From untruth to truth, darkness to light, ignorance to enlightenment, this is Vivianne Nantel’s journey. Intimately chronicling Vivianne’s quest to overcome a battered childhood, survive depression, advanced breast cancer, and near-death experiences, along with her journey seeking in India Becoming the Light is more than a compelling spiritual memoir; it is a moving odyssey. You can join the author as she walks the spiritual path with several enlightened masters such as Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Vasudev Sadhguru Jaggi. Becoming the Light: Realize Your True Enlightened Nature can be a gateway to unleashing your true and blissful nature. Filled with wisdom and spiritual knowledge, it is a narrative of duality and transcendence expressed in all its nuances. Vivianne shares invaluable knowledge about— • the science of yoga • consecration and mysticism • the many forms of love • transcendence in the pursuit of self-realization Whether you are already on a journey for well-being and enlightenment or just at its threshold, may this book provide the insights, inspiration, and courage you need in order to find your way.
|Publisher:||Greenleaf Book Group Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)|
|Age Range:||2 - 5 Years|
About the Author
Vivianne Nantel, who is often called Devi, is a yogini, spiritual guide, visionary, mystic, vocalist, humanitarian, speaker and author of Becoming The Light: Realize Your True Enlightened Nature. Vivianne graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from San Francisco State University. As a published writer and poet, Ms. Nantel’s work has appeared in Yoga Magazine, Poet’s Paper, the National Literary Journal and Animal Wellness Magazine, among others. In addition, Vivianne is a visionary artist and prolific painter whose artwork has been exhibited in museums, fine art galleries and private and corporate collections. Though she stopped working as a fine art artist after going through her cancer journey in 2007-08. Articles about Vivianne Nantel’s work have been published in The San Francisco Chronicle, the Independent Florida Sun and Alaska’s World magazine. In addition, Vivianne has been interviewed on various television talk shows including Earth Advocate and Bridging Heaven and Earth and appeared in the documentary film Harp Seals by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Vivianne has also volunteered for many animal welfare initiatives. She has spoken at the National Animal Rights Conference, in Washington, DC, and collaborated on special projects with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) & Humane Society International (HSI). As part of her passion, Vivianne spent more than two years studying music composition with Elinor Armer at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. During this time she composed more than twenty musical pieces and songs. She has also been studying voice with Deborah Benedict Jackson. A soprano, Vivianne has had two recitals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Devi is committed and dedicated to helping others spiritually, and will continue to raise consciousness and be an instrument of grace. She hopes to offer multi-media recordings of her guided meditation, books, and chants soon. She hopes many more projects and plans will materialize soon.
Read an Excerpt
WAKE UP, BABY!
I KEPT HEARING A DISTANT, hostile sound in my ears. Was it a nightmare?
"Miss Nantel, wake up! ... WAKE UP!"
I could not open my eyes. My eyelids were as heavy as my heart and the fluorescent light burned. There was no nurse in the room, except for this stranger yelling. Half conscious, I opened an eye partway, raised my arm, and pulled long tubes from my nose. Blood spurted out. No one paid attention. The blood kept rolling over my mouth, my chin, and toward my neck.
"Wake up, dear! I am Miss Clark, a social worker. I am here to ask you a few questions. Can you hear me?"
She must have been there for a long time. Everything was a foggy blur. My head spun. Like a zombie, I could not think, could not even see. I began to weep.
"You were brought unconscious to this hospital last night. The doctors have pumped out your stomach. You have survived. Did anyone force you to do this? Did you try to take your life?"
"I want to go back home!" I cried out and fell unconscious once again.
Later that night, I was transported by an ambulance to a special recovery center.
The following late afternoon, a different nurse entered my room and roused me. "Vivianne, please wake up!" she said. "You have been sleeping for over twenty hours. Dr. Larose will see you soon. Try to wake up."
As she touched my shoulder I looked around, disoriented and lost.
I wandered to the bathroom and took a shower. The room felt dead cold. Chills traveled along my spine like hundreds of ants crawling up a bamboo tree. My hands shook; my mouth quivered. Agony tormented my soul; I felt there was no way to escape it, as if I was trapped in a deep black hole. I kept thinking, Please, Divine Mother, let me come back to you. I don't belong here. The pain is unbearable. I beg you.
Since I was a child I have always viewed God or the Source, whatever thousands of names we attribute to our Creator, as "the Divine Mother." I longed to go back home to her, beyond the blue sky. I longed for that now, in the grip of my severe depression and my bleeding heart.
Silently I dried my hair with the towel, got in bed, and pulled the covers over my head until the nurse returned. She held my hand and took me to the cafeteria for some warm oatmeal before my appointment with the clinical psychiatrist.
I had been living like a zombie for over a year, walking in a constant daze, stupefied by dizziness, intense sorrow, and lethargy. I was lost and trapped in the abyss of a major depression and an agonizing heartbreak. As I sat in Dr. Larose's office, I was devoid of personality. It felt as if God had robbed me of my ego.
"Bonjour, Vivianne," the doctor said. He was gentle and kind. "Je suis Dr. Larose. How are you feeling today? I looked at your reports. Why did you attempt to take your life?"
I remained mute.
Dr. Larose gazed into my eyes with a piercing regard. "Do you realize how blessed you are, Vivianne? Not everyone who overdoses and falls into a coma for almost four days — turning blue — comes back to life without serious brain damage or major handicaps. Most never do. Severe hypoventilation is fatal."
I sat there drained of all energy, as cold as the winter. I looked through the tall window and felt myself empty from any thoughts. It was an existential Zen moment — eternal instant. The dead branches swaying against the puffy dark clouds mesmerized my being. I was lost, lonely among six billion souls.
Watching the snowflakes float down from heaven like messengers of love, I realized my suicide attempt was a distressed emergency call — an expression of my longing to be liberated from my mortal jail.
"Vivianne, can you hear me? Do you realize you are a miracle, ma belle?" Dr. Larose uttered with his sweet French Haitian accent. He looked deeply into my eyes.
I snapped out of this existential eternal moment and began to wonder how I got here in my life. Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I come from? Where I am going? What is the meaning of my life? Why do I long so to go back home? I want to go back to you, dear God, and never return to this earth.CHAPTER 2
MY BEAUTIFUL MAMA, WHOM MY siblings and I often called Moumou, was in her early forties when she had me. Mama said I was an accident and was her last child. With her delicate yet chiseled cheekbones; deep brownish-hazel eyes; long, graceful neck; and dark auburn hair, Mama had the features of a movie star.
Both of my parents grew up in Canada in the French part of Quebec during the Great Depression. My ancestors had emigrated from France generations earlier. Papa grew up in a middle-class family of eight kids. Mama had a harsher life. She grew up in a large, poor Catholic family with nine other kids and an abusive, alcoholic father. In her late teens when she met my father, Mama played both Hawaiian and classical guitar. Papa played the violin and guitar and loved to sing, draw, and paint. Papa was a handsome Casanova with sleek, dark ash-blond hair and magnetic, large green eyes, and exuberant laughter. He was a charming rascal with an insatiable appetite for love, music, beauty, and elegance.
In 1938 my parents formed a string quartet with a few close friends. Over the following years, the group performed at many venues and recorded several records. They gained a reputation as talented artists. Eventually, my parents' hearts bonded in love and they married.
Not long after my parents wed, Canada was involved in the Second World War. With little demand for musicians during the war, Papa and Mama's income fell at the same time they were starting to deal with the new responsibilities of a growing family.
With music no longer able to provide a living, Papa was forced to work in a manufacturing plant for a few years, painting refrigerators. He was a fine artist — a figure painter, not a refrigerator painter. For a while he did all kinds of odd jobs to survive.
My parents put their artistic dreams aside, not realizing this would be the end of their musical careers, even though they continued to create music as a hobby.
Many women were entering the workplace, so Mama did too, becoming a hairstylist and opening her own salon. It proved to be a lucrative and enjoyable business, and soon she became the main breadwinner.
Mama's reputation grew. Most of the ladies in the area had their hair coiffed by her. Her salon was adjacent to our home, separated only by a wood door. It became a social entertainment center where ladies, and even men, would come to praise, commiserate, dance, sing, eat, laugh, and of course have their hair done. Mama's clients all adored her.
Over the years, married life became a burden for Mama; she had the task of caring for a difficult husband and seven children. When she smiled, though, our hearts melted with hers and the whole world smiled. One day she proposed to teach Papa how to do hair. He agreed and learned quickly. Yet to his frustration over the years, Mama would not let Papa become an accomplished hairstylist on his own.
"Ma chérie, it is your salon, your clients. I do so much, but you never let me do the final touches," Papa complained. Competition set in, the beginning of the slow decline in their loving relationship. A decade and a half later, Papa left the hairstyling business, vowing never to return. Instead he spent more time helping around the house and drinking beer, trying to determine what to do with the rest of his life. He was becoming a miserable old man. He gained weight and lost hair. Only when he played music at home, a bit drunk, did his jovial, exuberant self reappear.
When I was five years old, my parents bought a hundred-year-old cottage, a quaint but modest country house set amid golden, rolling fields in the prairie of St-Marie a few hours away from our home in the suburbs. Grandmama on my mother's side had grown up in this house. Coco — my older brother by one year, a striking boy with big green eyes, thick black eyelashes, and a sweet, delicate soul — and I started to spend every summer there with Madame Fleurette, our silver-haired nanny. Our parents and many of our siblings came to visit on weekends, but mostly it was just the three of us.
For Coco and me, St-Marie became a sanctuary from the insanity of our dysfunctional parents — especially Papa, who was becoming increasingly abusive with every year that passed. Often his temper would explode, and he would yell at us with a frightening glare in his eyes. He would grab us by the collar, pull our pajamas down, turn us on his lap with our bottoms exposed, and hit us with his leather belt until red welts rose on our skin.
But not at the cottage. There, we were free to run wild in nature and play with the animals. The cottage was a quarter of a mile from a small farm and offered every possible dream for our creative imaginations. Sometimes Coco and I pretended to be farmers, piling stacks of hay for the animals to eat. Other days, I became Coco's Pegasus, pulling the miniature cart over the endless field of blond wheat.
Coco and I had the blessing of discovering the great joy of connecting with other species. By the end of each summer, we had made many new, dear animal friends. My most profound bonds were with the furry creatures, especially cats.
This was my first exposure to farm animals. In those days, animals ran free and happy on farms, expressing their natural behaviors — not like today where they live in inhumane farm factories, piled on top of each other and abused. When we were back in town, Papa often sent me to buy meat at the butcher a block away from home. Each time I approached the counter, I shuddered. When Monsieur Butcher stepped into the cold room behind him to get a dead animal, I noticed all the large red carcasses hanging upside down from huge iron hooks. It gave me chills, and I could not wait to leave. Buying meat repulsed me. Yet I had not made the conscious connection that meat, hot dogs, and burgers were the slaughtered farm animals I loved and cherished as my dear friends.
Still, in my child's mind, I equated adults with pain and suffering, but cats and other animals understood me and always gave me unconditional love. I loved having conversations with my cats. "Minet, why are we here? If I don't exist, where would I be? What is behind the blue sky?" I spent countless nights wondering about the mysteries of life and why I was here. Even at this young age, I was realizing that any living creature could become a gateway to our Creator if we allow them to be.
This reminded my being that when I was seventeen, my five-year-old gray-and-white Angora cat, Thisbe, came home very ill. Thisbe was priceless, my best friend. He had not touched food or drink for several days when I took him to the vet. The vet believed Thisbe had been poisoned and said there was nothing he could do to help. He put Thisbe back in my arms and suggested my cat might survive if I kept him well hydrated with water.
Back home I filled a syringe many times with water and dripped it into Thisbe's mouth, making sure he swallowed. Finally, I dozed off in bed, sad at heart. I woke with a start as Coco cried, "Vivi, Thisbe is calling for you. Hurry up!"
I ran to the kitchen. Thisbe lay there flat on the floor, yowling. I had never heard such distressing cries or experienced the sight of deep suffering like this before. His pain tore my heart. I did not know what to do except invoke the Divine. Blood poured from his mouth and rectum, but even in all his pain, Thisbe raised his head for the last time and gazed into my eyes. Looks of love and gratitude passed between us, though agony lingered in our hearts as I flashed back to my first weeks with him, remembering the tiny, mischievous two-week-old kitten I had bottle-fed dozens of times each day. I had nursed the whole litter for several months while I was in high school, caring for Coquette, their regal white Turkish Angora mother. Coquette had a three-inch open sore on her belly and could not nurse her litter. I decided to help her out. This was my joy during my adolescence, losing myself in this process. Connecting with another species produces a feeling beyond words. There on the kitchen floor, Thisbe's last breath mixed with mine. I wept on my knees and held him in my arms. I could not let go of my only true love.
I decided I would never love again. Love brought too much pain, misery, and suffering.
The following day, Coco picked up Thisbe's lifeless body, wrapped it in newspaper, and put it in the garbage container outside. In my bedroom, I had a greeting card with the likeness of an Angora cat that looked like Thisbe. I took the card and wrote:
The love of my life, I am so very grateful for all the love and joy you brought me in my life. No one has ever held my heart like you. You have taught me how to play, never grow old, to love and have compassion by giving to all living beings. We will always be together in spirit. I love you so very dearly, my beloved Thisbe.
I went outside and put the card on top of Thisbe's corpse in the garbage bin. I closed my eyes and sent out invocations for his spirit's well-being. I never found the courage to bury him.
Years later, Mama surprised me with the card. She had seen me on that day, outside over the garbage, and after I left for work she retrieved my love letter. When she handed it to me all that time later, she said, "Ma belle, Vivi, when I read your card for Thisbe, it made me cry. I could not stop. I want you to keep it. Now I know why you are in my life."
Thisbe's death left me emptied, drained, and confused for a long time. It took me more than seven years before I could open my heart again to adopt another cat. But he was also my first true teacher. From him I learned that all creatures suffer pain and misery and that, like us, animals have emotions, feelings, and experience love, fear, and anguish. And I realized that compassion is the most beautiful and treasured human quality.
* * *
AS CHILDREN, ON ONE PARTICULAR dazzling humid day in St-Marie, Madame Fleurette took us on a long nature walk for a picnic. We picked raspberries in the fields near where the tall golden wheat heads danced to the movement of the warm breeze, and Coco and I pirouetted up and down, leaping into the air.
"Coco, Vivi, look at the blue sky," Madame Fleurette said, smiling. "Can you see the Mother Virgin Mary is there looking at us? She is everywhere, protecting us. When we need help, we pray to the Mother. If you love her with all your heart, she comes. Can you feel her presence in the wind?"(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Becoming The Light"
Copyright © 2018 Vivianne Nantel.
Excerpted by permission of Greenleaf Book Group Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 Wake Up, Baby! 1
2 Beginnings 4
3 Inner Rebellion 16
4 Catastrophe and Miracles 21
5 Objectification of the Female 25
6 The Battle Within 34
7 Forecasting the Tempest 40
8 The Urge to See Papa 48
9 In Search of Divine Love 53
10 Sacred Love 60
11 Into the Abyss 70
12 Discovering Our Inner Gum 75
13 The Blossoming of the Heart 82
14 Tuning In to the Divinity Within 91
15 Discovering the Science of Yoga 99
16 Saying Goodbye 104
17 Embracing Yoga 107
18 Initiation 117
19 Longing for More 125
20 A New Direction 129
21 Intoxicated with Divine Love 138
22 Blooming Porcupine 152
23 The Lion's Roar 164
24 The Power of Sensitivity 176
25 Compassionate and Nonviolent Living 183
26 A Journey to Mystical India 188
27 Breaking the Rules 196
28 Moment of Epiphany 207
29 One World Family 216
30 Blessing in Disguise 224
31 Emptiness and Love 233
32 Overflowing with Gratitude 246
33 Our Body Is Our Temple 253
34 Premonition and the Healing Power of Singing 264
35 Dreaming of Loving Compassion for All Living Beings 273
36 Catalyst to Benevolent Actions 277
37 The Mystical Embrace 283
38 Mystical Occurrences of the Beyond 294
39 Miracle or Not? 303
40 Of the Beyond 314
41 The Blue Pearl 328
42 Losing Calla 338
43 As Radiant as the Sun 340
44 From a Person to a Presence 347
45 Wave of Beauty 357
46 Seeking in the Mystical Land of India 365
47 The Ancient Mystical Science of Consecration and Transcendence 382
48 Beyond the Blue Sky 395
Author Q&A 421
Reading Guide Questions 429
About the Author 431