Tag Archives: Mentor

10 Things I Learned from Having Deepak Chopra As My Mentor

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I’m not famous, nor do I have a recognizable last name and I’m not related to any powerful individual, so when Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP replied to my tweet I assumed it was a member of his staff. This was in the fall of 2013. We exchanged emails for a few weeks before I discovered it was actually Deepak himself writing me. Then in January of 2014, he generously agreed to meet me in his New York office. Since this time, I’ve had the good fortune of having Deepak as my mentor and friend.

Here are ten things I’ve learned from having Deepak Chopra as a mentor:

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A Very Happy Birthday to Mallika Chopra, Intent Founder!

It’s July 24 and a very special day… We at Intent would like to wish our founder, mentor, and friend Mallika Chopra a very happy birthday!

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Mallika is a mother, a mentor, an author, a meditation teacher, an entrepreneur and so much more. She has touched the lives of many around the world, both those she has met in person and those who have connected with her through her writing and classes. For those of us who know her personally, Mallika’s creativity, thoughtfulness, and vibrant spirit are truly an inspiration. We all feel blessed to know and work with her, and we wish her the happiest of birthdays!

It has been a busy and fulfilling year. Mallika worked with her brother, Gotham, and dad, Deepak, on the inspiring Chopra Well YouTube channel, produced her own show on the channel entitled “Perfectly Imperfect Parents,” and continued building the Intent platform. We applaud her for all her brilliant work!

Thank you for everything, Mallika. We wish you a beautiful day, an inspired year, and a delicious birthday cake – because you totally deserve all of it!

Everything Is

the-key

 “You have to be out there, prominent, visible. You have to speak to people.” My husband told me this one hot afternoon over tea. We sat at the patio of our favorite cafe. The big umbrellas and huge sycamores spread their respective canopies over our heads. They stopped the sun, but not the heat. It was a lazy, slow and quiet afternoon and we were talking about marketing my sticks.

“You have to be out there, speaking, teaching” he said.

Teaching. This was not the first time we had this conversation and, not for the first time, I said: no. No teaching.

You see, I never wanted to be a teacher. During my early Buddhist years there was the subtle competition among students for the best understanding, the best posture, the best silence. The best meditation. Every student hoped, not very secretly, to be the chosen one. The one who will become an heir to the dharma. The one who will become the successor. I later moved on from Zen into other realms and everything changed — but that one thing did not. The desire to become a teacher among my fellow practitioners remained.

Except for me.

I saw nothing attractive in the teaching business, quite the opposite — the prospect scared me. Why? Because of the responsibility it carried. Because every time I spoke an advice, even a small, inconsequential one, I felt the weight of my words influencing the one who asked, nudging their perspective even if just a little bit, realigning their actions. And it was too much. It was too much to handle. For me.

Ha … you know … this is not what I was going to write. I was going to write about how I feel that there is no need for me to teach others because I can see who you are, all of you. I can see the perfection of you and I know that, sooner or later, you will see it as well. I was going to talk about what is simply being and, ultimately, being perfect but …

It is not all crap, exactly … but that is not the reason why I never wanted to be a teacher. Why I don’t want to be a teacher. The reason is that it terrifies me when my dog obeys my commands, let alone a human. It mortifies me that another creature, a free, autonomous creature puts its life in my hands and obeys me unquestioningly, absolutely. Even if it is only a little dog.

I cannot handle the responsibility of influencing others. So … I pretend that it’s my sticks doing it instead?

Huh, what a strange post this is…

How To Become A Mentor

Whether you have already embarked on a mentorship or are just mulling over the idea, you’ve come to the right place for a no-nonsense crash course. January happens to be National Mentoring Month, a time in which both the government and nonprofit organizations across the nation are shining the spotlight on the importance of mentoring. Over the several weeks, Americans will be spreading awareness about the impact mentorships can have to increase participation in mentorship programs. So, take a few moments to explore the concept of mentoring and then figure out how you can turn 2010 into the year that you really make a difference in someone’s life!

Step One: Identify your strengths.

What gives you a great sense of purpose? In order to figure out what makes you tick and how you can apply your best skills toward a mentorship, take pen to paper and begin brainstorming. Create a list of all the disciplines you’ve pursued throughout your life that make you feel happy, fulfilled and stimulated. Are you considered an authority in your field? Do you wake up in the morning with a pep in your step knowing that you are pursuing work that fits you perfectly? If you’re nodding your head in agreement at any of the aforementioned questions, then you’ve definitely isolated the valuable skill(s) that you can share with an eager learner. Now go forth and spread the wealth.

Step Two: Be honest with yourself.

This isn’t the type of pursuit that you can try on for size and decide shortly thereafter that it’s not quite right for you. When you’re dealing with the emotional and academic welfare of another human being, undertaking a mentorship is a serious endeavor. You have to determine first and foremost if you can make a relatively long term commitment to aid your mentee, ranging from a few months to a year or more. If you don’t have the time and energy to devote to a mentorship, it’s okay to admit it. Opt instead for less long term volunteer opportunities.

Step Three: Find the right mentoring program for you.

There are a wide range of mentoring programs, so hone in on the right one for you. If you live in Los Angeles, Youth Mentoring Connection is an example of an outstanding local mentoring program. YMC pairs mentors with at-risk youth in L.A. for nine month mentorships. If you aren’t in L.A., look for comparable organizations in your city – use the search tool on www.mentoring.org to find mentoring programs by zip code.

If you want to incorporate a specific component into your mentorship, such as your religion or hobby, find a specific mentorship tailored to your interest.

For a faith-based mentorship, turn to your place of worship or local religious organization for suggestions – they may even run their own mentoring program.

Here are some other suggestions for mentorships that incorporate hobbies or center around specific topics:

• An art based mentoring program.
• A music based mentorship.
• A drug abuse prevention focused mentor program.
• An outdoor sports mentorship.
• A life after sports mentor program.
• A women-focused career development mentorship.

Whatever you’re interest, chances are you can find a mentorship program for you.

Step Three: Train yourself to acquire the top mentoring skills.

Very few of us are instantly perfect mentors. We must be willing to distill the very best that we personally have to offer and augment that with a few strategic characteristics that enable us to become an extraordinary teacher. If you aren’t already a good listener, start paying greater attention to what people around you are communicating and ask them what they think and how they feel. Engage your mentee, always offer direct eye contact, demonstrate sincere interest in what they are sharing, be kind, respectful and non-judgemental of their feelings and overall, become a genuine confidant. Find out what goals they have in life and figure out how your guidance can help them to rise to greater heights of personal achievement. Create timelines to fulfill those goals and demonstrate through your actions that they can count on you to follow through on your promises. Be postive, motivational, humorous, relatable, approachable, down-to-earth and always demonstrate consistent respect. Piece of cake!

Step Four: Establish boundaries and make sure you know what you are NOT.

With so many of the skills previously mentioned, you might be inclined to think that you’re taking on the role of a parent, but you are definitely NOT. Nor are you meant to morph into a makeshift therapist, chaperone, babysitter, personal chauffer, romantic interest or form of extracurricular entertainment. There is an express purpose to your role as mentor. Be very clear regarding what your function is, what your mentee’s expectations are and how you plan to help them reach their goals – and don’t stray from the course. There is certainly a little wiggle room for some fun, but stick to the rules and guidelines put forth by the organization you’re working with.

Step Five: Keep the lines of communication open.

Relationships always evolve over time, which is why it is essential to talk on an ongoing basis with the person you are mentoring. No one is perfect, including the person in the position of bestowing support and information. Encourage your mentee to be honest regarding what they think they are gaining from each session and if any areas are in need of improvement. Adapt your style accordingly. Make sure that you are both accountable to each other so that there is a continual forward-moving trajectory.

Good luck with your mentorship!

Originally posted on Causecast.org.

Giving, Getting and Gratitude

During the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, our thoughts turned to the three “G”s: giving, getting and gratitude. When we sit down to family dinners, many of us declare our gratitude for the abundance in our lives. This month, we showed our thanks by giving gifts to those we love.
 
Here are some ways that families of children with developmental delays and those working with them can make the three G’s special in 2010. Give the:
 
The Gift of Laughter
My life is full of females. I am mentoring several young women searching for their passions, and looking forward to a visit to “Picksburg” from my three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, who asks, “Why are you such a silly Granny?”  “My girls” are gifts; they give me the intangibles of laughter and fun. Children of all ages and abilities make us laugh. Although some days it seems we only give to them, they too give us so much to laugh about. The healing power of laughter cannot be under-estimated. Laughter jogs your insides, releases endorphins and is definitely the best medicine. 
 
The Gift of Yourself
·         Mentor – Helping someone learn something new, find herself and become self-reliant is of the most rewarding experiences you can have. The gift of mentoring is almost selfish. I believe that the mentor gets much more than he or she gives.
·        Volunteer – Volunteerism offers so many opportunities. Go to www.volunteermatch.org   to see the range. Even our youngest, most disabled kids can participate. Make volunteering a family tradition. One family I know works in a soup kitchen every Thanksgiving. If your schools require community service hours for graduation, make sure the activity is personally meaningful.
 
The Gift of Time 
One of the best gifts we can give is unconditional time. Time is a precious, non-renewable resource, and wasting it can be regrettable. 
·         Spend time, not money – Remember the smells of Christmas cookies, paper mache, and candles burning. These are unforgettable memories that are stored in our senses forever. Give someone a coupon for an hour spent listening or playing a game of checkers. Give a teacher a break by chaperoning a field trip. Give kids a shared activity of their choice without cell phone interruptions. 
·         Wait on Academics – At this time of year educators may ask parents to give a child with delays “the gift of time.” This aphorism means “wait another year before kindergarten or first grade.” Those who have done it will tell you it is the best decision they ever made!
 
The Gift of Philanthropy
The Council of Foundations www.thegivingfamily.org offers a book entitled The Giving Family, by Susan Price, which recounts ways families of all means can instill the value of helping others. With an estimated $12 trillion transferring into baby boomers pockets from their parents’ estates in the next 20 years, family foundations are possible. Price recommends engaging children in giving at an early age by
·         Holding a Family Meeting – Discuss allocation of designated funds and let each family member suggest a favorite charity. Consider the arts, religion, science, drug abuse, hunger, environment, animal welfare or women’s rights.
·         Engaging Grandparents – Ask your parents to collaborate with your children about how they are contributing to their futures. Offer matching funds for kids’ contributions with money earned from chores and allowances.
·         Using Celebrations – Many young men and women are celebrating their b’nai mitzvahs by collecting money for charity instead of receiving unnecessary trinkets. Creative ideas I had heard about include a sponsored walk around the world, donations to a group providing educational scholarships to needy, bright minority students and an investment club. With the estimated $2,500 spent on gifts, one father leveraged that amount into $500,000. The kids then decided where the money should go.
·         Giving Globally – Although, in general, giving to local agencies make it easier for kids to see results, here is one special international non-profit I love. Heifer International www.heifer.org allows giving families to purchase a gift animal or seedling that helps those less fortunate become self-reliant. For as little as $10, you can choose among ducks, goats, geese, chicks, pigs, honeybees and other animals from Noah’s ark. Last year my daughter gave everyone a share of a Knitting Basket: two llamas and two sheep famous for their income-producing wool. Over time this gift multiplies to help entire communities break free from the grip of poverty and hopelessness.
 
The Gift of Letting Others Give to Us
When we let others give to us and accept their generosity graciously, we give them a gift in return. Thank you all for giving so much to DDR. I am so grateful for all I have learned from you. Your year-end gifts are most appreciated. Rest assured that we will use them to help families find the best help for their children. Happy holidays!
 

Spreading the Fire: How to Ignite Passion in Our Children

It seems more than ever, people are searching for their passion. Looking for ways to live it and access it. Where did we go wrong as a society that so many of us choose not to work from the source of our passions and even in our personal lives, we live in a disconnected and inauthentic way?

To those of you on the search for a passion filled life and those of you living it, you are charged to spread the fire to the next generation. You are charged to raise a generation that lives life based on what truly makes them happy. Sign up! Be a mentor for passion.

How do we become a mentor for passion?

  • Your children should bear witness to you embracing your passions. They need to see what that looks like, the sacrifices, the hard work, and the energy derived from a passionate existence.
  • Your children should bear witness to your joy, to your open heart, to your honesty, and to your truth. These are evidence of passionate living and it is no private matter, with nothing to be embarrassed about.
  • Reward your children for things they do well. Build on their strengths.
  • Encourage them to explore options through conversation, actions, and opportunities.
  • Bring your child to work. Devise ways for them to help you with your work.
  • An internship or an opportunity to apprentice is never too early. Especially if they show a real talent in a particular area.

We want to teach our children that anything is possible and that their dreams don’t have to be compromised. If what you dream is not on the checklist of things to do, then create it!

If you would like to use this article in your newsletter or blog please feel free to do as long as you include my credit information: Written by Sandra A. Daley, lifestyle and career coach, www.sandradaley.com

Sandra a. Daley is a certified lifestyle and career coach, writer, speaker and the creator of Dream It! Plan It. Claim It™, an extra-preneurial workshop for women. Contact her at : info@sandradaley.com. If you liked this article, you may also enjoy “Inspire”

One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.

Following the Leader

Almost everyone has a to-do list to get them through the day, but does that list include personal and family goals that nourish your body, mind and soul?

In the rush to stay ahead, the goals most essential to our good health and wellbeing: meditation, exercise, eating healthy meals, often get pushed to the end of the list … or off the list.

"I’m too busy to exercise." "I have a business meeting scheduled at 9 am. There’s no time to meditate." "I’ll just grab a snack on my way…." we tell ourselves, then fill the day with "essential" things to do, that are not as important to us, in the end, as staying healthy.

Our children pick up the rhythm of our day and do what we do. Too busy to exercise? Don’t expect your children to make it their priority either. Too busy to eat well? Your children will follow you down this path too.

The plain and simple truth is that in order to instill the values of daily meditation, physical exercise, and healthy meals in our children, we have to role model the importance of these values in our own lives.

Monkey see, monkey do? Our children do exactly what we do. To get our children to chose a healthy lifestyle, we have to model what that looks like. We have to show them, not just tell them. So take a moment to write out a description of what a perfect day of meditation, exercise and healthy foods would look like for you. Then post it on the refrigerator. Use a marking pen to add a star each time you follow your own perfect guidance.

Inspire!

 Pretty simple; show appreciation to those who inspire you!

Is someone at work, your mentor or an example of where you are headed in life? Then take the time to thank them and let them know you are motivated by their work and presence.

Take the time to let your husband, your children, a friend or colleague know that they make a difference in your life.

Did you go to an amazing concert? Saw a great play? Then stay a bit longer and let the performers, directors, or producers know how it impacted you.

Inspiration is like gold. It’s like gasoline. It fires the soul. We all know how important inspiration is to our creativity and the ability to get a job done. Inspiration should not be taken lightly.

And so, in turn, let someone know when he or she has touched you or moved your spirit. Let someone know they matter. Let your employee know that their hard work has paid off. I think it makes for happier communities and families when people feel acknowledged and appreciated for their work and presence. 

If you feel inspired, have a question, or comment about inspiration contact Sandra A. Daley at info@sandradaley.com or visit her at http://www.sandradaley.com. If you like this article you might also like “Being With Life As It Is”

Are You in the Right Conversation?

 I woke up this morning with an extremely profound realization that I would like to share with you because if 
you "get it", there’s a distinct possibility that this little  piece of knowledge could completely and totally change 
your life forever.

OK…..are you ready?

Because in order for this to be as profound and earth-shattering as it is, you have to be open and ready to hear it.

So, are you REALLY ready?

Are you feeling calm, clear, and centered? 

Maybe we should take a deep breath together.

Let’s do that. 

Inhale with me……and exhale it all out. OK, here goes.

Your life is a reflection of the conversation in your mind. 

Here’s what that means: If your primary conversation is about business, than your life will turn into business. If 
it’s about spirituality, than everything will have a spiritual tone. If you’re stuck, than everything will reflect that energy. 

Whether you’re aware of it or not, the conversation in your mind is completely and totally responsible for your reality.

So the million dollar question becomes: "Are you in the right conversation?"

The only way to know is to honestly look at the current spectrum of your life and decide whether you are enjoying your story or not. Is it fulfilling you? Are you making the most powerful and positive impact? Do you feel good about the direction you’re heading?

If the answer is no, look for a teacher, a mentor, or a coach who can help you change that conversation immediately. Yes, it is possible.

If the answer is yes, help others NOW.

As you move through the world today, really focus on observing the conversation in your mind. Notice what you see, acknowledge what it’s creating, and make your choice. 

Please share your thoughts. I love reading them all!!

Much love,    

Max Simon
Founder & Chief Enlightenment Officer (CEO)
www.getselfcentered.com

The Independent Thinker

I am drawn to Sri Aurobindo because he was an independent thinker and did most of his spiritual work on his own. On my spiritual journey I have been a bit of a loner, always sidestepping teachers who told me what to do or how to think. It is not that I do not want instruction, but I have never wanted any teacher to try to fit me into a mold. In other words, I do not like a cookie-cutter approach to teaching. I have always sought out teachers who would not try to make me accept their way of thinking, but instead would support me as I struggled to find my own spiritual values. While learning from teachers has been very important to me, it has been my direct experience of the Divine that has been my greatest teacher.

My most important mediumship teacher, Brenda Lawrence, has always told me that she is not really my teacher, but that Spirit is my teacher. She has made it clear that she does not expect me to be like her; I need to be my own medium. I have had other teachers who were too bossy, and I was not able to work with them.

Sri Aurobindo did not receive his deepest spiritual teachings by studying spiritual texts. While the ancient Indian teachings are important to him and part of his spiritual education, from his writings, I perceive that it was his direct relationship with Divine Consciousness that had the greatest influence on his spiritual evolution.

He says that each man has a different spiritual journey, depending on his nature. (I wish he would say "man or woman" or "person," but then he is a product of his generation, like any of the rest of us.) When I read letters to the disciples, I see time and time again that they are not being told what to do, but are encouraged to find out what to do themselves. Sri Aurobindo says in many of his books that to do Integral Yoga, such and such is required, but that a man may follow a variety of spiritual paths and still find God. He is not saying that his yoga is the only path to God; instead, he says IntegralYoga is his path of spiritual development, and if you want to join him, he will lay out quite clearly what is expected.

Sri Aurobindo is like a good parent who teaches a child how to think, not what to think. In this excerpt from On Himself (Sri Aurobindo Ashram 1972), he tells about his spiritual education. It is important to note that Sri Aurobindo fought for the independence of India, and so before he and the Mother founded the Ashram, his life was involved with political struggles, which included some time in jail.

I began my yoga in 1904 without a Guru; in 1908 1 received important help from a Mahratta Yogi and discovered the foundations of my Sadhana; but from that time till the Mother came to India I received no spiritual help from anyone else. My Sadhana before and afterwards was not founded upon books but upon personal experiences that crowded upon me from within. But in the jail I had the Gita and the Upanishads with me, practiced the yoga of the Gita and meditated with the help of the Upanishads; these were the only books from which I found guidance; the Veda which I first began to read long afterwards in Pondicherry rather confirmed what experiences I already had than was any guide to my Sadhana.

I respond so strongly to his statement that when he began to read the Veda, what he read confirmed his experiences. For me, having a particular kind of spiritual experience and then afterwards reading something that confirms my experience is so much more powerful than reading about a particular kind of spiritual experience first and then having an experience.

Copyright © 2009 Carole Lynne, author of Book Cosmic Connection: Messages for a Better World

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