Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ask Parvati 14: The Death of Niceties and Feisties


Dear Parvati,
I notice that when I am around other people I tend to go into people pleasing at the expense of myself. I wonder what you have to say about that.


One of the pivotal quotes that shaped my life growing up was from one of my favorite musical icons, David Bowie. He said something like the worst trick God could play is to make you mediocre. Internalizing my version of his message, my motto became through high school and university that I would rather be an A or an F student than a C student.

Living by that belief, I developed two distinct personality traits, a tendency to edit myself to people please with niceties or plow through things with a fiery feistiness. Both extremes were fueled by a drive for what I understood to be “perfection”. The tension that lay between these and the fervour I put into trying to be “perfectly A” or “perfectly F” eventually consumed my health and wellbeing.

By the end of high school and into my first year of university, I was exhausted and stressed because I was not being authentically myself. Though it took me completing university and facing the rest of my life to figure it out, I eventually realized that I had allowed other people’s voices, wishes and dreams to unconsciously run my life. My feistily polite drive for “perfection” was based on the fear that if I were myself, I would not be loved.

I share this because I believe the fear that to be oneself would lead to a lack of love is not unique to me, but is surprisingly very common, even rampant in the human psyche. In the process of trying to come to terms with which inner voices were mine and which were not, I discovered that my extreme personality traits were like healthy qualities on steroids. Through various illnesses and harsh life lessons, I learned to dial down the intensity of my attachment to an idea of perfection and redirect the root energy that was driving it into more life affirming expressions.

I discovered that within my drive for perfection were many strong qualities. From this, immense creativity, powerful zeal and an ability to harness raw momentum out of almost any situation soon became my allies. Drawing upon these qualities, I learned to redirect my drive for perfection towards protecting my inner voice rather than the voice of others.

(I am very fond of the approach of self-help author Debbie Ford, whose shadow work helps people profoundly transform their lives, not by trying to get rid of “bad” qualities, but by finding the gems, the hidden teachings, in all we have within.)

Learning to be true to myself has meant letting go of a lot of excess. I have had to look at letting go of a tendency to become entangled in what others think. I needed to look at my defensiveness, learning to let go of a general, ongoing feeling of being judged or attacked. I have had to watch the death of my niceties and my feisties so that I could find the courage to go within and fiercely honour my own unique rhythm and voice.

As I began to live a more soul-directed life, I realized that doing so was not really the norm. Looking back at the construct I had started to leave behind, I saw that though on the surface it seemed that society supported excellence, the pull to live in the status quo was stronger in the collective consciousness. It seemed most people were complacently satisfied with fitting in and being “normal”.


Midway through university, I started to wear a pin on my coat that asked the question: “Why be normal?” I meant it as a provocative and sincere question as to what normality really meant to the world at large and to anyone who noticed me wearing it.

What I came to realize is that there is nothing wrong with being an A, B, C, D or F student, if that is who you truly are. We each are unique expressions of a divine force and it is our job to discover what that is and express it in our life. The problem is, most of us go through life on autopilot, as though we are asleep, wondering why life feels like a bad dream, tending to react to our unconscious thoughts and desires rather than learning to live fully and authentically.

When we begin to wake up, we wake up to, as the mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “the full catastrophe” of our lives. We learn to see the depth of our reactivity, the ways we give our power away to people and things and how we place happiness in some elusive place or person outside ourselves. Deeper still, we learn to touch and be present for the silent voices that rage through our actions, like feeling fundamentally “I can’t” or “I am not loved”.

When we come upon these old, hidden places within us, we must learn to pause and befriend them, rather than run from them pretending they do not hurt. When we welcome our full self into our self, we access our fullest power. We learn to see that our dreams are completely feasible, and that we have all we need to realize them. We begin to see that our main obstacle has been our self (no one else) and the antagonistic way we have seen the world.

As I began to find my own answers as to “why be normal?”, I started to follow an impulse, a powerful yet quiet force that lay waiting behind my conscious thoughts. It was within me and made no logical sense. But did it matter? I felt alive. I felt open. I felt connected. And in so doing, I was a better, fuller, more inspired, helpful and loving person.

In learning to find our unique rhythms, we need to try things out. I went through a phase of sporting short, electric purple hair with fluorescent blue eyebrows. My regular dress was multi-coloured body paint hidden mysteriously under a wardrobe of solid black. Only after a phase of leopard skin, tutus and combat boots, followed by a love affair with haute couture, did I reveal my joy of full colour. That was when I got rid of everything black.

When I was living in New York City, I went through a phase where everywhere I went, I carried a rubber goldfish in the palm of my hand, that I called “Fishy”. There was no sense in it. It was my own whimsical performance-art piece. The jelly-like goldfish was my friend, so it went where I went. People got use to it and accepted it. It was funny. It made people pause, do a double take and laugh. I loved that pause. I loved the space it gave because it allowed for more authentic connections as we stepped out of “normal”.

A friend of mine from New York, Kelly Cutrone, has a recent book called Normal Gets You Nowhere that shares her own brand of self-love. She believes normalcy inhibits the unique gifts everyone can offer the world and doesn't necessarily bring happiness. I agree with Kelly that when we are true to who we are, it's easier to be honest, it's easier to be compassionate, and the world is a much better place.


Being true to who we are is an ongoing process as we meet each moment of our lives. It is not a final destination point but a ripening as we get to know ourselves more fully. We all are works in progress, letting go of excess, reclaiming what we lost, discovering the new and rediscovering the forgotten.

It requires a fierce courage to be oneself. “Fierce courage” to me does not mean acting like a bully or railroading people. (If that is naturally who you are, then ok - but I would doubt it to be so. Most bullies are people who are deeply afraid.) We need fierce courage because there is momentum to normalcy, there is social momentum to staying asleep and not awakening one’s true nature. In effect, there is no “normal”. There is either “asleep” or “awake”, to varying degrees.

When we begin to honour our true nature, we shed light for others to do the same. But not everyone is ready for such honesty, nor does everyone want it. Connecting to our inner fierceness keeps us honest, instinctual, and in alignment with nature. Tapping into courage helps us move towards greater expansion. Developing compassion helps us understand the tendency to want to remain asleep. Because that tendency exists within us all, we can see ourselves in others. However, in this moment, we choose to live awake.

When we are naturally who we are, we align our energies with the force of nature, a most potent force. It does not apologize for who it is. It does not sheepishly try to be something else. It does not look for approval. It simply is.

The flower does not question that it is a flower, nor does the lion question its nature. The flower quietly reflects beauty. The lion will tear off your head if you get too close. The flower does not question if it is too beautiful, nor does the lion struggle with guilt, doubt and self-reproach due to the force of its claws. If the lion pretended to be a mouse, the lion would be unhappy. If the flower were crushed by concrete, it could not grow. We must be who we are.

Driven by the ego that knows only fear and disconnect, our minds tend to seek control and manipulate reality to suit our core beliefs. In turn, we create complexity in the moment, in which we become entangled. By becoming mentally convoluted, we lose touch with the force of our innate intelligence that arises from deep within through our connection with nature.

If your joy is singing, then sing. If your joy is being a lawyer, then love it. If you want to sit and read a book, then lap it up. If you need to tell someone how you feel, then let that person know. And do it completely, with every ounce of your being. Whatever it is, if you crush that connection with nature, your connection to who you are, everyone loses. When you honour it, everyone wins.

If there is truth in my desire to be either an A or an F student, it is that neither being driven by wanting to be “nice” nor by being overly “feisty” was right for me. Both were a form of pushing or pulling at life, rather than riding the river I am. Each one of us has to find that flow, our own unique expression of the life force that moves within us. Groundbreaking modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham provides an inspiring quote to illustrate this: “There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. Because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.”

We often mistake compassion for sentimentality and love for sweetness. Love to me is fierce, an unbridled force that defies reason. It is the force that says, “I am that I am.” Compassion is an expression of that force through action. It calls us to serve through love for being here, for being part of it all.

When we don’t say what we need or share who we are, we are living in fear and, in effect, we waste our lives and everyone else’s time. This life is short. The perils are many. We need to sharpen our inner clarity to see who we are and connect to our unique inner light so that we may shine as beacons in the world.

Many people won’t get it. Many people will. Either way, it doesn’t matter. What matters most is that you feel alive, plugged in and real. In tapping into such rooted, vital expansiveness, you send a message to the universe of possibility, of interconnection, of “yes” to life. Without any aggression or warrior rage, you have created a radical revolution – by being exactly who you are. 

Today, and every day, I celebrate you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ask Parvati 13: I Suck. Please Love Me.

Self-Love and All That Fun Stuff

May 22, 2011

Dear Parvati,
I really want a life partner but just can’t seem to find the right person. I have been told I need to work on my self before I can find my life partner, but I must admit I don’t totally get why. Are we not supposed to grow with our partner? I feel like I need to be somehow perfect to attract the right person into my life. I find all this stressful so I thought you could shed some light on this. Thanks.

Thank you for the question. Most of us grow up with the idea that someone ‘out there’ will come along some day to fill us up. Mesmerized by fairy tale myths of a perfect prince or princess who will transform our lives into magic, we look (and perhaps are looking) for the one person who would make our lives perfect and bring us the happiness we feel we have been deeply missing.

Just like with all fairy tales, “real life” is something different. For the most part, what we commonly call love is some form of unspoken contractual relationships, where “if I act in a certain way, I will get this and that from you, and vice versa”. Contracts are not love but arrangements.

Getting real about love means learning to face our own lives and look at our values, our hopes, our dreams, our tender places, our relationships with friends, family and peers and most importantly, our relationship with ourselves.


Trying to find a lasting relationship feeling lousy about oneself is like trying to catch rain with a sieve. We simply don’t have the containment to attract the nectar we seek to quench our hungry and lonely hearts. If we look within, we may feel a hunger that is deeply insatiable. This is a feeling that only we can satisfy. It would be impossible for anyone to do that for us.

Until we feel we are worthy of love, we are unable to sustain the true love we ultimately seek. When we feel incomplete within ourselves, our sense of partiality tends to attract partial relationships that last for some time and then dissolve. It is only when we feel whole within ourselves that we attract the wholesome love that provides the meaty sustenance to accompany and enhance our lives.

When we learn to love our self, we become like an open cup ready to receive the bounty of life. Perhaps, to some, that seems like bitter irony. You may ask, “If I feel whole, why would I want to find love?” Love is organic and infinite. It is not an end point, but an ongoing, alive, evolving force. Love does not arise though “wanting”. When we are “wanting”, we are identified as separate from that which we want. How can we attract something from which we feel disconnected? When we we feel that we are not separate from, but exist within, love, we are able to receive and sustain it.

Love flourishes as an ever-present force to be witnessed. For most, love is to be found, to be had or to be lost. But for the wise, love is to witness an unfolding. As we love ourself or as we love another, we learn not to grasp or to control, but to appreciate with inner spaciousness the blossoming, the evolution of this moment as it is.

It is not someone else’s job to make you feel loved, but up to you to tap into the love within yourself. Friends, family, lovers, spouses can amplify that connection within you, but they are not the source. To put that job on someone else would be to sidestep your own spiritual responsibility.

Feeling disconnected from love can be a deeply unconscious thing, due to wounds we carry from childhood and/or from past lives. There may be a very young place within us that still feels unmet by our mother, our father or both. From this place, we tend to express a wanting for love. We may be feeling unconsciously, “I want daddy to make it all ok,” or “I want mommy to love me in the way I need”, which then gets projected onto any potential partner we may attract. How could a partner fill that void?

A mature, lasting love relationship is not two halves making a whole, but two wholes dancing in the infinite. We must do our own inner work on our deeper issues before we can have a lasting and meaningful relationship with another person.


It is up to each one of us to realize that within us exists an unbroken tie to the universe, an unending tap that flows with love. The problem is, most of us are standing on the ‘cosmic hose’ that is pumping love our way, while we scratch our heads bewildered, wondering where all the love has gone. When we are developing self-love, we need to look within at the ways in which we are blocking the flow to feel love, to feel loved.

Love is all around, within, always. The very fabric of the universe pulsates at the frequency of love, of joy, of abundance. In each moment we are loved beyond what we could ever imagine. It is our own distorted thoughts, wounds and attachments that make us believe otherwise. So why do we hold on to feeling disconnected, searching for love ‘to fill me up’ from ‘out there’, rather than within?

Perhaps it is habit, socialized patterns, a sort of cosmic amnesia that keeps us asleep rather than truly empowered. Perhaps it is easier to blame than take responsibility. There is a subtle power we get from feeling powerless, from feeling like a victim. It is scary to let go of blame and take responsibility for our happiness, because we have to look within and change things that hold us back from growing. Stepping into the new, the unknown, is scary, when we are attached to things being as they are. That involves being accountable for our life and letting go of blaming everyone, even our parents, or the universe, for our wounds. We each chose our parents and every aspect of our lives. Everything that exists in our lives is a reflection of our thoughts and beliefs and provides perfect support for our growth. There are no mistakes, only opportunities.

In order to embrace change, we need courage. Self-love takes courage to develop. It is only when we have the courage to welcome ourselves into our hearts that we find the love we seek. In welcoming our full self into our self, that is, in opening ourself up to the totality of who we are, we learn to welcome the love from the universe, and then from others, into our lives. When we love ourself, we discover how to co-create with the love from another. Our life then becomes like a house built on a solid foundation.

Without self-love, we tend to graft ourselves onto another person’s energy, because we are not rooted in who we are. Our rootedness comes from our personal relationship with the cosmos, the divine and the reality (not the myth) of love. One’s relationship to the divine is a deeply personal thing, something no one but oneself can truly understand.


Self-love is different from self-confidence or having a good self-esteem, though they can be related. Self-confidence is when one feels certitude in their ability to discern or act, whereas self-esteem involves a quiet assurance in one’s place within the whole, a feeling of being a valuable and welcome part of the universe. Self-love involves the ability to treat oneself with understanding, kindness, patience and gentle perseverance. Deeper still, self-love involves one’s ability to know that one’s true nature is love and that our human destiny is to embody that love and express it in all we do.

The notion of self-love conjures images for many of being overly indulgent, narcissistic, egotistical, vain or selfish. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. It is only when we love our self that we learn to truly love others.

When we love ourself, we begin to look at life not as something happening ‘to me’, but as a reflection of who we are. We don’t feel separate from people, places and things, but we see our self in our surroundings. We feel closer to, even a part of, everything. There is a gentle sense of containment, or embrace, that surrounds us at all times, no matter what. In this, we feel rooted, vital and expansive, able to participate in life and follow our true joy with openness and courage.

Self-love is not about being overly attached and fascinated with the notion of “mine”. Self-love is a sacred thing. It brings us close to the divine. It allows us to see our Self as a reflection of the sacred, a part of a much greater whole. Self-love requires a paradigm shift. It involves being able to feel connected at some level to something greater than our ego.

When we allow ourselves to be wholly who we are, we embody the Divine. Our deepest joy is our way into the realm of possibility, a guiding light into our true, infinite nature. I have often contemplated on the meaning of the phrase “It is God’s Will”. Does that mean that some force outside of me could potentially disapprove of my choices? What I have come to realize is that there is no force ‘out there’ that is separate from my true self. The will of the universe dances to the rhythm of love and is supported by joy. In essence, my true joy is the universe’s joy. I know without a shadow of doubt that so it is for you too. We are all beings of love. Let us remember our true nature and set ourselves free. Love, love, love. It is all about love.

May we each remember our true nature, embody love and set the world’s heart ablaze.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ask Parvati 12 - Psyched About Being Psychic?


I am often asked how to develop more intuition. Recently I received two questions on that topic. It seems as we embrace spring and clear out the old, making way for the new, people are looking to see more clearly as they make wiser, more inspired decisions. This week, we take a look at learning to navigate in the unseen. Thank you for your questions!

Dear Parvati,

How can I become more intuitive? I sense things sometimes about myself and about others and sometimes the hits turn out to be right. But other times I'm way off base or it's just totally blank. I wish I could see more. Can I do meditations to open my third eye or something to become more psychic?

Dear Parvati,

How do you know when 'angels' or other 'messages' are coming to you, as opposed to your own thoughts creating them? I find this dilemma to be a bit of a battle for me, which then interferes with 'faith'. How does one know if they are receiving guidance from an external source rather than creating it themselves? How do you differentiate? Or can you?


We exist within a vast, multidimensional whole. I have said that in many other blog posts. What does it really mean? We can think of our interconnection with 'all that is' in a tangible way. Think of this: the air you are breathing right now is air I too am breathing right now. It is also the same air that someone in Africa, China and Chile is breathing right now. That air also flows right now in and out of plants, animals, humans, and all things living. Wow!

All that exists on Earth is affected by gravity. There is a force that keeps us here, literally. We know we are affected by the cycles of the sun. Light dims, we get sleepy. Not enough light through the day, we can get depressed. As the moon shifts, the ocean tides change, and so do the tides in our body, being, personality and perceptions.

The force that creates form, the material world as we see it, is not visible to our eyes. But we can see its effect. We can see how in spring, the flowers grow and new life is born to animals and plants. There is a force at work. We can see its effects, but we cannot see it. Or can we?


Seers for millennia have been able to see that which is not visible to most. The vital energy of plants can be seen as rays of colour, sparkling auric fields, dancing life. People's thoughts and emotions project colour, texture and shape. Those who are particularly open and sensitive, such as children, are more likely to see an angel. Some people can see and communicate with the deceased or wandering spirits that have lost their way. What are they doing to access the unseen?

There is a whole heck of a lot going on in each moment, more than we commonly realize. Our brains are designed for survival to edit information so we can get the tasks at hand complete. But as we evolve spiritually, our minds become quieter and our thoughts slow down. The space between thoughts increases so that we are more receptive to possibility, the field of pure consciousness. Our minds become clearer windows into what is, less cluttered by a desire to control this moment. In this quiet, we can see, hear, feel, taste and smell more... not with our physical senses, but with latent senses designed specifically to connect with the unseen.


As we lessen our attachment and identification with our mundane, physical five senses, we awaken our senses that touch the unseen. The area between the eyebrows at the center of the forehead becomes internally quiet and expands so that we may see, not with our physical eyes, but with an inner, intuitive eye, that which is not physically present. The experience of seeing in this subtler way is not like seeing with our eyes. It can be like seeing multidimensional passageways of light, a high speed film, brilliant flashes of crystal clear insight into alternate possibilities, or visions of beings and realms beyond than which are limited by gravity... to name a few.

The same is true for the inner ear, a gift that allows us to hear that which is not audible; or subtle smell, to become aware of perfumes that are undetected by the nose; or subtle touch, to feel the non-physical. For example, in my early days doing energy work, part of my guidance came through smell. When energies that were present but not physically visible were benevolent, often a floral smell spontaneously appeared in the room. When malefic energies were present, usually a sulfuric or putrid smell would appear. Or I could hear voices that would either be guiding me or distracting me. Just like I said in a recent blog, discernment is key on the spiritual path. I had to learn what was created by my own personality, what was emerging from beyond me, what was guidance and what was distraction.


A Vedic Astrologer once looked at my chart and exclaimed, "You have a very strong relationship with the unseen!" It is true. Ever since I can remember, I was one who was in touch with realms that others could not sense existed. One scene from my childhood was me excitedly calling my mom, saying, "Who is that lady in the blue dress in the living room?" To Mom, the living room was empty. The visiting woman looked different to me than people in the house, not only because she had very odd fashion sense (her Victorian dress was long since passé) but because she did not seem as thick, dense or solid.

My sensitivity, as predicted by the astrologer, continues to be an important and strong part of my life. It is a skill I was born with, yes, like those who have greater facility with math than others. But it is a potential we all have and one that can be developed with patience, non-attachment and humility. My work in the unseen has been an ongoing relationship, refined through trial and error and meeting teachers who could inspire my path.

One very important piece in my journey has been that I do not go looking for things in the unseen. Just as it is bad manners (and bad karma!) to read another's mail, so too it is not good psychic etiquette to try to read another's mind or see if you can see what colour underwear they are wearing. Boundaries are super important in our mundane world in order to have healthy relationships. It is even more important in the unseen. Just as you take on karma for peeking at someone's private diary, so too, it is a bad idea to go looking for psychic info without full consent.

When we learn to work with the unseen, we must learn to remain grounded, rather than jettisoning out of our body and out into other aspects of the universe. I firmly believe that we have all that we need right here, right now, in order to evolve. We don't need intuitive skills. In fact, they can greatly amplify one's ego, quicker than almost anything else on the spiritual path. So if you are desiring to be more intuitive, I would ask myself where that impulse comes from.


The ego is a tricky thing and ultimately we are on the planet to release our attachment to it. Many people who have asked me over the years about wanting to become more psychic I have felt were asking from ego, trying somehow to gain more control over their lives, more power over the moment rather than learning to open to what is. I deeply feel that psychic skills, if they are meant to be part of your life, will arise naturally, usually through a dedicated spiritual practice that is rooted in humility and non-attachment. When we express "wanting", there is ego. When there is ego, there is no clarity but a desire to distort what is to suit one's sense of need. When there is wanting and control, there is attachment and clouded perception.

True psychic skills happen completely without agenda. Firstly, when I have agreed to offer my intuitive skills for others’ insight, it is when I have been asked to do so. Secondly, I must be in a place of complete non-resistance to what is... non-attached to what I may see or to results I may want. As such, it takes greatest mastery to practice divination for oneself, close friends, family members, or for situations where we may have a vested interest. It is possible, but only after years of practice and discernment, for one to see beyond desire. A true psychic is an impartial witness to what is with no agenda, a simple, humble servant to the Divine. This is very important.

In the realm of the unseen, there is much trickiness. There are drifting spirits, like your dead uncle who sees himself now as an enlightened being just waiting for someone to open themselves up to share his "insights". Though that information would come from the non-physical, it would not necessarily be clear or accurate. There are also dark, ignorant and deluded energies, which one would want to avoid, that convolute, distort and feed on others’ ignorance... in this case, yours. There are also energies that only love and serve. One's impartiality is the only means to navigate a world of such potential stickiness.

Psychic and paranormal skills called (in Sanskrit) Siddhis, do naturally develop along the spiritual path. But they are not the goal and must not be confused as such. For some, they are just a passing phase along the road to return to the One. Is not our spiritual goal to embody bliss and pure divine love, and not to read tea leaves? Just like all things that have form (and the unseen has form, just of a subtler construct) these intuitive skills will come and go, dissolve and pass as we evolve. We must not be attached to them.


So how do you know it is not just you making it all up? Just as you must learn to act without attachments if you are to interact safely with the unseen, benevolent beings that are worthy of interaction also have no "wanting", attachment energy or controlling agenda. I have heard of channels who encounter entities with a very strong directive that eventually take control over their lives. This is unhealthy. Benevolent beings like angels do not push, pull or control a meeting. One's ability to remain grounded, unattached and neutral is essential to safely contact the unseen. When grace happens, is it just there, without any stickiness, constriction or fear.

In some ways, it does not really matter if what you are hearing or sensing is coming from an angelic force or from you, as long as you are serving the highest good in all and are continuing to practice the release of the ego's grip as expressed through your attachments. I can say that what comes from within one's body is usually the voice of the soul. What rattles in one's head is usually the mind creating a narrative. What is expressed outside and around your body are entities, whether clear ones or not.

For years I said that my body is my guru. It never lies. By learning to understand different physical signs, my body constantly keeps me in alignment with my soul and spirit. I feel sitting meditation is key to awakening one's intuitive skills, if not just for the simple reason that sincere meditation is a process of dissolving the ego and purifying the body. When I sense the unseen, I am grounded and relaxed. Being rooted in one's self, feeling vital and expansive are all important starting points.

Once I feel centered, I see/hear things in terms of quadrants in my energy field. I know from experience that hearing voices or seeing images through different places in and around my body, will be either tricky or benevolent energies. So you can ask yourself, is the voice or sense in the front of your head? Within your heart? In your gut? Outside your body? To your upper left? Upper right? Where and how is information being communicated? For me, things I feel/see I can relate to in terms of quadrants as to where I am feeling/seeing them. Over the years, I have a developed a multidimensional map-like system in the unseen with specific benchmarks and signposts. My way of communicating within the unseen landscape is constantly evolving as I evolve.


Everyone will have their own way to sense/feel/see the unseen. It takes practice and humility to discover your own way. There are however some universal points that are worth mentioning here:

  1. MEDITATION: Develop a meditation practice where you sit for five, ten, twenty minutes, however long you feel you can while maintaining an uninterrupted focus on your breath or your mantra. If you want to start meditating but are not sure how, I wrote a blog recently on that. Please take a look.
  2. INTEGRITY: Ask yourself why you want to become more psychic. Make sure you are not in some way trying to skirt around perhaps some uncomfortable feelings or trying to feel more powerful in some way.
  3. BOUNDARIES: Never try to read someone's mind or eavesdrop on conversations. Respect boundaries.
  4. NON-ATTACHMENT: Never have an agenda about what you want to see, hear or feel. Remember that you are not the doer. You are in humble service to the Divine.
  5. STAY GROUNDED: Your body/being/emotions must feel neutral at all times. Otherwise in some way your own personality and ego are getting involved and trying to control information.
  6. RECEPTIVITY: Do not leave your body to see if you can meet other beings, or see/feel/hear more. Allow any information come to you, not you going to it.
  7. ALL IS PERFECT: You have everything you need to know right here, right now. Feel quiet and content with what is rather than wanting more. Keep focusing on that which feels rooted, vital and expansive. The rest will take care of itself.


The only exercise I will suggest is this. Go to the park. Sit quietly near some flowers. Watch them and see if you can let go of creating a story about them such as, "Oh, I love this type of flower. My boyfriend gave me them last Valentines..." Just watch the flowers. See how they are in space, how the wind touches them, how they root to the Earth... just watch, no narrative.

After some time, rather than moving your energy deeper into the flowers (as though you want to read it... Remember? Boundaries!), pull your energy and mind back a bit, as though you were receiving the flowers' energy. Open to the flowers. Politely ask if they have anything to say. Remain quiet, receptive and unattached. Actively listen with your heart.

You may feel nothing. You may just feel warmth, or kindness. Or you may hear words like your own voice saying this is stupid or you are hungry. Or perhaps there is something else... Whatever it is, it does not matter. Should you feel you have received a message, watch the tendency for the ego to potentially constrict around it and own it. The information was already there before you became conscious of it. It is not yours. Again, whatever it is, it does not matter. Remember, you are not attached, but a compassionate witness to what is.

After some time, thank the flowers and move along. 

Enjoy the flowers,

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ask Parvati 11: Be A Mother To Yourself

Be A Mother To Yourself

Mother's Day, May 08, 2011

Dear Parvati,
Every year when Mother’s Day comes around, I feel conflicted. My own mother died ten years ago. She was emotionally distant and judgmental and no matter what I did, it never seemed to be enough for her to really love and accept me unconditionally. In addition, I have not yet become a mother myself. I feel sad about this, but I am also afraid that if I do have children, I might repeat the pattern of my childhood and pass on my wounds to them. How can I find a place of love and acceptance, and move on with my life?


Wounds. We all have them, whether we hurt because we lose the love we thought we had or we are hurt black and blue from a bad physical accident. When we were children, we instinctively called for our mother to help us up after we took a spill, or to soothe our aching hearts. Our mother was to come and wrap us up with that perfect embrace, whisper the perfect words that were to help us find our way back to wholeness. Or so we hoped.

Whether or not you feel you had the perfect childhood or one with more complexity, as we mature, we eventually come to realize that we must learn to love and nurture ourselves, the way our mothers would or could have done, so that we may experience total health and well being. Whether or not we learned the ability to love, care and soothe from our mother or from a mother-like figure in our lives, at some point we must awaken the universal mother within our own hearts. She will carry us through our entire life, long after our biological mother is gone.


No matter what age you may be or how much or how little inner work you may have done, a wounded inner child may remain untouched, hidden away, asking for love in some way. Despite our parents’ best effort, a common thread among many seems to be that some part of us, at some level, no matter how big or how small, visible or not, did not receive the love we needed as a child. That part of our psyche becomes frozen in time, "wanting mummy" or "wanting daddy" in some way, seeking the love it needed and still needs, until we thaw our inner walls and become still enough to listen to its call.

When the wounded child is in the driver’s seat of our lives, consciously or unconsciously we push that which is good for us away because we have lost the willingness to receive, believing fundamentally that the love we need does not exist. We create situations in our lives that prove our feelings of wounding. We may sabotage a great relationship, or sell out in our job or demean ourselves to make an opportunity happen because we deep down feel that love is not possible for us.

But there are no accidents. All that is happening is a reflection of our thoughts, beliefs and soul patterning from our previous births. Our wounds are not our parents’ responsibility any more than they are our boss's, our lover's or our environment's. We come to this life with a soul need to learn. We attract and create situations in our life that will best provide us the lessons, based on our perceptive abilities and beliefs.

All that is, at one level, no matter how ugly, painful and cruel, is within a field of balance and perfection that provides us with exactly what we need to evolve. Are we willing to truly see, open and learn? All healing happens when we are open, ready and willing to see ourselves as we are, and meet this moment as it is. Until that time, we continue to suffer.


When our wounded child is left untouched, uncared for by our own compassionate attention, we experience suffering. Because we have closed ourselves off to the possibility of the love we need, we tend to live in a defensive state. We can become overly attached to painful emotions as a means to feel angry at the world, sit by watching life go by, feeling hard done by. Feeling a victim to life is a common trap for those who feel they have not received the love they need and at some level have given up on the possibility that they will find what they need.

As with any wound, nature kicks in to protect that which is vulnerable until it is healed. When the wound is healed, the protective guarding comes off, new skin is revealed and growth continues. The process of letting go of our defensiveness, reactivity and victimization (which can run the full range of emotions from hopelessness to rage to grief) can be scary. Just as we need to show up at the doctor to remove a cast on a broken leg, we need to show up for ourselves to let our guard down. But first, we need to admit that we have a guard up at all, and that can be the toughest part for many when habits are deep, even addictive. There is subtle power we can feed on when we feel like a victim, which can be hard to release.

Used to making our way through life on a fraction of our true potential, we can be like invalids hobbling about on a broken leg, trying to convince ourselves that we are ok. We feed the wounds with temporary pacifiers like money, sex, drugs, entertainment and foods in an attempt to fill a void we don't want to see. Sometimes it takes our broken leg turning gangrenous for us to bring ourselves to understand that we are in need of healing. Finally, the wounded child has our full attention.

In order to heal, we must look within to get to know aspects of ourselves we have left behind. The wounded child gets locked away in the recesses of our being until we open that door. Perhaps a pressing force such as an accident or heartbreak brings us face to face with that door, but only a deeply gentle touch can turn the door handle for us to feel safe enough to walk in.

The depths of the wounds can seem immense, even infinite, as though the emotions we fear we may encounter would never cease. But if there is a constant in life, it is that life is ever changing. Nothing lasts forever, including those scary places within. All things pass. In that, we can take comfort as we move with care and gentleness towards our tender bits. These wounds likely came about from feeling judged, blamed, hurt and unloved in some way. So pushing at these places will only increase the wound.


It is only when we learn to let go, open and meet life as it is do we begin to learn to accept ourselves as we are - beautiful bits, warts and all. When we learn to rest in self-love, we reach the tender place within our own heart that cradles the wounded child within. When we touch that - oh so raw – place, we begin to touch a well of infinite love, more than we ever imagined. When we begin to rest in self-love, we begin to open to life -- and the very fabric of life is unconditional love. We tap into the perfect, unconditional motherly love that the planet gives us in each moment. She, as a living being, loves and sustains us. And she is loved unconditionally herself and exists within a larger mother, the creative force of the universe of which we all are a part. As we tap into self-love, we open to the love from the planet and the universe that is reflected in all beings.

Healing occurs when we align with the powerful yet profoundly compassionate force of nature, our deeper mother. And that mother exists in our heart and soul, whether you are a man or woman. It takes that unconditionally loving presence directed towards ourselves for us to ultimately feel the love, healing and freedom we need. Think of the wounded place within as a frightened doe in a wild forest. Would it not take sincere gentleness, true relaxation and deep love to approach this skittish animal? The wounded child within is as fragile and powerful as that doe.

As you move towards wholeness, I ask that you do so with tremendous gentleness, the kind of care, attention and affection that a mother would have for her infant. We are all children in the arms of the divine. If we can remember more often to give ourselves that self-kindness, that self-compassion, that self-love, our world would be a sweeter place and our lives will unfold with greater ease and less resistance.

We all fall. We all have wounds. Be the mother to yourself that gently picks you up, washes off the scraps on your knees, shares encouraging words and sends you on your way. She is always with you. She will never let you down. Invite her into your life today and give thanks for the abundance of love that is within and all around. We are, after all, so very blessed to be alive. That in itself is an expression of the universal mother’s love for you.


1) Find a quiet place and give yourself permission to feel. Just as a loving mother would, ideally, fully accept all your joys and wounds without reserve, meet whatever arises in you, to the best of your ability, without judgment. Think of yourself welcoming your whole self with open arms. Take time to do this every day and notice how much more energy, freedom and joy naturally arises. Ask yourself the question, sincerely with an open heart directed towards yourself: "How do you feel? How come? What can I do to better love and support you?" Listen and receive the information with warmth and gratitude. Breathe it in. Yes.

2) Take a box of wax crayons and some paper (newsprint is fine) and find a quiet, uninterrupted place. Let yourself scribble, doodle, do whatever you want without judging. Have fun letting your inner child play. If you choose, and only if you choose, you may wish to put away the doodles to look at another day. If you do decide to look at the drawings, do so not from a vantage point of artistic merit, but with the non-judging perspective of a loving mother whose only job is to see things exactly as they are. Just notice what is there, the colours, the shapes, the mood, the expression. How do the images make you feel? What is being communicated in them? Quietly see if any thoughts, emotions or images come to mind. Breathe in and welcome any information that arises.

3) Get a blank piece of paper and pencil and find a quiet place to go within. Pick up the pencil in your non-dominant hand, that is, the one you do not usually use to write. Then ask your inner child if it has anything to say. Start to write without editing, even if the text is scribbly and hard to read. Allow that child to have a voice. See what comes up, without judging. Be willing to see it, as it is. Breathe deeply and embrace whatever arises, as a loving mother would. Welcome the voice of your inner child into your heart.

4) Find a quiet and relaxed place, either sitting on a chair or comfortably lying down. Inhale, breathe in so that you feel you receive all the love that already exists right now, everywhere. Feel yourself receiving love into your lungs, into your heart, into your body, into your being. Exhale, and let go into that love, feeling that you are letting go into a very present, physical embrace. So inhale love, nourishment, support. Exhale, and relax into the love.

Wishing you much love,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ask Parvati 10: The Power of Letting Go

May 1, 2011

Dear Parvati,
I am a bit type A, tending to take charge of situations. I feel good about how much I can get done even under pressure, but I find that afterwards I feel exhausted, headachey, stressed and grumpy. People suggest to me that I need to learn to let go, but I have a hard time relating to that. I think that if I let go, everything would fall apart and I wouldn’t know where to start again. Yet, for some reason, I keep hearing their words in my mind, to let go. How can I begin to let go of some of the stress and not freak out about not being in control?


Thank you for your question. It is spring and the force of nature is churning. As the trees sprout leaves and flowers burst into life, we can feel an impulse to get active in an attempt to shed physical and psychological winter weight from our lives. Whether you are a type A personality or not, we can overdo these times of seasonal transition and end up with colds, allergies and other physical symptoms, ways our bodies let us know that we had best slow down and learn to let go.

Because the mind tends to only know two ways of thinking, to move towards something we like or to move away something we don't, we try to push away things we no longer want. Trying to push or pull at life is like trying to move mountains. Sooner or later we end up exhausted and come to realize that there is a force in life that is much greater than our limited ego or will. Whether we end up flat on our backs with a broken heart, a massive cold, a lost job or just plain wrung out from too much effortful living, the wise words "let go" or "surrender" start to come to mind.


For most of us, the notion of surrendering can be quite bewildering, conjuring images of "throwing in the towel", giving in or even becoming roadkill to someone else's overpowering will. From the point of view of the ego, surrendering may seem like we are giving up and somehow taking a loss. But when we look deeper, we see that nothing could be further from the truth.

The ancient text called the Hatha Yoga Pradipika speaks of sukha-sthira, finding a balanced yogic state that is neither just relaxed nor just alert, but a union of the two. Artists, dancers, athletes and business people have expressed finding that balanced flow when they experience peak performances. In that flow, the individual has tapped into a much greater whole. There is no defensive holding on to the ego. One has surrendered to ride within a force that is much greater than the limited sense of self.

When we are stressed, our field of perception narrows. This is a remnant of our past need to run for our lives when chased by a lion in the jungle. This focus serves our need to survive. But when habitually used as a day-to-day stress response, the narrow sight means we often tend to miss a lot. By allowing ourselves to let go of the fear of the proverbial jungle lion (be it our boss, our partner, our parents or whatever we fear), our field of vision expands and we see more fully. In so doing, we tap into a greater field of possibility and flow within a greater whole. In this way, we have access to more options, more choice, more power. As we learn to let go, we may find that the phone call we had anxiously been waiting for suddenly happens or cash for an outstanding bill arrives at our door. We may see the broken step on the stairs and avoid a painful tumble. As we let go, we get out of our own way and learn to receive the support that inherently exists within nature. 


Let us look at nature. The chrysalis that transforms into a butterfly, does it doubt, angst and stress over the process it undergoes? Or is the cocooned creature in a surrendered state held perfectly within an intelligent whole? Really think about it. When the flower springs from the soil, is it thinking "gotta get it right" or "gotta work harder"? Or is it simply being, expressing a flow within the whole?

The same for the budding leaves on the tree branches, the thawing ice, the animals awakening. Can you imagine the hibernating bear coming out in a rush from its cave with the thought, "Man! I gotta hurry. I am going to be late again"? Yet how many of us wake up everyday, supposedly refreshed, already feeling stressed and having somehow failed? That is the baggage we carry. That is the story we place over our lives. That is not our fullest, most natural self, but what we have become habituated to be, usually as an expression of the ego to feel greater than or less than another as a distorted cry for love we perceive is not there. We tend to hold on to stress, fearing the jungle lion even when the lion exists only in our imagination. This fear exists because deep down we don't feel love or loved.

But is there no love? Do we need to rely on that story of rush, push and pull to make us feel better? Ultimately, does not our push/pull make us suffer? Remember the chrysalis perfectly cocooned. Would nature take such perfect care of that caterpillar and abandon us? Or have we somehow, somewhere along our life path let go of our connection to nature instead? We believe our own distorted perceptions and go running because a coiled rope looks like a cobra to our dulled eyes. Nature is not doing that "to" us. We do that to ourselves. We place the disconnected story on each perfect moment. Ah! Beautiful butterfly that it does not have the busy mind we do, that surrenders to its magnificent transformation and flies free!

For nature, life just is. Resting into this "isness" is surrender. Surrender is gentle, quiet, powerful, active, alive, vital...because it relies on a state of feeling connected, interconnected, a part of it all. We are constantly held within the whole, cradled in a perfect life-force cocoon, completely loved, fully supported and totally cared for. Our minds may be attached to distortions that tell us otherwise, but that does not change the fact that the loving support is here, if we are willing to let go and receive.


Part of our human journey is the return to that One state, that flow, that sense of being rooted, vital and expansive within an intelligent whole. We tend to see ourselves as separate, either by expressing wanting through “craving this” or “repulsed by that”, or by altogether feeling fundamentally disconnected and alienated from all that is. It seems these extremes are deeply buried in our psyche, part of the human condition. As we move through life, we learn to meet the moment as an opportunity to purify our perceptions and eventually transcend the trickiness of our ego so that we may rest in the fullness of who we are. And who are we anyway, if not ultimately one with all that is, a playful expression of the Divine?

Next time you feel the impulse to rush to your next meeting, or feel that feisty urge that wants to make you right and others wrong, or you want to push through to the next to-do item on your agenda without really meeting the task at hand, remember that tiny cocoon and know that you are one and the same. In every moment, you are cradled by an immense love that fully supports you through whatever life process you are experiencing. That love is always available, 24/7, unconditionally. It is our human birthright.

If we could be a bit more like the trees, rivers, butterflies and flowers, we might find ourselves a lot healthier, happier and wise. And what better time to feel inspired to surrender to and be part of such immensity than during the bursting power of life now upon us this spring. Do yourself a favor and go say hello to the budding trees. Notice how they do not struggle to be, but are in a rapturous state of deep surrender. Rooted in the rich Earth, trunks strong, growing up to meet the sky, the tree's leaves dance in the flowing wind. Watch carefully. That tree is flowing within the whole, just as you. Through nature we can see our true nature and learn the power of letting go.