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Find Golden Light At Work

BY Parvati

Image credit: Toshihiro Gamo

For many, Labour Day marks the end of summer’s freedom frolicking with a return to working life and the discipline that a new school year brings. A public holiday in North America since the late 1800s, it is celebrated with a day off work on the first Monday of every September. The special day is intended to honour the contributions that workers have made to their country.
I have had the privilege of being born into the care of two parents, each descendants of Canadian pioneers who helped found the country in which I now live. Not strangers to the challenges that come with venturing out into the new while exploring uncharted frontiers, my parents, and those who followed before them, chose to take courageous steps to leave the familiar and build lives they loved.
Having seen first hand what hard work, dedication and focus can yield, I have not shied away from the tenacious dedication it takes to follow my own dreams and honour an unstoppable creative spark that seems to arise within me. As such, I am no stranger to regular 14 hour work days, every day of the week. For many, I work hard. Yes, I work very long days with tremendous focus. But to me, I don’t necessarily work hard. I work a lot with a commitment to get a lot done with a lightness of spirit while ensuring I am having fun.
The word “fun” may immediately conjure images of a day on the beach or a night out with friends. Yes, those can definitely be fun! But to me, fun does not stop there nor is not limited to the actions we may take. Fun relies on how we perceive this moment. It comes from a lightness of being that sees possibilities before us.
A honey bee works her whole life to care for the hive and bring home nectar. Her entire life’s work amounts to only a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey! Yet bees are not plagued with a sense of inadequacy or futility. Worker bees never take vacation. Yet they are never in a state of stress, anxiety or resentfulness. They do what they were born to do and do it fully. In so doing, they give nourishment to the world. Without the work of bees, most food crops we now enjoy would not come to fruition.
I have been working for the past couple of months on sharing my true joy and inner light with you through my upcoming I Am Light music video. Dare I say that today marks the final cut? It is looking fantastic!
I have been on editing mode “lock down” for a while now, blocking out everything else on my calendar to focus exclusively on this task. It has meant many nights getting just three hours of sleep, week after week on a super tight, volunteer driven budget and timeline. It has been very “full on”.
But the sparkle that bubbles through the song comes from the effervescence of my being, and as such, it inspires me in creating this video, as much as both may be able to touch others. Knowing that I can play even some part in sharing this joy with the world brings me such delight and makes the project a huge amount of fun. Do I have bags under my eyes? Yup. But that is temporary. What remains is the lightness in my step and through my being. I know that as each one of us follows our lasting joy, we illuminate the world in our own unique ways.
My golden character Natamba from the Cosmic Intelligence who comes to Earth to inspire, to me is an embodiment of the transcendent luminosity. Seeing footage of her on the screen while editing has been a fabulous boon – a reminder to me that there is always sweet, golden light, even in hard work.
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We commonly use the term “hard work”, as through “work” and “strenuous effort” are synonymous. Labour – to work hard, slave, grind away, toil, struggle, exert great effort – our common use of the word does not mean lightness of being to most. But does hard work need to be hard?
Being a musical artist, I hear from people often how lucky I am to have found my passion. I am then told that they are unhappy in their drudgery job because they have not yet found theirs. As I shared in a previous blog post on how to find your passion, I believe it is true that knowing your life calling does provide an effervescence of being. I am blessed to experience this. But happiness is not inherently given to those who know their passion. Passion in a particular vocation can also lead to tremendous stress, tension, even illness and pain. Passion, after all, can be a fiery dragon that must be understood and tamed, lest it burns you out.
In any work environment, there are those who work hard and those who slack. There are also those who work hard and achieve less, while others, who seem jovial and relaxed, smile their way through the day while accomplishing more than those with furrowed brows. As the Zen meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches, even the slight curl at the sides of our lips can relax our whole body. As a practicing yogi and meditator, I know this to be true.
Greeting the morning with a quieting of my being through meditation allows a clarity and relaxed focus to anchor me through my day. Then, with each task that I meet, I can receive it as a welcome opportunity to evolve, rather than as a nuisance that I perceive as happening to me. This applies equally to things I like, and things that I don’t. I can see both as life gracing me with teachings and growth.
This attitude towards even the mundane tasks that we meet each day rests in the ancient field of yoga. As I explored in my blog post on Karma Yoga, when we meet tasks at hand with a sense of presence no matter how pleasant or unpleasant the moment may be, we become happier, more energized and relaxed while experiencing profound contentedness. Since this weekend was the observation of Janmashtami (the birthday of Krishna, whose teachings on karma yoga are at the heart of the Bhagavad Gita) in many parts of India, it is particularly fitting to consider the potency of karma yoga and non-attached action at this time. Like the honeybee who dutifully follows her call to action without hesitation, Arjuna learns to see and serve a much greater whole, acting without attachment to wants or fears.
Happiness does not come from having all our wants fulfilled. Such happiness comes and goes like a sugar rush. It has a euphoric peak that eventually comes crashing down. Lasting happiness arises from a sense of joy that comes from understanding our inherent interconnection within the whole.
Nothing that we experience can ever be happening to us, as though we were a disconnected entity or victim of life. We are within the very fabric of life that sustains and supports us in each moment, through every breath. When we understand this, we naturally feel a connection with all that is. We feel an arising within us to serve the needs in the world around us, and an understanding of the greater picture.
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Happiness could have been a relaxing day at home for my friends Deborah, Joy and Hagop today. But instead, they chose to share their light of being at Open Streets Toronto. Joy (aptly named) and Deborah, who are Climate Reality Leaders trained in July by Al Gore, and Hagop, were stationed on Bloor Street with information about protecting the Arctic Ocean and petitions to sign for parvati.org and Live Earth, as well as encouraging people to create drawings on a large board illustrating what a healthy planet means to them. I am inspired by how they gave selflessly of their time during a long weekend to be a presence for the environment. Deborah is not seen in this image, because she took the photo!
As we learn to find light in even hard work, I think about the upcoming election campaign in Canada. At this time in our human history, I feel we are called to illuminated action by deeply considering the impact of our choices on our self, each other and our planet as a totality. As such, ecological awareness is more important than ever.
While I and Parvati.org, the not for profit I co-founded, are not political, I believe that it is essential that we elect leaders who are prepared to recognize and address our role in the climate crisis, including any question of oil exploitation in our vulnerable Arctic ecosystem.
If you have not already, please sign our petitions at Parvati.org. If you feel so moved, visit Elections Canada to find out who your candidates are and ask what they and their party are prepared to do about the unprecedented ecological crisis we are facing. Wherever you are, if you wish to increase awareness in your region of the climate crisis, you can request a presentation by a Climate Reality Leader.
I believe that no matter what actions we may choose to take, we can see work before us, no matter how hard, as an opportunity to rest in our true luminous nature. We are neither bound nor limited to the weight of being, unless we choose to see ourselves there. We do not need to wait for others to free us from the heaviness we may feel from any perceived drudgery. It is up to each one of us to shake off our own sorry stories, ignite our inner light and play our part in  illuminating the world. Spark your light! You are light!
Until next time, remember:
Love yourself.
Love others.
Love our world.
We are one Earth family.
Namaste,
Parvati