I was born in Beirut, Lebanon and raised between Lebanon, Cyprus, New York and the Far East. I came to the United States of America with a Masters degree in Archaeology from the American University of Beirut. The research I conducted was intensive, time consuming, and very specialized, and had culminated in a historical background, typology, reconstructions, sketches, and description of over one hundred pottery shards found in a cave in North Lebanon. While studying at the American University of Beirut was rewarding, these were years of turmoil, and devastation due to the civil war in Lebanon. I witnessed the College Hall’s destruction by a bomb implant, the American University Hospital bombings, which left many injured and scarred for life, and the so called ‘Harb Aoun’ in 1991, which had us taking flights from Beirut airport to an airport on the outskirts of Tripoli that had not been used until that year.
During that same year of immigrating to the United States, I was accepted at McGill University in Montreal as a Ph.D candidate in the Islamic Studies program. The title I had chosen at that time was Why women Sufi’s are under represented in the literature? But it was difficult to relocate to Canada. I had known, since then, that I wanted to pursue higher studies, and most definitely studies that relate to spirituality.
Upon arriving to the USA, I enrolled in college once again to study Fine Arts. Art had been a childhood passion for me. Looking back, it was a therapeutic event that needed to be undertaken to clean out the psychological stress that had accumulated due to having witnessed the intensity of the Civil War in Lebanon, and from carrying multiple layers of trauma, and abuse. There were days where about twenty of us were huddled in the elevator hallway in our apartment building in Tripoli, Lebanon, on the lower level, listening to the sound of gunshots, bombs, and rockets thrown at the city, when I thought for sure I would die at the age of sixteen. I survived to tell the tale, and had my two beautiful children. To keep my self busy while tending to my youngsters, I started to teach swimming. Soon after, in 2003, I decided to dedicate my time to Yoga Shala, after practicing yoga religiously on my own for 5 years, from the book The Sivananda Companion to Yoga, 1983. My final Shala project was entitled The Doshas and The Koshas. I chose to research the link between the physical body, and the subtle body, and how to bring balance to it all through Ayurveda. This project marked the moment where my interest in Ayurveda began.
In 2004, I began volunteering at a non profit organization ACCESS or Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services an organization established by Arab immigrants to help fellow Arab immigrants and other immigrants with finding their way in a strange and foreign country. My volunteer work was a service to the community. I was the “Collections Assistant” and was hired because of my background in Archaeology, and cataloguing. The museum opened May 2005, and I soon became their Curator of Collections until 2010. My duties included a slew of responsibilities in collections, archives, research, curatorial, educational, and other creative aspects of the museum world.
In 2008 the most blessed thing happened to me. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my neck that was causing a bulging disc between c-5 and c-7. I call this a blessing because this moment in time was crucial in evolving the way I teach yoga. I questioned my capacity as a teacher, and what really made me qualified to teach yoga when I was not ‘whole’ physically. It took me two years to resolve this dilemma within my being. I began looking for alternative methods of healing such as energy medicine, and acupuncture.
My varied educational background; the extensive travels as a child, and being a spiritual seeker since a very young age has given me a broad understanding and familiarization with many spiritual and religious paths. I recognized at an early age that all these paths were definitely related, but yet practiced separately and differently; if they are one and the same thing why the multiplicity? Why so much variety? What is the lesson? What is the message? Soon I was linking creativity, and spirituality and finding all the ways they overlap. To me creativity is a spiritual path in and of itself.
Life has been as life should be, with many ups and downs, losses and triumphs, but somehow I know my quest and my service to humanity is not over. I recently graduated with a Ph.D in philosophy from the California Institute of Integral Studies. The dissertation I wrote is available through ProQuest and is titled: The States of Presence and Insight in the Painting Process. In this study, I interviewed seven artists about their creative process, and compiled the findings about creativity, and creative process.
In May of 2016, and after three years of interning with Healing in America, Ojai, CA, I became a certified Energy Medicine Practitioner. This is an alternative medicine modality that restores out of balance energies the same way acupuncture or yoga does by working with the chakras or the subtle body. It is a light touch, hands off or distant healing modality that seeks to balance the energy body thus restoring healing, and health.