Your Life: a Blessing or a Curse?

On one of my frequent visits to my hometown Beirut, I was having lunch with my dear friend and one of my favorite women on the planet, filmmaker Nadine Labaki.

I vented to her about how hard it was for me to be a stay-at-home mom of two in a compound in Saudi Arabia, deprived of my acting career, freedom, friends, not being surrounded by esthetic and creative inspiration, unable to express my true uninhibited self.

(Stay-at-home-mom sounds like a supreme court sentence, people. We need to find a new terminology. Instead, my friend Noora suggested I was Executive Director of the Alamuddin-Karam estate. Much more glamorous.)

Simply put, I had been a broken record of lamentation for 2 years. I needed to move to the Holy Land and build my own wall.

Then Nadine said something that struck me. She asked me to consider switching my perspective and to see Saudi as a writer’s residence: a quiet, isolated place where I could write my screenplays, TV show, articles and projects in development.

It hit me like a truck. Really? You mean I am not a victim who should indulge in self-flagellation? All my bipolar and suicidal mood swings actually have a higher, nobler purpose? That of self-actualization as a writer?

blessing curse

She was on to something. After all, in L.A, I was surrounded by inspiration, beauty and driven, goal-setting peers. I lived smack in the middle of trendy L.A, whilst being surrounded by the ocean, lush mountains and the Mojave desert whenever I needed to disconnect from it all.

Yet I was suffering from a severe Woody Allenesque writer’s block. I was paralyzed and terrified of throwing myself head-on in my projects. When I did write, I’d feel a rush of cathartic liberation and know I was in my element. But soon after I’d stuff my notebook in a dark damp place along with my self-esteem.

That’s because there was too much happening in L.A, both inside and outside of me. Too much beach, hiking, soy-latte sipping, too many awesome yoga classes, great contacts to make, beautiful bodies, stylish clothes, celebrities, auditions. Too many expectations, too much pressure. And not enough space to be alone, quiet and still.

So back to what Nadine said, I was in a writer’s residence. The compound in Saudi out of which I couldn’t drive by myself. Being stuck at home in the air-conditioning. Being away from my tribe. Being deprived access to beautiful people, art and clothes. Tying my hair in an oil-treated bun as I ran after my children all day in sloppy t-shirts. The lonely nights I spent as my man produced shows in the desert. All of it was the blessing of pulling away distractions and ornaments from my life so I could sift through the mirages that had formerly controlled me and finally see with clarity who I truly am, what is truly important and what I wanted life to be from then on.

And I’m so grateful I have, because it is specifically these challenges that have allowed me to have massive breakthroughs and start redesigning my life. And now I am in my rebirth phase. An extraordinarily exciting time. (More on that in a future post!)

So I re-framed my alienation into creativity.

What limitations in YOUR life can you re-frame from challenge to opportunity?

Leave a comment below. I’d love to know.

Welcome to my journey of transformation. I hope you’ll let me join you on yours.

With love,


13 thoughts on “Your Life: a Blessing or a Curse?

  1. commented on May 4, 2015 : Dear Rana, This article in particle put a smile 
    1. commented on May 4, 2015 : Hi! I'm very happy to know it put a smile on your face! Can you tell me why it did and... who do I have the pleasure of "speaking" with?! Rana
    2. commented on May 20, 2015 : Dear Rana ... Sharing your personal experience in order to motivate every single woman is so generous, being so humble to confess and admit your weakness makes you stronger than you can ever is a continuous learning process once we embrace what we have and appreciated it we can create unlimited opportunities to free our mind and soul... Eager to read more thank you 
      1. commented on June 17, 2015 : <p>Thank you so much Nancy for your beautiful feedback! I'm very happy to know my truth resonates with you. Honestly, I'm humble (!) , I just know that I want to be as real and authentic and true to myself as I can possibly be without fear of judgment so that I can be who I was born to be and possibly inspire others to be who they were born to be. When such a decision is made it automatically libeartes you and you just project more honesty and transparency in whatever you say or do. I can't tell you how much joy it brings me to share my truth with all of you. It has been and is such a joyful and rewarding experience... (my next blog post coming up early July, as a consious woman I think you will enjoy it!)<br />  </p>
  2. commented on May 5, 2015 : excellent thoughts and observations.  i look forward to seeing what else you write.  xxoo  CC in LA
    1. commented on May 12, 2015 : Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story! I am happy to know it rang true to you in some shape or form and that you are curious to follow-on. So beautiful to have people like you on board!
  3. commented on May 5, 2015 : Raya. This is fantastic. Your message is a strong one full of faith, risks and love. Great job! Thank you for living in the truth and reminding us we are all connected on a global journey. Love the blog & will continue to read as I sip on one of my final soy lattes and plot my next move creatively. Big steps and big life.
    1. commented on May 12, 2015 : Hi! I so wish I knew who you are! I love your feedback, thank you! I love that you talk about "risks". Yes, i truly believe that we must take risks and get out of our comfort zone in order to discover and fulfill our true potential. It definitely takes courage. And yes, you are absolutely right, we are all not just connected, but completely inter-connected on a journey which meaning, structure and direction is so large, intricate and intelligent that it surpasses our mental understanding of things. I love that you are soy-latte sipping and plotting your next creative move, some of the many things I love about L.A... You say "big steps. big life'. I couldn't agree more. My genius acting and success coach Bernard Hiller always told me "the bigger the dream, the better the life". Then it's up to us to be mindful about not getting trapped or misaligned as we explore our dreams. Always return to Self to confront out true instincts and desires.
  4. commented on May 5, 2015 : I love this Rana.  I spoke to a wise woman who said that every day you should sit alone with yourself and ask yourself the question, who am I?  And then write down the answers. She said it will take you a while to find the answer .... Your life is a blessing xxo
    1. commented on May 12, 2015 : I'm so happy to know you've connected with my experience! Yes, that wise woman is definitely insightful. It is so easy to get trapped or lost in our day and age with all the exterior stimuli and solicitations. Everything seems to be designed to pull us away from our true selves, our alignment and our personal freedom. It is our responsibility to practice awareness, mindfulness and self-knowing on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing. Your life is a blessing!
  5. commented on May 20, 2015 : I found after surfing your story here, a lot of courages, honesty, simplicity and balance of respectability to ones self. You're  defenetly  shot the right points when it came to the sofisticated life and its requirements from us, where disguising ourselves and manupilating another personality needed Inorder to be accepted in the sociaty, it's a hard era, double Dutched, double edged sword, let us try to be balanced and the way to stand up.
    1. commented on June 17, 2015 : <p>Hanan, thank you for speaking your mind with me. Yes, there is a lot of pressure from our modern society to look, behave and succeed a certain way. But mostly, it is our own mind that plays tricks on us and gets in the way of us being our true authentic selves and just feeling happy and fulfilled. I believe in staying away from blaming others or circumstances and taking full responsability for our lives, identity, well-being and achievements. We have the power! Every single one of us!</p>
  6. commented on October 17, 2015 : This is wonderful information. It's well-written, articulate and very clear. You are on point with a lot of your content as far as I'm concerned.

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