Detroit-based spiritual advisor, public speaker and author, Caren Paskel, who grew up in Bloomfield Hills and lived in Birmingham, experienced true love and profound loss that led to her first book “The Power of Self-Belief.” Her next title, “The Power of Self-Love,” will soon be available followed by “The Power of Self-Realization,” to complete the trilogy.
Her spiritual journey began when she was a student at Seaholm High School. “I had some anxiety and I had a panic attack,” explained Paskel, whose mother suggested she take a yoga class. “It was a different experience than I had ever had before and I was seeing myself in a different light. It was an awakening I felt was authentic. It was very therapeutic and it was directing me to a better way of living.”
Unlike schoolwork and sports that come with grades and other performance markers, there were no expectations, only a deep connection. “Yoga makes me relax,” she said. “I wasn’t judged. It was very peaceful and uplifting. I started teaching yoga at a really young age at camp and I found that I could guide people.”
Paskel, who is also an artist, moved to California before returning to Michigan where she taught yoga and eventually opened her own yoga studios prior to the pandemic and other unexpected life lessons which made her have a change of heart.
“I knew there was something more to yoga, so I started to study more deeply into the philosophy,” said Paskel, who believes that allowed her to manifest the love of her life, David Prentice, who would become her husband. “I met this wonderful man and it was love at first sight. He was 12 years younger and so driven and wiser than his age.”
She had also evolved along the way. Along with EnSoul Yoga in Ferndale, which would later be followed by a second location in Detroit, Paskel taught a popular workshop that became a course called, “Cliff Notes on Happiness.”
When her husband had a grand mal seizure at the age of 28 and a brain tumor was found, she said he handled it like a champion. After surgery, his test results were encouraging.
“We had to reevaluate our lives,” she said. “I realized I had my hands too full, so I pared down to one studio and everything was going so well.”
They thought the worst was over, but after a trip abroad that her husband had always wanted to do, they were told the tumor had returned. A second surgery would follow, but the cancer had spread.
Paskel lost her husband when he was only 30 years old. “I knew he would want me to celebrate his life. He was all about helping people. I had closed the studio and I wanted to take my spiritual learnings online and reinvent myself and my business,” she said.
Paskel now offers one-on-one coaching, livestream yoga and more educational opportunities through her website (carenpaskel.com). She also started a non-profit organization called the Spiritual Education Foundation.
Her first book would help her heal. “I just started writing, which was the most cathartic grieving process,” said Paskel.
This traumatic experience would teach her many important lessons. “It was a positive way to see all the blessings. It’s not a blessing that he died; just a blessing that he lived. Of course, I miss him every day,” she said. “I was a loner and I realized I really don’t want to live this life alone. David taught me that. Now I have better relationships with my family and friends and with myself.
“I’m in a state of bliss.”
Story: Jeanine Matlow
Photo: Laurie Tennent