Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Life of Charity


I am about to head down to St. Petersburg, Florida where I will be performing to headline the St Pete Yoga Festival. So think of me next Saturday night, October 22nd, and send lots of happy thoughts of fun and delight. I will be sending you the very same. The following day, I will be teaching a YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine workshop, then a full day workshop that week.

Performing is a great joy of mine, sharing the love I have for music, singing through a vibrant array of colours, movement and sounds. I am happy with my show and thoroughly enjoy it. I can't wait to share the new costumes with you. They are stellar! (Big thank you to Sunanda for that!)

Throughout the week, I will be in rehearsal with dancers/yoginis I will meet there. I have never met them before, let alone worked with them. They have been reviewing the choreography for my show, which we will go over and weave together this week, in preparation for the big night. So this week will be full of rehearsals for me, directing, blocking, coming up with alternate choreography, supporting technical lighting work and art directing. Then, on the night, I let all that go and step into the role of the artist, embody my character Natamba and perform. The life of an independent artist involves wearing many hats!

This show is a fundraiser for Embracing The World. Embracing the World is a not-for-profit international collective of charities founded by renowned spiritual and humanitarian leader, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, also lovingly known simply as Amma, or Mother.

Embracing the World exists to help alleviate the burden of the world's poor through helping to meet each of their five basic needs - food, shelter, education, healthcare and livelihood - wherever and whenever possible. The organization is founded on the belief that these needs are fundamental human rights, and that it is the responsibility of each of us to strive to ensure that one day every human being can live in dignity, safety, security and peace. The organization acknowledges that everyone - rich or poor - has the power to make a difference in the life of another. No selfless gesture is insignificant. Rather, it is selfless actions that hold the key to true peace - peace in the individual, peace in the community, and peace among diverse cultures, nations and faiths. For me, it is a true honour to support this remarkable, inspired organization.

Volunteer work and actions done with no desire for reward form the foundation of spiritual practice. We have all heard, when we give we receive. It is a popular saying because it is true. For spiritual aspirants, one of the quickest ways to realize the divine is through karma yoga, the practice of selfless service.

If you wish to overcome the interference energy of wanting and target it at its root, practice karma yoga. When you redirect your energy to giving rather than getting, to serving rather than wanting, your entire biochemistry changes and begins to vibrate at a higher rate. You feel more connected and fulfilled in ways never imagined. A richness begins to grow deep within that banishes unhappiness, permanently.

If you have not already, participate in your local food banks, shelters, old age homes and hospitals. Volunteer and get involved. Do it just because it shakes things up and asks you to look at life differently. There is nothing like volunteering to ward off complacency. You can also participate in an organization like Embracing The World by sending your charitable donations. By choosing to spend your money wisely, you can give opportunities to those who are far less fortunate than we are. What you give comes back to you multifold, in ways you cannot imagine.

This week, we launch the November issue of Parvati Magazine. I will let you know here when it is up and live. Make sure you check it out. It will be your blog food while I am away performing. There are great articles from a wide range of people.

I have answered an Ask Parvati question this week, but will post it next Sunday since I will be away. Once I return from the show, I will post my next Ask Parvati blog on October 30th. So please do keep sending your questions to



  1. Great post. I agree with what you say about the power of giving to raise our own vibration. St. Francis of Assisi had it right:

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    and where there is sadness, joy.

    O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console;
    to be understood as to understand;
    to be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive;
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

    I often return to this prayer when I am feeling particularly angry and upset about something, and I feel it smoothing out my energy field as I surrender to a spirit of compassion and giving instead of wanting.

    I also read recently and found it most appropriate:

    [This Aboriginal tribe] believes how you feel emotionally about things is what really registers. It is recorded in every cell of the body, in the core of your personality, in your mind, and in your eternal self. Where some religions talk about the necessity of feeding the hungry and giving water to the thirsty, this tribe of people say the food and liquid being given, and the person to whom it goes, are not essential. It is the feeling you experience when you openly and lovingly give that either does or does not register. Giving water to a dying plant or animal, or giving encouragement, gains as much enlightenment for knowing life and our Creator as finding a thirsty person and providing nourishment. You leave this plane of existence with a scorecard, so to speak, that registers moment by moment how you mastered emotion. It is the invisible nonphysical feelings filling the eternal part of us that make the difference between the good and the lesser. Action is only the channel whereby the feeling, the intent, is allowed to be expressed and experienced.
    - "Mutant Message Down Under"

    I think we often fall into the trap, in this society, of believing that only the external action counts, even as the person dishing up soup in the soup kitchen may be only thinking "I am so great! I am being such a good person!" or the organization fundraising to build a homeless shelter may be doing so in a spirit of greed, wanting and vainglory instead of true compassion and openness. Those who are caught up in the external may judge those whose very life is dedicated to service, simply because the nature of that service does not fit into their understanding.

    Amma teaches us in Her actions to have a spirit of love and service for all of life, in big or small things - and that there are many ways to serve. I have seen that you approach your performance in this spirit, and it's one of the reasons I find the music so nourishing and revitalizing - like, indeed, giving water to a thirsty person!

  2. These are wonderful additions to the post. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Back in my Kripalu days last century I remember hearing "hands that help are better than lips that pray".