My mom always talked about “turning a corner,” meaning you can just be sauntering through life, as per the usual, and then POW! You turn a corner, and everything changes. I just turned one of those proverbial corners, leading to an unfolding and a synthesis, on the personal and professional levels – and, by extension, leading to some new and meaningful ways that I can share with you and support you, including offering a limited amount of free and sliding scale services for your personal and professional transformation.
People who need support the most are often the ones who can afford it the least – I know, because I was one of those people. And as part of turning this corner recently, I figured out a brand new business model, which enables me to offer up that support. Allow me to explain…The back story is long, so if you want to skip to the end and find out what I’m offering now, feel free to do that. But if you’d like to join me on the journey of how I got to where I am now, read on!
The Back Story
I recently joined a private Facebook group for people healing holistically from cancer. I noticed that a lot of people were desperately requesting prayers, but that there was no organized prayer time or prayer-based activity. I also noticed that the requests for prayers seemed to be coming from a place of fear, instead of a place of exaltation, faith, and celebration. So I posted a video of me offering up my prayers for those who needed it, through spontaneous dance. You can see the video here.
For a while, I had been feeling called to offer up spontaneous prayers through dancing, singing, and drumming. But I didn’t feel clarity on just how or where to do that. The call got stronger, not only as I was part of this group over the past month, but also as more and more people were affected by Coronavirus across the globe, and as the world went virtual in response. Ultimately, I felt inspired to create my own private Facebook group, “Prayer through the Arts,” which you are welcome to join. In this group, I invite everyone to share singing, drumming, dancing, writing, acting, comedy, visual art…offered as a prayer for healing, transformation, and wholeness.
Meanwhile, as all that was going on, an increasing number of people in the cancer-healing Facebook group gave me feedback that they felt excited, inspired, and joyful after reading my heart-felt posts, in which I shared my own journey healing from cancer holistically. I was receiving up to hundreds of comments in just one post! It made me contemplate more deeply the direction in which I have been going – namely, sharing my grand healing adventure through my band Iraqis in Pajamas – which combines Iraqi Jewish prayers, original punk rock, and personal storytelling.
On the one hand, I was very clear about my direction, and I was going gangbusters with it. I had put my PR skills to good use, and within the span of months, my band received a prestigious grant to produce a song and music video about healing from cancer holistically; we were written up in local, national, and international media; and we were on our way to perform major gigs locally and nationally – including an all-expenses paid trip to Virginia Tech, replete with a chauffeur, luxury hotel, and handsome performance stipend. (All gigs were canceled, because of the pandemic).
On the other hand, I felt as if I were flailing around. Where, if at all, did my PR work, my Dancing with Pain® method, my vegan foodie expertise, my journalistic skills, and my spontaneous drumming and chanting fit into the picture? I was confused. I felt all over the map.
Another thing going on around this time was that, right before the Coronavirus pandemic, I was developing an op-ed piece on the financials of healing – namely, that the medical system, insurance industry, and government all collude to effectively bully people into choosing conventional medical care, because it is both recognized and subsidized – regardless of how effective it is or holistic alternatives are. Choosing to heal holistically means that you are on your own, and out of pocket health expenses can be astronomical. In my case, they were up to $7,000 a month, and I was single-handedly supporting myself and my mother, through my PR company. (See more about my experience in the Cancer Is My Engine back story.)
The A-Ha Moment
Well, everything just kind of coalesced one evening, when I was out on a walk in nature. I realized that the core of where I’m at now in my life is that I want to share – share my story, share my knowledge, share my expertise, share the wisdom I have gleaned over the years…As my boyfriend said to me, “You don’t just have a shining spirit. You want to share it with everyone.”
Over the past decade, the part I have enjoyed most about PR was not the act of successfully chasing down media like a lion on the hunt in the jungle (though that was thrilling too). It was helping people understand their essence on a profound level, then translating that essence into words that served as a magnet for the world – thereby ushering my clients into their full power and potential. It was being an integral part of my clients’ unfolding and blossoming.
As part of this process, I routinely challenged my clients’ thinking and pulled from my own, intermingling my body of work with theirs, as appropriate, to help elucidate and elevate their message. My friends questioned why I let others get credit for my thinking. My whole life, I contemplated, I freely have shared whatever I have had at my disposal – my ideas, my knowledge, my network, my access to resources – in doing so, enthusiastically reaching out my hand and inviting others to soar with me. Because there was no ego attachment on my part, my thinking and my clients’ thinking were able to merge and become something greater than the sum total of each of the parts – positively impacting people’s lives in ways that neither of our work would have been able to do alone.
My mom often told me that I was a natural-born teacher. Over the years, I came to recognize that my way of teaching is very feminine: I don’t tell people what to think or how to do things, and I don’t leave my tag on what I offer. Instead, as in the case of a womb, I create a nurturing environment where people can come into their own being, in their own way. I ask questions, challenge assumptions, provide information, make suggestions, point to options, and otherwise hold a container in which people can step into their own greatness, in whatever way feels authentic to them. My work is one of invocation, calling into Being – leaving a profound impact without leaving a trace.
I think that humanity has the greatest potential to create beauty when we put our egos aside and organically allow that which flows through us to freely impact and amplify others, in a never-ending domino effect, so that the perspective we offer deepens, and the Light we shine amplifies, until we collectively reach a fervent crescendo – one of celebration in the Divine, which expresses itself through each of us uniquely.
Which brings me to a pivotal experience early on in my PR company: One of my clients, a life coach, worked with people on finding their life purpose. I never had thought consciously about the idea of a life purpose, though I had been passionate and driven for years, with clear visions calling out to me. When I asked myself what my life purpose was, I was surprised by the plaintive answer:
I want to exalt in the Divine – to parade through the streets, dancing, singing, and drumming. I want the sounds of exaltation to reach the ears of people in their homes, and to inspire them to come out and join the celebration, in a state of ecstasy, each individual contributing their unique voice and musical instrument and dance, lifting up our collective sound to the heavens, in profound gratitude for Life itself.
Coming from a strong academic and religious background, and being the linearly successful sort, I was surprised by this answer. But I realized it was true. And I realized I had a lot of readjusting of my life to get to that place.
I have arrived now.
And I’m calling you out of your house and into the (virtual) streets.
I am highly experienced and skilled not just in turning lemons into lemonade, but in turning shit into fertilizer and growing breathtaking flowers, which in turn give beauty and joy to the world. I have been to hell and back, through direct or indirect experience with domestic violence, mental illness, chronic pain, cancer, family caregiving, medical negligence, national exile, and more. I not only have survived the impact of trauma, and I not only have thrived despite the impact of trauma, but I have taken the very energy of trauma and repurposed it for healing, transformation, and wholeness, for myself and others – through creating and performing music, writing articles and books, practicing and guiding others on lifestyle medicine, being an activist, getting published and featured in media, being a public relations manager for healers and innovators, and teaching – whether children or senior citizens, educators or organizational leaders.
I have cultivated the life experience, knowledge, insight, and wisdom to help others go through a similar alchemy process of healing, transformation, and rebirth, on their own respective paths, on both the personal and professional levels. To this end, I offer an unusually deep capacity for intensity and an abundance of compassion – personality traits that have been amplified by everything I have been through in life. (More about my experience, and my takeaway, in this overview about my work.)
In addition, I am by nature what my mother called “a noticer, a seer” – catching and recognizing the implications of details that elude most people. “You observe something, ponder it, poke at it, kick it, turn it on its head, look at it sideways…until you figure it out,” she said. The Truth, I realized as a contemplative six year old child, is in the details. So I spent a lifetime looking out for them, paying attention to them, following their thread, and asking a whole lot of piercing questions to figure out where they led – which annoyed the fuck out of people when I was a little girl, but served me well as a journalist and public relations manager when I was a woman, enabling me to get to the heart of a matter in ways that others could not.
I am, in essence, a complex systems thinker, with the rare ability to see multiple realities, hold contradictions that exist simultaneously, get deep down to the root of matters, and connect the dots. Through this sharp thinking, I am able to identify core problems and corresponding solutions, as well as the resources and strategies needed to get from “here” to “there” – ultimately designing a comprehensive road map that offers the big picture, minute details, and a step-by-step action plan, along with a timeline to keep people on course.
The New Forms of Support
The upshot is that in addition to offering singing & storytelling events and PR management services, I am now offering deeply intuitive and highly customized coaching, for your personal and professional development, and I am also now offering individual and group sessions on managing and healing from chronic illness, whether the person affected is yourself or a loved one.
Unlike in the case of my PR services – which requires intensive work over the course of anywhere between one month to one year, given the need to methodically build a foundation and momentum – I am offering coaching in one-hour session increments, which makes my work newly accessible and affordable. In addition, given this hourly model, I now am able to offer a limited number of discounted and free sessions, for those who need the support but who could not engage my services if they had to pay the full amount.
You can contact me here, if you’d like to find out more, or if you’d like to schedule a coaching session.
The New Communities
In addition, I am now sharing my chanting, drumming, singing, and dancing prayers on my YouTube channel, to which you can subscribe, and I have started a few Facebook groups, which you can join. Here are the groups, followed by the descriptions:
We are a motley group of people from all backgrounds and spiritual practices who recognize the healing power of art, in particular, when art is offered up as a heart-powered form of prayer. We welcome artists and art appreciators alike, here to facilitate and participate in virtual art prayers. While you are welcome to draw from your faith and tradition, as part of your offerings to this community, we ask that you do so in a way that honors the many paths to Divine Worship and service, and that you refrain from proselytization or imposition of your beliefs.
We are kitchen renegades who eat – or are curious about eating – a whole-foods, plant-based diet. We think cook books exist solely for the purpose of looking at pretty pictures. We create food with the combined mindset of artist and mad scientist – fascinated by color, flavor, and texture, and driven by the voices that call out to us from the refrigerators and cupboards. We don’t have time or patience to saute this and puree that. We want our food fast, and we want it now. We are a motley crew of vegans, vegetarians, and clean animal product eaters, who are perhaps judgmental as fuck about other people’s food choices but know to keep our opinions to ourselves and come together on where we are in alignment. We value organic farming and ethical treatment of animals, and we want healthy food to be accessible to people throughout all economic strata. We meet here to swap ideas of how to make meal preparation healthy, fun, tasty, and quick, and to build a community of foodies with the attitude of pirates.
My Garden of Wellness is for people interested in planting our own gardens and supporting and encouraging each other in the process, sharing our pictures and gardening adventures as the planting and growing unfolds.
I Look Forward to Connecting!
However you choose to connect with me up ahead, I look forward to getting to know you and sharing with you the gifts I have received through my Grand Healing Adventure. Wishing you Light, Love, and Healing on your path.