Parvati - Inspiring Quotes from Peaceful Leaders

Inspiring Quotes on Peace

Hello! Welcome back to my new workshop on Finding Your Inner Peace Sanctuary. I have just had the privilege of a grace-filled retreat with a realized master, one of the great beings on the planet today. Sri Mata Amritanandamayi, affectionately known as Amma (Mother) and the “Hugging Saint”, came from humble beginnings in a south Indian fishing village. Though she only has a fourth-grade formal education, she has become the inspiring leader of a vast network of global charities, providing food, shelter, education and medical care to countless people around the world. She tours North America every year, sharing insights on a life of compassion and selfless service, and embracing everyone who comes her way with indescribable unconditional love. She is able to do all this because she lives in a state of unshakable inner peace.

Under Amma’s guidance, I have the opportunity to deepen my meditation and practice selfless service, which are the foundation of my life, every day. I cultivate peace of mind and peaceful living by learning from spiritual leaders who set beautiful examples of compassion to inspire global change, through internal awareness and personal responsibility.

We are moving through a challenging time in the world today. The need for peace has never been so apparent. At the same time, we are blessed to have access to shining inspirational lights such as Amma; Eckhart Tolle, the German-Canadian spiritual teacher and author of transformative books The Power of Now and A New Earth; Jane Goodall, the primatologist who became the UN Messenger of Peace; and Desmond Tutu, the South African theologian and human rights activist who co-authored The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. They, among others, show how peace in the world begins within. They embody the wisdom-compassion that can bring lasting peace to the planet – if we find the humility to truly listen, learn and live from such precious, timeless teachings.

So this week, I would like to simply share some of their words to inspire you.

Quotes on Peace

“Compassion does not see the faults of others. It does not see the weaknesses of people. It makes no distinction between good and bad people. Compassion cannot draw a line between two countries, two faiths or two religions. Compassion has no ego; thus there is no fear, lust or passion. Compassion simply forgives and forgets. Compassion is like a passage. Everything passes through it. Nothing can stay there. Compassion is love expressed in all its fullness.”
“The more space we create for others within our heart, the more happiness we experience.”
– Amma

“A good question to ask is: what kinds of thoughts go through your mind all day long? If a large percentage of those thoughts are negative you will manifest negative situations. You will react to people and things in a negative way and make situations worse. Once you become aware that you have certain thoughts in your head, you can observe these thoughts. Now there are two dimensions: you have the thoughts and you have the awareness. The person who is totally in the grip of ego is so identified with the thoughts that there is no awareness whatsoever. That is the state that generates conflict, violence and all the enormous amounts of suffering human beings inflict on themselves and others. The key is the growth of awareness in you; the realization that there is a dimension in you that is deeper, or higher, than thinking.”

“It is inner stillness that will save and transform the world.”
– Eckhart Tolle

“Let us move forward with faith in ourselves, in our intelligence, in our indomitable spirit. Let us develop respect for all living things. Let us try to replace violence and intolerance with understanding and compassion and love.”
– Dr. Jane Goodall

“God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion. […] Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths.”
– Desmond Tutu

I invite you now to take a moment with these quotes, then consider the following questions:

  • How can these great beings inspire my week ahead?
  • Am I willing to take steps each day, however small, to live more peacefully with my neighbours, co-workers, family and friends?
  • Am I willing to take steps each day to live more peacefully with myself?

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From my heart to yours,

Parvati Blog - International Day of Yoga

How an Ancient Life Science Can Save the World

Happy Father’s Day, Summer Solstice and International Day of Yoga!

Lots to celebrate!
Today in particular, I think lovingly of my dad, Dennis Rose. He was a respected fine artist and portraitist who also ran a multimedia house and graphic design studio in Montreal and later in Toronto. My father was also very athletic. He loved playing baseball, swimming and cycling. Having three daughters did not stop him from starting his baseball team in Montreal, where we even played outdoors in the winter! Even in his 70s, he thought nothing of cycling from Toronto to Hamilton (an hour drive on the highway!) to have lunch with his brother, and then cycling home for dinner.
Our family conversations often revolved around spirituality and art. Though very open about religious beliefs, my father loved the Bible and Jesus. He woke up every day at 4am to read from the Good Book, meditate, seek guidance for the day and deepen his connection to Christ consciousness.
My father tragically passed away in an accident a few years ago, but I feel very much that the light of his essence is alive today. Not only in my beautiful niece, his granddaughter, who was born after he passed, but in my sisters, my mother, and all of creation. There is a vitality that is expressed in our inherent connection to nature that is beyond time and not limited to form. It is the stardust of which we are all made.
Whether your dad is with you or not, whether you feel happy about your relationship with him or not, see if you can find some gratitude for the part he did play in bringing you into life. Beyond the temporal and passing nature of personalities, thankfulness and love are all that remains between your eternal light and his. Go there.
This week also brings both the Summer Solstice and International Day of Yoga on June 21. As a dedicated yogi, I sincerely aim to celebrate yoga every day, be it through morning meditation practice, asana refreshes as I step away from my music production console, or the repetition of my mantra throughout the day.
For many, the question is: what is yoga really? Why does it have the power to make a profound difference in our lives? And why is MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary, an act of yoga?
To most in the Western world today, yoga is a series of physical exercises involving flexibility and perhaps some hints of Eastern spirituality, such as a statue of Shiva Nataraj (the universal father, first teacher of yoga and cosmic dancer), incense, or the chanting of Om (a Sanskrit syllable that invokes the sound of the universe). Yoga has become a trendy practice and a lucrative industry, but in many cases, it has also become disconnected from its intended purpose—which is to be a means for realizing our essential unity with all that is. Once we set aside popular perceptions, we gain the opportunity to enter a sacred garden within, and touch the healing heart of yoga.
With all forms of yoga, the potential for union relates to the breath, which is involved in everything we do. Breath is the vehicle for our very life-force; it literally keeps us alive. At the same time, it is shared by all living things. As such, it reminds us that we are not isolated beings, but interconnected with the uncountable billions of living beings that share this planet—all breathing the same air. Remembering this, we live with greater awareness and responsibility, while receiving the vitality that comes from being tapped into a collective whole that is so much bigger than the limited ego.
We may come to our first (or our one hundred thousandth) yoga practice hoping to find better health, deeper inner quiet, or some relief from the stresses of life. But we have walked into a far bigger picture than these three admirable intentions. The riches of yoga have so much more to offer.
Aside from physical exercises on the mat, yoga is an ancient art and science of life. Through yoga, we learn how to live as human beings in the world. Whether we find ourselves in a yoga studio or anywhere else, we discover how awakened action purifies our mind, body and spirit—returning us to our true, interconnected nature. As this beautiful and rich process unfolds over time, our actions become powerfully effortless, and we experience relaxed joy. We meet the challenges of every day with greater clarity, luminosity, kindness and effectiveness. Our very presence will help others do the same. Ultimately, yoga changes not just our own lives, but the world.
Just as yoga helps us brings awareness to parts of our body which are suffering, it helps us become aware of the need in the world around us. Most people don’t know that the Arctic Ocean protects literally all life on Earth, but is under unprecedented threat. It is our planet’s air conditioner that ensures we all have the food and water we need to survive. Yet it is melting at an unimaginable rate, and corporations and governments are moving in to profit from its open waters.
With a vision I attribute to my long-standing yoga practice, and supported by yogis around the world, MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary, is an effective and immediate response. It transforms the entire Arctic Ocean north of the Arctic Circle into an international peace park. By taking Arctic seabed oil off the table, MAPS will accelerate a global shift from fossil fuels to renewable energies. As countries come together to declare MAPS, our world moves from short-term individual gain to long-term collective good. MAPS is an expression of yoga.
To realize MAPS now requires urgent action for immediate conservation. This is only possible by melting the hearts of the world, creating lasting global transformation in the way we see ourselves, each other, and our world. Yoga supports that global shift. Yogis like Seane Corn, Koya Webb, Tias Little and Deva Premal understand this, and have already aligned themselves with MAPS through the growing Yogis Unite movement.
As stewards of the Earth, we are all called to live in harmony with ourselves, others and our planet. As we breathe and reconnect with our true nature through the practice of yoga, we give life to the world.

How to Find the Right Yoga Teacher to Inspire Your Practice

As I continue to complete the creative content for the MAPS Global Education Strategy (music, yoga and books to melt the heart and connect our world), I feel it’s grace that yoga is widely available today.
Yoga guides us to connect with a profound intelligence that exists within all things, through all things, at all times. It inspires hope and compassion as we meet the fullness of our lives – the good, the bad and the ugly. Most of us need guidance to access this intelligence so that we can experience yoga’s gifts of wisdom, compassion and courage. How do we find the right teachers to help us? I share the following, based on my own experience as a longtime teacher and working with many other teachers over the years.
Every yoga teacher will have diverse teaching styles and experience. Having taught since 1993, I have found that the common thread in inspired yoga teachers is that they know they are not the doers. This means that they teach from a place of humble service to a greater whole. They are a neutral, luminous conduit – not an attached persona – for the ancient, brilliant and wise message of love and interconnection that is yoga. They know that this message comes through them, when they are receptive, and is never about them.
The right yoga teacher for you may or may not have a huge following. What is most important is that he or she supports you in the practice that is right for you, while demonstrating a sincere commitment to embody the teachings themselves. He or she will be clear, consistent, trustworthy, patient and non-attached. He or she will not impose an ideology, but encourage an awakening of the luminosity that is inherent in you. As such, a good yoga teacher does not push students, but encourages and guides. If your teacher gives adjustments to your physical posture, it should feel safe, not taking you beyond your healthy range of motion or leaving you feeling invaded or helpless.
A real gem of a spiritual aspirant, and this includes yoga teachers, will not be overly shiny, but will radiate a warm humility, a potent kindness, a strong, inner steadiness and fierce dispassion. As their own practice has taught them to rest in vast stillness, an infinite light shines through them.
A qualified yoga teacher should be rooted in a broad understanding of yoga as a path for awakening, not simply a series of exercises to get you fit. Hatha yoga, the yoga of the body, rests within a large body of yogic knowledge. A skilled teacher needs to understand not only physical anatomy and how to guide correct physical alignment, but also that the purpose of the alignment is to purify the subtle channels of energy throughout your body/being. Since hatha yoga is a multidimensional restructuring, the teacher must have experience in meditation and mindfulness. Remember that the stilling of the mind and the cessation of the ego in order to return to an undivided state is the ultimate goal of yoga.
As I have shared in the past, there are three touchstones that help you make wise decisions: rootedness, vitality and expansion. The right yoga teacher for you is one whose presence and classes have you feeling rooted, vital and expansive. To find out why these three qualities are key aspects to holistic decision making, visit my blog post “Three Steps and Three Touchstones for Wise Decisions”.
Ignorance is as old as humankind. When we elevate humans to the realm of gods, they are bound to fall. We do it to our movie stars. We do it to our politicians. We do it to our spouses and friends. And we do it to our yoga teachers and spiritual teachers. If we make someone an angel, they will eventually become a devil. If we lift them up beyond the ground, the force of gravity will eventually bring them back to Earth.
Scandals in the yoga scene are nothing new. Ancient yogic texts such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana have ample stories illustrating the twisted acts of human folly while on a spiritual path. Most important is to remember that scandals are created by imperfect humans, not the eternal divine. When we allow the behavior of others to determine our willingness to practice yoga and spirituality, we are called to make peace with our own shadows, and with our hungry egos. Use discernment when choosing a yoga teacher that is right for you. Read and review others’ experiences, but most importantly, go by what you feel is right for you. Again, check in with yourself and see if, regardless of what others may feel or say, you feel rooted, vital and expansive when guided by this teacher.
Classically, aspiring yogis were taught by an enlightened guru, that is, a realized master who fully embodies yoga’s transformative power. As such, the guru has no ego. Without any sense of personal gain or attachment, the guru has the fierce ability to mould the aspirant’s consciousness to cultivate purity of heart. As hatha yoga awakens the vital life-force that lies dormant within you, it is important that a skilled teacher knows how to guide the use of this subtle spiritual power to benefit all beings, rather than to feed the ego. This is not to say that you cannot learn and benefit from a teacher who is not realized. Most of the yoga teachers I have had in my lifetime, from whom I have gained great benefit, were not. But it does mean that you must not pretend your teacher is beyond human tendencies. It does not matter if a person promises eternal life, attests to be the best yogi ever or preaches the way of the holy. If they are not a fully realized master, they will cast a shadow. Whether they are in touch with it or in denial about it, it is there. It is up to you to use your discernment to see it, or to deny it.
Anyone who is not fully enlightened is going to be uncomfortable in some way with their shadow. We all have parts of ourselves that we do not like, and do not want others to see. When it seems that you can avoid having to muck out your own dirty basement by following a shiny leader on a path to the promised land, you might be tempted to sign on the dotted line and project perfection on a limited individual in an imperfect world. However, in so doing, you are bound to be disappointed. Remember though that disillusionment is just the collapse of illusions that you needed to release in order to evolve. As such, disillusionment, as uncomfortable as it may be, is in fact grace guiding you towards greater wholeness.
A wounded child within you may hunger for some mystical big mummy or daddy to dissolve your pain and do your uncomfortable work for you. But you are not a little child living in lack. Rather, you are an adult child of the divine, fully supported to do your very important inner work and take responsibility for the shadows that you – no one else – cast on the ground behind you. When you work with a yoga teacher, you are called to remain an adult responsible for your own tendencies.
I love the quote in the French movie Amélie, “The fool looks at the finger that points at the sky.” A yoga teacher can support you to release that which does not serve. Allow him or her to be like the finger that points you to the sky of pure consciousness, which is beyond you both. Do not pledge blind allegiance or give away your power. The right yoga teacher for you would not allow you to do so anyway.
May you connect with yoga teachers who support and guide your practice to feel rooted, vital, expansive. May they inspire you to remember your eternal luminosity.

Connect With the Love of the Divine Feminine

Happy Mother’s Day!
I am deeply grateful for the presence of my own mother in my life and all she has taught me, as well as all the love and support she continues to give.
I am also so grateful to have known her mother, my maternal grandmother, while I was growing up. My grandmother was one of my first spiritual teachers and a dedicated meditator and yoga practitioner. Just before she died, I was able to ask her the million-dollar question: “What is the meaning of life?” She replied, “It is about being naturally yourself. It is so simple that most people miss it.”
Since I was a child, I have always felt connected to a sense of the whole. Because of that feeling, when I was of age to bear children of my own, I felt deeply aware of an already well-populated planet and of the many children around the world who are sadly unmothered. Rather than be a mother to a particular child or children, I felt called to learn to be a mother within the whole, moment by moment, to whatever is before me. I also feel I am a guardian to many children, whom I hold especially close in my heart, and to the planet as a whole.
Whether or not you are a mother or have your biological mother in your life, you are always surrounded by infinite motherly love. This week, in deep appreciation for that gift, I would like to share some of the ways I feel the presence of the Divine Feminine.
We all have the capacity to be instruments for grace and compassion. When we embrace this birthright through spiritual practice or caring for others, everyone benefits. A line from a hymn in the Christian church where my parents brought me as a child sums it up so well: “Where charity and love are, God is there.”
Right now, in Joshua Tree, California, our friends and Yogis Unite allies Bhakti Fest are wrapping up their springtime Shakti Fest. This well-loved festival celebrates the Divine Feminine through yoga and music. volunteers have been on site at Shakti Fest to promote the Yogis Unite movement for the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary, MAPS. MAPS safeguards the Arctic Ocean which supports all life everywhere as our planet’s air conditioner. Through Yogis Unite, people have the chance to participate in a global intervention that helps to prevent widespread hunger, poverty and suffering.
Meanwhile, my friend and colleague Vandana Erin Ryder, who left a corporate law career behind when I invited her to join, has traveled on her own time and funds to the South Pacific in devotion to MAPS and compassion for all. She is now in Fiji to attend the Climate Action Pacific Partnership conference and secure more MAPS Treaty signatures from world leaders. Vandana says, “As a mother, I am committed to ensuring our children inherit a healthy world.”
I love the ocean. I feel like she is my mother, continually creating and sustaining life. As I stand beside her, I feel immense peace and possibility, as though she whispers in my soul, “you are home”. So when the opportunity came to create a song dedicated to her, I did not hesitate. Ocean Anthem, written for MAPS, is so full of my love, gratitude and care for the ocean that I still get tears in my eyes every time I sing it or watch the video. Here are a few of the lyrics:
We wake up to the light of your magnificence, the beauty that is born
Of the billions of lives to which you give form.
Oh we hear you, now we hear your call
For the good of man, for the good of all.
No, we won’t—we won’t let you fall!
You are the ocean. This is our heart song.
Oh how you’ve carried us! Now we’ll carry you from now on.
Oh great waters! This is our humble song.
Oh how you’ve loved us! Now we’ll love you from now on.
During the shoot when this image was taken, we had to pause after every take so that I could fix my eye makeup! It was a deeply emotional experience.
Parvati in Ocean Anthem music video
Nature as a whole is known in Sanskrit as the goddess Prakruti, a living entity, an aspect of the universe of which we are an integral part. It is alive and evolving just as we are. Our current environmental emergency can be seen as a gift helping us learn to reconnect. It is like the call from Gaia, the planet, our shared mother, teaching us over and over—as a mother would—that we must grow to become wiser and more compassionate beings. She shows us that when we act in a disconnected manner, life dies and so do we. We are not isolated islands but one Earth family.
Gaia sustains us with the love of a mother. And she herself is loved unconditionally and exists within a larger mother, the creative force of the universe of which we all are a part. As we arrive into presence, we open to the love from the planet and the universe reflected in all beings.
There is an immense force carrying us. She speaks to us in the quiet spaces between our breaths in an ancient voice that, deep down, we have known forever. She is everywhere and always. She is the guide, the life-force and the form through which all occurs. She calls to help us remember who we are, so we may return home to the One. In Sanskrit, She is called Shakti, the primordial Divine Feminine energy.
Each morning, in my sitting meditation, I empty myself more deeply to Her. Then I practice throughout the day seeing all as Her grace, pure consciousness arising. Through emptiness, there is purification, a total acceptance of that which is: vast, expansive perfection.
Shakti, the divine She, is a presence to which we surrender when we understand that we are not the doers. Her energy is a palpable force that animates our bodies, transforms our lives, purifies our minds. Shakti guided me to move again after my spinal injury that left me paralyzed from the waist down. When I first realized I could not move my legs, I drew my awareness inward. As I lay motionless, I still could see a pulse deep within, vital and alive. I knew that if I listened to that pulse of shakti, I would walk again. I surrendered absolutely to it and allowed it to become the pulse of my being. I did only what it guided me to do. Gradually, over the course of months, mobility returned to my body. Doctors called it miraculous. I can only say that it was grace.
I have found this power so deep, rich and inspiring that it has led to me now wrapping up five different books that support you living in the reality of love and interconnection. The Grace Mindset: Healing Without Effort shares its power to heal. Unlock Your Superpower for Abundant Health, Wealth and Creativity reveals the gifts of co-creating with Nature in all aspects of your life. Yoga, the Universe and You – Discover YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine helps you experience Shakti as a tangible force to animate your yoga practice for health and transformation. The Oneness Reality guides you to reorient your life for clarity, purpose, joy and abundance. And The Three Supreme Secrets for Lasting Happiness is a master volume for a revolutionary life makeover. All are part of the Global Education Strategy for MAPS, to create lasting transformation in the way we see ourselves, each other, and our world. I look forward to sharing them soon.
I am infinitely grateful to Amma, my spiritual teacher, whose motherly embrace has opened the hearts of millions to the compassionate love of the Divine Mother. Renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall put it so beautifully when she said of Amma, “I believe she stands before us, God’s love in a human body.” If you are in North America, you can experience this for yourself. Her 2019 North American summer tour starts early next month in Seattle and continues until mid-July, wrapping up in Toronto on July 18.
When I am held in Amma’s divine embrace, I dive into an expansive field that feels absolutely infinite. In it, I become aware of endless possibilities, the vastness of my being and of the universe. I also can see with greater clarity the ways in which I perceive myself as finite.
In Amma’s arms, I can experience an extraordinary sweetness in the awe-inspiring effulgence of life’s grace. I am recharged into a full body-being awareness of the love that we all are, and how deeply we are each perfectly loved.
In truth, I am, as we all are, an infinite vessel of love and pure consciousness, never separate from all that is.
This week, may you feel connected to the Divine Mother in all ways and know that you are always infinitely loved by Her. May you rest into the knowing of Her unconditional grace that carries us all throughout every moment to merge back into infinite love.

How to Get Started in the Right Style of Yoga for You

This week is full of music and yoga! While I am in my studio completing the creative content for MAPS (the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary), my husband and manager Rishi is off to Canadian Music Week. Beginning this Monday, Rishi will share the vision of MAPS with music industry leaders from all over the world.
Then, starting Thursday, MAPS reaches thousands of yogis at Shakti Fest. This springtime yoga and music festival is organized by the renowned Bhakti Fest, where I enjoyed performing as part of a past US tour. I am happy to announce that both Shakti Fest and Bhakti Fest are now YOGIS UNITE supporters for MAPS. We will have a booth at both events.
Music touches hearts, cools minds and awakens interconnection. It is the universal language. Bhakti yogis and pop radio listeners alike can agree we all need a healthy world, which is why I am developing music to speak to everyone for MAPS.
Last week in this space, I shared about the gift of yoga. This week, in the joyful spirit of spring and new beginnings, here are some tips on starting a yoga practice that is just right for you.


There are many different types of Hatha yoga practices, because there are many types of people. It is not appropriate, for example, for someone who tends to run hot to do a heating yoga practice. Nor is it appropriate for one who tends to be heavy in body and mind to do a practice that is particularly slow.
Hatha Yoga is part of the greater whole of Yoga, which includes the herbal medicine Ayurveda. Under Ayurveda, everyone is considered to have one or a combination of three predominant tendencies: vata, pitta and kapha. Vata people tend to be slim, sweat little, with a highly alert nervous system. They may be restless, sensitive to sound, and have an irregular appetitive and delicate digestion. Pitta people tend to be athletic, competitive, with voracious appetites, and reddish or yellowish tints to their skin. They are usually of medium build, and have natural capacity to lead, teach or perform. Kapha people tend to be heavy, graceful, with thick hair and a propensity to sleep long and deeply. They may be even-tempered, balanced, methodical, and nurturing.
When you are looking for the right yoga class, it is useful to know your type. Ask yourself:

  • Are you thin and nervy, find it hard to gain weight, have energy in sparks and flashes?
  • Are you fiery, muscular, determined, competitive, potentially aggressive with a burning appetite for life?
  • Are you slow, calm, stable, steady, sturdy, reluctant to change, with the potential to be stubborn or lazy?

People who tend to be wiry and nervy do best with slow, nurturing, grounding and comforting practices, such as Kripalu, Sivananda, Scaravelli, restorative, Integral or Yin Yoga.
People who run hot and are competitive by nature are likely to be attracted to more physically intense yoga practices, which is okay as long as the primary directive of the practice is not to generate heat. Iyengar, Sivananda, Scaravelli or Viniyoga are good practices for this fiery constitution.
If you have a heavier build, tend to be slow and would benefit from a little more inner fire and mobility, then Ashtanga, Jivamukti, Power Yoga, Kundalini and Moksha Yoga can be good options.
For all types, when specific injuries need to be addressed, it is best to do Restorative Yoga. Pre- and post-natal classes are excellent support for the birthing process.
If you are generally fit and in good health, there is no harm in trying any style of yoga to see how it feels, as long as it is done in moderation. Eventually, stick with a practice. The effects of yoga are deep and lasting, so they happen over time. A consistent practice with the correct method, a skilled teacher and a willing student will yield maximum results.
Based on my years of teaching and my personal experience, I ask you to please be mindful not to push or strive in your practice. You may approach your yoga with the desire to improve yourself. Evolving into your fullest potential is wonderful and what you are here to do on this planet. Problems arise, however, when “self-improvement” does not come from the joy of being, but from feeling inherently flawed or not good enough. Rather than your yoga being an intimate time to open more deeply to yourself and the universe, it enables a disconnection from who you truly are. The desire to evolve becomes a subtle form of self-judgment, even self-violence. Driven by wanting to “get it right” in order to gain love and approval from some imagined source outside of yourself, a disconnected practice fuels a deeper psychic tension that eventually needs to be addressed.
Remember that the goal of yoga is the release of your ego. Flat stomachs, hyper-flexible joints, floating vinyasas, “picture perfect” asanas or other physical qualities are not the point. They are a distraction from your ultimate objective to let go of your attachments and merge with the divine.


Whether or not you are physically fit, it is good to start out in a beginner yoga class. I still go to them, even though I have owned two yoga studios, done three teacher training programs and taught for over twenty years. The gentler poses provide me with an opportunity to settle into each pose, rediscover my breath and embody the relationship between the breath, life-force energy, the body and the whole. May we always be beginners and learn to meet the moment with openness, innocence and fullness!
Even if poses are simple, it does not necessarily mean that they are rudimentary or unsophisticated. You can gain profound teachings from a yoga class that focuses on just a couple of very simple asanas (poses). Avoid the ego’s tendency to categorize into hierarchies, push and want more. “Advanced” classes do not make you a “better” yogi than “beginner” classes do. Approach each pose with a sense of freshness, that is, a beginner’s mind. Then you will discover the now, where life takes place.
Whatever class you find yourself in, let your body and breath be your guide. Never do more than 80% your maximum in any stretch, even if it seems to you that others do a pose “further” than you do. Pushing yourself to make a pose “look” good only creates constriction and suffering. If you find yourself in a class where you feel pressured to go past your 80% limit, consider going to a different class.
Every body is different. We come to yoga with tall bodies, short bodies, fat bodies, thin bodies, gymnastic flexibility, deskbound stiffness, physical ailments, mental ailments… all of it is fertilizer for the flower that is our own individual practice. Be exactly where you are. There is no nirvana waiting for you at the end of that stretch.


The traditional yogic garb was a loincloth for men and saris for women. Sivananda yoga teacher training still has a uniform of t-shirt and baggy cotton pants. In yoga studios today, you will see a range of clothing options. Most important is that you wear clean clothes that do not constrict your energy or physical movement. There is no need to buy super stretchy synthetic workout wear in order to do yoga. In fact, I recommend that you don’t.
Be wary of synthetic fibers in all of your clothes, especially when you do yoga. The use of natural fabrics will enhance your yoga practice and the experience of energy movement. When you pull off a shirt that is polyester, you can experience static cling, a buildup of unnecessary electrical energy. I find that the vibration of these fabrics can be constrictive or agitating, not leading to the sense of rooted, vital expansion that is yoga’s goal. That additional energy can add to an already agitated world, an overactive mind, and a restless spirit. All natural fibers help to keep you harmonized with nature, therefore more in balance. Also, remember that most synthetics are petroleum-based, coming from an industry which in itself harms the earth.
We also must consider that today’s laundry machines do not yet stop the release of micro-fibers from clothing into our waterways. Synthetic fabrics shed tiny fibers into the wash water, which goes down the drain and then into waterways where the fibers are eaten by fish and become part of the food chain for years to come, since synthetics do not biodegrade. Natural fabrics shed fibers in the wash too, but the fibers quickly biodegrade. Since part of the practice of yoga is to consider how we connect with the whole, it is good to try to be mindful of how our choices affect the world around us.
If you are doing a particularly hot and sweaty practice, you may find wicking fabrics to be appropriate. Yet, hot sweaty synthetics can quickly develop an odor that persists even through laundering. There are companies that produce organic cotton yoga gear, often blended with fibers like tencel, that is appropriate even for hot yoga.
Your body is a temple. You need to treat it with the respect and reverence it deserves. Put on it what you would place on something you consider divine. Personally, I do my practice wearing silk. Silk is gently insulating and helps to contain your energy, rather than engage unnecessarily with that of others. It adjusts to your body temperature, so it will keep you warm or cool as needed. It is also a very strong fiber and wears well. As long as a silk garment is well-made, without delicate features, you can machine wash it in a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. I am currently developing a line of silk yoga clothes for you to enjoy! I will be featuring them on my upcoming YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine book and DVD sets.


The rule of thumb is that you not eat for two hours before your yoga class. There are a few very practical reasons for this. One is that yoga class can involve bending and twisting of the abdomen that can feel unpleasant – or even harm the digestive process – if you have food sitting in your belly. Another is that digestion draws your body’s energy to your stomach, leaving you less energy to be present with your yoga pose.
While weight loss is not a goal of yoga, practicing on an empty stomach helps to train the body to burn its existing reserves of fat rather than seek more fuel in the form of a bellyful of food.
Having water to drink during a class is an option that some people enjoy and would be more necessary on hot yoga classes where there is a lot of perspiration.


We are fortunate today to live in a time where yoga teachings are available at the press of a button. There are many reasons someone may not wish to attend yoga classes, from not having a class they can get to in their area, to prohibitive cost, to just not finding the right teacher locally. It is far better to practice yoga in your own home with a DVD or CD, than not to do yoga at all.
A good yoga DVD choice for you is one whose asanas (poses) are within your healthy range of motion, so that you are not overly exerted or stretched. The goal of your yoga practice is not to be able to bend into a pretzel, but to become more aware of your interconnected nature.
Whether you are practicing at home or in a class, do 80% of your minimum, as I mentioned above, and not to push. This recommendation applies all the more when you are practicing on your own and do not have a teacher who can correct your form. It is very important that you do not compare yourself to the person on the DVD. Watch for alignment instructions, but go at your own pace and do what you can.
Whether your teacher is in person in a studio or on a TV screen, the same considerations apply, which I will address next week when we discuss finding the right yoga teacher for you.


Here is a practical exercise for you to do this week: Create a clean, clear practice space for yourself. It does not have to be elaborate, or even in a separate room in your home. It should simply be a space where you can extend a yoga mat or towel and not feel impinged in your movement, or distracted by noise, chatter or people coming and going. Most important is that you want to go to this space and feel it is sacred in some way.
Keep it simple. There is no need to go out and buy candles or incense, for example, or figurines. Such can come if it feels like a natural expression for you as you continue your practice. For now, simply give yourself the gift of a space for yoga.

Yoga: The Ancient Practice for a Rich, Vibrant Life

I am in the depths of the creative flow to complete what are now seven—yes, seven!—albums in support of MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. As I do so, I am reminded of a truth that science now proves, but that yogis have known for millennia. 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, gives health and provides a sense of fulfillment. This is the gift of karma yoga, the yoga of action.
The work of MAPS is a beautiful opportunity to practice karma yoga. That is why it was an obvious choice for us at to bring together the yoga community for MAPS through Yogis Unite. Please join us!
Yogis are natural ambassadors for ecological harmony, because the practice teaches us that we are all one, united within a vast and wise symphonic whole. The global yoga community is hundreds of millions strong. Imagine what the world would look like if we got together with one common purpose!
If you do not already have a yoga practice, here are some simple points to help you become familiar with this radiant art and science of life.
Yoga is at the heart of all spiritual practices. Whether you are Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, or part of any other tradition, the desire and practice to become one with the divine is yoga. Yoga comes from a Sanskrit word meaning union, or to yoke or join. Yoga is a systematic body of knowledge and practice that teaches integrated living, while living our highest good, following our deepest joy.
While yogic knowledge spans the breadth of spiritual study, herbal medicine, astrology and more, what we mostly know of yoga in the Western world is one small branch of it, called Hatha yoga, which concentrates on the health and purity of the body. Whether you are doing Kripalu, Ashtanga, Hot Yoga, Power Yoga, Kundalini, or any other kind of yoga in a local yoga studio, you are likely doing some form of hatha yoga. The goal of hatha yoga is the purification of subtle channels that run through the body, so that you can experience unending bliss while remaining physically present.
You are a part of nature. Living in alignment with this reality, which is within the teachings of yoga, lets you tap into an infinite well of power and creativity, the very life force that continually creates this amazing universe in which you live.


I first encountered yoga in my early adolescence. Around the age of ten, when I was visiting a friend from school, I saw her mother quietly excuse herself to go into another room for some time. I was never invited into that mysterious space. When the door would open and I got a glimpse, the area seemed to pulsate with something I only now understand as spiritual energy. After what felt like an infinite amount of time, my friend’s mom would emerge again, magically transformed, bright and radiant. I wondered if the fairies were in there with her. All I knew was that I felt deeply drawn to this – all of it – and wanted more. Eventually I learned it was not magic or mystery that made that room seem so special, but yoga, which my friend’s mother was practicing as a sanctuary from the stresses of her life, which included breast cancer.
At 16, I was in my freshman year in arts at McGill University in Montreal when I experienced my first hatha yoga class. I distinctly remember the way the world seemed fuller, richer and brighter when I walked out of the hall after the final savasana. I was sure I was taller and that the evening was somehow infused with immense light. I felt highly alive, expansive, yet rooted in my being.
Yoga continued to guide and inspire me through my university years. It was there for me as I started a promising career as an architect. And when I felt as though I had hit a wall in my life and needed to make change, yoga was what I left my architecture career to do, travelling to India to pursue yoga teacher training and study. My year in India saw me meet my satguru Amma, travel all over India spending time with wise teachers, and undergo a near death experience that totally redirected everything I knew. I came home ready to dedicate my life to yoga and music, living my soul purpose.
I am forever grateful for the experiences I have had and continue to have through my yoga practice. They teach me, as no theory book ever could, about the vastness of yoga, the breadth of its history and the practical implications it has for daily life, even in today’s busy world. Yoga is immense and also so simple. It comes alive when you practice, when you go within and face yourself, when you get on the mat and do your exercises and when you bring that expanded spaciousness out into the world and choose to live an awakened life.
One of my favourite sayings by Swami Sivananda is “An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory.” The saying helps us remember that enlightened action, living awake in the world, is where our true practice exists. We can stay knowledgeable in our heads, but if it does not translate into loving and serving, then it really does not mean much in our journey as a yogi or spiritual aspirant. Yoga helps us live all aspects of life more fully.
Yoga is part of what healed me miraculously from a devastating spinal cord injury that had left me bedridden and paralyzed. It has guided me to a deeper understanding of the grace of being here in this body, and the tremendous potential we have for healing and transformation when we are receptive to the moment.


Yoga is life. It is everything. It is the way the branches of each tree converge and make entirely unique patterns each time. It is within the mystery of life unfolding, and it is the mystery itself. It is the gut knowing we all have from deep within, and it is within the surrendered sense of not knowing.
Yoga can create the foundation of the way you receive the moment, process information and experience life. All situations and circumstances are opportunities for awakening. At times you will meet them as such. At times you won’t. The more you practice being open, ready and willing to be here and now, the more you can. It is not to say that all you will encounter is sweet and lovely. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is not. The more you meet this moment, the sweeter it feels because in this moment, as you practice yoga, you find life itself.
Yet what you perceive to be sweet or not, ultimately does not matter. It is not your job to determine what the nature of reality is, to try to label it or categorize it, fix or arrange it. It is your job simply to meet that which is. Through the courage to do so, expansion occurs. That which was sweet, sour, salty, pungent or bitter becomes fuel for spiritual evolution.
When you practice non-resistance to what is, you awaken to the jewels of this moment. You learn to allow yourself to expand and meet the present, rather than contracting, running or hiding from it.
Ultimately, yoga is about merging back with the One source of pure consciousness, dissolving your identification with your ego. Yoga is built upon the practice of humility and letting go. When you allow yourself to release, you return to flow with a force much greater than your individual will. You begin to live in rhythm with the infinite, as a witness to the finite, rather than bound by the finite, wondering if the infinite exists.


I leave you with a simple exercise of self-discovery. Spend some time asking yourself the following questions with the intention of being open, honest and willing to listen to your soul voice.

  • Is my life in flow at this time?
  • Do I sense the presence of something greater than myself? How much of the time?
  • What are my aspirations for my yoga practice?
  • What does it feel like in my body when I take a few deep breaths? Are there parts of my body I feel more energy? Are there parts of my body I don’t feel at all? Where do I hold tension? Where do I feel more relaxed?
  • What might my life look like if my body, mind and spirit were in flow, in harmony with the infinite?
  • Am I willing to serve that unfolding in my life?

Embrace This Gift and Discover a World of Possibilities

The opportunity for co-creation is a magnificent gift. My blog series on co-creation paused for a month while all of us at faced the loss of our dear friend and colleague Darcy in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. Yet co-creation has been present all along. I have chosen to allow a co-creative spirit to inform my choices as a CEO to lead our team through the storm. Awareness of a positive possibilities, co-creative universe has helped me as a spiritual aspirant to come to terms with Darcy’s tragic passing. Darcy studied the many ways we can co-create and consciously chose to co-create in the positive possibilities. Respectful, win-win co-creation is what I sought in every media interview and talk I gave about him and his extraordinarily courageous work for MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. Our collective efforts at to honor Darcy’s legacy were also a co-creation rooted in gratitude and willingness to serve.
I think of the beautiful Parvati Magazine cover designed by my friend and artistic collaborator Adam Nathan of Jellyfunk, surrounding Darcy in flowers—especially roses. He created the design over a few hours after hearing the devastating news. While working, he did not know that Darcy’s favorite flower was roses, or that since Darcy’s passing, his wife Amie sensed his presence and smelled the floral fragrance.
In open-hearted appreciation, as well as grief, and in the sincere desire to honor his friend and colleague, Adam was able to touch something beyond his own knowledge. The image brought tears to all of our eyes at We too did not know about the flower connections at first. But we felt the heart, and the resonance within the inspired magazine cover.
Today is Easter Sunday, a holiday symbolizing profound transformation and renewal. Easter shatters the illusion of the finality of death. It reveals the oneness reality in which Christ exists and to which we are summoned.
In addition, this weekend marked the beginning of Passover in the Jewish tradition, which celebrates the intervention of God to liberate the Israelites from all forms of bondage. As such, this festival of sincere remembrance also speaks to profound renewal and hope for the future, a shift into a new way of being in relation to ourselves, our surroundings and the divine.
Both these holy times point to the astonishing world of possibilities that open before us when we are willing to co-create with something greater than our limited selves.
With gratitude for these beautiful celebrations, as well as for Earth Day tomorrow reminding us to listen to Nature and protect our planet, I conclude the blog series on co-creation.
I would like to shout out a big thank you to all of the MAPS Ambassadors across Africa (Kenya, Benin, Nigeria) who so graciously have organized various Earth Day MAPS presentations.
As I shared in part one of this four-part series, co-creation expresses the complete range of human choice, from violent and hateful disconnection to a merging into unconditional love. Through co-creation, we access profound power. What we do with this power separates the wise from the ignorant.
The various types of co-creation exist along a continuum from extreme unconsciousness to pure consciousness. At one end, we would be fully identified with the idea of life as suffering. At the other, all aspects of our lives would arise from absolute unity with the light that we are, the very fabric of life itself.
To anchor all that we have looked at over this series, here’s a suggested range of co-creative possibilities, from the most painful to the most radiant. I have grouped them broadly into two sections, the first being co-creation in disconnection. The second illustrates co-creation in interconnection.


“Life is happening to me”

“There is only me”

When in extreme impossibilities, we operate in an unconscious state. Disconnected from the whole, who we are and why we are here, we are unaware of our power of choice within a co-creative universe. Ignorant of being part of anything beyond ourselves, we identify with nobodiness. It is as though we exist in a void, a hungry black hole inside our mind and heart. As such, we have no understanding of the needs of others, or of our impact on them. Consumed with survival and physical security, our only reality is “me” with a notion of “life is happening to me”. In this disconnect, our world revolves around the false thought that there is no love at all. We co-create with hate, rage and revenge and manifest the consequences of such. In its most extreme form, this becomes sociopathy or psychopathy and expresses itself in atrocities like murder. Yet it also exists in subtler forms, be it physical violence, emotional abuse, or controlling behavior.

“There is only what I want”

At this stage, we begin to become aware of the world around us. However, still in disconnect and feeling alienated, we respond to our surroundings not with presence but through wanting. Our limited ideas about life become sorry stories, which we project onto the moment. We cling to and identify with them, because they enable our ego and the illusion of our disconnect. Greed and loneliness drive us to seek relationships for egoic gratification, however fleeting. In the impossibilities, we mistake unspoken contracts for love. We co-create with others in the expectation that acting in a particular way will get us something from the other person, and vice versa. This behaviour is often manipulative and controlling. Playing the victim or victimizing others gives us a sense of temporary power over all the moment contains.

“I am the doer”

We now have a greater sense of the world around us and increased self-esteem. We become aware that we do have access to the power of choice. But still disconnected from the whole, we identify with our limited personal power. We feel we must make our lives happen, believing that we alone are in charge of our lives. We mostly co-create with our willpower as our tool for survival. We believe it is who we are. We may claim good intentions, but fundamentally we feel separate and are still driven by the idea that life is “happening to me”. This leads us to push and pull at life. Then we find ourselves on an endless rollercoaster, trying to satisfy our likes and dislikes that fuel our ego. At best, we experience brief fulfillment, feeling puffed up by all “I” have done. By co-creating with wanting, willfulness and self-centeredness, we seek reward and recognition for our actions, and feel punitive towards self and others when we do not get them. Sustaining our sense of “I” through the notion of being separate, we feel empowered by our likes and dislikes, enabling a divided, egoic identity. When we exist in this bandwidth, as I saw in my friend’s comment in the conversation that sparked this series, we perceive guidance from a spiritual master as happening to us or as militant. We are identified with being the one in control, proud of our expertise, and attached to knowing best. But our sense of self is limited. What we interpret as militant may simply be a challenge to our ego, inviting us to live instead in service to the whole.


“I am a conscious participant”

“I am connected”

When we consider our attachments to being the doer, it becomes clear that we thought we were the very force that gives us life. We lost sight that life-force flows through us and sustains us in each moment.
We now choose to let go of co-creating with painful energies. We understand that we had allowed them to distort our thoughts, affect our actions and turn us away from our true nature. As we stop giving them power, we step into our magnificence.
At this stage, we wish to make choices that benefit not just ourselves, but those around us. We may at first be motivated by our own personal desire for happiness. Yet we soon see that there is no such thing as an isolated decision. What we do also affects others. We seek to align with the good of all, no longer interested in the temporary high of personal recognition. We act out of compassion for ourselves and others.

“There is something greater”

Awakening, we seek to understand our place within the whole. We recognize the limitations of our individual self, will and power. Aware of a force greater than ourselves, we let go of wanting to direct, control or own it. We question how our personal will is in alignment with divine will. This leads us to contemplate what divine will may be for us. We consider “Thy will be done” to encourage the release of our singular way. We consciously experience and participate in a force beyond our limited will, and choose to serve it.
It is clear that it is not up to us to make life happen. That is the universe’s role. We are active participants within it. Our job is to be receptive, one moment after the next, to this loving and benevolent force. We mindfully get out of its way, so that it can work through us.
In the conversation that began this blog series, I was seeing the moment and the opportunity to co-create from this vantage point. When the compassionate universe expresses itself in the form of guidance by an egoless spiritual master, we sincerely and wholeheartedly follow their instructions. In this way, Luke Skywalker surrendered to the direction of Obi-Wan Kenobi and trusted the force, knowing it was not an oppressive order. We choose to consciously welcome and harmonize with guidance as a divine blessing for the highest good of all.
We understand that our lives are flowering within the garden of the universe. Clarity arises naturally, and we effortlessly breathe into our next step. We do not forcefully make anything happen out of a false sense of control. We are in a divine conversation, in flow with the universe’s cosmic play.

“I am interconnected”

As our understanding of connection deepens, we come to realize that we are vastly and wisely interconnected to universal consciousness. What we think, feel, say and do both reflects and affects everything in existence. It influences the trajectory of evolution, and participates in a growing, changing, alive whole. We feel a sense of flow within the whole, and are aware of the whole within our personal flow.
Because of our interconnection, as we choose to bear witness to the limitations of ego, everyone in turn moves towards lasting freedom. Through our choices to co-create, we can either support others or interfere with their evolution. As we create and perpetuate suffering within ourselves, we create and perpetuate suffering for all life. But as we choose to set ourselves free, we support the freedom of all beings everywhere.

“A divided me is an illusion”

Now, our personal agenda and willfulness are gone. We recognize that who we truly are is no different from the energy of the divine which moves through all. As we come to fully experience that our essence and everything within and around us are one with unlimited consciousness, we realize our divine nature. Understanding this, we begin to love all things equally. That with which we co-create is not separate from us, because nothing is. We exist in the reality of unconditional love as the fabric of the universe.
We are still evolving spiritually. Because oneness is the substratum of reality, any co-creation that is not within that frequency illuminates our skewed perceptions. It shows we still have potential to grow further along the co-creation continuum to find ultimate love and freedom. With remaining traces of our ego, we go through some ups and downs. As we practice the release of all attachments to any lingering illusions of a separate “me”, we experience greater, lasting happiness.

“There is only oneness”

With our ego extinguished, we no longer i-dentify through any separate sense of “me”. Even the i-dea of such an i-dentity is impossible. There is no more lens through which to relate to the perception of a divided, external world. We reside in a permanent state of oneness with infinite consciousness, and unity with all that is. We are effortlessly and perfectly arising in each moment in unity with an intelligent whole.
At this final stage, we are in a state of isness, experiencing bliss. We have transcended the notion even of death. Yet we may choose to remain in human form to assist the release of suffering in all beings. Egoless spiritual masters abide in this reality. This is why co-creating with them could never be about taking orders. There is no “me” in them to give orders. There is only isness. By choosing to align with that, we move closer to this reality for the good of all.
Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Amma, speaks of this state with first-hand knowledge:
“As the realization that everything is pervaded with Divine Consciousness dawns within you, you also see that every human being, everything in creation, is already Divine. The only difference is that you know that you and they are one with Divinity, but they do not. It is only a question of uncovering the truth.”
From my heart to yours, may you be inspired to embrace the highest form of co-creation in each moment. May you live in the reality of love and unity.

The Gift of Co-Creation and Why it Matters

A month ago, before the devastating news of Darcy’s death, I was sharing a four-part blog series about co-creation. This subject is more important than ever as we confront the ways our collective navigation system is faulty. I recap parts 1-3 here today.
PART 1: 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.
PART 2: What You See Is What You Get. What Are You Choosing to See?
Last week, we were looking at the amazing gift of co-creation. I recently had an experience that reminded me how essential it is that we understand this innate human power—as well as how our perceptions affect it.
I was conversing with a group of friends who are all committed to personal and spiritual growth and the protection of Nature. Yet, the discussion became tense around the topic of co-creation, particularly when someone brought up working with a realized master.
PART 3: How to Let the Power of the Universe Move Through You
At the climax of the movie Star Wars: A New Hope, the Death Star was poised to destroy the planet where the Rebellion was based. A fleet of rebel fighter spaceships approached it on a one-chance-in-a-million mission to stop it. They were so small and so outgunned in comparison to the Death Star, it was like a tiny swarm of insects trying to halt a massive boulder. One by one, the rebels were shot down until only Luke Skywalker remained—pursued by his nemesis, Darth Vader himself. What Luke did next illustrates the true potential of co-creation.
Stay tuned for the conclusion of this series next week!
From my heart to yours,

Parvati Blog - The Courage to Be Your Beautiful Self

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.
I don’t often share publicly the work I do on a daily basis as the founder of and visionary for MAPS, and as the volunteer CEO…
The storm hit early last Sunday morning, barely dawn on March 10, 2019. I woke up to learn a plane headed to Nairobi had crashed in Ethiopia with no survivors…
In the wake of the tragic news, the room was quiet. People were clearly shaken, raw and red-eyed. However, a palpable unity filled the space…
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 woke up on Thursday morning after another hour or two of sleep, but this time with barely a voice at all. The hoarseness I was experiencing called for…
Throughout the day of interviews and directing, my thoughts hovered around the miracle of the paper brochure at the crash site…
Ten light blue sticky notes were neatly stuck to the surface of Darcy’s desk, arranged in a grid on the right. But when I saw a close-up of the handwritten notes, everything stopped…
Spring is a time of change, and this one has been more catalytic than ever. I sense there are many more changes to come. In light of this, I recognize that part 4 of the Co-Creation blog is outstanding. But there may be other arisings to share here in the coming week or two before I return to them.
Love yourself.
Love others.
Love our world.
We are one Earth family.

Parvati Blog - The Unstoppable Voice

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 to make his presence known, I was changing. We each have tremendous capacity, as open as the sky and as deep as the sea. Inspired by the breadth of possibilities and catapulted by the pain of loss, I was cultivating the innate, infinite capacity for greater compassion, which always begins with self.
The image of the phoenix rising was still very much on my mind. An emblem of infinite life, power in the face of devastation and transformation regardless of circumstance, the mythical bird had long fascinated me. Even in the early days of getting to know the man who would become my husband, we playfully asked each other what animals we would choose to best describe ourselves. We both had the same answers: unicorn and phoenix. I knew I had found my soulmate.
A sense of renewed interconnection was moving through my heart and mind when I dialed into the morning interview. To the reporter’s first question, “How are you today?”, I answered honestly: “I am well, thank you.” Discovering the phoenix booklet had given me strength.
When I asked her the same, for a moment I saw the world through her eyes. She was flustered and agitated by the work on her desk stemming from the shootings in New Zealand. She expressed how the event was adding stress to her life, almost as though she sought my condolences. I paused. Here she was, speaking with someone grieving the loss of a dear friend and colleague in a tragic accident, and she seemed to be complaining that the horror of the shooting was inconveniencing her. I was reminded how I was stepping again into the media circus that had an agenda different from my own. Where she was perhaps more interested in her quota, I sought to communicate truth. I answered her questions carefully and kept on point.
After the call, I directed other portfolios at and ensured that we were organizing youth more officially for MAPS. This had come to me during my morning meditation, as insights for our work often do.
Throughout the day of interviews and directing, my thoughts hovered around the miracle of the paper brochure at the crash site. I considered the message not only that it carried, but that it now told the world. I remembered how the first inklings of MAPS began through my recurring dream of a great blue whale, summoning me to the North Pole. In the wreckage and chaos of our lives, MAPS, as a call from Nature Herself, was illuminating the path forward for our very survival.
We have tried to confine, define and contain Nature. But Her strength, and the will of the Divine of which She is a part, will always be so much greater than our limited ego. We need to learn to live in harmony with Her, if we wish to remain living upon Her body. The message of MAPS could not be buried in the rubble, because truth is an unstoppable voice that will always rise to be seen and heard. Nature would make sure of it.
I was also aware that I needed to inquire more deeply into why I had lost my voice. Though it was better this day, it was still by no means healthy. What were Nature and my soul teaching me? Had I learned the lessons?
A close friend once gave my shadow the nickname “Givey-Givey” because I have a tendency to take care of others to a fault. Yes, it is an honour to serve and it is a gift to give. There is no doubt that we gain immeasurably in doing so. But I may at times tend to others as a way to avoid sharing of myself. This past week was highlighting this for me. If giving eclipses my own health, basic needs and soul alignment, it is not giving, but hiding, a deflection of honesty. Then, it is not in harmony with Nature. I realized I had to watch for this shadow more closely.
I wondered what true equanimity would have looked like within the intensity of the days I had been living. How could I have found the depth of presence within utter chaos?
My thoughts returned to how I kept hearing Darcy suggest I be my most beautiful self. Had I been? What would that even have looked like?
I considered who I would be if I dropped the givey-givey forever and allowed myself to be utterly vulnerable. Would I not meet the essence of the universe itself, where there was nothing but raw, naked power? In such transparent honesty there could only be perfect equanimity.
I have experienced moments, even periods in my life, where I felt in complete harmony within the whole. But how could courageous, even balanced, presence exist in the wake of death itself?
I had been at the head of a comet this past week, hurtling through life at immeasurable speed as my former self burned away. The shattering news of Darcy’s death had propelled me into a deeper understanding of who I am and how I move through the world to honour the truth I serve. I was learning a subtler balance between respecting my inner self and my external responsibilities, while remaining rooted, vital and expansive.
The fullness of the teaching was not yet completely clear, but was coming into greater focus. It was apparent that while I was busy making sure others were heard, I had silenced myself. Yet in presence, there was room for it all – the painful, the beautiful and the victorious.
Now it was for me to deepen my practice of total trust that I was always held lovingly within a perfect whole. I realized in a flash that I had come full circle. This teaching had been at the core of healing from my spinal injury, which had happened on March 11, 2011, almost eight years to the day that Darcy died. Both of these traumas would forever change the way I live, think and speak.
Through my years of spiritual practice, I had been seeing my heart as God’s living room, asking the Divine to rest there. But now I was understanding that if open, the voice would become a conduit for Divine will.
Just as I am dedicated to daily meditation, I needed to receive the blessings that the voice had to offer. It had the capacity to mediate, as angels do, between heaven and Earth, and invoke heaven on Earth. Like a temple that needed mindful tending, it was for me to honour with greater reverence, as a gift from Nature Herself. It was my ally and teacher, keeping me honest, on path, and in harmony with the whole. It was asking me to attune to it and my place in the world in a new way.