When I was younger, my father, Deepak Chopra, taught my brother and I to start every day by asking ourselves: What do you want? We would reply with answers like tickets to the Celtics, a trip to Hawaii, or other material wants. And he would guide us to ask for health, happiness, love, connection, a sense of purpose. We began each day by setting an intention, desire, or dream that we wanted to pursue and actively seek the emotional and spiritual connections to make it happen.
With a family of my own, now more than ever, balance is essential. It’s something that I have struggled with as a mom, having a startup company, and a busy family life. I think we all have different commitments in our life. In trying to find balance, I was drawn back into that practice of asking myself these three questions: What is my purpose? How can I serve? Am I living with intent?
Listening to others in the community and at work, I realized that I was not alone in questioning how to find balance, joy, and purpose. Out of that realization came the idea for intent.com—an online gathering place for people to share their intentions and receive support from others who are also seeking to transform their lives. Acronyms help people remember concepts, so I developed an action plan for INTENT: Incubate, Notice, Trust, Express, Nurture, and Take Action.
Incubate is that time when we quiet the mind, tap into silence, and see where it leads. For me, that is returning to the practice of meditation.
N is for Notice. Noticing our internal dialogue, seeing the messages our bodies are sending us, and also observing the people, places, and circumstances that we encounter every day that can help us on our journey.
T is for Trust, which is trusting our intuition. We have confidence in our inner knowing— and in the messages the universe sends—and allow that knowledge to guide us.
E is for Express. Intent.com makes this easier. There you can express what you want, take ownership of it, and begin the mechanism for making that happen in your life.
The next N is for Nurture, which is nurturing ourselves when many of us often don’t care for ourselves yet are taking care of everyone else. So nurturing ourselves and nurturing relationships because it’s the right ingredient that helps us often get through different times to celebrate together.
And then the final piece, Take Action. I’m a big believer that we don’t just say what we want, and it happens. It’s just that we have to engage, pick smart goals, and move forward on that journey.
We start incorporating all of these steps so when it’s time to take action on our intent, it’s much easier and effortless because we’re coming from a place where we’re very authentic about what we want. I like to say intent comes from the soul versus goals that come from the mind and are often task-oriented. Intents represent our deepest desires.
People may assume that because we’re Chopras, everything is figured out, as we’re enlightened. In my book Living With Intent, I remind readers that we are all on journeys. We’re all figuring it out. My intent with the book was to be truthful and authentic and to share some of the steps that have helped me along the way to help others on their journey.
Even while writing the book I, too, was learning and growing. I was very lucky to be able to interview some very incredible people: Marianne Williamson, Andrew Weil, Eckhart Tolle, Dan Siegel. I set the intent to speak to these extraordinary people. But I was going in usually with one set of expectations, and then the conversation would be entirely different from anything I thought it would be. So each conversation ended up being such a unique, insightful dialogue that had nothing to do with what I initially went in to talk about. It was a reminder that we can’t go in with certain goals (that come from the mind) but rather go in with the intent (deepest desire) to have a conversation and connect and be open to the possibilities that come out of it.
When I met with Eckhart Tolle, I soon realized that I had to let go of my ordered list of questions and just be present. I learned from him to joyfully embrace the role of the soccer mom, for it is everyday people doing extraordinary things that are raising the frequency of the planet.
At the end of the day, that is what intent is about—what’s going to make us healthier, happier, more connected, and more purposeful people.