Consciousness is the new Luxury

red carpet crop copy
At some point in my early adulthood, I was a borderline bourgeoise.

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.

With Love,





2 thoughts on “Consciousness is the new Luxury

  1. commented on August 12, 2015 : To be honest I read this few days ago, & loved it!! Even though I lost my faith in writing a year ago, your blog inspired me to answer.So here it goes...<br /> <br /> I haven’t found my balance yet. Due to a lot of grief I faced when I was a teenager, I was always the kind of person who supported others emotionally, and it drained me. If someone fell I’d be the one to pick them up even if it meant over my own expense.<br /> I have been struggling a lot in the past year with putting myself as a priority, after learning, my life, my path and ambitions matters too…<br /> Practicing yoga taught me how patient and gentle I have to be with myself, also how important it is to let go…let go of hurt…let go of people…let go of my old self… let go of my bad habits. As mean as it sounds I also learned when you let go of your loved ones, by letting them make their own mistakes, you give them the chance to learn a lesson or two.<br /> It is simply amazing and beautiful how change is inevitable when you’re committed to a practice that unites body and soul. You begin to know yourself more, and accept your flaws. Accept the issues that used to torture your whole being at one point of your life. You wake up one day, and look up that hill you have been struggling to climb thinking “you know what??? I am climbing past you today… your obstacles can’t get to me”  <br /> It also made me cherish, each milestone. My deepest fears surfaced and this practice helped me battle them. Thanks to yoga, I recently concluded that I had a very low body image at one point of my life that I listened to body-shaming words that came out of people’s mouth, and they effected me to the point where I stopped taking care of myself.<br /> In addition, it sickens me to the core that we live in a society where people just point out body flaws bluntly, making a person feel that their space has been violated without permission. Putting people down about how they look doesn’t make the other person on a higher level at all, it just shows that they are weak and pathetic enough to pick on others.<br /> To be honest I don’t know what the future holds, if I’ll ever achieve this balance. <br /> What I do know is that I will make sure to embrace each and every step of the way.<br /> <br /> You mentioned that you have dieted to a point of anorexia-bulemia. Do you mind mentioning the triggers that got you to this phase?? And how did you overcome it??<br />  <br />  
    1. commented on September 10, 2015 : <p>Hi Zeina,</p><p>It brought me so much joy and tears to read your comment. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience. I'm sure many others can relate to your story and your quest for balance, unconditional self-love and self-realization.</p><p>Firstly, I'm blown away by how much you already know about yourself and what you know that you do not want in your life or space. That to me, honestly, is half the battle. Most people live in denial and auto-pilot, feeding themselves the opinions, views and values of others and not bothering to discover, unveil and live out their own. So I congratulate for that in and of itself. I've been a yogi and meditator for over 10 years and I could not agree more with you about the "union"-litrerally- that they create within us, not just aligning mind, body and soul, because that remains broad when you've practiced for years- but truly aligning inner hidden unexpressed desires and dreams with courageous action. When desire and action meet, it is an explosion of authenticity, honesty and self-discovery. Which ultimately lead to living your true potential and self-realizing. All sounds either greattly inspiring or super new-agey in theory. But in reality quite scary and requires a lot of strength, commitment and boldness. Personally that's how I choose to live my life. Anything less makes for a mediocre existence. And I chose not to dabble in mediocrity if I can. It's a waste of my precious life and the life of those I love.</p><p>To get back to your story: yes, taking on others' pain, suffering or struggles in excessive and unbalanced ways eventually plunge us into "victim consciousness", a state of mind and state of being which ultimately becomes an ingrained lifestyle. That of us being helpless over our own reality and destiny and feeling that unappealing or undesirble things and events and people are happening "to" us, rather than happening for our favor. And it takes up so much space, energy and attention away from what we need to do to live our true mission and purpose in life. So yes, self-care is the key. And I say self-care here, not self-love, just because self-love can be broad, and when we are struggling to make ourselves a priority, self-care is more accessible because it can be broken down into small, simple and tangible actions. For example, it took me many years to understand what my self-care is. To feel balanced and fulfilled I need: daily alone silent unsollicited time. I need to dance. I need to have a few hours a day to do the work I love and be creative. I need to be surrounded by beauty, be it beautiful people, clothes, art, scented candles, food, natural landscapes. I need to write. I need to express myself in bold unabashed ways. I need sex. I need seduction. I need play. I need music. I need full moon and new moon meditations and intentions settings. I need travel. Mysticism. Shamanism. Readings that ignite my mind. Human encounters that light up my soul. The list goes on. But what I'm trying to say is that once you start uncovering the simple daily actions that make you feel alive and nurtured, then everything starts falling into place. It's almost magic. Actually it's total magic. I want you to head to my Desire page on my website (if you haven't already): and read about The Desire Map. It changed my life. Turned it upside down. Very curious for you to read and get back to me. I can help you add some clarity, focus and punch to what you want to become or what you want your life to be with a very small exercise. Nothing formal, super chilled, fast easy off-the-record exercise.</p><p> </p><p>Do you mind telling me why you gave up on writing? I too had given up on writing years ago only to come back to it recently and embrace it as one of my most adored fulfilling quenching exhilirating soul purposes. So very curious to know about your story.</p><p> </p><p>As for my dieting to the verge of an eating disorder, I was acting in Hollywood and as you know the camera puts on an extra few kilos and  there's lots of pressure and competition on women to look thin, young and beautiful. My manage asked me to loose some weight and I spiraled into an uncontrollable abyss of serial dieting. I went from only eating proteins to only being vegan to going raw to not drinking wine or having sugar for months on end, to exercising at the studio of Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow's personal trainer until I snapped a tendon in my thigh, was in pain for 3 years and was told my only chance for healing was surgery.  I became very thin but when I looked in the mirror I still saw a deformed, cellulite-ridden body. My psychologist sister told me then that I had BDD, body dismorphic disorder, a contemporary disorder that many people, especially youth, suffer from.</p><p>Very hard to say exactly how I got out of all this, but it was a mix of taking a break from Hollywood (so being in a healthier environment for the mind), having children (connected me with the sacredness of my body and the Divine Feminine), depression and loss of self (may sound harsh and dark but sometimes those can be our greatest gifts and allies because inner destruction allows for re-creating ourselves), therapy, facing my demons, confronting the people that had caused me hurt or sorrow... All those coupled with infusing my life with actions that make me feel the way I want to feel (for that, check out The Desire Map). I would have loved to say that being loved and adored by your partner helps you overcome self-loathing or distorted body image but truth is it doesn't always help. My man adored me and supported me all throughout and yet I still managed to cling to my issues. Unfortunately or fortunately, it is a path that we must walk mostly on our own. But so worth it becomes it makes us discover our true power.</p><p>Let me know your thoughts Zeina, it was a pleasure starting this conversation with you!</p><p> </p><p>Rana</p><p> </p><p>I don't feel</p>

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