We are familiar with the feelings of stress and anxiety.
We recognize the pounding heart, the tension in your forehead, the narrowed scope when it comes to listening and even seeing what’s going on around you.
As negative as those things can be, it can be easy to fall into what is familiar and culture can tell us that being stressed is standard. If stress is familiar, we can end up there over and over again. We can forget that it isn’t a healthy place to stay.
Do you know what peace feels like? It can feel more foreign than we realize because peace will require you to intentionally slow down to experience it, and the world is not always supportive of slowing down.
What does peace feel like? Does it feel like a lowered heartbeat? Does it feel like an unclouded mind? Does it feel like the weight has been removed from your shoulders?
What does peace sound like? Look like? Smell like?
If we don’t make space to experience peace, are we ever going to be in a mindset where we can make clear decisions, feel the fullness of now or really see people?
Not sure if you know what peace feels like? Here are some resources that might help: Continue reading
When we are choosing the people in our lives, we like to pick ones that comfort us and support us in our times of need. Part of our relationships with these people means supporting them as well. Some of us don’t really know what it means to be supportive, and we do the best we can.
So, what does it mean to be supportive? What can we do to connect with our loved ones better, and help lift them up without any burden to ourselves? Luckily, the answer is quite simple.
Many of us are fixers – we like to solve other people’s problems, lend a hand, and make sure everyone else’s lives are running smoothly. As a fixer myself, I know that more than enough time is spent on these tasks. Living as an adult child of an alcoholic means that I am well versed in the art of fixing, whether it is cleaning up after someone, fixing their mistakes, or bailing them out of trouble when that might not be the best thing for them. Being a fixer is not a bad thing; many of us are caregivers by nature, and we genuinely do love to help out. Being a fixer just means we spend a little too much time focused on fixing others.
Unfortunately, the best intentions can sometimes go astray. We know that we are coming from a loving place or wanting to help and connect with the other person. Constantly telling them how to fix their problems, however, is not what someone wants out of a supportive friend, and we often get pushed away. Continue reading
When you feel anxious or depressed, do you try to get rid of these feelings, or do you learn from them?
Getting rid of anxiety and depression is big business – especially for the pharmaceutical companies. Drug sales for anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants are huge. This is very sad to me, because, while there are circumstances where these meds are medically called for, much of the time they are prescribed in an effort to simply get rid of our painful feelings. The problem with this is that it leaves us without the roadmap we need to navigate life in a loving, meaningful and joyful way.
Anxiety and depression have major information for us. Let’s compare these feelings to the pain you would feel if you grabbed a hot pan with your bare hand or cut your finger slicing your veggies.
The physical pain of the hot pan or the knife cut is giving you important information. It’s telling you to STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING! If you numbed your hand before grabbing the pan or cutting the veggies, you could badly burn your hand or badly injure your finger. We NEED these painful feelings to let us know when we are doing something that is harmful to us.
The same is true of anxiety and depression.
What might these feelings be telling you?
One of the main things they are telling you is that you are abandoning yourself in some way. There are many forms of self-abandonment that result in anxiety or depression: Continue reading
It’s a nice day outside… the sun is bright, a few billowy clouds in the sky, a slightly warm but yet refreshing breeze caresses you, birds are singing, not a lot of extraneous noise… in short, a perfectly beautiful day is before you as you step into your patio to enjoy the morning’s moment and sip that first and best cup of coffee. Ahhh, it’s great to be alive and to be able to have this brief but important time to reflect spiritually and to cleanse your mind.
Then it starts. Not real close or real loud, but it’s enough to break the solitude you were basking in and to distract you from what God had just so perfectly served up. You don’t recognize the song or the artist… nor do you really care right then… but it’s raucous and harsh music and it just ruins everything! You pick yourself up out of your ever so comfortable cushioned patio chair and go in the house… firmly closing the French door behind you to shut out the sound… and go back to the kitchen for more coffee, a little disgruntled.
That ever happen to you?
I think it’s happened to many of us… it certainly has happened to me… and more than once I might add! One could say that’s the price we pay for living close by other folks, in the city or suburbs, where we have stacked ourselves either vertically or sideways next to or on top of each other. So close you can sometimes hear the neighbor sneeze… right? (I’m speaking from personal experience here…). Why does that seem to happen so often, that “the mood” was shattered usually by some noise… sometimes loud music… that is discordant to that moment, that perfect setting? You may have had a little Mozart spinning on the CD player helping you relax, to ponder the upcoming day… or not. Doesn’t matter. That moment’s light mood is gone forever, replaced by a somewhat darker mood. You’ll get over it for sure but you won’t forget it. And the reason you won’t forget it is because moods in life are somewhat like negative and positive numbers in mathematics… with some emotion thrown in for good measure. It’s a fascinating study in the physics of life.
Connecting oneself to the pluses and minuses of life starts out as an automatic function of daily routine. You awake, you arise… you go through your little ritual to get yourself ready to meet the day… and the one thing you present to the world every day is your mood. How that mood comes to be is a combination of often complex circumstances and conditions, some of which you have no control over. Others you DO control: Continue reading
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
–Carl Sagan (about the Earth)
A few weeks ago, we shared some amazing podcasts you should be listening to.
One of those podcasts was the Liturgists which is a collective of creators who speak on everything from God to art to the world, theories, beliefs, everything in between.
One of our favorite parts of the podcast is their meditations.
Today we share VAPOR. Continue reading
Before everything goes in the over,
before you notice that the kids have all but erased any proof of your vacuuming job,
before you fortify your mind to spend the day with your mother-in-law,
take a moment to focus with us. Continue reading
Rohan Gunatillake is a business owner.
He is the creator of a new mindfulness app, Buddhify, which brings meditation, affirmations and calm into your busy day wherever you are. Listening to his talk about fear, work and mindfulness at the 99u Conference, we at Intent were very familiar with so much of what he covered. Continue reading
My Back-To-School Intent is to Keep It Simple.
For these last two weeks of summer, I have been in major organizing mode.
School supplies and uniforms, after-school activities, work strategy and planning, setting up speaking engagements and travel (which means coordination with my husband and mom!), cleaning closets, organizing finances, logistics galore of managing work, home, and getting my kids where they need to be from now through February!
I was laughing this morning as I read a Facebook post by my friend, Dani Modisett, author of Take My Spouse Please, about how her 2-day trip to NYC required a thesis of detailed instructions for her sitter. It’s so true! The only way for me to function sanely, while trying to work and professionally/intellectually keep growing, is to be super-organized and plan ahead.
I’ll admit my meditation practice these last two weeks has been sporadic, but when I am meditating one word seems to be popping up over and over again: Continue reading
I believe that spiritual growth under the right conditions is as natural as breathing…and the conditions of our world are the perfect conditions for spiritual growth. The person you are right now, with all of your challenges and strengths, pain and joys, failures and victories, is exactly the perfect person for the journey ahead. And your life, exactly as it is, is offering you the exact conditions to stimulate growth.
My intention for this essay is to share with you why I believe that existence is an unending emergence of pure love, a perfect and continuous homecoming, in spite of and in a sense because of, all the tragedy, pain and the unnecessary suffering that is endured by so many of us. I would start by asserting that the degree to which we recognize that suffering is unnecessary is evidence that somewhere we already know that love is the ground of existence.
This universe was born out of love and our desire for spiritual fulfillment is an expression of that love, an extension of that love, and the fulfillment of that love. Human life is challenging. We find ourselves caught in the middle between the Reality of Love and the actuality of suffering. I feel certain that suffering is actual, but not real. Only Love is Real.
What is Love? Love is what we feel when we recognize something that is worth devoting our life to. The things we love are the things that make life worth living. They allow us to feel at home in the world and relax deeply and completely into the experience of being. Continue reading
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