I met Richard Parenti in October of 2014. He was seated next to me at The Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca, California. We hit it off instantly. Richard is a mentor, a yoga instructor, a teacher, an author and I consider him a friend. When I needed a traveling companion for a book signing in Turlock in the summer of 2015, Richard put on his publicist hat and went along for the ride. In life, I believe we are here to teach one another life lessons. Richard has a wealth of experience in his life and he is willing to share it. To me, that is what being a mentor all is about. Richard is the author of: Emotional Sobriety: Feel Good Secrets for Everyone, Balboa Press, 2013, and was a contributing author in, Manifesting Magnificence: A Personal Growth Workbook, Serendipity Press/Serendipity Media Group, 2015.
What made you decide that your life needed to change?
In 1974 my life was abruptly interrupted by my wife asking for a divorce, my car being repossessed, getting fired, being locked out of my home and all my credit cards canceled all in one big swoop. On top of that I realized I had enough of drinking and drugs and that my life was going downhill in a hurry, so I quit.
Describe for us, how was the process of writing for you.
I had a habit of writing down on napkins my thoughts. My best friend one day said as we were having dinner, “Why don’t you take all those napkins you have saved up and show them to a published writer.”
I did just that. I found an eighty-year old author who charged $5.00 an hour for his time. He had authored 13 books, had owned his own ad agency and was still writing, but now for the fun of it he loved helping new writers, and why he charged so little he said, “I’ve made all the money I need. The five dollars is to buy myself some wine that my wife keeps hiding from me.”
He reviewed my napkins and told me to write a two to three page story of my experiences in Europe when I was involved in the espionage business.
I told him I had no idea of how to use grammar. He retorted, “That’s unimportant. That’s what editors get paid for. I just want to feel your style.
After I completed my first assignment, he said, “You got passion. You can write, but you’re right you know nothing about grammar” We both got a good laugh. That was 1982. Since then I have written many articles that were published, initially in all the major restaurant magazines nationally when I was in the restaurant business and then several articles in a prestigious international Yoga magazine over the last 10 years.
When did you know what your true calling would be?
In 1974 when I got divorced and fired I had an internal experience that revolutionized my life. I went from being an international spy, jet setting around the world to looking inward as to what I had experienced and within a very short time I began looking for answers to what had happened to me. This led me to the science of yoga. Not postures, but the inner science that would lead me to an authentic path to God Realization within and being mentored by Swami’s from India.
Then it was in 2004 when I was in India on a 40-day silent retreat in the Himalaya’s that I got my first inkling what my calling might be. Initially I thought it was only for me to learn how to master my emotions, but after my return the United States it was revealed to me that this inner work of yoga, mastering emotions would be my life’s work, not only for me but for other people as well. Up to this time I had fun teaching the yoga postures, mediation and in talking about many of the other aspects of yoga that I knew about.
It wasn’t until later that I began teaching “Emotional Mastery,” in a workshop after I had tested it on myself for over 9 years. First, I offered it to the public, who had little interest. Then, I was invited by a yoga center to teach it to people who were training to become yoga teachers. That was when this work found a home, as the interest was genuine and they were hungry. I realized they had never heard of this in their yoga training before and were eager to learn more about the inner science of yoga.
Richard Parenti can be reached at: 209-380-5955