone even in a crowd of people. A city can be just as lonely as the most isolated cabin on the most isolated mountaintop if you aren’t connected and known by people who matter to you.

So often we can assume a lack of effort on another’s part as rejection on ours, but perhaps it is time to consider that we hold the keys to our own happiness and connection.

“I always assume you’re busy.”
“Why did we ever fall out of touch?”
“We think about you all the time, we just assumed…”

Many of us are operating out of assumptions that stop of from reaching out.
We assume someone else is busy.
We assume we’re forgotten.
We assume people have better things going on.

All this assuming has left us tired and disconnected and so, whether we are busy or not, we want to make time to reach out. We want to make time to stay up-to-date with the lives of those who matter to us. We intend to make time for friendship.

You too? Here are some permissions you have when making time for friends: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Tough Questions

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We don’t always associate questions with hard work. We think of sweat, exercise, building, almost anything other than questions but those can be some of the hardest to face. When we ask ourselves the tough questions, there is no place to hide. We can also prioritize everything else above our own reflection time, but there is so much that can feel our of whack when we haven’t taken the time to really examine our real feelings and hopes. It doesn’t appear that there will be a convenient time to ask, so we’re going to set an intent to make the time. We intend to ask ourselves the tough questions.

You too? Here are 3 reasons you should too: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Eat with Intention

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We spend a lot of time discussing the mind-body connection, but today we want to focus on the body half. Whether we want to or not, we have to slow down to eat eventually. It is in this simple and basic act that we can help or hurt ourselves, make or break a day. To begin, when we rush through eating, we can eat without realizing how our body is affected. When we skip eating, we deprive our body of vital nutrients to make it through the day. When we binge, we flood our body with excess, making us lethargic and heavy. Prolonged habits can cause lasting damage and much of it can be traced back to eating without fully connecting to the act. Today we want to start a different habit. We will eat with intention.

You too? Here are 3 things to help you do the same: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Know Who We Are

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There is so much that makes a human. Muscles, nerve endings, water and blood. On top of your skeleton is a lifetime of experiences, things you’ve heard about what is normal, what you could and should be. They build up and tear down your stature depending on the day. Layered beyond that are our hopes and dreams, what we might become with a little luck and a lot of sweat.  This self will come across circumstances, people and opportunities, good and bad, that shape it further. As a result, it may be hard to tell the difference between what is you and what isn’t you. There may be parts of yourself so long buried just waiting for you to reclaim them. So, if your life feels like shoes that don’t fit just right, like you’re wearing someone else’s life, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the things you’re counting as you.

We intend to know who we are.

You too? Here are 3 things to help you do the same: Continue reading

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