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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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What if the only thing in life you can control is your response?

She clicked her blue ball point pen twice and looked at me. I curled a loose piece of hair over my index finger and smiled. I like her, she seems to get me; unlike most people. A bunch of papers in her lap gather information about me, including my limiting beliefs and my date of birth. We both know that the papers don’t mean much. Nothing is as intriguing as sitting in front of an honest person who is wiling to tell us everything about their experience. So i embody that and listen intently to her. Tell me about a time when you overcame something you didn’t think was possible, describe the situation exactly as you remember it she said as she sat up straight and square in her chair. She usually does that as she prepares to alter my perspective about something. I answered her giving a simple example and chuckling, I quickly followed it up with a statement to discredit and undermine my triumph.

She then gathered her breath and spoke, you see? We don’t give ourselves enough credit. We tend to remember our failures, our weaknesses and our pains more readily than we do our triumphs. We think we fail a lot more greatly than we overcome. Notice your ability to respond and adapt; you will learn to pay attention to that. Know that you are capable of so much more than you think.

That was our last meeting, after that, life changed forever.

What is an experience that you overcame against all odds? What does your triumph story look like? How does it ring in your ears? Does it have a special taste on the bitterness averse buds of your tongue? Do you tell it to yourself more often than you dwell on your misfortunes and failures? Or do you shy away from the victories and lean in a little too closely to the victimized self?

There are some things that we cannot fathom happening to us, but they do. People we love can die, people we love can leave. Worse yet, we can live despite those things. We can still breathe even though we think that the only way through is out and under, suffocating beneath the immense weight of our exploding hearts. Yet, contrary to what we may think, we are not wired to die out of heartbreak and heart ache; we are made to live through it and thrive because of it. Our human experience must not be limited by the temporary comforts of our existence. We must expand and explode into billions of pieces of who we used to be and gather again. We must mend because that it is the only way.

We ought to live like stars floating in a dark universe, we ought to collide with one another and implode like big bangs dispersing love and light and sheer tragedy into nothingness; only to experience rebirth in form, spirit and depth again and again. That is the continuity we can aspire to and not immortality...

Fear can only be met by experience, as unfortunate as that sounds for my anxious self. The only weapon that can completely obliterate the fearful is deep living; and nothing is more contradictory. Yet, all it takes is a deep breath in, and an acceptance of the impermanence of being here right now.

Imagine your temporary existence as a simple coin, with “You are here now” engraved. There are two ways of responding to that; heads or tails.

Hand flipping a coin in black and white in slow motion

What does temporary existence and a tossed coin have in common? Well, both require a choice and a response. What is your primary choice when faced with life? Expansion or contraction? What is your response after the outcome presents itself? Fear or courage?

Fear is one way to respond. It is the nod of understanding that we can simply die, things can easily end and living is not to be taken for granted so our minds meet that with cowardice, with contraction and the need to preserve the sanity and safety and comfort we have in the split moment of being. We make believe that if we contract and limit our experiences then maybe nothing will happen to us and we can live much longer. The truth is however, the coin is being constantly tossed, comfort isn’t so comfortable when you are always meeting every toss with the fear of losing it all. Its like you are always betting against yourself, and holding your breath.

The other side of meeting that toss of the coin however, is living so unapologetically wild and open. Meeting life with courage because everything can end in a split second; our lives can change and twist out of control and we, the most vulnerable of beings can only respond with embracing the experience no matter how complex, terrifying and extraordinary it is. We accept our odds, we enjoy the comfort but we don’t get attached to it. We take our chances and we acknowledge that this is the game. We meet every toss with a deep breath and an exhale, and we believe in our ability to respond and experience living in our own unique way.

Just don’t live in fear of that coin getting tossed; trust in your ability to respond to the outcome no matter what.

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Now that we are human again, what do we do?

A thousand rivers can flow seamlessly beneath your feet, and you could still manage to find and count the rocks that are in the water’s way. The river doesn’t mind and the rocks have no qualms with their position but you do. You cannot but want the rocks out of the river, by its side where they theoretically belong so the water can flow in a manner that you deem perfect.

What else are you unable to just let be?

Has there been some sort of unspoken agreement that we were owed something by the world we lived in and continuously disrupted? Did we at some point in our assent into God like supremacy over nature stumble over a serum of immortality and immunity? There has been a sense that we as a species are becoming exempt from all checks and balances of existence, as though we are doing each other and the earth we are living on a favor by existing.

We however, are amazing creatures at cognitive learning and acquiring knowledge; yet we somehow keep on missing the mark and the point. So we make up for our lack of awareness by our over alertness to life’s problems; especially those which we are able to solve. And the species with the advanced problem solving skills eventually reaches a point where it starts creating new problems for itself because the only confirmation of existence we start to have is our incessant need to create and then untangle issues.

We find ourselves today in a situation we did not anticipate. Bill Gates warned the world five years ago, but what does he know? He is only one of the world’s most prominent problem solvers, why listen to him?

What Can We Do with Our Big Brains?

Surely, lay people like you and I are in no position to legislate or enforce any measures that can save millions of lives. So what can we do with our big brains instead of creating social media challenges that further enhance and reconfirm our unquenchable thirst for attention and being loved? We have unfortunately stopped paying attention to the world that gives us life and only view it from high rises and shiny screens as though we are detached from it. We were always part of the life cycle, that natural chain that linked us to the trees we chopped, the animals we tested on and killed and the water and air and land we polluted. How is it possible hence now for us to still be immune?

Regardless what type of illnesses befall us, they are less malicious than the fact that they can disrupt our systems, change our ways of life and ultimately remind us of our own morbidity.

This however, is not a piece about the darkness that we have all been hurled into. On the contrary it is about the light that must explode out of every corner of our being.

That light begins in the heart and travels up to the mind lights it up and sends the signal to your body to just stop and let go of that need to steer. This is not a car, this is not a man made aircraft and we are not in need of navigating any ship into safety. All of those stories, those narratives might not hold true now.

We must make a spiritual pitstop at some point. One that does not even need a God or a special universal force. We must check in with ourselves, our own sanity, our own clarity and our own assumptions about life. We must click our heels twice and realize that our lockdowns at home for the privileged among us are not difficult because of the four walls we are stuck between. They are about the body, the heart and the mind we are stuck with, and no amount of distraction and/or donuts in the world can avert our attention far enough to make us forget the fear of being simply human.

Human, nothing more nothing less. We are that, merely so and yet so brilliant when we come to terms with the powers instilled within us. We are nothing short of wonderful and inevitably remarkable at withstanding hardship.

Photo by Spencer Selover on Pexels.com

We do not need to live forever, or even be eternally immune to everything. We must however, unburden ourselves from our supreme concepts and settle into that untapped intuitive strength which helps us overcome when we can and let go where we must.

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The Illusion that We Are in Control

I am experimenting with channeling everything I have learned and believed about the energy of being human at this time. All of the meditative practices and the therapy sessions and exercises come into play, as my anxiety mocks me, telling me your worst fears are all happening at the same time. So now what? I am in India, a foreign country, during a worldwide pandemic, with uncertainty at the heart of everything and it plays itself out like a surreal low budget movie. Now what? What can I possibly retrieve to push through and accept this experience?

There is a life force within us that stops at nothing. It travels up from the base of our being, passing through the fleshy parts that make us bleed and into the realm of our minds and our thinking selves. Then it pushes through those swamps of the mind and beyond into our superhuman capacities. The energy finds itself swimming through sometimes with utmost ease and other times crossing currents of suffocated oppression.

What you need to know is that you are so much more than a body that experiences illness. You are beyond the limited capacities of your young brain. You carry the energy of life within your biology. Your physiological body is not eternal and the human experience is identified by its transience; but your spirit pulses through. Allow your spirit to take the wheel; now is a good time.

Let yourself be, let the life force within you play out it’s most beautiful harmony and let your body follow like a toddler taking her first steps. It sounds crazy, but isn’t everything surreal anyway at this point? Why not entertain an idea perhaps even two about the mysteries that surround your being here today?

The process of overcoming only starts from a singular capacity to get up and face whatever it is you are up against. One single token action spurs a series of mini actions that eventually lead to the end; because everything has an end; be it good or bad doesn’t matter. Sometimes an end is all the certainty one needs to get up, take off that frail and afraid body and put that universal spirit in charge. Allow her to travel through where it pleases, allow her to feed whichever other beings it pleases and allow her to swim cross current to stiller places.

The shift in focus requires resilience and a sense of optimism, a romanticism if you like that welcomes adversity and ease just as much. So what is to be done or decided when the authority to decide was an illusion all along?

You sit in your little body and let the energy pass through.

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Arab Pigeonhole Communities: Havens for Young Women, Feminist Men and LGBTQ

I can tell this will be a long but necessary post. I rarely put on this “Arab” young woman hat; but I choose to wear it for now, and see where it takes me and you dear reader.

I raise the volume of my instrumental music so I cannot hear myself think; when was that ever such a problem? When was it ever a problem for a woman to think too much? {Haha Yeah I know… the drama! the irony of our destinies} We were always considered too fragile or too strong, too eloquent or too silly… the list of antonyms and descriptions can continue on…

But here’s a Beyonce Gif to get you through this word mountain.

Believe it or not, growing up I never viewed myself as a girl in contrast to boys; I viewed myself as a person thanks to my wonderful well aware parents. Except, you cannot but face the labeling and the judgement, you cannot understand the differences set forth by a regressive “Arab” society until you are fully immersed in it. This is not to say that all the micro communities are the same; people vary in opinions and practices like night and day, but one must take a look at the majority. People tend to prefer you in a certain way; thinking certain thoughts, behaving in a particular way and wanting familiar things. So where does that leave a modern young woman in pursuit of so much more than what her gender grants her in “awards” vs obligations?

I find that the journey is particularly interesting for young Arab women simply because of the tidal waves of expectations, traditions and norms laid upon their fates. A modern woman hence finds herself not just trying to figure life out as any person ought to regardless of gender or sexual orientation; but also trying to balance social, religious and cultural duties along with her education and career. She either becomes an example or a warning depending on the perceived lines she crosses. I do nevertheless realize that this might not just be an Arab women thing, but a gender thing.

Where does that leave us? Where does that place the young and modern Arab man?

Well, to say the least, that is where the mini communities play their undeniable part. That is where a young man can express his feminist thoughts without being stared down by peers as weak or as a sucker for women. In those mini communities where young people are attempting to become more human and less bias is where young modernists find themselves in more comfortable settings. You find people from different walk of life all gathering around a unified understanding that we need to work together and accept one another to make it through, to create a more positive life for those around us and those coming after us. The mini communities are small for an unfortunate reason however; that is, that most young men and woman with the ability to leave the larger community simply get on that flight and rarely ever look back. They take an observant attitude and only indulge virtually until maybe someday they could become included in the larger communities. Not to mention, that such communities are able to coexist with their larger ones because they are not posing any threats or imposing any practical change to systems and thoughts. Politically, those communities are in their earlier stages, still ruled by fear, misalignment and inexperience.

So the young Arab woman who stays, shuffles through and finds some balance if fortunate. If unlucky however, she might just find out how harsh and unforgiving society can be. Outside of the carefully niched boxes, she might become a witch. Surely, the image is bleak from a singular perspective, but one must paint the bleak in order to qualify and determine the extremities of the issue. So it could be THAT bad, but it’s not always so. Then again, I was well educated in diplomacy and social sciences, so one must never be an absolutist because then it is not a true portrayal of the world.

You still hear tragic stories of lives put to end because of social, religious or cultural norms. You still learn how dangerous it could be as you grow up, but then again there remains hope in the pigeon holes of the larger community. Love and inspiration and yogic values arise in the midst of unpleasantries despite the cat calling and shaming, in spite of the difficulties and bad experiences. The smaller communities are still young and inexperienced but they are still there and that is the point; that is where change begins.

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The Art of Transforming Responsibility into Contribution

What are we responsible for?

That’s a good question we rarely ask ourselves, and one that I recently found myself wondering about extensively.

There are many things we find ourselves doing, countless boxes we tick, and days of ongoing mental scenarios about things we should/could say, or maybe never should have said. To say that we carry an immense load is an understatement. To be fair, we just do what must be done, but who determines the must, well that’s where the pit of our anxieties lay.

Children understand their responsibilities because parents or authority figures determine them clearly (when that isn’t done, well a lot of built up trauma and confusion ensues). As adults we must reimagine the ways in which we perceive and receive our responsibilities. We learn our duties as we grow, until they grow with us. Except, do responsibilities really expand and become more difficult or is it our perception of them?

I think that our responsibility is threefold, it includes many branches, but it also is not as heavy as we think it should be.

  1. Responsibility for SelF; this includes mind body and spirit.
  2. Responsibility for community; this includes family friends and people in general.
  3. Responsibility for home and it’s elements; that includes the physical spaces we occupy, the bigger planet that sustains us and its creatures.

We must keep a balance between our responsibilities and we must maintain a sense of wellness, kindness and gentleness in how we approach those.

If you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders then you are neglecting your responsibility for your self. If you live to please and help others, you might also be coming out short of meeting your own needs and the needs of the home that sustains you. To make the loop complete, if you only care about yourself and perceive your needs as singular ones, then you might be losing touch with those who surround you and that which provides for you.

Consider your responsibilities and think about how you perceive each one, is there a balance? Is there a feeling of contentment and contribution?

We complicate life, and we lose touch with one thing after the other every time we choose to focus on something and forget the rest. Yet, rest assured that you are not alone,. In truly believing that, the connections that you will make simply by fulfilling the balance that wants to live through you, your responsibilities will become life vessels and contributions.

Responsibility is not supposed to be a negative experience, on the contrary, it ought to be a peaceful equation, a map that helps you determine whether you are lost, and where you ought to be in order to regain power in your life. Adulthood and its responsibilities must not mean helplessness and lack of choice, but it must mean freedom to contribute.

What are your responsibilities? Can you view them as contributions instead of worries? Can you find power in feeling like you carry so much weight? Can you choose to pick up that weight in parts and give yourself reason for doing so?

Try it, you might be surprised.

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Otherness and Spirituality

Let’s first consider some baseline questions relating to otherness:

Do you ever find yourself thinking about “others”? Are there certain features that differentiate them from you and those similar to your self? How many types of “others” are there for you? and how do you keep count? Can somebody who you once considered an “other” become “like” you?

What is it about our obsession with the “others”? Why must we always cultivate clear cutting lines between who we are in contrast to those who are different from us?

Identity and Otherness

Identity is a fragile thing, and the more one seeks to identify with concrete values, unchangeability and a limited outlook towards life, the more distinct one feels. Then one aims to find people who have similar distinctions in hopes of belonging to a bigger group. This is natural as we are social creatures, what is unnatural however is our need to profess hierarchy and change in value based on differences.

Humanity has existed on the edge of its own demise for centuries. Communities grow and become self aware, yet they develop a sense of superiority for certain reasons, or inferiority complexes for other reasons. Said community then chooses between isolation or expansion, simply due to the understanding that the others are unlike us, and we must either stay away from them or convert them.

However this is not about communities as a whole this is about you and me. Surely, we can identify ourselves, you know who you are as clearly as I know who I am. Can you know who I am however without feeding into that with some of your opinions, judgements and perceptions? Can you determine my value as a whole as a human being, can I determine yours? The only way we get to do so is by naming ourselves better judges; we choose that due to the power vested in us by authority “x”, we can label the other as something else or something similar.

Do you see the craziness and extreme bias in that?

That is where spirituality comes in.

That is where we get to take a step back from every bit of conditioning and try to see someone for all they are, regardless how we feel about them. That is looking through the eye of love, through the eye of equality and nothingness. Zooming out of your body, out of your house, out of your city, out of your country and continent, zoom away from the vast oceans and the open waters, rise above the clouds and over the outermost layers of the stratosphere and through the mesosphere, leave earth and look at the planets; who are you then?

We all work out intricate images for ourselves, ones that sustain us and help us integrate in communities that accept us, we try to make amends with the traits in us we dislike and the fears and biases; and we come out looking quite similar to everyone else. We emerge looking as human as possible, our equalizers get shuffled differently, and that becomes all we can see.

Happiness becomes difficult, and our sense of value seems like an opinion that can shift at any moment with the shifting weather and the moods of those surrounding us. Do you see the grief in that?

Realize your value not in contrast to others but in its own existence; there is nothing to prove, and a choice always presents itself in the bleakest moments; as you are being asked are you one of them or one of us?

You hover over the desolate question and you smile because you are one, that is all you need to know.