Tag Archives: control

From Intent.com: Stop Striving and Refocus.

tower I live in Los Angeles, City of Angels. Aside from the angels, it’s home to entrepreneurs, celebrities, athletes, geniuses, doctors, the super rich. If magazines are a battleground of comparison for America, the people in those pictures walk around Los Angeles in real life.

I am 5 ft. tall. My dad is from Honduras so the likelihood that I will ever be tall and blonde is zero. I didn’t go to an Ivy League college. I don’t even know that my college would qualify to be labeled by any kind of plant life. I say all that to say that it’s very easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else has and who they are. It’s easy to overlook what I have to offer and that while I will likely never be on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, I am no less a unique work of art, the only one of my kind now and forever.

This week my intention is to stop striving and refocus.

I want to commit the 10 minutes before I walk out the door for the day
meditating on that concept.
I want to focus on being a better human.
I want to appreciate what I have to work with.
I want to take the focus off things I have no control over (other people, places or things) and not make them my competition or enemy.
I want to stop striving for perfection or to be first in line or someone’s choice because that’s not the point of anything.

All this striving to get ahead? It’s pointless if it doesn’t get us somewhere good. So I plan on refocusing this week.
And you? How are you striving? What are you striving after?

FYI- Every Monday Intent.com features intents set by our users in our weekly newsletter so you can get involved! Next week is about fantasies so head to Intent.com and post in our Inspiration category. And if you have a project or idea you’d like to spread the word about Email MeLissa@Intent.com! We want to help!

Kick Tush Tuesday: Weight Loss Through Creativity

sunskayThis morning, while taking a long walk through the desert (yes, this is the desert; no, I wasn’t walking the Sahara) with Our Lady of Weight Loss by my side (always), she and I were (once gain) discussing the difference between trying to control the day, control our lives, control what we eat and creating a kick tush day. That’s right–the difference between control and create–and it became abundantly clear that the answer to our struggles is to not struggle.

Ohhhh…I like that: The Answer to Our Struggles is to NOT Struggle! Simple enough. How to do that? How to put a new spin on the topic, create a fresh take? Explore the words “control” and “create”! Ready? Okay!

The word: Control

According to Webster’s dictionary control means to exercise restraint; to hold in check; curb; to eliminate or present the flourishing or spread of.

I don’t know about you, but when I look at those words, especially “exercise constraint” – I’m like ‘get me outta’ here.  It sounds restrictive and feels exhausting. My world view starts to close in on me. Did you have a similar visceral reaction to the word ‘control?’

The words we use are important and if one doesn’t ‘fit’ our psyche, best we look for a new word, a new experience, a new way to frame and reframe. Create a new empowering perspective!

Rather than trying to control food, control our habits, control our thoughts and ourselves; let’s look at the word create.

The Word: Create

From Webster’s Dictionary, “create” means to bring into existence. (God created the heaven and the earth. — Genesis 1:12) To produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior to make or bring into existence something new. Wow!

Doesn’t the word create feel expansive? Doesn’t it sound like we are more likely to succeed if we move out of control and straight into create? Can you feel the door to infinite possibility opening? (I hear creaking noises; does it need to be oiled?)

Control vs. Create

Control = constrictive, limiting
Create = expansive, limitless

INTENT of the DAY:  Instead of battling control, let’s CREATE! Today, let’s choose to be CREATORS. Let’s open up to the possibilities and create a fun-filled, fabulous, healthful day!

IF you are hungry for more creative weight loss, as well as motivation, inspiration, fun, play, then visit Our Lady of Weight Loss’s BLOG: this past week’s posts include but are not limited to: Puzzled? The Watermelon Angel; #OneWord Thursday-Dare to be #YOU!; Review of Healthy Choice’s Steamers–and much more!

AND to discuss all, be sure to join Our Lady of Weight Loss’s Club: Kick in the Tush Club/FB.

Deliciously yours,

Janice Taylor
wise * fun * utterly useful

What is Your “Unlived Life?” It’s Time to Start Living Whole-Heartedly

like a record...The happiest people I know have something in common: they are whole-hearted in how they engage in their lives…whole-hearted in relating with others, in work, in meditation, and in play. They have a capacity to give themselves thoroughly to the present moment.

Yet for many, it’s challenging to engage with this quality of presence. Take this personal ad for example. It says:

Free to a good home, beautiful 6-month old male kitten, orange and caramel tabby, playful, friendly, very affectionate, ideal for family with kids. OR handsome 32-year old husband, personable, funny, good job, but doesn’t like cats. He or the cat goes. Call Jennifer and decide which one you’d like.

How often do we find that in our relationships, rather than loving presence, we have an agenda for someone to change, to be different? How often do we find that our insecurities prevent us from being spontaneous, or whole-heartedly engaged with friends? You might think of one important relationship and ask yourself: “What is between me and feeling fully present when I’m with this person?” Notice the fears creeping in about falling short, the urge to get your needs met, the sense of “not enough time,” the wanting for your experience together to unfold a certain way! This same conditioning plays out in all aspects of living, and it is well grounded in our evolutionary wiring. We need to manage things, to feel in control. We try to avoid disappointments, to prevent things from going wrong.

While we have this strong conditioning, if it runs our life, we miss out. Carl Jung said, “Nothing has a stronger influence, psychologically, on their environment, and especially on their children, than the unlived life of the parents.” Unlived life happens in the moments when we’re not whole-hearted, the moments when we’re busy scrambling to get somewhere else, or holding back to avoid what might be painful. Unlived life is the relationships where we really don’t allow ourselves to be intimate with each other, the emotion that we don’t let ourselves acknowledge. Unlived life is that passion we didn’t follow, the adventures we didn’t let ourselves go on. Unlived life, while it happens in an attempt to avoid suffering, actually leads to suffering.

What I’ve noticed in myself, and when I talk with others, is that in order to be completely whole-hearted, there is a need for giving up of control. By letting go of our usual ways of holding back and protecting ourselves, we free ourselves to express our full aliveness, creativity, and love.

If we experiment with this letting go of control—if we engage wholeheartedly with each other and in our activities—our sense of being enlarges. More and more we discover the innate curiosity and care that leads to giving ourselves fully to this moment, and then this one, and again…this one. Rather than racing to the finish line, we choose, with all our heart, to be here for our life.

Adapted from my book Radical Acceptance (2003)

Enjoy this talk on The Compass of our Hearts-Part1

For more information visit: www.tarabrach.com

5 Steps to Surrender to the Unknown

Sky & IMy favorite definition of surrender comes from the website TinyBuddha:

“Surrender is complete acceptance of what is, knowing it will all be okay, even without my input.”

That last line seals the deal. “…without my input.” Deep sigh. You mean, I don’t have to figure it out, try to “fix”, understand or meddle? There is a larger hand at work guiding this? Hmmm…

Personally, I’m not very good at this. In fact, horrible. I like to think it’s my empathic nature – the my Cancerian nature that wants to “help”, gets her pincers stuck…clinging to what I want or thinks I know more than someone else so I should jump in. It probably has more to do with my perfectionist control freak – which I didn’t really notice until recently when I (finally) hired an assistant and learned (slowly) how to delegate. What a relief! Someone is actually much better at doing certain things than I am and doesn’t need my input!

Lately, I’ve come face-to-face with how much I try to will things to happen and manipulate circumstances to turn out like I think they should. Read: It’s all about me, my desires and what I want….with little consideration for what might be best for someone else, their life path or the larger scale of greater good.

Surrendering means to let go of control over a person, circumstance, or outcome. The need to control is rooted in fear. We’re afraid of what will happen in a situation if it turns out differently than how we think it should. Should being the key word here.

When we try to control something, we assume that we know what’s best and omnipotently see through the eyes of Spirit. When we control, we conclude that our agenda is best for everyone. The problem is that control stems from our personal projections, belief systems, and attachments – our attempt to prove our worth, feel good, and be right.

SURRENDER is the soul sister of TRUST.

To surrender is to trust something greater than ourselves, which allows us to deepen our trust in the Universe.

Albert Einstein said that our greatest skill is to decide whether we believe in an altruistic, supportive universe, or an antagonistic universe that is out to get us. Do you believe the Universe has your back, or do you believe that life is a tough battle with many forces fighting against you? Glass half full or half empty?

When we have a positive sense of safety and stability (initially rooted in loving, consistent parenting from our early childhood) – it is easier to trust in something greater than ourselves. We believe that the Universe will show up to do its part, is supporting us and help will arrive.

As we begin to trust, we move out of the thinking, logical mind and into the realm of Spirit. A spiritual perspective invites us to see beyond form. We trust the unknown and unseen. We allow the heart and our intuition or third eye perspective to guide us and let go of our need to assume, control, manipulate, and define.

There are certain issues that reveal my wavering doubt and occasional lack of trust in Spirit’s timing. Will I find my perfectly compatible life partner? Will I get married? Will I have children? Will I make the kind of money I desire and touch the number of people I wish with my work?

Because these doubts commonly take residence in my mind, I’ve started to “try on” the coat of Trust. Literally, in my morning meditation, I sit in silence and cloak myself in a field of absolute knowing and deep trust that all I desire desires me. It is coming my way. I practice feeling spacious and at ease, eradicating the constriction and tightness of breath which accompany fear.


1. Pinpoint your fear.

  • What are you afraid of?
  • What’s the worst that can happen if you don’t control the outcome?
  • Is it true? (Check out Byron Katie’s The Work for more on this crucial question.)
  • Is it absolutely true that your situation will be worse if it doesn’t work out the way you think it “should”?

2. Plug into the field of all possibilities. Attempting to control means we limit possibilities. As we surrender we begin to open up to all options – especially those beyond what we can see or even imagine. Deepak Chopra talks about plugging into the field of infinite possibilites and remembering our true nature and Source energy is beyond our wildest imagination. For a moment, ponder with wonderment and awe the nature of life and who you really are. You are not forgotten. You are special.

3. Use meditation and breathwork to relax body and mind. My favorite is to repeat the mantra “let go” as I inhale and exhale. On the INHALE focus on the word “Let”. EXHALE, silently repeat the word “Go”. While this is simplistic, it works.

4. Use yoga and exercise to identify and release tension in your physical body. As you consciously begin to let go through your material body, you will also begin to let go through your psychological body.

5. Ask for help, pray, create a ritual to connect with your intuition and something greater than yourself. Practice developing your own, deeply personal relationship with Spirit. Build an altar to what it is you are struggling with releasing. Use Essential Oils (I highly recommend the blend Release for this.) and call on your Higher Mind (Buddhi) to help you surrender.

In the comments below, let me know what helps you surrender! What are the tools that help you let go? What have been the most difficult things for you to let go of?

The Sacred Art of Listening – Nourishing Loving Relationships

✿ Celestial ✿
To listen is to lean in softly
With a willingness to be changed
By what we hear   

-Mark Nepo

What happens when there’s a listening presence? When we’re fully in that listening presence, when there’s that pure quality of receptivity, we become presence itself. And whether you call that God or pure awareness or our true nature, the boundary of inner and outer dissolves and we become a luminous field of awakeness.   When we’re in that open presence we can really respond to the life that’s here. We fall in love.

This state of listening is the precursor or the prerequisite to loving relatedness. The more you understand the state of listening– of being able to have the sounds of rain wash through you, of receiving the sound and tone of another’s voice– the more you know about nurturing a loving relationship.

In a way it’s an extremely vulnerable position. As soon as you stop planning what you’re going to say or managing what the other person’s saying, all of a sudden, there’s no control. You’re open to your own sadness, your own anger and discomfort. Listening means putting down control. It’s not a small thing to do.

We spend most of our moments when someone is speaking, planning what we’re going to say, evaluating it, trying to come up with our presentation of our self, or controlling the situation.

Pure listening is a letting go of control. It’s not easy and takes training. And yet it’s only when we can let go of that controlling that we open up to the real purity of loving. We can’t see or understand someone in the moments that we are trying to control what they are saying or trying to impress them with what we are saying. There’s no space for that person to just unfold and be who they are. Listening and unconditionally receiving what another expresses, is an expression of love.

The bottom line is when we are listened to, we feel connected. When we’re not listened to, we feel separate. So whether it’s the communicating between different tribes or religions, ethnicities, racial groups or different generations, we need to listen. The more we understand, the less we fear; the less we fear, the more we trust and the more we trust, the more love can flow.
Isn’t it true to that to get to know the beauty and majesty of a tree
You have to be quiet and rest in the shade of the tree?
Don’t you have to stand under the tree?
To understand anyone, you need to stand under them for a little while
What does that mean?
Its mean you have to listen to them and be quiet and take in who they are
As if from under, as if from inside out.

Adapted from my book Radical Acceptance (2003)
Enjoy this talk on: Listening with an Awake Heart
For more information, visit tarabrach.com.

5 Steps to Rise From Disappointment

“I can’t believe she did that to me. What did I do to deserve this? I can’t depend on anybody anymore.”

Sound familiar? Chances are we’ve all uttered these, and there’s no question that we’ve all been let down. Disappointment and hurt can harden our hearts against trust, result in a negative outlook, heck, even make us question the goodness of humanity as a whole. But there is a bright side. Here, some tips for how to make it through disappointment and come out the other side stronger, positive and inspired.

1. Avoid the drama. Whether the disappointment is due to an act of carelessness or a major heartwrencher, the first thing to do is to step away from any related drama. Situations of conflict have the potential to expand or shrink depending on the amount of attention we give them. In order to move forward, you’ve got to let the situation diffuse. This means that as tempting as it may be to press for a resolution, explanation, apology, whatever it is that you think you need for closure, the best course in the interim is to honor the yogic practice of detachment. Of course, this is easier in theory than in practice, but stepping away is critical for you to process the turn of events in your heart and mind without the emotional upheaval and energy vacuum that drama yields.

2. Recognize that it’s not about you. Human nature has us react first from a place of ego that would have us believe that everything is personal and encourages taking on the role of a victim. Be on the lookout for this defeating self-talk and resist the trap of self-blame, self-doubt, any of those unpleasant responses founded in the ego. Consider that there are a host of factors beyond you and beyond your control that were likely at work here. What, you’re not in complete and utter control?! Hard to believe, I know, especially when we pretend otherwise!

3. Give yourself time and permission to heal. When you’ve been hurt, there are no expectations for a high-speed recovery – except for those that you put on yourself. Remind yourself that your feelings are valid and that it’s okay to have some days that aren’t all rainbows and unicorns. While you’re healing your heart, surround yourself with activities and people you love, nurture your body and soul, and do something, anything, to help others – the fastest route out of self-absorption and into perspective and gratitude.

4. Reflect on your expectations of others. This one can be tricky, as you shouldn’t expect the worst of everyone because someone close to you has, in your mind, failed you. But you can consider whether you project unrealistic expectations onto those you admire and hold dear. Maybe you hold people to an exceptionally high standard that is difficult for them to meet. While we should expect to be treated fairly, truthfully and respectfully, we can also use these life lessons of being let down to examine how we react when others confirm that they too are human and capable of making mistakes. At the same time, we can consider our own vulnerability to disappointing others, and harness this experience to improve our relationships as needed.

5. Put the experience to good use. Once some time has passed and you’ve managed to process the letdown, put the experience to good use.. Use it to motivate you instead of allowing it to harden your heart or lead you to expect the worst; in other words, seek the positive of your situation. Let it teach you what you don’t want to do to someone else. Perhaps the disappointment inspires you to try something new or take a different approach, revise your goals, assess your relationships, clear who and what no longer serve you from your life– all opportunities for positive growth. While you may not feel like the proverbial phoenix at first, you can indeed rise above disappointment and use it as inspiration for becoming your best self.

Please comment below with a positive outcome of what looked at first to be only disappointment!

photo by: ralpe

Stop Trying So Hard

By Bethany Butzer, Ph.D.

I’ve worked hard my entire life. Really, really hard. From a young age, I bought into statements like, “Nothing in life comes easy,” “You have to fight to make it in the world,” and “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” I pushed myself to win every award I could in high school. Then, I pushed myself to become one of the first few people in my family to go to university. Then, I worked my tail off to get As in all my classes. Like a blacksmith working hot metal, I spent countless hours trying to hammer my life into the shape I desired.

And guess what? I achieved a lot, but I still wasn’t happy.

The nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic that has plagued Americans for over one hundred years has brought us many successes. We have things like cars, electricity, and clean water. We can travel anywhere in the world and eat pineapple in the middle of December. But I think we’re also more miserable than we’ve been at any other point in human history.

Many of us wholeheartedly believe we are in control. We think that we need to force our lives to unfold on our schedule. We need to slave away at a job we despise so that we can keep up with the Joneses. We need a mortgage, two cars, two kids, and a white picket fence so that we can prove to everyone around us that we’ve “made it.”

But what if there was another way?

What if, instead of pushing so hard to make life happen, we decided to let go and allow life to happen to us?

What if, instead of trying to always be in control, we surrendered control to something bigger than ourselves?

What if, instead of working so hard to figure out the answers, we allowed ourselves to be guided to the solution in perfect timing?

This approach flies in the face of what modern society tells us to do, but the beautiful thing is that if we’re willing to trust in the process, it works.

If you look back over your life, you will probably notice many times when trying less actually brought about the result you desired. Whether it was an unexpected job interview that popped up just when you decided to stop sending out resumes or a chance encounter that led you to your soulmate just when you’d given up on dating—often when we let go of the reins, the universe is happy to show us the way.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that you should simply give up and accept whatever life throws at you. I think it’s important to have goals and work toward your dreams.

The trick is that we need to strike a balance between effort and ease.

Personally, my workhorse mentality is still alive and well, and I often struggle to maintain my sense of balance. My default is to try to make things happen, as opposed to letting things be. Many times I feel like a fish trying to swim upstream against a strong current. I push and push and push and nothing seems to work. The good news is that I’ve become better at catching myself. During these times, I now have many tools I draw upon to help me switch gears, go with the current, and be guided downstream. Whether it’s through meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature, one day at a time I’m learning how to surrender my life to a power greater than myself and trust that I will always be guided in the right direction.

This is not about accepting a particular creed or dogma; rather, this is about acknowledging the fact that there is so much in this universe that we still don’t understand. One of the things that we’re just starting to appreciate is that there is a force out there that’s willing to guide us if we’re open to it. I often like to think of this force as my True Self. When I take the time to get silent and listen to myself, the answers always appear. They might not appear exactly when I want or in the exact form that I expect, but they always come.

This week, I encourage you to let go of the wheel and experiment with divine cruise control.

Start by answering these questions:

“What area of my life feels like a struggle right now?”

“Where do I feel like I’m swimming upstream?”

“Where am I trying too hard to force a particular outcome?”

Once you’ve narrowed things down–let go. This release can take a variety of forms. It might be that you decide to take a week off from job hunting. You might stop trying to force your family to conform to your standards. You might ask your spouse to cook for you. Whatever it is, do it.

Share your answers and insights. Or, if you are unsure where to begin or go–ask. Let this wonderful community support and encourage you.

Many times, our insistence on forcing the outcome that we desire gets in the way of the outcome that would be most beneficial to us. When you let go, things often turn out exactly as they’re meant to be.

So please, give yourself permission to release your iron grip. Trust that you are being supported.

Surrender control and allow yourself to be guided to the outcome that will be of the highest service both to you and to the world.

Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Check out her book, The Antidepressant Antidote, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and join her whole-self health revolution here.

*Photo by ~BostonBill~.

The Clicker

You know, just because something is on TV doesn’t mean that it’s true—doesn’t mean that it’s good—doesn’t mean that it’s something you want to spend time watching. That’s why having a clicker is so great!

There’s a clicker for your life, too.

Listen to new 10 minute podcast: http://cowboyshaman.podomatic.com

The Clicker

You know, just because something is on TV doesn’t mean that it’s true—doesn’t mean that it’s good—doesn’t mean that it’s something you want to spend time watching. That’s why having a clicker is so great!

There’s a clicker for your life, too.

Listen to new 10 minute podcast: http://cowboyshaman.podomatic.com

Accepting Change Can Give You Peace

In my younger days I was naive enough to think I could control change.  I’ve learned, but not quickly enough, that no one can control or stop change. And, here is an interesting little fact: Charles Darwin believed that those people who survive the ones who can adapt to ongoing change.  They are not necessarily the strongest or the smartest, but they are the survivors. That thought of survival brings me to today’s topic of change and how to understand it a little better.

First, that things will change is predictable and inevitable. Think of those individuals you know who, despite painful adversity, have been able to go on even after their world fell down around them.  These individuals accept – sometimes hourly – the inescapable reality of change.

Second, change is difficult.  We humans seem to believe that as long as things remain the same we are safe, secure, and sitting as pretty as the Venus de Milo in the Louvre.  Well, actually, she’s standing there but here’s what I mean.  Using couple counseling as an example, I’ve worked with several men and women whose marriages ended painfully because one or both parties wouldn’t change a negative or rigid behavior even when they knew it was a problem in their relationship.  Maybe it was pride.  Maybe it was an addiction.  Maybe it was repeating communication habits learned as a child that needed to be reevaluated and changed.  Sometimes people hold onto behaviors out of a family loyalty but they are not emotionally healthy choices.

Additionally, and be encouraged here, I’ve also been privileged to watch hundreds of individuals’ relationships blossom, their intimacy deepen and the fun return when each person in the couple accepts new changes and does a little adapting to the stages their partner is moving through. It’s wonderful to experience that kind of emotional growth for them.

Third, change is rewarding.  You were laid off, depressed and stressed out.  Less money prompted you to replace the house shutters yourself and grow your own garden vegetables.  Now, not only have you saved money but you’ve learned a new skill that you feel good about plus, additionally, your family is eating delicious and healthier home grown vegetables!

Fourth, and I think this is the most empowering stage, change is adopting the words the American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, wrote in his Serenity Prayer about accepting the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.  I try every day to live that way now. Yes, better late than never.  It’s made me feel more peaceful and less responsible for everything that happens in my world.  Simply put, I’m happier now. So, my Intent friends, I pass these thoughts onto you with the hope that they will help you and your Every Day Matter, too.

Mary Jane Hurley Brant, M.S., CGP


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