"A man's spiritual progress is hindered as long as the women in his life - his mother, his wife his daughter, his sister are unhappy. Whereas, a woman's spiritual progress is never complete unless and until she recognizes and accepts her Shalini Shakti - the power to create, to innervate, to thrill - a power which only a women has, not a man."
Swami Veda Bharati


My counselling praxis is a synthesis of feminist anti-oppressive, humanistic and existentialistic framework. My Philosophy of Counselling is an integrative approach using Buddhist mindfulness-present-centered, combined with influences from theoretical orientation in person -centered therapy, motivational interviewing, solution-focused brief therapy, narrative therapy, psychodrama and cognitive therapy. As a practising Buddhist I am committed to engaging in the Buddhist path of 'tonglen' (non action, action, surrender) and 'Bodhisattva' practice to resist systems of oppression. I strive to follow principles of 'Seva' (moral, dutiful service), 'Ahimsa' (Sanskrit for complete non-violence in thoughts, words and deeds), 'Satya' (truth), and 'Dharma' (spiritual duty) aligned in divine union of intent, thought and action for righteous 'karma'. I walk the Middle path where no knowledge is enough for me to understand the conditions of a human being's soul and the journey, for they are the expert on their lived experience.

I believe I am a human vessel that is here on earth to listen, observe, learn and help (perform my spiritual duty). My client is the artiste and their life is the canvass. I am the medium of change-conduit that offers them the tool box (self-help model) that they may use (self-identify) to build their canvas (journey towards self-efficacy). The covenants of respect, dignity, non-judgemental, empathy, compassion, tenderness, loving kindness, and non-maleficence are foundation for my interactive collaboration with clients. I am committed to #LOVE [Listen Observe Value Engage]

I work with creative, intuitive, mindful acceptance of a human being's 'Spirit' as the core vessel of goodness, beauty and empowered seat of consciousness in this Universe. The patriarchal society and its gatekeepers dictate that the anatomy of the genitals determines the course of a newborn's life. I believe in the nature of the Spirit/soul-human beings must have autonomy and freedom to determine their gender and resulting course of their life. I oppose social construction of gender for gender is fluid, on a spectrum with polarities. The union of masculine and feminine energy juxtaposed in one body or separate bodies is a magical conjunction of divine cosmic dimensions. Gender expression is transcendental and immanent, irrespective of the physical container, and sexual anatomy assigned at birth. Women, Trans women are much more than a sum total of their physical body parts.

"We are a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects." (Thomas Berry) Human life and human beings are sacred. We are all interdependent, intertwined, interconnected and overflowing as an extension of duality in nature to embrace, connect the core values of Spirit-immutable self-overflowing with eternal ecstasy: tenderness, love, joy, peace and bliss. Regardless of race, gender, class and political unity each human being is longing for a permanent destination: unconditional understanding, love, and union. The seeking of sense pleasures through physical form is gratifying on a material platform; essential for many but comes with limitations. It is a cosmic delusion with an expiration date mostly filled with pangs of existentialism -fleeting moments of sensory desires, egotistical control, and hubris of currency/worldly titles. Increasingly there is profound disconnect and anguish in human relationships, followed by discord, lamentation, separation, sadness and suffering. The authentic Spirit has a nature; a natural capacity for permanent reservoir of LOVE-it is beyond a physical form, essentially infinite-Blissful. Joyous. Loving. Childlike. Magical Stillness. I believe Mother Earth and the elements: Water (jala), Fire (agni), Air (Vayu) and Space (aakash) are the sacred manifestation of divine, omnipotent and omnipresent Spirit/ Nature/Creator/God.

My practice lies in welcoming new experiences, lessons, and learnings across all human lifeways with primary responsibility to evoke SPIRIT and care, nurture and affirm a position of 'moral solidarity' (J. Herman) with women, and victims . I am pro woman but not anti-men. I operate with a malleable approach anchored in non-judgemental attitude grounded in principals of non-maleficence, diversity, equity, inclusion and fiduciary-trust. My praxis is rooted in principles of gender -equity, cultural competency and trauma informed approach. I remain mindful of my privilege and also lack of it, my prejudices, and biases through self-introspection, meditation and self-reflective practice each day.

I believe that 'a human failing does not become a disease simply because it is extreme.' (Peter Breggin, Toxic Psychiatry) I believe women can be understood only in context of their cultural and social framework as a whole person -human being. I offer resources to empower marginalized, racialized women by connecting women's struggles with social, political context of their lives; analyzing the complex matrix of domination, and intersectionality. I believe self-realization and healing is a journey that is self-identified and determined by the individual. Once there is awakening of the 'Spiritual Self', the fragrant essence of self-blessings within a Woman is irrepressible. The journey of excavating, understanding and acceptance of 'self' is evocation of authentic Spirit. Once the nectar of soul consciousness-a formidable force of Spirit is revived, a human being is on path of passionate recovery without external crutches: substance use, addictions, pathogenic attachments-addictions that cause self-harm:

"Touch me but once and I will change,
All my clay into Thy gold.
All the sense lamps that I did light, sooted into worries.
Sitting at the door of my soul, Light Thy resurrecting lamp!" (Rabindranath Tagore)

I am keenly aware of ambiguity between 'kindness' and 'Trusteeship'. [Rooted in Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy on human interactions, each individual has an innate talent and an ability to achieve their goals.] As an Advocate/Counsellor, Facilitator/Trainer I am acutely aware of my 'ego', its unconscious and sometimes conscious ability for personal gains to translate into 'hubris'. I am gravely conscious of causing unjust harm and oppressive behaviour based in this egotistical stance of 'ownership' of a human being. As a result I constantly debrief the most insignificant interactions with clients for voice of human conscience is the infallible judge of 'self'. According to Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy I don't own anything or anyone but I am appointed 'Trustee' by God or a Spirit to work for upliftment of humanity. I endeavour to remain humble and help with intent to never cripple the receiver. This helps me in the circle of life and in my praxis to build humility within myself. It also helps enhance self-confidence, self-worth and self-respect for my clients who are often crushed by stigmatization, poverty, pathologization, victimization and continued colonial models of systemic oppressions: racism, sexism, xenophobia and islamophobia in Canada.

As a survivor of gender violence (domestic violence and sexual assault by a doctor in Ontario) the framework of my philosophical feminist approach is based on looking 'inwards' as opposed to 'outwards'. Personal is political-I do not resist personal disclosure if it empowers my client in her journey. Unless girl child and women are nurtured unconditionally, validated with respect, dignity and gender equity beginning at birth-Free from fear of male control, domination, religious indoctrination, and manipulation there cannot be resurgence of 'feminization of prosperity'. It is time to eradicate 'feminization of poverty'; for every Girl child and woman must have Human Right to breathe, live freely; develop a Spiritual identity with emotional, physical and psychological stability, safety and economic security. Women are inherently born as powerhouses within their consciousness-'Shalini Shakti'. It is the traditional social, political and economic structures constructed by hetro -patriarchy that erode women's intuitive beacon. The lighthouse within women is their intuitive soul consciousness. It slowly after birth begins to compromise, submit, mould and adapt to fit labels of commodities and adjust to fabricated falsehoods in a male dominated society. Women are slugged into secondary positions within families and in society as their bodies' remain a political playground; their production and reproduction automated, and programed by patriarchy. My experience of domestic violence, sexual assault by a medical doctor and survival is a heuristic device to share and empower Women, Girl child and my clients. My journey navigating the horrifying uphill battle with systemic institutions for over a decade is now a tool for transformation for women facing endemic gender violence and sexual assault. It is imperative to challenge status quo given the pervasive colonization model/Anglo Saxon lens, rape culture, misogyny, racism, and discrimination in Canada. I remain cognizant of The United Nations Human Rights committee's report pointing Canada has failed to take action on human rights issues including missing and murdered Indigenous Women. Only when their immeasurable devastation, inter-generational trauma, and suffering are acknowledged with genuine deconstruction of White privilege across the systems can there be hope for reconciliation and transformation for any other marginalized, racialized community. Violence against women remains endemic and has no prejudice in Canada. Pacifism is no longer my tool of choice.

My wish for every woman is to emerge fearlessly in every domain of life: be no longer submerged by fear of judgements, punishments, guilt, shame, rejection, cultural ostracization and socially constructed rules of performance in this male -dominated circus. Women must validate themselves first, compliment themselves first, accept it is ok to fail and it is ok to fall. It is ok to get up and start all over again. Women must trust their vulnerability; express full range of emotions without seeking permission to live organic, abundant and fearless lives. It is ok to express raw authentic emotions-love, passion, anxiety, anger, rage, humility, modesty, spirituality, aggression, assertiveness and tenderness. It is ok to wail, scream and cry, for without letting go of tears there cannot be space for abundance of laughter. It is ok to not smile, to feel sad for as long as it takes to heal self. It is ok to be brown, black and not look like the white cover girl on a fashion magazine. It is ok to be any size you want, sustain yourself on food, and calories instead of succumbing to eating disorders to fit a dress size and imitate western culture's sexualized ideals of beauty. It is ok to indulge in a nip and tuck as long as you want it for yourself and not because your partner is demanding you to fit the dominant culture's narrow standards of beauty AND demeaning you as a marker of feminine deficiency. It is ok to be a mother and it is ok to choose to be not a biological mother. It is ok to be married and it is ok to be single. It is ok to love whoever you want for love has no gender. Women must own, accept their bodies and rule the sacred kingdom-their own body with soul consciousness. Women must be empowered to remember that relationship in NOT consent and their body is not a public space or a garbage bin.

As women we still have to learn to have each other's back, stand together not against each other, use our ethnic differences of race, religion, caste, creed and colour to weave an empowering collective consciousness of faith, support, healing and hope. I believe together we can accomplish anything-become unstoppable winds of strength for 'transformational leadership'. Women must believe, support other women and victims when they share stories of domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. Women must collectively halt objectification of women that is normalized through media. Women must call out their fathers, brothers, sons and partners that are silent surrogates and implicit in exacerbating misogyny and systemic rape culture at home and at office. Women must stop the othering and begin eradication of the heinous culture of sexual assault, endemic violence against women in Canada. There is NO safe place for women: Over 4000 Indigenous women and girls have been murdered or missing, 1 woman dies every 6 days at the hands of an intimate partner, 460,000 sexual assaults per year, 200,000 PLUS patients sexually violated by doctors in Ontario. Even the sacred space where there is inherent expectation of ethics, integrity, humanity, dignity, respect for human life-Hospitals and doctors' offices continue to be lairs of monstrous sexual assaults and deviance camouflaged under sacred 'fiduciary-trust'. The sacred Hippocratic Oath has been diluted to lip service with continued 'self-regulation' by historically corrupt CPSO-sheer hypocrisy-easy bait for human/sex trafficking as doctors are paid by the Government/ filling their coffers on tax-payers back and getting away with sexual assaults camouflaged in White -coats. How do we stop MAN-made and endorsed disease of gender violence?

It is a moral imperative for women to police their personal belief system, self-introspect and begin cleansing of unconscious and conscious internalized misogyny. It is time to stop victim-blaming, staying in choking silence, swallowing toxicity, unimaginable trauma, scapegoating as a result of gender violence at home, at office, on the subway, at church/temple/mosque/gurudwaras, at the grocery store, at the mall, at the club AND at doctor's office. BREAK THE SILENCE. We must form collectives of conscious vigilantism as shared moral responsibility and challenge status quo/ systemic institutions: medical, police and judiciary that have repeatedly eroded public faith and trust. Reporting a sexual assault has grave consequences for victims in Canada. We can no longer depend on systemic institutions for our safety, accountability and justice as an aftermath of 'irreparable losses'.

Prevention is better than cure. 'As nobody can do more mischief to a woman than a woman, so perhaps one might reverse the maxim and say nobody can do more good.' (Elizabeth Holland) While we wait for past 1500 years for men to stop gender violence, we as women have a bigger responsibility-STOP being carriers of pathogens of patriarchal colonization: physical and psychological. We were once upon a time glorious, and powerful matriarchal tribes until patriarchy divided, manipulated and conquered our minds and bodies.

Let's stop blaming and hating other women because it is easier to do so than blaming men. It is mostly carried out due to 'learnt helplessness' to create a soft landing in the boy's club at home and at office. Let us End the internal divides, bystander effect, pathologization and individuation. Let us stop trivializing, adding, and justifying rape myths that further undermine, fuel violence against women. White women must begin accepting that fighting for equal pay and increase in wages does not guarantee racialized women autonomy, dignity and equity given families are complicit in historical oppressive conditions and mechanism of gender violence. (Women's pay cheques are snatched, controlled by male members of family. There is no safety as fear of patriarchal violence, ostracization from community, lack of privilege, unaccountable barriers keeps women in dormant silence) Begin learning about other cultures (Third World), broaden the horizons, open your heart and soul-become culturally competent allies and stop cultural appropriation. Women must remain cautious that as the oppressed we don't become the oppressors-it is historically learnt behaviour. Unless we own up to our indomitable strengths-our invincible, supreme SPIRIT we will be conquered by weakness of our material/physical body for every flower withers away-from dust to dust. It is time to remain steadfast as unified forces of change, and transformational vaults of energy/POWER. SHALINI SHAKTI is withIN us. Women must not surrender to external forces of patriarchal constructs, and cultural norms inscribed to keep women shackled, subjugated into coercive obedience like cattle.

We can win the battle outside only when we overcome the battle within-the constant vacillation between self-hatred and self-acceptance. The Wonder woman, the Goddesses in every religion, race, culture, and caste are not mythical characters; SHe is alive-a force to be reckoned with, buried deep in the recesses of our souls until discovered. SHe is YOU, a divine energy that can create, innervate, construct and destruct by taking a stand against oppressions. Begin feeling what you see in yourself but keeping denying it due to fear of patriarchal society. Acknowledge your dormant inner reserves of compassion, strength and resilience that feed nurture and sustain this world each day. The world functions because of women: our labour and unconditional love. Dare to be powerful. Put yourself first.

We keep flowing like a river but we can also stand like a mountain in face of injustices. Each time you are unheard, suppressed, dejected, blamed, labelled, and cast aside ask yourself-Who has power over you and why? The answer lies in this question. I speak language of #LOVE [Listen, Observe, Value, Engage], English, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Bhojpuri, Awadhi. Talk therapy is one of the most meaningful ways to begin the journey of understanding Self. Are you suffering, overwhelmed with putting everyone else first? I am here to listen and validate you mindfully: what you are feeling, thinking, doing and ambivalent about. End the pileups of missed opportunities as a result of restricted, diminished self; end the collision between self and society. You are not alone.

Let's talk in confidence.


Sveta Kohli 'Azad'