Category Archives: Blog

Sequoia National Park

Since my chihuahua baby Abu had already traveled all over Tibet and China — including a cross-country drive from Sichuan to Shanghai (all in just his first year of life!) — I thought it might be fun to take him to explore some of America’s National Parks.

After having a blast exploring Yosemite National Park and the land around it for a couple of weeks, Abu and I headed to Sequoia National Park — which I’d been wanting to see since I was a child.

Their size is obviously mind-boggling — like being on another planet. Abu and I had so much fun strolling through the Tough Twins and learning about the park’s history. Tree hugging is nature’s therapy!

It’s long been my wish to spend the rest of my life meditating in a tree, and I got one step closer to that reality in Sequoia National Park — I could at least imagine and feel what that would be like.

It was a childhood dream come true to see “General Sherman” aka the largest living tree & organism in the world — amazing to think this record breaking tree has been alive for 2,000 years! Though it’s called the General Sherman tree today (after William Tecumseh Sherman — the American Civil War general who massacred the Native Americans), the settlers of a socialist colony who lived in the forest and advocated for a peaceful overthrow of capitalist exploitation called it Karl Marx.

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Tai Chi Sword

A few years ago, I moved to the People’s Republic of China to intensively study tai chi — which was a total dream come true. As part of my tai chi adventure, I had the joy of joining a women’s tai chi group whose members practice tai chi every night on the river — sword and fan included. You’ll read all about that in my upcoming China / Tibet memoir. I’m so grateful to have studied tai chi from Beirut to Sichuan.

Luckily, I’ve been able to continue my tai chi sword studies here in America. One of my favorite things to do is practice tai chi with sword on the beach at sunset as my little chihuahua looks on — absolute heaven! Such peace & beauty in flowing with the wind and waves…

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Pain Mindfulness

My pain doctor, knowing I’ve been traveling the world the past two decades learning different pain techniques and healing practices across a wide-range of cultures, enrolled me in an incredible intensive pain program. Best of all, I could do it from my bed and balcony (with my chihuahua Abu) on Zoom! Even though I was initially skeptical of what it would be like, I really enjoyed the four week program (and found it effective), and all of the other participants seemed to enjoy it too. After the program ended, the doctor invited me to join a pain mindfulness group which I’m also loving — every week, we collectively try out a new approach to our meditation practice, and then discuss how our practice (and pain) was impacted by the approach. It’s a really great group of people, and I’m grateful for all we are learning from one another.

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Baby’s First Red Carpet

Abu made his Hollywood red carpet debut — the first red carpet of many to come!

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Patheos Review

I’m so grateful for this generous early review of my Rumi book by Zen priest and Unitarian Universalist minister James Ford, who writes a blog on Patheos called Monkey Mind. He ends his review with these words: “What a lovely book. Do yourself a favor. Buy it. Do yourself another favor. Read it.” You can pre-order it now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM, and Macmillian.

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Audio Book

You should absolutely judge my book by its cover — the publisher did a marvelous in making it gorgeous! On top of that, the audio team has produced an astonishingly beautiful audio version as well — the voice actors are so incredibly talented (can’t wait for you to hear them)! I would recommend buying both the book (because it’s such a stunning artifact) and the audio book (because it’s an “experience” that really captures the “voice” of Rumi). You can pre-order the book and audio book now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM, and Macmillian.

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Missing Beloved Bo…

I am still grieving the loss of my best bud in LA, Hollywood legend Bo Hopkins. Bo and I liked to get together every week, and I treasured every moment of our time together. Perhaps when the sorrow has lifted, I will be able to share a little more about all our fun times together and his inspiring talent and charm. Bo was a loving godfather to my little chihuahua from China, Abutiu Khufu (aka Abu) — who he adored (kindred spirits!). It’s devastating to lose such a close and caring friend — and, of course, remarkable acting talent. We miss you Bo, so much…

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Beirut in LA

My friend sweetly took Abu and I out for our first Lebanese feast in LA — was so delicious (that mutabbal!) and brought back many fond memories of living in Beirut for so many years.

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Disability on Arab Screens

I’m grateful to share my new publication, “Disability on Arab Screens: Cripping Class, Religion, and Gender in Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon,” published in Disability and Society. I had the absolute joy of first presenting this research at the “Emerging Disability Issues: Varieties of Disability Activism and Disability Studies: Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Disability Studies and Disability Activism” organized by the Department of Disability Studies at the University of Malta. As I am currently intensively studying Maltese, I’m always thinking back to this fabulous conference and my amazing trip to Malta — was a dream come true!

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A Whirling World

For my paper on “Islamic Mysticism in Indonesia: Artistic Appropriations of Sufism in Java,” which I gave at the American Institute for Indonesian Studies Conference hosted by Michigan State University, I had the joy of diving into the mystic practice of whirling in Indonesia (where I was a Fulbright fellow). You will read in-depth about whirling in my new book, The Gift of Rumi.

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Feminist Geographies in Berlin

I was delighted to give my paper (to be published soon), “Ecologies of Female Genital Mutilation in Oman: Clitographies of Violence in Islamic Law, Communal Practice, and Sexual Tourism,” a few weeks ago at the Feminist Geographies Symposium 2022 at Free University in Berlin.

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The Gift of Rumi

I’m happy to share with you the gorgeous cover for my book (by all means, judge it by its cover!) — which is now available for pre-order and will be released July 26th, 2022. You can pre-order it now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM, and Macmillian. Looking forward to sharing with you the ocean of love that flows through Rumi’s majestic verses and his inspiring wisdom that our broken world and yearning hearts are desperately needing.

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