Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ask Parvati 43: The Present Is The Present - Part 3: Gold Trapped In A Rock

(Continued from “Turning Drama Into Fierce Discernment”)

Being able to see these unlikely opportunities in others’ lives has helped me to find the gifts in my own. It is like finding gold trapped inside of a rock. We can find hidden treasures in the most unlikely places.

Today I had an “a-ha” moment. My mind stopped. Life sprang open into technicolour and multiple dimensions. The daily hum-drum spontaneously blossomed into full life-presence. For a moment I felt through my whole being that all, yes, absolutely all is perfection. It seemed as though all that is, is grace, a gift, a perfect teaching, giving me exactly what I need to evolve in this moment. In this moment, the Universe, God, pure consciousness (whatever you want to call it) is reflected back to me through my life situations, perhaps even most powerfully in areas of my life that seem painful.

I love my partner. He also can drive me crazy at times. We have a profound, unique connection, one I know without any doubt I could not replicate with another person. In this way, I know he is perfect for me. Despite that knowing, there are times I have been very much challenged.

Last night, I was able to see that even his gnarly bits, when I am willing to be fully present, provide me perfectly with what I need to know and learn in order to evolve. “Oh! What? Are you crazy?” I can hear some part of me immediate speak up as I type that. But yes, it is true. In his gnarly bits, I am given a perfect present in the present, when I am willing to see this moment exactly as it is - now.

Much of our time, as I am sure many would agree, can be spent wishing this moment were this way or that way. “If only I had more of this and less of that” - then my life would be great. We can get so busy wishing for things in the future or attached to things of the past, we miss what is right before us.

Sometimes I can fall into thinking, “if only I had outsmarted what happened in my life, figured out a better way, been faster, more clever…, I would have been able to...”. But I am learning to see that this moment offers me everything I need. Everything. There is no there or then. This now is everything I need. Even my partner’s gnarly tendencies are the perfect recipe to help me love myself and the world more fully. I grow stronger by not resisting what is.


Take a moment now. Look around you. Notice what you see.  Settle into this moment. Imagine it were perfect. Give yourself that leap of faith just for a moment. Test drive perfection. See what it feels like. What do you notice? Do you really see? Do you really smell, taste, touch, and feel? Can you allow yourself to relax a bit more, here, now, exactly where you are so that you sense of perception broadens to welcome all that is before you, in this moment? Can you welcome this moment, exactly as it is? What are you afraid of? What pain keeps you running so that this moment is too painful to be in? What are you hiding from by being here? What are you resisting?

Ask yourself these questions, with gentleness and self-acceptance. It is important to be gentle here, as often we are tense, resistant to the moment because we are afraid and somehow in pain. So let yourself slowly expand to meet this moment so that you can see it more fully, open, ready and willing to be here now.

See if you can welcome this moment so that the present becomes the greatest gift of your life. Think of it this way: if the present is the present, and your whole life is made up of zillions and billions of moments, think of how many presents are waiting for you if each moment is a gift! When we open to what is, we become the wealthiest person alive. And that is the kind of wealth that stays with you for an eternity.

PS. A reminder that Thursday is the last day to send your questions for the next Ask Parvati to ask@parvatidevi.com. Also, I have some news: this blog format is going to be changing soon with more inspiring stuff to come. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ask Parvati 43: The Present Is The Present - Part 2: Turning Drama Into Fierce Discernment

(Continued from “The Bounty of Boundaries”)

Bill can be a bit of a drama queen. He too is sensitive, like Suzie, but in a different way. He can easily lose his sense of self with others, should someone say something that may trigger him into feeling that he is a bad person. It could be the simplest thing. But for him, it becomes big. He then allows himself to get taken over by the idea of being a bad person, to the point that his drama queen will act out to draw attention to himself, so he can feel temporarily better. But like any painful cycle, drama can become exhausting. So Bill has been courageously doing therapy to look into these self-destructive patterns.

Interestingly, Bill is an active devotee of the Hindu warrior goddess Kali. When faced with tricky, dark energies, Kali is never sucked in. Without a moment’s hesitation, She fiercely pulls out her sword, fully present for whatever is before Her. With razor sharp discernment that cuts through even the subtle complexities of Time and Karma, She severs any demonic ties and protects the evolution of light.

Bill could choose to feel a victim to life and use his drama queen tendencies to act out his pain. Or he could choose to see his tendencies as grace that supports his healing. Through his painful behaviour, he has a powerful opportunity. When he consciously chooses to access the fierce courage he sees in Kali and turn it to see the fullness of his own negative tendencies, he learns to discern and cut through the fog of trickiness with clear sight. Then, some kind of alchemy takes place. Using the same energy that usually ends in a blow-up, he instead turns that power to face the interference patterns that usually pull him into feeling less than he is. With that power, he can say an unequivocal “no” to destructive tendencies and an absolute “yes” to his own magnificence. No drama required, just beautiful life-force incarnate.

In Bill’s recovery process, even his destructive habits can be fertile soil in which a new discernment muscle can grow. Because of the painful pattern, he knows he needs to find another way. As he gains insight into the thoughts behind the outbursts, he is beginning to understand that if he allows himself to be swayed by the negative ideas and energies of others, he will fall down a dark hole into self-despair. In this dark drama habit, he has an opportunity to learn a powerful and hard-to-learn lesson on the spiritual path: "neti, neti" ("not this, not this"). By facing his tendencies, he strengthens his personal ability to discern which energies he will support, and which he will not. With mastery, like his chosen deity Kali, he will eventually learn to pull out his sword of discernment and cut off painful drama at the pass.

More tomorrow with “Gold Trapped In A Rock”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ask Parvati 43: The Present Is The Present - Part 1: The Bounty of Boundaries

Problems May Actually Be Opportunities

Dear Parvati,
Someone said to me the other day that even the things about myself that I don’t like are actually gifts. How can this be true?

Sometimes it’s easier to learn about ourselves by observing others. I have found watching people in my life, (at times working my way though judgment, blame, anger, guilt, envy or jealousy - the whole range of emotions one can project onto another), I have been inadvertently taught by those around me.

Take one friend of mine, let’s call her Suzie. She is a wonderfully sensitive person who loves the arts, nature and has a real affinity for healing. She also is an addict. Suzie courageously goes to SLA meetings (sex and love anonymous) to face her co-dependency tendencies and to help her find the inner strength to look at and heal her addictive patterns. Through her friendship, I have found myself learning to be present for her ups and downs, finding new ways to express understanding, compassion and patience. I have also had a powerful mirror to face parts of my shadow, such as tendencies to judge, become self-righteous or impatient.

Recently Suzie and I were talking, when suddenly I found myself suggesting that I felt her addiction could be seen as a tool, or even a gift, along her spiritual journey. I have seen how her movement towards sobriety provides her with a great opportunity for self-discovery. I have also seen how her addiction has been the perfect soil in which she has had to learn to grow into fullness.

She is one of the most gifted people I have met in terms of sensitivity to the unseen. She feels energies, presences in people, plants and animals like few people I know. Yet she also has problems with boundaries. Perhaps her challenge with learning healthy boundaries has also left her more open to the unseen. As she learns to heal her tendency towards broken boundaries, not only is she becoming more capable of having healthy human relationships, but she is even more able to navigate the unseen.

Some may see Suzie’s addiction as a hindrance for her to find lasting love and healing. At one level, I would agree it is. It has brought her to her knees, broken her heart open and continues to challenge every part of her being to grow. Through her healing, something bigger is going on. By the very fact that she is challenged to find clear, powerful and subtle boundaries through her recovery process, her addiction has been the fertile ground in which she can learn the subtle skill to maneuver in the unseen world, and in turn, amplify her natural gifts and sensitivities there. Her addiction on one level is a problem and must be healed. Yet by embracing it as an opportunity, it becomes a gift that also empowers the evolution of her unique soul voice and natural gifts.


We all have gnarly bits and negative tendencies that seem to create pain and havoc in our lives. What are yours? Are you willing to embrace them without judgment and somehow consider them gifts? What is your soul learning through them? By lovingly accepting your shadow, ask yourself how it can be seen as fertile soil for your unique soul growth. Make a list of your painful tendencies and see if you can dig deeper into you heart wisdom and see the gifts there.

More tomorrow with “Turning Drama Into Fierce Discernment”

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ask Parvati 42: Healing Shame - Part 2: Bringing the Wounded Bits to the Light

(Continued from "Toxic Shame")

The misperception that we are fundamentally flawed, which feeds our sense of shame, does need healing, but not because we are wrong, bad, ugly, awful or damaged. The misperception needs healing simply because it is untrue. It is an illusion perpetuated by our wounded self-perception. It exists because we give it power. We fear that it's the truth, so we hide it away.

As we reveal our broken bits from the darker recesses of our psyche, we eventually see that we are all beings of light that cast shadows, on an evolutionary journey back to the One place of undivided consciousness of pure love. In every moment, no matter what shame binds our perception temporarily, we are loved and supported beyond what we can habitually and consciously see.

If you feel you suffer from debilitating shame, other than reading John Bradshaw’s book, I would recommend professional help from a skilled therapist who can help create a safe place in which you can allow your feelings of low self-worth to emerge, without judgment. Because shame exists in the severed places in our self that we fear, the process of revealing them in a safe environment is powerfully healing, just in itself. We need to be seen, just as we are. When we bring our wounded bits to the light and we see we will not die, we will not be punished, we will not be annihilated but are loved and accepted, we feel more alive and whole than ever before.

If you suffer from an addiction of any kind, the twelve-step programs are very powerful and transformative. If you have not yet given a meeting a try, then please look up your local AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or SA (Sexaholics Anonymous) or OA (Overeaters Anonymous) or WA (Workaholics Anonymous) – depending on your particular tendency - and show up for a meeting. When you go, you likely will feel that you don’t belong and will want to turn around and leave. This is natural. Many other people at the meetings likely feel the same way. But this is also part of the denial that keeps you acting out and feeding the shame that binds you. That inner voice that whispers “I don’t belong here” or “this is not me” is spoken from that severed places in your psyche that keeps you feeling disempowered, broken and doing things you really don’t want to do. Children of addicts often too develop either borderline or addictive tendencies and would benefit from groups like Al-Anon, where meetings are specifically designed for friends and families of addicts. I discuss addiction more in Ask Parvati 27.

Healing your inner child is an essential component in healing toxic shame. You can read about how to do that in a variety of blogs I have written, such as my recent post on the power of the inner child. Once you open to your inner child, you will be more inclined to follow your bliss, and create the life you truly love.

Most of all be gentle with yourself in this deep and powerful healing process. The pain that caused you to bury the shame deep in the recesses of your psyche was real for you. There is an essential grieving component to healing shame and healing your inner child. This takes time and patience. As most addict support groups would say, “easy does it” and “take it one day at a time”.

Thank you for this week’s question. Please send me your questions by Thursday this week so it may be answered in this Sunday’s post. Until then, be very well.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ask Parvati 42: Healing Shame - Part 1: Toxic Shame

Dear Parvati,
My life looks good on the surface - I'm intelligent, good looking, have a decent job, a good relationship - but I feel like a loser. I can't seem to stop doing things I'm not proud of, like spending evenings playing World of Warcraft instead of working on my writing (I want to publish a novel), or letting the vegetables rot in the fridge while I eat chips for supper or order pizza... meanwhile I'm paying $100/month for a gym membership and not using it. I think most people who know me are really fooled and they think I have it so much more together than I really do. I'm afraid that if they found out the reality, they'd all get disgusted and drift away from me. My significant other has brought up the idea of living together, but I'm afraid I'll lose her if she sees how I really live. Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in shame for not being a better person. How do I fix this?

Thank you for your question. Hiding is hard to do at any time, especially on an ongoing basis. Hiding our true self from our self and the world is extra hard, even painful. You may think you are the only one who does things you want to hide from others and your self. But in truth, many people struggle with similar feelings of personal shame and self-disgust. Because hiding supports shame, it's important to remember that the more down on yourself you feel, the more you feed the shame, that is usually fueled by feelings of low self-esteem or a wounded sense of self-worth.

Shame is quite common. It is a fundamental motivator behind our pain-driven behaviours, such as compulsions, co-dependency, addictions and the drive to over- or under-achieve. These compulsions can break down families and friendships and destroy our personal lives. To some extent or another, most people suffer from some degree of shame, hidden in the recesses of their psyches. That is what shame does. It hides in the dark where we cannot see it. Yet out of our conscious sight, it wreaks havoc on our lives. Shame undermines the expression of our authentic self and our ability to live our true potential.

John Bradshaw, author of “Healing the Shame That Binds You”, reminds us that there two kinds of shame: toxic shame binds us into toxic behaviors; healthy shame helps us feel balanced remorse for things we do, think and say that do not support our highest good or the good of all. The shame I address here is toxic. It is the kind that thwarts our brilliance, joy and fulfillment in some capacity or another.

If you feel you suffer from toxic shame, you may consider reading John Bradshaw’s very helpful book on the topic. Written 17 years ago but still selling more than 13,000 copies a year, the book is considered a classic authority on the subject. It has helped millions identify their personal shame, understand the underlying reasons for it, address the root causes and release themselves from the shame that binds them to their past. I would recommend it for pretty much anyone who is on a personal, healing journey and wishes to live a life of balanced wholeness.

The roots for toxic shame can be traced to our youngest years, when our true self was judged not good enough by our primary caregivers. We were made to feel that there was a fundamental lack in our being, that we are fundamentally flawed at our core. Because of this, shame exists because of our fundamental misperception that we are flawed. So thoughts of “fixing” shame, as the question suggests here, only exacerbates the notion that we are broken.

Shame is not to be fixed, but gently revealed. The energy caught in our hidden, severed and disowned places needs to be slowly brought back from the dark and moved into the light. As we learn to witness our hidden, shameful bits with self-love, kindness and understanding, we integrate them into who we are. In that place of whole self-acceptance, the grip we have around them organically releases and our sense of internal split is healed.


Continues tomorrow with "Bringing The Wounded Bits To The Light".

PS - the latest Parvati Magazine is live. This month's issue is on love, including self-love. Please go and check it out.



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ask Parvati 41: The Power of the Inner Child - Part 3: Let The Child Take You Home

(Continued from "An Apple in an Orange Grove")


Recently I was out with a friend in a mall. She was asking me a similar question, feeling a bit stuck with her attachments to her family. I said to her, look around. Beside us is not a 24 year old guy and a 35 year old woman but a two year old boy and a three year old girl. This mall is full of two and three year olds. Many of the fundamental decisions we make every day likely come from our unconscious mind, that is, the unresolved inner child that continues to rule our life until we give it the love and attention it needs and turn towards the Divine, the source of unconditional love. Anyone who has tried setting long term goals knows this to be true. We need to have our unconscious mind in alignment with our conscious mind, or else we inevitably meet an inner saboteur and fail. That is because our unconscious mind is ultimately in charge. Our primary commitments live in the depth of our unconscious, so we had best befriend these in order to evolve.


Most of us live with a buried inner child, held captive by the grip of our ego that is committed to getting limited power through whatever means it can, such as people pleasing, power plays, expectations and disappointments, lofty then thwarted dreams -- anything to keep the wanting mommy and daddy dynamic alive, that is, the wanting to find the infinite in the finite.


Our inner child is the summation of the joys, dreams and wounds we carried from our previous lives and our life in this incarnation. He/she is connected to the voice of our soul. Because in truth we are children of the infinite, our inner child remembers the purity of that connection. When we listen to our inner child, he/she can lead us there.


We can easily blame our parents, our circumstance, our life out there that is "happening to me" for our hurts and unhappiness. Then, we are like sour apples in an orange grove. Or we can hold our parents or external things in the highest light, making them like gods, thinking that those oranges are so much better than our apple-self, our authentic nature. Only when we see our parents and all external sources of happiness as they truly are, in their temporal humanity, beautiful and frail, perfect and flawed, can we be the apples we are and leave the orange grove, so we may blossom in our own apple orchard.


We need to leave the illusion of the finite being infinite in order for us to contact our true self. This process is the process of coming into contact and healing our inner child. Through the eye of our inner child, we can reconnect to the infinite, which we once knew implicitly. Our inner child, in essence, guides us home to wholeness.


What we experience in our lives is a reflection of our core beliefs and our previous karmic tendencies. Our parents and our current life, that was created by the choices we have made since infancy, are a reflection of these, all the while guided by a loving universe to help us see the errors in our ways, the root of ignorance we carry as well as the love we truly are.


The wounds we experience from childhood are like ruptures in the mirage of finite perfection, so that we can break through our slumber and attachments to ignorant wanting, that keeps us disconnected. This happens so we may return to the one source of true unconditional love. In this way, love always was, even through the painful moments, even when we thought it was not. Love always is. Just ask your inner child. Those sparkling, deep, infinite eyes are still with you. Look deeply. Look deeper still. There you will find your inner child with open arms, ready to take you home. If you need some help contacting your inner child, you may refer to the exercise given in my Be A Mother To Yourself post.


Much peace to you,



PS. A reminder that Thursday is the deadline to send your questions for the next Ask Parvati. In the meantime, stay tuned for the next issue of Parvati Magazine.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ask Parvati 41: The Power of the Inner Child - Part 2: An Apple In An Orange Grove

(Continued from "Trading the Infinite for the Finite")


In our early years, as we focus on survival, we lose touch with the infinite. Our parents, and not the source of pure consciousness from which we came, become the centre of our universe. In this process of maturation and survival, we tend to take on habits that pull us from our original, natural and pure connection to source. We begin to believe that the imperfect beings that are our caregivers are the truest sources of our love. With this comes expectations and disappointments. We begin to barter, shift, twist and modify ourselves in order to try to find unconditional love from conditional beings. In the process, our relationship with the infinite and our true self weakens in order to make do with the finite. We once were connected to the source of pure consciousness, the place of unconditional love. Now we have traded that infinite connection for finite love.


Though we are creatively surviving, which is a great thing, we lose a part of ourself in the process. In order to become whole, to return the one source of pure unconditional love, we need to regain our sublimated connection to the eternal. What initially was natural instinct is subdued with shoulds, wants and desires that have moved us away from our most authentic selves. At a soul level, we know this. Yet we continue to look for unconditional love from finite, flawed and imperfect things, that is, our primary caregivers, which as we mature become our spouses, our bosses, our material possessions… We unconsciously pick life partners and bosses that mirror our parents, and material accolades and possessions that would fit their needs. We are still trying to get the infinite love we need, our divine connection, from the finite, until we wake up to realize this is not going to happen.


When we look for apples in an orange grove, we inevitably become disappointed. In order to free ourselves from this plight, we first need to realize that we are seeking apples. Then we need to understand that apples won't be found in an orange grove. Then we need to leave the orange grove and go to an orchard, the one that grows the apples we like, that are perfect for our unique self. This is part of the process of spiritual awakening. The apples are like the unconditional love we seek and our true nature. The orange grove is the landscape of our primary caregivers, our early, formative years and likely our present, unconscious environment and choices. The apple orchard is the place of spiritual growth that fosters the release of our ignorance and the cultivation of wisdom-compassion. The apple orchard is our spiritual and soulful home, where we awaken to realize our true nature, that we are infinitely connected to love, and always have been. We were simply looking in the wrong places.


From this perspective, we can learn to appreciate the oranges, and thank them for helping to show us our true nature. We realize we are not oranges, but apples, both fruit, but from unique trees with unique growth patterns. On this Earth, there is a place for it all, apples, oranges, ignorance and bliss in the process of evolution. Our wounded inner child is still convinced that he/she will find the apples from the orange grove. Our pure inner child knows the truth of its apple nature. When we heal the wounded child, we empower our inner child to reveal our true nature and help us remember who we truly are.


(Continued tomorrow with "Let The Child Take You Home")

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ask Parvati 41: The Power of the Inner Child - Part 1: Trading the Infinite for the Finite

Dear Parvati,

Is it important to get in touch with your inner child in order to live, as you would say, a "rooted, vital and expansive" life?




Thank you for this question. My immediate answer is, yes. The following explains why.


I believe that we are born like a hunk of flesh with pure consciousness. At birth and soon thereafter, most of us are still consciously connected to the infinite source of love and consciousness from which we came. Hence the raw purity we can easily see in a newborn. It is as though we can see the infinite in the depth of an infant's eyes. If you look deeply into them, they seem almost formless, dark and vast, like deep space.


As we mature, our personality forms, and so do our features, including eye colour and facial expressions. In this process, our egos take shape, through which our individuality is born. Our personalities are a reflection of two concurrent forces: our own previous karmic tendencies (the soul information with which we were born), and the way these tendencies bump up against our life experiences.


Our mother is the first person with whom we come into contact. As such, our relationship with our mother is at the root of our life experience and our relationship to our inner child. Most of us also come into contact soon after birth with our father, and he too helps create the foundation of our life. Our mother forms the nurturing presence to support our maturation, while our father supports the structure to help us grow and get out in the world. Though this is usually the case, a man or someone who is a primary caregiver other than our biological mother can take the role of a mother in our life, just as a woman or primary caregiver can take the role of our father. It is not about gender but about energetic presence.


As we mature, our personalities form in response to our environment. How they form is a reflection of our karmic tendencies, that is, the way we perceive and choose to respond to our environment, based on the wisdom and skill we have acquired from previous incarnations. Because we are imperfect beings, still evolving, we do not respond to life with the wisdom and compassion of an awakened Buddha. Rather than remaining in touch with the vast field of pure consciousness, the true source of unconditional love, we become attached to our primary caregivers and our environment as the source of all our needs, including our need for love. This bond with our primary caregivers is necessary, even essential for our survival. We need our mother and/or father's care, attention and love in order to get through our early years until we can care for our basic needs. But in the process of survival, we traded our relationship with the infinite for the illusion of fulfilment in the finite. Our relationship with the infinite weakens as we grow. We forget the source from which we came, until our soul stirs and our true nature held within our inner child cries and we begin to awaken to who we truly are.


(Continues tomorrow with An Apple in an Orange Grove)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ask Parvati 40: Distractions - Keeping Your Eye On The Prize - Part 2: Is It An Opportunity, Or A Distraction?

(Continued from Focus, Discipline and Courage)


Every moment in every day counts. It is a valuable and powerful asset that we can use to build our dreams or squander our joy. We each have our own way to remain focused on our goals. Some will journal while others will visualize while others will self-talk and perhaps others do a combination of those. Whatever works for you, put that first in your day, every day. Make sure your goals are right up front and central in your life. Every day, give your life to yourself fully and completely, so you may serve the world. A closed hand cannot receive and an empty heart cannot give.


This brings to mind basketball. I enjoy basketball. The players have an agility and rhythm that I also see in dancers. The athletes in this game can at times seem to transcend time and gravity in a way that amazing artists can do. If you have been to a basketball game, you know that when a player is given the chance for a point shot, fans in the stands just behind the basket often furiously wave brightly coloured or neon wands to distract the shooter.


Sometimes it can feel like life is doing that to us, waving colourful, distracting wands by bringing forward all sorts of events and happenings that seem to pull our focus from our desired goal. But as a trained athlete knows, focus is an acquired skill: keep your mind in the game and eye on the prize. As we face the unfolding of our New Year's plans and resolutions, we too must learn to keep our eye on the prize.


Sometimes it seems we want life to be uni-dimensional, easy to predict and singular. But it is not. Every moment is filled with possibility, which is part of the magnificence and divine beauty of being alive. As I mentioned in an earlier blog on discernment, we must learn to clearly see along our path the difference between an opportunity that moves us towards our desired goals and a distraction that pulls us away from our true joy.


A few months ago, I was in a focused creative flow in my studio, working on new musical material. It was nothing short of feeling like I was in heaven. The project was time-sensitive and was due for submission the following day. I was totally committed to that success. Or was I?


While I was in the thick of the creative process, my doorbell rang. It was a friend who had spontaneously dropped by unannounced with a friend of his he really wanted me to meet. At first, I felt happy to see my friend and open to meeting his new friend, but then quickly realized that this meant that I was not in my studio creating. I did not know what to do.


My old habits kicked in, and the overly "nice" girl, who is afraid to say how she really feels and wants to make everyone happy, came out with a smile. Rather than making the visit short and saying it was not an ideal time for me, I offered them tea, then dinner and even a long visit in my studio. The new friend is a electronic music producer, so I was even further tempted and sidetracked by shop-talk and technical trick swapping.


One could argue that the visit was useful in terms of keeping me on path, because we did share information that could have helped my project. But why then, once they left, did I feel so depleted?


When we follow our path and do what is in alignment with our highest good, we feel rooted, vital and expansive, no matter what our mind may think or our emotional self may feel. Truth is always clear like a sharp sword.


With the unexpected visit, my emotional self kicked in with feelings of guilt, fuelled by my old childhood people-pleasing patterns. My mental self was seduced by the tempting tech talks, which I rationalized as being potentially useful. Meanwhile, my heart and soul were sinking. If I had a true commitment to the success of my goals and my deepest joy, I would have made a short visit and been more honest with my needs. In hindsight, I see that would have been completely fine. And frankly, people that I would consider friends would understand.


Where I got confused was in thinking that perhaps the spontaneous appearance was grace, helping me to fulfill my goals. But the grace was not in saying yes to the visit, but to learn to say no.


If we look at the basketball game, it is clear to us that the player is to keep his eye on his target and should not get distracted by the wiggling wands. Could you imagine if the athlete stopped the game, muscle tested, went inside, asked himself if the wiggling wands were a sign from God that he was supposed to miss his shot and instead pull out a dinner spread? We see that the idea is clearly ridiculous. But we can do that to ourselves daily, and many times a day.


Every day, take a moment first thing in the morning to review your goals for your life, your goals for this year and your goals for this day. Know what brings you joy. Imagine the day fully supporting your heart's desire.


You will be tested, but that is part of life. The wiggling wands will show up in the most unsuspected ways, like spontaneous knocks at your door that pull you away from your truest joy. Be your own world-class athlete and focus on shooting to score, in whatever way fills you with inspired grace.


Enjoy the gift of this day.



PS: A reminder that Thursday is the deadline to submit questions for next week's Ask Parvati.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ask Parvati 40: Distractions - Keeping Your Eye On The Prize - Part 1: Focus, Discipline and Courage

Dear Parvati,

Thank you for your posts. I found last week's particularly useful as it spoke to the way I want to make changes in my life this year. Though I love pursuing my life as a creative writer, I find I too often get pulled into listening to other people's problems. I can literally spend hours a day helping people. I am happy to help, but then I feel drained, with little energy left after my day job to pour into my creative pursuits. Any words of wisdom?


Thank you for this question. I understand the situation and often find myself needing to be quite ruthless with my time and how I spend it. Distractions always present themselves throughout the day. We must consciously choose how to spend our time and where to place our energy.


Whether you are pursuing the life of an artist, are making life changes or wish to start a creative venture, you must have focus, discipline and courage. If you have not yet read Amma's New Year's message, she addresses this to some extent by reminding us that our most valuable asset we have is time, which we too often squander. Keeping focused on the purpose of our life is paramount, especially as we move through the day and encounter seemingly small things that become large obstacles and that take us off path.


If you are not familiar with Julia Cameron's book "The Artist's Way", check it out. Her work helps keep artists on path and stay true to their calling. Her practical and straightforward exercises help bring people's life into authentic alignment with their soul's creative voice.


Last year, I had a long chat with a friend of mine about this very issue, how to remain focused as you follow your dreams. At this point, this friend of mine has become quite famous and is now a mentor to many about how to make it on your own terms. She told me how she focuses on her goals like she is shooting a water pistol at a ballon. It requires focused aim. She also noted that as soon as she loses her focus, she immediately sees it reflected in her success rate, her popularity and her income. To counter this, she has a personal policy that she calls "knife for life", not being afraid to 'say it like she sees it', fiercely choosing where she places her energy and with whom she spends her time.


This is her way to keep her eye on the prize. Because of her focus, clarity and determination, she now does not easily get entangled with people with needy energy, but has, nonetheless, created a life where she helps those in need. Her books, public appearances and media presence touch many more people and inspire them to find their way, far more effectively than if she got lost in in daily distractions that pull her from her path.


That is the wonderful thing about life. When we say yes to our highest purpose, ultimately, everyone wins. The person with whom you get entangled on the phone for hours that you allow to pull you away from what you love, could perhaps be better helped by someone else, or perhaps by reading the book you really want to write. Getting entangled in situations that make us less than we are and pull us off path, are a lose-lose dynamic. It is like jumping into the water to save a drowning person. When we allow ourselves to stay on path and stand our solid ground, we can be of far greater service to ourselves and therefore to others. From that solid footing, we can extend an helping hand to those in need without losing ourselves.


Today, ask yourself, the following questions:

1) What in your life drains your energy?

2) Why do you feel you are attached to it?

3) What do you feel your ego gains from being attached to it?

4) What would your life look like and how would you feel without it?

5) Are you totally open, ready and willing to get it go?

6) What do you need to realign within yourself to let it go?

7) What practical steps do you need to take in order to do so?


Now, get going to make those changes. If you want it, you got it. But do you really want it? We need to regularly ask ourselves this sobering question. We often stay stuck playing it small because it feels easier and safer to let life slip by. But at what cost? The cost of your deepest joy and true heart desire? Are you really willing to let that go in exchange for fear and temporary comforts? Think long and hard about that. What is the cost of not following your dreams? When we bring our full selves into what we are doing and free ourselves from limiting beliefs and hindering habits, we find the life we had been hoping to find.


Continues tomorrow with "Is It An Opportunity Or A Distraction?"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolutions: Fulfilling Your Heart's Desires - Part 3: Facing Your Inner Saboteur

(Continued from "What are the unconscious tendencies that affect your choices?")


The choices we have made over years have carved the lives we have today. Most of these choices were made unconsciously, until we wake up to the story of our lives. We all carry personal tendencies that shape the way we make our decisions. We can see these tendencies clearly in the way we reacted to our parents. Each one of us has unique interference patterns that thwart our joy. These interference patterns are like an inner saboteur that blocks our ability to live our greatest joy.


We all carry a saboteur within us until we find the courage to befriend ourself and get to know our shadows. When we befriend ourselves, we begin to listen to the full story of our lives: our hopes and dreams, and the scary, painful bits. If we are to fulfill our dreams, we must acknowledge our shadow, which has a huge impact on the shape of our lives. When we befriend ourselves, we listen to the little girl or little boy within that holds secrets to our unfulfilled desires. When we befriend ourselves, we hear our deepest joys and activate the inner courage to realize our true heart's desires.


An exercise that I include every day in my morning meditation practice helps me get in touch with my saboteur. After I have meditated for some time, I quietly breathe in the feeling, the sensation, the reality that all my heart's desires are fulfilled. When I first started to do this exercise, I got a sort of blank, "uh, I don't know", feeling. After some time, my surface joys started to appear. Then I met layers of frustrations, shame, fear, doubt, rage and pain that were blocking deeper joys. I sat with the interference for some time and allowed myself to welcome it all into my heart, realizing that the interference patterns were created by myself, so they could be healed by myself as well. I quietly watched and let them soften. No fighting.


After some time in this practice, deeper joys began to express themselves. I felt more abundance radiate through my being. I felt more possibility. I started to allow myself to fully feel what the realization of my joys would feel like, how that would affect every aspect of my life and how it would touch everyone in my life. I let myself expand into the fullness of my heart's desires.


I still do this every day. I love it. I find I learn new things about myself every day and feel it is one way I can get out of my own way so that my inner light can shine. I believe that this visualization is powerful. It helps us get in touch with our most authentic self and clear out gently, painlessly and completely the energies that stand in our way.


It is my belief that the universe patiently awaits us saying a whole hearted "Yes" to our self. All the help we need is right here, welcoming our fullest joy. I believe that the universe conspires not against us, but in support of us. When we say "Yes" to ourselves, we find all the support we need to realize our dreams.


This new year, consider saying "Yes" to yourself and your joys by incorporating this visualization - that all your heart's desires are fulfilled - for a few minutes every day into your life. If you like, keep a journal beside you as you do it so you may jot down what may arise. Go to the source of what you truly desire and get out of your own way so that you may realize it. This practice sets in motion, at a vibrational level, all the support required for your life to be just as you wish it to be.


May 2012 be your best year yet!

Many blessings to you,




PS: The next Ask Parvati will appear on Sunday, January 8. To have your question included in the random draw, please send it to ask@parvatidevi.com by Thursday, January 5.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions: Fulfilling Your Heart's Desires - Part 2: What are the unconscious tendencies that affect your choices?

(Continued from "What motivates your choices?")


If we are to create the life we want, we must look within and understand our early childhood tendencies that stay with us until we learn different behaviour. When we explore how we felt as children, we tend to see patterns present in how we related to our mother and father. Our relationship with our mothers generally shape our patterns towards our inner world, the world of love, nurturing, self-care and sustenance. Our relationship with our father usually sets the stage for our relationship with our career and outer, social life.


When we take a look at what went on in our childhood, how we felt in relationship to each of our parents, we can see the early seeds for what drives our unconscious choices that created our current life. For example, we may have felt abandoned by our mother, so we tend to recreate, unconsciously, situations in which we do not feel supported or nurtured. Maybe we felt aggressed by our father, so we tend to attract work or society situations that are dissonant with who we are or even abusive. Or maybe we just feel unwelcome in our work environment and become an overachiever or workaholic. Every person again will be entirely unique.


If you feel you want to look at aspects of your early childhood, I found personal therapy very useful. Finding a skilled therapist is like finding a torch to help illuminate our path. They do not do the work for us. We do our own work. But when we go into our inner basement, it is useful to walk with someone who has done their own inner work and can help shed light on our findings so we may integrate and heal.


I also found a couple books in particular helped me touch places in my psyche's basement that I hardly knew existed. One is Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child. She suggests that many children tend to develop aspects of their personality in reaction to their environment, and as such, lose aspects of their true selves. Because we want to please mommy or daddy, we do something that is not in alignment with our highest self and develop tendencies that eventually sabotage our deepest joys. The book suggests steps to move towards understanding, grieving and healing.


I also feel a lot of respect and love for Wayne Muller's Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood. Muller suggests a gentle and mindful approach to uncovering our hidden scars, from which, we may find spiritual strength. This book is more spiritually driven, unlike Alice Miller's more psychological approach.


In order for us to make decisions that will inspire lasting change, we must understand the unconscious tendencies that affect our choices and bring them to the light. So ask yourself, What are my unconscious tendencies that may be blocking my joy? Do I easily feel like a victim? Do I feel unworthy? Do I feel thwarted by life so that I feel the need to fight back? Do I give up? What drives your choices?


Looking at our early tendencies will reveal our inner saboteur, the aspect of our shadow that stands in the way of our fullest joy. Tomorrow, we will look at this inner saboteur and will provide a powerful exercise I use every day to help realize your dreams.


(Continued tomorrow with "Facing your inner saboteur")

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions: Fulfilling Your Heart's Desires - Part 1: What Motivates Your Choices?

Happy New Year!  May you experience the fulfilment of your deepest joys and true, heart's desires. For many, meeting our heart's desires may seem like trying to realize a fairy tale illusion, or trying to touch a mirage that always feels out of reach. Yet we often come to New Year's with hope that this year we will finally get the love we want, get that perfect job, make millions or experience glowing health. Whatever it is that you seek to bring fulfilment to your life, may you find it now and live it always. But how do you do that?


About nine years ago, I came across a hot-off-the-press book that greatly helped me get my life on track. It helped me stop trying to fulfill other people's dreams and helped me find the courage and get-up-and-go to start fulfilling my own. It is New York Times best selling author Debbie Ford's book The Right Questions. If you have not read it, I recommend you do. It is short, to the point and very useful.


In it, Debbie reminds us that where we are today is not the result of a single decision, but the result of repeated choices we have made over time, usually at an unconscious level. When we consider this, we may conclude that this could be a reason why many New Year's resolutions don't succeed. Perhaps, despite our best resolve, we find it hard to live the life we want because we have not been asking "the right questions" to help us understand the thoughts and choices that brought us to where we are today.


If we are to understand what drives our choices, we must look within. We must understand our fears, shame and doubts that thwart our ability to fulfill our dreams. Everyone will have different interference patterns that block their joy. We usually can see these patterns taking shape in our early childhood in relation to our primary caregivers. I do not believe it is wise to blame our parents for our current life. But exploring how we interacted with them will shine light on our unconscious tendencies that created our life today.


We all come to this planet with a predisposition towards certain tendencies. These tendencies will unconsciously drive all our choices until we wake up to the story of our life. When we explore our early relationships, we can see our tendencies. Any child would react differently in any given situation because we are all unique. Where one child would have fought back, another would have run to hide, and another would have not noticed any issue at all. How did you react to your early environment?


(Continued tomorrow with "What are the unconscious tendencies that affect your choices?")