The last time I celebrated Christmas with my family was … 20 years ago.

I love my mom and my mom loves me. But we cannot be together more than few hours without having an argument. We argue always about the same old subject: religion and life style. My family is very conservative, on the fundamentalist side. I am, as we say in Tunisia, on the side of ‘Islam Light’. We clash continuously about this difference.

How-to-survive-holidays-with-your-(dysfunctional)-family

I decided to spend this Christmas with my family in the Tunisian mountains. It would be for me the ultimate test about ‘Teach What You Preach’. How to use during the inevitable clash with my family my Divine9Dance and especially the Cabasa (vulva dance) to 1. Stay calm 2. Stay connected to what I feel 3. Do not fight 4. Put my boundaries with grace & firmness.

This would be a hell of a challenge! Especially with my mom. My Guinness record with my mom has been 3 hours without a drama so far. After 3 hours I usually fall into a childhood regression, behaving like a little girl of 6: pleasing her or freaking out on her. Spending few days would be far beyond my comfort zone. It really felt like entering a dangerous zone.

I have been preparing myself the last weeks by dancing and rehearsing how I will act when my mother starts her ‘Allah madness’ attacks. I had plan A, B, C, D… My mom is a die-hard type, I need to be well prepared with few strategies!

Maman began already in the bus carrying us from the sea-side of Sousse to the mountains in the North. 6 hours stuck next to my mum in the bus. No escape.
She started her usual preaching monologue about my life style: basically, that I must live like a ‘good’ Muslim (mind the good), that I should wear a veil, pray 5 times a day, go with her to Mecca (Saudi-Arabia) for pilgrim… And that I must raise my little boy also as a good Muslim, teach him the REAL Islam, bla bla bla…

I have been hearing this for 40 years, day in day out… The text is still the same, as fanatic and compulsive as before… I had so many fights about it. But I don’t want to fight anymore. I am tired of fighting. I just want to have good time with my mom.

So, I started Plan A: Cabasa. While listening to my mom, breathe deeply and squeeze/release rhythmically my pelvic floor muscles: 1. Squeeze perineum 2. Squeeze vagina 3. Squeeze urethra 4. Squeeze clitoris. 5-6-7-8. Hold it, hold it, hold it. Then 1. Release clitoris 2. Release urethra 3-4. Release vagina 5-6-7-8. Release perineum. Repeat again… Breathe in and taking new calm energy, breathe out and let go of stress and negativity.

I was hearing all my mom’s words, words that used to make me feel disrespected, invaded, unseen… But now I could stay calm and friendly, her words did not enter my system. The Cabasa created a kind of an invisible wall around me, protecting me from her poisonous words, without spacing out, while staying connected to her. I felt relaxed, calm and my heart was open and connected to hers.

My mother encouraged by my calmness and friendliness thought that I appreciated her religious delirium. She became more audacious. She moved to the next level: attacking my love life. That it was a terrible sin that I was with a non-Muslim, non-Arab, non-Tunisian man (I am with a Dutchman), that I will burn into hell…

How-to-survive-holidays-with-your-(dysfunctional)-family

While listening to her cruel words, I was desperately trying to feel my body, but could not. I felt numb. Time for plan B. I accelerated my Cabasa dance, but it did not help. Only thing I could feel was my anus muscles and the lower part of my perineum strongly contracted, which means I feel stressed, threatened, in danger. And in danger there is one letter more than anger.

I kept on practicing the Cabasa and trying desperately to FEEL my body. Little by little I started to feel a subtle fire energy in my womb area. I wanted to amplify that feeling. Time for plan C. I added the Bazooka to my Cabasa, squeezing and making a pelvic tilt, releasing and dropping my belly button down. Little by little, I felt a rush of energy in my pelvis. I intensified the movement Bazooka-Cabasa and felt like a lava energy running in my pelvis, a volcanic liquid fire circulating in my belly. Anger was rising from my belly-pelvis, but in a calm way. My warrior was awakening, calm, firm, determined to protect me and put clear boundaries to the invader.

My mom kept her blaming and shaming monologue. I felt anger in my belly and stress in my chest. I brought my attention to my heart and started doing the Chest Snake to figure out what I was feeling there. My heart was full of sorrow and guilt. I love my mom. I don’t want to have another fight with her about this stupid subject. How to put my boundaries without having a fight? I’m tired of fighting with her about this. I just want to love her and spend some good time with her. But I don’t want her to invade my personal space and belittle me like she has been doing since I was a child. I don’t want that kind of emotional abuse anymore.

Time for plan D. I kept on gently snaking with my chest combined with the Cabasa. I felt calm and centered again. And I thought: how to bring the best out of my mom? She can be such a good laugh, funny, smart, generous, loving, caring, supportive, empowering. She can also be crazy, hallucinating, aggressive, oppressive, mean, cruel… How can I get her out of her shadows (religious fanaticism) to her lights (her humor and humanism)?

How-to-survive-holidays-with-your-(dysfunctional)-family

While I was snaking my mom was getting more and more agitated. She started treating my Dutch boyfriend with ‘Kafer’ (an infidel, a horrible negative word to designate a non-Muslim). Her eyes were dilating, her breath was becoming staccato, her voice high-pitched accusing me’: ‘You are such a shame for the family! You should be ashamed of yourself! You are such a bad daughter, a bad Muslim, a bad example for your little boy! You will end up burning in hell because of your immoral behavior!’
I felt my Cabasa pulsating faster and faster, meaning I was getting really angry. I was running out of plans. My body switched naturally from snaking with my chest to bazooka, making pelvic kicks. Anger was taking over. Anger for me is danger. I know I am good into taking my bazooka out and shooting! I know that with my bazooka energy, my ‘enemy’ has no chance! I can destroy the whole world if I want to. I know that.

But I don’t want to do that. Not with the ones I love, especially not with my mom, no matter how aggressive and unreasonable she can be. But how to put firmly my boundaries while stay with an open heart and connected? How to transform my anger in a constructive energy? How to be angry with love and grace?

Before my brain could provide me with an answer, my body did. I could see that my body has reached the ‘unconsciously competent’ level with my Divine9Dance and that my body knew what to do. It started to combine the wild energy of the bazooka pelvis with the sensual energy of the snake chest. Little by little I felt these two energies merging, fire and water, connecting me deeply with the wisdom of my womb and that of my heart. My Cabasa was getting more and more intensive, squeeze, release, breathe… The pulsations in my vagina combined with the bazooka were functioning like a catapult, throwing the fire lava energy of my pelvis to my chest. Once that energy reached my upper body, it was taken over by the water energy of the snake chest.

My body wisdom was in full action. I felt the lava energy of my pelvis cleaning my heart from old sorrow and guilt. Little by little the movement became a full snake involving my pelvis, belly and chest. I felt my heart expanding and full of strength. I started doing ‘Warrior of the Heart’ circles with my chest… Thanks to the Cabasa, I could do all these movements in a deep yet subtitle way, hardly visible to the external eye.

How-to-survive-holidays-with-your-(dysfunctional)-family

From that space I started to talk to my mom. She interrupted me few times and continued her religious delirium. I kept on undulating and repeating my words ‘Mama, how would you feel if somebody insults you as an ‘infidel’ just because you have a different religious belief? Just because you are a Muslim?’ My mother of course did not want to hear this. She went on with her monologue… I went on with squeezing, releasing, undulating and asking her the same question, again and again… The more I danced, the more I felt calm and soft, yet fierce and determined to put my boundaries.

My mom was getting aggressive and started to shout… I stayed calm, dancing from inside and repeating the same question. I felt strong, focused and loving.
Little by little my mom started to slow down her verbal poison and eventually she stopped and started listening to me. I could express myself clearly from my strength and vulnerability. To tell her how much it hurts to be judged, belittled, ignored. To tell her how much I love her and how much I will never ever accept that kind of emotional and verbal abuse from her anymore. Game over.

From my inner strength, I showed her my vulnerability and I noticed her energy was shifting. She ended up crying and apologizing (a unicum for my mom!) She said how much she loves me and how much she was scared to lose me. She shared about her dreams and how badly she wanted me to be with her later in another life. That was so cute! We ended up hugging each other during a long embrace. It was our best holiday ever.

How-to-survive-holidays-with-your-(dysfunctional)-family

PS. Leave your comment below. How do you manage such situations with your beloved ones? What do you do? Love reading you!

PSS. In need for more inner strength to put your boundaries with the ones you love? Check my online education ‘The Art of being Feminine. The first part, Free the Wild Woman in You ! is perfect for this issue!

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