Consciousness is the new Luxury
Firstly, I’m Lebanese. Which means that prestige, reputation, facades, posing, denial, inconsequential flirting, impeccable manicures and loud-laughs-accompanied-by-slow-motion-hair-flips-that-actually-cover-inner-turmoil are part of my genetic make-up (no pun intended on the make-up. But that too.)
I would cringe at the sight of a beach resort that had people bronzing on your average bathroom towel, secretly wished the new friends I had made rolled in a nice shiny car when they came to pick me up and once, when my man enthousiastically took me to a seaside cafe to reveal a surprise inside, I was too paranoid to go in because the customers sipping coffee outside looked like villagers that would gossip about me.
I also was a TV host for an pan-Arab channel which meant that acrylic nails, golden highlights and spider-leg thin eyebrows were part of my beauty package. I knew I had taken it too far when one day, at a high-end Japanese restaurant, one of my “breast friends” (silicone cutlets you stuff in your bra to mimick full bouncy breasts) fell from inside my top and onto my Maki roll.
Not because I was superficial or mindless. But because the social pressure to look, behave and be admired a certain way was so omnipresent and heavy. Inner self-worth was linked to outside validation and outside validation was tied to image, material prizes and their proud showing-off.
On the other hand, I am Druze. Which means that I drank up the notions of reincarnation, karma, esoterism and mysticism along with my mother’s milk. My thirst for a spiritual understanding and experience of life was unquenchable.
Then came my journey from Beirut to Hollywood to Saudi Arabia.
Through it, I voyaged from partying my ass off in Beirut and hiding my relationship and lifestyle from my parents to working my ass off and breaking into fiercely competitive Hollywood to then suddenly being an at-home mom in an air-conditioned compound in Saudi Arabia. I went from counting my dollars to see if I could afford car parking, rehearsing and auditioning to the point of exhaustion and panic attacks, dieting to the verge of anorexia-bulemia to becoming a soap opera star overnight, strutting the red-carpet, making insane money, opening piles of fan mail, shooting with my Sex and the City idols in Morocco to then hiding my looks under a black abaya, censoring my essence and plunging into depression.
All throughout, my quest for truth and my spiritual practice kept getting deeper. It varied from Eckhart Tolle and Dr Brian Weiss reads, Kundalini yoga, Agape meditation retreats and other-dimensional communication to Desire Mapping, 5 Rhythms dance workshops, Kirtan sessions and past-life regressions with Amazonian shamans in Bali.
Because I feel I’ve lived a rich spectrum of existence into a realtively short period of time and delved into many facets of myself, I can come out of it and say that the consciousness of knowing Who You truly Are and What You truly Want, regardless of how acceptable and admirable it is for others, is the true treasure of this existence. On it we can then build our love for others, the divine, success and contribution as well as our joy for material and ephemeral treasures.
Don’t get me wrong: I am in no way enlightened or done with evolving and learning. Also, I am not trading my McQueen dresses for my mantras. And I am not throwing away my party vices and wild side for orgiac nights of chanting and chia seed “mocktails”.
In fact I cannot wait to get my pre-baby body fully back so I can go on an insanely stylish and intoxicating shopping debaucherie. Those are the clothes in which I will be dancing and sweating until 5 AM in my favourite gay club in Beirut with my most fabulous friends.
I don’t believe it’s either or. Either spiritual or fun-loving. Philanthropist or ambitious. Wise or sexy. Compassionate or cool. I believe we are meant to live and celebrate it all. As a matter of fact, in my experience, deep consciousness makes the less “deep” experiences so much more joyful, pleasurable, enlivining and meaningful.
Who knew that consciousness could be so luxurious?
In Your own life, do you feel you have enough balance between consciousness and luxury, spiritual and material, profound and superfluous?
If so, please share in the comments below how you have achieved a balance. If not, what changes would you like to make to feel more aligned and harmonious? I’d love to hear from you and others will be inspired from your experience as well.
Here’s to living out our full spectrum.