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  • Nisah Razad

There comes a time when you feel that enough is enough. Our usual ways of dealing with things suddenly become a hindrance to our freedom of being. Our usual ways are comfortable, familiar and safe, except when you realise that it does not offer growth, authentic confidence and liberation.

I’d like to share with you a story of my rebirth. It had been brewing for some time and I had known it was coming. I could feel it in the spaces of my inner knowing. It was in the core of every particle of my body which essentially belongs to the universe and is connected to everything else; animal, plant, fungi, the living, the dead and the cosmos.

Of course I didn’t know what the feeling was exactly or how it was going to affect my life, I just knew that big change was coming. Every time I made the right decision that aligned with my values a magical door would open changing my physical world; life circumstances and events. I believe it’s pure magic as confirmation that I am listening well and that I can continue to listen.


For most of my life I had been living in the finite range of what I believed to be acceptable. I was confined to the limitations of fear and insecurity. Fearful of what others would think of me, fearful that I would lose a false identity, fear of being judged, of not fitting in, of not belonging, of being mocked, rejected, and ultimately, fear that I would not be loved. And these fears had a major impact on my decision making processes.

For so long the fear controlled my freedom to just be. I would always downplay who I was because I didn’t want to seem too confident, too much, too crazy. I’d put on a really nice outfit and think, hmm maybe this is too much for the occasion even though the dress was screaming to be worn. I pretended that I liked Backstreet Boys and all those poppy things as a child, when really I liked none of the music options the other kids liked. I’d wear my hair differently and then change it because I didn’t want to attract attention. I was the nice, shy girl with the good manners, nice and quiet, just blending in.

This suppression of myself as a child is so profoundly alive within my adult self as an embedded and lively wound. The wound as the nice little girl, crying to be released from the imprisonment created by fear for far too long. As I began to clearly see the insecurities for what they really were, I began to feel my readiness to let go of those fears. I realised what I needed to do but that itself required courage and bravery.

Freedom From Fear

Through the practice of self-compassion, of universal and unconditional love, I have learnt that I am enough and I am worthy just as I am. Through feeding that belief I realised that I don’t need to feel afraid of losing anything, because I have everything within my self. Through the cultivation of compassion and love I have attracted a wonderful set of support; my family and friends who have a massive role to play in my life. I wouldn’t have had my loving husband if I had not forgiven him through the resentment I felt toward him in the past.

The choices you make are fundamental to how your life can play out. Your attitude in those choices matter just as much. You cannot decide to go with your gut and unconsciously or consciously doubt the process. The practice of listening and the cultivation of self-awareness and silence is the embodying presence that can guide you through your choices harmoniously. The right choices, you must know, can sometimes be the most difficult to endure.

I had always known that one day I’d rock the bald but back then I thought that it would happen way later in life when vanity steps away, and I’m left on the porch swing cackling at inside jokes to myself. I didn’t realise it was a necessary intervention that would facilitate the process of my rebirth. My thoughts on the matter were: if I am to face my fears head on every day I will need to do something that will force me to do it without anywhere for me to hide in my old ways. So, I decided it was time to shave my head and get to the bare naked truth of who I really am.

Letting Go

The day before the ceremony, I approached my husband and said “I’m ready”. He gave me a look of uncertainty and it took him a while to accept the information. I completely understood his apprehension but this was not about keeping anybody else happy anymore. So I informed him that I will do this with or without his support. This was my first step in breaking out of that cage of needing acceptance from the outside.

I believe my husband and I have cultivated a relationship that is constantly striving for improvement based on the fundamental principles of unconditional love. He later came to me with a hundred percent support which I acknowledged was a courageous act in itself, and for that I am so grateful.

I contacted my soul food; the friends who continue to create a safe space and have witnessed me in my most vulnerable moments. Like the strike of lightening they were there, enabling me to open the heart centre with ease. The ceremony began with a small meditation, cacao in hand to unite us as one. Here I laid out my wounds in between the intensity of the pain and asked my loved ones to reflect within themselves if these wounds strike a painful chord within their own harmony.

The fear I felt before the first tuft of hair was cut off was the fear of letting go. It reminded me of the time when I was so afraid to jump off the jetty into the ocean as a child. It was a few metres high and was a thrill for most kids but I was extremely petrified. I had stood on the pier for a whole entire day so afraid to let go. But this day was different, on the day that I was reborn I released this fear and I welcomed courage, bravery, truth and wholeness.

As I allowed the energy of the old ways to be released, I felt an overwhelming amount of peace. When all my hair was gone I felt lighter physically and lighter within myself. There were no remnants of fear. I had finally begun to experience freedom.

Deep Reflection Is The Path To Freedom

When I see an old photo of myself I now see another lifetime, another person. When I see my reflection in the mirror now I see limitless being. I see assertion and a fierce force that upholds my values and the boundaries needed to support it. Sometimes I catch myself in my old thought patterns. However, the physical actions I had carried out in shaving all my hair off has served as a beautiful reminder to who I really am. It is a reminder that I no longer have anyone else to please and perhaps, that indeed I never had anyone to please in the first place and that this belief only existed within my own mind.

This ceremony was in honour of myself as a child who experienced the limitations of fear. It is a pledge to continue to face the fears and not be bound by them. In the western world we view time as linear but in eastern culture time is viewed as circular. As I embraced the wounds of the past, in circular time, I am also healing past generations and I am healing future generations. By breaking the bonds of this energetic imprisonment, I am allowing my children to be free in their being and allowing my mother to break out of her own confinements.

No more will my insecurities and old beliefs leak out from me towards my children. And let my actions stand as an example that we are, in actual fact, free. Who has given us the rules that confine us? Who says that a particular way is the right way to be? Why is it normal for women to wear dresses and not men? Why is it a shock for you to see a woman with no hair? Search deep and you shall find your freedom too.

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  • Nisah Razad

There was something in my last post that has prompted me to share the story of how I met self-compassion. When I first discovered the ability to give myself the space to grieve without judgement, I learnt that it was not a selfish act, but an act of self-love. It has given me the permission time and time again, to hold space for myself in the process of letting go of past conditioning, old wounds, trauma and during times of self-confrontation.

I have experienced self-compassion to be the future me giving the past me a big long hug that I had always needed. The kind of hug you get from a loving parent or a loving friend who deeply cares for you. A hug that can only be felt as a sensation, which seems to lift you gently in the air as it surrounds yourself and fills itself into every nook and cranny of your being.

Self-compassion is the part of you that takes care of your self and gives you the choice to be kind and respectful to your needs. It is the boundaries that we create to protect our space and energy, so that we have enough of it to continue to be kind to ourselves and the people around us. It can come forth in the form of whispered wisdom through intuition, guiding you through your choices.

The Prompt

In the previous post I had mentioned that while I was practicing loving-kindness meditation, my immediate reaction was that I felt selfish because I was only directing words of kindness to myself. I discovered why it is that I felt that way and the possibilities are endless because as we grow, we continually build our understanding on life from our beliefs that we perceive to be true.

For almost all of my life I believed that grieving for myself was a selfish act. I compared my pain to the suffering of others, and somehow, I used that as a form of consolation that theirs were greater than mine. Or I thought the pain I experienced worthless to that of others. I believed it a form of self-pity that was conducive to destructive behaviour. In hindsight, I see it all as great protective mechanisms.

If I had fallen into the unknown sea of sadness and grief, perhaps I might’ve lost a part of my youth dedicated to the joy of irresponsibility. So really, I am quite pleased that I am finally releasing the energy of old wounds during my middle ages so that my young self had the time of her life.

The Story

So how did I meet my compassionate self? It all started from the tenth anniversary of my twenty second birthday. What happened during that birthday was so tragic that it left a part of me broken and I still experience that grief to this day, quite possibly intermingled with any pain awaiting its turn for freedom.

I had organised a big birthday bash at the beach on the eve of my birthday and had invited everyone I knew. From the police reports there were over a hundred interviewees. I must add that this event was situated in a very rural and isolated community so everybody knew each others business and were well acquainted.

The local chef had baked me a cake and after the birthday song we realised that no one had thought to bring a knife. Except for my work mate who supplied us his knife to cut the cake and was the same knife involved in the events to follow. Now at some point in the night, fuelled with alcohol and mischief, a few of the younger boys played a prank on another boy who had proudly built his tent despite his motor disabilities.

I was urged to investigate an eery wail coming from the same boy sitting atop his dismantled tent in distress. The play of mischief had gone too far. The following events stemmed from the seeking of justice, the play of testosterone and ego, the loyalty of brotherhood and the survival and protection of self.

The result was the loss of a dear childhood friend whom I know only served to protect his brothers in defence. And the loss of my work friend to the bars of prison and whom I know served to seek justice from unfair play.

The state of shock experienced from all that were involved was somewhat of a consolation for me. It allowed me to ignore the pain which was replaced with confusion and numbness. I grieved for the loss of both of my friends and for their families but I could not bring myself to grieve for myself.

I believe birthdays to be special days and events worth celebrating. And perhaps I thought it too selfish to think about losing a birthday or that the following birthdays after that would be an annual reminder of loss. Perhaps there was a tinge of guilt that I was responsible and if I hadn’t organised a party filled with so many different types of people perhaps this wouldn’t have happened.

For the years after that I continued to grieve for the loss of their lives and I continued to ignore a part of myself that was lost. It wasn’t until the tenth anniversary, the year I touted as ‘the year to heal’ came the progression of events that led to discovering self-compassion.

An intention is the planning of doing something. Thus, intention setting is a powerful tool in attaining your goals.

When I had set the coming new year to be the year to heal myself, I didn’t realise it would go so far as digging to the deep dark trenches I had ignored by planting a bed of pretty flowers atop it. I mean, who wants to sit around all day in uncontrollable fits of the guttural release that is sorrow? The sorrow of being ignored by my very own self. The sorrow that hides behind the slit of tension in my chest, where painful feelings are imprisoned and touted as “mine”.

Building The Strength

Deep down my inner knowing was wise enough in using the different methods to cope with difficulty. Our bodies are exceptional pieces of intelligent work we entrust with our survival. Yet, survival is not the same as grabbing life by the testicles and owning it. It takes a sense of discipline, resilience and emotional maturity to build the strength necessary to sit and hold space for difficulty and unfamiliarity.

So there I was, in the centre of my room, clutching at the heart centre where all the pain resided, finding its’ way out through the throat in the form of sound, and squeezing its’ way out through tear ducts. There I was, a mother to my inner child, allowing her to be sad that things didn’t turn out the way she expected, that it wasn’t a nice way to spend her birthday and assuring her that none of it was her fault.

It was then that my twenty two year old self, a child she was, was finally seen and understood, and that no judgement was bestowed upon her. She was free to feel, just like a child is free to feel. And what do children do when you sit with them though their difficult feelings? They run off and play again, like nothing ever happened.

It was a moment of transformation that urged me to reflect deeper into all manner of life. My parenting changed from that point onwards. I no longer believe in ‘tough love’. As much as it triggers my anxiety, I have practiced in allowing my children to feel sad without undermining or comparing their pain to others. And I have been doing the same with myself ever since.

Being compassionate is a practice. Our present day selves are the product of lifelong conditioning from our own beliefs and societal constructs. Being gentle in the unveiling of our truths can allow for profound realisations that can transform your world. Self-compassion begins with treating and talking to yourself, just the way you would with someone or something you deeply love and care for.

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  • Nisah Razad

What Is Love?

The first time I understood the meaning of true unbounded love, was after days of morning sessions repeating the same four verses over, and over and over again.

I had wanted to travel to Nepal, trek to the top of a mountain to a monastery with no wifi or telephone connection and laundry facilities to meditate in silence for ten days. This was two years after the birth of my first child and the thought of having no contact worried me so I chose not to go.

So I ended up in the Blue Mountains in the east coast of Australia instead. It was there, upon the thousandth repetition of loving-kindness meditation that I felt a sensation deep from the core of my being. A powerful force radiating ever so gently beyond my physical body that could seem to travel infinitely outward. Man, did my neural circuits have a blast!

Love As An Umbrella Term

During the meditation retreat, our morning sessions consisted of loving-kindness meditation which covered an array of activities. Here I learnt to forgive, practice compassion and learn to love beyond conditions. I learnt the antidote to fear, to negative states of mind and negative states of being.

I think it’s important to add that I am by no means an angel. The turbulence inside me exists just like turbulence exists in nature. We see it in storms, in the monstrous waves only unfortunate sailors dream of surviving, and we see it in what we call natural disasters. As a part of nature ourselves, it is the same type of force that surfaces by way of correcting or responding to a stimulus.

Compassion and Forgiveness

What I found most interesting and most effective, was first practicing forgiveness and compassion to others. I began the act of forgiving my grandmother who had passed away weeks before my son was born. My thoughts were cruel towards her during her remaining living days. Although I loved her to the extent that I knew how to at the time, my lack of compassion blinded me. I felt that there were so many things she could have done to stay afloat in her health, but instead, she carried with her an air of solemn resignation. Amongst the grief I was also angry. I later learnt the reasons my grandmother chose a path of surrender, and yet, the essence of that anger still resided deep in the crevices underneath all the rubble of emotions I dared not attend to.

As I was practicing the act of forgiveness; I began wholeheartedly forgiving. I collected the rubble of emotions, dusted them until they were gleaming gems and I placed them into their rightful homes. The floor was swept clean and the crevices finally caught light. Just like clouds parting after a storm revealing the sun, this too, elicited a similar response. The essence of love in its’ radiant form cradled the anger, whispered sweet words like a mother to her baby, and lulled anger to love.

This experience marked the beginning of my healing journey. I have used it as a powerful tool to forgive many. Oftentimes, I learn that the problem begins with myself. Thus, I have learnt so much about who I am, why I am and most importantly, I began to learn how to forgive myself and practice self-compassion. I have used loving-kindness as a tool to help me in the most darkest of hours. Unearthing feelings that have been buried for a period of time is akin to navigating yourself through a storm while wondering if you’ll make it out in one piece.

Forgiveness requires compassion, and compassion requires forgiveness. But, in order to successfully forgive and be compassionate, one must first understand unconditional love. Mastering unconditional love is a lifelong journey, and I believe it is the one most basic and most important of all tools to have especially whilst healing.

Love Defined

When in our evolutionary timeline as Homo Sapiens did we begin to define the term love? We throw the term around in Hollywood movies as lust, passion, sexual partnering and we demand it to be reciprocated in order to feel whole. We are told there are many different types of love: Love for your husband, love for your children, love for your work. It’s no wonder we have a whole lotta confused people out there. The truth is, our kind has not yet mastered the meaning of love. This is rather evident when we are constantly at war with ourselves, with each other, with our diseases and with nature.

We seek to find love outside of ourselves and we may just need to consider that perhaps, beneath all the rubble is love. It is the essence of life itself, weaving its’ formless tendrils within and throughout the physical and non-physical universe. It is a love that creates worlds and also a love with the ability to dismantle that which does not serve the equilibrium of the whole. It knows not humane morals but that of the values of nature. It does not belong to us as humans, nor our animal relations and so on, because love simply is. Just like the way any forces of nature simply is.

The Mechanics

Every single person on this planet has the ability to unearth this force. What a beautiful thing to think, that if it were love as an energetic force driving the formation of atoms into the basic chemical elements, which then manifests itself into a single-cell organism, then to a multi-celled organism, then onto much more complex builds of cellular organisation, to an organism that functions consciously, and the ability to be conscious of the force that has driven us forward in the first place is realising itself! That may take time to sink in… What could all this mean? Well, it certainly is a journey of self-discovery of sorts.

One of the many ways of realising our potential is by loving thyself. This can be done in a myriad of ways but I can only speak of one or two methods in which love can be realised. I felt the calling to meditate in line with the Buddhist precepts, as their fundamental values align with my own. Vipassana Meditation has been observed for centuries and practice groups are widely available in all parts of the globe and the community is based on self-growth, connection, humour, humility, sharing and acceptance.

A lot of today's self-help guides take inspiration from age old methods steeped in tradition, culture and religion. I believe there are no limits and no hard and fast rules as such, given the complexity of our societal melding and constructs. One must, however, have a set of values to be guided upon. Just like having workplace guidelines, having a set of values will help you immensely with progressing through life kicking goals instead of kicking yourself up the arse when mistakes are made. This is the same with meditation as a practice.

Practice immense self-compassion.

There are a number of precepts that the Buddhists observe. These precepts are the boundary guidelines containing their fundamental values or virtues. In a world rich with diversity such as ours, we must make way for flexibility and adaptation. I believe this should be done on an individual level because what is important to you may differ to the person next to you. If you don’t know what your values are – find them, question them and create values that aligns with you. Unless you’re a nazi, then I take that back. Once you have these values, dig deep and try to understand where these values come from. What underlies your values? What are they based on? Are they based on fear? Are they based on security? Or are they based on love?

We want to aim for the latter. If we can slowly start to rebuild a set of values that not only serves us, but serves the entire existence of the universe (you may certainly start within your community), then we are ready. Our hearts are open to receive.


This meditation is in recognition of the Buddhist precepts and of the Theravada Buddhist meditation practices. It is a concentration practice that requires the following four verses to be repeated several times. You may start with ten minutes, then build it up to one hour and more if you so please. I personally found it a lovely practice for the morning or evening. The words in the verses can be replaced to your liking. I recommend starting off with the provided verses and once you get the feeling of it, you may change the words.

May I be safe and protected from inner and outer harm

May I be free from mental suffering

May I be free from physical suffering

May I be healthy and happy

Once these verses have been repeated a few times, you will feel a sense of embodiment within each verse. The embodiment is key to the practice. This is when you have the freedom to shorten, change or replace going forward in your practice. After a few sessions, you may also direct the meditation to a particular person or group.

May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm,

May you be free from mental suffering,

May you be free from physical suffering,

May you be healthy and happy.

I feel like a magical fairy when these words are directed to the people I love, so naturally this had more of an effect for me. At first I felt really selfish repeating good things upon myself with the disregard of others and wasn’t sure how to feel about it. Of course this is not the intention of the meditation at all.

So, once you have directed your attention to the people you love, give it a red hot go and direct it to the person you are not so fond of. When I mean give it a red hot – you will eventually feel something other than something negative for this person. This is the path to embodying unconditional love. Trust me, it gets easier. As you go directing this to others and deepening the practice within yourself, you may unleash feelings or sensations that are not so comfortable or familiar. You may be directing your attention to someone who had hurt you terribly in the past. Pay attention to the feelings that arise.

These are the feelings that I mentioned earlier. The dusting and the placing in its rightful homes. The rubble of emotions. Now this requires a different type of meditation practice altogether, one that outlines how to pay attention in detail. Nevertheless, paying attention is enough.

Once you have gained some experience in the meditation, you will begin to see its versatility. You may use it as an antidote to fear and you may use it as an antidote to negative states of mind. I will not explain how because your embodiment of the verses will pave the way.

What does this have to do with healing?

Our mental and emotional aspects are vital to the state of our health. The suppression of thoughts and emotions can lead to physical manifestations of disease. We do not have to be conscious of it and yet, it still appears. The root cause of many illnesses can be a simple feeling that has been unattended for far too long. In science and in Buddhism everything is energy. The nature of energy is to flow. Look around and pay attention to the world around you. You will see the examples everywhere in nature. Have a look at stagnant energy and its outcome. The energy of water in its planetary circulation compared to stagnant water. Or simply being able to communicate our feelings to another as opposed to keeping it to ourselves. Energy is shared, it is giving and receiving.

We are not meant to bury feelings. We see it, feel it, acknowledge it, give it a little pat and it goes on its merry way. We now live in a society where things are graded and departmentalised. Or dangerously simplified as good or bad. The way to free ourselves from this way of thinking is to see things the way they are without labelling as either good or bad. You may describe it objectively. Then describe it subjectively. It is most certainly a start anyway. Once everything is viewed as energy, including your feelings and thoughts, understand that there is neither good nor bad. Pain is pain, what does it feel like? If you can measure it, how big would it be? Does it have a shape? Investigate the feeling, don’t run away from it. This is the art of healing. Paint it, write it, sing it. It needs to flow. Most importantly, do all this in the gentle embrace of love and compassion.

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