All posts in Love The World

The Courage To Be Your Beautiful Self: The Legacy of Darcy Belanger

I feel as though I have been riding the head of a comet over the last couple of weeks, revealing the fiercest light and the most raw vulnerability. Life has travelled at such speed that I have barely had a moment to process what has been charging through me. This includes the special series of daily blogs I found myself moved to write this past week. They were sparked by the tragic death of my dear friend and colleague and the brother I never had, Darcy Belanger, two weeks ago today on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. He was on his way to the United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi representing MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. In honour of his extraordinary life, as well as of our human need for integration, I offer a recap of the special series this past week in my usual Sunday blog slot. PART 1: CARRYING THE LIGHT OF MAPS THROUGH THE DARK I don’t often share publicly the work I do on a daily basis as the founder of Parvati.org and visionary for MAPS, and as the volunteer CEO… PART 2: STEERING OUR SHIP THROUGH THE STORM The storm hit early last Sunday morning, barely dawn on March 10, 2019. I woke up to learn a plane headed to Nairobi…

Read more

The Infinite Light of the Heart

The Courage to Be Your Beautiful Self: The Legacy of Darcy Belanger Part 7 Photo by Jeff Gerald Art direction by Jellyfunk Every adventure of transformation begins with a call. Mine came from Nature Herself through a recurring dream of lying on ice, while a great blue whale swam below. We each are heroes on the MAPS journey because MAPS is about us all, for us all. Darcy’s passing has called the volunteers at Parvati.org into a new stage of that journey, one that has been both bittersweet and full of grace. The outpouring of love from unexpected supporters has shown that the voice of MAPS and the call to its adventure have extended far beyond our core group and touched the world. The opportunity to embody the courage Darcy lived and wished for is alive through us. All great heroes have a mentor. I know from experience that guidance comes when we are open, ready and willing to serve a broader purpose than our own. When we are humble, grateful and in non-resistance to the moment as it is, we see through fresh eyes the fullness of life and the gifts it brings. We discover teachers in the most unlikely of places. I am blessed to receive guidance from a spiritual master, and my life…

Read more

The Unstoppable Voice

The Courage to Be Your Beautiful Self: The Legacy of Darcy Belanger Part 6 Photo by Jeff Gerald; image by Jellyfunk Despite very short sleep after another 22-hour day, I woke up Friday morning with more of a speaking voice. I had a phone interview scheduled first thing, and was glad I could do it. I had already received feedback from colleagues on the live TV interview I had done the night before. They said it went very well and did not feel the pause I had was problematic. Our web administrator even reported enthusiastic email responses from people who had seen the segment and looked us up, made donations or asked to join as volunteers, while specifically complimenting the way I had spoken. I shook my head, immediately thinking of how I drove my parents crazy in high school and university after writing exams. I was usually sure I had failed, only to discover that in fact I had gotten top marks. I considered how I hold myself to a high standard. In some ways, that had served me well. However, it also had the shadow of self-criticism, something I no longer choose to engage. While I was seeing and feeling Darcy in the wind, in the quiet light of dawn, or hearing him whisper…

Read more

Truth in the Dark

The Courage to Be Your Beautiful Self: The Legacy of Darcy Belanger Part 5 I woke up on Thursday morning, after another hour or two of sleep, but this time with barely a voice at all. When I tried to speak, I croaked. I did not have a cold, so it was no infection. It was somehow related to the shock of Darcy’s death. It was pointing to something within myself that needed my attention, but I still did not know what. As soon as we completed the urgent press outreach, I would need to get back into my music studio to record a song for Darcy. There had been talk the day before of me coming out with a track as soon as possible. My voice had to heal quickly. I was also acutely aware that in each second, 14,000 tons of Arctic ice melts into the ocean. There was literally no time to lose. The hoarseness I was experiencing called for complete vocal rest, which meant no talking, not even whispering. But how could I do that with more interviews that day? And how would I direct my fellow volunteers? Speaking felt too costly. More than ever, each word I would spend with the media had to count. Throughout the morning before the first…

Read more

A Voice for Darcy

The Courage to Be Your Beautiful Self: The Legacy of Darcy Belanger Part 4 Words raced through my mind as I lay in the dark. I couldn’t sleep, even though I only had an hour and a half to do so. The moment I settled into my pillow, I was flooded with grief. I used the time as best I could to run through my day ahead: back-to-back interviews to speak about Darcy. I was to be the voice on the public record for why he had been on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. I went over my key messages, what I needed to say. It was important to me that I do Darcy’s life justice and his family proud at this tender time. I needed to honour his legacy, wife and family, and selfless commitment to MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary and all it meant to him and the world. Every word would matter. Anxiety fluttered in my belly like a million butterflies. My alarm did not have to go off at 3:30am for me to get up. I swung my feet off the bed. Before they landed on the wooden floor, I instinctively rolled forward to touch the ground with my hand in reverence for mother Earth. Since the healing of my spinal injury…

Read more

The New Reality

The Courage to Be Your Beautiful Self: The Legacy of Darcy Belanger Part 3 Continued from part 2: Steering Our Ship Through the Storm Image credit: Jeff Gerald, photographer; Jellyfunk, art direction Many of us at Parvati.org were awake most of last Sunday night. We were all in varying degrees of shock and disbelief that Darcy, our dear friend and Director of Strategic Initiatives for Parvati.org, had been on the plane that had crashed in Ethiopia that day. We also had countless logistical tasks connected with Darcy’s passing that needed immediate attention. He had given so much to the successful realization of MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. There was no way we would let his voice and the optimism he carried be silenced in the rubble of the crash. The family asked that Parvati.org keep the news amongst ourselves until we had their permission to share it publicly. They asked us to then be the point of contact with media on their behalf. I knew it was for me to step forward and protect their privacy and fulfil their request to make sure the world knew why Darcy was on that plane. I wanted to honour all he had given to MAPS and Parvati.org, and all he had given to me personally, through our friendship.…

Read more

Steering Our Ship Through the Storm

The Courage to Be Your Beautiful Self: The Legacy of Darcy Belanger Part 2 My head was spinning with the news. Since the vision for Parvati.org and MAPS (the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary) came to me four and a half years ago, I have not slept much. Our all-volunteer team has been working tirelessly to ensure that the Arctic sea ice, our world’s air conditioning system, is swiftly protected to safeguard all life. More recently over these past months, we have been ramping up for the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) in Nairobi, Kenya. Darcy Belanger, our Director of Strategic Initiatives and my dear friend, was heading there from his home in Denver, Colorado to gain support of MAPS. All seemed to be on course and running smoothly. Meetings were set. A groundswell of pan-African MAPS ambassadors was growing and active. People were working well together. The storm hit early last Sunday morning, barely dawn on March 10, 2019. The sound of my husband Rishi’s concerned voice woke me up from a couple of hours of sleep. He told me that a plane headed to Nairobi had crashed in Ethiopia. There were no survivors—and Darcy was missing. I sat bolt upright on the edge of my bed. I went into my default mode and became as…

Read more

Carrying the Light of MAPS Through the Dark

The Courage To Be Your Beautiful Self: The Legacy of Darcy Belanger Part 1 Today I would have posted the conclusion in my four-part series on co-creation. But given the devastating news last Sunday of the sudden death of my dear friend and colleague Darcy Belanger, I will be sharing a daily recount of one of the most harrowing and transformative weeks of my life. I don’t often share publicly the work I do on a daily basis as the founder of Parvati.org and visionary for MAPS, and as the volunteer CEO and Managing Director of our all-volunteer team. Mostly people see me as a touring musical artist and yoga teacher. But my daily work for MAPS also ranges from overarching vision, executive direction, team leadership and motivation, to project management. Since inception in 2014, I put in about 100-120 hours for MAPS every week, as a general baseline. I welcome the workload, being deeply passionate about MAPS and how it supports all life everywhere. Goodness is a tremendous motivator. Serving MAPS has been the apogee of my life to date. It continually orients me back to gratitude, humility and non-resistance to what is. It asks me to embody the peace sanctuary that we seek to create in the world. MAPS strengthens my connection with my…

Read more

The Gift of Co-Creation

There is a famous and often-repeated quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” These words, sometimes mistakenly attributed to Nelson Mandela, are in fact those of Marianne Williamson, in her book A Return to Love. She touches on an important truth of our human existence: we are far more capable than we realize. One of the ways we are most capable, often without realizing it, is in co-creation. This is a gift, allowing us to act in interconnection with all that is. We are born into co-creation. We live through it. Yet rarely do we become conscious of it and the extraordinary opportunity it provides our growth at all levels. Along the path of personal development, we come into understanding of this essential gift and how we are using it in every moment. In so doing, we gain sight of a powerful guiding star on our way to limitless joy and unconditional love, which are our true nature. We become of greater benefit to each other and to the world around us. We can be instruments of grace. Co-creation means different things, depending on our perspective. At the most practical level, co-creation is the bringing together of two energy systems in order to…

Read more

How to Reconnect With Joy When You Feel Stressed

Thank you for letting me know that you liked last week’s post about finding joy in your to-do list. In answer to a question I received, “How do I find joy when my work is stressing me out?”, here are some tips about facing stress with a meditative mindset. It was published on Thrive Global. Getting into this frame of mind is something I practice every day as I face the intensive timelines to realize MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. Every second, I feel like I can hear the sound of ice melting. It is certainly not waiting for the world to wake up to this ecological and humanitarian crisis. So I am giving MAPS my all with a “pedal to the metal” attitude and a meditative heart. I hope this serves you! We can access the beauty and power of meditation when we are busily moving through our lives by developing what I call a meditative mindset. This means that no matter how busy our body may be, our mind rests in the essence of meditation. We cultivate a deeper and broader vantage point about who we are and what we are doing. When we step into a meditative mindset when faced with a busy life, we gain a different point of view about…

Read more