In the balm of; Madiha Shams Khan

Madiha, “Maddie” as we all call her is a woman of many arts. I have admired her from the day I’ve known her. First as a shy, quiet girl  who spoke softly and laughed openly, then as a good friend and then a greater friend, we have spend such less time but grew so intimate kind of friend. But more than any of it, I have admired her resilience, her patience with people who wrong her every day. I have thought of her as weak, as someone who needed protection, often feeling protective of her. But I have learned people fight differently, sometimes quietly and that is their fight.
I have often marveled at her beauty, how she speaks kindly and gracefully of her father who has hurt her. How she handles heartbreak, also how betrayed she feels by men. How just like me, she is a woman who flourishes in her loneliness.
I have been stepping back from all the women I look up to, who are far ahead of me and have been looking at women around me, their strengths and weaknesses. I want to tell their stories, the women next to me, the women I spend time with, the women who call me to make sure I’m okay, the women who send me funny things on whatsapp when I’m going through a heartbreak and the women who knows the real depth of me.
So this is only a part of her story I’m honoured to tell.

In the balm of; Madiha Shams Khan

How to Use Olive Oil to Heal ( your heart)

Women of our ancient tribes knew their hearts and how to protect them. Perhaps why they didn’t leave their men, didn’t leave their children and endured, holding simple pleasures close to them. Gatherings were important , taking care of each other, woman to woman was important. Intimacy, a sense of love , even romantic love  which was mostly denied in marriages at the time, was found in these gatherings. Women were the lovers and watchers of women. So there were scents , there were oils, baths and healing.

So this is me creating that space for women, and telling my story, of taking comfort in our own bodies and our space.

These are few things I do when I come back to myself and my body and skin after a breakup or maybe just busy days, days when I forget that a body exists, and that it needs me. And this is how I heal. How to Use Olive Oil to Heal ( your heart)

The Magical Herstory of Food

Long before food was a commodity bought and sold for profit, no act of food production, from harvesting, growing, preparing, preserving, storing, cooking, baking, was left unblessed by women’s prayers, rituals and devotions. And for most of human history nearly every domestic activity from making pots to planting seeds to baking bread was ritual “hearthcraft”. And to put it very simply, women’s food magic had one central purpose, to honour and nourish the great mother of all – who in turn nourished them.

The loss of reverence for the earth desacralized our food. And for women it meant being severed from the rituals which brought us together, from which we drew nourishment, meaning and spiritual sustenance. The Magical Herstory of Food

I can’t measure my grief and I can’t show anyone what color it is. I can offer testimony that others can reject or accept on faith, but my grief is always just my grief, unobservable by anyone but me, and then imperfectly. And maybe it isn’t even grief anymore; maybe it’s envy of people who aren’t grieving, or shame that my grief is lasting so long

— Sarah Manguso, from The Guardians: An Elegy for a Friend