In challenging times, it is easy to wander and disconnect from our heart. Fear, sadness and anxiety can very easily become dissonant notes in the song of our life as we become immersed in the news of senseless killings, terrorism and political unrest. Within your heart there is still love, compassion, kindness, passion and purpose. Words cannot explain what most of us are feeling at this time in history. There is another language that strikes a deeper chord and has the ability to guide us home to our hearts to access our true potential. The Language is music…. Music restarts the important dialogue between our conscious mind and our intuitive heart and can provide rejuvenation, inner peace and inspiration. In these challenging times we have the ability to compose our selves, regroup and orchestrate beauty in our life. We are resilient and have the ability to orchestrate a better world. As we work on ourselves individually to find inner peace it ripples out into our life and our world.
So lets, define the terms compose and orchestrate and then apply them with musical tools to assist us in creating transformation in our life. According to www.freedictionary.com the word compose can be defined several ways: Continue reading
For the last 3 weeks, I participated in an intensive program at Teachers College (Columbia University) for my Masters in Psychology and Spirituality. During 9-hour days, we immersed ourselves in an academic understanding of the inherent spirituality in children, and how spirituality relates to personal healing, education, substance abuse and depression, and communication. The experiential learning included heart based connection, artistic expression, individual and planetary energy healing, Jungian symbol exploration and, of course, lots of meditation and intention setting.
I will be honest – at times I found the experiential exercises excruciatingly annoying. I have been meditating for 35 years, have attended conferences since my teens, and teach about intention and balance at conferences around the world! For me, returning to school at 45 was clear – my intent was to develop a lexicon of theories in spiritual psychology for my public speaking, and potentially future books and projects.
This endeavor was for my mind and my intellect, not my soul.
As we sat, day after day meditating, I found myself getting more irritable. Because, the world continued to happen…
Brexit, stirring fear and uncertainty
Terrorist attacks in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, Saudi Arabia
The refugee crisis
My friend mourning her husband’s death to cancer
Philando Castile and Alton Sterling
Police shootings in Dallas
Accepting that we had to let go of Cleo, my brother’s dog 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
Music is a universal language. There are things music can communicate in just a few notes that would take a lifetime to communicate in words. When we hear something harmonious in a musical piece it can bring feelings of elation, elevation, love, peace, joy and can touch our emotions in so many ways. On the other end of the spectrum, when dissonance in a musical piece is present it can create feelings of uneasiness, anxiousness, fear and contracting feelings… Dissonance, in small doses, has a role in music and our life. I am sure we have all experienced the music of a chase scene in a film that tap into this theory. So how can we use harmony and dissonance to create expansion in our lives? Let’s Explore!
So, what is harmony? According to www.dictionary.reference.com:
1) agreement; accord; harmonious relations.
2) A consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.
a. Any simultaneous combination of tones
b. The simultaneous combination of tones, especially when blended into chords pleasing to the ear; chordal structure, as distinguished from melody and rhythm
c. The science of the structure, relations, and practical combination of chords
So, what is Dissonance? According to www.dictionary.reference.com:
1. Inharmonious or harsh sound; discord; cacophony.
2. Music ..
a) simultaneous combination of tones conventionally accepted as being in a state of unrest and needing completion.
b. An unresolved, discordant chord or interval.
An unresolved, discordant chord or interval.
3. Disagreement or incongruity.
In reading these definitions did it bring to mind different areas of your life that are in harmony and others that are in dissonance?
Let us move through a three-step process together: Continue reading
You know it’s probably not a good thing when the phone rings at 1am.
My mom called me from the hospital and woke me with terrible news. My stepfather died from a massive heart attack. How can this happen to a “healthy” and vibrant person? He was only 64 years old. She was in shock.
Most people aim to have a smooth, steady and orderly life. Stress is an invasion into that “peaceful” environment. The death of a loved one is #1 of the top 5 causes of stress.
The grief from a death is intense. It effects your emotions, body and overall life in many ways. A sudden death, like my stepfather’s, just feels unnatural and can challenge anyone’s confidence. An incident like this can turn your world upside down.
There are different stages of grief and it’s important to deal with the process. Don’t rely on alcohol and drugs; they only numb the pain temporarily and can prolong the recovery process of mourning. Mourning is the psychological process of healing and is different for everyone.
Here are 7 simple reminders to help deal with the stress of death and the grieving process: 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
Several weeks ago we asked our Intent community “what are the life questions that come up most regularly?”
We received many excellent ones. Some we regularly shared. Some brought new perspective. We asked the author of Break the Norms: Questioning Everything You Think You Know About God and Truth, Life and Death, Love and Sex, Chandresh Bhardwaj to share his words of wisdom on the delicate topics and today we are happy to share and answer to our first question.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Continue reading
Today, Living with Intent is officially out in paperback – available online and in bookstores. (On Amazon, you can get it for less than $10 right now!)
I was reflecting this morning on how different I feel today than I did a last April when the book was originally released.
To be honest, the day of the release I was anxious, an emotional wreck and felt a bit like a failure. I didn’t have much media on “launch” date, and spent the day getting my hair done for my book party at ABC Home… Not what I had anticipated.
At the event, which the amazing Gabby Bernstein graciously hosted, I felt emotional when we started – I saw friends and family there to support me, as well as kind, passionate, interesting people who were there to celebrate. All the effort I had spent writing and promoting the book left me speechless until at last I let go (with a few choking tears) and enjoyed the evening. Continue reading
By John Maclean
I became an incomplete paraplegic at the age of 22, because of a road accident. Running was the thing I loved to do most in life and it was taken away from me in a split second without warning or consultation.
Meeting the man who put me in a wheelchair was not going to be easy. I didn’t feel anger towards him or crave retribution, but I was apprehensive about getting in touch with him, hearing his voice, seeing him in person. My concern was that it might be a negative experience—and that would make things worse for me, not better. But I also knew that if I didn’t face up to this I would never be free of it. I wanted to know what happened in the cabin of that truck just before it hit me and what the driver’s reaction had been and how his own life had turned out. I wanted to know for sure that it was an accident, that my paraplegia was an unfortunate consequence of a random event.
Dialling the number was extremely difficult. It was nothing compared to facing up to the injuries I’d suffered when I woke up in the spinal unit at the local Hospital, but I had no choice but to keep going then. Facing the man who put me in a wheelchair was another issue altogether. I would be putting the ball squarely in his court and that was both risky and confronting. Continue reading
By Ryan Skinner
I had the wonderful opportunity this week to travel to Aruba for a vacation with my fiancée and future stepchildren. One evening, while sitting alone on the balcony of our room, gazing out in awe at the beautiful landscape and feeling warmed the balmy breezes, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude. I’m blessed with so many things – family and friends who love me, opportunities to meet and work with amazing people and the daily opportunity to express how grateful I am to God for giving this recovering addict a second chance at life. I’ve been in very dark places and know that my story could have ended differently. But this night in Aruba, like all of the days since I made the commitment to be clean and sober, offered another moment to reflect on the reality that if you do the right things, hang in there and choose to live God’s way, all of those blessings are possible.
Since I renewed my commitment to God and a life of meaning and purpose dedicated to helping others both professionally and personally, I’ve developed daily prayer, meditation and journaling rituals that help me get into the right spiritual mindset. I’ve been doing this ever since I got sober. I wake up by 6 a.m. at the latest and spend 30 minutes on a combination of praying (sometimes on my knees on a clean floor, but sometimes even at my kitchen counter having my morning coffee) and doing affirmation readings from books of positive quotes and writings that inspire me to live that day and be present. I spend a lot of time on gratitude. Whether it’s dark or light, I always light a candle. It’s just my way of bringing spirituality into the moment and connecting with God. My morning journaling is simple, just writing thank you to God for another day He has granted me. Continue reading