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Three Steps and Three Touchstones for Making Empowered Decisions

1. YES, YOU CAN

When you find your life not working as optimally as you would have hoped, take pause and look more deeply at what is going on. Eventually, you come to realize that the arc of your life is not always created by the big choices you face, but built upon the smaller choices you make every day.

You likely come across opportunities every day in which you are required to make choices, whether you are asked to choose what food to eat, what people to engage, what clothes to wear, even what thoughts to think. Sometimes you may run on autopilot and not make conscious choices about even these seemingly simple things.

Knowing that in each moment you can make empowering decision is your first step to creating a life you love.

2. IN EACH MOMENT YOU HAVE CHOICE

Your next step in making empowering decisions is realizing that in every situation you do have choice. It may not seem like it. You may feel trapped, helpless, frustrated or out of control. But the idea that you have no choice is an illusion. Even when faced with things you don’t like or situations in which you feel powerless, you can still choose to either let go of your attachment to them, or move beyond the feeling of being without choice and learn profound acceptance. Choice always exists.

3. THE ESSENTIAL QUESTION

Once you accept that you have choice and feel inspired to embrace that power in each moment, you can take the next step in making great decisions. Here are three words that you can use as touchstones to change your life. Use them whenever you face decisions of any kind. Ask yourself: “Does this choice make me feel rooted, vital and expansive?”

Before you act on any decision, you must feel that it meets all three conditions. Not just rooted, or not just rooted and vital. The choice must ring true as rooted, vital and expansive for it to move you in a healthy direction. How come?

YOU ARE WITHIN THE FABRIC OF LIFE

In yogic Hindu philosophy (Samkhya philosophy), the natural universe is described as having three major gunas – three characteristic tendencies. Their interplay creates the fabric of life, of our physical reality and the process of evolution. These three gunas are sattva, rajas and tamas. These three gunas also relate to the Ayurvedic medical system (traditional herbal medicine of India) and its doshas – kapha, pitta and vata – the three bodily humours that make up your constitution.

Tamas, or stasis, is related to kapha and the Earth element. This guna or dosha is the quality of being rooted and grounded. But in excess, it becomes stuck, overly attached and its energy tends to involution or entropy (rather than to evolution).

Rajas, or dynamism, is related to Pitta and the fire element. This guna or dosha possesses the quality of transformation and movement, which is an expression of vitality. But in excess, it is unbridled desire and consumption, and you will be left burnt out by wanting.

Satvas, which means balance, order and purity, is more loosely associated with vata, the element of air. The quality of air is expansive, but with too much of it, you can become ungrounded, spaced out, listless and lacking in vitality.

ROOTED, VITAL AND EXPANSIVE

Rootedness is a reflection of your connection to your body, in this moment, to the planet, here and now. When rooted, you feel a downward flow of energy through your legs and into the ground. You feel present without feeling heavy or stuck. It is an energetic expression of how anchored your soul is in your body and to the physical reality in which you find your self. Any decision that is not rooted will lead to feeling unsupported, undernourished, and broken in some way. You will eventually suffer. You see rootedness in nature when you look at a flower or a tree. In order to survive, they have healthy roots in the ground.

Vitality is an expression of aliveness. When you feel vitality in your body regarding a decision, you will sense warmth in your belly that rises gently up into your heart. You will feel animated, awake, dynamic, and cognizant when you think about the possible choice to make. This shows you that the decision is viable, functional and sustainable. You see a healthy sense of vitality in nature when you look at a flower or a tree. The tree’s trunk, roots and branches or the flower’s roots, stem and petals carry the vital energy throughout the living organism so it can maintain health. Vitality without rootedness and expansion is like an uncontained flame. You will get burnt.

Expansion is like the upward and open movement of the flower and branches. The petals are open to the sky. The leaves open to the wind and light. But without the roots and vitality, the flower and the leaves cannot exist. They are unsustainable. You feel expansive when you feel an electricity zing through your body, mostly in your upper body. It is as though there is wind in your proverbial sails and energizing breath in your lungs, when you think of the decision to be made. But too much zing without rootedness and vitality can lead you astray with ungrounded and non-viable ideas.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

Whole and sound decisions need to support nature and be an expression of your natural self. As such, they will resonate with all three gunas and doshas, and be rooted, vital and expansive.

You may have made a decision at some point in your past that you regretted or didn’t feel great about. Such decisions are not necessarily mistakes, but can become compost for the budding flowers of your life, if you are willing to be self-compassionate and embrace change.

Learning new habits takes time. So when you are learning to ask yourself if a decision makes you feel rooted, vital and expansive, be patient. Give yourself the time to find a quiet place and tune in. Feeling in a rush or impatient only creates more disconnection and stress – which do not support you feeling rooted, vital and expansive.

Over time, asking yourself if you feel rooted, vital and expansive will become second nature. Remember, no matter how good an offer seems, if it does not meet these three touchstones, then it is best to let it go.

I hope that this knowledge helps to empower you to make choices that come from your soul’s wisdom so that you can move forward in your life with clarity, courage and confidence. I would love to hear from you about your practice of incorporating these touchstones into your life. Enjoy honouring your inner voice. Remember, you are worth it!

JGP_9231__naturalI post my blog every Sunday with love. If you have enjoyed this, you may wish to listen to my musical works, check out my upcoming book Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie: A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker, and find out more about me at www.parvati.tv.

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Parvati

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Gratitude: The Courage to Receive This Moment

To all Canadians, happy Thanksgiving!

The temperatures are cooler. The leaves are turning gold and crimson. Houses are warming up with fires and extra blankets. We are preparing for the deep freeze of winter. I understand that weathermen are predicting a cold one again here in North America!

Historically, Thanksgiving in Canada is traced back to Martin Frobisher’s 1578 marine voyage from England in search of the Northwest Passage, a once highly dangerous, ice-thick sea route along the Arctic Ocean connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Due to global warming, French sportsman Charles Hedrich successfully sailed the Northwest Passage solo in September 2009.

It is fitting that this weekend I am putting the finishing touches on a grant submission for my next show, an immersive experience inspired by my trip to the North Pole to help raise awareness of the melting polar ice. With grace, it will be funded and I will share the cornucopia of creativity with you in 2015.

Thanks to our British colonialists, Canadians have learned how to say “Thank you”. We have a reputation of being easily apologetic, polite and generally “nice”. It is almost cultural to say “Thank you” many times a day as we interact with colleagues, family, friends and our daily environment. Similar to the casual way in which we say “Hello, how are you?” without really asking for a sincere response, we often say “Thank you” as a knee-jerk reaction, rather than opening our hearts to what this moment brings.

I have observed this tendency in others and myself for some time. It seems we tend to say “Thank you” in three different ways. There are those who express gratitude and project their energy out towards the person to whom they feel grateful. As though they were exhaling when they say “Thank you”, they don’t really receive the gift for which they are supposedly expressing thanks. Instead, they energetically push it back and away from them, often because at some level, they don’t feel worthy to receive. They have done the polite thing by saying “Thank you”, but not really opened to the gifts the moment brings.

I have noticed others who tend to say thanks as if they were inhaling it. With a more voracious sense of “me” than those above, they seem to feel a sense of entitlement to praise, as though there is an unspoken “of course” with the thanks. They too miss the moment.

Then there are those who do neither. In saying “Thank you”, there is presence. There is a sense that they are a witness to the moment as it is. They are both inhaling and exhaling the exchange. They are breathing with the now. In the giving, there is also receiving. Life flows in and out. The giver is the receiver and vice versa.

My default tendency is more in the first camp. I tend to be a giver by nature, and think more of what others may need, than of myself. I am evolving into the two-way flow of giving and receiving. When I was last on tour in England, I had a soulful lunch with my friend Jamie Catto. At the end of the meal, he graciously got up to pay for our food. My now-husband Rishi and I both immediately jumped up to reach for our wallets. Jamie quietly smiled and said, “It’s safe to receive. It’s safe to receive,” as he walked to the cash.

His words have stayed with me as I challenged my comfort zones since getting back from that UK tour. I have opened myself up to receive love and support from family, friends and fans in ways I have never done previously. The January Indiegogo campaign, finding the support to produce two music videos, was just the start of a year filled with much newness for me. For this new learning and resting into abundance, I give thanks. I am inspired by the new growth and the possibilities it brings. I breathe it in and out and trust the whole.

Feeling safe to receive comes from a healthy sense of self-worth, which stems from sensing our place within the whole. Sustainable self-worth is not built upon an inflated or deflated “me” that sets ourselves apart from others. It flowers as we rest into knowing that our inherent being, beyond condition, is enough. We are loved just as we are.

To receive this moment as it is, we surrender any tendency to impose ideas of how it should be. It may be easy to receive and give thanks in a pleasant moment. But when life presents us with painful challenges, as we all encounter to some extent, it can be harder to be receptive and find gratitude. I explored one such situation at length last week on this blog, and shared how I came to find gratitude after feeling hurt.

By opening to that which feels uncomfortable, as I explained last week, we come to meet our core beliefs. We find our shadows and we see our imposing projections. In seeing them, we become able to see beyond them to the true wholeness of our nature and of this moment. When we open to what is and rest in gratitude for what we find, we discover our whole self and fully live.

May you rest in the cornucopia of the now and give thanks for the delicious fullness of it all.

JGP_9231__naturalI post my blog every Sunday with love. If you have enjoyed this, you may wish to listen to my musical works, check out my upcoming book Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie: A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker, and find out more about me at www.parvati.tv.

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If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

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Parvati

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Healing Pain Through Love and Acceptance

LOVING MYSELF AND THE WORLD BEYOND CONDITION

The choices you make right now, based on how you choose to perceive this moment, are literally creating your future.

This month’s Parvati Magazine explores the theme Equilibrium. My article “Finding Balance In Relationships” looks at how our core beliefs affect how we perceive and therefore choose to interact with the world. As often is the case when I share, I get immediate opportunity to put my teachings into practice. I feel this happens because the universe is the ultimate compassionate teacher. It lovingly makes sure that I am walking the talk and serving to my utmost by presenting me with many life lessons that support my growth.

This week, I had an encounter with someone through which my feelings were hurt. As I processed my experience, I discovered that some of my core beliefs needed revision. So I went within and took stock of how I choose to perceive life, asking myself if I am living in unattached truthfulness or projecting and validating my assumptions onto the world. I also went back to review my blog posts that celebrate the power of the divine feminine, a five part series written in December 2013 through January 2014. If you have not yet read them, they are pretty juicy and worth exploring.

When I first touched the newly discovered core beliefs, I found that I held a perception of being personally powerlessness in some areas of my life. In seeing this, my immediate reaction was self-disgust. “What me? No way!” passed through my mind as my ego held onto the notion of a precious little “me”. But in relaxing in the face of what I perceived to be an ugly beast within me, I came to meet no monster. I found instead a broken lamb-like little girl who needed my loving attention and care.

As I listened to the stories the child had to tell, I was asked to welcome my own feelings as they were presented to me right then and there. I sat with it all in presence, without the need to fix, judge, push or pull at what was. I said to myself, “So it is. So it is,” and breathed myself into greater wholeness. In newfound inner space, self-compassion arose effortlessly. In its sweetness, an inner fight melted away.

Welcoming this broken inner child into my heart by accepting her as I found her, I started to feel that a disowned part of me was being brought home. I became more whole. In the healing process, the energy that had been caught up in my outdated beliefs were set free so that it could shine in more creative and healthy ways.

I fully realized that my choice to perceive myself as powerless had been reflected back to me in the painful situation and the hurt feelings I had experienced. The irony of it all – and the source of the a-ha moment I had that was my healing breakthrough – were that the painful encounter with this person was caused by my finding her expression of feeling incapable and powerless to be intolerable. I was brought face to face with what my guru Amma teaches as one of the essential steps for spiritual growth: “If someone is doing something that you find really offensive, check to see whether you are doing something similar to someone else or yourself.”

I came to see that I was uncomfortable and triggered by the other person’s painful actions because I had not yet accepted ways in which I was similarly hurting deep down. Though this person’s behaviour was technically hurtful, I only felt hurt because I identified in that moment with being small and disconnected.

SAYING “YES” TO THIS MOMENT AS IT IS

The morning of the incident, I did as I do everyday and pulled an Amma challenge card (like an Angel or Nature card) for extra guidance after my meditation practice. (As a side note, I never use Tarot cards as I find their energy astral, murky, tricky and unclear.) The Amma card read: “Today, I remember that I am not the mind. I am the Atman (Self).” (Atman is the Sanskrit word for the eternal, undivided soul that is one with the divine.) And that was what the painful experience showed me that day. The encounter with someone in pain highlighted the ways in which I was attached to the small me, busy defending the passing and the temporal as I mistook it for my true infinite nature. So I suffered. If I would have been able to be more present and see more clearly in the moment of the exchange – and not through the lens of my preconceptions, wounds and core beliefs – I would have only seen a broken person expressing her own feeling of powerlessness, rather than someone who was doing something “to” me.

After I had been hurt, I meditated for some time and then prayerfully asked for guidance on the situation. I pulled another Amma card, which read: “Today I identify some of the behaviours that create obstacles to my spiritual growth.” My mind wanted to dismiss the card as a mistake as surely the other person was at fault.

After I had self-righteously decided that the card was letting me know that the other person was the obstacle to my path, me ego/mind went on a little journey trying to blame and avoid seeing my part in the whole. Luckily, that only went so far, as I know that any sense of life is “happening to me” is unreal and an delusional manufacturing of the ego in order to sustain itself. All that I was left with was the need to look at myself more deeply and discover what the situation was teaching me.

I rested in what I know to be true: I am no victim in life. No one has power over me unless I give it to her. Then I got it: my perception was the obstacle that the card pointed to! By finally accepting that I was seeing myself as powerless, I was unable to be present for the ways in which she felt the same. Prior to this revelation, I was unable to remain a present witness to her expression, and instead co-created in the expression of her pain.

MOMENT TO MOMENT GIFTS

For most of us, it can be a knee-jerk tendency to say to ourselves “I don’t want to feel that”, and either tuck uncomfortable emotions away somewhere convenient (like in a tense neck, shoulders or belly) or attempt to splatter them all over another person or thing we want to discard. Unconsciously justifying our avoidance in dread that life circumstances will prove our deep fears true, it is easy to turn a blind eye to what we don’t want to see. Yet when we resist the moment, we miss the opportunity to meet our true, fuller self beyond what we perceive.

My experience with this person is one example of the many daily gifts we all receive from the universe (some painful, some joyful, others neither) that teaches us how to free ourselves from our limited perceptions and be present for what really is. When we do so, we flower into love that knows we are one. Through this experience, I am becoming more whole on my journey to my true home.

I feel both humbled and empowered to acknowledge that I am still learning to meet what is in this moment with equanimity and compassion rather than with judgment or prejudice. The painful encounter I had gave me the opportunity to see and eventually accept ways in which I’ve felt powerless in my life, ways in which I’ve given my power away. I became aware that I was holding onto outdated core beliefs that did not serve anyone but only cause suffering to others and to myself.

I can now feel gratitude for the person whose actions I found so offensive, who I felt was so “wrong”. That person was acting out unconscious pain, her own unseen, broken parts she too had disowned and will someday be called to integrate, love and heal through presence. This person was not only a clear mirror to my own pain, but a teacher in showing me how to love the world and myself beyond condition.

JGP_9231__naturalI post my blog every Sunday with love. If you have enjoyed this, you may wish to listen to my musical works, check out my upcoming book Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie: A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker, and find out more about me at www.parvati.tv.

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If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

Love,
Parvati

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I Feel Like A Bird That Has Her Song

Happy Sunday! Here in Toronto it is a gloriously sunny and warm day, full of possibilities.

As the “Yoga In the Nightclub” music video came to completion this week, and with the “Shanti Om” music video now in post production, I have spent the past five days facing my next creative task: writing and producing my next show! I am thrilled. Though I have absolutely loved the experience of directing and producing my music videos alongside my co-director Adam Nathan and my executive producer (now husband!) Rishi Deva, I am really happy to be back at the helm in creating my live performances. This morning I woke up so happy and said to Rishi, “I feel like a bird that has her song and a flower that has its perfume!”

As I dive into the world of creative artistic possibilities of sound, vision and movement, it is now Rishi’s task to continue developing his very essential marketing plan so that we may secure great exposure for the fabulous music videos, before we can share them with you. To us, there is no point after all our hard work – and the tireless generosity of all our volunteers that made the videos possible – to simply stick them up on YouTube and hope people see them. It is time to plan for their greater success and reach. With grace – and with your valuable support – millions of people can see them! As Rishi works on this very important stage in the evolution of the music videos, I will be dreaming up new spaces, costumes, characters, choreography, lighting, narratives, sounds and songs to share with you in my next show.

This past week, I received a few notices from those who tried to read my last blog posting (Three Ways to Increase Peace in Your Life and the World) letting me know that they were having difficulties accessing the full entry. In light of that and the fact that I feel there is delicious, savory-worthy content to be digested in it, I would like to suggest that you take this opportunity to contemplate its contents more deeply if you managed to read it last week, or enjoy it for the first time, if you missed it all together.

Enjoy!

More here next Sunday. Have a great week!

JGP_9231__naturalI post my blog every Sunday with love. If you have enjoyed this, you may wish to listen to my musical works, check out my upcoming book Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie: A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker, and find out more about me at www.parvati.tv.

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Parvati

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Parvati Magazine

Welcome to the September 2014 edition of Parvati Magazine

The word “fierceness” may conjure images of aggression, even violence. But from a spiritual perspective, fierceness can sit alongside us during our meditation practice, as we find fierce, single-pointed focus even when our mind creatively attempts to pull us from this moment. Being fierce along the path means finding profound courage and compassion to overcome habitual patterns and situations that eclipse our true magnificence. Fierceness inspires us to face rather than run from life’s challenges.

Fierceness is not about attacking or closing our hearts to this moment. Rather, it is a luminous sword that is non-attached and vividly discerning. It rises through our spine when we are rooted, vital and expansive and adamantly insisting that our true nature rests exclusively in I AM. Its open-heartedness simultaneously cuts through any trickiness that would move us away from what we know is in our highest good, and the highest good of all.

May this month’s articles inspire you to find fierce presence in your life.

Get Your Copy of “YIN: Yoga In The Nightclub”Step into a vibrant, multidimensional world where traditional Sanskrit chants meet lush…View Post

Get Your Copy of “YIN: Yoga In The Nightclub”

Step into a vibrant, multidimensional world where traditional Sanskrit chants meet lush…

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