Once I told a friend of mine who was questioning my ‘spiritual side’, “I’m like a beach ball – colourful on the outside, nothing on the inside.” Sceptic is not the word, I just don’t believe in souls, chakras, floating third realms, any of it. This is why Fida sent me for a chat with her favourite yoga instructor and a lesson in meditation: “Hiba, please teach Imogen how to awaken each chakra in chants and meditation and explain the colours and theories etc... Please also explain souls and connectedness and these sorts of concepts that you have taught me.” Thanks Fida.
When Fida called me up a couple of weeks ago, I thought she was going to ask about a piece I have yet to write or about an event in the area that I was going to cover or something. When she asked a seemingly innocent question about violence, a red flag went up in a small part of my brain, warning me to answer carefully because this could very well be dangerous
He then guides me through a 30 minute workout during which I do three sequences of aqua gym and three others of aqua ride, following the initial warm-up routine. What is particularly interesting about the session is that it was tailormade, designed to meet my specific needs (needless to say, I am a beginner!).
Busking (or performing in the street for money), was not something I was looking forward to for several reasons, not the least of which were my really bad voice, my bad memory for lyrics, and my lack of guitar skills. It’s very simple really: I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PLAY OR SING.
For RAGMAG’s Sterile issue, I thought about all the women (and men) I’d met over the years who wash their faces with soap and water (and those who use JUST water), and I never thought I’d be one of them. My gel cleanser is by Christian Dior, and when they discontinued it, I went into a panic and bought 6 so that I would never run out. I have 4 left so I’m okay for a while.
Yep! The deep end it was. Upon my arrival and my introduction, instructor Petra Abinader looked at me and asked if I was familiar with Zumba. In between shaking my head and the blasting music, something was said! I am sure of it! However there was no time to stop and ask, no time to digest, and no time to make for the exit. I had to Zumba with the flow!
Fida is really trying her best; my second yoga challenge wrapped up as a FML. With the fervour of any religious nut the yoga devotee believes that yoga has something to offer everyone, that we can all be improved by yoga if we just give it a chance. I have heard countless stories of transformations of mere mortals into radiant bearers of light.
Excitement and hesitation worked in opposite directions from the day of the email notifications to the actual FML appointment date. When D-day arrived, the two forces cancelled each other out and I found myself indifferent and standing in front of the Capoeira studio.
I was ready to discover nightlife in an amazing downtown lounge named MyBar where a true Master was patiently waiting (Wissam, The Bartender). It was promised he would reveal to me the famous Bartender Secret Code kept confidential for generations. I was about to make MyBar, MY BAR.
The only thing I chose to quit during this week was alcohol in respect of the religion and the veil I was going to wear, since as we all know alcohol is forbidden in Islam. Traditionally, Muslims have recognized many different forms of clothing as satisfying the demands of hijab. Debate focused on how much of the male or female body should be covered. Different scholars adopted different interpretations of the original texts. So I went for the regular veil and decent dress of course, not showing any cleavage or any arms or legs….
I’m at La Marina Dbayyeh Thursday afternoon to meet my instructor Alain. I am searching for a big guy with long hair and tattoos, maybe wearing boots and a rock-style bandanna. I am instead welcomed by a man with regular shoes sporting rectangular glasses that immediately put him in the “nerd” category. I need a few sessions on a small Suzuki before actually riding a Harley. How annoying, does he think I’m some kind of idiot who has never been on a bike?
Mo explains that after training on land, you move into the water and learn to body-drag with an inflatable kite, attached to you through a harness that fits around the waist, and attached to a board, similar to a wakeboard. You have to try and get up on the board and once you can do that, you’re a kite surfer!
And then suggestions began pouring in. Our dear bungee-jumper, Youmna suggested I spend an hour babysitting and feeding large, hairy spiders. Tears sprung to my eyes in sheer terror, and I starting thinking of how I would fake my death before my FML date (I got pretty creative, let me tell you). But instead Fida went with Youmna’s first suggestion, to have a knife-throwing circus professional throw knives at me and put a twist on it. Fida told me she had contacted the Cirque du Liban and asked them to teach me for a day.
The first thing that sprung into my mind was commitment; in my mind the opposite to wild-living-pleasure-seeking. Getting married for RAGMAG quickly seemed implausible though, so I came up with something else; not being big and brave but actually exposing yourself. And what I came up with was singing.