Tag Archives: Community

Intent of the Day: Seek Wise Guidance

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Who would you call your best friend?
Who are your go-to’s when you have something tough to discuss? Since we’re no longer in grade school and since no one remembers what speed dial is anymore, perhaps it’s been a minute since you’ve had to consider who your trusted council would be.

Whether you’re 8 or 38, there is something cathartic about getting your tough questions off your chest and when you have wise sounding boards, you’re all the more likely to feel prepared to tackle them. So who are your people? Could you write down three names on a sheet of paper?

Our intent is to seek wise guidance, to find the people we trust to advise us and to be the kind of people who are willing to open up and give in the same way.

Sound scary? We have three things to help: Continue reading

One World: Josh Siegel on Maintaining Financial Community

Josh SiegelAs humans we are drawn to other humans. We find comfort and strength in bonding together to form close knit groups that keep in mind the interests of the entire group rather than focusing solely on the needs of any one individuals. We call these groups communities and we create them in nearly every aspect of our lives; our neighborhoods are communities, at work we may have another close knit community and via the web, we can have communities based on common interests not bound by geography. With community playing such a key role in our lives, it seems like a natural step to create financial communities. This was the vision that Josh Siegel had in 2003 when he founded StoneCastle Partners which has grown to be one of the largest and most respected firms in Community Banking.

“It’s the purest of banking,” Siegel explained recently in an interview with Deepak Chopra for the series One World on Newswire.fm. “All they do is they collect the local dollars of people like us, they put in together and give it to a person in their community; its very community oriented.  Its starting a business, it’s buying their first house. It’s doing something very connected and personal.”

These community banks are not only better in terms of the personal touch that they provide; they also tend to do a better job fiscally as well. “They lose less money, believe it or not, than the money center banks, they earn a better rate of return for their investors and they do more good,” says Siegel. In other words, they do everything that the larger mega banks do but on a manageable scale which allows them to be more successful.

It’s a simple and refreshing model; one that keeps a community’s money in that community and making sure those dollars are working for the people who need them. Josh recounts unusual stories of community banks helping in towns where natural disasters have hit without focusing on how they will recoup profits. Why? Because the banker is a member of that community and has a personal connection to the people with whom he does business. It is the humanization of fiscal responsibility. Banks don’t have to be the huge, profiteering machines that they so often turn into. Banks can and should treat people like people. It’s not just a pipe dream. Josh Siegel has proven that it works.

You can see Josh’s entire interview here.

4 Stunning Examples of Community Love (Video)

The first definition of community is a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. The second definition is much more interesting though – a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.  A feeling of fellowship. What does that mean to you? As we look at the different kinds of love that we give this week, what do you consider your community? Do you give back? How do you celebrate it?

The following videos are about people who went above and beyond for the love of those they share a common attitude, interest or goal with. They are community leaders and kids. They start massive construction projects or simply add a little extra joy to their day jobs. The common thread is that they care about the world and people around them, and are taking the time to show it.

Many of the children currently living in Ethiopia have never known a world outside of the HIV/AIDS crisis. It is something that impacts them every day. These teenagers used their phenomenal dancing skills to create a group called the BEZA Anti-AIDS youth group. They travel around the country performing these dances and hand out fliers and information to the crowds that watch them to help create a more educated society and prevent the transfer of AIDS. Talk about using your artistic talents for a good cause.

We all know that hospitals can be a depressing place, but this nurse makes it his mission to give each of his patients something to make them feel warmer and loved. They call him “The Singing Nurse.” It started with him mindlessly singing as he handed out medications and went about regular tasks. Then he realized it was a great way to give his patients some personal care and make them feel special despite their less than enviable situations. It just goes to show how much joy you can bring even in the toughest jobs if you just open your heart.

Jonny Benjamin was 20 years old when he was diagnosed with a mental disorder that left him hopeless for a normal life. So he decided to take his life, but the kindness of one stranger named Mike convinced him not to do it. Instead of committing suicide, Jonny became a campaigner for mental health regulations and research. He’s a leader that tries to shine a light on illnesses that we still don’t fully understand. A few years after that night on the bridge, Jonny started an internet campaign to find Mike, to thank him for saving his life. His story touched millions as the campaign went viral. Above is the video of their second meeting, and proof of what happens when you just take the time to lend an ear.

Your community doesn’t have to just be the people or places around you. We’re all part of a global community because we have this one thing in common – Earth. So it’s important to show love for that too. In Milan they are creating vertical forests to show some love for Lady Earth. Not only does the project beautify a part of town that has become overrun, but it gives a home to over 900 trees per building. Something to pretty, and it benefits the planet? Where do we sign up?

Do you have an example of someone showing love for their community? Share it with us in the comments below!

Announcing The Year of Intent : Use Intent.com to Reach Your Goals in 2014

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We’ve been bringing it up over the past several weeks but today the Intent team is excited to officially announce 2014 as THE YEAR OF INTENT. From here on out Intent.com and the blog will be used to support our community in achieving their goals. Intent itself will be striving to do it’s part as a brand and a conscious company to make a world a better place. We think that an essential part of that is by helping our community utilize the power of intent not just as part of a meditation or yoga practice, but in every aspect of their lives.

How? 

What do you want to accomplish in 2014? Mallika Chopra intends to write and publish her book Living With Intent. Gotham Chopra intends to launch The Religion of Sports  – a multimedia cross-platform project to answer why do you care so much about a thing you have no control over? Megan (Intent Blog editor) intends to finish her first screen play. MeLissa (Intent.com community moderator) intends to take her writing and acting career to the next level.

Whether you are trying to do something big like write a book or start a business or something more personal like intend to be a more patient person, we want you to come up with one major intent for 2014. Sign up (it’s totally free!) on Intent.com and post it in our Year of Intent category. We’ll be recruiting others with big projects to do the same. Then we’re going to support each other. Throughout the year you’ll update that intent with your progress (worksheets to help you keep track of your progress will be available soon!). Tell us about the major milestones you hit, or if you hit a snag and need help getting back in the saddle. We’ve enabled users on Intent.com to be able to post hot links and YouTube videos for multi-media projects. The blog will also be a tool for support (more on that below).

If you are unsure of how to set your intent or even what it is, read this post to help you get started.

Why

The idea of intent isn’t limited to meditation or a yoga space. We are trying to show that it’s a principal that can be applied to your every day life to make your life more fulfilling and help you achieve the things your soul most desires. We want to show you and the world how to do that and prove that intents aren’t something you state and then leave for the ether. The Year of Intent is going to help people create real change in their lives and the world by encouraging them to complete their heart projects. So we are inviting you to be part of that movement by adding your intent and going on this journey with us.

Okay, sounds good, but it also sounds like a lot of work. What’s in it for me besides some feel good stuff? 

We’re glad you asked. There are actually quite a few incentives for you to participate in Year of Intent. Let’s start with a basic few.

  • Quantifiable support: Intent.com is an active and growing community. Its members are also very active. As you update your intent you’ll have the community behind you – and the numbers are right there for you to show investors, publishers, agents, etc. So if you’re writing a book, as Mallika is doing, as you update your intent your support will grow. Chapter by chapter and and by the end of the manuscript you can go to publishers and say “I’ve been tracking my progress on Intent.com and I already have X amount of people in seeing this become a reality.” (Our newsletter mailing list alone has 30K, so that X can be quite impressive). For those pursuing creative intents having a measurable audience is a definite help when it comes to finding partners and companies to help distribute or officially launch your work and Intent.com can be the place where you grow that invested audience.
  • Collaborations: MeLissa and Megan will be monitoring the community and the intents daily. As you update your intents they will recommend users who are working on similar projects. So if you update your intent to say that you have hit a snag, there could very well be another member of the community who is working on something similar or has expertise in the field that you need and you can be connected. Not only does it foster the supportive vibe we want in the community but it also enhances your personal projects and could create lasting partnerships.
  • Accountability and inspiration: Everyone knows that a little pressure can be invaluable when you’re trying to reach a goal. Setting your Intent.com and creating an audience creates an accountability to keep up with your intent, whether its creative or personal (or both). We also encourage you to support others’ intents to make them accountable, and to draw inspiration from those around you also pursuing their goals.

I still don’t get what you mean by “update my intent.” Don’t I just make it and affirm it when it’s done? 

Year of Intent is about big goals, even if they are personal in nature. We want you to create an intent that is going to take work to complete. We’ve created worksheets and other tools to help you break your “big” intent down into smaller milestone goals. As you reach a milestone, you’ll update your intent with your progress. With the hot link and YouTube features you can actually show that progress as well to those who have supported you and also to show new members of the community or to your intent what you’ve been up to. By creating smaller goals to achieve it not only makes you accountable (see above!) but it helps make reaching your big intent more manageable, and you get encouragement along the way to help push you forward!

This is all happening on Intent.com. What about the blog though?

The blog is going to be Intent headquarters from here on out. We’ll still have great inspirational articles but they are going to be catered to supporting you and reaching your intents. There will be tips on setting your intents, how to keep the motivation going, useful habits for getting yourself out of a rut, etc. We will also increase the “From Intent.com” posts. Right now those happen once a week but we’ll start posting more frequently about inspiring intents that we see that we think the community should know about or that we thought are particularly inspiring.

Most excitingly though, we’ll be using the blog to help showcase updated intents and reward supporters with exclusive content from the intents they support. For example, Mallika is writing her book Living With Intent. One of her smaller goals is to finish a certain amount of chapters by the end of the first quarter. When she reaches that goal we will post a preview or sneak peak of what she’s been working on so you can actually see the work you’re supporting! So you’ll see it here on Intent Blog before it’s officially published anywhere else! This will happen with projects and intents all across the website. As more people sign up and start posting their intents we’ll post info about submitting to the blog as a featured Year of Intent participant. (Featured users will also go in our Intent newsletter as well. Add that to the incentives pile).

As Intent reaches out to more partners to help support the project – both companies that support healthy and wellness lifestyles as well as non-profit organizations we hope to spotlight – there will also be blogs about their intents, causes and goals for the year. They will sponsor content that helps inspire you in your pursuits and also give context to the work they are doing themselves to help make the world a better place.

This sounds great, but I’m not planning to write a book or start any massive projects in 2014. Why should I use Intent.com? 

Intent.com and Year of Intent is going to be useful for everyone. Even if you aren’t taking on a big creative or professional project, we encourage you to set some sort of goal for yourself in the coming year and set that intent. It can be something personal like wanting to get healthier or overcome an obstacle you see in your life. Those are just as important and valuable to our mission. Setting intents is about growing as a person and that means something different for every individual. Let’s say you have the following intent: “I intend to become a more open person in 2014.” Fantastic. How are you going to get there? Are you going to try and be more social? Are you going to join a new book club? Perhaps you’ll try meeting friends on MeetUps.com or go on more dates. Maybe you’ll offer forgiveness or an apology to someone you’ve been holding a grudge against for years. These are your smaller goals towards meeting your overall intent and the things that the community wants to support you in doing.

Support. This entire project will only work with support. Whether you have a project or not you can still support others who are blazing that trail (and who knows? Maybe it will inspire you to start your project). Add a supportive comment. Link them to a resource you think might help with their Intent. Share the intent with others. We believe that by joining the community and getting active you open yourself up and become a more conscious, mindful person.

More questions, comments, concerns?

Tell us in the comments below! Or email support@intent.com and we’ll be glad to advise the best we can!

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Help us make 2014 a great your for Intent, for you, and this wonderful community.

From Mallika Chopra: What Makes a Good Intent?

meditationThis afternoon as my husband, two daughters and I wandered the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam, we reflected on 2013 and shared our hopes and dreams for 2014.  (We are in Hanoi on an incredible family vacation to meet family who is living here.)

2014 is a big year for my family.  Leela, my youngest daughter, will be turning 10 years old.  Tara will be entering middle school, an experience that will broaden her world and intellect.  My husband has some big milestones that are years in the making, which will manifest in 2014.  And I will be writing my book, Living with Intent!

However, we decided not to focus on what we wanted to do (our goals), but to reflect on how we wanted to feel, what we wanted to create and achieve, and how we wanted to serve (our intents).

There are several steps I use when thinking about how to set intents.  (I will be writing about these extensively in my book, of course!)

Our intents come from a place deep inside of us – they are the kernels of who we aspire to be, what we want to feel connected, and how we feel purposeful in our lives.  To set intents, we need to know ourselves.

So the first step for setting my own intents is meditation, reflection, and silence.  For now, I am calling this step Incubation.  (Please let me know if you have a better word that starts with I – I am trying to create a step-by-step guide based on the letters I-N-T-E-N-T.  I’m not thrilled with incubation although the word expresses my idea.)

Incubation is tapping into the silence between our thoughts and getting in touch with our soul.  It is about transcending our minds chatter, and feeling at peace with our selves – letting go of our insecurities, anticipations, fears. And in this process, we begin to naturally sense the seeds of desire that bubble up from that place of silence and peace.  We know what will make us feel happy, connected, and purposeful.  Sometimes, we may not be ready to express it in words so it is important to give ourselves the time to incubate these deep desires.

With time, we are able to articulate our intents to ourselves and those around us.  I am a believer in creating networks of support to share ones intents.  The support and accountability one gets from others make the journey of realizing our intents meaningful and fun.  And thus why I hope you will all share your intents and your journey with us  for 2014!

Here are some of my intents for 2014:

  • My intent is to connect deeply with those I love – being a source of support, laughter, and inspiration to their every day life.
  • My intent is to feel energetic and vibrant physically and emotionally every day – and in turn, set some goals for diet, exercise, and regular meditation.
  • My intent is to write my book with joy and inspiration, staying true to my desire to share the power of intention to transform ones life.
  • My intent is to grow Intent.com, nurturing a community I feel honored to be a part of.

I look forward to reading all of your intents, and more importantly to read your updates and comments supporting each other as the weeks and months continue. 

Happy New Year!!  2014 promises to be fantastic!!

photo by: tokyosucks

VOD: Amy Poehler’s Emotional Speech About Helping Orphans

“Close your eyes,” Amy Poehler says during her Variety Power of Women speech. Then she asks the audience to imagine their children, or themselves as children and think of the things that made them feel warm, safe and okay.

Poehler was giving the speech in celebration of her work with the Worldwide Orphan Foundation, the non-profit founded by Dr. Jane Aronson to raise awareness and help the millions of orphans around the world. The Variety honor comes after Poehler teamed up with Mad Men’s Jon Hamm to host an “Emmy Losers” party that raised over $30,000 for WWO.

“There are children in this world who have nothing,” Poehler continues, her voice starting to break, “So who are we to be in this room and to be living this life without helping them?”

Amy Poehler is already a winner of the great human being award for her comedy and work for women’s rights. This speech puts her on another level thought. It is not only motivation to care about orphaned children less unfortunate than us, but she encourages everyone to use their privileges to help others. “It’s great for your skin, and makes your ass smaller,” she jokes (speaking to the Hollywood crowd of course). It’s a message we can all take home and put into practice.

What causes are close to your heart like the WWO is for Amy? Who do you plan to help today? Share in the comments below!

“Giving is Communication”: This Incredible Video Will Change Your Life

The title doesn’t lie. This video offers a poignant a message on the power of service, compassion, and gratitude, told through the lens of one incredible and fleeting act of kindness.

This video was made by TrueMove-H, an arm of Thai mobile conglomerate True Corporation. The video serves as a commercial, but also doubles as a meditation on the importance of real human connection in changing people’s lives and spreading empathy to every corner of the world.

Take a look and let the video’s message go to work in your heart:

If you look at your life and how far you’ve come, there are undoubtedly faces sprinkled throughout who had an impact on you along the way. They may be teachers, parents, mentors, or friends. They may be strangers. Sometimes it’s those fleeting, half-developed conversations in passing – on the subway, in the supermarket, on an airplane – that struck you most potently and in some way influenced the course your life would take.

We invite you to reach out in gratitude to those important people who helped you become the person you are today. And for all those unnamed strangers, the briefly known, angels in disguise, send your thanks outward. Pass it on. Pay it forward. Love and service make the world go ’round. And you are part of that essential cycle.

Did this video inspire you? Who are you grateful to? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Play Your Way to the Best Fitness of Your Life

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Do you remember the days of recess in elementary school? Finally liberated from lessons and projects, if just for 15 minutes, you’d run out of the classroom and skip freely into the yard. Whatever corner of the playground struck your fancy, it’s likely you were running around, letting off steam, and, most importantly, having fun.

Speaking of which, when is the last time you had fun? And we don’t mean the kind you have when you throw a dinner party and sit respectably around a table with your friends. Neither do we mean the kind of fun signified by snagging a half-off pair of shoes or booking tickets for Spain. Would your 5-year-old self be giddy over one of those activities? Probably not.

No, we’re talking about the kind of fun that launches you into a whole new mindset, moved more by impulse than by intellect, lurching forward faster than your mind can process. This is the kind of play-exercise-fun you undoubtedly engaged with as a child before so many inhibitions set in and told you there were right and wrong ways to move your body and express your inclination toward merriment. What society missed, however, is the fact that playing is one of the best and most natural ways human beings have to exercise and let off steam. But past a certain age, we almost never do it.

But that’s all changing now. Some gyms, like Sports Club/LA, have started offering play-based exercise on their class schedules because they recognize the value of fun in fitness. “Play” is embedded in our DNA, after all, and we aren’t the only animals who do it. Countless other animal species exhibit play, especially among the young, for reasons that are still debated but might range from learning coordination, to honing the stress response, to socializing, to developing brain function. Either way, play seems to be an integral part of these species’ livelihood, or else its evolutionary riskiness would have weeded us out long ago.

Even apart from the many benefits to learning and development, play is fun. It gets us moving, it helps us build communities, and it adds whole new dimensions to the “real world” which can seem so stuck in its ways.

Paving the way for play-fitness is Sports Club/LA’s new class, Recess, which uses playground-inspired activities and team-based games to get participants moving, pushing themselves, and – you guessed it – having fun.

As trainer Ian Kilpatrick from Sports Club/LA says,

It is my belief that every single person can find enjoyment in some form of exercise; they just have to find it. I think an element of “play” in a workout dramatically increases the chances of someone having fun, and when you’re having fun and working hard simultaneously then you eliminate that “dreading working out” feeling many of us get. Everyone is different, so some people may need or enjoy that feeling of discipline or pushing yourself to pain, but the fact is that fun will never get old.

Some adults have gotten the idea and joined recreational sports leagues, taken up ice skating, dance lessons, or Frisbee and revived the activeness of their youth. As Kori Rodley writes for Yahoo, play is important at any age.

You may find that you are having so much fun “playing” that you don’t even realize how much movement and exercise you are getting! You will likely use and stretch muscles that you have not used in a long time and may find not only your physical, but your mental health improves with some active, fun, playful movement!

If you find yourself flagging in energy and enthusiasm when you work out, then don’t hesitate to get creative! Ian suggests the following exercises get a taste of what Recess class is all about:

One of my favorite partner exercises from Recess that any two people can try on their own is a “help up.” In this exercise you hold tight to the hands of your partner as they sit all the way down onto their butts. Once they have their full bodyweight on the ground they stand up as you sit down the same exact way. It may sound easy, but it requires team work, coordination and gets tiring fast!

Another partner or group exercise that two or more people can try on their own is a “mirror drill.” All you have to do is face your partner and choose a leader. Once you’ve decided who is leading the drill then that person will start shuffling from side to side changing direction whenever they want. It is the job of the partner or other group members to react and keep up. These should only last for about 10-15 seconds then switch who the leader is.

If this style of exercise appeals to you, then try it out! Find a community center with recreational sports leagues, join a hiking group, or take a tumble with your kids. Forget the inhibitions that say playing isn’t proper, mature, or “ladylike.” Having fun is your birthright, and there’s no shame in being fit and happy!

What games did you love as a kid? Let us know in the comments section!

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SPortsClubLA2012Sports Club/LA has been recognized as an urban lifestyle brand that serves as the ultimate health and wellness destination. Visit a Sports Club/LA location in Boston, Chestnut Hill, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York Upper East Side as well as their sister club, Reebok Sports Club/NY. For more information visit www.SportsClubLA.com.

 

An Open Love Letter to All the Judgmental, Racist, Sexist, Homophobes Out There

UntitledBy Chris Grosso

Hate, negativity, close-mindedness—none of this is new. Being heavily tattooed with big holes in my earlobes, a skateboarder and a fan of punk/hardcore music since my teenage years has left me all too familiar with judgmental people, especially growing up in a small town before these things started to become somewhat socially acceptable.

Disapproving looks, comments under the breath, or, in some cases, blatantly to my face, have been commonplace throughout my life, and it’s something that has led me time and again to seriously contemplate why people are the way they are. Particularly, why do people feel the need, or, that they have the right to cast judgments and write someone off based solely on outer appearances or personal lifestyle choices?

There’s really no simple answer. Each person is a unique individual with a unique set of circumstances that has led them to become the person they are today. One thing I’ve learned about myself, however, and my own judgments (because yes, I too am human and have no shortage of them), is that it’s rooted in fear.

For me, I’ve learned that being a counterculturist from a very early age, or, raging against the machine (though truth be told, I often wasn’t quite sure exactly what machine I was raging against) has often left me judgmental towards those in the mainstream media—from spiritual teachers to musicians, actors and so forth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly grateful for my punk/hardcore roots as they dismantled a lot of the naivety in my otherwise culturally conditioned mind, but I am definitely seeing some of the after effects playing out years later in my adult life (though adult or not, I still listen to plenty of punk/hardcore).

The fear of seeing myself as a “conformist” for nothing more than liking a popular band, or reading one of Oprah’s official book selections, or maybe, just maybe even admitting that someone like Justin Timberlake actually has some talent stems from fear. I mean really, why else do I feel the need to completely write these people off simply because they don’t look, talk or act like me? Isn’t that on a comparable level to what the close-minded individuals I’m writing about in this article are doing? Sure, they may be coming from a more hateful place, but at the end of the day, a close-minded judgment is a close-minded judgment.

I’m not here to make excuses for anyone, because hateful rhetoric of any kind turns my stomach. Every time I see the Westboro Church protestors and their “God Hates Fag” signs I feel my entire body begin to tense up, however, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t also make me feel a deep sadness and compassion for them.

I’ve been to some very dark places in my life. I lived for many years as a hardcore addict, and there were countless nights I would lay in a dark room wishing for death to take me. I was filled with fear, self-hatred and disdain for God, or whatever “it” was out there that created this whole insane goddamn world (how I felt then, not now). I lost so many years of my life to those experiences that now, years later having come out of the other side of them, I can’t help but contemplate what it’s like for others as they go to bed each night, or in this particular case, hate-filled people.

I put myself in their shoes and imagine what it must be like to lay their head down each night, filled with so much anger, hatred and fear. I’m sure the majority of it for these people is on a subconscious level, but still, it’s there. So whether they realize it or not, it’s making their lives what I could only imagine to be a complete living hell.

When I sincerely put myself in their shoes, it becomes virtually impossible for me to muster any judgments to cast back on them, no matter how much I disagree because honestly, all I’m left with is the desire to hug every single one of them. To really hold them in my arms and let them know that it’s going to be okay. To let them know they are loved and that whatever pain they are holding inside can be healed. To look them in the eyes with the compassionate understanding and again, tell them it’s going to be okay— that we’ve all suffered, and in varying degrees we all still hurt and suffer. I want them to know it’s all part of the human experience, and that since they are a fellow brother or sister in this journey, that I honor and love what they are beneath the thoughts and beliefs that are temporarily lodged in their minds.

Maybe some of you believe I’m naïve for thinking like this, and who knows, maybe I am, but this is what’s in my heart. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my travels, it’s that when I lay myself aside and allow my heart to do the driving, it never, ever, steers me in the wrong direction. I just don’t want to add to any more hatred to this world, and in this very moment, that’s the ultimate truth of what’s in my heart.

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-1Chris Grosso is an independent culturist, freelance writer, spiritual aspirant, recovering addict, and musician. He serves as spiritual director of the interfaith center The Sanctuary at Shepardfields and is a correspondent for the Where Is My Guru radio show. He created the popular hub for all things alternative, independent, and spiritual with TheIndieSpiritualist.com and continues the exploration with his debut book titled Indie Spiritualist (Beyond Words/Atria Books, February 2014). A self-taught musician, Chris has been writing, recording, and touring since the mid-1990s. 
 
Connect with Chris online at The Indie Spiritualist, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Brave Teenager’s Manifesto on Depression and Why We Need to Talk About It

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Kevin Breel has been living two lives for years. In one, he’s a smart, accomplished young man with friends and family who love him. In the other, he is someone who suffers from depression, and has for the better part of six years.

This may come as a shock, Kevin says, to the people who know him. After all, on the surface his life is great. Everything is fine; everything is going well. But underneath the surface, he “struggles intensely” with a condition that many of us know all to well and yet no one wants to talk about. Why is this?

Depression is stigmatized in our culture, Kevin says, and yet it is a massive issue. According to the World Health Organization, one person in the world dies by suicide every 40 seconds. Worldwide suicide rates have increased 60% in the last 45 years, and it is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-24. On top of that, suicide attempts are 20 times more frequent than actual suicides, which means there is a staggering number of people in the world who are hurting, suffering, and desperately needing help.

Kevin uses a powerful analogy: When you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast. When you say you’re depressed, everyone runs in the other direction. This has created a world in which we don’t understand mental health, we don’t understand our emotions, and we certainly don’t understand depression. Watch Kevin’s poignant TEDx talk:

In order to heal our hearts and our communities, Kevin entreats that we speak up, speak out, and learn to love ourselves. In the spirit of Suicide Prevention week, let’s not waste a minute to reach out to our fellow humans and spread the love.

Have you or someone you know suffered from depression? We would be honored for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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