Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ask Parvati 26: Follow Your Bliss - Part 1, Whose Life Are You Living?


Dear Parvati,
I really don’t like my job, not because I am not good at it, but because I know it is not what I really want to do. I love art, fine art, painting, not houses, but canvases. Colours, textures… they inspire me. I know that you have an active career as a musical artist. I want to know, how did you find the courage to follow your dreams and not get pulled into the rat race?


“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
- Henry David Thoreau

Oh! How I found the courage to follow my dreams… a question very close to my heart! I feel that my life of an artist is an organic one. As such, it is evolving and ongoing. It is not about arriving, but about being. It is very much an unfolding process, which reveals layers of my psyche that are to be celebrated as an authentic expression of my soul or purified and released as distraction. For me the life of an artist is one deeply connected to spirituality, rooted in the cultivation of both interconnection and humility. So the immediate answer to this question is, I am in an ongoing, day-to-day process, learning and discovering a deepening courage to live my dreams.

However, I can offer what I have learned so far in finding courage to follow my bliss. Through the recording of my first record when I was in a co-founded band, prior to my solo career, I would literally go into the vocal booth repeating: “I choose courage, confidence and commitment.” This helped me greatly overcome the self-deprecating thoughts that would hold me back. The process of finding courage is one that I have been working on, and one that continues to grow.

I have shared in these blogs that singing, music, performing is my “way in”, the way I feel closest to Source, most connected to the divine, most alive. As such, it is also where I feel the most raw and vulnerable. But I need to go there, because it keeps me real, honest and true. I feel connected through music. It gives my life meaning.

I think that is the way it is with our joy. We can get caught up in things that seem easy, but in fact they end up being harder, because they squelch the voice of our soul. When we align with our soul, life starts to flow with lightness and possibility.
Probably like you, I have several skills and could have had a solid career in a variety of paths other than music. I studied architecture and was part of the co-op program at the University of Waterloo. I was good at it, too. I excelled at school and in the workplace. People thought I would have a great career as an architect.

But morning would come and I was expected to be at my desk at the office. I needed to get up, get dressed and get to work, except a weight that felt like a million-pound truck was lying on top of me. It took immeasurable effort to even simply get out of bed. I was depressed. I was listless. I was unhappy. I could not go on this way. So I had to change.

My yoga and meditation practice was my sanity lifeline during university. So rather than doing a Masters in Architecture, which I was generally expected to do, I told my family and friends that I was going to India and to not expect me back for five years. A year later (not five, providing my family with much relief), I returned. But I had changed. I had begun the process of letting go of living for other people’s dreams and listening to my own soul voice, which continues to flower and guide my way.

So I ask you, whose voices are driving your life? Take a moment today to ask yourself sincerely, what drives your life? If you feel it is not the voice of your soul, perhaps it is time to do some inner housecleaning and start living the life you were born to live.

(Continues tomorrow with Name It To Claim It)



  1. Oh darn... with my six-figure income as a Bay Street MBA or Forest Hill Jew-Boy lawyer, I would be looking forward to buying a luxury condo designed by Parvati Architects Inc. Unfortunately given the economy went down the crapper in 2008 and is showing no signs of improving, it's virtually impossible for many people to follow their bliss. If you hate your job, at least be grateful you still have a job to hate.

  2. Thank you Keval for reading these blog posts. I am grateful that you take the time to comment as well. It seems that each time you comment there is a theme you touch upon, that is, that what I am suggesting is impossible for you. What I write about comes from my own personal experience. I don't have any magic recipe. If it is possible for me, it is for you as well. Would you be willing to re-read my posts with a fresh and receptive eye? Perhaps consider that the skepticism you show is a mask for your own fears. We are all afraid Keval. We all must learn, in order to evolve, how to face our fears and be loving towards ourselves. That means me, you and the next guy. You are not alone.

  3. One of the ways I know I've come a long way in the past 10 years is that I no longer work at a job I hate. I used to work at call centres and I actively disliked it. It was a drag to get myself there on time and, even though the pay was ok by the standards of that time and place, I never seemed to make any financial headway. I now see the pattern that I was in - that most other people at the call centres were in too - and know there's no way I would go back to that "I hate this but I can't have it any better" mindset. I'm still not all the way there in terms of following my bliss, but at least I'm not following my misery anymore!

  4. Wow Pranada! That is beautifully said. I too am in process. Life is far too short to be hanging on to misery for fear of really giving joy a go. Thank you for sharing!