Category Archives: Popular Culture

Being Present & Bill Murray

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Bill Murray has made a career out of being someone.
He’s a someone who appears at wedding receptions for people he doesn’t know to just celebrate (if you can find the 1-800 number he uses in lieu of a manager or agent, you can invite the SNL alum to literally anything you want, really). He’s appearing in the upcoming St. Vincent about a cranky old neighbor who becomes the anti-hero for the boy next door. He’s been known to run around the streets of New York warning pedestrians about lobsters on the loose.

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The Inspiration of Arianna Huffington and “Thrive”

Arianna HuffingtonArianna Huffington is at the top of my list of women who intrigue me and whom I truly admire. Having met and heard her speak many times, I am always impressed by how articulate and smart she is. (Her relationship with my father, Deepak Chopra, dates back decades to when my dad saw her mother as a patient. Both Arianna and her sister, Agape, have become family friends who we see at various events.)

HuffingtonPost was the inspiration behind the original Intentblog – I loved the idea of bringing together real voices on a platform to explore and share big ideas. I truly cheered watching HuffingtonPost become such an incredible success story, because it was entrepreneurial, original, and a venture launched by a woman! Her name on lists like Time’s 100 Most Influential People and her face on the cover of magazines was so well deserved. And every time I met Arianna at book parties she hosted or at conferences where she spoke, I found her to be authentically interested in sharing ideas and expanding the global conversation.

But in her book, Thrive, Arianna admits that while many of us who have observed her years saw the success, she was suffering in other ways. Lack of sleep, exhaustion stress from 18 hour days, seven days a week, led her to actually fall one day and break her cheekbone and get a nasty gash on her eye. And, she was forced to ask herself questions like, “Was this what success looked like? Was this the life I wanted?”

In her book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom and Wonder, Arianna explores what it means to lead a good life. She explains how we need to go beyond defining success merely in terms of money and power – that the third metric consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

When I read Arianna’s book, I had many a-ha moments. In fact some of the themes like meditation, noticing coincidences, and trusting your intuition are action steps I am writing about in my upcoming book. I loved her stories about her family, as well as tapping into her heritage and the lessons learned from Greek mythology and great philosophers of our time. There is a lot of research in the book, as well as resources on how to meditate, as well as a great list of apps to help you work more efficiently and without distractions!

One big take away for me was the importance of sleep, and how as a culture, we boast about our lack of sleep when on every measure for success, good sleep seems to be a critical factor. Since hearing about the importance of sleep in Arianna’s talks and the book, I have become very strict as a mom of making sure my girls get enough sleep every night. She references a study in Science that calculates that an extra hour of sleep can do more for daily happiness that a $60,000 raise. I have also followed her tips on de-connecting from the electronic devices. Who knew it would be so hard to go to sleep without my Iphone next to me!?

What I love about the book though is that Arianna goes beyond wellbeing, and includes cherishing wisdom, celebrating wonder, and giving as the other pillars for a life well lived. She writes in the epilogue, “I wanted to share my own personal journey, how I learned the hard way to step back from being so caught up in my busy life that life’s mystery would pass me by. But it was also important to me to make it clear that this was not just one woman’s journey. There’s a collective longing to stop living in the shallows, to stop hurting our health and our relationships by striving so relentlessly after success as the world defines it – and instead tap in to the riches, joy, and amazing possibilities that our lives embody.”

Arianna’s call to live with intent and joy is inspiring, and one I hope many people, of all generations, will embrace so we strive to live fuller, more meaningful lives.

From Intent.com: Inspiration

Intent.com is some of my favorite inspirations: people who are moving and shaking, trying and risking.
They are experts at giving inspiration and receiving it.

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It’s Tuesday, you have most of the week ahead of you and maybe you’re needing a spark to make it through, so why not take a minute to share some of my favorites:

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What are your words of inspiration?
Photos? Movies? Songs?
What opportunities are you needing some extra spark to push through?
What spark do you have to provide?

One World: Arianna Huffington on Viewing Life with a Wider Lens

Arianna HuffingtonSo often in modern society, we look at success as being defined narrowly as attaining money and power. Particularly in the business world, there is a tendency to forget that there should be other measures of success including health, well-being, empathy and morality. These are the things that make up the Third Metric and there is a move by many in the business world to ensure that more emphasis is places on these things. Arianna Huffington is one business leader who is speaking passionately about this move.

When Arianna recently sat down with Deepak Chopra for a One World discussion regarding the Third Metric, she emphasized the importance of her mother in introducing the concept of the Third Metric to her. “She had always lived differently by putting relations and the heart and connections at the heart of everything and I had to catch up with her and to recognize why this is the only way to live.”

The entirety of that conversation is available now on NEWSWIRE.FM and one of the more striking points about the interview is that despite Arianna’s successes in digital arena, she is fully aware that being too wrapped up in technology is not conducive to well-being nor is it conducive to continued creative success. She explains to Deepak Chopra that “It is no longer possible to dismiss the value of meditation, sleep, learning to unplug from technology and reconnect with ourselves.” Human beings need more time alone, more space for self-reflection and a time to find the sources of creativity within ourselves.

Adrianna’s new book Thrive: The Third Metric to redefining Success and Creating Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder, which will be released this month, focuses on the ways in which we must take care of their own bodies and minds to achieve success. Without our health and well-being, money and power will never be enough to satisfy us.

The Third Metric does not however only focus internally. Rather, as Arianna explains in the One World episode, giving is also a critical part of what makes a person thrive. “We can now see how giving and compassion are one of the fastest ways to happiness.” So much of what makes a person stressed is their inability to look beyond themselves and at the bigger picture. Conversely, when we focus on being giving and compassionate people, we are viewing life with a wider lens which more often than not is a way to put our own stressors into perspective.

So much of the purpose of the Third Metric is ensuring that we are viewing our own lives from the right perspective. “Very often, life has a bigger imagination than we have and we just need to be open to it” Arianna explains. Not everything will always go as planned but finding happiness and truly being able to thrive requires openness to the changes in life and a willingness to face them with genuine intentions and a clear mind.

Submit Your Questions for a Chance to be on Help Desk with Rob Bell in LA!

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PARTICIPATE IN AN “OWN” TELEVISION SERIES

IN LOS ANGELES WITH ROB BELL!

READ APPLICATION PROCESS BELOW AND APPLY ASAP TO: robbellhelpdesk@gmail.com

WHAT:            The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), is seeking participants for the “Help Desk” series featuring Rob Bell!

WHEN:             April 8, 2014

WHERE:           Los Angeles (specific location TBA)

WHO:   Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2011, Rob Bell is the author of a number of books including Velvet Elvis, Drops Like Stars, and the New York Times Bestsellers Love Wins and What We Talk About When We Talk About God. The founding pastor of Mars Hill, an innovative church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, his Nooma short film series has been viewed by over thirty million people. Rob’s speaking tours have taken him around the world and in 2013 he launched CraftLab, a leadership event helping executives, writers, artists and activists develop and create compelling new content. He and his wife Kristen live with their three children in Southern California.

Description: Help Desk is a television show on OWN that features renowned teachers, authors, and experts making themselves available in public spaces to provide advice to anyone who needs it. Help Desk is a deeply substantive series that grounds some of the great wisdom provided by today’s top experts and helps people live better and more fulfilling lives. Although the event is public, we are looking to secure a select group of participants who will be given priority to sit down with Rob.

What we are looking for:

We need people who are seeking advice to help them with a specific life issue or circumstance. Below are a few examples but we are open to hearing about any particular issues you would like to discuss:

-Dissatisfaction with career/feeling trapped

-Questioning faith or belief in higher power

-Overcoming addiction

-Difficulties with weight loss

-Overcoming specific anxieties or fears

-Divorce or breakup

-Coping with job-loss

-Issues revolving around sexual identity

-Financial hardship

-Sex and relationship issues

-Loss of a family member or friend

Requirements:

1. We need applicants to be available during the day on April 8th in the Los Angeles area.  Specific time and location TBA.

2. Provide a simple description of yourself (age, profession, relationships status)

and contact information (email and phone number).

3.  Photo of yourself.

4.  Specific question(s) you would like to ask Rob.

5.  Single paragraph description of the specific life circumstance that led to your question(s).

6. Please tell us how you heard about this opportunity (specific website, social media, word of mouth, etc.).

7. If selected, applicants will need to sign an Appearance Release.

Send email with answers to the above questions to: robbellhelpdesk@gmail.com

Why You Should Always Read the Book First

the giver bookWhen I was in elementary and middle school I was the level reader snob that competed in an annual competition called “Battle of the Books.” For thos unfamiliar, BoB as we affectionately called it, was a competition where students had the entire school year to read a list of 20 or so books, or as many of them as they could. Then they would compete in a team against other schools in their district by answering questions that always began with “In which book…” Three points if you could correctly identify which of the 20 books and the author the questioned event came from. Two points if you only got the title correct or answered the question after the first team didn’t give the right answer. The team with the highest cumulative total of points at the end of the day wins. It’s basically a wet dream for library rats who have a penchant for trivia.

Battle of the Books is responsible for me discovering many of my childhood favorite books, some of which are sitting on the book shelf next to me because I couldn’t bear to part with them even during a 3,000 mile move away from my parents’ house. Ella Enchanted, Lily’s Crossing, Trumpet of the Swan all top the list. And then there was The Giver. The Giver is a book by Lois Lowry (Number the Stars) set in the future when humans have created a way to eliminate suffering by basically suppressing all basic human emotion. People are assigned their role in the Community when they are 12 years old and are to accept it without question. When Tobias is assigned to be the Receiver of Memory he learns the truth about human history and how to feel – and it begins to make him question things in the Community. Soon his probing begins to unravel the very fabric of the existence he’s known his entire life.

I was in 4th grade when it was first put on the list. It’s insane now to think about reading that book at 9 years old considering how it grapples with death, sex and that bit at the end (spoiler alert) about forced abortions. I read it again in middle school when my ability to comprehend the underlying messages of the book was a little more advanced. I re-purchased it recently when I heard they were turning it into a film. The trailer for that film premiered today:

And it concerns me. It’s not just a feeling of “Oh god, the movie is never going to live up to the book.” (Please see: The DaVinci Code, most Stephen King novels etc). I know why The Giver was finally produced now despite being around for a couple decades. The time is ripe for dystopian young adult literature. ‘Sup The Hunger Games and Divergent. I see you hanging out over there too, The Maze Runner. The difference is that TGH, Divergent and The Maze Runner work on a broader scope – their worlds are so large they demanded cinematic attention. And, not to put any of them down because they are all great series (Okay, The Maze Runner has some sexism issues but that’s another blog entirely), but their messages are pretty direct. The Hunger Games is separate but equal isn’t equal with a bit of commentary on the inevitable corruption of oligarchies (There could also be another blog on the essential facts that were left out of the first film that dulled Suzanne Collins brilliant writing, but again that’s another blog). Divergent is about finding your identity and the freedom to be more than one thing. The Maze Runner focuses on the importance of working together and finding yourself in the face of adversity.

The Giver’s message is more opaque though. It’s hidden in the memories that Tobias receives from his mentor. The fact that the first half of the film isn’t shot in black and white and then transitions to color as Tobias learns more about the Community’s shared history is a big red flag. That’s a huge part of the novel – that being emotionless may lead to a more colorful life but also a grey one. As Tobias starts to fill in the colors, that’s also how he begins to find the truth. The trailer seems to focus more on the adventure aspect of the book – which is really only the last couple of chapters. Can you really show Eric from True Blood killing babies to a young adult audience and maintain a PG-13 rating? Are you going to be able to do it in a way the depravity of this way of life despite it being founded in the name of human preservation? Despite my high hopes with actors like Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep backing this, the fact there’s an alien like space ship chasing Tobias to close out the trailer doesn’t make me that optimistic anymore. (Did I mention that Taylor Swift is making a cameo in this movie? Yeah, that’s a thing.) It seems to me that film companies were just trying to cash in on the Young Adult angst craze making crazy tons of money at the box office these days at the sake of great literary works of art.

The movie junkie in me is hoping that they do it right. The cautious book nerd is saying don’t take any chances – read the book first.

Celebrate Pi Day with These Recipes

pi dayAs a self-proclaimed and nerd and person of the internet there are three days of the year that make my soul so so happy. There’s May 4, or “May the Fourth” – as in May the Force Be With You. Then there’s October 3 because any self-respecting person that’s seen Mean Girls knows “On October 3, he asked me what day it is. It’s October 3.” (It makes more sense in the context of the movie…)  But the of these in the calendar year is today – 3.14 – Pi Day

I went to a nerd magnet school for my last two years of high school. Our rally chant at school sporting events (or mathlete tournaments) was the following: “Secant, tangent, cosin, sin / 3.14159 / Physics, Bio, Polymer Chem / Give ‘em hell / Go S&M.” First of all, yes we stole it from MIT, shh. Secondly, it was the North Carolina School of Science and Math, hence the S&M. It wasn’t some weird sexual thing, in case you were worried. Back then I thought that I was going to grow up to be some sort of mathematician (What do people who major in math actually do when they grow up? NASA?). I did Calculus homework as stress relief. Before graduation I realized that my real talents lay in creative fields, but the nerd alert alarms within me sound off on special occasions. Pi day is one of those occasions.

The best part of Pi day is not just celebrating one of the best irrational numbers around – it’s about dessert. Oh, that’s right. What better use of Pi than to figure out the area of a delicious berry filled pastry from heaven? To help you celebrate and indulge your sweet tooth we’ve rounded up some of the best pie recipes from around the web. Treat yourself today!

The Food Network Pie Recipe Collection – Obviously, the best channel on television. Of course they’d have an entire selection of pie recipes ready for your perusal  – from apple to coconut to chocolate swirl. There’s something here for everyone’s pastry preferences.

Country Living’s Favorite Pies – Since I’m from the south I can’t imagine any doctor’s office or waiting room that didn’t have a copy of Country Loving. After looking through these I can tell you I already started drooling over their pecan (pronounced pee-can if you want to get in the spirit) pie recipe.

Martha Stewart’s 25 Perfect Pies – Maybe you prefer an artisan approach to your pie making. I can dig it. Let’s turn to the mother of all things beautiful and domestic then – Martha Stewart. Just the names of some of these give me shivers of delight. Triple chocolate pumpkin pie? Count. me. in.

Huffington Post American Author Pies – The Huffington Post won my heart when they combined their own celebration of Pi day with classic American authors. My math nerd with my book nerd self can celebrate as one! From Jack Kerouac apple pie to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry pie – American literature has never sounded so delicious!

Mental Floss 10 Pies for Pi Day – Leave it to the folks at Mental Floss to create the list of nerdiest pies. The digits apple pie looks way too impressive to eat but I think I could take out those mini pi-pies in just one bite. If you’re good at carving apples and want to take your Pi day love to the next level then this is definitely the list for you.

Are there any “nerd” days of the year that get you excited? How do you celebrate them? And if you plan to make a pie today be sure to tell us which ones in the comments below! 

 

Women in Pictures: The Scary Truth about Women in Today’s Media

women“Today is National Women’s Day!” That’s how MeLissa greeted me this morning. “Hooray!!” was my first thought but as the idea began to process I wondered, what does that even mean? We should do something to celebrate, of course, but how? Intent has always included messages of feminism and sisterhood on the blog and via intents, but a lot of places don’t.

MeLissa and I recently attended a workshop for women with an interest in directing and we learned some startling statistics about the representation of women in media. The following facts come from the Geena Davis Institute  on Gender in Media which conducts various studies on the position of women in film and media.

  • Males outnumber females 3 to 1 in family films. In contrast, females comprise just over 50% of the population in the United States. Even more staggering is the fact that this ratio, as seen in family films, is the same as it was in 1946.
  • Crowd scenes in film and television are 17% female on average, despite women representing 51% of the world population.
  • Females are almost four times as likely as males to be shown in sexy attire. Further, females are nearly twice as likely as males to be shown with a diminutive waistline. Generally unrealistic figures are more likely to be seen on females than males.
  • Females are also underrepresented behind the camera. Across 1,565 content creators, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. This translates to 4.8 males working behind-the-scenes to every one female.
  • From 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics. In these films, 80.5% of all working characters are male and 19.5% are female, which is a contrast to real world statistics, where women comprise 50% of the workforce.

No wonder women need a day to be celebrated. Part of the reason feminism is still a thing is because of statistics like this. When the images our children and the general public are confronted with are women in secondary roles or as sexual objects it becomes ingrained for women to aspire to these positions and for society to treat them as such. To start seeing a change we have to start portraying the change. It’s as simple as screenwriters adding “must be half-female” into their scripts when writing a crowd scene. Last year the number one selling movie worldwide was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and it was the first time in more than 40 years that a movie with a female lead topped the annual box office.

Luckily, there are many women leading the fight to change the way media portrays (or fails to portray) women in film and television. Last weekend Cate Blanchett won the Academy Award for her portrayal of a depressed woman trying to stay afloat in her own life in Blue Jasmine. When accepting the award she said this, “To the few in this industry that are still clinging to the idea that films with women at the center are niche – they are not. People want to see them and they make money. The world is round, people.” Case in point: Blue Jasmine, Bridesmaids, The Heat. When Lupita Nyong’o gave her speech for her Best Supporting Actress award she also said, “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every child that your dreams are valid!” On the surface it is such an inspiring statement, but what it really depicts is the sad truth that there are many children whose dreams are diminished by mainstream media’s backward policies on gender, race and sexuality.

Emma Thompson has also announced that she’ll be spending 2014 making a documentary about women in film because she’s disgusted with the way things currently are.

While it’s inspiring to know there are so many professional women fighting to make a difference in women’s opportunities both on screen and behind the lens – these numbers are scary. Not only to myself and MeLissa who are aspiring screenwriters but to the world in general. Do I want my future daughters to watch cartoons where all the girl characters are still sex objects? I want to be able to name pop culture examples of women that have been in charge because of a combination of their intellect, compassion and beauty rather than how great she looks in a pencil skirt. I want my daughter to inherit a media landscape where Kathryn Bigelow isn’t the only woman to ever win an Academy Award for directing.

The numbers are changing, so we’re being told, but it isn’t happening soon enough – especially if some of them haven’t changed since the 40s. Today is National Women’s Day but every day should be cause for us to stand up and support each other and create a more viable place for women in media and film. Our stories deserve to be told, to be validated as much as our male counterparts. We have to keep up the good fight so can stop differentiating between “men” and “women” stories and instead train ourselves and the world to see them all as what they really are – human stories.

Join Caroline Myss for a “Help Desk” Shoot on March 13 in San Francisco!

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Carolyn Myss

“HELP DESK” with

CAROLINE MYSS

 *** A NEW SHOW TO AIR ON THE OWN NETWORK ***

WHEN: March 13, 2014

LOCATION: Justin Herman Plaza, 1 Market St., San Francisco, CA (scheduled)

10:30 AM-12:30 PM –     Help Desk Open to Public

2:30 OM – 1:00 PM –       Group Exercise Led by Caroline Myss

What is Help Desk?

Help Desk is a television show on OWN that features renowned teachers, authors, and experts making themselves available in public spaces to provide advice to anyone who needs it. Help Desk is a deeply substantive series that grounds some of the great wisdom provided by today’s top experts and helps people live better and more fulfilling lives.

Who is Caroline Myss?

Caroline Myss is a five-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker in the fields of human consciousness, spirituality and mysticism, health, energy medicine, and the science of medical intuition.  In addition to her most recent book, Archetypes: Who Are You? (2013), Caroline’s best-sellers include Anatomy of the Spirit (1996), Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can (1998), Sacred Contracts (2002), Invisible Acts of Power (2004), Entering The Castle (2007), and Defy Gravity (2009).

Instructions:

1. Remove any hats with logos

1.  Sit down, introduce yourself!

2.  Give some basic background (age and profession).

3.  Explain your issue/problem and ask your question!

4. After you’re question is answered get up and allow the next person to step forward

5. Share any final thoughts and reactions in our “testimonial area”

What we are looking for: Caroline Myss is looking for people seeking advice to help them with a specific life issue or circumstance.  Below are a few examples, but we are open to hearing about any particular issues you would like to discuss:

-Dissatisfaction with career/feeling trapped

-Questioning faith or belief in higher power

-Overcoming addiction

-Difficulties with weight loss

-Overcoming specific anxieties or fears

-Divorce or breakup

-Coping with job-loss

-Issues revolving around sexual identity

-Financial hardship

-Sex and relationship issues

-Loss of a family member or friend

Stumped?  Here are some sample questions:

(Keep in mind you must briefly describe a life story or circumstance that relates to the question).

I have a deep fear of “…..” .  How do I overcome this fear?

How do I deal with a family who doesn’t approve of me leaving the faith I was raised with?

How do I get over my breakup with my boyfriend/girlfriend?

How do find balance between my family life and my work life?

How do I cope with loss in my life (divorce, financial loss, job loss)?

Can I be truly happy – and what does it mean to be truly happy?

What steps can I take to discover my purpose and find meaning in life?

How do I forgive someone who hurt me?

I keep repeating the same mistakes – how do I get out of an unhealthy pattern?

How do I find passion for life?

How do I reduce my stress level at work?

VOD: Children Re-Enact Best Picture Nominees in time for Oscars

With the Olympics wrapping up it is time to look forward to the next worldwide television event – the 86th Academy Awards. The Oscars will be airing March 2. Don’t worry, that’s obviously ages away and we have plenty of time to catch up on all the nominated films before the ceremony airs…Wait. February is a short month. The Oscars are next Sunday! Crap! I haven’t seen anything in theaters since Her! (Which is a phenomenal movie, by the way. Joaquin Phoenix kills it and it brings all the feelings.)

There is obviously not enough time to get to the theater to see everything. Honestly, it’s a little unfair to nominate nine films for best picture and expect people to get to all of them anyway. But don’t worry. The fine folks at Cinefix have found the best way for you to be in the know for the ceremony in under five minutes – and cute kids are involved! They’ve compiled a medley of scenes from the nominated films and had them acted out by adorable primary schoolers. It is pretty ambitious considering one of the films, The Wolf of Wall Street has the Guiness World Record for most f-bombs in a movie – 506 times, averaging 2.81 times a minute. They also pick the only scene in 12 Years a Slave the producers felt comfortable re-enacting with kids (the very end spoiler alert).

It’s actually unfortunate that none of them had seen Philomena. The joke was great but it would have been even better to see one of those kids try to pull of a Dame Judy Dench. Oh well, we should be able to make it through one movie before next Sunday, right? If not we’ll just let there be a little bit of mystery to the proceedings.

What did you think of the video? Are you planning to watch the big show? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below!

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