Tag Archives: military

Happy Veteran’s Day from Intent

veterans

As many of you are celebrating your day off (we are taking a mini-break today on Intent as well. Regular blogging schedule will resume tomorrow), we wanted to remind you why it is we have today to spend with our families, to catch up on various left behind projects, or go see that movie we’ve been meaning to see. We live in a country of free choice and liberty because of the brave men and women who volunteer to defend those freedoms. Today is to honor them and the invaluable service they provide for America and its inhabitants. Everyone here on the Intent Team would like to offer a sincere thank you to all those who have served here and abroad to allow us the freedom to run a website that hopes to provide help and support and wellness to all those around the Internet.

Help us celebrate Veteran’s Day by checking out the Veterans hangout Mallika Chopra hosted as part of The Chopra Well’s “Aspire to Inspire” series this past May. If you have a Veteran in your life that has suffered an intense trauma or struggled with PTSD, introduce them to the Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans Coping With Trauma course from the Intent Shop.

Thank you again Veterans for all you do. We are eternally grateful for dedicated service.

Sincerely,

The Intent Team

How are you celebrating this Veteran’s Day? Leave your thanks and appreciation in the comments below! 

Meet Ed Snowden, the 29-Year-Old Behind the NSA Leak

abc_edward_snowden_2_jt_130609_wgWith Bradley Manning’s trial underway and the ongoing discourse over Julian Assange and Wikileaks, whistle-blowing has become a household word. The news of last week’s National Security Agency breach may have alarmed officials, but what’s almost more intriguing is the 29-year-old NSA contractor who came forward as the source of that leaked information.

In an interview with The Guardian, Edward Snowden describes his act as one of conscience.

I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in. My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against the.

Far from a disgruntled outlaw or a raging activist, Snowden is a man with a long history of civic involvement, including having spent time in the Army, working for the CIA, and most recently acting as a contractor for the NSA. In leaking these documents, Snowden also compromises the comfortable life he’s built for himself in the years since dropping out of high school, which includes a relationship, a home in Hawaii, and a yearly paycheck of $200,000. Snowden shares his story from Hong Kong where he is currently taking shelter, discussing his motives for leaking the documents and his fears surrounding the consequences.

I don’t see myself as a hero because what I’m doing is self-interested: I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.

Watch Snowden explain his act in his own words:




Do you think Edward Snowden’s actions were justified? Do we as a society have to choose between security and transparency, or is there a way to foster both? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Photo credit: The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras

Veterans and PTSD: Mallika Chopra Hosts Live Google+ Hangout

In today’s Google+ hangout for our ongoing series, “Aspire to Inspire,” Mallika Chopra is joined by Levi Newman, Rob Schware, and Rick Collins to discuss veterans and PTSD. Newman is a veteran with over 10 years of service and a writer for Veterans United and the Huffington Post. Schware is founder of the Give Back Yoga Foundation, which helps soldiers returning from duty transition back to civilian life and provides resources to deal with PTSD and other mental disorders that occur after time in the field. Collins is the founder of Vet360, a charity that gives Veterans upon their return home a 30 day program to help educate, counsel and prepare them for civilian life.

Join us right here or at The Chopra Well YouTube channel for this in-depth conversation on a topic that affects all of us in one way or another. Submit your questions in the comments section below or using the hashtag #AspireToInspire!

Make sure to join the “Aspire to Inspire” community for more discussion and information on the other hangouts in the series!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and don’t miss the rest of our upcoming programming!

“We Are The Not Dead” – Amazing Photos of Soldiers Before, During, and After War

Even with a fairly widespread understanding of post traumatic stress and other effects of war, it is hard to really know what soldiers go through in defending their countries, apart from what we see on the news. The stress they undergo in training, the many horrors they may witness, the friends they lose, the struggle to reintegrate with civilian life…It is an experience unlike any other, which undoubtedly imprints itself on the minds and psyches of these men and women – and perhaps in their faces and eyes, too?

This is exactly what photographer Lalage Snow captured in her harrowing series, “We Are The Not Dead.” Over the course of 8 months, Snow photographed British soldiers before, during, and after deployment in Afghanistan, with accompanying quotes from each individual portrayed. You may notice how dramatic the transformation is in some of these young men and women’s faces, some of them just in their early 20s or younger. Without trying to read too much into the portraits, let yourself first just observe their faces and appreciate the honesty in Snow’s composition:

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Private Chris MacGregor, 24

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Private Dylan Hughes, 26

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Private Becky Hitchcock, 23

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Corporal Steven Gibson, 29

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Private Matthew Hodgson, 18

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Private Jo Yavala, 28

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Lance Corporal Sean Tennant, 29

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Second Lieutenant Adam Petzsch, 25

One thing you may notice is pupil dilation in many of these soldiers’ eyes. Along with increased heart rate and blood pressure, pupil dilation can be a large indicator of stress, anxiety, and trauma. This would make sense given what these individuals went through over the span of just a few months in combat, as expressed in many of their quotes. But even understanding some of the science behind the transformations doesn’t make the visual any less potent.

Are you a veteran, or do you have any friends or family who have fought in war? Does Snow’s photography mirror your own experience?

Photography by Lalage Snow

The 83-Year-Old Nun on Trial for Sabotaging a US Nuclear Facility

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 12.31.12 PMSister Megan Rice is no stranger to activism. She’s been arrested 40-50 times in her life for civil disobedience, including once kneeling down to block a truck driving through a Nevada nuclear test site. Most recently, Rice is facing grave criminal charges for breaking into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in July 2012, along with two fellow activists. The trio reportedly got through four security fences before detection, and face trial on May 7 for multiple charges.

This is not a simple story of risk-taking, peace-proclaiming activists getting their hands dirty for a cause. Rice was 82-years-old at the time of the incident, and a nun, at that. Her accomplices were the 64-year-old Michael Robin Walli, a self-proclaimed drifter; and 57-year-old Gregory Irwin Boertje-Obed, a house painter. Not your average criminal outfit.

To understand their motives for taking such momentous action, it is first crucial to understand the United States’ long nuclear history. Since 1940 and the thick of WWII, the U.S. has spent at least $9.8 trillion (in 2013 dollars) and in 2011, alone, spent close to $711 billion. Rice lived through WWII, the Vietnam and Cold Wars, and now contemporary controversy over global possession of nuclear weapons. Walli, too, lived through much of this troubled past. He served two tours with the Army, fighting in Vietnam and earning a Bronze Star (though he considers himself a war criminal for participating.) All three of the activists feel they had a moral responsibility to protest such weaponry, and they selected a new, half-billion-dollar plant as the site of reckoning.

1400_nuclearnun641362351319Inside the facility, they cut through chain link fences, spray painted and splashed real blood (from the late activist Tom Lewis) on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility building, and hung banners all around. Once detected, they gave themselves up peacefully, trusting in the higher power and moral authority that had guided their entire mission. Now, with the trial one week away, the three face penalties of up to 16 years in prison and $600,000 in fines, though all plead not guilty.

The incident raised many questions and red flags in the minds of government authorities, activists, and others alike, including:

– The alarming lack of security for such a dangerous and important facility

– The ongoing violence and hostility perpetuated by these facilities, and by the overall attachment to nuclear armament

– The legacy of war our elders carry with them, the burden and pain of which should never cease to inspire activism and political engagement – as Rice, Walli, and Boertje-Obed so bravely demonstrated.

Watch Sister Megan discuss the Y-12 break in with the Washington Post:

What do you think of this incident? Should the activists receive full penalties, or are they morally in the right? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Photo credit: Unknown

Photo credit: US Government

12 Inspiring Stories of 2012 and Beyond (VIDEOS)

Happy Holidays from Go Inspire Go! ‘Tis the season to celebrate, give and inspire those around you as we come to an end of another great year. 2012 has been an eventful year for GIG as we continue to grow, creating three times the amount of original content as last year. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without our 30+ volunteers around the globe, the everyday do-gooders we feature, and folks like YOU! To thank you, we wanted to kick off the holidays with 12 Days of Inspiration!

But before we get to the deets, check out our GIG Virtual Holiday Greeting Card to show our gratitude:

Starting Dec. 13, we started counting down to Christmas by sharing one our original GIG stories each day, followed by an inspiring action item we want you to do right away.

We’re asking you to share what you were inspired to do via social media.

KIND Snacks has partnered with Go Inspire Go to launch our 12 Days of Inspiration. We kicked off our 12 days of inspiration with a GIG Spark video from across the street from the Ferry Building in San Francisco, giving postcards to strangers and asking them to write a message to soliders who can’t spend the holidays with their family. GaiamTV and Volunteer Match are also joining virtual forces with us to share via their social media platforms each of the 12 days.

Thanks for the love — won’t you join us?

Check GoInspireGo.com. We’ve counting down to Christmas by sharing our inspiring videos for 12 consecutive days on GIG’s website and blog.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:
Our goal is to see how many countries we can get to share our campaign.

1. We need you and your friends/community to download this special 12 days GIG logo and post it as your/their profile pic for 12 days.

2. Share our FB posts/tweets everyday for 12 days.

We want to see how many countries we can reach with our message.

*Day 1* Inspire to write a letter to a soldier:
GIG teams up with Kind Healthy Snacks to wish our soldiers a happy holiday and express appreciation for all that they’ve done for our country.

Call to action: Inspire to create and write a hand-written letter to a solider in the military

(Special thanks to Sirima Sataman, of Ink.Paper.Plate for helping us personalize our KIND GIG cards with her letter press. Loved pressing each
card by hand!)


*Day 2* Inspire to create a GIG Spark:
Toan and some GIGSTERS visit the BAYCAT community as the youth speak up about issues they’d like to address and the changes they’d like to see.

Video: GIG SPARK Inspires BAYCAT Youth to Be The Change

Call to action: Inspire to create a GIG Spark. Use your power and multimedia to be the change.


*Day 3* Inspire to create:
Toan sits down to create Thank You cards with founder of InkPaperPlate.com, Sirima Sataman.

Video: The Best Way to Express Gratitude

Call to action: Inspire to DIY – Get crafty and create something hand made and give it to someone: a family member, friend or stranger!


*Day 4* Inspire to smile:
Claire Lemmel goes the extra mile to fulfill her mission of making people, including strangers smile.

Video: “Going the Extra Smile”

Call to action: Inspire to create a ripple of kindness by spreading smiles and holiday cheer! Smile at a stranger.


*Day 5* Inspire to make a stand:
Psychiatrist Dr. Ron Holt travels around the world to share his inspiring and empowering story to give victims of bullying who contemplated suicide hope and inspire compassion in bullies.

Video: LGBT Bullying and Suicide: It Does Get Better

Call to action: Inspire to stand up for the truth. If you’re being bullied or have thoughts of suicide, there is hope: TheTrevorProject.


*Day 6* Inspire to rescue:
Emelinda Narvaez has spent the last 41 years of her life saving the lives of more than 10,000 dogs.

Video: “Woman saves 10,000 Dogs”

Call to action: Inspire to adopt a pet today and give the gift of friendship.


*Day 7* Inspire to be a Superhero:
With GIG’s help, cancer patient, Nico Castro, 6, uses his superhero powers to help his sick friends celebrate Halloween by collecting more than 200 costumes.

Video: “6-year-old Boy with Brain Cancer Brings Halloween to Sick Kids”

Call to action: Brighten someone’s spirit this Christmas season by volunteering at your local hospital, writing a letter to a cancer patient, contributing to Make-A-Wish or sharing this story.


*Day 8* Inspire to embark on your personal journey:
Jordan Bower walked from Canada to Mexico to create personal connections and inspire people to put down their gadgets and engage in the world around them.

Video: “Make the Connection: Why One Man is Walking from Canada to Mexico”

Call to action: Inspire to start off the new year by making plans to embark in your
personal journey in 2013!


*Day 9* Inspire to help the youth create a change:
Through an aluminum can drive and letter writing campaign, Phoebe Russell, then 5, sparked a movement by inspiring her classmates and her community to raise over $3,000 for the San Francisco Food Bank. She enabled the S.F. Food Bank to dole out more than 17,800 meals! Our GIG video helped her multiply her message many times over. More than 150,000 meals served in her San Francisco community so far!

Video: “Kindergartener Inspires 150K + Meals Pt. 1”

Call to action: Inspire to spread the holiday spirit by donating or volunteering at your local food bank.


*Day 10* Inspire education: Student Video + GIG Video creates movement, sends 32 Kids to School in Haiti
Julian Cohen, then a high school student in New Jersey, wanted to help Rev. Lemaire Alerte reach his goal of building the first high school in the reverend’s hometown of Grande Saline, Haiti. Rev. Alerte was $20,000 short of his $80,000 goal to finish construction.

Little did Cohen know, he would start a movement across the nation. The result: 32 kids would be sent to school in Haiti thanks to his video posted by Go Inspire Go.

Watch how high school students in San Jose, Calif., were inspired to orchestrate goodness and be inspired to do a kind thing for a teacher or organization that aims to educate the community.

Video: “Student Video Sends 32 Kids to School in Haiti. Pt. 3”

Call to action: Inspire to give what you can to support an educational cause. Money is good, but if you don’t have the funds, give your time and volunteer.


*Day 11* Inspire to move and be present:
Nationally-renowned yoga instructor Kim Shand was born with a birth defect. The prognosis was grim. See how yoga saved her life and how she is giving back. It’ll make you rethink yoga and rethink what’s going on in your life.

Video: “Rethink Yoga. Rethink You”

Call to action: Inspire to start the New Year re-energized! Start off physically and
mentally strong, by engaging in activities that allows your body to reach its greatest potential. Kim is giving away as much free yoga as possible on her YouTube channel. More info: RethinkYoga.com


*Day 12* Inspire to give:
GIG’s most popular story so far. Meet Jorge Muñoz, school bus driver by day, and Angel in Queens, N.Y., by night. For more than nine years, Jorge has spent half his salary buying groceries and cooking, packaging and delivering home-cooked meals to 150+ people every night. More than 202,800 viewers watched and shared and many used their power to help. You must watch both videos!

Video: A Real Life “Angel” in Queens, New York Pt. 1

Video: “Surprise” Angel In Queens Follow-Up Pt. 2

Call to action: Inspire to lend a helping hand by helping Jorge provide warm meals this Christmas season. Visit www.anangelinqueens.org to see how you can help.


*Go Inspire Go is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), run entirely by Toan Lam and more than 30 volunteers around the world. For more inspiring stories, please check out our YouTube Channel. Here’s just a glimpse of our IMPACT. It’s because of viewers like you and your generous donations that enable us to bring you these original, authentic stories. If you can, please make a donation or if you cannot, there are other ways to help. Share our message and videos.

Bless you and our every day street corner-style heroes and organizations — the true heroes who are helping elevate humanity.

Happy holidays,
Toan Lam and Go Inspire Go Team

12 Days of Inspiration: Inspire to Smile (Day 4)

Today is Day 4 of the GIG 12 Days of Inspiration Campaign. Starting Dec. 13, we started counting down to Christmas by sharing one inspiring story each day, followed by an action item you can take to make the world a better place. You can read more about the series here


gig12daysofinspirationlogo-2*Day 4* Inspire to smile:

Claire Lemmel goes the extra mile to fulfill her mission of making people, including strangers smile.

Video: “Going the Extra Smile”

Call to action: Inspire to create a ripple of kindness by spreading smiles and holiday cheer! Smile at a stranger.

*****

Past Posts in the Campaign: 

Day 1: Write a Letter to a Soldier

Day 2: Inspire Youth

Day 3: The Best Way to Express Gratitude

 

12 Days of Inspiration: Inspire Youth (Day 2)

Today is Day 2 of the GIG 12 Days of Inspiration Campaign. Starting Dec. 13, we started counting down to Christmas by sharing one inspiring story each day, followed by an action item you can take to make the world a better place. You can read more about the series here

*gig12daysofinspirationlogo-2Day 2* Inspire to create a GIG Spark:

In this video, Toan and some Gigsters visit the BAYCAT community as the youth speak up about issues they’d like to address and the changes they’d like to see.

Call to action: Inspire to create a GIG Spark. Use your power and multimedia to be the change.

12 Days of Inspiration in Your Community

Happy Holidays from Go Inspire Go! ‘Tis the season to celebrate, give and inspire those around you as we come to an end of another great year. 2012 has been an eventful year for GIG as we continue to grow, creating three times the amount of original content as last year. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without our 30+ volunteers around the globe, the everyday do-gooders we feature, and folks like YOU! To thank you, we wanted to kick off the holidays with 12 Days of Inspiration!

But before we get to the deets, check out our GIG Virtual Holiday Greeting Card to show our gratitude:

Starting today, 11/13, we will be counting down to Christmas by sharing one our original GIG stories each day, followed by an inspiring action item we want you to do right away.

We’re asking you to share what you were inspired to do via social media.

KIND Snacks has partnered with Go Inspire Go to launch our 12 Days of Inspiration. We kicked off our 12 days of inspiration with a GIG Spark video from across the street from the Ferry Building in San Francisco, giving postcards to strangers and asking them to write a message to soliders who can’t spend the holidays with their family, and in true GIG fashion, we created this video for you.

Intent, GaiamTV and Volunteer Match are also joining virtual forces with us to share via their social media platforms each of the 12 days. We need your help to spead cheer and inspiration in your community.

Thanks for the love — won’t you join us?

Check GoInspireGo.com starting Thursday, Dec. 13! We’re counting down to Christmas by sharing our inspiring videos for 12 consecutive days on GIG’s website and blog.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Our goal is to see how many countries we can get to share our campaign.

1. We need you and your friends/community to download this special 12 days GIG logo and post it as your/their profile pic for 12 days.

2. Share our FB posts/tweets everyday for 12 days.

We want to see how many countries we can reach with our message.

*Day 1* Inspire to write a letter to a soldier:

GIG teams up with Kind Healthy Snacks to wish our soldiers a happy holiday and express appreciation for all that they’ve done for our country.

Call to action: Inspire to create and write a hand-written letter to a solider in the military

* Make sure to check back tomorrow for Day 2!

(Special thanks to Sirima Sataman, of Ink.Paper.Plate for helping us personalize our KIND GIG cards with her letter press. Loved pressing each card by hand!)

3 Ways Yoga Can Solve The U.S. Military’s Mental Health Crisis

With recent shootings and deaths involving military or former military personnel, as well as the many reports of depression and suicide amongst soldiers,  yoga can help address what appears to be a military mental health crisis.

While effective psychotherapy for soldiers is important and yoga by itself can be very good, having a more integrated understanding of the relationships between body and mind may be a missing piece.  The experiential component that happens in yoga can retrain the brain and nervous system while providing an environment for integrated healing to occur.

A non-clinical practice like yoga can also aid in shifting the perception of PTSD and the need for therapeutic work to being an ordinary part of maintaining mental health for every soldier.

1) Let’s acknowledge that military training and combat are inherently traumatizing, both physiologically and psychologically.

Yoga practice can be used as an ongoing way to calm the nervous system, process overwhelming experiences and spend a little time each day re-balancing body and mind. Having this be an integral part of basic military mental health would make soldiers better able to cope with the high-stress experiences that are part of the job.

2) Understand PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) through the lens of somatic (or body-based) psychology.

It is fantastic for soldiers and their families that the military is seeking to acknowledge and clearly define PTSD, and reduce the stigma.

A next step would be to include a more mind-body research-based understanding of what is going on in the nervous system and brains of soldiers suffering from the condition —as a way to address the problem more comprehensively.

3) Let’s train a group of yoga teachers to serve the military in two specific ways:

a) With an understanding of somatic psychology and the basic neuroanatomy of trauma, and in how to use yoga to support discharge of unresolved nervous system energy, safe integration of traumatic memories and using breath and body awareness to become more self-regulated and “resourced.”

b) With basic knowledge of the warning signs that will assist in identifying soldiers who have been pushed into extreme states of depression, paranoia, or delusions that would indicate the need for psychiatric assistance. It is no the fault of these men that they become a danger to themselves and others, and the sooner this can be recognized the safer it will be for all concerned.

It is essential that we take better care of our soldiers and their communities. The above suggestions could make a significant difference by using a science-informed, psychologically aware model of yoga to resolve, heal, and integrate PTSD more effectively.

The The Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind yoga teacher training provides a good grounding in the relationships between somatic psychology, neuroscience, yoga and healing trauma. For more information, click here

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