It feels so freeing to just move my hips in so many different ways to music that makes my heart happy and my mind laugh. I am free with every other woman around me…so many women wining up and exploring the limits of their hips without any sexual intention.
This is how it feels every time I have a Replenish Me ™ workshop. No ogling men’s eyes. No judgmental women’s eyes. Only women leaning into their bodies freely to experience emotional freedom and healing. None of us as victims of violence, war trauma or any “severe” emotional situations that may come to mind. No, we are women living our lives and using our voice in a world that normalizes varying levels of emotional abuse of women enforced by company, local, national and global policies which edify the immature male ego whilst demonizing the woman’s basic right to walk down the street. As I look back on my journey, I always dance to feel that freedom and healing.
My journey of self-discovery is an intricate awakening emerging into corporate America whilst straddling completing the coveted College Degree being a very spiritual being struggling with my human experience literally colored by being a Black woman. Here are some examples of what my work environment was like at 23.
“I’m a partner here, you cheeky b*tch!”
“You can look the other way so that we can push this through, right sweetheart?” with a wink.
These are some of the colorful comments, I recall when I used to go head to head partners in the law firm where I worked as the billing coordinator at the beginning of my financial career to when I served as controller for a small IT start up. Always being patronized and belittled for enforcing company and federal regulations!
A woman’s path to self-discovery is about her voice. It is about the choice to give in to the status quo or to be true to herself. Women are described as celestial beings. For example, Venus is both a goddess and the name of a planet. We have idealized Mother Theresa and Florence Nightingale, both caregivers and pious women. These are all beautiful examples of “purity”. In real life, that looks like us playing the good girl, i.e. not talking back or speaking up. On the more earthly and sinister end, we have been described as Sirens in mythology, seducing men to their deaths. Delilah, Jezebel and concubines were all sexualized, which is a complete misunderstanding of the power and purpose of femininity and sexual energy. Back to my story, that is being patronized as “sweetheart” and not taken seriously as a professional enforcing the financial and legal parameters. At the core, it is the woman’s voice that’s been silenced…my voice was silenced so many times. There are times when I felt hopeless and froze. Toxic shaming can be overwhelming on many levels. It sounds like this in my head, “I am invisible, my words don’t hold the same weight as a man, why did they even hire me? I hate my life, I am going to numb from all this pain!” Can you relate? What do you hear in your head? Each human being should be respectful towards the other no matter the way she speaks, looks or dresses. Women dress for themselves not for others because ***news flash*** we don’t objectify ourselves. As I look around the room that day in the Dominican Republic, I welcome the fact that my sexuality is the companion of my spiritual self and self-discovery. Leaning in to the power of my existence by allowing myself to feel deeply into my body, especially my womb space in communion with other women, I feel free to be. From my studies, I know that women trap negative emotions in the thighs, lower back, stomach and represent in breast, ovarian and cervical cancer. On the physical level, it wears on our adrenal glands which run the show metabolically and send us signs in minor bulges, weight gain, insomnia, or oversleeping. We have been taught to be detached from our bodies so the correlation between insomnia for a week, excessive sugar tendencies and gaining 15 pounds, sudden belly bulge becomes a thing to fix. The conversation in our head is ‘OMG I’m fat!’ not ‘What’s been going on for me lately? How can I stay ahead of it and get my systems back in balance’. We’ve been sold that we need to fear our bodies and have “them” constantly monitor our most intimate parts. What if you could turn it around just by trusting your body and being a student of it and nurturing it the way we are taught to others?
Imagine taking pleasure, sanctuary and joy in your own love manifest as your body? Feel into this as a blank canvas ready for your creative expression. It is a blend of taking back ownership of your sexual story, body, heart, mind, and sexuality/ spirituality as a whole going forward. Yes, spirituality! What happens when we have sex? Usually a child is created without all of the modern precautions. Their souls come from the spiritual realm and yes we even pray for children. I will dive more into that later.
So how is sex spiritual? I was familiar with the commercialized kamasutra but not the true meaning of it or that there are several traditions that have a similar teaching. In July 2001, I chose to become Muslim as the result of a 5 year spiritual journey after my parents had died in conseutive years. Yes, I found it intriguing. I learned about the rest of the prophets, Jesus, Mary may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all. However, I really desired to know more about what it means to be a Muslim woman. I not only found out that Islam came as a liberation for women in a society where the infant girls were buried, women were considered chattel and having daughters were a disgrace but there’s more! Yes, Islam gave women rights to land, wealth, education,…and wait for it…..rights over their own bodies down to full books written about intimacy in marriage. The responsibility of marrying a woman was to protect her lineage, heritage and SEXUALITY. That’s the true reason I became Muslim! A way of life that protects and gives voice to your spiritual core as a woman. In the Quran, it is said that the 1% of mercy Allah left on Earth was placed in the woman’s womb. Even with the veil of shame lifted through my new chosen life, I still had an internal struggle between my sexuality and my outer appropriate behavior. The Muslim women I met had women’s only dance parties but excessive music and dancing are considered shameful. That means that only during wedding season or the two Eids did we meet up. That was a shock to my system as I always used both to decompress from my day. How did I survive? My Ill Na Na or self-expression whispered through my writing. Sexual energy is our creativity. My words are birthed and my voice shows up powerfully, soulfully pulling through the gifts from the spiritual realm meant for this world.
Without our self-expression, it is quite simply emptiness, the epitome of a closed off part and silenced voice. For myself, I did all of the appropriate things and ticked all of the boxes by my choosing to marry. I wasn’t being frigid but modest, right? Besides as a Black woman, for me marriage was sexual freedom not bondage because no one would question whether I knew the father of my children. That actually happens! In fact Islamically having sex every four days is recommended because it solidifies the love and compassion in a marriage. However, in most marriages it is weaponized by the wife or the husband and becomes a thing withheld. Besides sex has one purpose, to procreate, right? Have you ever wondered why marriages dissolve and the connection disintegrates? The connection between the physical self and the emotional self is in our loins. All throughout Islamic tradition, the divine is bridged in this world through emotions. When a man and a woman consummate marriage, there is a prayer said to presence God in their intention of combining their bodies in the physical form to welcome the blessing of perhaps a child through intercourse.
Here I will introduce the opposite of my journey. What happens when a Black woman shows up with balanced feminine and masculine energy rather than just the accepted docile feminine. Foxy Brown, the first Black female rapper of Trinidian parents from Brooklyn, New York. She was dubbed Ill Na Na, which means awesome vagina in patois, by Nas a male rapper from Queens. Their paths were very different while her career suffered and she was bounced between producers, who were all men, scraped for contracts and to produce albums. Meanwhile he is considered the grandfather of rap and just produced his 13th album successfully after a 30 year career. I’m mentioning her to demonstrate what the single Black women’s career, sexuality and path to discovery looks like. Juxtapose to me, a good girl mindful of my reputation and measuring my voice, it appears she suffered more. Yet even though most of my life I hid my truer self and she boldly owned her Divine Feminine, my suffering has been silent and the same as hers. She has been in and out of jail with “anger management issues”, suspended licenses and at the age of 41 like at the beginning of her career is featured on one of the songs on Nas’ new album. I started my business at the age of 43 and have been in and out of emotional bondage. When this sexual power is consistently crushed, it is the voice of the woman being silenced, also known as repression. The repression becomes anger and eventually rage. Anger is the most demonized emotion yet the biggest gift to humanity. It awakens a wisdom within our core that can make the world a better place. I used my anger and rage to continue my business even after two and half years of disappointment, being unsupported at every turn and even being threatened with loss of security and love. At the end of the day, I had to take a stand for my values. During my year long period of cognitive dissonance, it leaked out in emotional splatter. It took me to Bali where I could speak freely on stage. When I returned, I went flat overwhelmed with self-doubt and judgement. In Foxy Brown’s story, her rage pushed her into compliance. My rage ran me into the mountains last year to deal with the fact my Divine Black Feminine, my term for my truest self-expression, is not well received. As you see the opposite of my story yields the same ending.
What I know is that moving my hips freely with women wining up is my sexual identity, a power so strong that the world feels off kilter when she speaks. The world may say that it represents something to objectify. The truth is she is the Divine Feminine. As I step more and more into my power and truly begin to show up more powerfully and bold, I question my choice to lessen my expressiveness around my body and sexuality. I fully recognize and accept that I can. Lean into your rage and other dark emotions, allow yourself to walk that talk deep in your soul. Release your voice. Pause and truly allow yourself to feel them for the full 90 seconds they are present. Then speak from the depth of your soul…be Free to BE! Start your path to self-discovery.
Cordelia Gaffar is the Emotions Opener Transformation Strategist guiding leaders to use their darkest and most difficult emotions to show up powerfully.
Cordelia Gaffar has been inducted into the Global Library of Female Authors by Ona Miller and her own book, Detached Love, related to her Replenish Me Process was released earlier this year. She is also Best Podcast Host of 2019 and the ACHI magazine Volunteer of the Year and finalist for Top Influencer and Orator of the Year. She is best-selling co-author of America’s Leading Ladies: who positively impact the world with Oprah Winfrey and several dynamic women.
Currently she is studying to become a Tibb Practitioner. She is the Founder of Replenish Me ™, a Coach in the Harlem Wellness Network in New York and the official sponsor of She Phoenix, Femme Phoenix Ltd in South Africa. The focus is to advocate for the Girl Child, teenage girls, young women rights to a better education, health & life. (SDG1 to end poverty, SDG4 education, SDG gender equality and Women’s Empowerment) As seen on America Meditating Radio and British Muslim TV.