Accept the Gift of Stillness

If there was an activity which, by doing it a few minutes a day, would lower our blood pressure and make us healthier, would we do it? If there was an activity which would improve our relationships, would we find time to do it? What if this activity would make us happy and peaceful, and rid us of our depression, frustration and neuroses?


The photo was taken along the road in East Cape, North Island, New Zealand.

Unfortunately, there is no such activity which can achieve these results. However, there is a non-activity that will accomplish these things and more.

If we take only a few minutes a day to sit in stillness, all of these things will occur in our lives. Becoming aware of our breath, our thoughts and our emotions, without judgment, takes courage and discipline. Numerous studies have proven that meditation lowers blood pressure, enhances health, and increases well-being. Is it worth a few minutes out of our busy day to benefit every aspect of our lives and indeed change the world?

Let’s allow ourselves the gift of stillness.


Obama/McCain — Is Your Mind Made Up?

With the campaign becoming increasingly fraught as election day grows near, the expectation is that the gloves are coming off in tonight’s debate.

Both candidates have tried to stay above the political fray and not engage in "politics as usual" smear tactics, but can it last? Will their performance tonight influence your vote? Or is your mind already made up?

A Dark State of Mind

Upon seeing a baby, you can’t help but think, "Oh he looks so much like his dad" or "I see mama all over his cute little face." But the other day I was walking down Montana Avenue with my friend Krey Zbitch. Krey and I bumped into our acquaintance Bobby O’Reilly.

One thing to note: both Bobby O’Reilly and his wife are red-heads.

Taking his new baby for a leisurely walk, Bobby O’Reilly stopped the stroller so that Krey and I could share the splendor of fatherhood. As Krey affectionately grazed the baby’s smooth cheeks with her hand, she started speaking to the baby in Spanish, "Mira la bebe tan bonito. Dios mio que mono eres tu?!"

"Why are you speaking to my baby in Spanish?" Bobby O’Reilly asked.

Krey ignored the question.

I took a closer look, soon realizing this baby was gorgeous, beautiful, and very Latin. Its olive skin and penetrating brown eyes were mesmerizing. Hmmm, I wondered.

"That’s so wonderful that you adopted, bless your heart," Krey said.

"Adopted? What are you talking about?" Bobby O’Reilly uncomfortably asked.

Oh no. Once again, obnoxious Krey Zbitch was driving the wrong way down a very dangerous street, if you know what I mean.

I tried to change the subject, "Come back to yoga Bobby O’Reilly. It’s been a while since you’ve been in class."

"What are you talking about ‘adopted’?!!" he firmly reiterated to Krey, ignoring me entirely.

"It’s just that your baby looks very exotic," Krey answered.

I barely knew this dude Bobby O’Reilly but believe you me, he is very emotional. His face turned bright red and he started cussing under his breath.

Krey, in her own strange way, tried to calm him by saying, "Bobby O’Reilly relax. It’s just that you have red hair, and your wife has red hair, and the baby does not have red hair."

Note: We’ve all had this experience where you see a baby that looks nothing like the parents. You can’t help but wonder if the baby was adoped or if, ah, there was a, ah, third party. ‘Third party’ is not a good thing to wonder.

Bobby O’Reilly lashed out, not at Krey, but at me, "Y’know what David?! You are a stupid yoga teacher! And you can take your yoga and the chocolate and wine you use in those weird ass workshops. And shove it all right up your ass!"

I was flabbergasted and responded under my breath, "But Bobby O’Reilly, I didn’t say anything."

Bobby O’Reilly wheeled the stroller down Montana Avenue screaming at the top of his lungs like a crazy person.


Krey Zbitch did it again. Another day, another offensive insult. Y’know what, it wasn’t just Krey. I was thinking the exact same thing. We had no business thinking that low down, dirty thought. And please, if you are frowning upon us right now, get off your high horse. We all sometimes entertain bad, negative thoughts. That’s something we can prevent.

Gandhi said, "I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet." Like so many in the world right now, I’m shackled by the burdensome radio reports, water cooler anxiety, red-alert emails, and constant newscasts of economic doom. This dark and dusty state of mind caused me to ponder that maybe just maybe Bobby O’Reilly’s wife conceived not with Bobby, but rather with her Latin pilates instructor. Shame on me.

I can and will do better.

In these challenging months, your bank account might dip but your mind need NOT be dragged in tow. Now is the time to clean, tone, and clarify your thoughts. When the economy again begins to ascend, let your mind be waiting from a lofty place of faith, enthusiasm, and positivity. So long as you know how to position a sail, the fiercest winds yield the greatest power.

A wise one said, "Strive to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To be too wise for worry, too tolerant for hate, and too courageous to be fearful. In short, to be happy."

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Why Do We Let Depression Go Unchecked?

At first it was just a headline:

Unemployed man kills five members of family, then shoots self

I was talking to a couple of friends on a conference call, when the news flashed before my eyes. As I read the headline aloud, one of them said, "Must be one of those lower middle class Americans behind on payments." The other said, "Or maybe he lost a lot of money in the stock market."

As I clicked on the link to open the story, it turned out that the man, Karthik Rajaram, had an MBA in finance, had worked for Sony and Price Waterhouse, and lived in a house worth just under a million dollars in a gated community. He had been unemployed for a few months, and in a premeditated plan, killed his 19 year old son — a Fulbright scholar and Honors student at UCLA, who was home for the weekend — two younger sons aged 9 and 7, his wife and his mother-in-law before turning the gun on himself. And he was from India.

India? Both my friends gasped — What? India?

Indeed, this so-called model minority that is known for its super achieving academics and is among the most affluent in America, also has a dark side — that of struggling and putting up an act, of always worrying about what would people say, and not seeking help.

There is denial — "What? I’m not mad. Why should I go for counseling?" There is fear — "What if anyone finds out?"

Evidently, Rajaram too did not seek help. Instead he bought a gun last month, wrote three detailed notes, seesawed between killing himself and killing every member of his family. He chose the latter. Perhaps he thought he would have peace of mind if they all went with him.

I looked at the story and felt incredible sadness and anger. What right does a human being have, to snuff out five other lives against their will? Why should they pay the price of one man’s anguish and depression?

But it’s not an easy question to answer. The close ties that bind an Indian family and the responsibilities that come with it can often be back-breaking. Add to that the time-bound expectation that it’s the man who is the main bread winner. In trying times, when a crisis sweeps you off your feet, the sense of failing all those expectations are overwhelming and can result in such tragedies.

I also realized as I sat thinking — it’s really not just an Indian problem. The sense of shame and inadequacy someone feels when they don’t meet expectations — of others close to them or their own — cuts through barriers of color, race and cultures.

Another thing that is a continuous refrain is the sentence that I read — it said, the family kept to themselves and seemed like nice people. This lack of inclusiveness that I see in society today seems to be a big reason why people are lonely and depressed — angry and frustrated.

I remember growing up in India and the entire subdivision was our extended family. Everyone knew how everyone else was. People chipped in to help each other in times of need and joined the revelry on every happy occasion.

Do we have to face such extreme tragedies to really appreciate what is truly important in life, or will we all continue to stumble through a rat race, popping sedatives to sleep, another pill to wake up, and chewing anti-depressants like candy to just get through each day?

Something is really really wrong with the way we live today.


How Can We Make Intent Better for You?

It is I, Dave, your friendly neighborhood community manager — back again to ask you a very important question:

How can we make Intent better for you?

We have come a long way since our soft launch in July. Yes, we are still in beta, and we still have a few bugs to squash, but I wanted to check in with you guys to see what you have been thinking. While it is rumored I have the ability to read minds (not really), I decided to use this traditional blogging format. 😉

What do you want to see in the future? When you think of Intent two years from now, what does that picture look like? What tools can we give you to help you accomplish your intentions and fullfill your aspirations? Feature ideas? Design tips? Sound off! 🙂

And a big thanks to Joy, Amit, David, and many others who have been in touch recently helping us with bugs and feature request. Now if I can only hear from a few more of you! 🙂

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