North Pole Journey, Day Six

Day Six: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

BACK TO IQALUIT

Satish, Sunanda, Rishi and I greet this, our last day in Resolute Bay, before sunrise. Out the breakfast room window, the wind blows powdered snow across the rocky ground and out over the frozen Arctic Ocean where yesterday we walked on icebergs. Today the sky is cloudy, still darkened by the remains of the night. Our bags are packed, awaiting us at the front door of the inn so that we may catch an early flight to Iqaluit today, en route back to Toronto. Tonight we will rest in Iqaluit, Nunavut territory’s capital city and largest community located on the south coast of Baffin Island at the head of Frobisher Bay.

We say our goodbyes to Chris at the inn, then Meghan at the airport who drives us to our departure. There is no doubt we are sad to leave. This has been an enormously important trip for each one of us, the likes of which seems still masked by a cloudy feeling that draws across my inner sight. I cannot quite see the magnitude of what this all means. All I know for sure is, like a child who marks their growth with lines on the inside of a doorjamb, the growth of my Self is marked on the doorjamb of my life by this trip to the North Pole.


The flight, which left the ground at 6:30am, is relatively uneventful. It retraces our Northbound steps, now moving back over land that we saw just a short time ago with the miracle of virgin eyes. Today’s clouds partially masks the view of the geographic magnitude we were privy to witness on the way up. Despite the cloud, I can still very much feel the expansive, harsh rock and ice that rolls out in broad, carved strokes below me. This is the land of the Inuit people where humans have survived for thousands of years. Like a child that intuitively knows its mother, I feel a connection to this part of the world, our Mother Earth, as though within me a baby Inuit soul is being born. I understand fully how I heard Her call that drew me on this journey. I am connected to the planet, to these people, to all people through my humanity, through my reliance on this majestic planet’s selfless generosity for my very survival.

The 6000-plus populated Iqaluit, by comparison to the Resolute Bay community of 200, seems like a booming metropolis. But still, the modern buildings are laid out over rough roads and sidewalks, which lend some insight into what perhaps most cities were like in early inception. Founded in 1942 as an American airbase, Iqaluit, meaning “place of many fish” in Inuktitut, is a young city.


As we arrive at the new Nova Inn, we are told that there are no rooms left to accommodate our needs. Somehow Sunanda creates magic and soon we are up in our room. The day is yet young, so we head out for a planned meeting at the Elder Centre. It is I in particular who wants to visit with the Inuit elders to hear what they have witnessed in environmental changes, to learn from their insights, to see if there is a way we can serve them and in so doing, serve the Earth.

WISDOM FROM THE ELDERS

A bilingual, middle-aged Inuit woman greets the four of us at the Center. She is our translator. Most of the elders speak only Inuktitut. Some of these people are over 100 years old.

The large, bright room with a bay window at one end is filled with perhaps people, mostly women, who sit at tables and chairs playing cards, conversing and sharing time. Rishi asks if he is allowed to videotape our visit. We are given permission.

Two women, perhaps eighty or so, become spokes people for the group. They share stories about the enormous changes they have seen over the course of their lifetime, illustrating how snow used to be pure white but is now dark, dirty and yellowed. They speak of life living off the land and how they now no longer live in igloos but in built houses. They share stories from their grandfathers, how their elders saw the coming of the white people and how they would bring this environmental change.

These elders say they have hope, that is, hope for their children. They see the Inuit children now more educated and as such, with more ability to deal with the environmental problems. For them, the future depends on the health and strength of the children.


Satish reaches into his jute bag to pull out his eco-silk fabric message, dedicated to children. Sunanda and I help open it up and walk around the edges of the room so that the elders can see the many signatures from around the world it showcases. We talk about Satish’s work and share the reasons we have come to the North Pole. I share how my music is dedicated to helping people remember the good of life, awakening to who we are, how we are all interconnected as one human family. I am asked to sing, so I spontaneously choose “You Gotta Believe”, a song I wrote on 9-11 and had the privilege to sing in New York City at the world famous Madison Square Garden. As the sound pours out of my mouth, I feel my whole body shiver with waves of energy moving through. I am reminded and humbled yet again that there is a force here that is so much greater than our limited selves can see.

SPEAKING AT THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING

The next meeting that Sunanda organized for us is with City Councilor Simon Nattaq. We make our way over to the government building. Shaking Simon’s hand is like touching the strength of the Earth. Like Sam the hunter who brought us yesterday out to the ocean icebergs, Simon feels made of the land itself. This is not a feeling I have had shaking any other politicians hand. I soon find out that Simon is not only a politician, but a respected elder in the community. A government employee translates Simon’s native tongue Inuktitut into English and our words into Inuktitut.

Satish and I speak of our mission to help awaken people to the necessity of understanding our interconnection, how we are all children of the same Mother, the planet Earth. Simon is open to this message and warm to our communication. We spend a generous half hour together. He signs Satish’s fabric in traditional Inuktitut geometric writing. His penmanship stands unique among other signatures in various languages on the electric-green silk.

We are offered a place to speak at the City Council Meeting today. At the meeting, Satish and I individually step to the microphone and each share the call of our parallel missions. As I speak, I watch the Inuit women on the board resonate with my words:

I am not a scientist who works in external laboratories. I have no clinical evidence to prove the agitation that is in Nature at this time. I am an artist. My laboratory is within. Through my inner, quiet, contemplative practice and meditation, I have felt called from within from the Earth herself to make this journey. We are one Earth family, all inter-connected through Nature, our Mother Earth.

Being a singer, songwriter and performer, what I can offer is my voice. I am here to help give voice to the environment and bring with me a message from the North. Being in the media, I am in a position to help raise awareness of the melting polar ice in people all around the world, many of whom are disconnected from Nature and are unaware of the role we each play as Earth Walkers. I am here to be present with you, to connect, to listen, to honour your ways, to respect those that are acutely aware of our interconnection with Nature. The reason we have come is to build a community of mutual trust and support. We know that only when we listen and work together can we bring about the change that is so urgently needed. I would like to hear from you if there is any way you feel we may serve you and our shared Earth.

The message from the council members echoes what we have heard unsolicited from the elders, hunters, healers, environmentalists and politicians: tell the south to stop polluting. The world’s pollution ends up in the North, at the top of our world. Nature is dying; the animals are leaving; and as such, we are suffering.

After our City Council talk, several young adults at the meeting who are part of Katimavik, an organization that educates Canadian youth through community involvement, come up to us to share how touched they are by our North Pole mission. Yes, hope is in the children. And this environmental crisis calls each one of us to make positive change in our own lives, in what we think, in how we treat ourselves, in how we listen to each other and in how we respect our planet. Yes, now more than ever, hope is born from awakened consciousness in all we do.

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Parvati; Your words to the Iqaluit City Council are elegant and true. Thank you for representing so many of us with such grace. We are so grateful.

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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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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!

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