Any place you point the finger OUTWARDS to explain a situation, you are being disempowered.

For a long time, the conversation around empowerment and human rights continued on an external stage: more rights, more laws, more protests, more loudness.

And for a while, a few centuries maybe, that was powerful.

Today though, I see the potency for change coming from a different place — your inner world.

In the Arab world, just like other places in the world where a “conservative” culture dominates, most women have adopted a worldview that strips them of autonomy, independence, and freedom.

But notice my choice of words: “WORLDVIEW.” It is our worldview, and not “the world” that has stripped us of these basic soul rights.

As an Arab woman, something deep in my soul and DNA calls for liberation. The “you’re already free” response no longer resonates, for as long as all my sisters are not free, and as long as I am not TOTALLY free, then freedom remains just a dream.

That’s why I’ve gathered some of the main blocks I’ve observed through life and coaching, standing in the way between us and our empowerment — and they’re probably not what you expect.

And instead of just pointing to the poisoned well, what I’d like to do is guide you 4 steps upwards towards a greater sense of empowerment.

However, taking these steps will also mean taking FULL RESPONSIBILITY for your empowerment, and recognizing that anywhere you are pointing the finger outwards, you are playing victim in a story where you are meant to be the HEROINE.

Enjoying being the heroine in my own story 🙂
  1. Your Relationship to Yourself.

The first thing to unpack here is how you relate to your inner knowing and intuition. In order to be empowered, you need to be a leader in your own life. To trust your choices.

Being used to the employee/employer, parents/child, government/citizens, and other models that make you dependent on external authority means you’ve been trained for anything BUT self-authority.

Literally, you’ve been trained to doubt every bit of your inner knowing and always seek outside for answers, direction, instructions, and a life structure in general.

When you start to tune in to your inner world, you’ll realize all that you’re looking for is already there.

If you don’t believe me, test this. Start journaling tonight, but not like you usually do. Ask yourself BIG questions, and see what kind of answers come through you. Get out of your way. Receive the knowing.

2. Your Relationship to Your Father.

This one is BIG, and it’s bigger than it sounds. Your relationship to your father, is not a relationship “between YOU and YOUR FATHER.” It is a relationship built over two thousand years. It is the relationship you have, as a woman, to the patriarchy.

Patriarchy literally means “the rule of the father” and it comes from the greek word patriarkhēs, which means “father of a race.” And literally, when patriarchy was born, it birthed a new human race that was kept alive through this ideology of rule by the father.

At the expense of who? The mothers. The daughters. The sisters. And all their inner knowing and power.

I am not saying men are bad and women are victims in this. No. I am lucky enough to have an extremely empowering and conscious man as a partner who has showed and proven to me that THERE IS ANOTHER WAY.

I am pointing to the patriarchy so that we may be more self-aware of the social contract’s we’ve unconsciously signed up for.

What I am saying is to QUESTION the power dynamics within that first relationship you had to the first masculine figure in your life. Even if there was sweetness and loving, odds are, if you’re a woman: there was control. Emotional. Idealogical. Geographical. And more.

Domination of the dads is not the god-sent bible for your existence. It is a system women accepted, and still accept.

Thousands of years ago, matriarchies ruled the Earth (if this interests you, read Elizabeth Gould’s book The First Sex — a must read for all women). All this to say, it has not always been so. And will not always stand the same.

Question your own relationship to your father. To the patriarchy.

Discover where exactly in your life this relationship disempowers you, strips you of your voice, or power. Limits your choices. Dictates your being in the world, whether by force or emotional harassment.

Begin to notice the fear you hold deep in your gut of disobeying, angering, or provoking your father’s ego. This fear is lodged deep in your DNA. Remember, thousands of years.

Notice the fear you hold of being and expressing your deepest truths. Your sexual desires, although these are god-sent. Your longings and knowings. And notice where he reacts, and where these reactions come not from him, but from this deep-seated and misguided lineage.

I don’t hold much fear in my field, but I’ve noticed that if there’s ONE place I still don’t feel completely empowered, it’s right here.

Had that not been true, I would be renting my own place and living alone. I wouldn’t question my desire to truly express, privately and publicly how deeply I stand for freedom on all levels. I wouldn’t be hiding. I would know that no matter what is triggered, I am safe.

And yet, in my cells I carry that imprint still; that to provoke the patriarch threatens a deep part in me. It is to look danger in the eyes. And here, I am still building the courage to do that.

Sometimes, it’s there. Something explodes, and I can stand for my truth. Others, I just retreat.

My hope is that some day, soon, I will be able to do that unapologetically — and also, with love. Begin by placing BOUNDARIES, and then … FORGIVE the patriarchy, and continue building towards a more empowered relationship between feminine and masculine in our world.

Take a deep breathe, this is deep work we are doing.

3. Your Relationship to the Unknown.

As we branch towards a new world of empowerment and creativity, we are branching towards the unknown.

Who knows what will come out of this. Who knows where these truths will lead. But looking towards history (I studied International History at Columbia University and the LSE), I remember Marguerite Mead’s infamous quote:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Change comes right out of the unknown. And beauty comes right of there too. And cultural and social upgrades come out of there too.

But instead, your attachment to comfort kills that possibility. You do not risk the unknown. You cannot risk uncertainty.

Because you believe it is scary. It is dangerous.

But what if what is waiting for you there is more beautiful than anything you could have ever imagined?

What if the unknown was the gateway to your utopia?

The greatest experiences happen when you walk out into the unknown

4. Your Relationship to Money

Most in the Arab world have grown up to believe that IF you’re lucky, you do all the right things, and everything goes according to plan, you will
1) get into the right universities, and
2) land a good/great job.

For the majority of people I’ve met, that’s “dreaming big.”

From there, you will work five days a week, eight hours a day, earning a consistent paycheck that barely covers your living costs. In Jordan specifically, even if you had the most incredible job, maybe making $1,500 a month, what you’ll be able to pay for at the end of the month is this: rent, food, and MAYBE, fuel for your car. Barely. And again, this is the highest salary range you can expect in your twenties.

Because of that, if you stick to that system you’ll probably be dependent on your parents forever.

They’ll pay for your car, your wedding, your new house. And if you don’t have a wealthy family, well…good luck.

By paying, they also get to tell you how to live your life — isn’t that their right?

So…is this a good queue for financial empowerment?

I went from having a consisting day job, to working in an eco-conscious kindergarten, to tutoring, to running workshops, and now running many programs, online and offline. Throughout that journey, I realized that everything I previously believed and had learned about money was WRONG.

I made more money working in a KINDERGARTEN than I did working for the job I’d worked my butt off studying for 3 Masters degrees to get in government.

I made more tutoring 8 hours a week than I did working 40 hour-weeks.

Everything I thought was “fact” was, in fact, fiction.

And with this entrepreneurial journey I took towards financial liberation (still on my way) came A LOT of learning…and a deep feeling of freedom I never had when I had a job.

I realized you cannot truly be free if you’re a financial slave to someone else.

When I started doing clearing and healing money beliefs, I discovered the highest VALUE I held for money was: FREEDOM. At the core, that’s what money meant to me, and that’s what I was denying myself.

Finding out what money means for you is the first step in this financial empowerment process. Not what it means to your parents, or your grand-parents, or your boss, but to you.

Maybe for you, money is ENJOYMENT. Or EVOLUTION. Or GENEROSITY.

Find your own relationship to her.

(Yes, I said “her.” If you want to learn more about that read the book “Love Money, Money Loves You.” Me and Ehab really enjoyed it)

Before the conscious healing through this block, to me, money was evil, corrupt, unnecessary, disgusting. It ruined families, it was inconsistent, made people depressed, and one million other discouraging things. And those beliefs reflected themselves in the not so charming $1,000 income I received at the end of every month.

From that place, I remained needy, dependent on my parents to help with tickets as I traveled for courses and trainings. I was contained, rarely considering what I truly wanted to do, and usually looking towards what I could afford. I was always trying to save money. And behind all those choices, I just couldn’t really feel I was independent.

I felt not ready to make a bold move.

My car was my parent’s. My room was my parent’s. My clothes were paid for by my parent’s. My education, my parents. My laptop, my parents. Everything was theirs.

Independence starts with building new worldviews and trusting your inner voice. But the TRUE liberation, where manifesting your independence becomes more than just an idea, is in your FINANCIAL independence.

In having that ground being solid enough that no matter what choices you make, you are FREE to make them.

If freedom is a priority for you, then entrepreneurship is THE MOST IMPORTANT skill you can learn.

Let them take the car. The room. The clothes. The laptop. Let them take everything they ever gave you. And you will still have yourself.

That is the ground we must build.

I never thought I would enjoy learning the Business (in college, I avoided the “requirement” to take math and economics courses and instead took an epic course on Dinosaurs), but these days I am noticing a deep passion in learning Business and expanding my soul empire.

Because that’s what it will take to be a truly empowered woman. To have your own soul empire.

And from that ground, you will learn to love your family and supporters more authentically, as their support will come through generosity, not neediness, or slavery. It will bring you joy and appreciation, and not dependence.

So learn to depend on yourself, your inner voice. Your own inner ruler. And let go, dive into the unknown for a little while. Build your soul empire from there.

As my inspiring friend Safia always says, “it’s now the time.”

If you enjoyed this article, leave your comments as we’d love to hear from you and please share the article with any women who might enjoy also it. And if you’re interested to go deeper, you have a few more days to apply for my new program “AWAKENED WOMAN.”

I grew up living on 5 continents, and then 5 years ago returned to live in my homeland of Jordan.

I enjoyed HUGE gifts during this return, including getting to know this beautiful land which I love and feel I belong to. I also met my soul tribe, awakened my soul herself, and found my soul’s mate.

HUGE GIFTS.

During this return, I also faced disturbing truths about being a woman in this land and culture, and the status quo and BOX that women have accepted to live in, in the Arab world and particularly here in Jordan.

From full freedom, suddenly I found myself living inside this uncomfortable box. Living in the same house with parents who had VERY different values and priorities in life.

Living as a grown woman in her twenties, treated like a 10 year old girl.

Most of the friends I grew up with, on these 5 continents, moved out of their homes by the age of 18. They became independent, rented their own homes, cultivated their passions and identities, and allowed life to take them on their crazy journeys.

Some pursued unconventional careers. Some lived in with their boyfriends in Paris or New York, others eventually married them. Some had babies before marriage. Some married their same-gender lovers.

They made the decisions that unapologetically aligned with their truth, love, and passions. That was the timeline they inhabited.

I remember when my friend Alexia from college, who came from a conservative Italian family, decided to marry her long-term girlfriend before moving back to California to get a law degree, and everything moved forward smoothly with that. I was so delighted at the freedom that continued to breathe through all their lives. These were the kind of events that became a norm in my life. And I celebrated that.

I celebrated that the progression of my friends’ lives through their twenties offered freedom, independence, and choice to every decision in their path.

Which seemed like the natural unfolding of life… Or so I thought.

During my college years, studying Philosophy and other things, I never considered the option of eventually living in a place where FREEDOM was not… free.

And yet, here I was. Back in Jordan after a quarter of a century abroad, back in the arms of the patriarchy. By choice.

Celebrating Holi, the festival of colors, in India

Returning to Jordan at the age of 25, cultural limitations began to reveal their face and (unwelcome) place in my life. To start it all, I had a full-time and prestigious job, and yet I was not “allowed” to rent or live in my own apartment.

An independent woman? It seems that was unheard of…

To add to this, I was friends with beautiful free souls and musicians, whom my family did not approve of, which made it hard to have them over, feel at home, or enjoy the lifestyle I wanted to.

Eventually, I started dating a man, and was “told” when, and how, and what I could and could not do in this regard. Somehow, culture and my family felt entitled to my body, my relationship, and every decision related to these two.

Eventually ready to marry, it turned out we weren’t of the “right” religions to make this a smooth transition, and even this miraculous soul reunion became a battle, or even a war, to wage.

That’s why when, this morning, at the age of 30, my mom came to tell me she was “sad” that I’m leaving home soon, all I could really feel is:

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

FINALLY, I’m leaving.

Finally, I’m stepping into my independent self, and space, and wholeness. And still, this wholeness is compromised, as I leave my parent’s house to join my husband’s home. Which is fucked up.

I see and recognize the depth of my mother’s own feelings, and I am compassionate she is on her own journey, and yet I find it hard to accept such selfishness, and the feeling that our parents would rather we remain children forever.

That is what colonizers did in their colonies for centuries: kept populations disempowered like children, incapable of their own independence.

Clearly, this dynamic lives way beyond what we are willing to see, and it relies on deeply rooted and systemic disempowerment.

It is true, we all need to “choose” our battles, and perhaps this is one I’ve let slip, unwilling to pay the price FULL freedom entails in this land, and instead starting with the “smaller” freedom battles, like the freedom to choose my own lifestyle, career, travels, and day-to-day choices, meanwhile building my financial freedom so that no outer party, not even culture, can claim that power.

But some freedoms, not even money can buy.

My parents never liked my choices. Like when I decided to do my study abroad semester in India, my mom almost went crazy. I told her the tuition was paid, and the decision was done. I stood my ground. But there was a distinguishing factor here: Arab parents seem very okay with us living our freedom ABROAD.

“Just don’t do it here,” I’m sure you’ve heard this too.

Or “What will people say?”

During a road trip along the Ganga River in India, studying pilgrimage

It’s when the questions lean towards living freely HERE, in this land, that the sirens awaken.

You can’t even SPEAK of wanting to be free. Of wanting to live with your lovers, or getting to know them before signing up for a life contract, or marrying the person whom you choose. Of chopping off all your hair , and claiming yourself to be an artist by soul calling.

Suddenly the things your parents used to pride themselves with, including your job, your degrees, your successes, would vanish, and you would be made to feel like your whole being is wrongness itself.

One thing is clear to me: this injustice lives out loud. And yet, it lives in the silence, and in the shaming. It lives within our homes and the unspoken corridors of our subconscious minds.

And every one of us who is silent in the face of this system, is complicit. And every one of us who points the finger outside to blame the government, or another nation, or the world at large for the suffering and injustice women face in this land, is complicit.

Our willingness to embrace comfort at the expense of our freedom is the root to blame.

And I am complicit. Because I am scared. What would true freedom demand of me? I often find myself pondering.

To what extent would COMPLETE independence be a gift, or a weight, I could carry?

Every day, I live a bit more of my freedoms, and every day, also, I observe the places where I am yet to feel fully liberated.

I had a dream last night I was making my way to the airport only to realize I had lost my passport. Everyone was leaving, and being responsible for my own journey and the loss of my passport, I was stuck. In a way,  was the “heavy” feeling of independence. I was in India or something like that, and I had to figure it all out on my own. The feeling was…shite.

Perhaps that is the biggest fear lurking behind our inability to claim our full freedom. Or mine at least.

Could I really do it? All on my own? This voice shows up as the inner child inside me, wanting to feel held — by the universe and by a community through that process of defying, and upgrading, the culture.

And yes, for me, the support of a community has been essential in that journey — so that I never felt alone in this liberation process.

And as with any theme that comes up in our path, it is in bringing it from the darkness onto the light, to be seen, revealed, and processed, that the transformation begins.


https://www.gofundme.com/f/youtopia-community-space-fundraiser

From Ghandi, to Martin Luther King, to all the change-makers who responded to injustice with all their being and won, LOVE was the secret weapon.

For a long time, I felt anger burning within me against powers I found unjust. Particularly, the patriarchy; the male-dominated, male-dictated, male-manipulated system that feeds through government, family, and self in the Arab world.

A system where the masculine is celebrated and empowered, and the feminine is silenced and devalued. Where emotions are considered a “problem,” or “uncontrollable,” and career is all about building a “strategic” and impersonal resume…and where your life as an Arab woman is pretty much dictated by the same cultural expectations that have created the mess we now inhabit.

In this, there is no space to celebrate the feminine. To value inner worlds and wildness, and cherish the subtler aspects of being alive… in beauty, and connection.

For a long time, this reality frustrated me, and made me really angry.

And over time, that frustration only grew, especially after I moved back to Jordan five years ago and began to witness how male-dominated life here is.

How I was expected to sacrifice my freedom and OBEY my father. He would say things like “Ana ma bamoon bi banati,” which translates to a mourning version of “I suck as a father because I can’t control my daughters”, a reflection of one of the cultural expectations of the land: that a father is entitled to rule over his daughters.

That the unconscious masculine is ENTITLED to rule and dominate the feminine.

I’ve seen disturbing violations in close circles, and in extremes as well, in the women who’ve joined my trainings. Recently, one woman went back to her parents after being in an abusive relationship with a husband who disrespected and beat her, only to be further humiliated by her parents to whom she had retreated, who “TOOK her phone away from her,” as though she was a child again.

The problem, however, is not the system itself.

The system is there, and that’s fact. So if we are to engage, there must be a better way, I thought to myself. And the answers began to emerge.

Our first step is to see this reality for what it is, and to observe how it operates within the people around us, even the people we love.

The variable then becomes how we choose to face it, and respond to it.

My revolutionary heart always beat with rebellion, a sense of ZERO tolerance for injustice or being stripped of my basic rights or freedom. Freedom was not a luxury, but a basic soul right.

And this created a lot of torment within me, as I suffered in my non-acceptance of what was.

Recently, a conversation with my Coach, a Hayhouse published author and Public Speaker, shed a new light on the situation (as all coaching conversations do), making me realize the anger was not serving me any more.

That now I was in a point in my life in which I understand what I stand for, as well as my deepest values, so I could choose a different response: to come back to the water.

To being water.

I remembered the great change-makers in history again, the true soulful revolutionaries who made a difference.

They made that difference through LOVE and non-violence.

Fire has its purpose, when need be. But in most cases, it is water that soothes, and brings forth the healing.

That is how I’ve witnessed and learned from my partner’s gentle way of responding to really difficult circumstances in his life. With love and compassion, no matter what surfaces.

That is the most difficult, and yet POWERFUL, decision.

To choose love.

To face injustice, and hundreds of years of disempowerment, with forgiveness, and LOVE.

That is what will melt the patriarchy: Drop the atomic bombs and radiate a love that unites.

That is what people like Nelson Mandela stood for, changing history, and expanding possibilities to say: there is a different way.

What would happen if we stood in front of what angered and enraged us with LOVE?

What if we surrendered our arms, our anger, our hatred, and gave love to those who have faulted us?

At first, it will be hard.

But perhaps our own hearts will gradually open, and we will gradually heal.

From that place, we will stand in a field of LOVE that will actually change the world, looking perpetrators in the eyes, but seeing only the wounded child inside.

That is how we heal ourselves with LOVE.

And in so doing, we also heal the world.

My coach shared with me these words, which touched me: “You can smash the patriarchy and still love your dad, and accept him as someone who is doing his best.”

And that is what I am trying to do now.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Make sure to leave your comments and thoughts below.

What if Art was a medium? A vessel? A Goddess who took you on a journey into a new, magical, world?

Into that inner world you spend your days avoiding.

With Art, we learn to lose our smaller self, and discover a wider field of possibilities.

We open ourselves to more. More feeling, more being.

Time Was Soft There: One of my favorite books in high school

Not being any thing, or any one … just more being. In the moment, capturing something beautiful or deep.

Maybe looking a good question straight in the face. Or straight in the senses, tickling a new place in our psyche.

Sometimes, the art pokes at something mysterious we are afraid of but want to see. Something we know, but have trouble putting words to…

Art has always lured me in. Called my soul. Spoken to the depths of my being. It is as poignant as philosophy, and yet speaks a language so simple it offers itself to any one who enters.

Art is a lifestyle that begs you to play.

It is a way to be constantly engaged in the depths and beauty of things.

Living in FLOW means living artfully. It means being the artist of your life.

Tap into that field that artists inhabit and you WILL discover that same inspiration within YOU.

The word “inspiration” comes from the Latin inspirare, “to breathe into,” inspire.

Art is about breathing new life into the world. Birthing. Creating a new world.

It is a great portal towards the Essence of who you are as a human. A magic you breathe out, just like Life itself breathed you into Life.

Being in your feminine means being an artist. Being an artist means stepping into your power as a Creator.

Creative power is the essence of the feminine.

The kind of artists I appreciate most and who have baffled me include painters and sculptors, designers, and musicians who have shown me something beautiful.

Chad Knight’s Digital Imaginings

With her voice, this 13 year old girl made my heart wriggle in awe:

She has a whole a deep soul you can witness through her music (I spent an entire evening watching her videos!!)

And art is not just for the talented. It is a medium to unpack more of YOU.

So why not tap into the artist in you?

From dabbling with drawing, to writing a book of poems that is currently being printed with a publisher in the US, to singing and dancing like a wild woman — art has been a savior for my soul.

And it can be an ally for you too.

What is the art that wants to speak through you?

Is it a dance, a portrait, a song? Or maybe you’re like my friend Ramsey Kattan who creates these intriguing Shamanic images that probably only he will ever know the meaning of.

Ramsey’s drawings have a language of their own

Join Art on the adventure.

Unravel the beauty and depth that want to speak from inside you.

Because it’s time.

The world is waiting for your expression.

Thank you for reading this article. If you enjoyed and would like to take your own personal journey to the next level, feel free to get in touch with me to book your complimentary coaching discovery session.