How to Fill Your Life with Gratitude and Grace

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! I am grateful for the chance to serve with MAPS and for all of you here.

Amid the pinned recipes for pumpkin pie, cranberry relish and perfectly cooked turkey, are we taking the time to consider the true power of gratitude, and all that we have to feel thankful for? Or do we lose sight of gratitude in a storm of insatiable wanting, as we jostle for the best deals on a new TV to boost ourselves or impress someone else? Whether it is about food, possessions, love or approval, wanting disconnects us from the moment, creating agitation and suffering. But the true power of gratitude shows us the way to reconnect.

LESSONS IN GRATITUDE

My year living in India was an invaluable lesson in generosity and in recognizing how fortunate my life truly is. I was brought up in a Christian home and taught to see the needs of others, collecting for Unicef and doing volunteer work at food banks as a child. These were important teachings that created a seedbed for my personality and spiritual being to blossom. But the reality of the blessings of my life did not hit home until I was living in the midst of tremendous poverty.

I spent time in a small village in Rajasthan, in the northern part of India. It was amazing to see how people with so little would still naturally give. Everyone I visited would offer to share what food they had. If there was enough food in a meal for six hungry mouths, then they would divide what they had into seven portions, so that I could join them.

Perhaps our relative wealth breeds complacency. Tempted by manufactured abundance, we want more and forget to feel contented with what we have. If we were not able to have more, due to our circumstance, would we still want? Or would we find a way to feel happy with what we have? Have we fallen prey to cultural greed?

Abundance comes from the feeling of enough, not from feeling not enough. If we want to feel fulfilled, we need to begin to practice gratitude for what we have. If we are going around saying, “I am not enough. I don’t have enough. There is not enough…” consciously or unconsciously, we are in effect creating that reality, the reality of not enough, regardless of how much wealth is truly present in our life. Is it any surprise then that we feel unfulfilled?

BE HERE

You may move through your days somewhat cockeyed, feeling disconnected, wanting life to be different, wondering why it is not. There is tremendous unhappiness in the world and you contribute to it when you are in a disconnected state. If a zombie fog runs through your mind and seeps into your day, it’s as though you are just not quite there. In essence, you are not. Instead, you would be in wanting, thinking about what could be or what was, rather than being present for what is.

By rooting into the now and tapping into the vitality of this moment you can expand to meet what actually is. When you see all as grace – even the things you don’t like – you expand beyond the limited confines of your ego and tap into the vastness of pure consciousness. Then you see that you are not the doer, but a vehicle for the divine to move through you.

When you meet this moment as it is, with all its colours, dark and light, you realize the true possibilities in your life. There you find happiness, abundance and gratitude. Feeling grateful for what is, you tap into a wealth of power and vitality that had been waiting for you all along. You simply were too busy looking for fulfilment elsewhere.

PRACTICE GRATITUDE

So this week, do yourself and the world a favour. Write a list of all the things you feel grateful for, however small or large. It could be, “I like the colour of my eyes”, or it could be, “I feel grateful that I paid off my credit card” or “I feel grateful that I have food to eat and a roof over my head”. If you are really feeling stuck to find gratitude, you can always feel thankful for the extraordinary grace of breathing. It truly is incredible! Challenge yourself to go deeper than you usually would. Once you have your list, take a moment to breathe in the wealth you already have. This is your life. Let it be one rooted in gratitude and grace.

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WHY YOGA IN THE NIGHTCLUB

I am often asked what inspired me to bring yogic expression into the club scene. I answer easily. Yoga In the Nightclub is a natural expression of who I am as a musical artist and dedicated yogini. Yoga is not a physical practice but a way of life. It is about learning to be present in all one does, to see the divine here, now, in this moment. As such, yoga is everywhere. It is about feeling connected to something much greater than our limited ego or will. It is about being in service to life, feeling interconnected to that very life force. Yoga In The Nightclub is a celebration of life and a reminder that we can find awakened presence everywhere.

Yoga in the West is mostly known as a series of bendy physical exercises. Yet there is much more to it than fitness. Yoga’s systematic breath and body exercises, designed to clear the subtle channels in our energy system, prepare us for meditation, through which we may experience a life inspired by our interconnected, multidimensional true nature. Our body, that once was seen as “mine”, is no longer our identity, but a gift on loan from the divine. We care for it, but we are not attached to it. The practice of yoga offers us the opportunity to experience the transmutation of matter into pure light, embody the multidimensional and rest in the eternal.

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WE ARE ALL CONNECTED

Hatha yoga, the physical practice of yoga, is just one of many aspects of yoga, which range from selfless service to astrology and prayer. The Sanskrit word “yoga” most simply translates to “union”, implying that the practice of any yoga will bring together our perceived sense of separateness. As a whole, yoga is an ancient science of life. It is a practical method of shedding excess and bringing us back from the self-delusion of separation from the divine so that we may realize our inherent interconnection to and ultimate oneness with it.

As we begin to understand that yoga is everywhere, we come to see how we are all connected in vast ways far beyond the limitations of our personal will and ego. What I do affects you, and vice versa. We are one earth family. At the heart of it all, we share the same heartbeat. Breathe to be. We are one.

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AWAKENED LIVING

When we are open, life blossoms, just as a flower opens to welcome the morning sun.  We see that the sun, though it is millions of light years away, has a tender yet powerful relationship with the flower, as do the rain and the clouds. From this perspective we see that we are part of the whole. Life is a symphonic masterpiece with which, when we are open, we are completely resonant.

As we come to understand our oneness, we can revel in it with wonder and joy. We can consider in awe how immense it all is. We can let go of the idea that an illusory, isolated sense of self could possibly be in control, and open to an exquisite unfolding of life in absolute perfection. Our actions become not about “me” but about the whole. Each moment is integrated within the whole. No one decision is separate.

When we begin to see that each decision we make affects not just ourselves but everyone and everything on the planet, we act with more compassion. When we have more compassion, we realize the impact of our actions and we naturally want less and practice more kindness. As stewards of the Earth, we each are called to learn to live in harmony with ourselves, each other and our planet. We all breathe the same air and live on the same living organism, our planet. Varied in race and creed, we are all one family, children of the same mother, the planet Earth.

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THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GRACE

In each moment, there is infinite grace. By becoming more conscious as we practice yoga on the mat, at work, at play or in the nightclub, we let go of the unnecessary and develop greater internal spaciousness which blooms throughout our lives. In this space new life and possibilities arise.

As we rest our awareness on the simple purity and grace of the breath, we realize - we are alive! We let go of wanting things from the future and the past and open to what is here and now. We feel as vast as the sky and rooted in the richness of this moment.

When we “breathe to be”, we understand our interconnection. We see that we are not the doers but a part of the whole, the same energy that is in the flowers and in the stars. We know that our essence is divine - from which we have come, to which we return.

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PARVATI'S NEW SINGLE - MARCH 2016
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I AM LIGHT

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Let me know how yoga and YEM have touched your life. You can send a link to a video by you if you would like. Comments may be shared on my website if you check the "permission to share" box.
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SHARE YOUR YOGA
I am light!

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gone, gone beyond. Oh what awakening!
Gone, gone beyond. Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!
I am light, in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
I am the light, liquid gold light
I am in delight! Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!
I am light, in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!

I am the light (gate gate), liquid gold light (paragate)
I am in delight (gate gate) transforming the night (paragate)

Gone, gone beyond (gate gate)! Oh what awakening! (paragate) (I am)
Gone, gone beyond (gate gate)! Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight
I am light, dancing through the night
I am light, in delight
I am light, dancing through the night

I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light (gate gate)
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light (paragate)
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light

I am light!

© 2015 Parvati Devi
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