Category Archives: Popular Culture

Terrorism, Fear and the Movies

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This week the whole world grieved at the unfathomable murder of 140 students and teachers in Pakistan at the hands of terrorists. A little closer to home for many of us, theaters pulled “The Interview”, a satirical film from Seth Rogen and James Franco about a news team sent in to North Korea to assassinate Kim Jong-un, after hackers not only hacked Sony’s computer system but released threats to harm movie theaters and movie goers attending the film upon it’s opening this Christmas holiday.

There are a lot of ways to feel unsafe at the moment and people everywhere are speaking up about it. It seems that wherever there are those seeking to live in freedom, there will be others seeking to take it away. On a small scale, this our hope for you this holiday season: Continue reading

Mashables List of Videos To Inspire

Mainstream media is busy these days with all the hard and troubling news to report. Buildings are burning down. Typhoons are destroying villages. Men and women struggle for life and justice is blurry. 2014 has come with much heartache but it has also come with some sweet moments. For example, one videographer captured the moment with runners in the San Jose 408k marathon left the course to shake hands with a WWII veteran who had come out to cheer them on. Runner after runner paused to grasp his hand with both of theirs and left him all smiles on the sidewalk. Continue reading

#WorldAdoptionDay

Borrowed kindly from Instagrammer Mvolz8
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Sunday, November 9th was the very first World Adoption Day and people took to the technosphere to share their stories of adoption and family. Sponsored by Adopt Together, an organization that helps families crowdfund a process that can sometime price in the neighborhood of $25,000, they asked that in honor of the day, people draw a smiley face on their palm and share it via social networks. What started with a team in Los Angeles turned into an explosion of more than 10,000 photos on Instagram alone from all over the world including Patagonia, Kuwait and the Duck Dynasty. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

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