Shakti Groovin Women was born out of a dream I had a couple of years ago:
I saw a nation of women dressed in flowing red silky clothing, all moving to the rhythms of their body, all were focused inward and yet aware of one another and the world around them. These women were comfortable in their bodies, consciously aware of their energy, empowered to act on their passion, and free to think for themselves and to choose their own path. There was a sense of community, love and support emanating from these women for one another.
I could see we are all soul sisters!
I held that vision in my heart, awaiting the right time to bring it forth into the world.
The time is right, the time is NOW!
Shakti Groovin Women is for you if you’re seeking to connect to your feminine essence and spirituality, to come home to your body and to understand your energy and emotions—or if you’re just looking to dance and savor connecting with like-minded women.
My Journey to Freedom
Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I had to get an education and take it as far as I could. I knew it was my way out of Damascus where I grew up and where as a woman I was destined to either be in an arranged marriage or be considered a spinster! I promised my grandmother—who was forced out of school at the age of 13 in order to be married to an older man she didn’t love—that I would pursue that dream and if providence permitted me, I would get my degree and become a woman freed from society’s constraints.
I almost missed my destiny when at the age of sixteen, I almost went through with an arranged marriage to an older man who was verbally and emotionally abusive. The alarm bells went on. And when he bluntly told me that I was his “property” and that my sole purpose in life was to have his children and obey him, I was determined to break loose. Although many people told that I need to accept this as the lot of women, something deep within me cried that this is not my path. I didn’t have access to feminist writings at the time and was acting on pure faith in my intuition and feelings. It felt like it was me against the world that viewed women in limited roles. My drive for understanding “the plight of women” grew. I wanted to make sense of why women’s roles in society are much more defined and rigid than men’s. I promised myself I would figure out the formula to freedom one day. If I wasn’t doing for myself, I was doing it for my grandmother.
I was fortunate to be able to come to America in 1999 and obtain my M.A at Sonoma State University and Ph.D. at UC Davis. I devoted my time and energy to studying women’s roles throughout history in Western society and compared these with what Arab feminists had written. I immersed myself in the writings of women who like me were striving to attain their freedom and refusing to conform to patriarchal structures and keep control over their own bodies. It was clear to me that throughout generations women had been under pressure to conform to societal standards that marginalize them and control their bodies.
But how do we as women free ourselves from these influences?
We develop patterns of thought structure but the patterns exist in the body as well. These patterns of suppression made me feel caged and disconnected from my body.
I realized that I was looking for answers in books and not within me, and my body. I had anxiety attacks and experienced a series of injuries to my back and shoulder that left me feeling debilitated both physically and emotionally.
In my attempt to heal my injuries, I learned about alternative healing modalities such as cranio-sacral therapy, Myofascial release and visceral manipulation. I gradually came to understand how to release patterns from my body and psyche. It was like peeling an onion. Gradually, I learned I could “tune-in” to my body and release patterns of fear and old belief systems in my fascia. I felt lighter, freer with a greater sense of my life purpose.
I also belly-danced regularly and discovered how good it made me feel and how it put me in touch with my body and sensual energy. I had danced since I was a little girl and now I used it as therapy to connect to myself and my body.
I found another “piece of the puzzle” when I learned about Yoga, Tantra and sacred sexuality. It was Tantra that opened me up to feeling my sensual energy and feeling myself at a deep level. I learned that Shakti is Life Force and that my sexual energy is also my creative energy. By managing it and letting go of fear and shame around sex and my body I became free from patterns that limited me.
I brought together all of these aspects to share with you in the Shakti Groovin Women group.