Back 2 Basics ~ Self-Care 101

“Our thoughts and feelings have a chemical effect on our bodies. Stress, repressed emotions, depression, anxiety, lives lived half-assed — all have profound effects on our wellbeing. 

Even our fears, hurts and sufferings need to be digested, along with our last meal. 

Being truly nourished has just as much to do with our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and experiences as it does with what we are feeding ourselves on a daily basis.” 


Song to set the tone

What Is Dharma? Discovering My Life’s Purpose by Mallika Chopra

Your work is important to your Dharma or life purpose.  It consumes most of your time and energy through out your adult life.  Discovering your dosha which is your physical constitution in three main categories – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. 

Dharma is your unique purpose in life. It is the process by which you use your unique skills and passions to serve your community and the world.

As children, my father Deepak Chopra taught my brother and me the concept of dharma through his intentions, choices, and actions. We watched him transition professionally from a traditional doctor with a successful medical practice to an advocate for mind/body integration and consciousness.

This was not easy – he was often attacked by others and in financial distress – yet, he used his unique skills as a scientist, writer, and speaker, guided by his inner knowing to authentically live his purpose. We witnessed his personal transformation through daily meditation practice and self-reflection to live a healthier, happier, and more fulfilled life.

My mother was also a guiding light to us – she found meaning and purpose as the matriarch of our extended family and community. She patiently nurtured my brother’s and my individual interests. Our parents gave us the opportunity and freedom to study our passions, and gave us the practices to integrate purpose into our work and personal lives.

The Power of Intention

Early on, my father taught us about the power of intention – exploring our deepest desires to manifest the life we wanted. After meditation, he would guide us to ask the following questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What do I want?
  • How can I serve?

Listening, honestly and with humility, to the seeds of desire that arose as we asked these questions became the anchors to live with intention. We learned to ask for the qualities in our life that would make us happier, healthier, and connected to others.

There is a phrase in the Upanishads, one of the great Indian texts, that says:

You are what your deepest desire is,
As is your desire, so is your intent,
As is your intent, so is your will,
As is your will, so is your deed,
As is your deed, so is your destiny.

Reflecting on different stages of my life, I realize that my desire for love, connection, and service have remained consistent. My will (what I am willing to do) and deeds (action) have changed as my roles (mom, entrepreneur, author) evolved with the practicalities of education, time, financial security, and the community around me changed.

Fulfilling My Dharma

Despite the support and example set by my parents, I will admit that I often felt pressure to do something important and impactful to fulfill “my dharma”. I realized early on in my professional career that “dharma” for me was not necessarily going to be achieved through a traditional job. It took me decades grappling with this concept before I felt that I could fully embrace it.

I think the first time I knew my purpose – at my core – was when I discovered I was pregnant. My journey became about love in its purest form – hopeful, inspired, in awe of the power that came with nurturing a new soul. I also remember the specific moment – when I was 5 months pregnant on 9/11 – in the blur of sadness, fear and anxiety, that purpose took on a new dimension. As a parent-to-be, instinctively protective on my children who were coming into a suffering world, I knew that my intention to serve had to be combined with action to support others in our community, as well.

now know my dharma plays out in the moments of daily service to my loved ones when I am guided by love and gratitude.

As you think about your purpose, think about the role you play as a frequency holder in your family, community, and the world. Ask – how can I serve? And pay attention to how your purpose manifests itself every day through your actions.

Find guidance as you connect with your higher self in You and Your Dharma, a new four-part series on the Chopra App led by Chopra Global’s Chief Impact Officer, Devi Brown

Holidaze on the Side

Lentil Pastelon

Author: Dani

This Lentil Pastelon recipe has layers of fried plantains, lentils, and lots of cheese. You won’t be able to eat just one bite!

 PREP TIME:  25 mins

COOK TIME:  20 mins


COURSE Main Course

CUISINE American, Caribbean


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped (or 1 medium sweet onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 tbsp adobo seasoning
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water (use as needed)
  • 3 cups cooked lentils
  • coarse salt and pepper
  • 6-8 ripe plantains
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 12 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup smoked gouda cheese
  • fresh herbs to garnish (I used thyme and sage)


  1. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic, saute until shallots become translucent. Add bell peppers and jalapeno and cook for 1 minute. Add seasonings, dried herbs, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water (start with half of the water). Stir to combine. Add cooked lentils and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Check lentils. If the sauce is too thick, add remaining water and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove dutch oven from the heat and rest covered for another 10 minutes to allow sauce to thicken further. Set aside.
  2. Peel plantains and cut lengthwise. You should get about 3-4 pieces per plantain. Fry plantain in canola oil until each side is golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking dish. Line dish with a layer of plantains, followed by the lentil mixture, then provolone, mozarella, and gouda. Repeat twice more for 3 total layers. Top with more coarse salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese melts and is bubbly. If your cheese is not brown enough, broil for an additional 2-3 minutes. Let the pastelon rest for 10 minutes, then garnish with fresh herbs and spices.

Blessings to all…
In Gratitude,

Eating the life you were meant to.
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No portion of this site can be reprinted without express permission of author.

Published by Jannat Marie

I am a 20+ Breast Cancer Survivor whose passion is culinary, literary, and Yogic principles of living the fullest and vibrant life under any circumstance.

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