Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Join Me On My New Blog!

Dear friends,

I have moved my blog to my new website at Parvati.TV/blog. Please join me there!


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Production Mode, Book Excerpt: On Seeing Our Vasanas

Dear friends,
I am in full on production mode as we get ready to go live with my new website. I look forward to sharing it with you! It will feature fresh content and a new community portal.

In the meantime, here is another excerpt from my book Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie. This is the opening of the chapter entitled The Dirty Work.

Image courtesy of Erwin Plug

Amma speaks of how, when we sweep a floor, we may think it is clean, but then upon washing it, we find more dirt. We go through a similar process in purifying our minds. We may feel that we have “gotten somewhere” and no longer have a certain tendency, only to discover that it still exists within us in a subtler form. We may even feel that our negative tendencies have increased after we have been doing spiritual practice for a while. As we cultivate inner light, our vasanas will arise to be witnessed, understood and released.

We do not need to be discouraged when we discover that there is yet more to be done in the process of purification. Our attachments will naturally be brought to our attention in subtler and subtler ways as we continue along the path.

To avoid becoming a yoga junkie, we must be willing to accept that we are imperfect beings in an evolutionary process. We don’t have it all figured out. Byron Katie has the wonderful remark, “Don’t pretend yourself beyond your evolution.” When we try to hide the dirt of our tendencies from our self and others, we only create suffering and greater complication.

This section and the three following are an invitation to begin to wade into the muddy areas of our psyches, roll up our sleeves and start the “dirty work” of unearthing our tendencies, understanding them for what they are. Once we see them clearly, we can practice witnessing them as they arise on a moment-to-moment basis, so we may ultimately release them.

Until we become fully enlightened, we all tend to resist the moment in some way. Throughout the day, our minds are busily working out creative ways to keep the illusion of separateness alive, so that we may feel temporarily important, in control and powerful. Our ego loves to build and sustain the mirage of divisiveness to keep itself alive. But the fullness, perfection and beauty of life is unfolding all the while beyond our self-sustained delusions.

There are four primary ways we resist the moment: defending, holding onto, justifying or relishing in “mine”. Some of these we do passively, other aggressively, while others through stasis. Each will yield the same result: temporarily supporting the illusion of being separate from this moment and from our true divine nature.

Anger is easily seen as an active defense of “mine”. When we get angry, we mark our territory and defend what we feel is ours with vigour.

We passively hold onto “mine” in various ways. When we resent, for example, we hold onto the idea that life is “happening to me”. We feel victimized and powerless by a situation or a person. Resentment passively incubates the feeling of “mine” more deeply into our psyche.

Similarly, when we feel jealous, we hold onto the self-perception of “mine”, because it feels threatened and unfulfilled. We are convinced that someone else has what we feel we lack.

In shame, we are attached to our shadowy self, as though it were our identity. We passively hold onto the shadow, which we feel we deserve, eclipsing the truth that we are divine light.

When we are depressed, we feel helpless beneath the weight of our identity. We hold onto it, listlessly afraid of letting it go, because we are attached to it being who we are.

Both justifying “mine” and relishing in “mine” are driven by the same static energy, that is, by the desire to keep things unmoving. When we judge, we justify “mine”. We maintain a divisive perception by either putting our self above or below another.

We relish in “mine” when we are proud. Through pride, we attempt to maintain a lavish, over-inflated self-perception, which we feel we need to boast about to uphold. This keeps us ultimately feeling alone in our ivory tower.

Whether we are defending, holding onto, justifying or relishing in “mine”, each is a way we keep unhappiness alive in our lives. These tendencies, when left unchecked, can even develop into addictions, in which we find it very difficult to renounce certain behaviours – or even realize they are a problem - because we have a deeply ingrained sense of our self as flawed, dirty, incomplete, incapable or bad, and in need of something external to take away the pain of it all. It is only through the willingness to to bring these tendencies to the light that we free the energy stuck there within. In so doing, we find the fulfillment we have been wanting all along.

The second edition of Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie will be available soon. To add your name to the pre-orders list, click here
Wishing you peace and joy on your journey,

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Parvati Magazine - Play

Hello Friends,

This week, I share with you the August edition of Parvati Magazine. The topic is perfect for the summer: play! 

Here is my introductory Letter from the Editor:

Here is my article  on Positive Possibilities Living, entitled "Life’s Play: Immersing Yourself In the Mysteries of 'Lila'"
Please share these links with anyone you feel may be interested.
Also, enjoy the rest of the articles by a talented group of writers who are dedicated to a better world.
Big thanks to the Managing Editor, Pranada Devi, who tirelessly works hard each month to make sure these articles get to you to enjoy.
Have fun!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Yoga of The Will

The Egos Will

The common use of the word "will" conjures the notion of determination and focus to initiate an action. It is associated with the idea of pushing to get what we want and making extra effort to have things go our way. As such, when we feel that our will has been beaten by others or thwarted by the universe itself, we can often feel like a pile of roadkill pushed off to the side of our lifes path.

We can easily find many examples of this ego-driven understanding of the word "will". It is praised in boardrooms, at schools, in sports, in entertainment even in yoga classes, as I explore in my new book Confessions of a Yoga Junkie. This use of willfulness exists in most areas of life in which we wish to excel. But do we really understand the true meaning of will and the value it has along the spiritual path?

From Unconscious to Spiritual Awakening

When we live unconscious lives, we feel we must make our lives happen. Oblivious to being part of anything beyond our little selves, we imagine that we are the universe. In this limited perspective, our willpower is our tool for survival. It is our identity. The stronger our attachment to that identity, the more chances we believe we have to get ahead.

But once we wake up to a spiritual reality, we start to contemplate the right use of will. We hear prayers that include phrases like "Thy will be done" that encourage the release of our singular way. We begin to consciously participate in a force greater than our limited will.

As spiritual aspirants, we seek to understand how we fit within the greater whole. We begin to question the absolute intelligence of our own personal will, and wonder if it is in alignment with divine will. We contemplate what divine will may be for our self.

We may have experienced first hand being led blindly by our ego into painful situations and ending up hurt. Perhaps because of this, as we evolve spiritually, we begin to feel less attached to things being "my" way and open instead to other possibilities. The notion of opposites starts to dissolve. The sense of you/me, us/them, yours/mine dissipates in exchange for a deeper sense of our innate interconnection. The possibility germinates, and eventually flowers in our hearts and minds, that God/the divine/the universe may just have a better plan than we may yet see. As we learn to live beyond our ego, our lives become bigger, richer and fuller.

In so doing, we open to divine will. Yet we are often left numb and floundering as to what that could possibly be. We may have let go of overly driven uses of our will, but perhaps only in exchange for becoming Mr. or Mrs. Nice, or Oh-So-Spiritual, unclear as to who we are. We have not yet found how our will fits into a spiritually focused life, and wonder if it does at all.

Effortless Will

I have personally spent years in this quandary. I have shared in previous blog entries how I have been undergoing the death of my "feisty girl" who could conjure immense force to do the seemingly impossible, fueled unconsciously by the notion of being alone. Once she started to dissolve, I found myself questioning the right use of will.

This Mercury Retrograde, I have been going through a sort of personal recalibration, a period of greater introversion. I have found myself drawn to longer periods of meditation and contemplation. Something within me has been growing, seeking to emerge, as something else needed to fall away.

Through this period, I have experienced moments of exquisite effortlessness, as though finally, in my every cell, I was getting out of my own way and allowing my flower-like nature to simply bloom, each breath, one moment at a time. I could feel a hard shell around me, my ego watching to stake out an ambush, trying hard to hold on strong. The schism between my effortless, natural, unbridled self and the constriction of the ego would become painfully clear, and then, something would dissolve into absolute ease.

As I have ridden the waves between these two, a-ha moments would arise. In one such epiphany, I experienced how flowers exist effortlessly and are complete in their magnificence. Flowers never question. They simply are. In that state of beingness, they are everything and nothing. I witnessed how I question God's will for me, as though it were outside myself, a distant, elusive, all-powerful thing separate from me, judging me from on high. Then something started to soften and I would experience myself as that flower again and God's will was simply effortless joy.

The Yoga of Will

It has become clear through this process that the right use of will is neither forceful nor road kill. It is neither tense, nor soft. It is yoga, balanced, present, surrendered, and in flow. I realized that the right use of will is simply a complete and absolute YES! in my every cell to my soul's joy, a total release of all thoughts of anything else being my purpose. Joy is my purpose. Joy is God's will for me. So by focusing unequivocally on my joy, I align myself with universal, divine will. As I say YES! with each breath to my deepest soul joy, my life becomes a living prayer.

It is not up to me to then say, I will make it happen. That is the universes role. My job is simply to continually say yes, one moment after the next, and keep getting out of the way. From that place, clarity arises and I effortlessly breathe into my next step. I do not forcefully make anything happen. I am a dynamic co-creator, in divine conversation, in flow with the universes cosmic play.

Joy is not wanting. Wanting feels constrictive in some way. Joy is always rooted, vital and expansive. Joy is our connection to the divine within us. When I am in joy, I am in a state of receptivity. In that state, I am in abundance. When I am in abundance, I am in flow and all is already manifest. The universe knows my deepest joy, because within my deepest joy is the universe. They are not two, but one. God's Will and my joy are not two, but one.

Ask yourself, What is my deepest joy? Open to your joy as you would a flower. That joy reflects your divine nature. It is the divine in you. Take three long, deep breaths and see if you can open to the possibility that your joy is the universes joy. Repeat: My joy is the universes joy! Repeat it until you feel it tingling in every cell of your being. Effortless joy is who you truly are. All you need do is believe it and get out of the way so it may flower and become your entire life.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Finding Compassion For Those Who Hate

When you put yourself out there, share your heart and voice with the world, there will inevitably be those who love you, those who hate you and those who just don’t care. Being on the spiritual path, I find this to be an excellent teacher and a perfect ego grinder, because whatever people think of me, it does not matter. Of course, my ego says, I would love everyone to like me. But I have no control over what people think and do, or how people judge. I can only do my best, love as best I can and humbly continue to open to each moment and learn the lessons each one brings. In the end, what matters most is my relationship with the divine, which affects how I treat others and myself. What is essential, lasting and true is that I practice seeing the divine in all, even in those who may not like me.

It is hard to understand the motivation of hate, but in essence, we all have the capacity for it. No one is immune to its seduction. When I am lucidly honest with myself, I can openly say that I have felt it rise in me and take me over. I have felt its burn singe my heart. I have fallen into the indulging thrill and delusional self-importance that it conveniently provides. I have felt pumped up, important and proud through it. And I have also felt immensely alone and in pain because of it.

It is hard when we fall out with someone we once called a friend. It is extra hard to see someone close turn into someone who expresses hatred toward us. Hopefully, we do our best to understand each other, talk about the misunderstandings, heal, make amends and return to love. But without both parties being willing to return to a place of humility, little healing can take place. Walls are built, misunderstandings grow and pain festers. Whether friends or strangers, people who do not like us are still our valuable teachers. They teach us what Amma asks us to embody: “Progress is being made when you can retain evenness of mind in the face of praise and shame, honor and dishonor.”

I recall an encounter that reminds me of this. As I watched spiteful venom come my way from people I had considered friends, I had to take pause and witness the propulsion of pain. I noticed that I did not feel hatred towards them. After I worked through my initial shock and hurt at meeting this kind of dark energy, I found myself watching others hold onto their pain as they seemed to wish it upon others. I noticed that ultimately, it seemed they just wanted to feel loved, but were going about it in an upside-down manner. They were indirectly asking for love through hate, which simultaneously was pushing love away.

In that moment, I understood their suffering. By holding onto and identifying with their pain, the people they were hurting most was themselves. Amma says, “When you harm anyone, you harm everyone, especially your own self.” It was clear they were just in pain, and no amount of painful thoughts from me projected their way was going to help them, or me. I did not want to add more pain to the fabulous job they were already doing to themselves.

Amma advises, “Communication begins when you fully understand the other person's point of view.” What was the other people’s point of view? They were hurting and felt I was the source of that hurt. No apology was helping, no reaching out was received, no healing was of interest. They seemed attached to feeling “right”, hard done by, and wanted to hold onto their sense of hurt. With one party unwilling, there could be no discussion. So their pain continued. But I did not need to hold on. So I walked away and still wish them well. Amma says, “If you cannot speak with love and respect, wait until you can.” In the case of haters, the best option is silence.

The exchange was ultimately a gift, another piece along my path. Whether I am at the top of the electronic charts (where I now have been for many weeks, thank you for your generous support!) or whether people love or hate me, I cannot rest my happiness on other’s opinions. My job is to love, understand and serve each moment as best I can with a sense of receptivity to what it brings.

The deeper gift in that exchange for me is found in Amma’s wise words: “If someone is doing something that you find really offensive, check to see whether you are doing something similar to someone else or to yourself.” People who direct ill will our way can be divine mirrors to ways we may be relating to others or ourselves. In my case, I was reminded of how hard I am on myself, which I have been in the midst of seeing more clearly these past months. I don’t always speak to myself with kindness. I don’t always treat myself with love. I don’t always offer myself compassionate understanding. I can allow my self-confidence to be undermined by an old habit of self-doubt. Through that exchange, further contents of my psyche were stirred for me to see and ultimately release. So thank you, even to those who hate me, because you bring me back to the divine and teach me to love.

This day opens with a clear intention to continue to practice feeling ok being me, regardless of what others think. Because ultimately, I will only love others as well as I love myself. Amma says, “Don't just apologize for hurting someone; make the firm resolve that you will never again do that painful act to anyone.” So my sincere prayer is to continue to learn to care for, befriend, honour, love and be gentle with myself. May I have a rich relationship with the divine and may this inform a loving relationship with self and all beings.

When my grandmother was on her deathbed, I asked her what was the meaning of life. She said to me so wisely: “It is all about being yourself. It is so simple, most people miss it.” I can miss it, get caught up in thinking I “should” be/do/think/act in some other way than what feels most relaxed and myself. My true nature is love. So I learn to relax more deeply into trusting that divine truth. I go continue to allow it to flower within me and simply be, no second-guessing. Trust the arising.

The divine love that Amma shows us is within us all. It is our true nature. The rest is just temporary clouds passing through the pure and vast sky. Sometimes the clouds are dark thunderclouds, like when we meet the energy of hatred. But that has no real lasting power. Pain is perpetuated when we hold on and won’t come back to the reality that our true nature is love. I cannot make someone who is attached to pain treat me with love and respect. But I can love and respect myself and learn to treat everyone that way, without condition. That will bring me the joy and lasting happiness I seek and create the best offering I can bring to the world.

May we all know our divine nature and love!

Jai Ma,


Sunday, June 16, 2013

THE POWER OF THE MALE PRINCIPLE: Shine Your Light Into The World

Happy Father’s Day! Today I celebrate the inner male within all, whether you are a man or a woman, whether you have children or not.

As eternal, divine beings having a temporal, human experience, we ultimately are each a reflection of the divine, which is beyond the dual notion of male or female. So within each one of us is a sublime blend of male and female energies, to varying degrees. So today, I celebrate father’s day for everyone by sharing thoughts about the role of the father in our lives. I have shared some of this in past blogs, but also add new insights.

If our mothers are like the lunar presence in our lives, teaching us about our inner world of intuition and emotions and showing us how to feel safe and loved just as we are, fathers are like our personal solar force. They lead us out into the world, ensuring we have the confidence and ability to shine within society.

Our fathers show us how to equip ourselves with a strong sense of capability so that we are able build the lives we want. Their strength, support and guidance give us the tools and skills so that we can achieve what we put our minds to accomplish.

The feminine principle teaches us surrendered receptivity, learning how feel our own personal flow within the greater whole. Cradling us within the big picture and the spiritual presence of the cosmos, our mothers help us learn that our unique soul voice is a valuable and integral part of the whole. They help us to be receptive to and honour it, as a reflection of the divine.

The male principle teaches us surrendered action, showing us how to be aligned with the greater whole, as we follow our personal flow. Feeling rooted in a healthy sense self due to our maternal guidance, fathers teach us about the whole, inspiring us to fit into the universe. Helping us find and be aligned with our divine, spiritual purpose, fathers ensure that as we move out from the introverted, lunar and soulful female nest, we know how to let our soul shine and merge into spiritual light.

From a worldly perspective, the whole could be seen is institutions, organizations, religions, big business, government and corporations. But from a spiritual perspective, the whole is the notion that we are not temporal beings, but one with eternal consciousness, temporarily living within finite form.

We do not necessarily need to find the guidance from the male principle from our dad. Whether or not we had the parents we wanted, we learn to internalize the positive attributes of both the male and female energies as we live, grow and evolve, so that we may live in fulfilled balance.

So today, on father’s day, consider the way you are aligned and inspire by the male principle so that you may continue to shine your unique light into the world.

Blessings to you,

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Gift in Adversity


I just returned from being in England over the past few weeks. On a professional level, it was an excellent, full on time performing and teaching, moving my projects forward, meeting great people and finding out more about the world and myself. But what I learned was beyond all of this.

The day after my first show at the Mind Body Spirit Festival in London, I developed severe laryngitis. This may seem like a tragedy for one who uses her voice to perform and teach. But for one who has made a promise to the spiritual path, I know that the universe has an amazing way of keeping us honest and on path. Adversity is nothing other than a gift in disguise.

As I allowed myself to soften into the physical and emotional discomfort I felt having absolutely no voice, I found myself inundated with memories from what seemed to be a past life memory in London dying of consumption (tuberculosis). At that time, my lungs were full of fluid. I could not breathe, and I felt silent in my ability to voice feelings of powerlessness. In the present, what lingered was resentment of having died in a state of sorrow. So I welcomed these feelings as part of healing my laryngitis.

However, my memories did not stop there. As we toured through England, I was also reminded of another time in the UK when water filled my lungs. I had stones tied to my feet and was being drowned for my beliefs, likely when I was a healer, accused of being a witch. In that lifetime, I also died with water-filled lungs, with unspoken beliefs.

As my laryngitis moved into bronchitis, I had every opportunity to meet these emotions and send myself love and understanding so that I could deeply heal. In the bustle of the full on 18 hour a day schedule I had there, there was little room for formal sitting meditation practice, which I believe if I had had, I would not have fallen ill. I needed the inner space to process what was arising. Release through my body was the only way it could be expressed, due to my busy-body schedule. 

Being in England with fever and illness was an opportunity for me to forgive and let go at a deep, soul level. In the present, my business meetings were fruitful, people supportive, shows and workshops excellent (one was even sold out) and products sold. Spiritually, I was being asked to come more fully into the present. The fears I carried from those past experiences were colouring the here and now.

As I walked through the British streets, rode the London tube, watched the people come and go, I consciously had to remind myself it was 2013 and I was physically free and breathing freely and had the freedom to say what and how I felt.

I understand time to be like Russian dolls, each moment inside the other, not linear like we think time to be. There is no past or future, but an eternal now in which all unfolds simultaneously.

Whatever arises for us in the moment, as we practice mindful awareness, is exactly where we need to be. For me, it was in healing the past to be fully present and allow myself to grieve and heal.

Who knows what my next trip to the UK will bring. For that matter, who knows what the next moment will bring. That does not matter. I feel grateful for the opportunities I did experience and am open to what unfolds.

May we each have the courage in each moment to meet it as it is, without reservation, without judgment so that we may shine the eternal light we truly are.

Enjoy each moment,