WARNING: This post is a bit graphic..so if you’re not up for that swipe over to the next post…Circumcision is surely one of those horrible patriarchal programs that have impacted humanity’s sexuality under the guise of hygiene. Well, let me rephrase that, circumcision may be beneficial when it is a choice.
Circumcision: the removal of the foreskin from the human penis. The foreskin is cut open and separated from the glans. Finally, the foreskin is completely removed.
The medical reasons behind circumcision are said to be: it prevents urinary tract infections, penile cancer, phimosis, and sexually transmitted diseases, etc.
Islam and Judaism still practice circumcision. It is because it is considered a covenant with God. A most ancient tradition carried on since the times of Abraham. Tradition, or ‘sunna’ by definition does not mean compulsory, it means that if one wishes to follow in the footsteps of the prophets then this would be a prescription.
Having been raised Muslim myself, I have accepted this as a given for most of my life. After publishing my recent book I had a sad conversation with a young man about this. Historically and to this day, circumcision has been performed on newborn boys. Why do we seem to think that newborns do not remember a trauma like this?
The Right to Choose
The conversation with this young man revealed to me that he actually remembers being circumcised as a newborn. Perhaps not all babies have this level of recollection. As a trauma release practitioner, I am certain that there will be a residue of this trauma in the psyche for many years or a lifetime.
What a terrible, terrible thing to have to go through and live with!
Some countries still do this to girls as well. That’s another can of worms…
The Power of Choice
I am not saying we need to banish the practice. I am saying let us give the power back to each person.
In light of the recent pandemic, this seems to be next to impossible. Especially when there is talk of a vaccine that will be mandatory for every single human being!
In my Book
I did not bring up this discussion in my recent book as I really wanted to give a brief idea of the patriarchal influences. One can write volumes about the many ways the patriarchy has impacted our lives today.
In my book I gave the example of programs around female virginity but, really, if we were to look close enough we will find examples of patriarchal programs everywhere.
There is some research that indicates that circumcision can reduce sexual sensation, which begs the question: what is the shadow of circumcision?
I will not rule out sociopathy, and psychopathy…
Let us leave out further possible answers so the reader can sit with this…
Perhaps also do some healing work around it.
Research on Creative Process
While researching my dissertation on the creative process, one of my observations was that without imagination there can be no creativity. Imagination is the playground of creativity and the playfield of transcendent experience. Without imagination, there is no accounting for creative experiences.
Imagination and the psyche are non-local. This means they cannot be located at a specific point in the physical body. Humanity can never recreate the human psyche or the imagination. It is impossible to construct something that is non-local which exists only in imagination. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the mystery of the imagination in real-time through hands-on painting. I shall be painting in an improvised manner without previous preparation and will let each moment be my guide. Robots cannot have non-local imagination as it exists in human beings. Since it is all previously programmed a robot is incapable of improvising in this way.
What the Experts say
I recently read an article by Kabir Helminski, in Tikkun Magazine entitled: The Spiritual challenge of AI, Trans-Humanism, and the Post-Human World.
Helminski writes that “we have lost touch of the idea of a human embedded in a divine nature” and replaced it with the human ego. He further writes that trans-humanism is impacting our humanness not only on a physical level but also on the level of the soul. Human existence is on two levels the physical and the part we call consciousness.
When we introduce transhumanism we are removing the perception of the heart and soul from human experience and so it becomes that instead of making robots human, we are making humans robots.
Humanity is more than Data
In any AI endeavor, it behooves us to think of humans as more than mere data. There is no denying that we all have an inner world that is not possible to recreate in a robot. There are some things that are part of the numinous experience that cannot be produced by an algorithm. Such examples are imagination and beauty.
The conversation usually goes something like this:
Them: You are writing a book?
Them: Wonderful, what about ?
Oh! Wow! (eyes widen, big smile happens),what about sex?
This is not what you are thinking…I begin to explain, I am not a sex therapist, I am an artist. I am writing this book from the experience of having lived in both an Eastern culture and a Western culture. I write about the patriarchy, misogyny, repression and oppression. I also write because of epiphanies I had while researching creative process.
You see, creative energy is really that which the yoga world calls kundalini energy. This same kundalini energy is actually the same energy used for creating all kinds of things in one’s life, a meal, a book, a painting, or even a beautiful living room.
Be the Master of Your Kundalini
Mystics have continuously spoken of how we can be the master of our own kundalini energy rather than allow it to become our master. This is called the use of the will. We humans have this amazing capacity, that which distinguishes us from the rest of earthly creation. When we meditate, do yoga, fast or do any other sort of spiritual practice, what we are really doing is strengthening our will. Mystics, spiritual teachers, and prophets throughout time have known this truth.
What inspired me to write such a book is that I have seen two very conflicting and extreme world views on sex. What is more, in the Western culture that prides itself on sexual liberation, sex is still as taboo as anywhere else. In addition to this, women are still treated like objects, used to gratify a man’s sexual urge under the pretense that there is more. I know, this may seem like a general statement, however there is solid research that has been done. Although honestly, we really do not need this research as we have evidence in the form of the me too movement that took hold of the entire globe just last year.
Sex Education Crisis
In November of last year I came across an interesting article titled The Sex Ed Crisis. This was validation to me that this book that I am taking my time producing is very much needed in our times. On the other side of the spectrum, to this day we hear stories about honor killings in countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Women whose lives are taken because they shamed the family name as a result of engaging in some sexual scandal.
This book is about my own experience with a seventeen year marriage which looking back could have been completely different had I even had the relationship and sexual literacy I have today. I bring attention to scenarios that could have been avoided without the social programs that we are fed as children, and the taboos that we are handed down from our mothers, fathers, grandfathers and beyond. Those are the things I wish every young adult can have access to and work with.
Let’s Talk about Sex
You see, dear reader, I do not claim to have the answers, however I feel like this conversation needs to be happening within conscious communities around the world. If we do not begin this who else would? When I say conscious conversation I do not mean that we are to encourage it either. From my learning and experience I believe in finding a happy medium.
I also do not think the problem is solely the women, nor is it solely the men. It is something that we co-created eons ago. We must take responsibility for this culture of misogyny, we (humanity) created it with this default mentality that women are less than men and that men can get away with everything, while women cannot.
I have come to the conclusion that gender is a distraction! Why is gender a distraction? Because it is another way we bypass our common humanity, in essence we are all the same underneath our skin, masks, and gender identities that we are taught as children. Few of us have the courage to break free from such things.
Clearing up Myths
Some of the questions I ask and attempt to answer in this book are, will we ever be able to bring the masculine and feminine to the same level? Why was Lilith cut out from the story of creation? Is there a different creation story that would better serve us?
I also clear up some myths around sex. Did you know that the myth of the virgin is a big lie the patriarchy concocted to control women? The hymen is not a what the patriarchy has taught us. No one ever told us that the hymen is actually like a scrunchy. Yes, that unfortunately was vital information that was left out in our sexual education.
The part I find humor in really is that no matter the great lengths that we have taken to control sex or to sweep it under the rug, sex still happens! Wouldn’t it be better if we actually educate our children to view sex as a completely natural thing, which it is, and not bring in fear, shame and guilt into the equation?
What we really need to fear is people passing on their wounding and abusive behavior to others when engaging in sex . Many of us parents, myself included worry about our children ending up in highly abusive situations. There is no avoiding this as the world is replete with psychopaths. We need to educate our young adults about what healthy sex is -not that sex is bad. Teenagers would benefit from learning to recognize unhealthy relationships, to protect themselves from disease, from harm and to be discerning in choosing partners. Some countries are already teaching children about everything sex related at an early age, it has to be the entire world. If we keep the old programming about sex we will never get out of this vicious cycle.
Creative Process Research
After about eight years of research on creative process, I have come to see that engaging in creative process regardless of what the medium is must be something that every human being is able to do on a daily basis. Being in touch with this aspect of our self is a way to manage, heal and clear our sexual energy. Through the research I found that creative process is the safest, and simplest way to individuation. Carl Jung recognized this many years ago and it surprises me that it has not been widely implemented yet.
Allow me to add that creative process is not enough alone, neither is sex education. We must include a spiritual, mystical education, that sex is sacred and I expand on such a notion within this book, attempting to answer the question what does sacred sex really look like in these times?
I hope this book will become a reference, mostly to young adults as within it will be some helpful information that I draw from my experience, research and the guidance that led me to write such a book.
*image source : Pinterest
I have been feeling like sharing a little in depth about the origin of ArtKeyTypes and where the format and idea came from as I have had several people asking for a little more information on what this is all about.
Most of us yogis and yoginis who have been practicing for a while, know that for any yoga practice to be successful we must incorporate an understanding of the five archetypal elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth.
When we understand the function and characteristics of each element it becomes easier to apply this in our practice. There are a lot of resources and ayurvedic books on this subject and so I will not go into a lengthy discussion of each element. By all means if you are not familiar with the elements as discussed in ayurveda, I highly recommend checking out some of Dr. Lad’s , and Dr. Frawley’s writings, otherwise, you can also attend a retreat with me to get the lengthy details! I do draw from other sources besides ayurveda as the elements are not exclusive to ayurveda.
What I would like to share in this post is a little more about how to embody the elements during yoga practice in hopes of highlighting how such embodiment can be used beyond yoga practice.
Embodying the Elemental Archetypes
Embodying the earth element is when we ground ourself before beginning the practice. Connecting with the earth element in every asana, feeling the earth and how it supports us as we move on the mat.
Embodying the water element is when we flow gracefully, slowly without sudden halts and breaks in our movements. This is especially important in any vinyasa style practice. Flowing helps us avoid injury and requires a complete surrender and relaxation of the entire body.
Embodying the fire element is really engaging the bandhas, and especially the root lock. It is also feeling deep into the movements and practices especially those that offer cleansing such as fire breath, and a faster paced practice, as well as asana that targets working the core.
Embodying the air element takes place by paying attention to every breath we make and insuring that our breath and movement are coordinated. Shallow and choppy breath will always indicate that we need to back out and slow down our practice until our breath becomes stronger.
Embodying the ether element is what makes yoga a transcendental experience. Paying attention to the space we are moving in at all times and at the same time being in our body. It is literally having the capacity to have multiple vision or the ability to watch ourselves from the inside as well as the outside at the same time.
ArtKeyTypes, or the painting experience that I have developed from this understanding is really applying these concepts to the painting process, and literally becoming the elements through visualization, movement and embodiment. ArtKeyTypes is meant to be dynamic and ever changing, evolving and growing. This is not a method or practice and will become what it needs to in any given moment. It is personal to each individual. Because it has to do with creative process and creative process are by nature infinite, this process will have infinite ways of being and becoming.
I just submitted an expanded version of this writing titled: ArtKeyTypes: Bridging Jungian Psychology with Tantra, Ayurveda and Shamanism, for peer review in an art therapy journal and my heart skipped a few beats- I am excited to be sharing ArtKeyTypes for the first time this May!
In April 2017, I had a lucid dream, surely not the first time I have one of those. It was the first time I had journeyed into my womb. I was on a silent retreat with Aisha Salem in the Valencia area in Spain. This dream felt like real life and as I went around I was awestruck. I was walking about in this luminous and yet dark cave, which was my uterus, and really carefully trying to understand every cell of it. It seemed like I was looking at and admiring every ovule that my body had ever made. I was counting the ovules one by one, like precious gems that I needed to understand their dimensions, roundedness, size, and health.
When I awakened I wrote the dream down in my dream journal in hopes of greater insights as to what this dream was telling me. I wondered if it was about the retreat I had led in Costa Rica at Philia Center in January of that same year, as the retreat was titled “Womb Healing”. I really could not understand this dream , aside from the fact that my womb is such a precious part of me. To behold it from the inside was way beyond fantastical. The timing was strange and yet here it was me walking around in my uterus inspecting my ovules. Soon after I returned home I painted the painting which I titled Womb Awakening, featured below in this blog.
In this dream where I visit my uterus, it seemed that it was my unconscious thanking my womb for all the creations it had bestowed upon me, the two beautiful beings who are my children and all the millions of ovules that had such potential. It is okay that these ovules never made it to human form. It is enough that my uterus was actually able to produce them. What miracles. What mysteries. Thanking it for being so fertile, healthy and giving. For standing strong in the face of many storms. For forgiving me for all the times when I forgot my no was sacred. For gifting me so much creative energy to combine with my wild imaginings. For understanding that sometimes I had other priorities and responsibilities than to care for her. She has been the nourisher of my dreams. She has helped me manifest this life.
This is my 50thyear and despite this, she keeps offering me precious gifts. The gift of feeling and knowing. I can feel my ovaries turning around, returning to their origin. I feel when I will be bleeding and when I will not. I am in tune with my body so much so that I can sense the slightest shift. I have also been experiencing insane physical pain in my abdomen that has not received any medical diagnosis. When the pain hits, it feels as if my sides have flaming hot coals in them.
Every test I have done so far has returned negative. Is it because I am that sensitive that I can literally feel this menopause thing as it takes over my body? Is this a past life karma? an archetypal karma? No one ever prepares us for this. I surely was never prepared for it. I have heard about it and never realized that it will arrive one day in this way, and this quickly. Could it be that I am feeling on behalf of those who cannot feel it? Regardless, the intensity has been real for an entire year now.
I have to let you know my dear sisters, it is one of the most mystical experiences you will ever have. It is sacred time. Whatever you do, do not disown it, fight it or ignore it. Be in communion with this season of your life, dedicate your self to understanding it for that is how it will gift you several wisdoms.
Have you heard of andropause?
I have an intuition this goes for men too. I am sure they experience such growing pains as they approach the prime years of their life. This makes me feel so much compassion as most men have no way of expressing or addressing this let alone dealing with it. They can’t walk into the doctor’s office and say please help my hormones are helter skelter! So, yes it actually happens and it is called andropause. Now can someone please explain to me why we only hear of menopause and not andropause? I mean seriously, what misogyny is this? What discrimination, and racism!
Menopause or andropause are not the end of the road as society would have us think. In my experience so far, it actually is a literal re-birth. It is not easy I have to admit, there are physical symptoms that accompany it that are different for each one of us. There are days where I literally feel like I am dying. Society would have us believe that when we reach this stage we no longer desire physical intimacy, that our life is over and we might as well be dead. Some of us will go to great lengths in the hopes of preserving our youth. There is nothing that can preserve it. The harder you try, the more difficult it gets.
Energy is Energy
What if you just let it be? Let it happen? What would it be like to relinquish control and let nature take its course?
It helps to recall the words of Albert Einstein: energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. Each form has its blessings and gifts to bestow upon us if we learn to harvest them. Instead of lamenting the loss of something, we can rejoice in the birth of what is new.
I am still in the throes of it believe me, and there are days where I have to drag myself out of bed. As a result, of this learning adventure, I have decided to concoct a retreat for women of all ages to learn ways to support and nourish around this season of life.
This retreat will take place in September of 2019 at Rocca Massima. Since this has to do with our creative power, the sacral chakra, svadhisthana, which is also the sexual center you bet I have some juicy creativity stuff up my sleeve. From tips to relieve symptoms without a single hormonal patch, harnessing your creative energy, what to eat, when to eat, treating injuries, and being your own best healer, to planning your new chapter in life. Look for more details as we get closer to September on the FB page under Journey Into the Womb.
Wishing you many seasons of beauty.