Tag Archives: Connection

Be Inspired to Make Intents in 2014

intentAs the New Year arrives, many of us are apt to pronounce our New Year’s resolutions, be they in the privacy of our minds or promulgated near and far.

Mallika Chopra’s December 11 post, Set Intents Not Resolutions For 2014, got me thinking.  She set a clear distinction between intents and resolutions.

I took a look at the definitions of intent and resolution.  An intent is the thing that you plan to do or achieve, an aim or purpose. I love that an intent is also the state of mind with which an act is done. A resolution is the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.; the act of resolving something.

This distinction makes me recognize the subtleties of the comparison. An intent sets the stage for choices and decisions related to a plan or purpose, while a resolution is more associated with the end result, a goal.  And with a resolution, you are “finding an answer or solution,” which involves a process of searching for a resolution. With an intent, you already have identified what it is you want to PUT INTO ACTION.

Today I had an epiphany about how to activate my intentions so that they can flourish, rather than announce resolutions that remain unfulfilled. Like any new behavior or habit, it takes dedication to implement new intents and goals. And starting with a state of mind of positivity and purpose can go a long way towards the blossoming of intentions into what you want in your life. That’s all well and good, but HOW do I actually make my intents HAPPEN?

Now take a leap with me.  One way to accomplish the activation of your intents is to “attach” them to something you already do regularly. This enhances success. For example, I have an intent to do the daily exercises prescribed by the PT I have been seeing for a torn meniscus in my knee. Not easy to incorporate this new routine into my daily schedule. So, I “attached” the new series of exercises to my existing morning yoga ritual. That way, what I intend to do actually happens. But, I took it a step further. I found that I was bored doing the exercises and rushing through them. Calling a friend during the process was not conducive to counting the repetitions. And lo and behold, it occurred to me to express gratitude at each rep. Gratitude for what? For each cell in my body involved in each movement. For my knees. For the fact that I could count. For the PT. For taking deep breaths.  And between each repetition, I thought of something I was grateful for, taking up the 3 or 5 second “hold” between each repetition of the exercise. I felt so accomplished. I completed the routine, fulfilled my intent and felt really grateful for lots of things!

In short, adding a practice of gratitude as  you embark on activating intentions just may make the process more, well — intentional, as in done in a way that is planned or intended.

Cheers to 2014, the year of fulfilled intentions for which to be grateful!

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

Stumbling Onto The Path of Awakening

meditation2
My path to awakening began in 2005, when during a time of major transition and deep personal sadness, my mother suggested I might find relief with yoga. She put me in touch with her friend, Grace, a yoga instructor at a fitness center in Indianapolis where I wound up taking my first yoga class. Five years later, on an afternoon lunch break, a co-worker introduced me to meditation for the first time. Yoga and meditation would continue to flow in and out of my life like waves in the ocean. I would dabble here and there and then get distracted and return to the way things had always been. These practices were nothing more than nice things to do sometimes if I was in the mood, but I didn’t feel connected to them in any meaningful way. They were more like novelties.

Two years passed by and in April 2012 I sought a Jyotish (Vedic astrology) reading from Swati Jr*. Her words didn’t make sense to me logically back then, but something about what she shared did feel true on an emotional level. Like she was whispering to parts of me that were hidden away from myself.

Six months later, on October 1st, I was lured into Moksha Yoga LA by a $40 special membership rate advertised in bright paint across the huge windows of their studio. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the heat on that first day, but I didn’t stop. I pushed through all of the sensations that come along with participating in a hot yoga class and left the studio feeling a bit out of body.

My general perspective of everything felt lighter and more expansive. It seemed to me like I was in on a secret and the people walking and driving by me didn’t appear to know what I now knew. I just felt a strange happiness that’s hard to explain in words and I couldn’t wait to go back. By my second or third class, I distinctly remember getting the sense that I was being pulled towards something that would change my life.

Thirty-one days after that first class, my life appeared to implode. Within the span of one month, my live-in boyfriend of two years ended our relationship, I was forced to find a new place to live and before I’d even had time to unpack the boxes, I was given the news that I was being laid off from my job. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Fuck. My. Life.

The main thing that kept me sane during this time was my then brand new yoga practice. I felt something when I was in the studio everyday. Something that told me to keep coming back. I listened to that feeling and stuck with a near daily practice.

During the five months I was unemployed, I took off on a lot of hikes through Griffith Park, abused my library card and booked a last minute trip to Bali and The Gili Islands, where I traveled solo for three weeks and experienced a sense of mindfulness for the first time in my life.

I didn’t know at the time that what I was experiencing was mindfulness, but when I look back, I recognize that that’s what it was. Slipping under the surface of the water off the coast of Gili Trawangan, snorkeling for the first time in my life and feeling rolls of amazement take over my being as I laid eyes on a fantastical underwater world. Willing myself to stay present in the indescribable perfection I was feeling in those moments. Overcome with gratitude as I experienced the feeling of something new, something absolutely, mind-boggling new, for the first time that I could ever remember in my adult life.

Sleeping when I was tired, eating when I was hungry, listening to my instinct and sharing myself with the people around me without thought or reservation. I traveled with a backpack and my yoga mat, stopping to breathe in the air around me, talk with strangers, wander without purpose and just be. I wrote and cried and listened and laughed and swam and kissed and danced and rode bikes and practiced yoga, but most importantly, I let go of time and other people and expectations. I just was.

When I came home to Los Angeles I felt different. Really different. And really good.

Then at the end of June in 2013, I began meditating everyday. A few weeks later, I participated in a 21-day meditation challenge hosted by Deepak Chopra and that’s when things really started becoming more clear for me. I was transitioning into a new awareness of my life and I have never felt more certain that I am living exactly the life I’m supposed to be living right now.

Since this time, I’ve devoted almost every energy to exploring the possibilities with meditation because I’ve become fascinated by the universe living inside me. Also, I feel as if someone wiped a layer away from my heart and now I’m capable of feeling the world instead of just living through it.

I read books, watch videos, seek out people who practice regularly, ask questions, sign up for seminars and classes, and look for opportunities to learn more about higher consciousness at every moment of the day. Discovering and understanding myself and the energy field we all exist within, make up, and move through, feels like it’s my reason for being here. It feels like I’m supposed to be collecting this information so that I can share it and talk about it and live it fully.

***

Aubrey is passionate about living life all the way and believes that a daily meditation practice can help anyone move into a totally engaged state of being alive. She published a book about her old life and is now busy living her new life so that she can write a follow-up about how awesome the world becomes when you’re finally able to slow down and feel into your body. She creates free guided meditations about once a week and you can connect with her on Twitter @MokshaDestiny

If you’re interested, I send out free guided meditations about once-a-week. Sign up here!

4 Steps to Discover Your True Self and Start Loving Life

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 3.42.36 PMWhen you’re born, you never question what it means to be you. You’re so busy learning to breathe and walk and talk that the idea of your ‘self’ isn’t much of a focus. As you got older you focused on how to be social, fall in love, start a career, maybe even build a family. For many years then, the idea of deliberately creating your identity may not have been even the tiniest speck on your list of things to do.

Then one day something happens — an unexpected event or experience — and you realize you haven’t made any choices about who you are. You’ve just become someone along the way. Having never really thought about things, you’re absolutely out of touch with what’s important to the deeper you only you know.

It’s natural, over the course of a lifetime, to reach a moment when you question everything about your identity. Don’t be alarmed if, when you pause to assess your life and yourself, you suddenly become aware that you can’t answer the question I hear so often from clients every week: “Who am I?!”

To be clear, you would certainly be able to provide an answer based on a description of your name, gender, profession and familial status. It’s below the surface of these social titles that the sense of confusion occurs. It’s below that surface, too, that your real self exists. Take Jim, for example: A violent car crash last year has sent him into an evaluation of who he is, what his life is about, and what he wants. “I have no idea who I am,” he shared with me. “I grew up in an abusive home, so I just hid inside to get through it. Now, since the accident, my whole life has changed and I realize I’ve never known the real me.”

Jim’s experience is very common. Whether you’ve sustained a car accident, serious illness, divorce, job loss, abuse or assault you can find yourself suddenly feeling very disconnected from a sense of who you are. Like Jim, you may discover that you’ve never really known your true identity. Depending on circumstances, you may have formed your entire adult identity by reacting to life rather than creating the person you deeply wish to be.

If that’s the case, don’t worry. By setting an intention to discover who you are you can begin a journey that transforms your life into something more deep and full of meaning, purpose and joy than you have ever imagined possible. The key is to approach your identity exploration with patience and a willingness to be surprised.

Claiming your true identity is easier than it might seem. Love and joy are pure, instinctual emotions. Regardless of life experiences, your impulse to care for something and to feel enormous pleasure are emotions that come up at will and entirely unbidden. When you build your identity around the external expression and sharing of these core authentic traits you begin creating a life in alignment with your deepest self.

Four simple steps can immediately help you set your intention for self-discovery:

  1. Identify what you love — You are your most pure self in a state of love. Think back over your life, from the time you were a child until today: What people, things or activities have inspired deep love in you?
  2. Discover what brings you joy — You are your most true self in a state of delight. What makes you laugh, smile or feel giddy is pure reflex and comes from a deep part of you. Think back over your life, from the time you were a child until today: What people, things or activities have inspired an enormous feeling of pleasure in you?
  3. Incorporate love and joy into your daily life — When you identify what inspires love and joy in you, the next natural step is experiencing those things as often as possible. Doing this will connect you to that core authentic self on a regular basis. From there, you can begin to assess what changes and what new things in your life would create an environment for you to operate from your true self all the time.
  4. Share your love and joy with others — Living in alignment with your core self means living in the outward expression of who you are. Consider now, how you can include others in the experience or benefits of what brings you love and joy.

In my work with Jim he discovered that what he really loves is how creative he feels when he develops and launches a new business. What brings him joy: hiking in the mountains of North Carolina, which are close to where he lives. Jim’s plan for discovering himself included getting involved in more entrepreneurial projects with a core group of businessmen he admires, plus hiking every week with friends, family and other active hiking groups. The more Jim accessed these two key elements, the more they led him to develop and explore himself in new and unexpected ways. All of this led Jim to construct a dynamic, self-created identity in alignment with his core values and self. Now, if you ask Jim to answer the question, “Who am I?”, he’s got a lot to say.

Discovering that you have no clear vision of who you are, or that you’ve lost the connection to yourself that seemed so certain, can be frightening and disturbing. The idea of (re)creating your identity can seem overwhelming and chaotic. However, this is actually a time to celebrate who you are. The process of (re)claiming your identity is an adventure, a gift and a journey that will create not only a more alive version of you, but also a life that is much more rich and satisfying than you ever dreamed possible.

* * *

Michele Rosenthal, author of Before the World Intruded: Conquering the Past and Creating the Future, is a trauma survivor who struggled with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for over 25 years. Today, Michele joyfully lives 100% free of PTSD symptoms. The host of “Your Life After Trauma” on Seaview Radio, Michele is a mental health advocate, public speaker, award-winning blogger, writer, workshop/seminar leader and Post-Trauma Identity Coach. You can follow Michele on Facebook and Twitter, or read more about her work at her website.

7 Ways To Connect More With Strangers

_________Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? Henry David Thoreau

In the fast-paced 21st century, connecting with others usually involves phone calls, emails, and plenty of social media interaction. While those things are wonderful, they don’t replace the deep, one-on-one human connections available to you almost anywhere, even with strangers.

While human connections with your partner, child, friends, and family are amazing, connections with strangers are especially powerful because you can literally feel the magic, the spark, when you acknowledge a stranger is an equal, a brother or a sister, and a fellow human taking it day by day – just like you are.

This happened to me today when I was taking a jump class (jumping on a mini-trampoline, apparently quite common in Brazil) for the first time, and I must admit I was a little intimidated to try. The professor assured me that I could take it slow, if needed, but to just have fun. After talking with the professor, a woman in the class had heard me (with my strong American accent, I’m sure), and we locked eyes for a moment and smiled at each other. That little connection immediately made me feel part of the group and at ease to possibly making a complete fool out of myself (for the record, the class was a blast and I’ll be there next week – fool or not!). However, with just our eyes and a smile, this woman and I created a simple, yet powerful human connection that positively influenced my day.

It’s incredibly easy to forget how much you have in common with every other person you will ever encounter in your life, because instead of focusing on the overwhelming similarities, we often focus on perceived differences. The woman from the gym could have easily ignored the conversation she overheard, not cared that I was new to the class, and not taken the time and energy to connect with me. I’m so grateful she didn’t.

As humans, we seek this in-person connection all the time – we thrive on it. Below are some ways you can consciously increase the human connections in your life, both with strangers and people you know.

  1. Smile.  This is a great way to lighten the mood and connect with everyone around you. I love to smile, and it’s a universal message of happiness, acceptance, and love.
  2. Make eye contact.  As Thoreau’s quote above alludes to, energy transmitted through the eyes is electrifying. Plus, making eye contact is a conscious acknowledgement that you are not alone – someone else sees you and you see them. Don’t we all enjoy a little acknowledgment?
  3. Volunteer.  A great way to connect with strangers is through volunteer work. For many people volunteering can be life changing. Not sure where to start? Check out VolunteerMatch.org  to find some opportunities in your community.
  4. Hug.  Hugs are one of my favorite forms of human connection. Hugs are always easy to give and the physical contact really intensifies the energy transmitted. I’ve had more than one person I knew for only a short period of time remember me months later because of my hugs. That’s a plus in my book!
  5. Simple conversation.  Taking the time to say hello, good morning, or talking about the (crazy) weather is an easy and great way to connect.
  6. Give an honest compliment.  I love doing this to strangers. It typically goes something like this, “Excuse me, I just have to tell you I love your (skirt, haircut, dress, etc). Where did you get it?” If you honestly feel this way, why not share it? I’m sure it makes the person receiving the compliment walk with a little extra confidence the rest of the day.
  7. Share some home cookin’.  Cooking is one of my favorite ways to reduce stress and relax. Sharing what I make (especially the desserts) is super rewarding. Make a batch of muffins and give them to the homeless couple you always see on your street, or make a treat for your neighbors. Knowing that you thought of them, will surly brighten your receivers day.

How do you bring human connection into your life? I’d love to hear in the comments.

photo by: Liz Grace

Indulge in Connection

_________It is easy to move in the shadows, to look down and avoid a stranger’s glance. It is easy to not draw attention to your magnificence and to shame others for showing theirs. What if you decided that today was the day you were to step out from under the cloak of invisibility? What if you decided today was the day you felt worthy of your place here on earth? And you allowed yourself to be seen? Allowed yourself. Allow yourself. Allow.

I shudder to think about what life is without connection, with others and ourselves.

Our days are the same, and completely unique at the same time. There are the days you wake up electrified, feeling like a million bucks, spry and light. And there are the days you have to peel yourself off the mattress, grumbling to whoever you can take down with you in your own personal drama of the moment. These days are the same because you’re still you. You’re still there in the quickening, and you’re still there in the grumbling. You’re you, all the time.  These days are completely unique at the same time, lest we forget each breath is a chance for change.

Yesterday was one of the peel-me-out-of-bed days. Nothing and everything was wrong simultaneously. Oh, the ironic struggles of the western world.  I decided though that instead of showering my shit upon others, I would shower myself with salt and attempt to cleanse whatever energy was draped over me. Once clean, it was time to step away from the wallow. I decided to connect. As much as I wanted to ignore a helping hand and ignore my innately generous heart, the one I was born with that sometimes gets me in trouble, I decided to connect.

Instead of announcing I wasn’t cooking that evening and we’d do take out, I went to the market with the intent of buying fish to create a beautiful meal for my family. The fish monger with a face I love to linger upon each time I go, smiled so freely at me it would have made my day if that was the only connection I made. I kept going.

In the wine section, I picked out a new Pinot I thought my husband would love. We’re going to Oregon wine country in May. The wine guy struck up a conversation with me about the bottle I chose and as much as I wanted to politely, fakely, smile and walk away…I stayed. Now he is setting us up for behind the scenes tours at wineries not even open to the public as we embark upon our 10 year anniversary trip, not to mention at no charge.

My son had karate later that day, and instead of sitting in the car to read as I wait for him like I usually do, I went inside. Something was pulling me into connection, toward people. I went inside and saw a friend who just happened to have read a piece I wrote on Buddhism and Atheism for Intent. He said he loved the piece and that he is actually part owner of the blog. It is a piece I thought would cause me to loose students and friends. It has turned out to be the opposite, and completely liberating. He was so excited for me, thrilled about the essays themselves, and I became excited for myself again from his infectious spirit.

As I turn around someone asked if I was me.

“Are you Lauren from Karmany? I recognize you from your poster up at Lululemon”

“Why yes, yes I am.”

He is a photographer, local, with beautiful New York fashion quality results. He doesn’t work with someone unless they fit a project he is working on, and he doesn’t charge any money because of that. I need to get some new photos done but am tapped out on money with my recent website creation. He has no idea of my financial situation, but ends up asking if we can do a modern, industrial yoga shoot together. It was my vision, exactly, to the tee. I gratefully oblige.

All of this in a day… actually all of this in four hours, to be exact. All because I chose to allow. I allowed myself to move past the primal part of our brains that is Velcro to pain, and conceded to open interaction. It takes practice, but over time the practice becomes habit and habit becomes effortless. When you least want to, look up. Lift your gaze. Get out of the damn car. Enter society, humanity. Let the stranger catch your eye. They see something in you. They see your light, or your soul. Indulge in them, and see how in turn you are indulging yourself in connection. It is why we are here…connection.

photo by: Liz Grace

The Importance of Connection & Community

touchingWeeks 7 and 8 of Yoga Teacher Training

In our last week of teacher training a quote by psychotherapist Irvin Yalom comes to mind.

He said, “It’s the relationship that heals,” and he was referring to the therapeutic relationship between a doctor and a patient as being a powerful catalyst for healing. That it was more the human connection than the technical therapy that contributed largely to the healing process.

We’ve learned a lot these last 7 weeks about yoga. We’ve learned about anatomy, philosophy, asana, pranayama, and how to be more mindful yoga practitioners and teachers.

What is also becoming inescapably obvious is that we have learned each other as well, and this has been a subtle but significant aspect to our learning process.

What started out as a group of strangers is now a supportive group of friends. We’ve seen each other’s personalities, strengths, and weaknesses, and have come to admire each other for continuing to show up to our individual and collective practice.

We each bring different histories and struggles to our mats every day. We’ve brought these since Day 1. The only difference is that we now appreciate where we are coming from.

This is the beginning of community and this is the essence of connection.

One of the teacher trainees is a man named Kim. The first week of training I had the opportunity to work with Kim, and I noticed he rocked back and forth on his feet quite a bit while standing. When I asked him if he had difficulty in standing poses, he said yes. When I asked why, he said simply that he had some nerve damage to his feet.

The last few weeks I’ve seen him quietly use multiple props and the wall for support in many poses. He always has an easy smile and while some poses seem challenging to him, he never seems to be overefforting.

It was only when Kim shared with the class how he had fallen off of a second story building onto a two-by-four and become paralyzed from the waist down that I began to appreciate the true beauty of his yoga practice and the powerful potential of yoga.

Doctors told him he would never walk again due to his spinal cord injury.

After having surgery he was told in order to be eligible for physical therapy he had to be able to wiggle his toes. His determination to commit to this first step, wiggling his toes, allowed him to take the next step to recovery. After two months he left the hospital in a wheelchair. Month by month he progressed from a wheelchair to a walker and eventually was able to walk with crutches. From crutches he progressed to using two canes. After a year on two canes he was able to walk with only one cane.

A friend taught him how to meditate and provided both hands-on and distant healing that supported Kim as he reentered his new and different life.

It was 5 years until he began practicing yoga. He has mindfully deepened his practice over the years and continues to see steady progress. He’s been practicing about eight years now and this picture of him in headstand with a headstandsmile on his face really captures his strength, grace, and determination.

Kim still deals with what he calls “sensation,” otherwise known as pain.

Seeing how he works with his sensation and challenges is a humbling example for those of us who take our health for granted or who get disappointed about seemingly “slow” progress in our yoga practice.

In Kim’s words, “Things will never be the same. But that’s okay.” While many therapies and people have assisted him on his path, he mostly credits his progress to his “will to survive.”

Kim taps into his will to survive every day. It allows him to do what many people would call impossible.

It makes me wonder, Are we tapping into our will to survive? Are we even tapping into our will? What are we calling impossible that would become possible if we stopped limiting ourselves?

When we tune into our potential instead of our pain, we find our current limitations are merely a starting point.

This is just one example of how we have learned from each other through this training. We’ve learned to be sensitive to other human beings, whether it be through the words we choose or our physical touch.

As I disembark from this life-changing journey, I feel supported by a community of friends and teachers and well-equipped to follow my own yogic path.

The amount of knowledge and wisdom our teachers have shared with us will be sinking in for months to come. The words of Abraham Lincoln sum up my attitude as I step out of the world of teacher training and into the world of teaching yoga:

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”

*****

This is the last part of a series.

Week 1: My First Week in Yoga Teacher Training
Week 2: Confronting the Unknown
Week 3: Learning to Lead by Example
Week 4: The Practice of Transitioning Mindfully
Week 5: The Beauty in Being Imperfect
Week 6: Redefining Attitude & Attention

photo by: maessive

Creating Change Through Connection

Dr. Ernesto Sirolli is considered an authority in the field of sustainable economic development.

Through something he calls Enterprise Facilitation® he helps communities around the world develop “responsive, person-centered approaches to local economic development.” This unique approach is based on transforming good local ideas into viable businesses.

So how does one find out what the good local ideas are?

He recommends bringing a “Family Doctor” approach to big business.

This was borne out of his experience seeing and experiencing two opposite approaches to economic development in foreign countries: Patronizing and Paternalistic.

Both words stem from the Latin word Pater, which means “father.” Patronizing, however, approaches others as servants, while a Paternalistic approach treats others as children.

From a business perspective this means a person, business, (or even country, let’s say) never initiates anything or motivates anyone. Instead, the person/business/country becomes the servant of the people they’re seeking to help, thus uncovering the dreams, passions, ideas, and energy that already exists in the local people.

His radical approach revolves around one key factor: Listening.

Instead of coming in with plans, community meetings, and a “We’re here to help you” attitude, he meets people in their environment. He becomes their friends. He listens to them and learns what their passions and dreams are. His conference rooms are coffee shops and restaurants. He provides confidentiality, trust, and then finds himself in the perfect position to actually help people in the ways they need it most.

Sirolli relates that one thing the most successful companies in the world have in common is this: None were started by one person.

He simplifies it even further: No one person can make it, sell it, and look after the money.

He may be talking about business ventures, but it sounds like an approach that can be applied to our everyday ventures. Our families, our friendships, our local businesses, our great ideas, and our communities.

In our hurry to get ahead in life, it’s easy to forget the power of connection. The power of people.

Many of our jobs are being replaced by machines or technology that tries to simulate the human touch, but here’s two jobs that will never be replaced by a machine: Mothers and Fathers.

No amount of technology will ever be able to sit and have a meaningful conversation with you or give you a hug.

Sirolli works to activate communities in different countries by tapping into the “miracle of the intelligence of the local people.” He believes cultural and economic change start with capturing the energy, passion, and imagination of the local people.

Let’s bring this approach home. Literally. Our homes, our relationships. It works on a business level because it starts from the people level.

What change would we be able to effect if we were to tap into the energy, passion, and imagination of ourselves? Of the people we work with? Share your comments below.

 

Photo credit: Ernesto Sirolli

photo by: Nomadic Lass

Intent Video of the Day – Dance the world awake

Everyday we spotlight one remarkable video to inspire you to fulfill your intentions and improve your life. Do you have a video you’d like to suggest? Send it to us at editor [at] intent.com.

This video makes me want to sing, cry, and dance all at the same time. Whatever your opinions are on the Occupy Movement, this video a powerful demonstration of what’s possible when art and activism converge. Connection. Expression. Community. Awakening.

Check it out. This video was shot November 19, 2011 at Occupy San Francisco & Oakland. Their intent? “Dance the world awake!”

The Story of Little Rosha ♥

"The story of little Rosha"

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Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! “Rosha! Time for school.” Beep! Beep! Beep! “Rosha!” exclaimed his mother as she entered his bedroom. Rosha rubbed his little eyes and yawned. “Again?” “Rosha,” his mother smiled, “school is not just one day a week.” “Nuts.” “I have breakfast waiting for you downstairs,” said his mother handing Rosha hi…s little shirt. “Well why didn’t you say so sooner!” As you may be able to tell breakfast was Rosha’s most favorite thing in the whole wide world, well that and kickball. Rosha thought for a moment, “I might never eat again if I had to choose between breakfast and kickball.” But then he thought that he could eat the kickball if he got really hungry or maybe nibble on one of the other children on the opposite team. This thought cheered him up.

 

“Rosha shoes are not worn on ones hands,” said Rosha’s father at the kitchen table. “But sometimes I walk on my hands like a gorilla,” and at this Rosha proceeded to demonstrate to his father what he meant. “Rosha,” said his father. “Ok on my feet.” Rosha gasped, he couldn’t believe his luck! His most favoritist thing, yes that is a word to Rosha, was right in front of him. “Well it’s not going to eat itself,” said his mother. To this Rosha thought about pancakes trying to eat themselves and how it was unnatural and then he thought about what he previously thought about eating an opposing member of the kickball team if he had too. “Hmm, probably not best to eat one’s own kind,” he concluded as he jumped into the flapjacks with such gusto that the table shook. “Rosha,” said his father again.

 

Today is Tuesday and the thing that Rosha liked so much about Tuesday was that he got to ride his bike to school. He got to race down the hill by the waterfall. He got to, oh did I mention yet that Rosha and his family, and the whole town, lived on an island with waterfalls and lakes and bears and giraffes and hippopotamuses and kukamungas? Wait, you don’t know about kukamungas do you? Well I’ll have to tell you about them sometime then because they’re really quite marvelous creatures.

 

So there was little Rosha with his red speedster “Dragon” and, now don’t tell me you just call yours bike? He barreled down the hill, the mist from the waterfall covering his backpack when all of a sudden Rosha saw a man sitting by a tree all alone.

 

Now Rosha normally would have waved and shouted out something clever like, “watch out for my Dragon!” or “how lucky you are to be beneath a tree!” or “I’d say something if I wasn’t travelling so fast on my super speed bike Dragon!” but Rosha hit the brakes and just looked from afar for a moment for the man was crying.

 

Rosha didn’t like crying, he remembered how he cried when he broke his arm last spring and also when he lost the kickball championship, “only by a run though,” he thought. But this man looked very sad to Rosha and he remembered that his mother would always give him hugs when he cried and wipe his little nose; and how his father would always say, “hang in there kid” without fail.

 

So Rosha thought for a moment as he watched the man crying. “I know!” he shouted to himself. I’ll let him ride Dragon, no one has ever been sad riding him before!” But then Rosha stopped again. “Gee do you think he can handle the speed? Dragon’s awfully fast.” But then he thought, “Well I’ll just have to warn him that Dragon catches a lot of people off guard. He is a super bike after all.”

 

Rosha walked up to the man cautiously and then he heard something that he had not heard before. It sounded like a wise voice inside of him but yet outside of him at the same time. It’s ok, Rosha was confused too. The voice said, “This is our brother.”

 

Rosha thought about speaking but then decided against it and answered back with a thought, “He sure looks sad, I’m going to ask him if he wants to ride Dragon. That’ll do it for sure!” “Rosha,” said the voice within him, “That will not cheer him up.” “How come?” Rosha thought back.

 

“He is lovesick,” said the voice in him. He wants to know love but it is hid from him.” “Oh you mean like hide and seek?” thought Rosha. “Yes, like hide and seek” said the voice “but as you can see he is not enjoying the game.”

 

“Gee whiz” thought Rosha. “Hide and seek is nearly as good as” – “Kickball?” answered the voice. “Wow!” thought Rosha, “you said what I was gonna think!” “I am that aspect of you Rosha that is connected to him, to everyone and everything.”

 

Rosha fell down onto the grass in astonishment just a little ways from where the tree and the sad man were. He had’t realized that he was connected somehow with the sad man. “That’s ok Rosha,” said the voice inside him, “please cheer up our brother under the tree.”

 

Rosha thought again, “I’m gonna give him a hug.” “Rosha,” said the voice which now felt like all of existence inside of him, “tell him to search for me.” “Hey, how come I didn’t think of that?”

 

So Rosha bounced up from the grass like a kukamonga and proceeded to approach the ma- Oh that’s right you don’t have kukamungas where you’re from, well I’ll have to be sure to tell you about them sometime; really quite remarkable creatures. So Rosha was now right in front of the man who hadn’t stopped crying the whole time he had been there.

 

Rosha cleared his throat, “umm.” The man looked up now for the first time in a long time and wiped his eyes. “Hello I’m Rosha.” “Hello,” replied the man quietly. “You were crying,” said Rosha. The man struggled to hold back the tears once more but failed. They came out of him much like the waterfall Rosha thought but then abruptly stopped again. “I’ve lost the connection,” said the man. “It has gone away and I don’t know what to do.”

 

Rosha thought about what the inner voice had told him then replied, “I found it.” The man looked at Rosha in disbelief, “But you are so small.” Just then Rosha spoke as if he were twice, no three times his age. “And why can a child not reveal the connection amongst us?” The man began to sob again and so did Rosha as well for he had never felt the feeling that the words he had just spoke had given him before.

 

“Then how great and wonderful this connection between us is and how stupid of me to think that it could ever go away.” The man stood up, “He looks refreshed,” thought Rosha. “Kind of like Dragon after he’s just been washed,” he thought.

 

“Rosha,” said the man, “the connection is in you and me. It is in the grass which we are now standing on.” “Gee you think we’re hurting it then?” thought Rosha. “No child,” said the voice again within him. “The great connection is in this tree and in the waterfall from which are electricity and drinking water comes from. The connection is everything Rosha. Thank you for reminding me.”

 

Rosha hadn’t realized he could cheer the man up so easily. He was almost sure that it would have taken a ride on Dragon. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart," said the man. "Through you I have been renewed.” Rosha didn’t quite understand but he felt somehow what the man was saying and he was glad that he could be of some help.

 

“Wait school!” yelled Rosha. “Do you think you can make it in time?” asked the man. “Are you kidding? You haven’t seen Dragon yet.” “Ah, and a splendid Dragon it is. Go quickly Rosha, go and grow.” “Alright but no more crying!” yelled Rosha as he ran back and jumped on his super speed bike Dragon.

 

The man was about to respond but just like that Rosha and Dragon were gone. “He wasn’t kidding,” thought the man. Then the man spoke through the connection; to the people, the trees, to everything that ever is or was and will be and said, “I have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear. But now I do see. I see now that it is not others who must change but me.”

Shared Forward, Written by a Friend ~Dave Prosser~

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