In order to evolve ourselves both materially and spiritually, besides following the guidelines of Karma, Bhakti, and Jnana yoga (another blog for another day), we must CHOOSE a field of activity, a JOB, that aligns with our nature/personality. In Sanskrit, the term is, svadharma, meaning one’s own nature. Activities opposing one’s nature, termed paradharma, impedes material and spiritual growth. One knows if they are following their svadharma by their material and spiritual progression.
Are you moving forward at your place of work; being paid accordingly and appropriately; gaining more peace and happiness in general; functioning at high levels; and experiencing less anxiety, stress and agitation on a daily basis? Even if you're not interested in spiritual advancement, it is still worth taking part in svadharmic actions!
Paradhamric action is akin to running up the sand dunes, which I recently tried to no avail at Sleeping Bear Dunes. You may get there eventually, but it’s harder, tiresome and frustrating! Svadharmic action is akin to running down the sand dunes; freeing, fun, and gaining momentum! A better example, from the masters on the subject, is the difference between a tailwind, and headwind… Please do not QUIT your job today because of an epiphany! However, for success, prosperity, AND spiritual growth, following svadharma is a necessary prerequisite.
We can argue about how joining the family business is your duty, an easy way to make a living; your choice to go to medical school and become a doctor because your parents encouraged you, even paid the way; perhaps you wanted to be wealthy and you’ve achieved this; you’re super intelligent and now raking in the dough; or that all humans can be anything they want and have the capacity to change themselves in any way… This all may be true. But, are you happy to go to work every day? Do you have an attitude of service and sacrifice? Are you cheerful, grateful, thriving, more peaceful, less stressed, popping out of bed ready to go, eager to start again, resting easy at night, and able to fall asleep without drugging yourself? Reflect upon these questions. Human beings are meant to progress and evolve to their greatest of heights. To ensure this happens, let’s DO that which lines up with who we are.
Who are we? Well that is a loaded question! Let’s keep it simple for the sake of this topic. We are human beings who can do a lot! We all have distinct personalities, inclinations and tendencies that have been consistent from childhood till now. What are they? These do not define us, they let us know our nature. We can utilize this information to lead us into a proper work category and environment for our life’s development.
From childhood on I was artistic, creative, introverted, athletic, coordinated, and had a big stage presence. In high school I fell in love with yoga because it calmed my anxiety, felt good, and made me think about myself and life on a deeper level. My growth was stunted in my first year at Michigan State University. It’s vastness ate me up. I was lost, became depressed, gained weight, and my grades went south. An art class saved me. It was quiet with one-on-one instruction and I was good at it:) This awareness lead me straight to art school. At least I knew enough to attend a smaller school and study a subject that aligned with my nature! At Ringling School of Art and Design, in Florida, I reconnected with myself, and excelled. Next was Otis College of Art and Design in California, where I obtained my BFA. Smaller was better! Because of this, I found my way back to yoga, and took it to another level.
While living in Los Angeles for four years, I discovered a new love and gift that came effortlessly; teaching yoga. Coincidentally my brother, Eric Paskel, also discovered the same gift! When he opened up a yoga studio in Michigan, I moved back home and began my yoga career! It started off great for my material and spiritual maturation. When one studio turned into two, three, four and more, my role drastically changed. I did not fully understand or accept why I felt so overwhelmed and disconnected, nor that I pushed myself into too many paradharmic actions.
This leads to the second tier of svadharma; that not only what we DO, but WHERE and WHO we do it with, is just as important. A disagreement amongst owners and a huge shift in the company's direction woke my ass up! Once their vision took a 180 degree turn, it forced me to exit. Actually I was fired. They knew I wouldn't roll over and do as they wanted. I’m a team player when the team stands for something I believe in, otherwise not so much. There is nothing wrong with company x. There was something wrong with me working for it, as it no longer lined up with my beliefs, morals, values or higher goals in life. Time to do the right thing.
I opened EnSoul Yoga in Ferndale, Oct. 8th, 2016. In one month of being open the studio already feels like home, not just for me, but that is the word on the street! A student wrote, “EnSoul Yoga studio feels like I am walking into a giant hug”. I’ve created and built conducive job and environment to ensure my material and spiritual growth with the higher intention of generating a space for others to realize their truth and potential within.
My connection with my staff and students is on a whole new level in such a short time! Why? Because for me, bigger isn’t always better. Yes, I may open more EnSoul Yoga studios. Yes, I want to expand. EnSoul’s mission is much bigger than me. Now I know where I stand; what I stand for; my boundaries; and my nature!
Sometimes we do not know that we are stuck or involved in actions and environments that are paradharmic, until we get out of them... If we are not rising up, up, and up, something's not right. If we are more agitated, something's not right. If we are devolving on ANY level, something’s not right. Are we moving toward greater heights or away from them? Are we initiating more peace and harmony within and around, or less?
If we are not going upwards on every level, be it material or spiritual as human beings are meant to do, then what are we doing? Let’s support our evolution by honoring our nature, CHOOSING what is best for us, and going for it!