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Expectations! How do we deal with them?

cute dog wearing a party hat

Let’s talk about EXPECTATIONS!

Drum roll please for the alternate universe we all seem to have one foot in at all times. The universe of expectations; the fulfilled and the God forbid – UNFULFILLED ones.

We all know the funny aspect of Expectation vs Reality, as it is so widely popular online with probably millions of memes denoting the travesty. You may also remember this scene from 500 Days of Summer where they so blatantly show us the insane gap between sometimes what we expect to happen (happily ever after) vs what actually ends up happening (fucking heartbreak).

The point is, expectations are useless, if they are based on assumptions.

I will say that again more clearly:

Expectations are useless and painful if we derive them solely from baseless or unrelated assumptions. The problem with this is that sometimes we cannot determine the difference between a fair assumption and a baseless one.

Mind Reading and Assuming on Behalf of Others

Mind reading is a skill we develop mainly due to a conditioning of guessing what others are thinking. Why would we do that you might ask? The answer is usually around these parameters: We learn the art of mind reading and assuming what others are thinking and feeling when we are in close relationships with people who don’t express thoughts and/or feelings. So in order to keep up such relationships, be it with parents, friends, lovers or anybody close, we start drawing assumptions and guesses on how they feel and what’s going on through their minds in order to be able to better interact with them. So we learn to make good guesses, mind read and infer based on their patterns of behavior; we then use those guesses to engage with them accordingly.

Where is the glitch in that coping mechanism?

The glitch in this, is that it teaches us wrong pattern guessing, which leads to wrong or awkward expectations. So if your father always sat in his reading chair after dinner instead of going to the sink to wash the dishes, it meant he was upset; which essentially meant for you to NOT ENGAGE in that moment. You expect a bad reaction.

However, fast forward to your lover displaying similar behavior after dinner, and you simply choose to NOT ENGAGE with them because you are fearing a bad reaction based on your previous conditioning.

This expectation is wrong. You are placing expectations on a person based on your own assumptions, where they never actually said that they were upset.

No Expectations No Disappointments

Personally, I was a sucker for this line which ended up causing me a lot more harm than good. This mind set similar to that of mind reading leads us all into the weird dark side of the universe of expectations. Why is this bad?

Expectations are OK. There is nothing wrong with expecting to be treated well in a relationship; to expect food to nourish you and not make you sick. More so, it is ok to place some positive expectations on yourself as well, such as expect yourself to show up, to do good where you can; expect yourself to show kindness… The list continues on, but in the same manner. That is, realistic expectations based on realistic desires and aspirations. Not being able to meet such expectations, is also ok; and if it is important to you to fulfill that expectation, then you will do better next time. Knowing that you act on what’s in your control, all else is surrendered.

If you enter into a new relationship, and you know that you are doing your best to be a good partner, it is fair to expect your partner to be good to you. If you go with no expectations no disappointments then the only person you are fooling is yourself. Why? because you are starting off with a bar so low, that you do not even expect to be treated well.

Don’t be afraid of expectations

It’s so easy to crumble underneath the immense expectations set upon us by society, family, work and lovers. Sometimes, we place immense expectations on ourselves too; ones that seem outside of us, directly implied on our sense of value. There are so many layers to that and it becomes incapacitating and paralyzing. The practice is to determine your own parameters. What do you realistically want from/for yourself? What do you truly need from others? and where are all the other bounds for you to feel well and happy?

We have the ability to expect good things from each other, and step up. We have the ability to lift each other up. Sometimes, a person’s expectations for you come from a deep sense of faith in you. It is helpful to uncover those things and recognize the difference between positive realistic expectations, and inconceivable, pressuring ones.

Regardless the outcome, the beauty of this process is in showing up, in doing what’s necessary and honoring ourselves throughout.

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Liberating Healthy Femininity

woman in white dress standing on brown grass field

Consciously moving away from women who are afraid of men and men who are afraid of women and the importance of healthy femininity for healthier societies.

I dedicate this letter to every strong and gentle woman I have met this past year and every year before. This also goes out to the healthy masculine(s) who truly love women. Female warriors from every part of this earth, each has her struggle and her touching triumphs. I honor the women in my own family who have suffered and continue to push against the walls of judgement and sometimes loveless lives. The problem however, is that not enough is being said, not enough is expressed. This is writing itself as I personally had to learn many things the harder way; despite my privilege. Women learn the hard way in our communities. I have wondered why that is, and I only recently realized this:

The Source of the Teachings Given to Women

Everything I have learned about my female nature has been curated, structured and bounded by an unyielding patriarchy, yet binged and purged onto me by women. Women afraid of men and men afraid of women. I realize that a male dominated society and religion that is terribly afraid of feminine liberation, taught me how to be a “good girl/woman”. This feels exceptionally flawed, why? Because coming back into this body, after years of denying her, hiding her and trying to not be judged because of her, I am baffled by the grace held within this female body. At this point, as a woman, you cannot but see life differently. If you trace your automatic thoughts and feelings back into their source what will you find there? Where do all those contradictions come from? Why is feminine energy so relentlessly constricted and/or judged? Surely one major factor is misunderstanding; which places a lot more responsibility on women to lead by example on what healthy femininity looks like to each one of them.

Nevertheless, every woman has her own challenge making her way back into her truest nature; and many of the conditions and implied values we learn tend to be etched in our psyches.

What woman has not dealt with this at some point?

Inadequacy/ Being NOT ENOUGH vs Being TOO MUCH

Being TOO sensual vs Being TOO Cold

Being TOO Smart vs Being TOO Beautiful vs being both or God forbid neither

The dilemma of Prude vs Slut

The list goes on and on… but we all know what lies underneath those extremities of judgement.

Women lose sight of their true inherent value, in all that makes them who they are. We risk becoming small minded, anxious and spiteful. We create life narratives that begin to disrupt emotional and sexual availability not just for others but ourselves too. Our relationships get affected, along with our career choices and so much more.

There is a process since childhood of allocating value to Girls/women based on those conditions. then Women carry that suggested value within their lives while being treated as commodities or stereotypes.

Your Healthy Feminine Nature

Female nature includes sensuality, sexuality, the physical body and her hormones, psyche, heart, emotion and everything that makes a woman divinity embodied.

There is no SINGLE way to be a woman. The energy is so fluid that when bounded by force she freezes like water, yet she always will have the capacity to melt back into her natural state. There is so much freedom in allowing yourself to be fully who you are. Liberating the feminine energy is not scary; bounding it is what is terrifying. However, it is every woman’s responsibility to learn how to manage her energy, her ability to give and receive. A healthy feminine is essential for the healthy masculine to thrive as well.

Healthy femininity begins with recognizing the grace and natural power present in the female body and spirit. Our differences make us all the more enticing and strong. In supporting yourself as a healthy female, you also learn to support other women and men too. Ascending into your liberated femininity empowers you. You find that you are finally managing your natural capacities beautifully all while creating and nurturing the environment that surrounds you.

Yet, In order to truly be free, each woman must check in with her own narrative of internal light and darkness. Healthy attitude towards self and others is a process. You must be careful of the spiritual ego as a dangerous deception of the mind to ascend without doing the necessary work of constant awareness.

Healthy Femininity Hand in Hand with Healthy Masculinity

silhouette of happy couple against picturesque mountains in sunset
Photo by Vanessa Garcia on Pexels.com

The idea is not to live in opposition with the masculine or other more liberated feminine(s), or even in spite. Ideally both energies work together and intertwine lending necessary support to each other. A traumatized woman cannot heal without facing that trauma, same with a traumatized man. Doing the work is an essential process for any human. Cutting through all the conditioning is a heavy task, one that is continuous across one’s life and generations to come.

Not every man must pay the price of the pain one woman suffered on the hands of 1 or 50 men. Not every woman must pay the price for the hurt one or 50 women inflicted on one man.

That is what relating to one another consciously means; hard as it may be or seem. If we are to progress as a human race, it is imperative for us to learn how to be better to ourselves and each other. At the heart of this progress is the power of free women and the healthy feminine; ones who can raise better generations and build more creative societies with healthier men.

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The Love that Stays: How To Find Self Love

cheerful woman standing near silver tinsel

Welcome to my valentine’s day post about finding that mysterious self love everybody talks about but nobody seems to know how to do.

This will not include tips on how to make your lover never leave you.

I have a secret to share with you; and it is as beautiful as a sunny day after 5 days of rain. It is as refreshing as a cold cup of lemonade in scorching heat. This secret is an answer to the undying mysterious feeling that something is missing.

Just know that the love that stays is the best kind.

It is the peace beneath every breath be it a short one or a long deep one. Surely, let’s not kid ourselves, some days are so terribly hard and some breaths are suffocatingly shallow. Unfortunately too, some people leave us when we don’t really want them to. Simple.Emotions can get stormy and messy, but know that there is a love that never leaves.

There is Hope for Love

Hopefully, you are latching on to my stream of thought here. You were born with the love that never leaves. It is that breath of life the moment you opened your eyes. Love is always there in our bodies, but our clash with the external world silences it. The love in your heart is always there it just gets mocked, locked up and deserted. Love for the self is innate, and not a solid thing contrary to what you might think, it is like water, it flows wherever there is space, and no matter how much it is pounded it will not get bruised. You could feel like this love can be beaten down, and torn to pieces and shredded because It has the capacity to look like other things. Just rest assured that its innate quality remains eternal from the day you were born until the day you die. The love that stays is absolute and complete inside of each one of us.

You might be thinking: But how come I don’t feel it?

There are many reasons for that, and I will help you look at them.

We place so many layers of protection over that sweet love inside of ourselves. In the beginning that love wants to grow and expand into everything we touch and everybody we meet.

But one bad look here, one disappointment there, a good old heartbreak follows, then sprinkle that with different types of rejection, neglect and egoism. That little love now rests underneath every possible defense system you could develop. We want to protect ourselves from pain.

It is a sad story to see that most of us by age 30 have almost forgotten what it feels like to experience that little childlike affinity for things and people. We start experiencing mind love, you hear people say I love with my mind not my heart and that’s ok; but its also a dysfunction, because mind and heart go together. If you don’t uncover, dust off and free that internal self love, then it becomes difficult to use that heart.

How do you find Self love?

Sit with yourself and truly check how you feel.

Really try to answer those questions

Just know that the more sincerely you answer these questions, the more you awaken the love within. There you find the beauty of feeling a sense of connection to yourself. The more you ask and answer, the answers will get sweeter and simpler. The simplest form eventually will appear to you as the love that has always been there, and the love that will never leave you.

You are there for yourself, you can overcome and float, you have pure potential for explosive beauty. Let your heart speak again, let your body feel again and experience those emotions that keep you locked in.

Love yourself first. Self love is eternal and beautiful; once that is done everything else falls into place.

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You Know What’s Sexy for 2021? Healthy Masculinity

silhouette of kissing couple

Let’s talk about GOOD MEN!

Drop the religious, socio-cultural and emotional concepts of what makes a man “good” first. Take away the money, his theism or atheism, his physical strength or charming character. What would remain then? What does he embody in his presence, in the way in which he lives his life? That which remains is his “healthy or unhealthy masculinity”.

Yet, for the purpose of this post, and in reflection of my own heterosexual orientation, I speak about the straight man and the healthy space he can hold for a woman to thrive.

I want to talk about men with a healthy masculinity in relation to the feminine woman. In other words, this is about the man who carries himself in a way where a woman is comfortable in her own feminine power around him. Where she does not need to act Dumb, Small or Scared to be liked/loved by him. This is the feminism that I believe in. I speak purely from my own experiences and cognition. Mind you, this has nothing to do with gender stereotypes, and if you cannot fathom the difference between gender stereotypes and masculine/feminine energies, then let me know and I can create a post on that later on.

What do I mean by Healthy Masculine?

A man with a healthy masculinity does NOT need to be perfect. He does not have to be the epitome of pop culture concepts of a strong man which look a lot like following:

  • The strong man doesn’t cry.
  • He shuts out his emotions.
  • He is never afraid and can never be vulnerable.
  • The strong man cannot be hurt, and he is always tough.

The list can go on and on surely, but the point is:

ALL OF THOSE ARE LIES & unhealthy conditions. Those normalized MALFUNCTIONED values ruin most men’s lives, and negatively affect the lives of those who come into their path.

Unfortunately many (most) women also have grown to perceive strong good men to have those qualities. So the flawed value system is propagated both by men and women.

Healthy masculinity is a harmony between strength and vulnerability. Beginning with accepting one’s humanness. In addition to acknowledging one’s ability to grow given the correct mindset and a lot of emotional accountability and maturity. Healthy masculinity, then, is a nod to the beauty, responsibility and power harnessed in the ability to hold seeds of human life.

The Healthy Masculine & The Skill to Embrace

It all begins with practicing self awareness. Healthy masculinity does not shake when contrasted with the healthy feminine, but it thrives. So, one is not intimidated by the self aware and accountable feminine, he does not seek to control or dominate her, neither does he want to destroy and erase her. He is not undermining of a man or woman’s strength or weakness no matter where he/she is on their journey; but he is actively supportive, understanding and enveloping of the other.

When countered with other men, the healthy masculine does not try to peacock, or overcompensate. That’s because the healthy masculine recognizes the shortcomings in himself and others, and tries to go inwards to heal and transform. He recognizes in himself the power and space he can uphold for other men to open up and reveal their true masculine.

The Skill to Walk Away

However, one of the major takeaways of a healthy masculine is recognizing when to walk away. Sometimes knowing when to stop a relationship (no matter its type), and create distance with a person who has unhealthy habits (who is unaware and unwilling to listen) is the best way to treat one’s self with honor and respect.

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The Way out of Struggle

Do you ever feel like nothing is working in your favor? As if the world is conspiring against you, forcing you to struggle, and the more you push forward, the harder everything pushes back?

This is a tricky situation that can usually leave us hopeless and in a state of fear and eminent defeat. The good news is that there is a way.

There is always a way to get through the tough phases in our lives!

Handling External Resistance and Struggle

It requires a step back first. Once we step back from the mess we think we are in, we must acknowledge things for what they are. AKA accountability.

young asian female looking at reflection
Photo by JESSICA TICOZZELLI on Pexels.com

Accountability helps us define the problem we are in, and sometimes we are the biggest culprits in said problem simply because we refuse to (breathe, calm down, say something to somebody, move, take action, cry, confront, walk away…) Choose your poison.

In other words it all goes down to this:

Repeat after the chorus:

I AM NOT A VICTIM. I AM NOT A VICTIM.

However, if I believe that I am one, then I will surely keep behaving like it and guess what? An oppressor will always find me even if I were trying to sleep at night. The oppressor will come in the form of insomnia.

The Alchemy Between Internal and External Release and Resistance

You see, life is an exchange of beliefs, actions, energies and space. Our beliefs determine our realities, and our limiting beliefs determine the limitations to our actions towards growth. The energies are not only positive and negative, light and dark but also, can be anything from confusion and clarity, chaos and order…so on. Space surrounds us all, and we live by function of the beliefs, actions and energies we feel define us. As a result, we are met with what we put out. And if my partial spiritual mumbo jumbo has lost you by now, tell your science brain to read on confirmation bias. We are constantly met with the things we believe to be true.

So if we believe that we cannot move, then we will not be in motion voluntarily. However, something external could move us, but it will only move us into a smaller corner, simply because that is what our belief system and our energies allow into our space; restraint.

What we believe about ourselves is usually echoed back to us. What we have to do is notice it and be vulnerable with ourselves. The words make it seem easy to do, but in all honesty this is a difficult thing. Embracing our struggle with compassion and assertiveness, allows us to be vulnerable and hopefully courageous enough to admit to ourselves what our limiting beliefs are. We can then see clearly where we engage in regressive actions and in self sabotage.

The Way Out of the Struggle

Everything is temporary; let’s get that out of the way first. So take it in and recognize the short time we all have on this glorious planet, with our loved ones. Presence is the first exit from the mental struggle. Presence and gratitude put everything in perspective no matter what. When we drop the victim state, or narrative or grand story line, and let presence and gratitude in, clarity becomes easier. Honesty becomes easier. The only way out of the mysterious struggle is to recognize that most of the times, we are in the center of it; and changing ourselves allows us to change perspective, treat it like fertilizer and grow gloriously and graciously out of it.

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Overcoming Fear

visual of walking in spaces

Fear is the biggest obstacle you will ever encounter in life. I speak from experience, not just my own. Talk about fear and everybody cringes. We are wired by it, it tell us how to live. Until it doesn’t. If we want.

Are you afraid of something now? Good. That means you can start there with that single emotion. You can ask yourself: What is it that I am afraid of? What is it that intimidates me into a full stop? Is my fear real or hypothetical? Will my movement into action despite the fear push me towards growth?

Dealing with fear

First sign post is: It’s ok to feel scared. Let the emotion take space. Let it occupy the entire room. Then comes the time to create awareness around that space. Imagine pointing big flashlights onto that space -room- and inspecting everything that the light hits. In that case you will notice that by holding the flashlight in that space, you are stepping away separating yourself from what it holds and acting as the inspector not just the experiencer. You then are not afraid, you are merely inspecting the state of fear. Recognizing this distance between your true self and fear is a big accomplishment, because then you can inspect your ability to overcome that state. In other words, you can determine how to leave that space or room and enter another one. You can equally then let yourself into another space. Let yourself into a space of courage where you can inspect and experience the state of being brave.

What comes before courage?

All our favorite heroes and heroins share one thing in common; bravery to face difficult challenges. They face things, they do not cower. They might hesitate and go back and forth, because all those experiences exist while they are inspecting that state of fear. However, taking action from that state into the next automatically propels them into champions; especially if there is purpose, growth and common good behind the action.

If you can take anything from this perspective let it be this: We must first accept the state we are in right now, and then assess what we need to move out of it.

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The Grand Finale of My Raging Twenties: Be Here

A little more than a year ago I sat on my yoga mat and set an intention for how I want to be during my 28th year on this planet. I breathed and I made a vow to myself to BE HERE for all of it. I would actively practice my state of presence no matter what. Little did I know that 28 would be the most difficult and trying year of my life so far.

Here is a top 10 list of things I was absolutely present for, and its not all but its enough for this post.

The Grand List to End All Lists: Be Here for it

1- I participated in the biggest protests Lebanon had witnessed since its inception

2- I caused an involuntary fire

3- I maintained my job (you read this again, YES it is an achievement)

4-A 2 week trip to India became 5 months of lockdown in Rishikesh

5- The slow and sad decay of my 7 year relationship, and a divorce

6-I survived the insane Beirut explosion

7-Took an unhealthy number of flights to make my way out of India, Beirut and EU. I spent too much time in airports during the worst time possible for that. (COVID anyone?)

8-I bought a one way ticket to Mexico and moved to Tulum

9-Survived my first Carribean Hurricane

10-Stopped eating meat. Full on vegetarian diet and Im still alive.

Had I known all this and more would happen, I would have still set the same intention honestly. To be here for it all. During the hardest moments I found nothing but myself to truly rely on. I learned that radical presence can allow us to withstand crazy experiences. I learned that no matter how much we try to distract ourselves, there are certain states we have to experience, especially those related to pain. There is no way out but in.

This is still a jolly birthday post don’t get me wrong. To be here right now, celebrating my existence on this realm is super exciting. I have come to realize two absolutely simple truth, and as my favorite person in the world says: Boom!

There is a huge difference between what SOUNDS good and what FEELS good. Always pay attention to the latter.

We think that just because something sounds good to us mentally then it is what we need. It doesn’t always have to be this way. Paying attention to what really feels good to us no matter how small can change our day better yet our lives. It requires listening to our bodies, and paying close attention to how we feel after we do something or after we eat it. Learn what puts us in a better place and do that. Eating a big fat burger from Mcdonalds might sound great for your hungry mind. Though usually you find that you feel shame and guilt after it. However you feel amazing after eating a pesto pasta. EAT THAT. Master level of this lesson becomes doing that with the thoughts you have, but let’s take it easy now.

Everything ends especially those bad bits, nothing lasts. So just allow the experience to take space. BE HERE for it, and then let it be.

Radical presence allows us to accept our realities regardless what they seem like. Truly experiencing the moment be it happiness, sadness, glory, shame, defeat, disgust, pride…anything at all starts with acknowledging that this is how we feel RIGHT NOW. It will end.

So I welcome 29 with a humility I had never known before. I release this year’s birthday post to you my dear readers, as I drink my morning cup of coffee and my cake is on its way. This year’s intention is to FEEL. I hope you enjoyed this and see you next year. Making it to 30 one fleeting feeling at a time.