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.
COMPASSION IN ACTION
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. Parvati.org 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 Parvati.org colleague Vandana Erin Ryder, who left a corporate law career behind when I invited her to join Parvati.org, 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.
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.
THE PRIMORDIAL ENERGY
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.