I’ve been doing hypnotherapy and here’s my honest experience

Yes, you read the title properly. I have been doing hypnotherapy. It started mainly out of curiosity because I saw the amazing Sotoda Saifi offering a free session, which I took up. I found it so insightful that I ended up buying a whole package of sessions with her, which I found amazing.

I did some group breathwork and hypnotherapy sessions with Sotoda in the past, which I loved and found similar to a very detailed guided meditation. But with 1-1, the experience is more personal — you’re asked questions and you have to work with what comes up to go deeper into the planes of the subconscious mind.

The session started with Sotoda giving me a consultation, which I found helpful. It made me feel less nervous during my first time because I wasn’t going into the unknown. I am used to doing shadow work by myself and with therapists and healers, so I dealt with fear of the unknown when it comes to my mind years ago, but it’s always good to have that reassurance when you’re starting out something completely new.

My first experience was the one I felt the most change in my body. I remember my speech slowing completely and feeling really, really relaxed. I was emotionally connecting to the experience. The closest feeling I can describe is from childhood – when an adult tries to reason with you after a tantrum. You can rationalise, but you’re not holding back.

Other times I remember speaking fluently, but most times I was in between. Honestly, it doesn’t matter much because I’ve had breakthrough sessions in which I felt were perfectly normal conversations after the hypnotherapy, but after a few days, the magnitude of what we worked on dawned on me. When you work with the subconscious mind, it actually guides you and reveals what you’re ready to hear. This is why it takes a few sessions because when you rip one layer, another one is ready to come out.

What happens during session?

This, my beautiful friends is where I warn you that the hypnotherapist you work with must be someone you trust. I’ve (virtually) known Sotoda for a little under a year and from interacting with her and seeing how she treats her work with such love and care, I felt more than comfortable with choosing her as my hypnotherapist.

Read reviews, check their credentials and most importantly pray about them and trust your intuition.

With Sotoda, I discuss my week and how I felt after the last session and we choose something to work on. Sometimes, she suggests things like letting go of a certain pattern that I didn’t realise takes such a toll on my spirit, but most of the time it’s very free flowing and we work with where my mind takes me.

After having a chat, I’m guided into a state of deep relaxation, which is the key to effective hypnotherapy. If you’re feeling extra tense, let your hypnotherapist know and they’ll do more to put you into relaxation. It’s also a pretty good idea to breathe, meditate or to wind down in some way before hypnotherapy.

During the hypnotherapy, you’re fully aware. You are in control of what you say, but you’re also relaxed enough to allow yourself to listen to your mind and higher self freely. There was one time I had to open the door and I was able to fully get up and do it. But because you’re already relaxed, it’s easy to quickly transition back into accessing your subconscious mind.

The feeling after is subtle, but surreal. Depending on what you work on, you leave slightly amazed at what’s going on in your mind. Sometimes, you already consciously knew what the deeper issue may have been, but it becomes more apparent when you’re in that state of relaxation. You’re able to speak openly about it and understand it so you can let it go.

For me, the session itself never felt intense, but I felt it in the hours and sometimes days that followed. It’s nothing scary, or anything to be ashamed of. I felt them in pangs of epiphanies which I would try to feel along with. When we feel, we’re actually allowing our mind to flow freely.

But what next?

Sotoda’s hypnotherapy really elevated my spiritual journey. She took me to some truths that I wasn’t ready to admit to on a conscious level, but was deep down ready to let go of. I attribute this to her experience and intuition, but also the way in which she really reads the person in front of her with an open mind and kind ears.

You feel a transformation after doing a few sessions of hypnotherapy, but it’s a gentle one. I initially expected it to be a bombshell of realisations and rationalisations, but it was the opposite. You’re shedding beliefs that bring you to your truth and the light from within. It’s an avenue to get to know yourself at your essence as you create a distinction between your higher self and the stories of your ego. The fact that I had a hypnotherapist who helped me explore the reasons behind my expectations at the beginning really helped me because that in itself taught me a lot about myself!

Right now, I’m letting my sessions sit and I’m observing myself through my transformation. I’ll be doing a course with Sotoda on generational healing in a few weeks, so I’m giving myself as much of a break as possible. I practice gratitude every day to raise my vibration, I journal, I do yoga, meditation, prayer, reiki and breathwork but I’m only doing self-discovery when I feel called to.

Love you all SO unbelievably much and I promise, no more hiatuses on this blog. I realised that I go on a hiatus when I am working through something, but that’s because I take so much pride in my writing that I put pressure on myself to produce the best content. I’m finally ready to let go of this and trust the process and to rest in my unique expressive element.

I write because it’s my passion and God-given form of creative expression, which brings me closer to myself and closer to him. Alhamdulillah.

Lots of love, light and healing,

Di xo

Instagram: @flowerknafeh
Twitter: @superknafeh
Learn more about my distance reiki healing sessions via Zoom

Is manifesting transcending God’s will? A Muslim perspective

My lovelies,

I miss you all. Sorry for not posting as regularly recently, we went into lockdown in November and my creative drive just plummeted. I love this blog and love you all too much to churn posts for the sake of doing so. This is our sacred space.

I recently read a post by Sabrina in which discussing fitting Islam with New Age spirituality and it was very well referenced and had a lot of nuance to it. One of my besties, Yasmina, sent me this post and asked me what I thought of it, which inspired this post. Sabrina’s main point is that the two are incompatible — something that I, as a Muslim who actually takes inspiration from a lot of New Age thinkers agree with when it comes to the ontological perspective of the practice.

For many Muslims, the main issue with New Age philosophy is there is a lack of spiritual accountability, which is the reason I stuck to my Islamic truth. I believe my relationship with the Divine should be one of give and take. I have a code from God that I try to live by in exchange for endless doors to mercy and forgiveness, as I navigate life in my very human way. I have this, with the infinite possibilities that are available to me by simply asking the creator of all things.

This to me is manifestation. Sabrina herself likened such practices to Islam, but to associate manifestation with the “secularisation of spirituality” remains somewhat of a blanket statement and only through the perspective of the intrinsically secular New Age movement. The truth is, the manifestation process is powerful because it works. It’s the rule of God. We ask and we receive. Even when it comes to perceived failure, reasons behind us feeling like our prayers weren’t answered and our manifestations haven’t come into fruition are usually the same:

  1. We weren’t in the right frame of mind when we were trying to bring something into our lives. Just as there’s an etiquette to dua, there’s an etiquette to manifestation (positivity, conviction, gratitude, etc)
  2. We were asking from the nafs (ego), or a place of a lower vibration. We may want something, but it’s coming from a space that you can’t see beyond what you want for something greater to come to your life (see: Qur’an 2:216)
  3. Right request, wrong timing

This means manifestation transcends the material world because it means you’re having to understand why you want what you want in order to undo the subconscious blocks to allow it to come into “fruition”. It offers the same wisdom behind Allah knowing which dua to answer and in what way. We trust that Allah knows best, but we use our God-gifted curiosity to understand why things are the way they are.

We are always manifesting

By definition, manifestation is the deliberate creation of circumstances using your thoughts and feelings. The reason we have certain situations repeating through our story is that thought patterns and attachment styles is that they are embedded in our subconscious mind. We view things a certain way because that’s the story our egos are telling us.

Manifestation gives you control of the story you tell yourself (eg: if you tell yourself you’ve got bad eating habits, you automatically manifest an unhealthy lifestyle because that’s your story). It forces you to dig deep and ask yourself what story you’re telling yourself so you can heal trauma and rearrange your subconscious mind. This changes your perspective, which leads to you changing your results.

This happened to me with my friendships, my relationship with myself, my relationship with God (I had a story in my head that my duas are never answered and I had to reprogramme my mind to think otherwise through working on my issues with self-worth and rationalisation that Allah answers all duas), my relationship with food and many more things in my life.

When I decided to take control over the narrative I told myself as opposed to letting my ego run on autopilot and speak through trauma, doors opened for me like never before.

Where does qadr come into this?

In Islam, there are five pillars of Islam and six pillars of faith. One of them is to believe in qadr, which is to believe in the divine decree of God. For many, believing you can manifest your reality contradicts the whole concept of believing in a divine decree. In my opinion, qadr is something that on one can play with. Qadr is in the present moment and it’s the reason we are where we are today.

Rather than philosophising on this, let’s go to the words of the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) himself.

“Nothing can change the Divine decree except dua”. [Musnad Ahmad, 5/677; Ibn Majah, 90; Jami` Al-Tirmidhi, 139. Classed as hasan by Albani]

“No precaution can protect against the decree of Allaah. Du’aa’ is beneficial with regard to what has been decreed and what has not been decreed. The du’aa’ meets the calamity that has been decreed and wrestles with it, until the Day of Resurrection.” [Narrated by al-Tabaraani, 2/800 (33)]

“Whoever has the gate of du’aa’ opened to him, has the gates of mercy opened to him. Allaah is never asked for anything that He gives which is more beloved to Him than being asked for good health and well-being. Du’aa’ is beneficial with regard to what has been decreed and what has not been decreed. So, O slaves of Allaah, you must make du’aa’.” [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3548]

So yes, we do believe in a divine decree or qadr, but we also believe that our journeys can be shaped with our own intention through connecting with the Divine. Allow God to listen to what you want and answer your prayers. Follow the example of the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) by being in constant communication with the Divine.

Also, how do we know which event is a part of our qadr and which event is something that God tested us with to turn back to him through connecting with our higher self? Accepting qadr means accepting the present moment, so do that and shape your future through action and prayer, believing your future is in the hands of a benevolent power that knows us better than we know ourself.

Why do we need manifestation techniques if we have Islam?

I’ve asked myself this question many times and to answer it, I had to actually take part in manifesting and understand what it gave me. When I found myself writing down what I wanted as if it already was here (scripting), it made me feel better and put me in the right frame of mind to make my dua. When I made my yearly vision board, I entered a space of understanding my feelings better. How did I feel when I was sticking a photo of something onto my board? What does that say about my blockages? What do I find easy, what do I find difficult?

I use the tools to take me out of the yearning of the past and the anxiety of the future and I bring myself into a state that allows me to find adventure in the future instead of fear. This is called entering flow state and it’s an exercise that helps you flex the spiritual muscle that is tawwakul (trust in God). Not having tawakkul doesn’t make you a bad Muslim, it just means you’re too scared to trust. Working on it is a form of jihad.

All of this boils down to knowing yourself, understanding your blocks and tapping into a space of peace and positivity. The manifestation techniques are real because they help you enter a space of allowing yourself to receive.

Using the term “universe” to describe the Creator is just another way to secularise this spiritual practice that is embedded in all religion. To me, this isn’t a bad thing because it makes God accessible to people who have no religion, are starting their spiritual journey, or want to find the meaning of life in their own way. For those who have attained spiritual trauma under the hands of corrupt religious authority, this is perfect for them to bring a power higher than themselves into this healing journey.

Personally, as a follower of Islam, I prefer to refer to the limitless creative power as Allah or his 99 names. This is what works for me and these manifestation tools help me tap into a headspace that takes me out of my fight or flight mode by learning about myself, my fears, my blocks and my desires so I can train my mind to connect to my heart and tap into a place of meaningful connection with Him.

It’s no secret that New Age spirituality is secular, but that doesn’t make it bad. It just means some of its elements are incompatible for religious people. That’s fine, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use aspects of it that don’t contradict with religious beliefs to understand ourselves better.

I love you all so much.

Instagram: @flowerknafeh
Twitter: @superknafeh

Learn more about my distance reiki healing sessions via Zoom

Here’s why you’re burning yourself out and what to do

This age has been categorised by identifying ourselves with our careers. Our whole childhood education has trained us to do and contribute as opposed to just be.

Take, the innocent question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and the way we were trained to by well-intentioned adults to use childhood as a building ground to serve capitalist ideals. We went to class for a “future”, did homework so we could pass and go to university and then went to university, or training for a job. We were told to have realistic expectations and to not pursue dreams that could land us in financial trouble in the future.

We may have had creative outlets, but our identity was first and foremost, how we could contribute to capitalism and how we identified through its lens. Unless our passions were profitable, we were told to choose between what we love and what would let us lead the lives we love.

For me, writing was always my passion. I loved expressing myself through writing, but judged myself based on my grades, which naturally were fluctuant. I then went on to study politics and war at university and I identified myself as a student. Then I identified as a journalist and my highs and lows became dependant on how my career was going.

Little did I know, those perceived ebbs and flows were one single meander that is life and I was just navigating whilst plastering my identity to one tiny aspect of it.

Learn more about my distance reiki healing sessions via Zoom

After realising this, I stumbled upon an article that said adults should identify with their health goals as opposed to their careers. It seemed legitimate, so I started to do it. I became Diana, the health conscious person and my fitness definitely improved… until I had days it didn’t.

Then came the same feeling losing your sense of self, but based on a different hurdle. I soon realised that the problem wasn’t what I was attaching my identity to, but the fact that I was identifying with temporary aspects of life, full stop.

Really, there’s no step-by-step to stop burning yourself out. We all do it in different ways and for different reasons, which change throughout our lives. Sometimes, it’s a necessity, other times it’s a survival instinct and then there are times we become addicted to the feeling of success. What we can do, though, is identify with something else.

Identify with your higher self, your soul. It could be too much to comprehend for some, especially for my readers who are new to spirituality, so think of it as identifying with your breathing.

“I am my breath. I am how I breathe.”

Take yourself there. How fast are you breathing? How deep are you breathing? Does your breathing come from your chest, or are you taking deep, belly breaths? Without judgement, focus on your breath, slow it down, put your hand on your heart centre and just say “I am”.

The rest of those identities will change. Success is relative, material is temporary. Even the body we have doesn’t stay with us forever, but our soul self, the self that was created in a completely dimension, will forever be ours and us.

Just coming to this realisation is enough. When you find yourself drifting with stress, overworking and identifying with success, just know it isn’t you.

Yes, life gets stressful, things get in the way of us doing what we want, but those are things that happen to you — they are not you. They do not need to become a part of you.

Don’t judge yourself for how well you’re connecting with your breath or identifying with your soul. Just do it. Allow negative thoughts to pass. They are not you and they do not stay forever. That extra sale may boost your confidence and dissolve those disturbing thoughts, realising your home is within lets you take a step back, allow you to feel how you want to feel, reminds you your thoughts aren’t you. Your thoughts are thoughts that affect you, but that doesn’t mean they become latched to your identity.

Get comfortable with stripping yourself of all of those labels and not identifying with the temporaries around you. Meditate on yourself, let go of the world and view yourself as the raw ethereal being you are. This is the purpose of spirituality and spiritual practice. You honour where you are, but you identify with yourself on a spiritual level to clear the material clutter in your mind.

Yes, you may need to do it more than once and yes it may take a while to retrain your brain to change the way you identify yourself, but by just having the simple awareness, you’re doing more than enough.

Baby steps, small wins and lots of gratitude and love.

I love you all.

Diana xoxo

Instagram: @flowerknafeh
Twitter: @superknafeh

Learn more about my distance reiki healing sessions via Zoom

Does feminine energy make you an anti-feminist pick-me?

I was inspired to write this after having a conversation with the amazing Samira (follow her dance page on Instagram @thepeachbum). The topic of femininity came up and what it means to be feminine and to embrace womanhood.

We all have masculine and feminine energy, regardless of the sex you were born and the gender you choose to identify with. Just like yin and yang, the energies merge within the same body in our own unique mix of duality influenced by how we were born and the circumstances that shaped us. The masculine in us chases, whereas the feminine in us receives. Sometimes we need to deliberately tap into our masculine energy, a blessing that doesn’t make us any less woman. All it means is different circumstances in life needs our energy to work in different ways.

Think of it as the left-brain vs right-brain dichotomy. Masculine and feminine energy is exactly the same, but on a spiritual and energetic level as opposed to a tangible biological level. This is all it is. You’re no less man, nor woman because you possess both energetic components.

I am a feminist. I love feminism, I love women’s rights and I love the foremothers who fought for me to have the freedom I currently do. I love that God has blessed me with masculine energy that makes me go and get what I want, hunt and chase and I love that God has given me feminine energy, which allows me to sit back, be present and get ready to receive. I love how I can switch between the energies at different times and I love how I am learning to accept these energies exist without viewing my feminine side as weak… anymore.

We are brainwashed to demonise the feminine

Before I get into this, abusive people, misogynists and gaslighters regularly try to use laws of energy to oppress women. What they do is throw them into gender roles and assume the woman, or the feminine is weak. They create myths that the feminine is emotionally unstable, fragile and incapable of leading, thinking or even working for herself.

One thing you see in such people is they are so out of touch with their own feminine energy that they have given up their God-given power to create, process and feel. They have such a rigid aura and so much trapped energy that they become bitter, overloaded, suppressed and toxic. Their hate for the feminine manifests into self-hate, because they are unable to embrace the part of themselves that nurtures, nourishes, receives and releases. Instead, they bury themselves in their egos and project their frustration on others.

When I talk about being brainwashed into demonising the feminine, I talk about my 18-year-old self who just started her degree in international politics and preferred to “sit with the men” during family gatherings because I looked down on “girly talk” about makeup. etc. Let’s unpack this very quickly.

Diana, 10 years ago, preferred to discuss politics because she was pursuing a degree in it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The issue lies in baby Diana associating feminine talk with being weak and unintellectual. In order to feel respected, baby Diana had to disassociate herself from liking girly talk and had to chase approval instead of receive it because she already feels fulfilled from within and is comfortable with switching between her wide range of interests.

But is being feminine a pick me?

Absolutely not. Being feminine is all about receiving, loving and accepting who you are. Being a feminist is knowing your worth and the worth of everyone else to refuse to accept anything less than a healthy system. There’s no contradiction here.

The secret binding mechanism between femininity and feminism is: EXPRESSING BOUNDARIES.

When you have boundaries, you refuse to settle for less. You refuse to receive less than what you deserve because you know your worth. You know you are ethereal, kind, evolving and expanding the way the universe expands; you expect your surroundings to grow with you. You refuse to accept less than what you deserve and you let it go. You use your feelings to assess whether something is good for you or not and you cherish masculine energy as something that drives you forward, whether it comes as an intuitive inspired action from yourself, or whether it comes from someone else.

To me, those are feminist and feminine values. You’re feeling, receiving, knowing and allowing. At the same time, you set your standard to yourself, others around you and society and you honour all mechanisms that take you to where you need to get to go.

‘Feel your thoughts’

This sounds counter-intuitive, but the best thing to do is recognise your masculine energy and embrace it as a part of you. The more you fight it, the more it fights you. God gave us all access to the masculine and feminine for a reason. Trust that having a higher masculine and higher feminine is in your best interest. Thank your masculine energy for being there when you need it the most and lovingly set the intention to go on a journey to understand your inner feminine energy.

Intention is everything, remember.

We spent our whole lives being conditioned into thinking that femininity is weak and useless. Yes, epiphanies exist and people do instantly snap out of their limiting beliefs, but we need to accept that the universe is constantly expanding. We’re a part of the universe, which means we too are constantly expanding, so we must accept femininity as a part of our expansion journey.

A pivotal part of finding femininity is to feel. A therapist once gave me this piece of advice and it changed my life: feel your thoughts. I’m amazing at rationalising my thoughts, but I used to find it difficult to feel them. I practice this daily by unpicking a few thoughts and I try to ask myself about the emotions behind this thought.

So: “This coffee is amazing” turns into “this coffee feels so warm, comforting, energising and homely. I feel so happy when I drink coffee because it reminds me of Sunday mornings when my dad used to heat up milk and put a tiny bit of coffee in it when I used to throw tantrums because I wanted coffee at such an early age.”

“This outfit is cute” turns into “this outfit makes me feel so confident and happy. I love the colour black because I associate it with class and mystery.”

“This queue is so long” turns into “I am starting to feel very restless, bored and annoyed. This queue is so long.”

When you find yourself boiling up, or getting happy, or feeling some kind of an intense emotion, just ask yourself questions about it and quietly unpack.

Unblock dem chakras

I was recently listening to Sotoda Saifi’s self love school podcast and she has an episode on feminine energy and feeling. Half of the episode explains feminine energy in the charka system and the other half is a guided meditation. She made a very interesting point that the sacral, heart and third eye chakras are feminine energy centres in the body.

The sacral chakra is where creativity happens. The heart chakra is responsible for your heart centre and your feelings and your third eye chakra is responsible for your intuition. I’m giving a very quick run-down, and I can go into chakras in more depth in another post, but working on these chakras through crystal healing, sound baths, yoga and engaging with the energy centres really helps.

I made playlists of different healing sounds for each chakra that you can find here.

Work on your creativity, work on feeling your feelings and work on listening to your body and trusting yourself. Work on sharpening your intuition by learning to manage and calm anxiety. Each are connected to the three chakras mentioned above.

But like I said, that’s a different blog post for another day. I just wanted to introduce you all to the idea and I want to direct you to this awesome podcast episode.

Thank you all so much for reading. I love you all and I wish us all happiness, growth and healing.

Diana xoxoxoxox

Instagram: @flowerknafeh
Twitter: @superknafeh