Parvati Shallow » Life Explored

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Free your mind and the rest will follow

When I moved to Georgia after having grown up in an ashram, my whole life was turned upside down. My life at the ashram was characterized by running around with a group of little white kids barefoot in the woods, eating a vegetarian diet, participating in chanting and spiritual ceremonies on some nights and living in a large, supportive community. When we moved to Georgia I was nine years old. We found an apartment in the inner city, and I started a new school.
ashram kids

Here, I was introduced to an entirely different world. As one of the only white girls in my school, I quickly made friends with kids of all races. These kids had soul, and they taught me all about R&B and hip hop music. The music of Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Whitney Houston, Boys to Men and En Vogue spoke directly to my inner self.

The powerful women of En Vogue drew me in, and I must have listened to their hit “Free Your Mind” about 9 million times.

Now, that I study and teach yoga, hearing that song makes me smile. It brings me back to a time of innocence where the voice of my soul spoke loudly to me, and I listened.

Over time, I’ve realized that the creation of your life comes down to how you direct your mind. The thoughts that you feed with your attention will grow stronger. Notice how you are fueling your thoughts. Are you limiting your life by giving yourself reasons why you cannot do something, you’re not good enough, not qualified enough? Or are you freeing yourself by letting go of those limiting thoughts when they arise, knowing that there is a way through every block.

In order to free your mind, shift your focus onto the things in life that bring you joy and deep satisfaction. Don’t worry about or judge what other people are doing. We can never truly know what is driving another’s behavior. Just focus on you.

For me, the study of yoga as a lifestyle gives me tools to bring my mind back from the brink of darkness and helps me to come home to my center when I get caught up in limiting beliefs. Life will show you whatever you believe.

If you want to free your mind, watch your thoughts– and enjoy this video!

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Lauren - I agree that there are a lot of benefits to mindfulness and positive thinking, but I’ve been thinking about these movements have been criticized for not having enough depth and only working for people with relatively “easy” lives. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on this? I really like the idea that “the creation of your life comes down to how you direct your mind” and “there is a way through every block”, but what about when people face systemic issues that they feel powerless against (e.g. being discriminated against for their ethnicity, age, gender, etc). From what I’ve read, many people facing these difficulties feel like, although it is beneficial not to dwell in negativity, positive thinking isn’t enough and doesn’t make the changes they really need. What is your advice to people in those situations?

Allison - Love this song and love it when you write about how you’ve overcome difficult experiences.

Parvati - Great question. I love how deeply you are thinking about this idea. I agree, positive thinking can be powerful, and in certain circumstances it is not enough. That’s why we have a great responsibility to help others that do not have the means to help themselves. It starts with the individual, and as we grow stronger and more capable individually, we are more able to help others.

Parvati - Thanks for your comment Allison.

Courtney E - I like your style with the EnVogue video… Rumor is they are coming to Atlanta!

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