Inspiring Icons Insights
core of our existence
By: Sangeeta Maheshwari
Certified Metaphysics Practioner
Author | Inner-Happiness Mentor
Dr. Seema Anand is a London based Mythologist and storyteller specializing in women’s narratives. She’s the author of "The Art of Seduction" and a featured speaker in TEDxEaling. She lectures on Tantra, the Mahavidyas, and the Kamasutra.
So what gave birth to this unconventional Indian woman who has taken the risk of being frowned upon, to say the least by challenging the definition of sexuality in the modern world?
Seema reconnects us to some hidden aspects of our roots and culture not only by her conventional ethnic outfits but also through her storytelling. Her boldness and ease on a topic so ‘sensitive and dark’ especially from a woman intrigued me to share this interview with our viewers.
In our conversation with Seema, we discovered her strong legacy of empowered, liberated and non-traditional women. Seema’s great grandmother was a well-educated social activist who died during a protest against violence towards women and this set the tone for following generations of women in her family.
She grew up understanding that, just as all barriers are imposed, equally they all can be dissolved. "Who set up the social norms by which we are judged?”
Although it may sound glamorous to be ahead of others in thinking and lifestyle, it wasn’t an easy journey. Seema was internally broken at the age of 19 when her stepfather was assassinated and her uncle hospitalized with severe injuries around the same time. Her stepfather was the Ambassador to India and way back in 1982 this was the first such incident. Following his assassination, she and her mother were placed under house arrest and went through horrific accusations flashed all over media.
“It was the worst time of my life and the loneliest. It was like I was in the middle of an ocean with nothing to support or hold on to.”
A dear friend advised, “when you are overwhelmed, think of your life as tiny little stories and deal with each story one at a time. You fix each story one at a time. It is like counting beads of a necklace, one at a time. That’s how I discovered the power of stories.”
She changed her course of studies to travel around Europe as a tour guide, telling stories of one culture to another in a language that did not belong to either, looking at how stories change when they are told.
“Stories come from a sacred place, which is why I create an energy yantra to tell my stories - that's like creating a space within a space. You have to open all your chakras, so I meditate before telling my stories.” When you dive into your creative energy, you deal with terrible lows, because you open yourself up to being able to feel everything. You have to find tools to deal with this.”
Coming from a family where gender did not define your identity she was aghast at the gender inequality she encountered - what society expects of you as a married pow man. For a long time, she tried to fit in by being like others, overcompensating by developing qualities alien to her, like being the ‘joker’ in the group and so on. She felt shut out and had to either continue being the victim looking for happiness from others or start looking for it within herself.
Life changes and we change. A wife and a mother of two sons had a desire to change the world when her daughter was born, to make it better for her.
“I began exploring female role models only to discover the myth of female stories - the identity of a woman is a perfect figure of tolerance and beauty. ‘Imperfections’ make her not a ‘good’ woman and there were no stories of a woman having the right to her own sexuality. Her body was always someone else’s property.”
"The core of the being that defines a woman is boxed for someone else to own.”
“I am determined to change attitudes. I want people to stop looking at sex as punishment or a weapon of war. Women (or men for that matter) are not property. We have the right to belong to ourselves. I want us to learn from the wisdom of ancient Indian sages who wrote about the importance of pleasure and its beauty as the path to spiritual attainment.”
The Power of NO is something we all have to learn to use without any guilt.
“It gave me so much peace - that one little realization that my body and feelings are very individual to me and that there is nothing wrong with me. I don’t need to fit into anybody’s mould. Easier said than done of course. Coming to this understanding is a real journey.
If you are going through a difficult time. Break your life into tiny stories. You resolve one story at a time.
A story is like a circle. You can either start as a victim and end like a survivor or start and end like a victim. How you tell your story is up to you. You have to explore your own energies.
You have to find your own support and not rely on others. Whoever holds your hand will tie you down and you will get pulled back a bit.
Give up judgment. Especially with our kids we consciously worry ‘what will people say’? Just love them and allow them to discover themselves little by little.
Practice the Power of NO. Stop being a pleaser to the world as that never works for anyone. Listen to your inner voice and honour that voice by expressing it.
Some missed opportunities I could not do ‘to fit in’. Some academics I could not pursue.
I wish I had not passed on my unhappiness to my children while they were growing up. I wish someone had taught me not to pass on the consequences of my indecisiveness on my children.
Talking to Seema on such a relevant yet underrated topic, made me reflect deeper on what we have hidden and suppressed as ‘dark energy’ is now creating demons within and around us and taking away our safety, security and peace. Sexuality is as important a topic to bring to light as any other in life to make us a ‘whole’ person with a healthy body, mind, and spirit.