The creation of The Chopra Well – the Chopra YouTube channel – has allowed us to do many awesome things, but one of them that means the most to us is having been able to host several Google+ hangouts with inspiring people around the world. We did one for the launch of The Chopra Well last year, but in 2013 we tried to step it up a notch. In April the Chopras hosted a hangout series called “Aspire to Inspire” which covered an array of topics each day of the week. Mallika also stepped in to host a hangout on Mindfulness as part of another series. What we found was that these hangouts enabled us to have in-depth serious conversations with experts and people with first hand experiences to enlighten ourselves and our audience about the world around us and the capacity for the human race to do great things.
As we wind down on 2013 and reflect on the year we’ve had, some of these conversations really stuck out. If you missed them the first time around or simply want to revisit them we’ve reposted a few of them below.
1. The Science of Survival – Deepak & Sanjiv Chopra
Deepak and Sanjiv discuss the physical, mental and emotional process of surviving a trauma or deep loss. Paralympic snowboarder and activist Amy Purdy and pro-surfer Bethany Hamilton who had her arm bitten off by a shark at age 13 join in to share their stories of loss and overcoming these significant challenges.
2. How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life – Mallika Chopra
Mallika and a knowledgeable panel of experts look at the role of intention and other mindfulness practices in living a more meaningful and healthy life. The discussion will help answer questions about how to turn goals and aspirations into reality; understanding the difference between an intention and a goal; and the relationship between intention and other practices that lead to mindfulness such as meditation, prayer, service, and yoga.
3. Coping and Surviving Bullying – Gotham Chopra
Gotham Chopra is joined by poet Shane Koyczan, whose video for “To This Day” went viral due to it’s honest, heartbreaking prose about the lifetime effects of bullying. Other guests include: Martin Shervington who will offer insight from his experience in psychology and life coaching, Margot Leitman – a comedian who just released her first book “Gawky: Tales of an Extra Long Awkward Phase,” and Kevin Epling, the National Co-Director and Michigan representative for Bully Police USA.
4. Supporting our Veterans Overseas and When They Come Home – Mallika Chopra
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.
5. Coping with Loss – Mallika Chopra
Mallika Chopra hosts a discussion on “Coping with Loss.” She is joined by Todd Hartley, CEO of WireBuzz who lost both of his grandparents at the same time; Chelsea Roff, who has been featured on CNN and the Hallmark channel with her story of coping with a mother who has alcohol induced dementia; and Laurel Lewis who practices as a hospice nurse and also runs Death & Dying Dinner events in Southern California. (You may remember Laurel from 30 Days of Intent!)
Which of the hangouts were your favorites? Tell us in the comments below!
The holiday season is a great time to spend with family and relax – but all of those people can get you kind of tense. Anxiety can also rise if you are planning to battle the behemoth crowds fighting for the best deals come Friday morning (Or is it Thursday night now? Thanksgiving is being attacked by consumerism). In times like these it is best to keep calm (and carry on!). We at Intent want you to enjoy this holiday and to help you not sweat the small stuff. So start your day off right with a guided meditation to help you start off centered and prepared for whatever comes your way.
If you find yourself getting worked up in the moment and don’t have five minutes to calm yourself with a mediation video or today’s challenge guided meditation, try this tip from Gabby Bernstein. Press your thumbs on both hands to the pads of each of your other fingers as you repeat, “Peace begins with me.” Remember to breathe. Say it as many times as you need until you find yourself centered again.
As a last resort just remember that soon there are going to be so many left overs, and pie. Pie makes everything better. Happy holidays!
I struggle with yoga. I feel guilty admitting this given I am a Chopra, a meditator, from India, live in Santa Monica, have dear friends who are yoga teachers, and have a website on intention. People assume I am a yogi, and I’ve even been recruited to be a spokesperson for yoga by companies even though I struggle with Downward Dog! I’ve also written about the comedy of being a Chopra in a yoga class (but more on that next week)!
But, in the last few months, I have committed to my intent to lead a healthier, more balanced life – to meditate daily, eat better, exercise more, and practice yoga. I was invited to join a group of friends for a Monday morning yoga class, and while I was very doubtful I would enjoy it, I committed to it thinking that by being accountable to my friends to “show up” would force me to actually show up.
I have done 3 classes so far, and I have to admit that I am secretly starting to enjoy them. I’m realizing it takes a few classes to get the flow of the poses, and the self-assuredness that yoga is a personal practice where you can improve with every practice. Our small class is relaxed and fun, and the social interaction is as motivating as how I feel physically and emotionally after class.
It’s Megan Vick and MeLissa Gavarrette here – your new day-to-day Intent and Intent Blog team! Megan is taking over as managing editor of Intent Blog and MeLissa will be marketing coordinator – handling social media and managing new initiatives on Intent.com.
Megan has been working with the Chopra family for over a year now, starting with The Chopra Well YouTube project and transitioned to Intent earlier this summer. She majored in music industry in college and is in Los Angeles as an aspiring screenwriter so to say she loves pop culture and entertainment is an understatement. She has previously written for Billboard Magazine, Rolling Stone and IFC.com. Her writing on Intent Blog will mostly focus on how we can use entertainment mediums to create a better world – and the disastrous results when we don’t. Humor and comedy are very important to Megan so you can expect to see a lighter tone in many of her pieces and hopefully you get a laugh!
Her intents for the year is to make Intent Blog the number one wellness and conscious conversation destination on the web, to finish her first screenplay and go to the gym regularly. She’s really excited to move from social media to the blog where she can write more and get to know the rest of you!
What She Plans for Intent Blog
While we love the heartfelt and personal stories we post here on Intent Blog (and will continue to do so), we want the blog to expand. In the coming weeks we will start tackling more current events, popular culture and global issues and adding the Intent voice to the discussion. Many of our current Intent voices have their specialties – from addiction to sex and relationships to organic gardening and cooking. We want our bloggers to use those specialties, passions and points of view to add deeper context to the stories everyone is already talking about.
If that sounds like you, or something that excites you, please pitch your ideas for articles or columns to email@example.com!
MeLissa comes to Los Angeles from Florida by way of Nashville, TN. She loves comedy, writing, wise words and breakfast burritos. She’s done everything from working at a gym, to teaching kids to conquer their fears at summer camp, to traveling with a BMX team across the country. Now she’s excited to be settled in Southern California working with the Intent family to empower it’s community to live the lives they’ve always wanted.
Her intent for the year is becoming an invested part of that community. It is a community of movers and shakers who are intent on making the world a better, healthier place– who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
What She Plans for Intent.com
MeLissa is focused on continuing to make Intent a community built by it’s members for it’s members. What does that even mean? It means finding ways to increase interaction between users. It means further expanding resources for both men and women on the website and blog. It means taking new steps to encourage users to see their intents fulfilled. MeLissa has ideas for all these things and looks forward to hearing yours.
For any issues or concerns with your Intents send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you want to see in the upcoming months on Intent Blog and Intent.com? Share with us in the comments below!
What is a spiritual solution? How do we find creative solutions to life’s challenges?
These are the foundational questions addressed in the new Chopra Well show, Spiritual Solutions, based on Deepak’s best-selling book of the same name.
I struggle occasionally with loneliness. Even in the largest crowds or among the closest friends, I sometimes feel strangely alone. The dreamy child grew into a contemplative adult, and my peace is often the stillness of solitude. My typical response to this feeling is defiance. “I’m just independent. I’m free.” But by clinging to these beliefs, I’m complicit with the problem. I’m beginning to see that change is, first, an internal process. Some challenges we approach pragmatically require spiritual attention.
“We’ve all got problems,” Deepak reminds us. The difficulty lies in dealing with these problems creatively. We have the potential to experience every possible human joy, pain, and pleasure. That’s what it means to be human. Endless possible problems fall fair game under the umbrella of Life. Of this we need no reminding. We often neglect, however, that infinite solutions exist at our disposal, as well. It’s been too long since we last played, and it’s high time we remembered how to exercise our imagination.
Spiritual solutions derive from expanded awareness. The greater the awareness, the more access you have to creative, alternative solutions to problems you face. On a daily basis, we’re forced to process and react to endless stimuli. Much of this occurs on an automatic level. We learn rote responses to everyday problems and deal with them as they come, in the only ways we’ve learned how.
With Spiritual Solutions, we learn that there are endless alternative paths.
In every weekly episode, Deepak engages with his audience by helping them explore these alternative solutions. No one, not even Deepak, is going to have all the answers. But the goal is to expand awareness and to never give up exploring. Whether he is chatting with people in New York City’s Union Square or responding to videos uploaded by viewers worldwide, Deepak addresses fundamental questions and issues people have. How do I deal with depression or my desire to feel loved? Where is the line between self-care and self-centeredness? Deepak offers tools and strategies that enable us to meet life’s difficulties from within and experience a genuine sense of fulfillment and purpose.
So, how do I deal with loneliness? Maybe the first thing to address is the routine I’ve developed around a sense of independence and solitude. Routine feeds on worldview and belief, so those will need some tough love, as well. Emancipated from habit, I see more clearly. I can then use this expanded awareness to invent new, creative ways of structuring my time and navigating the social world. And, like magic, life becomes a garden and not a prison!
What challenges do you currently face? Consider this: When you next find yourself poised to react to a problem based on deeply ingrained beliefs, pause and consider alternative ways of responding. Even if you don’t change direction, you will have expanded your understanding of the situation. You’ll know that you are never stuck in one course of action.
Subscribe to The Chopra Well so that you never miss an opportunity to expand your awareness and live creatively!
The Chopra Well is launching a new daily meditator show. Watch with your eyes closed!
Take a seat and relax the muscles in your face. Are you sitting comfortably? Now begin to focus on your breath. Let it roll in and out effortlessly. Peace settles on you like a mantle of warmth and comfort. And you’re starting…to…let…go.
Thank Buddha, The Meditator is here. This new, daily show brought to you by The Chopra Well features different personalities in various (and wonderfully random) settings as they meditate. Meditator and location change every day, so you never know quite what to expect. Whether from bed before the kids wake up or from the office between meetings, here are three reasons to make The Meditator part of your day:
1. You’re ready to relax.
Even just for a few minutes every day. This is not the kind of relaxation where you kick your feet up, grab a beer and turn on The Food Network. (As tempting as that sounds…) This is relaxation that simultaneously strengthens your brain, releases tense muscles and aligns heart, mind and soul in total clarity. The latest brain research from the University of California, Los Angeles, shows that regular meditation literally builds the brain. It creates neurons and strengthens the cortex, allowing you to process information quickly and efficiently. By building neurons and focusing awareness, you can rewire your brain to achieve better sleep, reduce cravings, deal with stress, and (fill in the blank!) Now The Meditator is here, like a running buddy, to help you stay focused and get centered. Give your brain the freedom to exercise infinite possibility.
2. You have time.
Before you throw coffee in my face, hear me out. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, an employed adult with children gets on average seven hours of sleep every night. I’ll give you an hour free and say you sleep six. Subtract the minutes from a typical eight-hour workday, and that still leaves 600 minutes in your day to eat, travel from place to place, play with your kids, walk your dog, login to online banking and read the news. My point is not that we have infinite, expendable hours. On the contrary, our time is precious. Consider the reality of your day and the activities that fill it. Only YOU know how you want to experience your priceless moments. A challenge: Next time you’re poised to spend three minutes doing something you don’t really care about, turn on The Meditator, instead. A few minutes of daily meditation will improve the quality of every minute that passes thereafter.
3. Your intents demand commitment.
Meditation is one of those things I wish I did more of, like drinking water and running. Commitment regularly wrestles Convenience, and the latter’s strength usually beats the former’s stamina. Since joining The Chopra Well team, however, and becoming familiar with Mallika Chopra’s website Intent.com, I have begun to battle the Convenience Demon. The what? That’s right – the little voice who coaxes and seduces us with, “You can start tomorrow” and “Give yourself a break. You work so hard.” Every time we let an intent fall to the wayside, we lose some of the authority to manifest the lives we desire. I’m making it my intent to be present, not to wait for tomorrow to do the things I strive to do today. Confidence and Self-Respect, I’m committing to you, too. Welcome home.
Will you join me? Subscribe to The Chopra Well and send us your thoughts!