Tag Archives: growth

Intent of the Day: Committed to Growth

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In all things, we have the opportunity to either stagnate or grow. We have the opportunity to be better or struggle to stay the same. By not choosing, it doesn’t mean we won’t make a choice. By not choosing, it simply means that we delay stepping into something new and amazing. That is why today, our intent is to stay committed to growth. Today we choose.

You too? Here are 3 ways to do so: Continue reading

Move Beyond Casual Dating: 3 Tips to Choosing a Partner You Can Grow With

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You met at the right time and everything just fell into place. You’ve dated plenty of other people but it has never felt this right. You’re ready to move past casual dating and take the next step. A big, scary, exciting step. When you find someone with whom you’re ready to take that leap with, it isn’t unusual to struggle with a lot of thoughts: does this have a shot at the long run? Is what I’m feeling for real? Will they be there through all the times, not just the easy ones but the truly challenging moments as well?

Here are three suggestions on how you can give yourself a little assurance that you’re choosing a partner who’s good for more than just dinner and a movie. Continue reading

From Intent.com: Being New

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“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”
― Cynthia Occelli

 

Change is innately scary.
There are elements of it that involve things falling away, things passing on, things ceasing to be. If you stay focused on that side of change, you can be frozen in place. Staying the same doesn’t necessarily mean everything is good though. What living things are known for never changing? Part of life and part of health means growing and developing. The most beautiful gardens require pruning and tending not because they are falling apart but exactly for the reason that they are constantly growing.  Continue reading

Newture.

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Close your eyes.

Say hello to tomorrow. Go on. Give it a hug.

After all, it is all yours. You own this. It won’t bite, unless you intended it to do that. Everything about it, every nuance, every new ounce, and every vibration are all pieces of you. In fact, you know those motions you are making now? Both the positive and negative thoughts and simple slightest undetectable movements will ripple into eternity and create the waves of tomorrow that will either give you a full-on wicked surf or ruthlessly drown you.

Interesting. I can certainly guarantee it looks absolutely nothing like you thought it would. That’s always the case. Don’t stress. Continue reading

Kindness – It Does Your Body Good

Helping the homelessI remember being told to be kind as a kid, primarily as it related to how I treated any of my five siblings. I was thinking about this again this week while watching how little kindness there seems to be in the news. Between political battles of ideology, fighting for land, arguing over resources and fighting over egos, we have forgotten how to be kind. “Be kind for everyone you meet is fight a hard battle,” is a quote attributed to Plato. Regardless who said it, its message rings true now more then ever. What would it take for us to be more intentionally kind? And, how would our world change we did?

To me, the word Namaste says it all – “may the divine in me acknowledge the divine in you.” May whatever is great in me focus on seeing the greatness in you – even if I don’t know you. And if I did, I would be kinder. If I did, I would be more generous, more loving and more forgiving. I would see the greatness in you, trying to express your inner divinity. “We must find out for ourself that inside us is a god or goddess in embryo that wants to be born so we can express our divinity,” says Deepak Chopra in his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.

Here is an exercise I regularly use for myself and as a challenge I share with my audiences. The next time you are on the highway and someone cuts you off, or you are in line and someone steps ahead of you, how will you make a point of seeing their greatness and their divinity instead of feeling offended? How will you see them as related to you, part of you and part of a greater plan? It isn’t easy because we have been trained to focus on ourselves more than on others. We feel violated, slighted or insulted. But it doesn’t have to be this way – our reaction to this is our choice. As we can choose to be unkind, we could also choose to be kind.

Changing a habit takes intention. To change a habit of focusing first on us takes the intention of wanting it to be different and committing to make the change. The starting point is awareness. We have to be able to see when we are kind and not kind. We have to be present enough to see ourselves in action – to notice our triggers and be aware of our responses. Only then will we be able to stop the “go-to” reaction of selfishness and retaliation, and instead see that we have a choice. That choice could include kindness. In the example of the car cutting you off on the highway, it could mean not blaring the horn and passing a gesture, but instead slowing down, letting the other car in and be entirely unaffected by the event. This is a choice.

The most amazing thing about being kind, is the greatest benefit is not for the other person; it is actually for you. The more unkind we are, the more damage we inflict on ourselves. I was coaching a client this week who is getting ready to leave an employer for some unfair and unprofessional things the employer did. This employee has the ability to “stick it” to his employer; be upset, carry a grudge and bad-mouth his employer. Or, he can realize that in a win-win termination solution, the employee can choose to not be at the effect of the situation, but actually choose to show up kinder, more aware and more committed to greatness. He can choose a mutually beneficial response that treats both sides kindly and professionally. He took the higher ground. His mood, health and spirit were left intact from the event. Kindness, it does a body good.

In what ways can you be more intentionally kind today, this week and this month? Feel the effects of it. See the effects of it. Though kindness does a body good, it also can do a planet good. Choose kindness.

Why National Politics Are Largely Irrelevant To Your Personal Reality

shutterstock_74345122By Dr. Kulkarni

With the recent government shutdown, dysfunctional Washington politics, and passionate opinions on both sides of the political aisle, I’m going to make a bold assertion: what happens in the political world will be largely irrelevant to your personal reality.

There.  I said it.  I know it’s almost blasphemy; we are taught that being politically involved is our civic duty.  That what happens in Washington affects all of us.  That this country is doomed if (fill-in-the-blank with the party you’ve decided is evil) takes control.  And finally, that it is simple common sense to make sure that that the particular party that doesn’t represent our self-interest is stopped.

I don’t disagree with some of these premises.  Obviously, policies on healthcare, the economy, energy, and the environment do affect our daily lives on some level.  I also think in order for a democracy to work (or, rather, a Republic, which is what the United States is), we must make our individual and collective voices heard.

But with those objections preemptively addressed, I’d like you to consider whether or not a Democrat or Republican in the White House is really going to dramatically alter your daily reality.  Have you ever seen a billionaire become poor because a Democrat is now in power?  Sorry to break it to you, but people that are successful and know how to attract wealth on a personal level will just continue to do so.  They will find creative outlets, lucrative business deals, cultivate meaningful relationships, execute on ideas, and utilize the best accountants and lawyers just as they did before.  Sure, they may be taxed more or be faced with greater regulations, but their individual point of attraction and their ability to attract abundance on a spiritual / energy level is something politics won’t change.

On the flip side, do you really think someone who currently lacks abundance is going to magically be catapulted and become wealthy, productive, inspired, and motivated because of a shift in power in Washington?  The truth is, only you, as an individual, are creating your own reality.  You have the power within YOU to create opportunity, motivation, abundance, love, and creativity regardless of the political climate.  And if those traits are blocked within the individual, a shift in political power isn’t really going to help.

Think about your own life:  if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been alive in periods when both a Democrat and a Republican have been in power.  Has the trajectory of your life really changed that much in either case?  Have your relationships, your passions, your inspirations, and your goals been significantly altered?  No Democrat or Republican politician can save you from yourself, or can shift your energy for you.

For all the angst and anger about our national politics and who wins, the truth is, it’s not really affecting your ability to create your own personal reality.  You can choose to be happy, healthy, and successful through your personal choices.  And it’s these choices that are the true, effective catalysts in creating the changes you seek and the life you want, not the speech that some guy in Washington gave on election night.

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Dr. Kulkarni is a New York City based physician, spiritual author, and personal coach.  Find her @Dr_Kulkarni or visitwww.leveragingthought.com to learn more.

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Self-Forgiveness on the Path to Freedom

Imagine the person you love most in your life, the person you pour your time and affection into. Think about all the energy and care you put into your relationship with this person, the mistakes you’ve forgiven, the flaws you’ve come to cherish. What a gift it is to love. And what a gift for that person to be loved by you.

Now consider this… Do you love yourself as completely and effortlessly as you love this other person? Imagine having that immense reservoir of attention and care on hand at all times, available to dip into whenever you need it. In the latest episode of 30 DAYS OF INTENT on The Chopra Well, Natalie and Iman meet with counselor Alyssa Nobriga for a lesson in self-forgiveness, perhaps one of the most powerful tools of self-care.

Many think self-love is just a form of narcissism, but the purest love knows no conceit. From a spiritual perspective, loving the self communicates humility and gratitude to whatever force gives us life. From a pragmatic perspective, studies show that self-forgiveness reduces procrastination, helps us break negative habits, and promotes personal growth.

As Alyssa tells Natalie and Iman, we have at our disposal a peacefulness in our hearts that largely remains untapped day to day. It is a space of softness, free from judgement and criticism. People often describe the feeling of letting go of anger, resentment, or guilt as similar to taking a deep breath. A huge weight is lifted. In this vein, Alyssa leads them through a self-forgiveness exercise to tap into that space of peaceful self-love. Back and forth Natalie and Iman take turns saying “I forgive myself for….” And one after another layers of pain and self-anger peel away. The key is to choose healing, to choose wholeness and empathy. Feeling remorse is fine, in fact it can drive us to apologize and make amends when we’ve done wrong. But this is very different from clinging to our faults like a poison. We can decide, instead, to be our own best friend, the one whose desire and intention is perfectly aligned with our greatest good.

What would you like to forgive yourself for? With the year coming to a close, let now be the time. Try Alyssa’s exercise and let us know how it goes in the comments section below the video.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and don’t miss the 30 DAYS OF INTENT finale next week!

 

Image courtesy of weheartit.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

Teenage Yogis: Fostering Peace in the Face of Rising Violence

Can yoga and meditation help a teenager struggling with the death of a parent or violence in his community?

Juquille Johnston was six years old when his father was shot and killed in the streets of New York City. It’s frightening to imagine how such horrific violence could affect this young man’s life. Will he be forever shackled to fear, anger, and pain? There are certain experiences and realities of life that, already tragic, seem particularly cruel when thrust on a person so young. But this is the reality facing so many young people around the world, including scores of young Americans confronted daily with gun violence, gang activity, poverty, and abuse.

In the premiere episode of The Chopra Well’s new show, URBAN YOGIS, we document Juquille’s powerful story, and the healing he experiences through yoga and meditation. Though it is often portrayed in media as a luxury, yoga can be much, much more. As practiced by instructor Eddie Stern and a group of teenagers in New York City’s LIFE Camp, yoga is meditation, therapy, exercise, and creative expression all in one.

Erica Ford co-founded LIFE Camp in 2002 in response to growing violence in New York City. As she witnessed the effect of violence on the community – particularly on black and Latino youth already at the mercy of discrimination and disenfranchisement – Erica knew it was time to take a stand. Through mentoring, media literacy, service, and more, teenagers involved in LIFE Camp become empowered to invest in their futures and their communities. Yoga is one of the powerful tools these teenagers engage with, and the practice has a profound effect.

Even more impressive than the power of yoga in this story is the fierce resiliency of these teens’ spirits. Perhaps yoga and meditation awaken something in the human spirit that was always there, but which we lose sight of or neglect. It comes alive again in the silence and focused breath on the mat, in the strength that fosters softness, so characteristic of yoga. Thirteen years after his father’s death, Juquille finds inspiration to slow down and face the challenges that come his way with compassion instead of anger.

We are ever grateful for these young people who so bravely shared their stories with us and with you. If you are inspired by Juquille’s story, share this video and keep the message of transformation alive.

Why not start your own yoga practice? Click here to watch a “one on one” yoga lesson with Eddie Stern. You can also find a link to the video at the end of the “LIFE Camp” episode. Eddie is a one of a kind instructor – so enjoy!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and stay tuned for more amazing stories and inspiration, every week on URBAN YOGIS.

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