Imagine if we all lived with more intention, more meaningful conversations, and more positive energy. That vision is what motivates Chris as the founder of The MyIntent Project based in Los Angeles. Their mission is to activate meaningful conversations and positive energy by asking one simple question, “What’s Your WORD?” MyIntent then creates a bracelet or necklace with that word (or phrase), which serves as a daily reminder and conversation starter.
Just a quick look through their website and Instagram @myintent will leave you feeling inspired. Perusing through the stories, it's no surprise to us at Mend that a lot of the intentions are about love.
Now, on to our conversation with Chris…
HIS LAST HEARTBREAK
"Well, it could have been this past weekend. To me, heartbreak can be broadly defined as emotional pain. I think it’s interesting Mend is starting with romantic breakups, but the insights could apply to conflicts with family members or at work. The underlying causes can come from a lack in emotional or spiritual fitness. And practices of meditation, gratitude, and being present can benefit all situations. The heartbreak that really impacted me happened 2 years ago. It was a 5 year relationship. Out of that brokenness, I explored a lot of emotional and spiritual growth to heal, and am grateful for the experience."
FINDING SUPPORT + PERSPECTIVE IN FRIENDS
"In my serious relationship, I didn’t have female friends that I could really confide in and get a female perspective on relationship issues. I had spent most of my free time with my ex and my work in tech was mostly guys. The summer after my breakup, I became friends with a few women and one in particular helped me understand people naturally have ups and downs, and that relationships require work. Growing up, all the emphasis was on achievement and not being in touch with my own feelings. I had cut off my own emotions and just focused on my work and band. I also realized I never actually 'worked on' my relationship issues nor my own issues."
"My guy friends were not helpful with the advice they were giving me. It was often the 'bro advice' like the, 'Aw man I can’t believe she did that!' It’s not the more emotionally mature approach. And I think that’s part of what you’re trying to do with Mend, taking the maturity of how we approach relationships up a notch or two, rather than just a more superficial approach. It goes deeper into personal and interpersonal issues. It’s also more empathetic."
SPACE TO REFLECT
"During the relationship, we spent a lot of time together, but I didn’t have much time to really reflect on what I wanted. Life was on autopilot - work, play music, hang out with girlfriend, repeat. It was only after the breakup that I had some space to figure out what I envisioned my future to be. Coincidentally, my grandfather passed away that summer, and it gave me a sense that we don’t live forever. I was also turning 35 (on way to being 40) which actually felt very different than 34 (barely early thirties). I started to think more about my future and long term plans. I craved more meaning and stability."
THE ADVICE HE WOULD GIVE HIS YOUNGER SELF
"I was making my love very ‘conditional.’ I had this idea that I could only really commit to her if she was x and y. It only occurred to me after the breakup that x doesn't really matter to me and y was partly because of my lack of commitment that caused her to be insecure and unstable. I would also tell myself to spend more time on personal growth and relationship-building. I spent so much of my energy problem-solving issues at work or building my band. I wished I had done the personal growth work I did post-breakup such as attending the Hoffman Process, books I've read, and a coach I've worked with."
MAKING IT THROUGH DIFFICULT MORNINGS
"So I had met an exec coach Janet as I was being recruited at a startup. It started off being focused on work but as I was going through the breakup, it turned into realizing that I had a lot more work to do emotionally and spiritually. And my coach told me 'For this winter, try to slow down and just feel. It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to feel the pain, so really just feel.' I have a habit of filling my time with stuff to keep me busy so I don’t have to feel. So that winter I would leave my schedule open. I would have days where I would wake up and wouldn’t have any meetings on my schedule. I would fire up my karaoke app (karafun.com) and sing for like a half hour, an hour, maybe more, until I felt better. And then I would feel better and I would move on with my day. The mornings were always the hardest.”
HIS FAVORITE SONG ON HEARTBREAK
"The song Feel Again by One Republic was really big that summer and the post-breakup process really opened me up to feel. Another song that really spoke to me was Let Her Go by Passenger. I find it applicable to life in general. It’s about acceptance and being appreciative for what you have and not taking things for granted. It makes me understand that the reason we appreciate light is the darkness. If we lived in the Arctic Circle in the summer where it’s light all the time, you might actually miss the darkness."
FOUNDING SPIRITLAB AFTER HIS BREAKUP
“SpiritLab is a nickname I’ve given to my house where I hosted events that incorporate many of the activities I used to heal and grow emotionally and spiritually. My goal has been to create something meaningful and positive for friends to experience together. I wanted to share activities that make me feel better (“spirit”) and I wanted it to be hands-on and experiential (“lab”). We would do things like painting, yoga, live music, tai chi, meditation, improv comedy, healthy cooking, and making intention bracelets.”
INCUBATING MYINTENT AT SPIRITLAB
“Of all the activities at SpiritLab, making intention bracelets and necklaces for guests turned out to be the centerpiece. The process invited guests to reflect on what each person wanted more out of life. It also encouraged friends to share something more personal with each other. “What’s your WORD?” became a common phrase at these events. Guests started asking for bracelets not just for themselves, but also for their friends and family. Then we started getting influencers that wanted to share these with their fans. For holiday gifts, a CEO bought a bracelet for each employee and shared inspiring stories of why she chose her word. Then Kanye West wore it on the cover of Time100 which was another powerful validation of the potential for the project.”
THE IMPACT OF SETTING AN INTENTION
"Well, on good days, I’m optimistic that if more people lived with intention, the world would be more beautiful. Some people could be very cynical and say that we’re just putting words on a piece of metal, and what is it that we’re really doing for anybody? Why aren’t you curing cancer? Why aren’t you out getting clean water for everyone? I was having that kind of moment recently. And my meditation teacher Light Watkins said to me, 'You know all you can do is your part and let the bracelet work its magic through the universe. Trust that you’re doing your part and let the project work its magic.'"