It is famously said that we won’t understand the unabashed power of community until we are part of one. My life of more than two decades in Dubai is enriched by memories of living in Bur Dubai. Bur Dubai is the home, the community that my family and I call our own. Walking the streets where the historic and the modern come together, Bur Dubai is a perfect place to experience human connection and its spiritual significance.

As a practicing psychologist, I have always been fascinated with the underlying dynamics of interpersonal relationships and my work involved engaging people in self-exploration to help them find their purpose. However, with time there was a growing desire to extend my services to people at large. This dream to connect to the community became more vivid and strong when I started exploring the spiritual path around 2013. I wanted to share whatever I was learning with the community. I was aware that stress is the biggest cause of illness in today’s world and as a spiritual practitioner I have already experienced the numerous benefits of both counselling and meditation in reducing stress and healing various types of physical and mental ailments.

There could not have been a better day than the International Women’s Day to initiate this heart’s desire. So back in March 2016 I invited a group of women from Bur Dubai and surrounding areas to gather for a session of Mandala colouring meditation along with sharing personal stories of empowerment.

Why mandala colouring?

The simple act of colouring a picture is both joyful and beneficial in relieving stress and anxiety, but Mandala colouring has especially gained popularity. Mandalas are geometric circles, which are sacred symbols found in all cultures. They appear as beautiful geometric patterns with no apparent meaning and thus the act of colouring is free from personal bias or preferences and is therapeutic in nature as it takes the mind off other thoughts and introduces a natural mindfulness through a playful activity.

The first session was a huge success as participants laughed, talked and shared their dreams with perfect strangers and bonded over colours and patterns. It was magical to see women holding space for each other without judgment or bias regardless of different background. This kind of coming together opens us to the immense power of community to make changes through small actions.

There was request for more sessions and in spite of the balancing act as a working mother, I have managed to hold one session every year — mindful to keep them on days that are significant to our lives like International Women’s Day or World Peace day. Sessions usually comprise meditations of different types like chakra meditation, mantra meditation, mindfulness and healing frequency meditation.

Living in the heart of historic Dubai is a privilege. This act is an expression of my gratitude to this community, which has helped us evolve and thrive.