Tag Archives: Living

Aging as a Sport: A 5 Point Game Plan for Empowered Aging

goodlife

If you ever played a sport you probably came up against many challenges, trained hard, and accepted accountability for your actions. Sports are not easy, especially at the highest levels but they teach us a lot about life, ourselves, and are also rewarding and fun. If you talk to world class competitors, they will probably tell you that the best part of their experience as an athlete was when they had to battle to win. 

Aging successfully requires the same skills and mindset as an athlete playing his or her sport because as we get older, in order to enjoy our lives and still be productive, we no longer get to cruise on autopilot. Getting older is a challenge! We must step up, or get beaten down.  The analogy of taking on aging as a sport motivates us to get off the bench, put on our helmets, get into the game, and maybe for the first time really take charge of our lives. Aging is not something we should fear.  It is a privilege that should not be taken lightly.  After all, look at all the people we know who didn’t make it this far.   

So how can we take on aging as a sport?  Here is a 5-point game plan for empowered aging:  Continue reading

The Fault in our Stars: One Sick Love Story Shows Us What It Means to be Alive

the fault in our starsIf you’ve been to a Barnes & Noble recently then you’ve probably seen the bright teal cover of John Green’s best selling novel The Fault in Our Stars. I haven’t been a stranger to talking about it on this blog either.

If you aren’t familiar The Fault in our Stars or TFioS as the internet refers to it, is about two teenagers Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters who have both been diagnosed with cancer. They fall in love while attending the same cancer support group. It starts off as any other young adult love story would, but Hazel and Augustus have the oppressive knowledge that they don’t have as much time as their peers. Thus, their love takes on a more epic quality and two seventeen year olds teach us what it means to live every day to its fullest and to love like you won’t have the chance to do it again (because we never really know if we will).

Megan, that sounds ridiculously depressing, why would I want to read that? Because while the potential is there for a ton of cliches and melodrama, John Green strives to tell the truth. The characters in this story are sick but does that mean they don’t deserve the opportunity to love? To be happy? To make the most of their lives even if they are threatened to be shorter than we imagine? The beauty of Gus and Hazel are perfectly aware of their situation but they don’t allow it to make them wallow in the fear or depression that goes along with it. Instead, the give in to each other and go for their dreams, and there is a pretty magical trip to Amsterdam involved that will melt the heart of any cynic. It’s hard to explain the magic specifically without a giant SPOILER ALERT.

Don’t have time to read the book? I actually insist that you make time because it is so worth it. But just incase your schedule is that packed, Fox Studios released the first full-length trailer for the movie adaptation today. The movie stars Shailene Woodley (The Descendents, The Spectacular Now) and Ansel Elgort (Divergent). It arrives in US theaters on June 6 and it is bound to make you cry and laugh and realize what it means to make the most of every day we have. I dare you to make it through the trailer without getting a little bit wispy.

“I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.” – John Green, The Fault in our Stars

Master Purity Energy and Balance to Achieve Total Wellness

balanceTo lose weight you need two major components – weight loss and nutrition, but how do you create a program that lasts? In Deepak Chopra’s latest book “What Are You Hungry For?” he explains that to really make that life change you have to use weight loss and nutrition with the three tenants of purity, energy and balance.

How does that work? In part one of the book Deepak lays out the three tenants and the tips you need to bring them into your life to maintain your new healthy lifestyle.

Purity

“Eliminating toxins awakens in the body’s capacity for renewal and returning to a natural balance. Toxins need to be eliminated from the body, mind, and soul,” Deepak says. While there are several toxins that can invade your life, let’s start with food. Here are a few tips to purify your diet.

  • Throw out old, stale food.
  • Minimized processed foods
  • Keep fruits and vegetables as fresh as possible when storing
  • Prefer whole grains and natural sweeteners
  • Eliminate hydrogenated and trans fats
  • Buy organic produce (if affordable)
  • Favor deeply green vegetables like spinach and kale, and the rest of the of cabbage family

Juice cleanses have become an all-too popular trend when trying to purify your body of toxins. While cleanses can help you purify your system, you have to be careful not to overdo it or deplete your body of necessary nutrients.

“Short-term cleanses and fasts do not help us have a healthy, detoxified life. Those extreme shifts from very unhealthy to very healthy (for a very short time) only teach us to be extreme. I believe in a longer-term cleanse of at least 6-8 weeks, which is enough time to truly cleanse and discover what your body feels like in a pure state,” says Sports Club/LA nutritionist Ginger Mallory.  “After really learning about your body during this time, you can gradually reintroduce some items back into your diet, observe how those items make you feel, and then make an informed decision about whether you’d like to keep these items in your diet or in what proportions.”

You should know that purifying the body takes time, and that it can’t all be done at once. If you approach your life change as a beginning process then it is much more likely to become a permanent state of mind.

As fellow nutritionist Karen Sherwood says, “Taking baby steps and ‘leaning’ into a new way of being is key. This enables us to pave a new foundation and build from there. It must begin with nutrition, and include an active life-style with focus on self-care, rest, and stress management. When all of these wheels are working in harmony, the body and its relationship to food and the outside world begins to make sustainable change.”

Energy

Once you have purified your body and life of toxins then you can begin to change why you eat food. Food is the beginning nourishing source for our bodies and if we eat correctly then it energizes the body without making us feel stuffed or lethargic. Deepak prescribes the following tips for crafting a diet that boosts your overall energy.

  • Eat less when you are inactive
  • Eat only until you are nicely satisfied and no more
  • Choose lighter and more easily digested food
  • Avoid animal based fats and refined sugar
  • Make your food colorful and pleasing to the eye
  • Satisfy as many of the senses as possible including taste, smell and texture.

Eating specifics type of food can also increase your energy. “I like a combination of a complex carbohydrate, a lean protein, and a bit of healthy fat at every meal. This assures an even balance of blood sugar, when eating every 3-4 hours or so,” advises Karen Sherwood, “In addition to keeping this balance of macronutrients, consuming what I like to call, “power foods” helps support every system of the body. Specific foods I love for energy include chia seeds, maca powder, whey protein, spirulina, and coconut products. I have all of my active clients and athletes consume these super foods on a daily basis in the form of a smoothie.”

Balance

It is great to research and take on all the new tips, but the most important key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is balance. When you take all of your new habits and form them into a routine that fits your life and schedule you can make your body in the way that works best for your needs. To create balance Deepak offers the following pointers.

  • Eat when you are in a satisfied state
  • Consume a variety of fresh foods
  • Make sure you are taking care of the basics like drinking enough water and getting enough sleep
  • Eat at regular hours with balanced intervals in-between
  • Vary your calorie intake to balance your activity level

Balance is the key factor why fad diets have such varying results for different people – it is the same exact instructions for everyone, no matter what their current lifestyle or schedule is. By using these tips you can use all the wellness tips and research you do to best apply them to your life, and when you have a balanced plan that is custom built for what you want your body to do you are more likely to succeed, not just in losing weight but in achieving total wellness.

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This blog is part of our “What Are You Hungry For?” series with Sports Club LA and to celebrate the release of Deepak Chopra’s latest book. Find out how you can win a copy of your own here and tell us what you are hungry for in the comments below. If you don’t want to wait for the give away you can purchase a copy of Deepak’s book today. 

Live Your Genius

Screen shot 2013-10-25 at 9.32.15 AMYou are a genius. No, I am not talking about your IQ. And I am not talking about whether you work for Apple. You are a genius because you are amazing, talented, inspiring and extraordinary. You are all these things. Me too. Maybe we haven’t figured out how to live them yet, but we are these things. And knowing this reminds us that no one can take this away from us except for ourselves. Only we can choose not to act like the genius we are born to be.

No geniuses are brilliant at everything – they stink at some things and are amazing at others. So we have to discover what makes us a genius – and for that we need to be open to try new things, investigate and have the courage to see the world differently. But the decks are stacked against us; we are guided to hide or cover up our genius.

We are taught in school to see things in the same way – the grass is green, the sky is blue and the sun is yellow; there is something wrong with us if we see shapes, colors or textures others don’t. We learn facts about the past to guide us in how to think about the future. We perpetuate our view of the past instead of inventing, expanding or allowing a new and greater view to think, act and respond. Our genius gets trained out of us; we learn to blend; we learn groupthink. It is easier to educate everyone in one way than to encourage each of us to see the world in our way.

The best ideas come not in the mainstream but from the corners – from the edges. When we allow our unique perspectives to come forward, be developed and flourish, we see more things from the edges. We consider things that were not previously considered because our unique genius perspective hadn’t found its voice before now. This is how we invent new and amazing things. This is how we solve chronic or challenging problems. This is how we find ways to change the world for the better – by giving ourselves permission for our genius to show.

Without stepping into our genius – those areas that host greater interest, ability and awareness – we shortchange our lives and our world. The reason we are geniuses is because we have what it takes to not only create great lives for ourselves, but to improve the world in the process. If we all were good at the same things, the planet would explode from the competition. But our uniqueness allows each of us to have a place – a way to find our fit – to find our genius and to bring it to impact the world for all of us.

We are hardwired for survival – our brain encourages us to give up on the things that threaten us or make us feel unsafe. And for most of us, this is what it feels like to play to what makes us different and unique. We stand out and standing out feels unsafe. So we discount what makes us amazing and move into what makes us look and act like others. We sell ourselves short. We sell our world short.

What if we, as a society, were more welcoming to our differences – to the genius in each of us? What if were to make it easy to know ourselves, be ourselves and let others be themselves? Then we would encourage everyone to discover and live their genius. We wouldn’t be intimidated or fearful of those who see the world differently – but rather benefit from their art, science, math, sociology, psychology or engineering. We may learn a way to live more peacefully with each other, treat our planet better, live more present in each moment, appreciate the moments in life, build wiser to live on a constantly changing Earth, end the proliferation of weapons, or a hundred other things we need right now. All is possible. We have the wisdom. We have the genius. We need to choose to live it, bring it forward and applaud it as genius. Then we have the ability of creating the world that we all say we want.

Wordplay Wednesday: Empowerment

GirlLaughingYoga-850x567Every moment of your life is an opportunity to live fully and to love boldly.

Your heart is your paintbrush.

Your life is your canvas.

You are an artist.

Art is not simply something in a museum.

Your art is your life.

What could you do?

What will you create?

Who would you be?

If you no longer let your fear, your past or your limitations stop you?

At any moment you can create magic. At any moment you can do something different from what you have done in the past. Never having done it before is no excuse to not do it now.

You were born for greatness!

There are dreams dancing within your soul for a reason. Your dreams are the way that life seeks to manifest itself in form.

Real heroes aren’t angels in the sky, floating amidst cotton candy clouds.

Real heroes don’t need to climb Mt. Everest, jump from planes or walk on hot coals to prove their strength.

Real heroes aren’t necessarily named Kobe or Cruise. They don’t run from life in order to find peace.

Real heroes deal. They know how to take responsibility for their lives, regardless of what has happened in the past.

Real heroes are those who have the courage to love, laugh and live fully, despite all of life’s challenges.

Real heroes are those who dare to live larger than what scares them, and live life with an open heart.

I acknowledge YOU because it takes courage to be alive and to be who you really are in this world.

So:

Blaze your own trail.

Dare ecstasy.

Defy gravity.

Transcend the past.

There are no refunds in life. It’s over before you know it. Live each moment fully with no regrets.

Remember, it’s not the risk you didn’t take.

It’s the love that you dared to make that is the difference.

No ones coming.

Not the government.

Not your parents.

Not some hero from the sky.

Because you are already here.

The world is waiting.

For you.

The time is NOW.

You are IT!

So don’t compromise your heart no matter what.

Dare to create a life that’s a masterpiece!

Love.Now

Kute

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If you are ready for the next level of your life, and to create the life you have always dreamed of, then join me on www.boundlessblissbali.com . It is the transformational journey of a lifetime. This Dec. 5th-16th. APPLY if you are READY!

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Do you have a favorite or original poem or motivational mantra you would like showcased on Wordplay Wednesday? We’d love to share it! Email the poem to editor@intent.com, and we will feature it in the series. Click here to view past Wordplay Wednesdays.

 

Why Love is the Answer to Living a Life with Meaning

Don't Let Go.While at dinner night one night, I had a discussion with an accomplished and influential man who has touched the lives of many millions of people in a very positive way. He was sharing how at the ripe old age of 10 he first realized that he was conscious. It led him to the conclusion that “there must be some meaning or purpose as to why I am here.” He became determined to live his life from that vantage point.

Now that he is quite a bit older, he is considering whether there is still a purpose for him and even if what he had done had been useful. I, of course, seeing the value in his work, chimed in with a resounding “Yes!” I could clearly see there was still plenty of purpose and meaning to be found in the years that lay ahead, no matter how many or few.

Another man I know is 15 years younger than the first and also looking back on his life trying to make sense of it all. He can’t seem to understand that there are still plenty of moments left for him in which meaning can and will be found, even if his past wasn’t all he wanted it to be. Instead, he is running laps in the playground of his mind, which from my perspective is different than gaining awareness and altitude. But hey, it’s his playground.

In my early twenties, I read Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” In it, the author introduces what he calls an existential vacuum, a condition that exists when one’s life is empty of meaning. When this vacuum is present, it is as if existence has a large hole in it that cannot be filled. A friend of mine at that time was a psychiatrist interested in levels of consciousness and why people felt this vacuum inside. In his quest for awakening and awareness, he introduced his friends to a veritable garden of spiritual teachers, each with a different take on the subject.

From that point on, I was fascinated by the existential, the spiritual practices of all religions, the experiences of mysticism, and the many ways people look for meaning and purpose in their life. Like my friend, I found my spiritual teacher and my spiritual practice. The sense of isolation I hadn’t previously understood shifted almost immediately. The emptiness related to my food addiction was more complicated and took many years to overcome.

As for my meaning and purpose, I spent decades searching for the answers. In the end, it all boiled down to “Whatever the question, love is the answer.” I discovered that the greatest gift I could give someone was to really listen to them and let them know that they mattered. To let them know that they were not alone – that someone cared about them. That in fact, all of us are part of a grand whole in which we are all interconnected.

I found new meaning when I shared my authentic experiences by helping others to understand that while we are different, we are the same. That each of us is ordinary, doing the best we can with what we have been given, and with what we have chosen to develop. And when I am communing in that way with others, I am in touch with what I have come to know as Spirit.

By loving and offering support wherever I can, in whatever small way I can, I find meaning in the moment. And since life is made up of moments, I can focus on those, and not have to ponder the imponderable or drive myself nuts with how many angels can actually dance on the head of a pin. Rather than get stuck in that place of no return, I return to the spiritual experiences, the transcendence of this level that I can have in the quiet when the peace descends and love enfolds.

We live in stressful times with people searching for significance in the chaos and peace in the turmoil. I think it can be helpful to look at the ways in which each of us finds meaning and then share that not only with everyone we know, but also with anyone who is looking. To that end, my daily questions to myself are, “Did I partake in the opportunities for loving that were presented to me today?” “Was I grateful?” and “Did I listen to and act upon the wisdom of my heart?” This wisdom tells me to always be open to the possibilities of new meanings, awareness, and new awakenings.

 

Originally published July 2010

6 Steps to “No-Excuse Living” – The Key To A Great Life

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 10.35.25 AMI have been on the planet for 20,340 days – almost 56 years. What a blessing to be part of life for so much time. And a reminder that I am likely more than halfway through this time here on this green and blue ball.

This is not meant to be morbid. Rather, it is just a reality check. Time goes by. We don’t get any of it back; each moment matters. When we are reminded that the supply of days isn’t limitless, we start to see greater value in each one. We become more committed to living life intentionally and without regrets. I call this “no-excuse living.”

We change our priorities as we are confronted with the end of something; time with a loved one before they travel or are shipped out to time in the Service; time with our friends before we all graduate; time with our kids before they move away to college and move on with their lives. Each of these impending endings or changes forces us to look at time differently. We become more aware of it and how we want it to slow down or we want more of it. But we get what we get. A day, week and month for you is the same amount of time for me. Its value, however, is in how we use each moment of time.

I remember one Christmas when my mother asked my father for only one thing – more time. He bought her a clock. She wasn’t impressed. He was only joking. What she wanted was for the family to make more time to do things together. She was blowing the whistle and trying to get us to stop and appreciate our time with each other. She was stating what she wanted for her family. No-excuse living.

I am reminded of the days of our lives (pardon the pun for the Soap Opera watchers) as I see older people. My grandparents always seemed to value each moment; they made an event out of each holiday, each dinner and any time we were all together. There was nothing that had to be done other than to be with each other, seated around the table, sharing stories, loving the food (we’re Italian – it’s all about the food), and just being in the moment. Then for days after we would reminisce about the event, planning the next one. No-excuse living.

What I realize is these are choices. We choose how to show up to each day of our lives. We can choose to make life grand – an event – or we can allow ourselves to get pushed and shoved through life, based on what others want for us, disappointed and bitter. A no-excuse life is one that takes ownership for life – for how it is and how we want it to be.

How do we live without regrets? In addition to reading the powerful “Regrets of the Dying” article by Bronnie Ware, consider these:

  • Be more aware, more present and more connected to each moment.

  • Put fewer things on the to-do list. Do each one better.

  • Spend more time with the important people in your life. Call your friends and family. Have meals together.

  • Turn off the electronics and talk to each other.

  • Know your talents, strengths and passions and build your life around the true you and don’t let others dissuade you from your dreams and adventures.

  • Listen to others, but always trust your instinct and self-knowledge to choose what is right for you.

We choose what is important in our days; none of these happen unless we choose to make them happen.

A great life is about memories and moments, not stuff. Our days are not limitless – we only have a certain number of them to bring our best to life and to be thrilled by it. We should therefore value and respect each day – and treat them like gold. We can’t afford to waste them. I am amazed that I am already at day 20,340. And seeing this number makes me more intentional about each one of the remaining ones – however many there might be. This reminds me I want to live more of my purpose and more of my potential. This changes how I approach each day. No-excuse living.

How will you treasure and value each of your days? How will you commit to no-excuse living?

Deepak Chopra: How Can We Live With Least Effort?

How can we live with least effort? In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak lends his advice on effortless living. It doesn’t mean that life suddenly becomes easy, but rather that you are in perfect harmony with the rhythms of the Universe. Take a look:

The law of least effort is based on the idea that nature’s intelligence functions with effortless spontaneity. Even Jesus mentions this in the New Testament. What is the law, really?

It means harnessing the forces of the universe and becoming aligned with them. There are three components to this. The first law is acceptance of yourself and everybody else. This removes the great burden of judgment. The second is responsibility – the ability to respond creatively without reactivity. you reach a higher plain of creativity and imagination if you are not reactive. The third law is defenselessness. This strips away the need to defend your point of view. When you give up being right, you ultimately get what you want.

Living a life without resistance and going with the flow of the forces of the Universe requires the least effort, when you live your life.

 

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and harness the effortless spontaneity of the Universe!

Don’t fail to die.

death-achieved

 Have you noticed, did you know that perfect societies exist? Maybe in imagination only, yes, but still they do — places where beings, humans, live in perfect peace for there is no reason for violence. Did you know? You might not have realized if you are not a lover of stories, but there are places, realms, worlds were human lives are devoted to growth and expression, entirely. Where no one lacks for food nor shelter, where there is no need to strive, to gain, to protect, to survive. There is only freedom to be what you are. To grow and create and experience.

Do you know which stories are those? Which people?

Those who do not die.

Elves, wizards, the immortals. Free of the nagging fear, free of the all consuming drive just to live, just not to die — they live fully and completely. And they enjoy living.

I have thought about this for the last few days. I have thought about this since the day when the famous boobs came off in defense against death. I wondered — what would I have said if asked about my flagrant disregard for yearly checkups, mammograms and cancer protections, my lack of interest in defenses against disease, defenses against death?

What would I say if asked why do I not strive to survive, to gain, to protect, to remain alive just one more day, just one more?

I would say: death is not a problem.

I would say: death is not a problem because I will not end. The body will change, the mind will dissolve and I will transform, graduate and open to the next adventure. I rather look forward to that.

I would say: death is not a problem. Fear is.

Without the fear of dying I am free to live life that is nothing but freedom to be what I am. To grow and create and experience. Free of the need to strive to gain, to protect, to survive.

I would say: death is not a problem because it is not an end — it is a change.

I would say: avoiding death is not my purpose. Avoiding change is not my purpose.

My purpose is to live well.

My purpose is to die well.

How to Die Without Regrets

By Bethany Butzer, Ph.D.

There is immense truth and wisdom behind a simple statement that I came across in an episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass: “You are responsible for your life.”

On the surface, most of us would probably agree that we’re responsible for our lives. But when you take a closer look, it becomes obvious that very few of us are actually taking responsibility for the way that we live. We have good intentions—we want to live healthier, happier lives—but these intentions rarely manifest.

In January, we typically set resolutions: “I’m going to lose ten pounds,” “I’m going to quit smoking,” “I’m going to eat healthier,” “I’m going to go to the gym.” Then around two weeks later, we find ourselves stuck in our old routines. Why? Because it’s easier.

Thich Nhat Hanh put it perfectly when he said, “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”

In many cases, we stay stuck in our old patterns because they are familiar to us and because we’re afraid of change. We continually put our goals off until “tomorrow.” Until we make more money or the kids leave home or the ever popular “I’ll get to it when I have more time.” This is a vicious trap that leads to a deeply unsatisfying life. I promise that this line of thinking will send you to your grave with immense regrets. Regret that you didn’t follow your dream. Regret that you always put everyone else’s needs before your own.

As Wayne Dyer says, “Don’t die with your music still in you.”

Earlier this year, a palliative care nurse revealed the top five regrets that her patients expressed before they died:

  1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Do any of these sound familiar?

I bet that in their final moments, many people who have died of a heart attack thought to themselves, “I wish I’d taken my doctor seriously and gone to the gym,” or “It really would have been worth the extra time to make myself a healthy breakfast every morning.”

Today, I’m asking you this: Is your life worth it? Is your happiness worth it? Is your well-being worth it?

If the answer is “yes,” then you need to start taking responsibility for your life. Stop blaming other people for your current situation. Stop saying that you can’t take care of yourself because you’re broke. Your life is worth the cost of a gym membership or a therapy session or a naturopath appointment. When I was on antidepressants, I went into debt by spending money on therapy, naturopathy, yoga classes, and a host of other wellness services. But guess what? That debt got me off antidepressants. It also made me a happier and more confident person, which helped me land a job and eventually pay off my credit card.

You owe it to yourself to stop making excuses and start living life like you mean it.

Albert Ellis once said:

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

In her Lifeclass, Oprah shared that we are also responsible for the energy that we bring into a room. Start paying attention to how your energy is affecting those around you. Is there a specific relationship that’s ticking you off? Get honest with yourself about how you might be contributing to the situation.

Even if you’re suffering from a serious health condition or are recovering from a traumatic event, you are responsible for how you perceive and react to these situations. It’s up to you to make the best of everything that you encounter in life—even tragedy.

What are you putting off until “tomorrow?” Are you pinching pennies to save for your retirement thirty years from now instead of taking your dream trip to Europe? Are you convincing yourself that it’s ok to stay at a substandard job because the economy is bad right now? Are you settling for an unsatisfying relationship because you’ve convinced yourself that you’re too old to find your soulmate?

Stop it. Right now.

Get up off your butt and take responsibility for your life. No one else is going to do it for you. When you leave this earth, would you rather feel immense regret or a deep sense of inner peace?

It’s your choice.

Cheryl Richardson put it perfectly:

“You are not your mother, your father, your history, or your cultural influences. You are uniquely and originally you. Be bold and daring and fearless and unconventional. Be willing to use your voice in service to your soul. Go on. Rock that damn boat. The wave you create might just change 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.

*Photo by cosmic stellar

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